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Unread 04-10-2006, 04:44 PM   #1
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1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Indiana
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Frame repair

Here is my current problem. My YJ has bad rust in the back part of it. This picture is the rear shackle. On one side of the frame the shackle isn't even attached to the frame. It rusted so much and the area around the mount seperated from the frame. What would you guys recommend I do to fix it? I don't have a welder, but will before to long. I could replace the frame, but it would probably be cheaper to fix this frame, and easier.

If I were to use some metal plates and reconstruct this section of the frame, would I need to remove the tub or just lift it up some? How much can the lift an unblolted tub without have to unhook all the wires and hoses?

I appreciate any help.

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Unread 04-10-2006, 04:50 PM   #2
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
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I'm in the same boat, (as well as a lot of others here) Here's a good read:
89 YJ
Transplanted '99 4.0, AX-15, NP231
Red Jeep club #8

97 ZJ Laredo
4.0, 42re, NP242
Was my daily driver, now son's college wheels.

Marseilles Fire Dept:
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Unread 04-10-2006, 05:04 PM   #3
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wow..... makes me thankful i live in a dry climate
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Unread 04-11-2006, 12:05 AM   #4
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Lots of people here in the salt belt seem to run into this. I've seem kits for CJ's that you just weld on top of whatever is left of your frame and then buy a wider rear shackle. I'm wondering if it would be smart to drill a small hole in the bottom of the frame (weld in a nut or something so it doesn't rust out) at its lowest point. This rot seems to happen because water gets trapped in the frame and has nowhere to run out? I don't have to do this (yet) but if I do, I'd like to come up with a solution rather than just a patch.
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Unread 04-11-2006, 06:51 AM   #5
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Had the Same prob myself.... i did what Sentinal did plus we wrapped the rear as well.... doesnt look as good as sentinals but it did the job.... i actually had someone fail me on my inspection when they saw the holes in the frame like that..... damn rust .......
[U][B][FONT=Arial Narrow]Tex Montana[/FONT][/B][/U]

87 Jeep Wrangler Yj 2.5l stock Currie boomerang shackles Blazer blower motor upgrade Cragar 397 w/31x10.5 rubbers Homade Posi-lock
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Unread 04-11-2006, 07:38 AM   #6
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wow that's awful. Doesn't look like a fun repair at all, i'd be lookin for a fresh frame or maybe some tubework, anythings gotta be better than that
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Unread 04-11-2006, 08:07 AM   #7
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i have had to do tons of frame repairs to my frame. first the drivers side front (where the steering box bolt up to the frame) was so bad the steering box ripped out the rest of the frame. we boxed the frame up, back propably about 2.5'-3'. while we were at it we patched up a few week spots on the passenger front.

recently we boxed in the both sides of the rear of the frame. we ran this back about 2'. my frame was not rotten back to the shackle mounts, but we took care of it now rather than later when it would break on the trail. with time and patients the job can be done, and it is alot cheaper and faster than swapping in a new frame.

i don't have my digital camera handy, but i took pics to document both times we did repairs.
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Unread 04-11-2006, 08:20 PM   #8
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If the rest of the frame is in great shape, I'd fix that piece, but if the rest has many similar spots, I'd be inclined to find a frame in good shape and replace yours. If you go frame hunting, take a good sized ball peen or cross peen hammer with you and hit the frame in all the vulnerable areas - if it feels soft or sounds dead, it's a bad area. You should get a reasonable ring to it except where there are a lot of holes drilled and stuff bolted, but it still shouldn't sound dead (like wood).

If you choose to fix yours, I wouldn't recommend boxing it - you end up trying to weld good metal to bad metal & eventually that will fail as well. I would re-fabricate the bad section a bit differently than shown in the previous link - I'd use 2.25 inch x 0.125 (1/8th inch) flat steel for the top and bottom and get a fab shop to plasma cut the side sections for you - this will save you an enormous amount of time and effort. I'd weld these pieces together with no overlap as shown in the link. Also, to do this job, I'd take off the tub.

