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How far south to escape the rust belt

Black Sabbath

Smartass
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Toying with the idea of picking up a project vehicle, but living in salt hell means anything local is trash. So where would you draw the line for your search east of the Mississippi?
 
Toying with the idea of picking up a project vehicle, but living in salt hell means anything local is trash. So where would you draw the line for your search east of the Mississippi?

I know Southern Mo and I believe AR and OK still use salt occasionally. just not like IL, KS, northern MO, IA and farther north yet..

That said I have seen vehicles come out of AR and OK that looked much better than central MO.
 
When searching for non-rusty stuff, I have a "golden strip" that I search out... Since you specify East of the Mississippi, that would encompass Tennessee, Western NC, Western SC, Northern/Central MS-AL-GA. Anything further north begins to get crusty from the roads, and anything further south/east eventually falls victim to salt air.
 
No problems with vehicles here in NC. Actually for the most part vehicles in NC are in good shape as we have state inspection so you can't just drive around in crappy crap crap all the time. I've bought a few cars here in NC with no rust. Even in the mountains, the roads don't get salted.

I'd do Tennessee as well. Had a Toyota Highlander that lived in Nashville for 8 years or so? Never had any rust. Did brakes on that car in about an hour. No worries. It went to Masshole after that and got bubbly paint in 2 years.

I would recommend NOT buying a car from the greater Atlanta area. Pretty much all vehicles there have been beat on extremely heavily with most having had the front end run into a pole/other car/house, etc. People there just destroy their cars and it isn't worth it.

If you come down to get a project car, I'd say fly, rent a penske box truck and trailer, stick your project on the trailer, and fill up the back with pickup truck beds, bumpers, front clips, and passenger car engine subframes. Seems like the guys going to Canada always truck those back up there for resale.
 
Yeah, as said above. Definitely want to stay as far N as Central TN and as far S as South Central AL, and you can pretty much take that line East to West with the exception of the East Coast to really have a good shot at finding little to no rust. Anything in Northern TN and up that I have seen typically has rust issues starting. And anything down around the Gulf of Mexico does as well, but for whatever reason the East Coast doesn't seem quite as hard on them as the Gulf does. I live in Central AL and transported cars all over the Eastern half of the Country for 6 years. So I've seen a few.
 
the myth of rust free cars in florida is bullshit :lmao: My 4runner developed rust within 2 years of bringing it here from nevada.

Florida rust is completely different than northeastern holes everywhere and rust jacked frame rails. I was so happy to work on cars when I moved to ft liquordale. Y'all got that sun burned off paint thing going on and 30 second surface rust on clean steel.

From Maryland south I'd consider a good chance of being solid.
 
When searching for non-rusty stuff, I have a "golden strip" that I search out... Since you specify East of the Mississippi, that would encompass Tennessee, Western NC, Western SC, Northern/Central MS-AL-GA. Anything further north begins to get crusty from the roads, and anything further south/east eventually falls victim to salt air.

this.

I shop for cars in TN and western NC.
KY is hit or miss.
 
Just punch in 100 car pileup into the search bar. Whatever places comes up, that's your ticket. :flipoff2:
 
I would look at flying into dfw, cheap flight and a shit load of vehicles to chose from.

Yup. The amount of older vehicles in great condition was mind blowing to me when I first moved here. I see tons of early 80's cars driving around Texas that I hadn't seen for 20yrs. :smokin:
 
I feel like I live on the line in Southern IL about even with St. Louis. Most everything around here isn't too bad to work on, but it starts getting worse quick the further north the cars come from. If you want the really good stuff you have to go out west where the humidity is lower.
 
the myth of rust free cars in florida is bullshit :lmao: My 4runner developed rust within 2 years of bringing it here from nevada.

"rust" means different things to different people
you desert dwellers seem to think a surface coat of rust on bare steel is horrible, where up here I'll drive something around that the "frame" is mostly just the box rubbing on the back of the cab
 
I live in Central AR, salt is pretty rare maybe 2-3 days out of the year. No appreciable rust from winter weather mitigation here.


​​​​​​I bought an '01 XJ from St. Louis, a few years ago that was a mistake, other than the fact that XJs are garbage, this one is quite crusty.
 
I feel like I live on the line in Southern IL about even with St. Louis. Most everything around here isn't too bad to work on, but it starts getting worse quick the further north the cars come from. If you want the really good stuff you have to go out west where the humidity is lower.

bought an XJ that lived it's whole life in st louis.
was not rust free.

wasn't ohio salt belt rusty, but still had holes in the rear quarters under the bumper caps.
 
NC has started going really heavy on the brine whenever there's the slightest hint of ice. Not nearly the rust holes of the north, but it's taking a toll faster than it used to. My '06 truck was spotless when I moved from TX. Within 1 or 2 winters here I started seeing visible rust one the frame.
 
