CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Honda Accord Subframe Rust-Out

I’ve got a 2000 Accord. I recently started hearing and feeling a hard knocking/clunking noise at the front-center of the car during the correct after a left turn. My trustworthy mechanic told me the subframe is rusted out on the right side and that it isn’t safe to drive until the subframe is replaced (he also said he’s seen several of these this last year). He suggested that the cause is that the hose leading away or down from the air conditioner is too short, and leaks directly onto the subframe. There is no recall on this problem currently. I’ve done some Internet research and there is some buzz about this, but not as much as I was hoping for. I’m wondering how to present this to the Honda dealer in order to have Honda pay for this serious and dangerous defect, which also nearly devalues the car completely. Any ammunition (in the form of information) is greatly appreciated!

Even if there was a poor design of the condensate drain for the A/C, the bottom line is that the car is now at least 12 years old. The probability of getting satisfaction from the manufacturer after 12 years is…not good, IMHO.

12 year old car… You pay unfortunately.

Try Honda of America, don’t waste your breath at the dealer unless your an ultra loyal customer who did every single service there etc.

How much to repair this?

The odds of Honda paying for this is about as close to zero as it can get.

What part of the country do you live in?

12 years is WAY past what Honda and everyone else considers “the life of the vehicle”…

I owned a 2000 Ford Windstar which I sold to my son. He subsequently sold the Windstar last November. Ford issued a recall on the Windstar for a rust problem involving the rear suspension. My son had the recall performed by the Ford dealer before he sold the vehicle. Ford Motor Company was buying back the severe cases, but the one my son owned was repairable. The Ford dealer had the van for more than a day.
I was really surprised the Ford would foot the bill on the repair of a 12 year old vehicle.

It’s amazing what can happen with a good lawyer and a sympathetic jury…

I don’t believe that the water that drips from condensation tube for the AC is enough to rust out the engine craddle/subframe. First, the amount of water it see’s isn’t constant from that area. Second, that water is driven off from heat and air movement as the vehicle is moving. And third. If that small amount of water caused that much damage, then there should be engines/transaxles falling out of 2000 Accords here in Minnesota where they use salt on the roadways each winter.

What you were told is causing the noise sounds pretty fishy to me. Get a second opinion.

Tester

I’m in agreement with Tester and will only add that the condensation drip is essentially distilled water and less corrosive than salt water or tap water with a heavy chemical content.

Triedaq, getting rid of that Windstar may have been a good move. My understanding is that this repair on rusted subframes is about as hokey as it gets because it involves epoxying things together with subframes being replaced only under certain extreme conditions.
Nice; super glue the suspension together. :wink:

@ok4450–at least Ford used epoxy instead of duct tape.
I was really glad to see my son sell the Windstar. He had two Windstars–a 1999 and the 2000 he bought from me. Both were reliable vehicles. I think he had about 175,000 miles on each of them when he sold them. However, a rust problem that involves the suspension is frightening. I have had 4 minivans and I liked the Ford Aerostar which had a frame better than the Windstar, the Chevrolet Uplander or the Toyota Sienna that I now own. Even though I don’t overload a minivan, I feel safer carrying passengers and their musical instruments in a vehicle that is built on a frame. I guess I am old fashioned that way.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’m still going to hope that I get some satisfaction from the dealer–the Ford example might be very useful! The biggest problem is that finding a used subframe (to cut down on cost) is difficult–either most others are also rusted out or the vehicle–being a Honda–is still running!

As a long time sailer it occurs to me how poor cars are made when distilled water causes important areas of a car to rust. It’s all to common where built in failure keeps car replacement at the top of the priority list.

@roadbot the Ford fix was not dealer drivien. It was investigated by NHSTA but a 20/20 special showed the failure and Ford instantly “band aided” it. A poor man in MA died after crashing his van due to the failure.

My in-laws got $1000 from Ford for their van due to this major failure during an inspection.

@ok4450,

My beef with the Windstar’s axle was the dumb design in the first place which a simple FMECA would have told them to lead to problems. It was poor design and execution no matter how you look at it.

