Has anyone used Safe T Caps before?


Curt-Curt

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May 7, 2019
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Connecticut
So I'm stilling looking for a Jeep. I look up frame repair and I get this site Autorust.com watch video and check them out. they are local to me. So my question is: Has anyone used them before? Is this a good option? I was thinking I could find a Jeep that needs frame work (Lots of them in CT) for a cheap price and have the frame repaired by this company. Would the resale value still be there? what other problems might I get into?
Was thinking finding a Jeep for less than $5000 (seen a couple for less that were nice but frame rot)
going to this company for less than $5000
and having a solid jeep for less than $10000
Its easier finding a rusty frame than a rust free frame. and they want big bucks for a rust free frame.
Thanks For the Help
Curt
 

Steel City 06

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If it's that bad you'd be better off buying a frame from a wrecker and doing a full frame swap.

Safe t caps can be used when done right, though. They're more of a semi-temporary fix, not permanent.

Have you considered salvage Jeeps? Davey's Jeeps usually has a few for sale that require some moderate body work or a new cage, etc.

Rust also comes with other issues. Imagine every bolt snapping off the first time you turn it
 

GeorgeSully

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I put in a safe t cap and did all the frame repair with a buddy and myself and we’re both inexperienced dumb teens. It’s not very hard to do DIY but it takes time and you have to make sure to line up everything properly. Also for under the safe t caps I would use the steel it coatings because they are weld through and from what I’ve tried the only way to protect under the repair is to paint it beforehand or oil it after.


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Chris

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I can't offer much input, but I can tell you that the resale value will not be there. You might want to think it will be, but I guarantee it won't. Not for the well informed buyer at least.
 

fourpointzero

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When it comes to frame restorations, a well informed buyer knows the cost or value of a good TJ. And they may not likely pay premium. On the other hand, a person who is not familiar with jeeps but wants to really get into one, may pay the premium....with or without the framework. Autorust does it so cleanly, you cant often tell unless you’re familiar with TJ or YJ frames.

AutoRust repair is a great company and they do awesome work. However, if you don’t know what to look for or have any familiarity with their process, I would not buy anything with rust under it. You may take it to AutoRust and they may just tell you it’s irreparable.


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Stevemack

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I have both Auto-Rust/safety cap center sections done. The stuff works and is safe. It needs to be done right. If you don’t have welding/cutting tools and experience, and choose to pay for the labor, it can be pricey. I don’t have excellent welding skills, but have friends that do. Labor was a few cases of cold micro-brews.

Resale value was and is not a concern of mine. But I can see a buyer having issues with a repaired frame. Especially if he’s a TJ purist. I’m an off-roader first so there are so many other factors that affect my resale value, lol. My Jeep will be run into the ground, then part swapped to a fresh tub/frame and will march on. The casual buyer looking for a cool, cheap beach rig or weekend toy for dirt roads or bad weather might not be so concerned about frame repairs.
 

skrelnik

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I'm also in CT and are probably looking at the same Jeeps as you, and if a frame needs to be repaired I would not spend more than $2k on a typical jeep with bad frame because the cost to repair and get into good shape would yield a minimum gain. If you can get the frame swapped for $2k then sure, but $3.5k on a jeep plus $5k in repairs, what are you flipping it for $10k, maybe more or less? If the frame is rusted through, what other gremlins are hiding?

Try these two shops to see if you can get a better estimate for a frame swap/repair.



This was a good example, nice color, $3.5k but looks like they spread tar all over the frame.

 

primetime4

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I also had my center frame safety-cap repaired and am very satisfied. In my case, my tub and mechanicals are in really great shape so it made sense to pay the money to have it done. I’ve also owned my Jeep since new so was willing to do whatever to keep it going a little while longer. I have every expectation that buyers would shy away from this at resale. The good news is I don’t plan to ever sell it so that works out great.

The cost with labor was about 1600 with extra bits thrown in for the exhaust hangers and it looks clean. If it was the front or rear sections, I might be a little concerned but they are a very viable repair for the center in my opinion. But as mentioned, the rest of the Jeep also needs to be worth it.
 

fourpointzero

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Yah, same here, @primetime4. My TJ had low miles and I bought it at a great price. All options I was looking for and it ran fantastic. No tub rust and everything functioned. Didn’t even consider resale. However, if I move to FL, I’m keeping her. But if I stay in the Ne another 2 or 3 years, I may let her go for a JKU. Blasphemy, I know ha! But Im tired of garaging her every winter, and I want to drive a Jeep year round. Unfortunately, NE Jeeps dont hold up well in these parts if you run them every season or dont garage them regularly.


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PointerTJ

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I had to have the rear control arm sections Safe-T-capped on mine. If you find someone that has done it before and really knows how to weld (seeing as it is the frame, not something to learn how to weld on). Find out what said helper’s needs are then barter, parts swap, or fuel them with beer, etc.

