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Chassis Repair Options


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I've been thinking for a while where to go with my 110's chassis, would appreciate a few opinions on my options. Current status is that I know it will need a new crossmember at the back and perhaps a front dumb iron or two.

First off I should note that if it is going to be more work than crossmember and a few outriggers etc. (ie. requiring major re-fabrication of the rails) then I will have to get a new chassis as it's not going to be worth the hassle. This will however put back the project by a while to save up. Everything below assumes it's repairable.

Anyhow, as above I've been trying to decide what route to take with it. I had originally intended to repair the necessary parts, and have it galvanised for longevity. Several people have warned me however that this is a false economy due to the inevitable rust on the interior of the box section. I can have the exterior faces shotblasted without issue, but galvanising on top of the internal rust won't work. Or so I'm told.

So what are my options re. internal rust removal? A search has returned companies offering an acid dipping service (http://www.surfaceprocessing.co.uk/technical-process.html - for example). They claim this removes rust and corrosion, although I notice they use the ever-important words "most of" when stating so. Is this process actually going to give me nice clean metal on the inside of my chassis for the galv to work with? And if not are there any other options out there?

Of course there is an argument that if I am planning to keep the vehicle for any length of time (which I am), then I should just plump for a new (and undoubtedly stronger/better) chassis anyway. But at just under £2,000 for a 110 chassis to my spec (including delivery and VAT etc.), it's a lot of money to spend if it's feasible to get my existing one galvanised for under a 1/4 of that :)

Any views on my options would be most appreciated!

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I've been mulling the same thing over recently. My chassis is fine, not a spot of rust on the rails. However, I'm going to need a new rear cross member in the not-too-distant future and I have a small patch need welding on an outrigger. As I really want to try building a truck from ground up I thought it might be a good idea to buy a complete chassis but then part of me thinks that I should just continue to keep what I have in the best condition possible and have a new rear cross member welded on at some point. Cost plays a huge part in it but also the desire to keep my truck in the same state it is in for as long as possible.

I have been considering a particular wax-oil treatment that is widely advertised in the land rover porn mags but not sure whether it is worth while.

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I recently swapped my 90 chassis, thread in here http://forums.lr4x4.com/index.php?showtopic=63300.......... what i would say, is that a new chassis HAS to be the 'better' option..... however, don;t for a single minute think that the cost of the chassis will be th end of it........... by the time you've done all the 'whilst i'm doing it' things, that cost will have at least doubled......... if not more..!

However, i still say its the best option, its new, its galv, and you know what you've got, repair an old chassis, treat it with whatever anti corrosion treatment you like, but you'll never really know what the inside is like..!

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Thanks for those views chaps.

We use Surface Processing for stuff at work. They generally do a good job but it is expensive. We just had a Series one chassis and bulkhead stripped and E-coated, £2000.00 including the VAT. Cheaper and better to buy a new Galvanised chassis.

Well that does sound mighty expensive! I have done some more reading and somewhere (can't remember where now...) I read that companies are unlikely to want to do a Land Rover chassis as it will basically 'dirty' a whole tank of acid with the amount of rust inside it. Need to make a few phone calls I think.

I've been mulling the same thing over recently. My chassis is fine, not a spot of rust on the rails. However, I'm going to need a new rear cross member in the not-too-distant future and I have a small patch need welding on an outrigger. As I really want to try building a truck from ground up I thought it might be a good idea to buy a complete chassis but then part of me thinks that I should just continue to keep what I have in the best condition possible and have a new rear cross member welded on at some point. Cost plays a huge part in it but also the desire to keep my truck in the same state it is in for as long as possible.

I have been considering a particular wax-oil treatment that is widely advertised in the land rover porn mags but not sure whether it is worth while.

Yes, it's an interesting predicament for sure. I will definitely be getting it galvanised one way or another, whether it be a new one or the existing unit, as I believe that to be the best long-term protection method. Couple of coats of paint on top of it and it should be good for 20+ years I hope.

I recently swapped my 90 chassis, thread in here http://forums.lr4x4....63300.......... what i would say, is that a new chassis HAS to be the 'better' option..... however, don;t for a single minute think that the cost of the chassis will be th end of it........... by the time you've done all the 'whilst i'm doing it' things, that cost will have at least doubled......... if not more..!

