Nothing ventured-nothing gained. You seem to be quite practical in considering the positives and negatives on this decision. Let us know how it turns out.
IM-MTO…Obviously we disagree. That “small hole” means No laws of physics need be circumvented here…you just asked for “thoughts”. But go for it…you’re one who has to drive and maintain it.
Surface rust may be a minor problem, but:
- If the rusted body areas drain onto the frame you probably have rust hidden within the frame.
- Paying a body shop – preferably one with experience in older vehicles – to inspect the vehicle will help set your mind at ease on this one.
- Fleetwood makes some rust inhibitors but why go to the effort for this one?
I had an '89 extended cab, long bed- what a beast. It had a number of issues when I bought it including the notorious cab corner rot. I could have bought the replacement corners, cut the old ones out and welded in the new ones but since I was using this as a plow & tow truck, why spend so much time and effort? I’ve been a fan of POR-15 for decades. I cut out most of the rot so I could easily fit my hand up in there. I left a lot of it alone and slapped a good coat of the POR on the inside and outside. Cut a piece of sheet metal and hand formed it around the corner. Applied a bead of silicone caulk and riveted it to the body. Finished off with the OEM paint in a rattle can. Took me about 2 hours total. You couldn’t tell it was riveted unless you were less than 10ft from it and looking closely. It lasted >10years like that without any new rust showing up where that work was done. I basically gave it away to a friend who drove it for a few years and then sold it.
We live in Ontario Canada. Lots of winter salt ! My wife’s 2006 Malibu has been treated with rust check every November, no rust what so ever !