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2010 Forester Automatic
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181 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! Just got an '04 XT. How can I protect my under chassis if on a budget? I live in the snowy midwest. Just got hired after being unemployed for 3 years (did part-time jobs though) so I'm still paying my debts from not being employed with student loans payments starting soon.

Thanks!
 

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Contributor
2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
Hi everyone! Just got an '04 XT. How can I protect my under chassis if on a budget? I live in the snowy midwest. Just got hired after being unemployed for 3 years (did part-time jobs though) so I'm still paying my debts from not being employed with student loans payments starting soon.

Thanks!
Check out "Fluid Film"! Save $ by DIY. I'm big into doing things myself whenever possible. Nobody cares more about your car than you do.
 

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Contributor
2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
Where can I get it? Is it an easy DIY?

Thanks!
Google "Fluid Film". I bought mine online. http://www.kellsportproducts.com/
Easy - yes. Messy - yes! Easy cleanup though. I used the pro sprayer and the 2 flexible ends and a pair of car ramps. Used about 1/3 gallon but didn't spray the sheet metal since it is double sided galvanized on my 2014. The stuff in the spray cans is thinner (too thin for large areas IMHO) than the stuff you spray on with the sprayer. Here's a video from a pro shop:

 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,919 Posts
I don't know anything about this product. But Pa. is one of the worst states in the U.S. if you keep the underside and the bottom of the doors, and the inside of the fender washed off, especially after a snow event you will be fine.

You will have surface rust that's a fact of life. By the end of the 80's rust problems were vastly improved. Been in Pa all my life none of my vehicles have ever rusted out but before 1988 there was significant rust.

Having a heated garage in winter and parking the vehicle in there with snow on it is a very bad thing..I can tell you. Othersise save your $$$, worry, and effort and keep it clean underneath.
 

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2004 Forester XS Auto
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150 Posts
I oil spray my 04 every year with the used oil from my vehicle and use an are sol can of fluid film for touch ups and problem areas, love that stuff.
 

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2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
Absolutely agree they don't make car bodies like they used to ... thank goodness! My 2014 has double sided galvanized body parts which eliminated that concern for me. It's the parts that are bolted onto those car bodies that are still a concern.

For example, the lower control arms are basically tubes with holes in them. That looked like a prime spot for slush/salt to get into and cause damage from the inside out. There's a structural beam in the back that is similar. Then there's all the fasteners themselves. I keep my cars a long time ... traded in a 1993 Toyota T-100 pickup for my Forester and my other car is a 2000 Honda Accord ... so rust is a concern. Neither of those vehicles had body rust but the brake lines on my Accord were badly rusted so I had to replace them. Over $500 just for the parts. The gas line running from the gas tank to the engine started to leak on my T-100 due to rust so I had to replace that. I also replaced the brake lines on the T-100 at the same time because they didn't look too good. I feel both these problems could have been prevented if I'd kept up on rustproofing as I should have. As it was I'd touched up the undercoat every 5-6 years instead of annually like I should have.

Rinsing off the underside certainly would have helped but that's a cold job in the winter and would have to be done too often for my liking here in Michigan. It gives me piece of mind that I undercoated the underside of my Forester and that piece of mind was worth the $120 I spent on the equipment and materials needed to undercoat it. Future complete annual touch ups will cost me 1-2 hours time and $20 in materials.

I vow to touch up the undercoat every year on my Forester! :icon_eek:
Well, at least every other year. :biggrin:
 

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1999 Subaru Auto
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13 Posts
I always make sure to clean the areas under thoroughly that hold grime and dirt. If dirt can lie in a spot, so can moisture.

My .02
 

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'19 Forester LTD CVT
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3,248 Posts
+1 on the fluid film. Love that stuff. Way too many uses: rust penetration, protection, cleaning anything metal, lubricant, anything you want to repel water, etc
 

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2004 Forester XS Auto
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150 Posts
+1 on many uses. My dad calls it super juice and uses it for almost everything: battery and electrical connections, spark plug threads, door hinges and pretty much anything that needs lubrication or protection.
 

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2014 Forester Auto
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3 Posts
Hi, I'm new to this forum and a new Forester owner. I've been looking into Fluid Film and ordered a couple cans just to try it out before committing to a sprayer kit.

My question for RayB or anyone else who has used Fluid Film on a newer Forester is....

Did you remove all the plastic underguards before spraying? I notice that more than 3/4 of the underbody is covered in plastic. Made me think twice about even spraying the body and instead focusing on control arms, bars, bolts etc. etc. Or did you just cut holes in the plastic and spray away?

Many thanks! BTW I'm really loving the new Forester!
 

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2000 Impreza, 2003 Bugeye Sport, 2010 Base, 2014 Base, 2015 Premium, 2017 Limited, 2020 Touring
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1,020 Posts
I'd check Fluid Film website for any questions you may have. Of course it's going to be biased because they are promoting it to the customer, but it seems like a viable way to cut down on rust in those hidden areas. My only worry would be from a state inspection standpoint, with the inspector saying where is all this oil coming from, something must be wrong! Fail.
 

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2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
Hi, I'm new to this forum and a new Forester owner. I've been looking into Fluid Film and ordered a couple cans just to try it out before committing to a sprayer kit.

My question for RayB or anyone else who has used Fluid Film on a newer Forester is....

Did you remove all the plastic underguards before spraying? I notice that more than 3/4 of the underbody is covered in plastic. Made me think twice about even spraying the body and instead focusing on control arms, bars, bolts etc. etc. Or did you just cut holes in the plastic and spray away?

