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Rusty Classic Cars
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mikeC



Joined: 31 Jul 2009
Posts: 1441
Location: Market Warsop, Nottinghamshire

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For many years I drove Heralds and Vitesses as daily transport, and was continually being told that all Heralds were rust buckets, but I don't believe they were, or are, any worse than other cars. Apart from one car which needed significant work to the floors around the A-post, my cars were in much better condition than more modern cars like Escorts and Vivas. Even now there are plenty of un-restored Heralds with rot-free panel work.

The problem with the Herald is that the chassis out-riggers are lightweight sections which really need to be treated as consumable components, but when the cars were new they got a poor reputation because traditionally chassis 'didn't rot'... At least, in most cases, rot in Heralds is not a major structural problem.
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in the garage: 1931 Austin 7, 1953 Lancia Appia
recently departed: 1967 Singer Chamois, 1914 Saxon, 1930 Morris Cowley, 1936 BSA Scout, 1958 Lancia Appia coupe, 1922 Star 11.9 ... the list goes on!
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Vulgalour



Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 131
Location: Middlesbrough and Kent

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's entirely likely I've only encountered terrible examples. From personal experience, they didn't seem to sort out the rot problem with Triumphs until their last offering with the Acclaim. Which is a bit strange since 1980s Hondas aren't exactly known for their structural resilience.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2859
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vulgalour wrote:
A major contributing factor in the rust reputation on all models is the treatment of the car. Many cars gain a reputation for being either bulletproof or rubbish and it is these that get neglected the most and by the time a problem is bad enough the car cannot be used, it usually is much too bad to warrant fixing.

It works the other way too, there's a belief that Reliant Scimitars never rust because they're not made of steel. A similar belief exists that Landrovers aren't prone to rust due to their aluminium panels. We all know how wrong both these beliefs are.

That said, Herald era Triumphs are temples to iron oxide. I'm yet to see a Herald, GT6, or similar that hasn't got rust problems in the floors, arches, valances, gutters, and windscreen surround. The obvious exception being those cars that have been meticulously restored, of course.


No longer in my possession but this Mk3 GT6 was my daily driver for over 30 years. Regular dousing with wax oil kept the chassis and floor rust free and when I restored it all I did was replace the cills, front quarter valances and lower front wings. The front of the roof and windscreen pillars are the most tricky rust traps.
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colwyn500



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1730
Location: Nairn, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although '60s and '70s cars rusted because were usually badly seam-sealed and not rust-proofed, experience with Fiats has shown me that the main reason why they rusted was because the bodyshells were designed with literally no intention for them to last for more than a few years. In modern vehicles, the structural use of pressed, sheet-steel in the lower front and rear areas of the vehicle and extensive use of steel in wheel-arches and other splash-zones has been largely replaced with plastic.
The other change in design that has helped a lot is the elimination of roof-guttering. My 900e van didn't stand a chance against UK road conditions. Very Happy
Here's a roof detail:

MAL_6407 by Peter Thompson, on Flickr
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Bitumen Boy



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 1338
Location: Above the snow line in old Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikeC wrote:
For many years I drove Heralds and Vitesses as daily transport, and was continually being told that all Heralds were rust buckets, but I don't believe they were, or are, any worse than other cars. Apart from one car which needed significant work to the floors around the A-post, my cars were in much better condition than more modern cars like Escorts and Vivas. Even now there are plenty of un-restored Heralds with rot-free panel work.

The problem with the Herald is that the chassis out-riggers are lightweight sections which really need to be treated as consumable components, but when the cars were new they got a poor reputation because traditionally chassis 'didn't rot'... At least, in most cases, rot in Heralds is not a major structural problem.


I'v had my Herald a good many years now, and thought I was on top of the rustproofing until the rear outriggers crumbled just before this year's MOT. The front and centre ones are OK, but the rears are an especially poor piece of design. They're open at the outer end, where the connect to the outer rails. The outer rails are an open C section that fills up with road crap and is pretty well impossible to clean without going underneath the car, but what I hadn't realised is that the rear outriggers were slowly filling up with moist salty rubbish as well. By the time the rust appeared on the outside, they must have been pretty well full. Drain holes? What drain holes? They had already been replaced before I got the car so I don't know if the originals had drain holes, the replacements I got had holes in the right places - where the rust first broke through - so hopefully may last a bit longer. I've stuffed the open ends with wadded up Denso tape as a crude but hopefully effective barrier to stop them filling up again.