I'm currently rebuilding a frame on a 92 YJ that has the majority of the drivers side that's better than what you're showing but too rusted to save - there isn't enough good metal left to weld to. I found a frame that has this side in good shape and am in the process of "cutting & pasting". The passengers side has about 12 to 18 inches that I'll be replacing - same area as yours and I'll be using the approach I described above. You'll also need a short piece of pipe to replace the shackle bushing mount point, and a couple of BIG washers - the pipe is 1 5/8 OD & 1 1/4 ID (I think) and I used some 1/8" flat stock and used a bimetalic hole saw to cut 2 washers that had a 1 5/8" hole (for the pipe to slip through for eventual welding) and were 2 3/4 " round. I used a 2 1/4 " hole saw on the fabricated frame member and aligned the two washers on the inside of the frame member using the piece of pipe and a couple of magnets and welded it together - this gives you the inset you need to put the shackle on. You may need to make one or two more washers to give you more inset as needed - measure this with the pipe, if the washers come to the outside if the pipe, then you need more inset, and the second pair of washers would have a 2" hole and again could be 2.5 to 3 inches round. I only used one set of washers because I pressed that part of the frame member together until everything fit - then I welded it (the inset on both sides looks close to the original). Measurement is important so that you don't misalign the axle, so if you do remove the frame for repair, you'll need something to clamp it to inorder to keep it steady and level while cutting & pasting.
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Unread 04-11-2006, 10:26 PM   #9
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Alfons- Do you have any pictures of your project?

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Unread 04-12-2006, 05:16 AM   #10
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I'll try to get some together this weekend - I have a bunch of the sandblasted frames, cutting one frame into it's component parts (I left the other frame intact for initial alignment and clamping to an adjustable "frame bed" that I made) and repairing the useable drivers side cut-away frame member, but once I started the cut & paste on the intact and clamped frame, I didn't take too many pics so I'll need to find what I have - I'll take a few of the repaired rear area that's similar to yours when I have some time and post those for you.

One thing I did that I didn't mention, was cleaning the frame insides with a pressure washer. I cut some holes in the poorer areas on the main frame members so that I could get a short power washer wand into the inside & washed out all the loose stuff which included rocks as well as mud & rust. When I'm finished welding, I'll plug up most of the OEM holes with tape and do a POR-15 preparation and treatment. The outside also gets the same treatment and then a passive topcoat.
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Unread 06-12-2006, 06:20 AM   #11
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Very nice write up/info. , I am looking at an 89 that will need the rear section repaired on the drivers side. I did not want to get into that, but what can you do in Michigan.
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Unread 06-12-2006, 01:07 PM   #12
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Only real way to fix rust is to cut out the rusty stuff, weld in new. The frames rot out like that because of poor drainage, and buildup of mud and salt inside. Mine had the same thing happen, I just found a guy with a welder who gave me a good deal on the work. He repaired the front and rear with thicker than factory metal, I shouldn't have any trouble for a long time. If you see a shop that specalizes in Jeeps, they probably did the same repair in the past, and will know how to do it again.

Best bet would be to find someone who's parting out a Jeep and see if they could cut those frame sections out, you'll at least have a good clean template if you want to cut and weld in thicker sections.

Most of the cost is going to be in labor, so if it's something you could do, then by all means try to tackle the project yourself.

Also, check the front of your frame around the steering box as others have said. That's another spot where nasty rust happens.
1989 Jeep Wrangler - Daily Driver and project - Red Jeep Club #216, NRA Jeep Club #5
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Unread 06-12-2006, 07:48 PM   #13
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I ended up replacing the whole frame. I've done a small write-up on my website. The write-up will be better once I finish the project. Check it out if you'd like.
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Unread 06-12-2006, 09:30 PM   #14
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boy am i glad i bought mine in nevada.
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