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subframe rust & corrosion - 2003 tl type s

 
Old 06-19-2013, 07:17 PM
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subframe rust & corrosion - 2003 tl type s

I just got my '03 TL type S back from local dealer. They told me I have bad engine mounts (both front & side) also the subframe on the passenger side(behind the wheel) is rusted and corroded and needs to be replaced. They quoted me $2300 for the subframe replacement and $500 for both engine mounts.

I have kept the car pristine since I bought it 4 years ago, garage kept at night but gets weather during the day at work. It does not make a lot of sense to me that the car's subframe is completely rusted through, but only on the passenger side. This could be a manufacturer defect or bad material? Is there an A/C leak that is causing this problem?

Also, how hard is it to replace the subframe? It looks like it is bolted on from the bottom and it would just drop down for replacement. Does anyone have any input/ advise?

I have a picture of the rusted subframe


Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:36 PM
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You could replace it yourself if you're well experienced with the car.

I would look around for a good used subframe, and the total price will drop significantly. There's nothing else you can really do about rust, it happens. Should have put some anti rust coating on it or something?

Replace the mounts easily by yourself, or let a Honda/Acura shop do it for cheaper.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:37 AM
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At this point I don't kow if the entire subframe needs to be replaced or just the "right arm" or "right cross beam".

The dealer described this as a right cross beam. Does anyone know what part# this is?
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:02 AM
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Hey Dashur, ya may want to check some online Acura OEM parts sources for specific part #'s. But, even if ya were able to purchase just the "RHS arm/cross member" ......it would be much more expensive than locating a good used Front Subframe Beam. This would include both of the sides already attached as one unit. My guess is that $2-300 would buy this at a salvage yard. It simply bolts on, a few hours of grunt work. So, this job should be no more than $500 total. Also, buy all the motor mounts for another $300 and read the "DIY"s. Otherwise, maybe another 3-4 hours labor costs. Any mechanical shop can install these parts if ya can't "DIY".
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:14 AM
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Is the frame section rotted through or is it bad surface rust? A good shop may be able to weld a patch for way less $. Make sure the drain hose for the a/c condenser is not clogged or dripping on the frame. If it is over time it will rust that area.
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:01 PM
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@RC99TL - It is rotted pretty bad I could put my finger through the top part of the beam. The bottom was still solid. How do I make sure the a/c or roof drain is not dripping onto that area? Wouldnt that be an engineering defect if it is dripping on the frame?

@3.2TLc - Only a few hours of grunt work to replace the entire sub frame beam? Is there alot of dissassembly to replace the whole beam? Have you done this job before? Sorry for all the questions...

Last edited by dashur; 06-20-2013 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:56 AM
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Hey Dasher, just realize that the main purpose of the subframe is to hold the motor and tranny. The mounts and suspension arms would need to be unbolted while supporting the motor....before removing the front beam of the subframe. Not over difficult if ya know your way around the car and have proper tools for the job.

Don't pay the stealership several thousand dollars, when ya can buy the subframe used and get aftermarket mounts for a total of less than $500 for parts. Even if ya gotta pay your local auto mechanic shop another $5-700 for installation labor, you'll be ahead of the game, IMO !
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:40 PM
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subframe

seriously bro '' don't pay the stealership'' lol I got mine from a 99 accord v6 for 200 works from 98-02 accords for the subframe. I only changed my rear x member '' rear part of the front subframe '' Must say no wasn't the most diff if you know your way around but be prepared for the finnessing part of putting the rack and pinion back in. discovered tl's have a cooling line where accords didn't. anyhow all said and done I paid 200 for the frame and 300 to my buddy to help me put it in. Oh yeah extend the dam AC drain and sunroof drain away from the frame as for that is the cause of the why only on the pass side .rear motor mount comes out at the same time so one down and front and pass side are not too bad. hope that helps

Last edited by Arbocelli; 06-23-2013 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:59 PM
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the part you need is the rear cross member of the front subframe, have pics on my cam but not sure how to post them. I can tell you that there is no right side of the frame only front and rear, un- bolts right where yours ''ours'' rotted . Mine was rotten a little higher up, sway bar completly let go on the pass side .Felt like doing open heart surgery up-side down lol anyways honestly you should be able to get the parts for 500 and figure another 5-7 for a local shop and thats giving lots of room for you to maybe save if you get a few deals
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:41 AM
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Hey Arbocelli, Thanks for posting about the Accords having the same subframe.....makes sense.
This helps with the availability and keeping costs down ! Great stuff to pass along.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:34 PM
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I found a report by ABC news about the 1999-2002 Accords that have the exact same problem. I guess the apple doesnt fall far from the tree.
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/loc...e-in-sub-frame

If you have this issue and read this post, make a complaint at the following websites:
http://www.autosafety.org/

http://www.nhtsa.gov/
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:57 AM
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In the meantime, your car may be unsafe.
Have it repaired with documentation.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:29 AM
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I have the same problem minus the major corrosion..Once I get 5 posts, i will post the pics I took. The question I have is this, are the bushings pressed in or welded in? It looks like I can use my air hammer to chisel it out and just smack it in with a hammer for the new one. Also, I tried to look up aftermarket parts and couldnt find any...any help is appreciated. TIA!
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:50 AM
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Hey Dashur, an update would be very helpful to others with a similar subframe rust problem.

