'97 Pontiac Grand Prix SE struts rusted


#1

Have a '97 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, V6, 142k miles. Here is what the mechanic said:

  1. The rear struts are rusted through the body into the speaker area. He will not repair this due to safety?
  2. Replace 2 tires (quoted at $275)
  3. The lower control arm vertical bushings are loose/broken. (quoted $431 parts,labor,alignment)

So can I get this car back to driving condition? If so, how much do you think it’ll take to repair the strut issue that he’s not going to do?
Or is it more worth my while to sell it for parts?


#2

Sorry, that’s major frame rust. Its time to shop for a different car. Forget repairs and tires. Unless you can find an old guy with a good welder that can replace the unibody parts.


#3

That’s what I figured, wanted to confirm.
Any idea what I can get for the parts? I mean there’s nothing wrong with the engine.


#4

Dunno. A local salvage yard advertises prices paid at $300-3000. You put the specifics in their web site and they give you a bid subject to verification. One car with a bad engine I had with new tires, good body and interior, etc. I sold for $200 delivered with 3/4 tank of diesel. Another one I charged $50 for that was in good shape. Never know.


#5

“Parting out” a car is almost impossible for an individual. Boneyards have a wide network of people coming to them on a routine basis (they’re all networked on the internet now), and they still end up with a lot of unsold steel & parts. An individual will more likely than not sell a few parts (IF he/she is VERY lucky) after placing countless ads (the cost adds up) and end up with a hunk of rusted hulk in the yard that he/she has to have hauled away… often at a cost. And he/she will have to put up with the phone calls, the visits by strangers to his/her house, and the aggravation.

Find a boneyard that’ll give you a few hundred bucks or even tow it for free and move on. It’s worthless with rotted out strut towers.


#6

The only reason a person might consider to have it repaired is that there wasn’t any other rust problem. And the rust at the top of the rear struts was localized. But I doubt that’s the case. I expect the rust goes well beyond the top of the rear struts. The rocker panels are probably shot, fenders thin as paper, and etc, you name it, all the important parts are rusted. I wouldn’t be surprised if the front strut tower, once the strut was removed, was discovered to be toast too.

Good advice from the experts above. Sell it to a junkyard and buy a newer car.


#7

Repairing rotted out strut towers will require major surgery costing more than a '97 Grand Prix is worth. They weren’t exactly “instant classics” even when new.
And as George suggested, once they start unbolting parts lots more rot is likely to appear.


#8

You must live in the Rust Belt or by the ocean. If the only part that is severely rusted is the rear strut towers I’d say that it’s feasible for someone to weld some used ones in.

The big questions are whether someone wants to assume liability and the cost factor. You might ask a large, well-equipped body shop about something like this rather than a general mechanic shop. They weld together stuff in worse shape than that. Sometimes they even do it right… :smiley:

If other areas are severely rusted then I agree right off the bat; say goodbye to it. Given the miles are not high and it’s a running/driving car you might just put it on Craigslist or whatever and ask more than it’s worth along with a “Or best offer” option.
That might get you far more money than sending it to the boneyard. Someone may be very interested in it just for the engine and trans alone and they can drive it home to boot.