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Underbody braces, turbos and more!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:38 am 
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
OK, so the reason most Metro/Firefly/Swift models get scrapped is because of the notorious rust issue they have where the lower control arms mount to. I posted pics of how mine was getting pretty bad previously...................

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This issue affect all years of this car even though the older models have a slightly different frame, the same "looped" unibody in the front is similar. After time, the frame will rot away to the point where the lower control arm will detach from the car and the wheel will end up kicking out and separating from the car causing loss of control or a crash or a grinding halt. First thing most people do is start grinding away the rust. This is a bad idea in my opinion, because it weakens the surrounding area and if you keep grinding, you will eventually be grinding away to nothing. I learned to simply go beyond the rust area at least 3-4 inches and as long as it's welded correctly, the new repair will hold all the stress and keep the rusted area from flexing and breaking away.

I took a piece of scrap bar stock and cut a piece that would wrap around the front arm.............

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I then welded that in place after forming it to fit with a hammer and a vise.............

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I then cut another piece that was cut out for the side opening and made sure it contacted the new piece I just welded in....................

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This piece was also welded to the rear arm to secure the mount. The important part of welding is to make sure the area is clean where you are welding to and to get a good burn. The weld must penetrate both sections and not look like rabbit turds when you are done. Don't be afraid to burn it in until both contact areas are melting together with the bead you are laying.

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I then made a piece for the outside and welded it to the original piece and formed it to go with the contour of the inner fender area and painted it all with flat black paint........

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I also repeated the same repair on the passenger side which was not so bad, but still got the same repair with a wrap around piece and both side braces.............

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I am totally confident in this repair and should get a few years of service from it and even longer if I maintain the rust as best as possible.

Scrap steel = $0.00
Total cost = $0.00

Labor time = 5-6 hours.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:46 am 
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Location: Richland, WA
Although we don't per se have a rust problem here in the west, I have noticed the exhaust is the first thing to go. I have also noticed that by placing any type of bracing under the body prevents the body from flexing as much thereby helping to place less stress on these weaker spots of the body.

I have been under the car more often these past few weeks and have noticed however, that the factory applied undercoating is worn away in a few spots. Can a person "replace" this with the "coating" that the auto parts places sells and what type of prep would have to be made.

In the past, building hot rods with my father, we would load a hopper, heat it up and spray a near factory coating of "tar" underneath. I wish I had the same setup, but I also don't have the "rotisserie" that my dad has so that I can get to the underneath.

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clinty wrote:
Us swift people are a rare breed.

pacapo wrote:
You get an old one, clean it up, put it back to specs and take care of it, and she'll last for years.

JVS wrote:
We (the Suzuki enthusiast) are Dinosaurs.

An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.

1989 Suzuki Swift GTi: Red "My PocketRocket"
1989 Suzuki Swift GTi: White (Being resurrected)
1996 Geo Metro (Stocker)
1999 Suzuki 1.6 Esteem (Baleno) Wagon (Sleeper creeper)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:41 am
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Location: Cheshire UK
shouldn't you paint it with wax oil and seam sealer to prevent rust the best way???

or do you not suffer from rust as bad as the UK?? :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:50 pm 
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
I intend to oil the undercarriage twice a year.

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  • High Stall 3200 RPM Converter
  • Auto Trans with Welded Differential
  • Custom Exhaust and Intake System
  • 6" Suspension Lift & Weight Reduction
  • 27" Kenda Executioner 6 Ply ATV tires


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:36 pm 
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Location: Atlanta GA 30052
Nice work John. Another one is saved!
the cause of all this grief is poor design combined with natural and unavoidable condensation.
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=37757&p=284672&hilit=condensation#p284672

I prefer to disrupt the rust. cut out to good metal because rust will creep along.
Use a magnetic pickup to get out loose rusted metal. ( i got out 2-3 oz of rust.) and coat the inside with rustproofing. and put some 1/4" drain holes at the lowest points. some woven rope in the holes will assist drainage.

Perhaps we can weld on a plate that would adjust camber and caster?

Compare the damage on John's Northern 98 with my Southern 91.


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the time i mispent in my youth

daily driver: red 1991 Metro 3cyl 5sp, roof rack, 8 degree advance,
got 61 mpg combined on 14" tires but i prefer 12"

completed frame up restoration: black 1994 Swift GT 5sp -- like new ! 45mpg


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:48 pm 
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Location: Ventura, CA, USA
i used rubberize undercoating to do my dirt bike box trailer. worked good i think. no prep, 6 cans for a 6' x12'. put it on jacks and did it with a creeper. 3 hours, pain in the ass.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:06 pm 
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
2-Stix wrote:
i used rubberize undercoating to do my dirt bike box trailer. worked good i think. no prep, 6 cans for a 6' x12'. put it on jacks and did it with a creeper. 3 hours, pain in the ass.

Rubberized undercoating is a bad thing. A really bad thing to use. Moisture gets trapped behind it and actually makes it rust out faster. The best way to slow down rust is used motor oil. Just like my passenger side control arm only had a couple small holes in it. You know why? Because the front main seal in my engine leaks about a quart between oil changes and the oil protected the steel from rust.

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  • EcoMudder - Geo Metro Mudder
  • Project page
  • Build Video
  • 1991 4 Door Truck Conversion
  • Modified Suzuki 1.0L Engine
  • High Stall 3200 RPM Converter
  • Auto Trans with Welded Differential
  • Custom Exhaust and Intake System
  • 6" Suspension Lift & Weight Reduction
  • 27" Kenda Executioner 6 Ply ATV tires


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:46 pm
Posts: 47
Location: midwest USA
My advice - and i have read many of your posts so i think you can appreciate this -

Drill "Ziebart" style filler holes and pump that sucker full of oil ......


What elses can you do after the oxidation trauma to the surface after welding? You sure can't get inside those members to paint them with zinc chromate, or boiler or pipeline paint.....



I feel I am so lucky to have a rust free on in the midwest (aside from a non structural middle of a rear wheelwell of all things) that I will do the pump thing as a measure of preservation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:05 am 
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Location: Ventura, CA, USA
it cant trap moisture out here. i guess we have no rust either. i use that stuff all the time and it works great. hit the metal with acetone and then spray it down. we have no moisture to trap.

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