Was the car repaired ? Thanks for any info !!!
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:12 PM
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Here is the Right front rear beam mount

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Old 07-14-2013, 11:16 PM
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Left front rear beam mount...all nice and clean...
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:08 AM
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Hey Newbie03TL-S, My passenger's side of the sub frame's rear beam section appears just like yours. The surface rust may make things look worse, IMO. I only cleaned the subframe up and applied a rust preventative coating to the surface. Once dry, I shot oil inside of all the nooks, crannies and crevasses of the beam !!!!

Anyways, to answer your question.....if you really insist upon replacing that bushing, were you planning on removing the entire rear beam of the subframe, or simply try to only remove the long retaining bolt and retaining washer for that side ?

That bushing is probably available only through the Acura dealer parts.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 3.2TLc View Post
Hey Newbie03TL-S, My passenger's side of the sub frame's rear beam section appears just like yours. The surface rust may make things look worse, IMO. I only cleaned the subframe up and applied a rust preventative coating to the surface. Once dry, I shot oil inside of all the nooks, crannies and crevasses of the beam !!!!

Anyways, to answer your question.....if you really insist upon replacing that bushing, were you planning on removing the entire rear beam of the subframe, or simply try to only remove the long retaining bolt and retaining washer for that side ?

That bushing is probably available only through the Acura dealer parts.
Agreed with you on the dealer parts only. I will reroute the a/c drain hose and ive read about the sunroof drain hose also should be rerouted? I will put the car on ramps and have jack stands underneath the rear beam and lower it down to give me enough room to try and use my air hammer to chisel it out. Thats what we did on the GM frames etc. Just gotta be careful not to lower the beam alll the way down and dislodge the intermediate shaft from steering wheel and rack/pinion. You could always disconnect that but im sure its a PITA to reinstall etc. I called around for labor prices too. will keep this updated. how did you do yours?
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:07 PM
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Didn't pull the subframe, seemed ok for now. Superficial surface rust and some pitting on the top...but not actually rusted completely through. So, I took the easy way out !!!!

Some cars may be worse than others, but an ounce of prevention will go a long ways, IMO.
I sure hope so anyways !!! Keep us posted on the project and how it goes, thanks.
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:57 PM
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Can I take this exact part off a 2000 TL and use it on my 2003 CL-S?
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:32 PM
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^ No... Both the TL-S and CL-S uses a different lower beams than the TL-p.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:08 PM
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Thanks a lot Skirmich...
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:55 PM
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I'm about to this for my Acura TL 2000. I found a surface only rust (FRT)cross member at my recycle-auto yard. I'm a DIY guy! Can it can be done? If so? What do I need to do it???
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Old 08-29-2015, 04:40 PM
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OK, I know you guys are going to torture me, but this is what my TLS 200k subframe looks like and I had it up on rack recently and the tube I had to redirect the water off of this last summer had come off, which I have replaced again. I have looked at this much closer and the lower section of this is completely solid and rust free. I scrapped the rust off and used PB rust inhibitor everytime I'm under there. I was hoping there would be a way to reinforce this some how without replacing it. Like cleaning it up real good and packing it with JB weld or something of the sorts. From a conservative stand it should be replaced, I don't plan on taking it off road soon and I don't drive as hard as I used to, Am I nuts to think this can be repaired insitu?
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Old 08-30-2015, 12:37 AM
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^^^ Real peace of mind will be to replace it.

Now if you want to re-inforce it? it might be doable but again not recommended, that part is integral to the suspension if that would fail it will lead to a horrible crash..

I think just because of safety nobody will recommend to half-ass it.. REPLACE IT! Its your life.
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Old 09-28-2015, 08:41 AM
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Well, misery loves company. I have a 99TL that leaks PS fluid. I took it to the dealer and mechanic said I need a new PS pump, which I expected, and a new subframe, which I did not expect.


Total bill estimate: $3400.


I remember replacing the mounting bolts a few years ago. That was not cheap either.


