Just picked up this frame for $50-- I jumped on it despite the rust because 1.) it's a trek with nice geometry and good build quality, and it's my size at 23"; 2.) it's reynolds 531 main triangle and cromo stays and fork. It's a model 500 "tri series" from 85, by the way.
As you can see in the pics below, there's a good bit of frame rust, mainly around the bottom bracket shell, and eating at the top tube cable guides, bubbling the paint around those two areas as well. So first, I'm wondering if this is a safety issue. I looked around on the inside of the seat tube, the steerer, and the bb shell, and there's no rust on the inside except what you can see in the bb shell in the pic.
And, I'm wondering if anyone has any cheap, preferably diy, ideas for a cosmetic and functional overhaul. I'm not so fond of the red-white paintjob, and I could use a winter commuter as much as a quick and dirty single speed (I really don't need another bike, but this could fill some little "niche" in my commuting) so anything goes. I was considering taking a brass wire brush to the rust just to get it off, and then maybe trying to coat over it. Or stripping the paint off with stripper and then "rust coating it" with saline solution and clear coating over that. Or having it painted, if I can find someone in the Boston area that's cheap enough.
And finally, I was considering posting this in the frame swap game spreadsheet, but I want to hear what everyone thinks before I relinquish it. I'd want to swap for an 80s mtb frame 21-24", so if you like this frame and have one, at this point I'll consider.