Many thanks! BTW I'm really loving the new Forester!


Just got back from a 1200 mile road trip in our Forester. She's all broken in now with 2050 miles on the odo! Love the Forester and certainly took it places I would never have dreamed going in my Accord!

Anyhow ... back on topic ... Remove the plastic underbody covers. I would not recommend drilling holes in them! They are very easy to remove.
 

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2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
I'd check Fluid Film website for any questions you may have. Of course it's going to be biased because they are promoting it to the customer, but it seems like a viable way to cut down on rust in those hidden areas. My only worry would be from a state inspection standpoint, with the inspector saying where is all this oil coming from, something must be wrong! Fail.
I don't think anyone will mistake FF all over with an oil leak :huh: though I've never had to deal with a state inspector before. :shake:
Seriously though ... at most all you'd have to do is tell them it is undercoat.
 

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2005 Impreza RS 4EAT (sob)
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431 Posts
There's a TON of salt on the roads every winter for like 5-6 months here where I live... It's too late to save this Fozzy, but would that Fluid Film stuff work to prevent rust from salt as well?
 

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2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
There's a TON of salt on the roads every winter for like 5-6 months here where I live... It's too late to save this Fozzy, but would that Fluid Film stuff work to prevent rust from salt as well?
YES! They use tons of salt here too from around Dec 1st through March. You need to apply it annually to get the most benefit but it's easy to apply. I used the "pro" gun and the two flexible spray tips and a pair of car ramps. 2/3rds of a gallon covered it nicely. Annual touchups will probably take 1/4 - 1/2 gallon.
 

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2014 Forester Auto
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3 Posts
Just got back from a 1200 mile road trip in our Forester. She's all broken in now with 2050 miles on the odo! Love the Forester and certainly took it places I would never have dreamed going in my Accord!

Anyhow ... back on topic ... Remove the plastic underbody covers. I would not recommend drilling holes in them! They are very easy to remove.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll pull the splash guards off before spraying.

Something else I've been thinking about..... I know you can't Fluid Film the exhaust....it'll just burn off and stink like roasted lambs wool, but has anyone been crazy enough to paint their exhaust? I know that may be going a little far, but I plan on keeping this vehicle for a long time and I hate dealing with rusted out exhaust components/heat shields.

I've been looking into very hi-temp sprays and know that some Jeep guys paint their muffler's, more for aesthetics though I think. I'm just not sure about the long-term durability/effectiveness of these spray's.

I've always had rust eat away at pipes/flanges/mufflers/cats requiring replacement after about 5-7 years. No amount of underbody washing has helped this. The salt in the northeast is just terrible. Any suggestions?
 

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Contributor
2014 Forester - Limited CVT
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254 Posts
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll pull the splash guards off before spraying.

Something else I've been thinking about..... I know you can't Fluid Film the exhaust....it'll just burn off and stink like roasted lambs wool, but has anyone been crazy enough to paint their exhaust? I know that may be going a little far, but I plan on keeping this vehicle for a long time and I hate dealing with rusted out exhaust components/heat shields.

I've been looking into very hi-temp sprays and know that some Jeep guys paint their muffler's, more for aesthetics though I think. I'm just not sure about the long-term durability/effectiveness of these spray's.

I've always had rust eat away at pipes/flanges/mufflers/cats requiring replacement after about 5-7 years. No amount of underbody washing has helped this. The salt in the northeast is just terrible. Any suggestions?
I was very sad to learn Subaru doesn't use stainless exhaust pipes. My 2000 Accord with 180K on the odo still has her original (stainless) exhaust pipes & mufflers! My 1993 T-100 on the other hand had to get new pipes and muffler every 5 years. The Forester will no doubt be like the T-100, not the Honda :icon_sad:

Don't know if paint would help or not. Would certainly like to hear from those who have tried it!
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i 6 spd
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433 Posts
As a former dweller in the Frozen North, I'm all too familiar with rust due to snow melting chemicals.

The newer cars seem to use some form of plastic for many of the body areas that used to be prey for rust. No metal, no rust. Works for me

The 'double galvanizing' some are so fond of mentioning isn't the dip galvanizing of old. Basically, body panels are exposed to a zinc mist. Some decades back I saw Fisher Body scrap panels where a similar process was soft enough that it could be removed with a fingernail. On the other hand, that was almost 30 years ago and I was looking at scrap parts. Knowing GM, they were probably figuring out how many molecules of zinc they needed for a miminally rust resistant finish. Hopefully, things have improved. The appearance is much better.

I used Rustoleum Undercoat spray cans on my '14. Most of the underbody aero panels come off easily and the exposed metal was coated with an additional layer of protectant. This was particularly true of the inside of the two 'unibody rails' that run lengthwise near the driveline tunnel. If those go, your car is scrap.

The front A arms need coated inside. I also made sure I did a good job on the rear suspension arms too. You can't buy replacement parts for what a couple cans of undercoat cost.

FWIW, I stopped my work when I spotted what I thought was rust. Turned out to be red body sealant factory installed during assembly. The dealership mechanic asked me about the undercoat and when told I did it, smiled and said "Finish the job".

BTW, I used a similar product on my 1992 Toyota, bought in 1994. I turned it over to my son when I bought the Forester. The only rust is a wee bit on the edge of the front wheelwells. Front fenders are cheap.
 
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