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Is it time to bid farewell??

1066 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  blageurt
I am at that cross-roads where I have to make a big decision. My 1997 F250 is still running strong, but I am concerned about the body and chassis rust. I bought the truck new and it has spent it's entire life in upstate NY with tons of road salt. My primary concern is about chassis integrity and degradation of towing capacity. I intend to keep using the truck for conventional towing of loads upto 12,000 lbs. I do not see any holes in the frame yet, but maybe I haven't looked in the right places.

1. How concerned should I be about the chassis rust?
2. How do I check and evaluate the rust?
3. Are there any known trouble spots to look?
4. Has anybody seen a frame or hitch failure?

I am in the position to upgrade to a newer truck and plan to look at used 2008's on Monday, but I am still not sure that I need to spend all of that money to remain safe.
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In my experience, I would take a weekend and pull the box off, pull spare tire off and have a good look. I used a chipping hammer where ever there was rust. It takes a while this way, but it works way better than a wire brush and less dust too. Good idea to wear a plastic face shield, safety glasses and a dust mask so you don't eat the stuff. With the box off is the best time to replace the rear spring hangers and shackles. as you can easily repace rivots with bolts/nuts. Have a look at fuel and brake lines while your there. If the bolts for the hitch look bad now's the time too. Have a good look at fuel tanks...usually dirt/rocks pile up on the skid plate and the tank rots out from rust or rocks rubbing through tank. If you feel real energetic, after cleaning rust, you can paint everywhere with a good quality rust paint and a brush. About rust...if I remember correctly my buddy, who is a welder, once told me that metal will swell/rust to ten times it's original thickness.
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