If I ever had a Herald (etc) stripped down to the chassis, I think I'd want those outer rails boxed in to stop them being such a rot trap. It would be a simple little mod but I reckon it would add years to the life of the chassis.
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Bitumen Boy



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 1338
Location: Above the snow line in old Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vulgalour wrote:
It's entirely likely I've only encountered terrible examples. From personal experience, they didn't seem to sort out the rot problem with Triumphs until their last offering with the Acclaim. Which is a bit strange since 1980s Hondas aren't exactly known for their structural resilience.


The Acclaims you've seen must all have been the ones bought by fairly elderly folk, the sort that kept them garaged and did very few miles - once upon a time you could find Acclaims of 20+ years old for sale with plenty of tread on the original tyres, which gave them an undeserved reputation with some people for poor handling. An Acclaim in regular use, however, needs constant maintenance to stop it dissolving and neglected examples can rot as badly as any old Mini... Shocked Even a tidy-looking example needs careful examination to make sure that the floorpans haven't been crudely filleted to cover sills to hide rotten inner and outer sills, outers can be repaired but rotten inner sills is basically game over for these cars.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2859
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikeC wrote:
For many years I drove Heralds and Vitesses as daily transport, and was continually being told that all Heralds were rust buckets, but I don't believe they were, or are, any worse than other cars. Apart from one car which needed significant work to the floors around the A-post, my cars were in much better condition than more modern cars like Escorts and Vivas. Even now there are plenty of un-restored Heralds with rot-free panel work.

BB wrote;
The problem with the Herald is that the chassis out-riggers are lightweight sections which really need to be treated as consumable components, but when the cars were new they got a poor reputation because traditionally chassis 'didn't rot'... At least, in most cases, rot in Heralds is not a major structural problem.


I'v had my Herald a good many years now, and thought I was on top of the rustproofing until the rear outriggers crumbled just before this year's MOT. The front and centre ones are OK, but the rears are an especially poor piece of design. They're open at the outer end, where the connect to the outer rails. The outer rails are an open C section that fills up with road crap and is pretty well impossible to clean without going underneath the car, but what I hadn't realised is that the rear outriggers were slowly filling up with moist salty rubbish as well. By the time the rust appeared on the outside, they must have been pretty well full. Drain holes? What drain holes? They had already been replaced before I got the car so I don't know if the originals had drain holes, the replacements I got had holes in the right places - where the rust first broke through - so hopefully may last a bit longer. I've stuffed the open ends with wadded up Denso tape as a crude but hopefully effective barrier to stop them filling up again.

If I ever had a Herald (etc) stripped down to the chassis, I think I'd want those outer rails boxed in to stop them being such a rot trap. It would be a simple little mod but I reckon it would add years to the life of the chassis.

..............................................................................................................

You are probably aware of this but the Spitfire/Gt6 share the same chassis - but without the outriggers.

I found rot in the outriggers of my A30 but fortunately at that time they were not considered an M.O.T. failure. I fabricated new ones all the same. We didn't have Waxoil in those days so a good dose of used sump oil dispensed with a manual dispenser did the trick. God, what a messy job that was.! Laughing


Last edited by Ray White on Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:45 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2859
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by Ray White on Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mikeC



Joined: 31 Jul 2009
Posts: 1441
Location: Market Warsop, Nottinghamshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BB, originally the rear outriggers did indeed have drain holes, whilst the side rails had reinforcing webs which closed off the ends of the rear outriggers. Unfortunately the commonly used replacements available in the 1980s did not reproduce these features.
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in the garage: 1931 Austin 7, 1953 Lancia Appia
recently departed: 1967 Singer Chamois, 1914 Saxon, 1930 Morris Cowley, 1936 BSA Scout, 1958 Lancia Appia coupe, 1922 Star 11.9 ... the list goes on!
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ukdave2002



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 3400
Location: South Cheshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dads Herald (RLG653D) failed its mot when it was about 8 years old because of corroded outriggers.

