Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

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alex99
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by alex99 » Sat May 16, 2020 6:05 pm

Hi there,

I've been looking for a little while at getting a 1.7 Ford Puma based on how great they are meant to be to drive, and how much fun they are. I have a budget of £1500.

Although I always knew that rust was a potential problem for Pumas, I didn't realise the extent that it was a problem until I started looking! I initially thought I'd try to get a good one without any rust, but I now think that's perhaps too optimistic - every one I've looked at has had varying degrees of corrosion issues. I've let a couple go by recently based on the fact they had some surface rust and rear suspension corrosion, but they were the best I've seen so I'm wondering if I should have gone for them.

I'd still really like to get one, so my question to you all is, how must rust would make one not worth the purchase for me? I'm 21, and don't have too much knowledge about working on cars currently, although I'm enthusiastic and wanting to learn more. I'd want enjoy my Puma for a good few years at least, so it's not something short-term, and I'd certainly look after it - I just wouldn't want to get one that's far enough gone in terms of rust that it'd constantly give me expensive issues.

Is there a level of rust that you might deem acceptable for purchase in my situation, and are there then preventative measures I can take to stop it getting worse?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Alex
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by red » Mon May 18, 2020 9:41 am

Hi Alex,

Welcome to the site and good luck with your search.

The rust question is case by case unfortunately (in my opinion) so it would be hard to just say 'x' much is too much because it depends on where the rust is and how easily it could be repaired.

Surface rust is certainly the better place to be rather than already having holes. Depending on the extent you can get in there with a wire brush, clean it off and then use a plethora of products to try to keep it at bay (there's threads on the site detailing the various products people have opted to use)

There are already replica panels being produced for the sills and rear arches I believe, so this makes repairing these sections much more straight forward rather than having to fabricate something. It's also possible to use the front wings from a Peugeot 206 to repair the rear wheel arches.

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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by russv » Tue May 19, 2020 12:08 am

I think the main area to be wary of is the rear inner sills. If there are holes there, then it lets water get all the way down the sills and rusts them from the inside out. Its what killed my old puma. You can feel for holes in the area just in front of the rear wheel, behind the sill, its like a little ledge. Best to take a torch and have a good look. If its clean there, and has clean rear arches, it'll probably be pretty clean elsewhere, and even if its not, most other areas are much easier to fix.

Make sure to check the MOT history, that should flag up any serious rust issues.
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grogee
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by grogee » Tue May 19, 2020 7:55 am

I would say it is hard to judge the extent of the rust when the car is on the ground. Unfortunately to get a good look you really need the rear wheels off and ideally have a look at the rear suspension mounts. Also behind the spare wheel tray. I guess you could do some of this by pointing a camera under the car but it's tricky.

Think about availability of replacement panels - AFAIK front wings are hard to get (impossible new), outer sills are expensive and rear arch repairs are doable but again expensive once you factor in the respray.

One tip - if you can find a car that has mudflaps it's likely to have better sills. Apart from that, avoid cars from coastal areas where the sea air gets to the steel.
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alex99
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by alex99 » Fri May 22, 2020 9:58 am

Thanks for your replies, they're very helpful. It's good to know about the replacement panels that are available.

I viewed one yesterday that had never had an MOT advisory for rusting, and I was told it didn't have rust on the arches or sills. After making the journey to see it, I discovered a hole about halfway down the nearside sill, with bad rust running from it to the rear wheel. I didn't want to take a chance with that.

I test drove it anyway and it was fantastic. The right one will come up soon!
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by alex99 » Mon May 25, 2020 1:01 am

Can I get an opinion on this sill / rear arch rust? This is the best I've seen so far. The car has done 70k miles and hasn't had any welding done before. I'm not sure if the arch bubbling is something to be majorly worried about. Would this be considered a clean example for this day and age?

Image

Image

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Thanks!
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by XAF » Mon May 25, 2020 7:02 am

That’s not the worst I’ve seen, and fairly typical or arch rot.

The quarter panels are available from Ex-Pressed Steel Panels, but they are not cheap. Brilliant quality, but not cheap. They do full sills and will soon do the inner panel too.

