Need a New Front Subframe on Alero '99

Hi, I went to my local Midas today to have my (1999 Oldsmobile Alero V6 3.4L) car checked out for a strange noise in my front left tire area, and I don’t remember all the technical things they said (I’m definitely not a car guy), but I do remember them saying that my front subframe had rusted out and that I need to get another one ASAP, and that it’s dangerous to drive my car at the moment. They said they could get another one for me for $1,000 to $1,200 (I’m not sure if that includes labor or not).

So I’ve checked around on the Internet, and I found this site:

Is this the right part that I need? If it is, it seems like it is being sold for $318, but also comes with a $75 local savings discount (when I add it to the cart), so it ends up being only $243, and that includes shipping.

Is this a good price for that part?

Also, is there a list of vehicles that have parts that are compatible with my vehicle? I think certain years of the Pontiac Grand Am and Chevy Malibu are also compatible, so could I possibly search for a Front Subframe from these types of cars as well?

Thanks in advance to any help u guys can give me! :slight_smile:

Before you trust the Midas touch you MUST get a second opinion. Rust is nothing. Rust through is a different animal.

Some well meaning service techs ( and some not so well meaning ) don’t know much about certain issues such as rust.

Can you post a picture?

I would never replace a subframe that was completely damaged by rust. The reason is that a rusted subframe means that other parts of the vehicle have rusted as well. The car is a lost cause and should not be put back on the road. Make sure to get a second opinion before you scrap the Olds though. I don’t have much faith in Midas when it come to mechanical parts on a vehicle. Mufflers…maybe but mechanical components…no.

As the others said, 1 - get a real mechanic to look at it, and 2 - if that’s rusted out, there are probably big problems elsewhere.

Thx guys for the responses!

My brother (who’s a trusted mechanic) also took a look at it, and agrees that it’s rusted through so badly. I think it was some sort of a mount around the rack and pinion area that’s holding them in place that rusted away.

It’s impossible for anyone here to tell you what part you need. No one here has seen the part in question.

Did the tech at Midas show you the problem areas. Or did they just inform you after the car was down…off the rack.

Get another opinion. Though I have had to replace a few sub frames and engine cradles I would want to give it a good inspection.


@Yosemite: The Midas tech told me the issue over the phone, and so I just let them know that I’ll come by and pick it up. The local Midas that I go to seem like pretty honest guys to me, at least from my experience with them.

Also, I guess I should rephrase one of my earlier questions but in that link I posted in the opening post, it lists what I think is a Front Subframe, but it appears to also be called a “Suspension Cross Member”, is that like another name for a subframe?

Like others have said this is the first indicator of problems to come, do not put any money into this car and move on imhop. Hae a bud still nursing a rusted frame issue 2 years later, he avoids bumpy roads and knows not how long it will last, he is saving money for a newer car, but lifetime is over.

When you pick the car up…ask if they would have time to just put it on the lift and show you the problem part. Then you can compare it to the pictures of the replacement parts.

The next step you could take, is go to a dealer. Not to buy the part but they can show you a blow up of the suspension parts and you can identify the part and get the proper name.

The price they quoted sounded a little high. but it all depends on how long the job will take.

Also the link that you included, I noticed that they had several different cross members…even rears…but all the pictures were of the same part.


If the front subframe is rusted out that badly then what about the rest of the car? All depending, the car may not be worth putting a subframe in if the exhaust, suspension parts, brake lines, and rear subframe is rusting away.

It’s difficult to see one that bad without there being collateral damage.

I cannot imagine in a 16 year old car the subframe being rotted out and there not being serious rust in other major structural parts. While it’s impossible for us to inspect the vehicle over the internet, it sounds to me like it’s time to go car shopping. ASAP. This one sounds like it’s no longer safe.

Quoting @tsm

“I cannot imagine in a 16 year old car the subframe being rotted out and there not being serious rust in other major structural parts.”

It’s a 16 year old car made by a GM division that went out of business 11 years ago. It’s time for another car. Perhaps a Pontiac or Saturn… Oh, they’re gone too.
Be sure to have any prospective cars checked out by a competent trusted mechanic. If you live in a “rust belt” area, even a five year old car may have similar problems beginning to show up. They can fix almost anything mechanical, but when the rust monster starts eating your car, it’s over.

"I cannot imagine in a 16 year old car the subframe being rotted out and there not being serious rust in other major structural parts."

While I suppose it is possible that the subframe–in isolation–could rot-out without other structural components being similarly affected, that scenario is highly unlikely. (Translation=The underlying rust on the chassis is almost surely as bad as the rust on the subframe.)

If the OP opts to replace the subframe, it is entirely possible that once the subframe is removed, there will not be sufficient intact metal to attach it to, and then the OP will have wasted money on both parts and labor.

If this was some sort of rare classic car, I could see trying to rescue it. However, it is not in that category and both its book value and its probable remaining lifespan make it a poor candidate for “investing” this much money.

Time to move on…

I disagree that a rusted out subframe automatically condemns a car to the graveyard. My son’s 99 Accord had a rotted out front subframe that was discovered during a clutch replacement three years ago. While there was some rust elsewhere it turns out that the front subframe on the Accord had a design that made it prone to rotting out much faster than the rest of the car. The mechanic assured me that the remaining parts of the car were in reasonable good shape and we have not had any problems since repairing it.

If you know someone handy with wrenches have them take a look and give you a price. A used cradle goes from $100-250
Support the engine, R&I the suspensions . Its a day of work under a shade tree but a couple of hours on a lift.

Your vehicle is worth something if its driveable.
Its not worth a dime otherwise.

The OP said it was a crossmember, not a subframe, so maybe there’s a chance the rest of the car isn’t too bad. But a careful inspection is the only way to know.

“The OP said it was a crossmember, not a subframe”

I believe the OP said that because he’s not a car guy and isn’t sure about the correct terminogy

From what he describes . . . particularly the part where he says the steering rack bolts to this mystery piece . . . it sure sounds like the front subrame

That is how I see it


On my sister`s 1972 Ford Torino (the car Clint Eastwood had in a recent movie) the actual frame rusted out so badly that the car had to be scrapped after only 8 years. She lived around the Great Lakes Rust belt. The frame was designed by Ford and made by Budd Automotive. Ford essentially exercised zero quality control in those days.

After owning a number of Fords, a 1955 Ford, 1960 Ford Falcon, a 1966 Mercury, and this one, all of which rusted out before the engine was well worn, she switched brands.

She now buys Toyotas exclusively.

The others have brought up a good point… What on earth caused this subframe to rot out? If the vehicle is in otherwise good shape then replace it… if it is not… then this repair isnt worth your time.

Subframes can be had rather cheaply from any Salvage Yard.


“Subframes can be had rather cheaply from any Salvage Yard.”


But if you live in the rust belt, finding a non-rusted subframe may be a problem