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Frame rusted out

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Tale of woe with my Chevy Silverado,

If you don’t want to read this entire tale of woe then let me sum it up here. Your Chevy truck may rust out to the point of being pulled off the road because of rust in as little as 84,000 miles making it a loss for resale or trade in.

I’ve had a Chevrolet Silverado since 2003. I purchased it new. It is an automatic V8 Z71. The off road sport model. This story isn’t about the multitude of issues that it has had regarding brakes, brake lines, rotors, wheel hubs, and bearings. No, that’s another story. Back in 2003 I worked out a price, with trade in of about $23,000. Since then, and as of this writing 2014, I’ve put in about $7000 of non maintenance work and parts into it. Yes, it’s going on 11 years old now but it’s only got 84,000 miles on it and it pretty much looks near new from about ten feet away.

The other day I took it to my service station for an oil change and inspection. It seems that the frame is rusted out so much that an inspection sticker is impossible. The recommendation is to get rid of it as repair of the frame would be expensive as the rust is widespread and affects cross members that are pivot points.

So, I’m stuck with a truck that looks great on the outside but has a rusted frame that makes it ‘junk’ status in a trade-in and unsellable privately as it’s not inspected.The vehicle has what I figure as half of it’s mileage. I’d expect to get at least 160,000 miles instead of the 84,000 it currently has. Why? Because even though I do live in the snow belt in Maine where road salt is used. I have a Tahoe that is 14 years old, has 164,000 miles on it (double the mileage), has been driven in the same area and housed in the same garage and has a frame that has a few years left in it.

I called GM. All I’ll say is that I got a case number and promise of being called back. That never happened. I called and got another case number as there was no record of the first with the promise of a call back. That didn’t happen. I took it to a chevy dealer, on my own, who lifted it and documented the issue. They called GM and I was promised a call from them. That didn’t happen. I called again. My case number was classified as ‘issue resolved’. My last tussle with GM was a flat “you’re over warranty so there’s nothing we can do”. Two weeks to get that final answer.

So what was I hoping for? A deal on a new vehicle? Some repair funding? An apology? Anything would have been okay. In looking for a new truck last week I did find out that Toyota had a horrendous frame rusting issue in some trucks from 2001-2004. What did they do about it? Up until 2012 they volunteered owners of these vehicles a new frame installed at Toyota’s expense or 150% blue book value of the vehicle. Thousands of truck owners were contacted and restitution was made. What about after 2012? They will still come to some restitution on a case by case basis as long as you own the vehicle.

So, a warning. If you’ve got a GM vehicle and have been happy with it like I have with my older tahoe, well that’s wonderful. But, the next GM vehicle you purchase could be great or it could be a disaster that will drain your bank account and cause you to have to purchase a new vehicle before you’re ready. With GM, It’s a crap shoot.

Other notes:

Notice driving/headlights out on cars as they pass. Most are GM. (my truck loses them all the time.

Look for used trucks on Craigslist. You’ll see a bunch. 2/3 of them a Chevys.

When I see someone in a parking lot with a Silverado truck that is about the same year as mine I ask about it. I hear the same tale of woe.





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I have a 2001 with about 100,000 miles on it. Frame is the same, junk. Driver side rear spring shackle snapped this winter. The other one is in bad shape and will be replaced soon. In reality the whole frame from the fire wall back is soft. Last summer I replaced all the brake lines, they were history. I have my frame from my 68 Chev that is made into a trailer. It has twice the metal my 01 has.

I am totally disappointed with GM and this truck. There are lots of issues with the frames and the corrosion protection right up to 2013. A decade of ignoring the problem. Sound familiar?

I won't buy another GM product if this is how they make them and look after their customers. 40 years of liking GM down the tubes.





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Sorry to hear of your problems, but what did you do during the winter months with all of the road salt on your truck? When I was stationed in Wisconsin I made sure to get my Suburban washed about every two weeks or so. That really helped to keep the salt off. For me coming from Southern California I still knew how bad road salt is to the frame and did things to take care if it. On my current truck, I just left Virginia where they use salt also. I made sure to hose off the underbody also. So after two winters in the mild Washington DC area my trucks undercoating and frame are still good to go.

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I had a 2000 sierra once. When I traded it in they said the truck was great, except for the rusted frame. The cab corners and rockers on that truck were gone as well. My current truck is a 2006 sierra z71. It currently has 158,000 on it. With no rust on it period. When I purchased the truck two years ago, I sprayed the inside of the cab corners, rocker panels, wheel wells, and doors with a spray lubricant called fluid film. Fluid film is a rust prevention/corrosion protection. You can also buy a hose attachment for it to be able to reach those hard to reach places. Lot of people use it for under coating on their frame to help prevent rust or corrosion. If you live a state where they use salt on the roads like I do, I suggest using this product a couple times a year. If will definitely help. Also it can't be washed off, and it doesn't harm paint. The rhino liner or under coating gm sprays on their vehicles frames is just junk. You can scratch it right off. Also like the last person said. If you live in a salt belt wash at least twice a week. Fluid film is carried at a lot of different places. Autozone, car quest and tractor places. In bulk or spray cans. Fluidfilm.com

Also maybe buy a ford! Lol

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I always power washed the underside of my truck extremely well in the spring once it got above freezing. My new car is protected by Krown every year plus 3M stone guard on all the rockers. Most vehicles I have worked on over the years that were rust proofed where in excellent shape frame and body wise. I shouldn't have listened to GM about how great their corrosion crude was. Rust proofing voided their warranty. I my opinion both are crap.

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I answer to all this. No I didn't undercoat. I will in the future with another vehicle. We do have fluid film places around. And I do take the vehicles to the car wash to have the undersides washed.


Thing is

14 yr old tahoe with 160,000 miles on it. Rust but frame still in good shape.

11 yr old Silverado with 84,000 miles on it. Rusted through frame.


Both run on same roads, kept in same garage, washed and cared for similarly.


And like someone else, I've had to have the spring shackles replaced... the tahoe still the same ones.


Right now a frame restoration is being done at Arrow Automotive. They'll take the box off and hopefully get it up to snuff to use or sell.

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You can buy Fluid Film on Amazon. Have never looked for it in local stores, but may be there as well.


Have mentioned this elsewhere though, look into KBS Coatings. You can brush it on & it will look sprayed(Provided it is not 90+ degrees in high humidity as I learned) but other than that, great product.

Have used it on the frame of a Peterbilt & it really does work.


Edit: add link. Skip to the 2:55 mark.

Edited by '01LS1
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I have a 2001 with about 100,000 miles on it. Frame is the same, junk. Driver side rear spring shackle snapped this winter. The other one is in bad shape and will be replaced soon. In reality the whole frame from the fire wall back is soft. Last summer I replaced all the brake lines, they were history. I have my frame from my 68 Chev that is made into a trailer. It has twice the metal my 01 has.

I am totally disappointed with GM and this truck. There are lots of issues with the frames and the corrosion protection right up to 2013. A decade of ignoring the problem. Sound familiar?

I won't buy another GM product if this is how they make them and look after their customers. 40 years of liking GM down the tubes.

There is something wrong with that frame man. That has to be some sort of defect. It looks like a cancer enveloped everything. There has to be some sort of chemical imbalance going on there...just incredible. Some have said the salt-brine liquid de-icers that are all the rage right now are what is really destroying vehicles. I tell you, that's about the worst I've ever seen.

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