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How much rust is too much rust?

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  • Frame/Springs: How much rust is too much rust?

    I've been under my 62 Lark hardtop removing the rusty and thin left rear side bottom plate to replace it with new steel. While I have been chipping, scrapping are removing the damaged metal, I have noticed about 1/16 or so of scale between the bottom plate and the upper part of the frame.

    I am well committed to finishing the job of cleaning and welding up the frame rail for another 57 years of service but what should I be aware of and looking for while I am cleaning up my Lark's frame. What could possibly change my repair job to a salvage job? How much thinning of the steel is too much thinning of the steel?
    \"I\'m getting nowhere as fast as I can\"
    The Replacements.

  • #2
    In my younger days, I asked the same question and was told, "If you're worried about it, you already know the answer."

    FWIW, any mid-west Stude, if completely disassembled and examined is guaranteed scary. Having said that, since our Larks were built as a cheap economy car, it's amazing how many have held together the first fifty-seven years. Guaranteed, if you had the body off the frame, there'd be no stopping place. JMHO, but if it's holding together, continue your program of chipping, scraping and welding in.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

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    • #3
      Yup, it's holding together

      I also did not do the poor lark any favors by driving it during our wonderful Nebraska winters, plus a previous owner drove it until it threw a rod hhrough the block, I pulled it of a scrap heap at a caso price. I was young

      I spent about an hour smacking the bottom frame plate with my big hammer, it looks like I have to replace the left bottom plate from about the emergency brake bracket froward to the front seat area.

      it also looks like whoever welded up the frame back in the day missed a few spots between the emergency brake bracket and the bracket/rail above the rear axle, a foot long area with no evidence of spot welds.

      If I knew where I could get service o rings for my trusty 1979/80 vintage Craftsman cutting torch this job would be going much quicker and less crud dropping on me.
      \"I\'m getting nowhere as fast as I can\"
      The Replacements.

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      • #4
        A friend of mine, who is an aircraft mechanic and inspector, says that any more than 10% thinning due to corrosion is cause for rejection. Our cars are not aircraft, although I once flew a Lark very briefly in my misspent youth (got sloe gin stains on the headliner, too). Common sense must prevail, If it looks chancy and you are attached to the car, fix it. I have noticed a 4 door Lark will get little wrinkles on the roof just behind the center pillar when they get too flexible.

        O rings are pretty universal. Check with your welding supply house or McMaster Carr.

        JT

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        • #5
          While replacing the metal on the bottom of the frame, use a thicker gage material to help compensate for older, thinning material in the rest of the frame.
          sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
          1950 Champion Convertible
          1950 Champion 4Dr
          1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
          1957 Thunderbird

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          • #6
            I patched up a rusty frame on the first Stude I ever had. 1966 model. It lasted for a long time. Eventually I did put a good frame under it. It was after an accident. That car has definitely had 9 lives.
            1962 Champ

            51 Commander 4 door

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            • #7
              I'd start looking for a good useable southern frame for a spare anyway.

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              • #8
                https://photos.app.goo.gl/t9dMu6w19CdudrkN9

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                • #9
                  Free if you want them. They are from a 60 Lark V8 I parted out. Not sure if it's worth it with shipping cost. Each one is about 20 lbs. The rear cross brase is about 5 lbs . Kevin

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                  • #10
                    Kevin,

                    Thanks for the offer

                    What I could use if you still have them, there's a bracket that in front of each rear wheel on the bottom of the frame and it consists of the front leaf spring hanger, a plate on the bottom of the frame with 8 3/8" holes for rivets and a big 1 1/8 hole on the end for a body bolt, I can fix the one I have but if I do not need too...

                    Actually, what I should have done when I was young, single and ad spare cash, was buy one of Bob Peterson's spare frames when he was running loads of parts to various meets out east but alas I was young...
                    \"I\'m getting nowhere as fast as I can\"
                    The Replacements.

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                    • #11
                      No. I don't have those. Bummer. That would be a job to remove from a chassis and even more difficult with the body mounted on. You could make one from two plates of 3/16 thick mild steel.

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