1988 Chevy Beretta Unibody Frame Repair Possible?

I have a 1988 Chevy Beretta that is in very good condition. The car survived another winter in Michigan. I went to Tuffy Muffler to get new shocks put on the car when the mechanic showed me the driver’s side upper rear frame area was badly rusted away. He recommended not to put new shocks on the car because the driver’s side upper frame area is rusted badly … although I believe he could have put shocks on anyway. My Questions: Are there unibody frame repair kits available for a 1988 Chevy Beretta?? Can the frame be repaired and welded? What are my options? I have a appointment scheduled with Gary’s Safety Center on Monday to have an inspection of this area. Please advise. Please help.

Some designs have subframes that can be replaced (not cheaply) but of the unibody is suffering from body rot, it’s time to go car shopping. Sometimes an area can be surgically removed (cut out) and a new section welded in, but it’s not cheap, and chances are the rot will begin to show itself elsewhere anyway. On an '88 Beretta… forget it. It’d be like doing a nose job on a 110 year old man with a bad heart, a fatty liver, COPD, and diabetes. The nose job will not prolong his life. And it’s unlikely to improve it.

I commend the guy at Tuffy Muffler for showing you the rot and for recommending against putting new shocks on a rotted frame rather than simply going for the cash. It sounds like you’ve found an honest guy there.

I was happy to get 7 years out of my 88 Beretta. I got good use out of it, but GM cars of this era were not built to last and mine was starting to fall apart when I traded it. You got 27 years out of this car in a rust belt, a remarkable achievement but I think it’s time to move on.

Ed B.

I’m with TSM, let it go. You have to have something to weld to. I remember my dad trying to weld new bumper brackets on my VW. He did it but it wasn’t easy finding something solid to weld to. Even if it can be done, it just isn’t worth it. Plus I’m sure they would have to pull the gas tank and mucho other parts to even begin the process. Having to get a new car isn’t the end of the world.

I’m with all the above. This car is going on 28 years old with severe rust on frame rails. It is not in good conditon. It just looks like it. Let it go and look for a replacement. It can be repaired, but this car is not a high valued classic and the proper repair will wind up costing thousands. Use that money instead as a down payment.

Count me in with all the rest. I would never attempt to repair a unibody frame on a 28 year old vehicle. No way…no how.

I have to join the chorus of those who are recommending against repairing this vehicle.
The car has already exceeded its design life, and the OP has surely gotten his money’s worth from it.

To use a human analogy, I think that this is like an 85 year old man who is diagnosed with early-stage Prostate Cancer. In all likelihood, something else is going to kill him before the Prostate Cancer does him in. As a result, extreme measures–like surgery–don’t really make much sense at his age, and there is also a chance that he could succumb to the surgery itself.

The OP’s elderly car is not a candidate for surgery–on any logical level–and the OP should just drive it until it is unable to be operated safely.

Earth to ore to steel to rust to dirt. You are at stage 4 of 5. Not worth fixing.

Sell it on Craigslist, be honest about the reason, somebody will buy it. If not, drive it to a junkyard and work a deal for them to buy it.

You’ve reached the end of the road for this car. Time to look for something newer.

I’m surprised a unibody has lasted 28 years, especially in your area. However, I have no idea how bad the deterioration is. It wouldn’t hurt to have a body shop evaluate it. If it’s really localised it might be doable.

If a mechanic refuses to work on it, I’ll assume it’s pretty bad. I’d take it to a junkyard, get a few hundred for the scrap value. I wouldn’t be comfortable selling it to somebody else, regardless of the warnings I’d give.

@“MY 2 CENTS” , "the mechanic showed me the driver’s side upper rear frame area was badly rusted away. He recommended not to put new shocks on the car because the driver’s side upper frame area is rusted badly … " The rust you can see is the tip of the iceberg. It’s time to let it go.

I agree its very unlikely it would be worth fixing if it’s fixable at all but why not get the opinion of a body man? None of us have seen it.

I parked my 1989 Honda Accord with 585,000 miles on it for the same reason, exactly the same. My friend (mechanic, too) told me he didn’t want to see me driving it any more, too risky. It ran great and was paid for many years before that, but it was an easy decision when you consider the possibilities (accidents). The cost to repair was too much, and one thing was going to lead to another, do this part required you to do another, change brake lines, whatever. I figured I got what I could from that car. Do yourself a favor and retire it. Rocketman