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Old 02-17-2018, 04:27 PM   #1
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Sub Frame Replacement / Repair

Has anyone had their subframe repaired or replaced? Was it expensive. Our DSDP is having some serious rust issues and we are trying to decide if we are going to try and get it fixed or get rid of it. We are full time, but still working, so I am guessing if we can find some one to repair it we will be out of the unit for a while. Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 02-17-2018, 04:36 PM   #2
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I've never heard of a Newmar having that much rust trouble.
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Old 02-17-2018, 04:49 PM   #3
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Unless you've had your coach submersed in salt water for a long time, frames are usually a lifetime component of a vehicle.

Any frame thats has not been rust proofed or protected from the factory will rust in time but not to the point of requiring replacement, In other words, ugly is not the same as unserviceable.

I'm thinking a chemical rust stop and preventative treatment will be all you'll need. You can do this yourself, with products from auto restoration supply companies like Yearwood and others.

You can do this in small sections in your spare time, and with minimum environmental concerns if planed out properly.

If you can't do it yourself, you can still buy the products and have a shop perform the process in a day to 24 hours if curing is involved.

Frame replacement on a DP is out of the question, you'd be better off selling it as parts.
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:52 PM   #4
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It would surprise me that the frame is rusting to the point of replacement.
Are you sure it's not significant surface rust (which is typical)?

Post a picture of what you are concerned about.

If it's surface rust, you could get a right hand grinder, put a cup wire brush on it and clean it all up.
Better would be to rent a good quality sand blaster and shoot the frame, clean it, prime it, paint it and it would look near new. You might want to hire out the sandblasting as the equipment is significant.

With sandblasting, you have to be very careful not to get the sand into anything that looks like an engine. Or suspension, or electrical etc. It makes a mess but it does a great job when you know what you are doing. Stay away from plastic and rubber parts and seals. Stay away from brake components.

I did a combo of the above on the Bounder...whenever I would work on an area, I would clean that area up and paint. Spreads the work out across time so it doesn't feel like a ton of work. Eventually most all of the chassis looks pretty good. Used the sandblaster on areas that are hard to get to with the cup brush...like around the propane tank backside. Tank looks like new now.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:54 AM   #5
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Other than "looks," what factors led you to the conclusion that the rust is a serious problem? I realize that you live in Florida. How close to the ocean?
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:31 AM   #6
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I was not aware that frames last almost forever. I made a pretty good living repairing frames on cars, trucks and just about any functioning vehicle. Frames can and do rust through completely and not on too old an application, depending on where it is. If there are holes in the metal, go to a weld shop and have them look at it as it may very well be fixable.
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:18 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your responses. I am adding pictures so that it can help describe the issue better than my words are. The last picture is the rust falling off and sitting on the ground.


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Old 02-25-2018, 07:08 AM   #8
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Pictures aren't coming through. Upload the pictures to this forum. Don't link from your yahoo account.
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:23 AM   #9
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I would not be concerned with surface rust, and might like mentioned above use a product to clean it and encapsulate it thus sealing it from further damage... On the other hand... if it was flaking off pieces of metal... really deep and causing measurable damage to the frame... here are my thoughts..

Not far from my home in WA is a nice guy who does soda blasting to remove rust from metal, he does lots and lots of custom car bodies and than seals the metal with a epoxy rust inhibitor.. I'm sure in any big city, you'll find such a guy... once the rust flaking is removed it can be evaluated for damage...

I might share I was in a Freightliner Dealer and watched them remove one frame member from a new Ambulance Chassis that was about 10 months old.. the body builder had drilled a frame that was hardened and not designed to be drilled... the body builder had at least 20 cracks from those holes that that had moved as much as 10 inches down the frame rail and had weakened the frame... of course the body builder, was paying the bill... When I saw the Ambulance it had been sitting for 90 days waiting for a new frame rail to be manufactured to the OE drawings and shipped in...
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Old 02-25-2018, 09:11 AM   #10
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The actual chassis (a Freightliner?) probably is close to a lifetime thing, but there is a lot of metal structure added to it to support the coach body, basement compartments, etc. and they can rust severely, either from electrolysis (poor metal design choices) or salt air or road salts. However, I have seen some motorhome chassis that rusted badly as well, usually those parked within a mile or so of the ocean for extended periods. There is enough moisture and salt in the air in coastal Florida to wreck havoc on unprotected metals.

Once we can view those pictures we should be able t comment more intelligently on the severity of the problem and what to do about it. If anything.

With our Florida coach I used a wire brush and a rust converter product (I use Ospho, but there are several good ones) as soon as I saw significant rust develop, at least in any accessible spot. Then re-painted. I didn't bother much with the heavy duty chassis components, though, except to lube moving parts periodically.
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Old 02-25-2018, 09:46 AM   #11
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2nd attempt to post pictures.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:22 AM   #12
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Yikes!

Is that failed strip holding up the edge of your basement floor. It looks like the frame member is relatively ok, but that edge strip needs replacing.
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
The actual chassis (a Freightliner?) probably is close to a lifetime thing, but there is a lot of metal structure added to it to support the coach body, basement compartments, etc. and they can rust severely, either from electrolysis (poor metal design choices) or salt air or road salts. However, I have seen some motorhome chassis that rusted badly as well, usually those parked within a mile or so of the ocean for extended periods. There is enough moisture and salt in the air in coastal Florida to wreck havoc on unprotected metals.

Once we can view those pictures we should be able t comment more intelligently on the severity of the problem and what to do about it. If anything.

With our Florida coach I used a wire brush and a rust converter product (I use Ospho, but there are several good ones) as soon as I saw significant rust develop, at least in any accessible spot. Then re-painted. I didn't bother much with the heavy duty chassis components, though, except to lube moving parts periodically.
^^After seeing your pictures, Gary (if I may be so informal) pretty much nailed your situation.

Many interpreted your OP as rust in the main chassis frame but, clearly, the problem is in the lighter metal structures surrounding the compartments and subfloor. IMO, if you like the coach, repair would be worth the effort if the pictures show the most serious area. Cut out the deteriorated parts and replace. Scrape, neutralize, paint, underseal the others. Your decision will depend on the extent of the rust over the entire chassis, however. Labor intensive, but much can be done by you if you so decide.
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