It’s the panels inside that are the problem. The ones you can’t see! Look under the car around where the beam mounts and that will give you an indication.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by grogee » Mon May 25, 2020 1:52 pm

That one looks slightly better than mine when I bought it 18m ago. Since then I've had 2 second hand front wings (rust cleaned and treated then zinc primer). 2 new sills. Rear arches and inner arches repaired. And inevitable respray. £2,000 of work.

I couldn't tell you if it would fail an MoT before I had work done as I got it done as prevention rather than because of a fail.

The bit that catches a lot of people out is inside rear wheel arches behind rear wheels. There is a liner made of horrible fabric that seems to collect water that then sits on the metalwork behind. This inside bit then rusts out horribly. I'll see if I can find some pics of mine.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by grogee » Mon May 25, 2020 2:08 pm

Some pics
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IMG_20200525_140612.jpg
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by grogee » Mon May 25, 2020 2:11 pm

The second pic is inside the rear arch, behind interior trim, seats out etc. It's always worse here than on the outside. I think I'm right in saying the offside seems to be worse on most cars but there's a thousand reasons that might happen.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by grogee » Mon May 25, 2020 6:50 pm

Here is another pic where the arch liner has been removed. Note crusty fixed brake pipe... Another favourite MoT fail.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by grogee » Mon May 25, 2020 6:52 pm

By the way I spotted some used front wings on eBay, not sure of condition but caveat emptor as usual.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by alex99 » Tue May 26, 2020 3:49 pm

Thanks for those photos and the advice. In an ideal world I'd get the preventative work done straight away like you did, but I wouldn't be able to afford it right away. If I get this car, I'd try and sort the rear arch bubbling straight away, have it rustproofed and then hope it gets through its MOT in September without issue. I also think I'd get some splash guards for the wheel arches.

Moving forwards from there, I'd look after it as well as I possibly could, keep the rot at bay as much as possible and get bodywork done as and when I could afford it. Unfortunately I'd have to keep it parked on the street, so I'd welcome any tips as to how best I can get it through the winter without too much damage being done!
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by st220kyle » Tue May 26, 2020 7:56 pm

Alot of the pumas are over 20 years old now, as with most cars of this age rust is going to be present. I would say your going to have to settle for the best you can find rather than a rust free example.
You really need to get underneath and have a proper good poke around with a screwdriver.
My fiesta mk5 ( basically same as a puma) had some slight scabbing like in your photos, if I can work out how I'll upload the pics the bodyshop sent me a few years ago.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by st220kyle » Tue May 26, 2020 8:00 pm

Image
Image
Image
Image
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Image


I had no idea it would be that bad underneath
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by alex99 » Tue May 26, 2020 9:43 pm

Wow, the extent of the rust is always worse than it initially appears. I suppose it's a risk I'll be taking with that wheel arch. What was the cost of that repair?

I've also realised that this car I'm looking at hasn't had a cambelt change since 2011, however it's only done 5k miles since then. Is this something that'll be alright since it's not done a lot of mileage or should it be urgently changed?
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by red » Wed May 27, 2020 12:46 pm

The recommended interval is 5 years or 80,000 miles which ever occurs first. I'd say since it's pushing nearly 10 years it's something you probably want to add to the list.
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alex99
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by alex99 » Wed May 27, 2020 2:12 pm

red wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 12:46 pm
The recommended interval is 5 years or 80,000 miles which ever occurs first. I'd say since it's pushing nearly 10 years it's something you probably want to add to the list.
Right, will do.

I'm also a bit worried about the fact that it went 4 years without an oil change between 2014 and 2018. Again, it drove only 1k miles during this period of time, but I guess the oil could have sludged up and caused some damage.
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by red » Wed May 27, 2020 6:11 pm

I think the oil will still be ok, it gets worse the more it's used so a quick change and it should be no bother.
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st220kyle
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Looking to buy - acceptable levels of rust?

Post by st220kyle » Wed May 27, 2020 6:53 pm

alex99 wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 9:43 pm
Wow, the extent of the rust is always worse than it initially appears. I suppose it's a risk I'll be taking with that wheel arch. What was the cost of that repair?

I've also realised that this car I'm looking at hasn't had a cambelt change since 2011, however it's only done 5k miles since then. Is this something that'll be alright since it's not done a lot of mileage or should it be urgently changed?
£250 to get that arch sorted, must have been 2 years ago now and the rust hasn't come back, I do keep it garaged though all year round.
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