I live in Central AR, salt is pretty rare maybe 2-3 days out of the year. No appreciable rust from winter weather mitigation here.


​​​​​​I bought an '01 XJ from St. Louis, a few years ago that was a mistake, other than the fact that XJs are garbage, this one is quite crusty.

I bought a S10 donor from STL a few years ago for the engine and trans. that was a rusty pile.. i think it was titled on the IL side but STL salts the roads pretty heavy too.
 
NC has started going really heavy on the brine whenever there's the slightest hint of ice. Not nearly the rust holes of the north, but it's taking a toll faster than it used to. My '06 truck was spotless when I moved from TX. Within 1 or 2 winters here I started seeing visible rust one the frame.

that's sad.

I guess everything I buy comes from TN now.
I don't think they even own plows and salt trucks there.
 
Toying with the idea of picking up a project vehicle, but living in salt hell means anything local is trash. So where would you draw the line for your search east of the Mississippi?

If you go too far south anything close to the ocean will be rusty from the salt in the air. Here in the SoCal area anything within a 1/4 mile of the ocean is a rusty wreck.
 
​​​​​​I bought an '01 XJ .

I think I can identify your problem. I think turn of the century Chryslers had factory installed rust.

I'm not saying there isn't rust here, I'm saying that for the most part cars are serviceable. There is a huge difference between Chicago cars and St Louis cars. Like everything else, there isn't a set rule as it depends highly on how the vehicles were taken care of. Some people never wash their cars and get mud and salt stuffed in every crevice. Some understand that a carwash after a snow event is necessary. We all have our own personal levels of what is acceptable. If you want perfect and old, you really shouldn't be looking anywhere in the humid Midwest.
 
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"rust" means different things to different people
you desert dwellers seem to think a surface coat of rust on bare steel is horrible, where up here I'll drive something around that the "frame" is mostly just the box rubbing on the back of the cab

No wrong on yet another count of life the rust was eating through the windshield frame and the roof about 2 inches above the drip rail. The frame was completely fine. Obviously you have not been to both climate other than a geography book.
 
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Florida rust is completely different than northeastern holes everywhere and rust jacked frame rails. I was so happy to work on cars when I moved to ft liquordale. Y'all got that sun burned off paint thing going on and 30 second surface rust on clean steel.

From Maryland south I'd consider a good chance of being solid.

Maybe I should start a thread of Florida rust free cars for you folks then. I'm not referring to skin rust in referring to structural integrity of the body rust.
 
Maybe I should start a thread of Florida rust free cars for you folks then. I'm not referring to skin rust in referring to structural integrity of the body rust.

I do remember any rusty cars that spent their lives down there were rusty from top down. Your correct that rusty cars had issues with drip rails, window frames etc. Chassis and mechanical stuff were good though. I did part of a resto on a corvair down there, and that must of come from the ocean. Only the tops of fenders were left. I don't know if it was a Florida native though. Not doubting rust exists in the state, but it seems cars are 20 years behind in rust compared to the salty north.
 
that's sad.

I guess everything I buy comes from TN now.
I don't think they even own plows and salt trucks there.


They use a lot of brine here now. I see several GM and Dodge trucks with rust and not quite as bad on Fords. Dealerships sell a lot of late model used vehicles here that spent a couple of years in the Northeast so that may be most of the rusty ones that I see. A friend brought a 17 Tahoe by that he was thinking about buying from a used car lot for me to check out. It looked like new on the outside but was a rusty POS underneath. Carfax showed it came from MI. I also worked on a 2010 Chevy 2500 that spent it's first 3 yrs in MO that had rust in the rockers, bedsides and underneath.
 
They use a lot of brine here now. I see several GM and Dodge trucks with rust and not quite as bad on Fords. Dealerships sell a lot of late model used vehicles here that spent a couple of years in the Northeast so that may be most of the rusty ones that I see. A friend brought a 17 Tahoe by that he was thinking about buying from a used car lot for me to check out. It looked like new on the outside but was a rusty POS underneath. Carfax showed it came from MI. I also worked on a 2010 Chevy 2500 that spent it's first 3 yrs in MO that had rust in the rockers, bedsides and underneath.

My little sister is the regional manager of a small used-car chain down there. She only buys vehicles from southeast auctions and told me she runs the title history of anything before bidding, as the dealers in the northeast have been dumping their cars into auctions in the southeast to get top dollar from dealers who think they are rust-free southern cars. Sadly, a lot of them are sold right back to the northeast, as that's where they are buying their cars, too. LOL

This just might be why you are seeing these late-model rust buckets. Nothing perforated yet, hits the auctions in Georgia or Florida, gets sold in TN, and a year later, the rust begins showing from its time in Massachusetts.
 
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As far from here as possible.
 
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