1980 Camaro rear frame rusted

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hey guys

I have a 1980 Z28 that i have great potential into restoring, payed 250$ for it, but i have a slight problem before i start pouring money into it. I put the car up on a lift and started looking at the undercarriage. It looked decent, not rust free, but most of it was surface rust. I did however run into a problem with the rear frame rails, or subframe (whatever you prefer to call it). I was hitting the rails with a small hammer, just to see if it were sound. Most of it was, until i got to the middle of the stretch, when i sent the hammer straight through it. I know this could be a big problem if not fixed, and thats why im here. I have done alot of searching and calling around to body shops, and i have either came up with no answer or no one wants to give me info on how to fix my problem. I was thinking of grinding out the bad sections (as long as there was good metal behind them) and use the same kind of metal they use to build trailers (clamping iron or c-iron, i forget the name. Looks just like two pieces of angle iron put together, except its much stronger)

My question is, would my idea work, and if it does do you think it would be durable enough to support the car?

Thanks in advance and if you have any other idea, let me know. I have read some threads, and most of you say if the undercarriage is badly rusted, to throw away the car, this however, is not an option for me, mainly because i think the car is salvagable, and im sure there is a way to fix this rust problem.

Thanks again,

posted by  Lithium

Well you dont have to 'throw away' the car if you got a partially rotten frame/subframe, just alot do cause it can be hard and alot of work. You can either try replacing is with either a cheap subframe or just the rails you need from a scrapyard (if that is an option). Wait around and hopefully you will recieve some more helpful answers.

posted by  car_crazy89

Well i just remembered i have pictures, so i will upload them asap, hopefully that will give everyone a better idea of what im talking about. Ill have them up in the next 30 minutes or less.

DRIVER SIDE Rear frame section


PASSENGER SIDE Rear frame section


The arrows are pointing to the spots i put the hammer through, although some places are weak, some places i could hit very hard and the metal wouldnt move....so maybe im ok? or just some small patches are needed? I dunno, but maybe you guys can help me out

posted by  Lithium

Ok ive been searching for stuff ever since i posted, and i found this website through a yahoo group. I did find the rear frame rails, and i was wondering if they are the right thing that is in the pics i posted, the link : http://www.drclassic.com/catalog/Camaro/Body/A00065-74.html

Thanks so much for the help

posted by  Lithium

i do believe that that is the piece that runs from from the axle back to the trunk area. you need the piece before, they say you can call on availability for the whole rail, i would do that. when i did my vair i bought all the panels i could, partly because steel around here is so expensive and it saves so much time as opposed to piecing it together. good luck.

posted by  carls47807

Hmm, maybe i should add that im not restoring this z28 to a rust-free car, It is just a small project that iwould like to get running, and do some body work to it to make it look nice. If those weak spots in the rail are not going to cause any problems, then i will just blast the rust off, maybe add some piece of steel or something to make it look better, and undercoat everything. But if the weak spot coudl cause something bad to happen while im driving...then by all means i will replace it.

posted by  Lithium

I would check around in local junk yards for those frame pieces. You MIGHT be able to find some on eBay too.

posted by  FordFromHell351

already checked ebay, i could only find rails for a 67-69. Junk yards will more than likley have it, if not, ill just have to do some of my home remedies :) thanks

posted by  Lithium

Better to be safe then sorry and replace or atleast reinforce it. My dad had bought an old Camaro once for cheap (had rotted rear frame) and when he went over some big bump in the road the frame kinda broke and sent part up through the rear seat (good thing no passengers).

posted by  car_crazy89

Ouch!!! If i were going to reinforce it, how would be the best way of doing that?

posted by  Lithium

well you might get away with doing some reinforcing....hell i seen a car that was welder at the halfway point, a geo metro and a chevy sprint and they still drove the halfcar, was f-ed up but it lived for a while, gunna need a welder and lots of steel good luck

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

Thanks for the info, I went down after i got off work and checked the frame out again...i think it will last a very long time with reinforcements. I found out that the weak spots are on the bottom part of the frame, on the upper part, its still rock solid. so i think some cosmetic/reinforcement will do just the trick. Thanks for the help, and when i get the engine dropped into the car and get the body work done, ill snap some pics and show you all :)

Thanks again for the help.

posted by  Lithium

However I wouldnt suggest doing reinforcements. If it was me I would just do it right so theres no problems in the future.

posted by  FordFromHell351

Im 100% positive im not going to leave the frame like that. I just want something to get me by for a few years. After all, im not the greatest welder, and my funds are kind of limited. Graduation next year, so i really need something temporary, but will hold up until my life settles down a bit.

posted by  Lithium

Alright, well in that case, reinforcements would be a good idea.

posted by  FordFromHell351

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