Dave
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mikeC



Joined: 31 Jul 2009
Posts: 1441
Location: Market Warsop, Nottinghamshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed, Dave; and lots of cars of similar age with 'conventional' construction failed the MOT too. A Herald outrigger could be replaced for a fraction of the cost of a structural sill, but because it was a 'chassis' which traditionally was a substantial piece of steelwork, owners thought it was the end and scrapped the car. It would be another thirty years before corrosion in the main chassis rails started to become an issue, by which time the cars were becoming collectible and worth spending money on..
_________________
in the garage: 1931 Austin 7, 1953 Lancia Appia
recently departed: 1967 Singer Chamois, 1914 Saxon, 1930 Morris Cowley, 1936 BSA Scout, 1958 Lancia Appia coupe, 1922 Star 11.9 ... the list goes on!
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Bitumen Boy



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 1338
Location: Above the snow line in old Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikeC wrote:
BB, originally the rear outriggers did indeed have drain holes, whilst the side rails had reinforcing webs which closed off the ends of the rear outriggers. Unfortunately the commonly used replacements available in the 1980s did not reproduce these features.


I figured they must have had drain holes originally, shame the repro parts fitted by a PO didn't! I think I know the reinforcing webs you mean, essentially they "box" the rearmost few inches of the outer rail to reinforce the joint with the outrigger. I'm not sure how effective they would be at keeping mud and salt out though, tbh I think they might make the problem worse.
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Churchill Johnson



Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 325
Location: Rayleigh Essex

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rust yes i worked for a main vauxhall dealer 1963 and heard talk of the victor f rotting away at 3ytr old but i never came across it and later on i had a later one 1960 that had good body and only rot was n/s/f anti-roll bar bracket pulled out of chassis this i overcame by drilling through and putting tube inside with a longer bolt i admit to putting another engine in because original was worn out vauxhall started factory undersealing when the fb victor was released but years later i found rust could get behind and rot without one seeing anything until a large hole appeared,worst car's was a hillman minx 1390ohv which had a large hole in the o/s/f wing near the bulkhead this i filled along with both inner wings again near bulkhead, another one i had the sills took a lot of filling as for the bmc 1100 and 1300 well need i say more, mini's being only slightly better had 2 vauxhall e models sill's repaired, reliant chassis rotted, perhaps because people drove at a lower speed years ago the salt stayed on not a chance now with lead booted idiot's.................
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2859
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Churchill Johnson wrote:
Rust yes i worked for a main vauxhall dealer 1963 and heard talk of the victor f rotting away at 3ytr old but i never came across it and later on i had a later one 1960 that had good body and only rot was n/s/f anti-roll bar bracket pulled out of chassis this i overcame by drilling through and putting tube inside with a longer bolt i admit to putting another engine in because original was worn out vauxhall started factory undersealing when the fb victor was released but years later i found rust could get behind and rot without one seeing anything until a large hole appeared,worst car's was a hillman minx 1390ohv which had a large hole in the o/s/f wing near the bulkhead this i filled along with both inner wings again near bulkhead, another one i had the sills took a lot of filling as for the bmc 1100 and 1300 well need i say more, mini's being only slightly better had 2 vauxhall e models sill's repaired, reliant chassis rotted, perhaps because people drove at a lower speed years ago the salt stayed on not a chance now with lead booted idiot's.................


My Dad bought a new Vauxhall Victor FA and it lasted only three years before the rust had eaten away at it. On one occasion the n/s headlamp fell out!
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Norseman



Joined: 09 Jan 2019
Posts: 70
Location: Essex UK

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="emmerson"]I've had five classic Range Rovers, all of which suffered from rust, but the last two were special long wheelbase models, called LSE. Both of them rusted to oblivion [quote]

As a 'Classic' owner myself (I've owned 4) I agree entirely. The LSE was made between '92/'94 & therefore suffered more than pre-89 models due to LR's (alleged) use of poorer quality steel.
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1987 classic Range Rover Vouge.

A great many models have served me well since the 'sixties, all of them old & some even older than me.


Last edited by Norseman on Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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