At least I have a new MDX loaner to drive around this weekend.
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Old 09-29-2015, 03:58 PM
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When I swapped my tranny for an AV6, the sub frame had superficial rust but overall, still in excellent condition. I didn't want to spend an extra hour or so doing some preventive maintenance but now I kind of regret it. The time I just wasted reading about this here, I could have used it to on sub frame while it was out. haha

I don't think I'll run into any trouble for another 5 years. Or the mounts, tranny or engine will go bad first, then i'll do everything at once or just dump the car. When I do the timing belt next year, I'll spray the frame with rust check.
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Old 09-29-2015, 04:11 PM
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When the bill on an older car like that keeps racking up. If you can, cut your losses.. I learned the hard way & kept my GTP too long. Rust is the devil.
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:16 PM
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@Huskie_Jon hopefully you didn't pay that 3.4K, that's criminal.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:13 AM
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I just got mine back from an independent shop for $2,600 for the rear section only. The dealer wanted an additional $1,100 to do the front section too but that part looked great. Mine only has 68k miles on it and is garage kept. Wonder how much screaming one has to do to Acura to get them to do something about it (not just relocate the drain tube on future cars). I might even ask the shop that did mine if I can keep the rusted frame for evidence.
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:37 AM
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Update: I did go back to my shop and retrieved the rusted sub-frame, now sitting in my basement...just in case.

Anyone contacted an attorney for product liability on this issue??
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:44 AM
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Can someone post a pic of where the sunroof drain comes out so I can extend that too? Thx!
I ran a length of Weed Wacker trimmer line down from up top hoping I could see where it comes out under the car but it just stopped on a sharp turn...I think.
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Old 11-19-2016, 04:15 PM
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Quick questions on the DIY route
1. Does the exhaust need to be disconnected?
2. What about the steering rack? Can it be unbolted and left in place - removing the subframe out the passenger side?
3. What about stuff bolted in from up top (engine mount etc.) Is it easier to unbolt from above or below? Can the mount just come out?
4. Does the front section of the subframe need to be removed or is it enough just to unbolt the 6 bolts that connect the two sections
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:59 PM
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Okay so I got a few hours to get a all the bottom side bolts undone. Still need to disconnect everything on the top side.
Seems I need to take the steering rack right out. Assuming I need to disconnect the exhaust y-pipe to cat at least. I don't think the front part of the subframe needs to come out.
The PDF service manual seems pretty useless. Seems there is a much more active VW, BMW and Nissan DIY community - guess these are like the Maytag of cars and we just throw them out when they get to 300k
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:05 PM
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How F I miss this issue for 2,75 years at this forum. My frame is OK but need some rustproofing. In so much time I didn't see one single tread about rusting subframe.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:09 AM
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Subframe rust is known problem. It should be talked more about it here so me and other members can apply rustproofing system, whatsoever someone use.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:59 PM
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I would call myself rust fighting enthusiast. At my pickup I use cold galvanizing compound, after many other approaches. Will start use cavity wax in frame cavities. Will use it at my Acura to. During years it prove that using some antirust system help to some degree. So look forward to use it at Acura too.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:31 PM
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My 99 TL had 124,000 miles and was in very nice shape. Brake issue turned up leaking brake lines inside of the plastic shroud under the car that carries the brake and fuel lines. While it was up on the lift, the subframe corrosion issue was easy to spot (vs just working on ramps or jack stands). Mine had the rust where they all do - passenger side of rear beam on the front subframe assembly. Found a clean one from down south on eBay for $200 + shipping. Local mechanic installed for $1000. Maybe a bit steep but I've never done this before and it took him more than a day. Such a shame that poor design of condensate and drain lines lead to this problem. The rest of the subframe and undercarriage look to be in very nice shape. I suspect this is an issue in northern climates where salt is used on the roads. If not for this issue, the car would have been relatively trouble free. You can't really save these once they start to go. The stamped metal clamshell design is strong until corrosion wears through one side. Then the structural integrity is compromised and it's an accident waiting to happen. There isn't really even a good way to patch weld the thing to make it last for a bit longer. If the rust is through one side of the clamshell design, it's toast. I would not trust driving it that way without replacing.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:37 PM
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I have Ford 99 F250 that is in relatively good shape as I spray undercarriage with Cold galvanizing compound. No rust at frame, tank, exhaust pipes. I have rust from inside out at body panels. From now on I will use cavity wax beside CGC at my cars. You need not go my route, CGC and cavity wax. Others use Fluid film, CrC heavy duty corrosion inhibit etc. It is possible fight rust, I checked and it work. Most likely after me spraying subframe at Acura with CGC and inside of frame with cavity wax it will be OK. I tested at my F250 with CGC for 10 years and my opinion is that is possible fight rust. Some artist of rust fighting would be capable to hold my pickup rust free, Canadian Krown company come to mind. Only you need to start do it at time.

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Old 07-05-2019, 10:43 AM
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Good luck with that. The problem with these cars (Hondas of these years as well) is the AC drain line and sunroof drain lines all drain onto the subframe at this location. AC condensate is highly acidic and this can be compounded in northern climates where salt is put on the roads. You need to move or extend those lines to stop the water from pooling in that area. If the rust isn't too bad you may be able to stop it. Usually, by the time you find it, it's too late.

Last edited by tripleguy; 07-05-2019 at 10:50 AM.
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