Older cars, particularily with even minor lubricating fluid leaks are known for failed rubber on the motor mounts. There was one particularly dramatic example of this I recall.
In college, I was driving my parent's old 1964 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Station Wagon with 140,000 miles on it. In response to some friends joking and reving their engine, I held my foot on the brake and reved my engine back. The unexpected result was the car rocked violently and the upper radiator hose failed. I pulled into a parking lot in the college town. The hose had failed from the V-belt rubbing a hole into it, but the V-belt was OVER 3" away from the hose. I scratched my head until I reproduced the power-braking with the hood open in that parking lot and saw the torque radically lifted the big V8 up out of it's already failed engine mount. (Good that it didn't smash things up trying to flip-itself-over in the engine compartment.)
I walked to the nearby auto parts store, replaced the hose, bought 2 replacement engine mounts, (if one failed both were probably due for replacement) and gently drove the car home to replace the engine mounts. When I jacked the engine up to replace both engine mounts, I saw that the third mount on the transmission was also failed and gaping apart. The engine had just been sitting in the car without any attachments, except hoses and the throttle linkage! I replaced both engine mounts AND the transmission mount.
Examination of these failed surfaces showed they had failed and were just rubbing against each other FOR A LONG TIME. I apologized to my parents for my hot-rodding behavior (busted), even if just in fun, paid for the parts out of MY pocket, and completed the repairs. My parents were pretty cool about this, and didn't get upset about my "hot-rodding, show-off behavior" in their car. (That old Oldsmobile, with the factory higher performance engine that ran on 97+ octane gasoline, was pretty powerful and fast in a straight line.)
This reminds me of my own nightmare with an earlier Nissan Sentra model some 20 years ago. I was pretty broke, so could not afford expensive car repairs. Apparently, a transmission fluid leak was slowly destroying first one, and then two of my four engine mount gaskets. For reasons I still can't understand, my mechanic decided to interpret my "I can't afford expensive car repairs so whatever can wait should" statement to mean these, also. But he also didn't tell me about the problem! I discovered it when I moved to Northern California, got a new mechanic, and asked why there was this vibration at 65 mph. Sheesh.
david - the best steel pretreatment i could recommend under paint would be microcrystalline zinc phosphate. it uses a calcium modified chemistry that results in small crystal sizes and lower build weights (thickness). this allows for good paint adhesion and underpaint corrosion protection but also has good flexibility to prevent chips or dents from propogating. edges are better protected as well. some of the new primers are designed to work with zinc phosphate and can enhance the advantages.
new cars are typically dipped before painting. you may have to find a metal prep shop that has tanks large enough to do your individual restoration parts.
I don't know why, but the 1976 TOYOTA CELICA that we owned was never brought to either a ZIEBART or RUSTY JONES facility for their added protective coating. All the other vehicles we owned from the 1960s through the 1980s were all protected, and none of them ever experienced any rust-through problems. But, that TOYOTA was not an exceptionally good car in many other regards, so trading it in for a DATSUN was not an unhappy event.
The "rust-through" problem beacame so pronounced in that era that AMERICAN MOTORS offered ZIEBART-protection as a factory-installed process. Wonder if that's why AM went out of business?
Taurus station wagons were well-known for having transmission problems which kicked in at fairly low mileage. You just had a more catastrophic version of this, via the entire transmission (and engine) falling out of the car...
I have experience destructive corrosion on a number of vehicles and it is evident that every year the auto manufacturers use a new/different steel alloy to enhance ductability, increase the cycle life of the dies, improve paint adhesion; some years Ford has a winner for rust susceptability, some years they lose. Most suspension components are uncoated and apparently not designed to outlast the painted metal elsewhere on the car. Northern states have started using a liquid substance that greatly lowers the freezing point of water in much smaller concentrations. This substance cannot be allowed to remain on uncoated metal, it is much more active than Sodium or Calcium chloride. If you want to keep your $20-30K automobile for 200,000 miles, wash it every other week during winter. It is small insurance. The rule of thumb for cars in the 40's through 60's was to wash weekly, wax every 4-6 months, re-paint every 4-5 years, do an engine "freshen" every 50K miles and you could expect your car to last 25 years. Today most people never wax, never wash the car, never re-paint, are lucky to do an oil-change yearly, and expect their cars to last 200,000 miles. Dealers haven't helped by charging $300 or more for a 10,000 mile service, $750 for a 15,000 mile!
In late 1975, I purchased a new TOYOTA CELICA "Fastback". To those who remember, it was very much akin to the original MUSTANG fastback. At any rate, this vehicle was garage-kept, 95% of the time when not in use, since we lived in one of the northern states, prevalent to winter storms, snow, sleet, rain. On about the 3rd year of ownership, I noticed the large rubber gasket which sealed the rear hatch was loose when I opened the door. So, I attempted to place it back onto the flange lips. (The flange lips were created from the inner sheetmetal & outer sheetmetal panels, and spotwelded along their length for strength & bonding.) In doing so, I discovered that there was no flange present at all. So, I continued to remove more of the gasket, until I had most of it in my hand. When observing the gasket more closely, in the cavity of the gasket was a very long coil spring which was designed to rub up against the flange, providing the necessary grabbing force. Additionally, this cavity was full of rust! That was the turning point for us. Since the flange was non-existent due to total corrosion failure, I made a "sneaky" repair, undetectable to the naked eye, and traded it in on a 1980 DATSUN 200SX, a fun car to drive, which I drove for 4 trouble-free years before realizing that it would be best to add a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to the stable. And, so we sold the DATSUN to the next-door neighbor's oldest son, and bought a 1984 FORD BRONCO II. ANOTHER GREAT vehicle!!!!
From a Design perspective, I for one would be very interested in more detail about the "technological advances in surface chemistry" you mentioned.
Additionally, as an automotive and motorcycle enthusist, I would like to use some of that knowledge for more robust restorations and upgrades on my personal projects.
I feel that the galvanized washer upgrade by Ford was a simple and very good technical solution to that particular problem. I was disappointed about the poor implimentation diligence of this recall on ALL the affected vehicles; since, this was clearly a significantly dangerous potential failure to the running gear. I was not informed about it prior to the failure, and the video I found on the internet of a man changing the rubber bushing on the same model car also did not have the recall upgrade installed. I would venture to say that likely MANY of these vehicles never had the upgrade installed. A great upgrade only works to the extent that it is implemented.
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