This looks like a car that was flooded but only up to the floor pan, by salt water, maybe from a coastal high tide storm. Never hit the electronics, just got the floor wet and it stayed in the carpets for a few years. What does the trunk floor look like?
Quoting @ Caddyman
For those pictures, someone went through a LOT of trouble to remove the seats, carpet, insulation, seat belts, trim, and clean everything up…
As stated in my original post, I stomped the worst of it out of the floor areas to try to get to better material. Removing the front seats and inner seat belts takes six bolts and two nuts done with an impact ratchet, and unplugging the seat wiring. The console is four smaller bolts. Then the carpet and its backing comes out in one big piece. Some of the shrapnel is still visible on the ground under the car. No big deal really. Maybe took half an hour. Fixing it will be another matter, if it’s even possible.
@wentwest I need to look at the trunk. Right now it’s full of front seats. I’ll look underneath tomorrow.
The trunk and gas tank appear to be fine. That leads me to suspect the leaky windshield scenario, but I haven’t had a chance to turn a sprinkler on it.
the front floor of my 75 ford looked exactly the same when I pulled up the carpet …, finally.
the bottom framing for the door openings was bad too
I fabbed stainless pans and screwed them into the good metal around the sides, ground down the heads a bit and I ,just this past week, cut up an old rubber bed liner and installed it like carpet.
(the stainless was a bear to work with and I regretted using it… I broke almost all my smaller drill bits.)
I’ve personally watched several cars rot away just like that one did. They were owned by my dad that drove very infrequently and were subjected to winter salt slush bathing the undercarriage and then parked in a garage to bask in the brine…
It may have just been a fleet car in the rust belt and never, ever washed, at least underneath. And people getting in with salty slush on their shoes soaking through the carpet for years doesn’t help either. I had a Caprice that was an ex-police vehicle. The floor pan on the drivers side was completely rusted out and I had to replace the oil pan because it rusted out, though the rest of the car was pristine. I don’t think the underbody was ever washed on that car and I suspect the Taurus may have had a similar life.
The channels under the front floor wells are sub frame braces and should be closely inspected to ensure they are sound enough to support the front end. And because aluminum sheet metal from semi-trailer walls was cheap and easily available I have used it to successfully build floor pans for old Broncos and Jeeps. I would agree that it seems the car has been in deep water long enough to soak the carpet padding. Water shouldn’t get into the rear floor wells from leaks at the windshield.
Perhaps it was a hurricane Sandy car?