RUST. Buy or walk away?

RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Star Stuff [OP] » May 26th 2020, 10:52pm

I finally found a listing for a 2005 AWD Astro with the very door/window configurations I've been looking for, with low miles (87,000 miles) and one owner. It has lived its life in a Canadian prairie province where they salt the roads in the very cold winters, so rust is a concern. I had a friend go have a look at it today, and here’s a few photos he sent me.

The photos of the upper body show it to be absolutely mint (no accidents), but wondering what you think of the underside. Is the rust superficial, or deep and to be avoided? My plan was to lift it 2", and finish the interior nice, new tires etc, but don't want to commit to it if it's a soon-to-be rust bucket.



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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 27th 2020, 12:48am

I am no 'expert' on these vans, but I have dealt with a lot of other vehicles over the years.
I am also from the western states, where salt is usually not an issue.
Having said that, it does not look too bad. I certainly do not see anything that looks rusted through. A couple of the areas appear that may be the original paint is compromised, but that may just the way the photo was taken, The frame appears to be mostly surface rust.
I would look specifically look at anything you can see around he lower radiator support area, and the front frame haor ends, where the bumper support brackets bolt onto the frame.
Considering the miles (KM's) , it looks like a 'BUY' to me, if the price is reasonable.
If you purchase this van, I think you should plan on spending some significant time underneath, prepping and coating everything you can, to prevent any rust from advancing.
There are several products that can be pained, or sprayed on, to stop the rust ( rust converters, POR-15, etc) and/or prevent it's spread. I recall some sort of oil mentioned that was specifically for that purpose, maybe by 'Leeanne...', but I cannot recall the name of it right now . I do recall looking, and finding it on Amazon. A can seemed rather expensive...until you price out sheet metal replacement....then it looks really really INEXPENSIVE!
Do 'search' on 'rust repair '.
I am sure others can refresh my memory and supply you with much more information.
I hope it works out for you, and welcome to the rabbit hole.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Star Stuff [OP] » May 27th 2020, 1:06am

^^^ Thanks for that.

Just minutes ago, a second friend of mine had a look at it too and sent me these pictures, which I think are more alarming. I'm also told by the dealer that the hood was replaced because of rust. Gah. As this was going to be my daily driver and pride & joy, I think that the rust is a deal-breaker, but would still like to hear opinions of others.

I mean, look at that driveshaft!


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"I call him free who is led solely by reason" Baruch Spinoza
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Star Stuff [OP] » May 27th 2020, 1:09am

*Not sure why the photos are displaying so small here on this forum, they should be much bigger.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Rockridge » May 27th 2020, 2:07am

RUN AWAY FROM THAT! Doors look like they are ready to disintegrate. All that bubbling is rust ready to blossom.

Living in NH, rust is like the #1 car killer here. that's why I went south for my 04.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby sfeaver » May 27th 2020, 2:09am

That's starting to rust pretty bad.. That pic of the underside of the drivers footwell looks like its close to going right through. Plus the bubbling on the doors in the other pictures. Its hard to stop it once its that bad, even if you cut out parts and weld in new.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 27th 2020, 3:47am

OH, my!
it is great that you got a second pair of eyes to look it over.
Those photos look like a different vehicle than the previous ones.
Rust bubbles like that are just the tip of the iceberg. There is likely some serious rust under that paint.
I retract my previous statements, but with the low miles, it would probably make a good donor vehicle for the mechanical parts.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby MechBob » May 27th 2020, 4:18am

Different areas,different climate.My 94 is really rust crappy, underneath, but the body panels are very good.Would be better If I had run it through the car wash regularly.That van looks like a 300-500 dollar van,to me
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby 90safari » May 27th 2020, 9:19pm

Rod's Trucks wrote:OH, my!
it is great that you got a second pair of eyes to look it over.
Those photos look like a different vehicle than the previous ones.
Rust bubbles like that are just the tip of the iceberg. There is likely some serious rust under that paint.
I retract my previous statements, but with the low miles, it would probably make a good donor vehicle for the mechanical parts.
Rod J


Yup, as someone who lives in the salt belt, I'd pass on that one. Not walk away, but rather run. That's the whole key on these vans, finding one that is rust free. Miles don't mean anything to me, cancer does. And engine or trans can be replaced (bolt in). Rockers require cutting and welding, then primer and paint ($$$). On that van you'd also need to find some clean door shells as well (more money).
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby The Drummer » May 27th 2020, 9:42pm

I betcha my *** ,wich isen t worth much ,that the front rad suports are caved in , they all do that sooner or later , rather sooner when its from salt lands , the frame isent that bad from the pics , i mean i v seen worst , look at my build tread , if its a few 100 s it could be a till you find a good one deal thing and then a parts van , but for long term you will likely end up spending more on it than its worth if totaled , thats just me but i would call it plan B and keep looking ,and wich ever van you look at the first spot to look at is the rad support where the sub frame bolts too ,if that checks out good chances are the rest is ok .
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and beware of trees ,them nasty wooden things are evil .
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby SportsBoy » May 28th 2020, 12:43am

I'd pass - my van had rust when I bought it, but shockingly little for a 20 year old new england car.

If you want this to be your pride and joy for a while, I'd suggest buying one down in the southwest and bringing it home, then doing an underbody rust treatment yearly and get undercarriage car washes after snow storms. Then it will be clean when you buy it and stay clean for a while.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby markmitch » May 28th 2020, 3:11am

I'm from Maine originally and used to do state inspections-pass on it unless you can get it cheap then pull the drivetrain to put in a high mileage southern van.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 28th 2020, 5:30am

Something I just noticed in the last one, of the first set pf pic's...
I cannot quite get myself oriented, but there is a cross member shown, and maybe the oil pan or transmission, and what looks like either a long square tube or angle iron? ? not sure what I am seeing there, but what just caught my eye is a flat plate with two slots in it, and two studs sticking down with no nuts on them... What am I looking at, please?
It is dark outside now, and I am afraid to lay down to look at mine. The slugs are out!
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby SportsBoy » May 28th 2020, 6:03pm

Abs holder/skidguard thing I believe
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Leeann_93 » May 29th 2020, 3:59am

Run away.

That’s gone too far to be fixed easily or cheaply. Low miles but hard miles and no care was taken of it - and if we can see that lack of care, what can’t we see?
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby Mr_Roboto » May 29th 2020, 7:14am

The place to check is the front inner rockers. Stab em with a screwdriver or knife and see if they go through. I think it's where the widshield drains and probably one of the rougher overall locations if I had to guess.

That said, the rockers on that look pretty toasty. Would expect to do full inners at best.
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Re: RUST. Buy or walk away?

Postby SheldonYoung » May 29th 2020, 11:07pm

Leading Edge Rust, (hood, door edges, etc.) is impossible to eradicate without spending a lot of money.

Any quality Shop will replace before repair.

With that said, anything but doors are pretty cheap in the Reproduction Arena.
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