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2007 Ford Focus Rusted Engine Cradle

Hello guys, I have a 2007 Ford Focus SE with 88,000 miles on it. I owned the car for 7 years now with no problems. I live in Iowa, so there are a lot of salt on the road. I was recently at my local mechanic. He told me that the Front Engine Cradle Subframe is rotted out. We looked under the car and there was 3+ inch holes around the middle and we can poke a screwdriver through it. I told him if we can still fix it. The next day, he contacted the local ford manufacturer/dealer and was told that the part is obsolete. He told me that if I repair the car, it might cost a lot such as Part+ Labor or opening a can of worms (finding more problems).
So the questions is, should I put money on repairs for a used junkyard engine cradle (if I can find a good condition used one) or just get another car?


It sounds to me like you are talking about the Subframe… and if so, why in the World would you be going to the dealership for the part? I am more than certain you can find a perfectly good, used subframe using the internet and other salvage yards.

You can search from salvage yards that are not in your salty area…and find one that is a perfectly viable candidate to install, they wont be very expensive… But going to the dealership? That’s not the way to go…to put it mildly.

Use the internet…it is your friend…


I live near Buffalo NY where we measure our road saly use in tons per lane mile. We have several stores in our area that specialize in rust free Southern auto parts. One is called The Good Door store and they specialized in doors, gas tanks, and fuel lines, They now carry all sorts of new and used parts and they sell on E bay. Or look for a similar business in your area.

Having lived in Iowa for some time, I sympathize with the OP. The salt/snow isn’t quite bad enough to support such a flourishing southern auto parts market, but it’s still bad enough to rust out a subframe. Maybe OP is in an area I’m not familiar with…the two largest cities, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, don’t have any places like this as far as I’m aware.

As @Honda_Blackbird said, the dealer almost certainly isn’t the place to go…unless you can find a dealer with an online store trying to offload excess inventory. Maybe also check eBay? You never know…

A quick online search found this:


I would get another car. Next time, get it rustproofed

I dont think there is anything that can be called “rust proofed” in heavy salt areas… its usually just “rust delayed” a little bit…yet at its worst those treatments can sometimes be more aptly called “rust accelerators” as some iffy treatments actually promote oxidation due to how they trap or hold contaminants in place.

I’m fairly confident the OP can find a sub frame from a amenable salvage yard, some are more apt to work with you while others are not…just have to call around and feel them out. The internet is definitely the tool to use to avoid any long distance calling…email and website msg systems abound… I cant see it being a problem, nor an expensive piece really.

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It is rust delay…but if properly done it delays it a LONG LONG TIME. I’ve seen same year identical cars owned by Father and Son. One was rust proofed by a quality shop, and the other wasn’t. The one that wasn’t had rust issues within 3 years and was not road worthy in 6 due to rust. The vehicle that was rust-proofed started showing it’s first sign of rust at year 10. This was back in the 70’s in Central NY (where people move NH and MA to get away from the snow).

The key is getting it PROPERLY rust proofed. Find a good reputable shop that’s been around for a decade or longer.


I hear ya @MikeInNH …personally I have never had a vehicle done, but I have seen other’s who have. I can still remember seeing the Z-Bart commercials back in the day and not long ago, in my own local area, I was surprised to pass by an actual Z-bart garage that did those rust proofing services, yet I never knew it was there or I blocked it out mentally, I cant be sure. They seemed to be one of the more prominent establishments and even went so far as to drill holes in strategic areas in order to squirt what looked like liquid tar into the nether regions of an automobile. It seemed to have worked but I wouldn’t know as I never did a study or anything… I do know it made removal of some components nearly impossible however… Meh…who knows…

I wonder if some sort of “modern” (read 1940’s tech) electrical rust prevention would work… I know it has been tried on boats etc… In theory it should n could work. I’m thinking out loud again…and rambling at that, go figure.

Unless you live in places like Central NY or Upper Michigan, then for most vehicles rust proofing is really not necessary. Manufacturers have done major improvements in rust prevention since the early 80’s. If I moved back to Pulaski NY then I might consider rust-proofing a new car.


Rustproofing works on our area too. I would say it delays the inevitable rust by 2 or 3 years. Unless you buy it from the dealer, it isn’t very expensive either.

This is what we use in Canada for our harsh winters. Mine was rustproofed every 5 years and didn’t show rust until it reached 20 years.The treatment is now available in the U.S mostly on northern states.

Regarding the OP’s question - is it only the engine cradle that’s badly rusted? Did the mechanic inspect the rest of the car? No need to repair the cradle if there’s bad rust elsewhere.


You remove subframe on many cars to replace/fix transmissions. Any trans shop can replace your subframe. They do the work daily. A used subframe could be $100 at a junkyard. The rest of the unibody might be fine.

Given the difficulty of properly applying rust treatment, I think that the risks are not outweighed by the benefits. It’s simply too much risk of hassle (at best) or accelerated rust (at worst) for the minor gains to be had. Of course, this is only one man’s opinion.

I can’t prove it, but I’m sure that many of today’s OEMs are running sophisticated finite element analysis programs and such to map out where water and road spray are accumulating in the underbody, and designing their vehicles to avoid those issues…along with superior materials and factory rustproofing.

As I said…it must be properly applied. But when properly applied it works great.

I’m sure they are. Back in the late 70’s or early 80’s GM funded a study at Syracuse University on why vehicles rust and how to prevent it. Syracuse was chosen because it’s the snowiest city in the US and SU has a pretty good engineering department. SU determined the main cause of rust was water accumulation. There were many “shelves” on vehicles where dirt would trap water. Eliminate those shelves and most rusting goes away. Once manufacturers started implementing the suggestions in the study vehicles started to rust a lot less.

My condolenses I used to live in Watertown , LOL .

I just did a quick google search

I’m seeing a lot of good used front cradles for sale . . . and they’re all under $200

If the front cradle is the only real problem . . . I think it’s worth doing it

A steering alignment is obviously called for after installing a used cradle . . .

Hello guys thanks for all the replies. I have purchased a Subframe on Ebay for $205.

I am just waiting on the shipping, it should arrive either tomorrow or in 2 days as the seller lives in Wisconsin.
I went this one because a lot of the shiny glossy black subframes on ebay seem to be hiding something. Plus most of the black ones are $180 anyway so why not for $25 more for better.

Also should I clean it up and apply it with anti rust that you guys talked about with my self, before putting it on the car?

Next step is I just have to look around my area of which is a good transmission body shop for the correct price for labor. Any Idea how much it might cost for labor so I can gauge it? Or should I just ask around and go for the cheapest one for labor?


Yes , you should ask around because web guesses are just that . Why not the mechanic you took it to first.

Don’t mess with it. Just bolt it in.

The first one lasted 13 years.

Do you think you’re going to own the vehicle 13 years from now?


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