Under Chassi Rust - Typical or Walk Away?
Looked at my first 2003 100k mile vvti Celica the other day (post facelift) from a private seller.
The car has no service history at all, but the MOT is near spotless, with no advisories for years.
Apart from a rattle somewhere in the bonnet (could be heat shield) and a small bit of paint missing at the rear, the only thing that flagged alarm bells was the entire under chassis of the car was covered in a layer of orange rust (excluding the exhaust pipe). This was looking with a torch, but I couldn't see any holes or areas flaking off, it just seemed to be a colour issue.
My question is, is this completely typical of this model with age and mileage, or is this an exception?
If this is typical, for those with the same issue has this led to welding needing to be performed frequently, or has it been persistent cosmetic only rust?
I plan to get a MOT garage to check over it before purchase, but wanted an additional set of opinions from experts with gen 7 cars, to see what I'd likely be in store for if I went ahead with it.
If this is likely to cause a headache, I'll more than likely walk away.
For every car.. if you hear the word "Rust" run away.. you should post some pics though. maybe it is light and could be removed.. but apart of this, i would stay away. it is like cancer...
I'm not sure where you are in the world but with the history of hurricanes and storm surge floods in highly populated areas of the USA, there is high probability you have a car that was submerged or partially submerged in salt water. These flood cars can get moved from state to other states that have easier title laws that allow salvage or rebuilt titles to get cleaned and appear good. You also can't trust carfax and that is all assuming that the car was insured. If no claim was ever made, the title would be clean.
Salt water is a mild acid that even when submerged for a short time can attach seals, electrical wiring, connectors and the connector seals. If the water got into the car where the electrical connectors are not sealed or internal control modules that are not sealed come in contact, it is a long term electrical nightmare because the issues will be intermittent, hard to diagnose, and all kinds of weird things can happen.
Anytime you come across unnatural corrosion for the geographical area or mileage or rust in weird areas of the car (seat brackets, seat belt mounts, underdash structure). The hardest part is identifying vehicles that are in the rust belt but came from a northern flood like Hurricane Sandy.
I purchased a 6th gen Celica, my first Celica, with rust underneath, but I made sure it was just surface rust that can be sanded, or sandblasted off, or even just painted over with a rust converter/inhibitor, which I did before the winter months came. So far so good.
If the exhaust is the only thing not rusted, determine if it was replaced or if it was the original, or how old it is. Just check and be sure there are no holes or cracks in the cross members or other structural areas, you really have to look and if you're taking it to a shop have it put on a lift. To me orange color means it just started oxidizing at the surface, once it started turning red or brown then it has gotten deeper, but I'm no chemist, you really have to look if the rust is uniform all around, or just in certain spots.
If you do get a car with rust on it, and treat it as I did, realize you'll have to do it every year, unless you totally sandblast it off and re-primer and paint, then you won't have to do it for a while, but as with any metal or steel, and depending on where you live, it will come back again, just depends on how much you want to deal with it, versus a "rust-free" car which you won't have to worry about for a while, but again depends on where you live and how well you keep the corrosive stuff like salt off of it.
Thanks for your reply. . . .
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