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I put my 04 Fwd on the lift today and noticed that the spare tire was hanging low on one side, I barely touched it and it fell to the ground. The entire spare tire carrier is rusted away. There's no other rust on the car, not even where the carrier attaches. I figured I'd better check my 4x4 too, and that too was the same way. Neither have been near saltwater, and I just put 5 new tires on both cars last fall and the tire racks were solid with no signs or falling apart. They were surface rusted but not rusted through and all scaly and falling apart.
Is this a common issue with these? The Fwd model has been garage kept since new, both me and the original owner kept it inside. My 4x4 has lived outdoors since new. The paint on the 4x4 sure shows its age but the Fwd model still looks new in and out. The 4x4 has 59K, the Fwd has 27,400 miles.

Both the sheetmetal pan and the tubing are rusted through, it all but crumbled in my hand.
 

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Location: Southern NJ. It snows there and they use salt on the rd. Mine spent a year and half in Minnesota and she is pretty rusty under there. Still intact though.
 
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