As for the repair, though, I wouldn’t doubt its integrity. The axle is first inspected (including sandblasting) for corrosion and cracks. If it is found to be defective, then it is replaced. If it is found to be clear of cracks and corrosion, then (and only then - you have to have some faith in the dealer service dept to do the right thing) they epoxy reinforcement brackets onto the existing part and the unit resealed. So you aren’t just gluing the thing back together and sending them on their way, as your post would seem to imply. And for attaching a reinforcement bracket, epoxy might just be a perfect solution. 2 part epoxies used to bond metals can easily show shear strength in excess of 2300 psi. You could do better with grade 8 bolts… or welding. But you’ll be using a much smaller surface area - welding you’d likely only hit the edges, and bolts, well, you’d have to use a fair number AND then you’d be putting more holes in the axle that could lead to more corrosion.

There’s really no reason to fear epoxies… Heck, at 2300 psi, if the brackets were just a bit over 2"x4", a well-done epoxy job would be strong enough to hang FIVE Windstars from the epoxied bracket without it failing in shear.

That said, there are plenty of reasons to not want a Windstar. :slight_smile:

disclaimer: I’m currently long on Ford stock and bonds

I’ve heard of this problem before, but like others seriously doubt if Honda will help on a 12 year old car.
What you may want to do is write to the address that came with your owner’s manual, state your case, and ask them. The absolute worst that can happen is that they’ll say “no”.

I’ve never performed a rust recall on a Windstar but the comments from Ford mechanics and Windstar owners make me very dubious about the use of epoxy in this area. Reading the complaints shows that a number of people had the Recall done and suffered problems afterwards anyway.

JMHO, but 2300 PSI seems pretty low on the shear strength. While I don’t remember the numbers I’m thinking a lowly Grade 8 1/4" inch bolt had a sheer higher than that and no way would a 1/4 bolt be used on suspension anywhere.

A vehicle diagram from the company that makes the epoxy lists several dozen uses for it but suspension is not one of them.
While complaints should always be taken with a grain of salt, one has to wonder in the cut and paste complaint below.

I did a little more digging. I called the LORD Corp. (which manufactures several adhesives as well as the one used on the Windstar recalls). I talked to a rep. who helped formulate the very epoxy they use in these recalls. When I told him how Ford used the epoxy to “GLUE” my control arm bracket back on the subframe, he said that "That epoxy was never meant to be used in high stress areas or where seperation has occured: Meaning that this is a BOGUS fix that Ford is cheaping out on, leaving the safety of it’s consumers to take on the potential risks.!! I tried calling corporate H.Q. but they never returned my call. If they don’t do something else here, I’ll plaster this story all over the local news, then call ABC news, (since they already did a story on the rear axle recall). I plan on getting rid of this P.O.S., (never any Ford agan) and I hope anyone that has one can do the same. thing. I’m sure the repair would last for a little while, but it’s still NOT RIGHT!!!


@ok4450 -

2300 psi is low compared to a grade 8 bolt. But the key is that you get a lot more area covered than bolts, plus you don’t have stress concentration problems from the bolt holes themselves. The same principle applied not that long ago when an aircraft manufacturer determined that velcro actually was a stronger attachment for wings to the fuselage than the thousands of rivets they did use. Often those concentrations are a much bigger problem than shear (also why oversized bolts are often used).

As for the comment you pasted, that would imply to me that the person had a problem understanding the repair OR that the mechanics weren’t properly following the recall procedure OR that they simply miscommunicated to the owner what had been done.

The approved repair was NEVER to glue a control arm onto a subframe. The epoxy was NEVER supposed to be used on a part where separation had occurred or the part had even cracked. They were only supposed to use epoxy when the part was in good condition. That part should then have been strong enough for normal use (no cracks or corrosion), and the repair would then have significantly reduced loading on the part, thus making failure much less likely.

I’m with tester on this one, get a second opinion (on the Honda, not the Windstars that everyone has gravitated too) because the noise you describe sounds more like a CV joint than a subframe. This car is about the right age for the CV joint boots to tear and when they do, the CV joint will only last a couple of weeks before it starts knocking when exiting from a turn.