If you know that you are in the Jeep for the long haul due to sentiment then bite the bullet. Otherwise the Labor makes it work just kicking it on down the line honestly and taking your loss.
 

wraith1516

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wit the price of the saftycap products being so high i found a better option Poconometalfab.com better priced thicker steel. have had mine on frame for 2years that said it takes a lot of prep to do it right and have a friend that works as a welder to install it ( i wouldn't trust my life on my welding skills or lack thereof)
 

Jeep9748

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I have the Saf-T-Caps installed on my 97. Had it done at a professional shop and they first checked and then they had to replace from behind front tire to above rear tire. so from perspective, its 80% new frame for 3500. being my DD, I have not had any issues, the only thing I did was treat the inside of the frame to ensure rust stays out. also I drilled a 3/8" drain hole at the base of the frame just infront of the rear tire to allow water to drain. just my 2c
 
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Curt-Curt

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I'm also in CT and are probably looking at the same Jeeps as you, and if a frame needs to be repaired I would not spend more than $2k on a typical jeep with bad frame because the cost to repair and get into good shape would yield a minimum gain. If you can get the frame swapped for $2k then sure, but $3.5k on a jeep plus $5k in repairs, what are you flipping it for $10k, maybe more or less? If the frame is rusted through, what other gremlins are hiding?

Try these two shops to see if you can get a better estimate for a frame swap/repair.



This was a good example, nice color, $3.5k but looks like they spread tar all over the frame.


Saw this same Jeep, That Jeep looks like they installed plates in there not saf-t-caps.
 
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Curt-Curt

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I have the Saf-T-Caps installed on my 97. Had it done at a professional shop and they first checked and then they had to replace from behind front tire to above rear tire. so from perspective, its 80% new frame for 3500. being my DD, I have not had any issues, the only thing I did was treat the inside of the frame to ensure rust stays out. also I drilled a 3/8" drain hole at the base of the frame just infront of the rear tire to allow water to drain. just my 2c

That's what I'm talking about. $3,500 on frame repair and $less than $5000 on a Jeep and I got a clean frame and a nice cab for less than $10,000. which I can't find a clean frame and if I do its more than $15,000 and that's way too much for me to spend on a weekend and second vehicle. My budget is $10,000

It was a second option to finding a clean frame.
and they are local to me. Plus I can just give them pictures and they can give me a estimate without having to buy the Jeep. I think I might stop in their shop and ask them about it.
 

Superduty71

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Curt-Curt.... I'm in rust-connecticut too... If you find something to like & have some pics... I have a fabricator in CT that does a lot of Jeep work (from all around New England) he is doing ours right now (& has done some heavy equipment work for me prior)... the only catch is... if you need it quick, he is usually booked out 4 to 8 weeks... but he is reasonable, honest & GOOD...
 

PJOJeep

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I just finished installing the Pocono Metal versions on my 2000 TJ. Northern Illinois uses tons of salt, and I wasn’t aware there was NO DRAIN HOLE in the frame. Kept the outside nice and clean, wire brushed and painted a few times over the years...then I noticed my transfer case skid plate was only attached by one bolt on the drivers side. I took a needle descaler to it, and it blew right through at the rear control arm mount on the drivers side. I had done some welding over the years, so I tackled it myself. Made sure the inside got wire brushed and treated it with a weld through primer, the bottom of the replacement sections were coated in POR-15, as was the outside after replacement.

I also had 2 bad body mount sections, Pocono Metal also makes those, ended up doing 3 of them when I snapped off a body mount bolt flush with the body.

The TJ has 215,000 miles, all mine. I used it as a DD for a long time, now it’s for fun. I have wheeled it some, mostly back home in the UP of Michigan. So far so good, the welds are holding up after bouncing it around the local pot holes and local roads.
 
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wraith1516

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like i said used pocano metal fab also mine is a dd and only sees mild wheeling (to get to hunting and fishing spots) but sees lots of mud and after 2 years its still solid and paid less than half what safty cap wanted
 

Sporto

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I installed these caps on my 97 TJ frame about three years ago. I removed the rotten steel from the frame with a cutoff wheel, cold chisel and saws all. Then I welded the full caps up with a 115V shop welder. I check the welds every year to make sure they're still solid, and I also drilled some lag bolts through the caps into parts of the good OEM frame to take a little pressure of the welds. The hardest part was the frame clean up, looking back a cheap plasma cutter would have made short work of the task of removing the bad steel on the frame. I also replaced the rotten torque boxes and reset the three body mounts on each side. Everything was painted with Rustoleum inside and out. It has passed inspection every year since. I also spray Fluid Film into all of the holes every fall, as I don't want to go through this again. The whole project gave my TJ another 20 years of life in PA as a stock DD. Not sure about resale, but I am more interested in keeping it on the road indefinitely. Good luck!
 
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jamnut

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Having bought and sold a fair amount of TJs, some with frame repair and some without, I can tell you that some buyers see the frame repair as a good thing (they assume that if the frame hasn't been repaired already, its going to need repair soon) and others see it as a bad thing (for obvious reasons). Personally I'm in the latter camp; if the frame is rusty enough to need repair, the fenders, rear corners, body mounts, rockers, and floors aren't going to be far behind. Frame repair might buy you a few more years of use with the jeep but you're going to be chasing rust elsewhere the entire time you own it. If you can swing it, you'd be best off heading somewhere south of Virginia to hunt for some clean southern steel and either drive it back or have it hauled back north.

Bottom line, as long as a frame has been repaired properly, a jeep with frame repairs will usually go for $1k-2k less than a comparable jeep without frame repair.