However, i still say its the best option, its new, its galv, and you know what you've got, repair an old chassis, treat it with whatever anti corrosion treatment you like, but you'll never really know what the inside is like..!

I am well versed in the spiralling costs of a rebuild having done one last year on a Series III, this is round two and I fully expect it to take a long time and cost a lot :)

Ross...I do know it makes sense. Of course...I do have a student loan coming in September next year.... ;)

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In my view, anything other than hot dip galvanising on new, clean, bare metal is ultimately a waste of money (and zinc).

Rust removal treatments are not going to get rid of every last spec of rusty metal from inside the chassis, and even if they can turn the iron oxide back into iron, it's not going to have the same crystal structure or attachment to the parent metal as the steel which the rust originally formed from. De-rusting helps to prevent further rusting, but it does not restore the original metal to as-new finish and strength.

You know the answer to this already, really....

Nick.

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The problem with holding out for a new chassis is you may end up failing MOTs etc while you save up (ask me how I know) It might be better for you to swap the crossmember and make a decent job of other patching, knowing essentially it's throwaway but it buys you maybe 3-5 years - in that time you earn the money win the lottery or whatever and can treat it to a new galv chassis, and everything else. As everyone says the chassis is just the start, by the time you have done the bulkhead, floor supports,fuel tank and sender, bushes, shocks, springs, brakes, pipes, hoses, harnesses, clutch, bolts, spring seats, turrets, A-frame ball joint etc the chassis cost is probably not half. I think most of the chassis rust will be inside, so it is hard to assess the condition , but it is surprising when you cut one how badly they have rusted inside. I think a spray inside with something rust inhibiting, then the dinitrol type stuff is good, but if you do your patching you'll see how good it is (or isn't) and how long you've got.

Nigel

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Your right Nick, I had expected to be told that the new chassis option is the best one, but I was just holding out in case someone knew of a wonder-treatment which could save me a few grand! :P

I should have explained in the first post, the vehicle is going for a full re-build anyhow so time is not a major issue. I could patch the current chassis up, but the body's got to come off to fit a new bulkhead and new sills etc. anyway so I might as well do it all in one go. It's not my only vehicle and it has sat unused for the last 6/7 months anyway!

New chassis it is then, I'll find the money somewhere :P

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When i did mine, i actually made a list of what i wanted months before i was due to start, i then bought the bits in dribs and drabs, that way i spread the cost, plus, i got to look at a pile of new bits for long enough to get my head around what i was embarking upon..... and when i did do it, it only took two weeks.........:)

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Retro,

I know you've made your decision but I'd just thought I'd share my thoughts:

I'm in the position where my truck is in pieces, and I've welded up what needs to be welded on the chassis, and will shortly be painting it. But at some point in the near future the rear crossmember will need doing. So I looked at the galvanised chassis option. As you said, you won't get much change out of £2k, which is fine and of itself but the fact remains I don't have £2k now. I could save up for it, but I want to use my truck this year, dammit all. So I've taken the make do and mend approach with the chassis, and maybe one day i'll re-chassis the truck. Hell, if that lot on youtube can do it in a weekend I reckon a month of Sundays should sort it.

But, if I had the money I would do it - and if you can find the dosh I certainly wouldn't discourage you or anyone else from doing it either.

Just my tuppence...

Matt

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You're correct in your choice as well I think Matt. If I were in the situation where I needed the car back on the road this year then that would be the route I would take.

Luckily I have the luxury of other vehicles to use while the 110 goes in for it's 'surgery'.

Thanks again all :)

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Hell, if that lot on youtube can do it in a weekend I reckon a month of Sundays should sort it.

Well that's pretty much how long it took me to re-chassis my old series III. Try a month of weekends and evenings, that was just me doing it with the aid of a hoist of the barn roof. Lots of degreasing took place too, that added some time.

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Retroanaconda.... well I hate to put a fly in the ointment but I had my "old" 110 chassis galvanised and frankly I am VERY pleased with the result, this is what I did:

First I cut the rear cross-member off the chassis, I also renewed two of the bulkhead outriggers, this was a matter of cause... I then up ended the chassis, hired a high power petrol driven pressure washer and stuck that in the top of each chassis rail until the water ran clean and clear. I then got a large hammer (yay) and bashed the rails up and down their length to remove any loose rust. Then welded on my new rear cross member and set the whole lot of to be shotblasted, once back I again put it on its end and bashed it a bit more to remove anything else that had become dislodged and the bis of shot etc. After that it was off to the galvanisers, where they stick it in hydrochloric acid for 2 hours (which is enough time to eat into the steel to clean it up, then dip it in water, then dip it in a flux, THEN it goes in the zinc tank which is around 450 degrees centigrade.

I had cut/enlarged the holes at the end of the dumb iron and I reckon this allowed me to really make sure the inside was a clean as I could get it, plus it allows the galvanising process to really do its work. I have since inspected the internal rails of my chassis through some of the peep holes Land Rover kindly made for me and it’s thoroughly coated inside and the outside looks brilliant.

I am therefore of the opinion that if your chassis can be repaired to a high standard, you can get all the rust out of the inside and make it clean then you shouldn’t have a problem getting at least 15-20 years out of it. The whole process including shotblasting the chassis and a bulkhead (which I also had done) cost me £430. Now when you consider that a new chassis is £2000, it then freed up a lot of cash to spend on the suspension, new axles, bushes etc etc and if like me you needed to get on the build then why not?

Please take a look at some of my pictures.............

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Anyway thats just my two cents...

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Rob,

Thanks for that, food for thought definitely. It was your build which gave me the idea of having the old chassis galved, and I was going to use a similar process to yours (but cheat with a forklift to get the chassis basically vertical :P) to remove some of the rust. I'm pretty much decided on a new chassis, but I've got to have a chat with the galvanisers re. the bulkhead about paint etc. removal so I can ask them then and see what their take on it is.

How is your build coming along?

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Rob,

Thanks for that, food for thought definitely. It was your build which gave me the idea of having the old chassis galved, and I was going to use a similar process to yours (but cheat with a forklift to get the chassis basically vertical :P) to remove some of the rust. I'm pretty much decided on a new chassis, but I've got to have a chat with the galvanisers re. the bulkhead about paint etc. removal so I can ask them then and see what their take on it is.

How is your build coming along?

Well, I will be happy if I get 15 years out of mine.. hopefully by then I will have put away enough cash for new chassis, if its fine in 15 years then I wont bother! I would really like a new chassis, but at the time founds werent there and as I said I needed it for other bits.

My build is coming along...ok have just got my B-Posts back from galvanising..I have to say they were a PAIN to repair, well build... I ended up making up complete new sills and C-post lower sections. The B-posts themselves I managed to repair and I am really please with the way they all turned out and I fiegure seeing at my sills are not folded from 3mm steel and everything is full welded and not spot welded then they should last! When I was last home I managed to fit my ARB high output compressor, plumb in my on-board air reciever tank, fit my gensis split charging system, up-grade all the earth wires (I installed one on either side of the engine, starter wiring, wire from the alternator to the solonde all to 35mm2 winch spec stuff (wasnt cheap but its very flexiable and will hold the current) See more pictures..... haha

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Very nice job on those sills!

Those bits are the only steel structural part of mine that I'm not quite sure on yet. I have covered the chassis and bulkhead, but the sills/c-posts on mine are probably knackered too so I might need to achieve something similar. Looks like a lot of fabrication though :(

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It was a lot of fabrication! But worth it as I now have a complete set of lovely strong galvanised B-Posts. Here is some pictures of the process...

Take one knacked B-post:

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Begin repair of B-post:

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Cut off C-Post and mount on jig...

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Start adding in new folded sheet

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Cap with folded C-section

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Mount B post on new sill (also made by me!)

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Position door and line up C-post:

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Then beed blast and galvanise....pictures to follow!

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James, no worries, the C-post was the most difficult, but I made some templates out of cardboard, took lots of measurements of what was left of the original post and then found a local fabrication firm and got talking to the shop manager...had him fold up all the bits for both of the C-sections, the sills themselves and the sill finishers (where the door seal runs) for around £80! All in I think they probably cost me around £150 which is a fraction of what some of the breakers what for un-galvanised Land Rover parts stuff...just take your take time and lots of measurements!

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Some inspirational work there :ph34r: I'm quite envious.

Were any of these sections ever galved from the start? I'm sure the sills on my 1986 90 look like they might be. They're in remarkable condition if they're not.

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