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Old 01-24-2010, 10:02 AM   #1
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Roof rust

Hi --

Washed the rig yesterday, and got a ladder to give the roof (Ford factory roof) a good wash. I discovered that I've got roof rust: several dot size rust spots on scattered on the rear half of the roof, and then a line of rust all around where the roof meets the raingutter.

What should I do? Terms like "rust inhibitor" and "cold galvanizing spray" pop into mind, but spray for a bunch of scattered polka-dots (each about the size of the spot you'd make with a medium ball-point pen) and the thin line at the gutter/roof joint doesn't seem good.

After cleaning, scruffing down with steel wool and cleaning again, are there paintable/dab-able products I can use? Any other relatively simple, inexpensive DIY suggestions?

FYI, this is a 2006 E350 passenger van. It spent the first 12-15 month of its life in fleet service in Louisiana, and then was in the less-humid DFW area until summer 2009, when I bought it. Ironically, the roof dent from a prior owner's encounter with a branch -- which is where I assumed I'd have potential rust problem if the dent broke the clearcoat and paint-- is just fine.



2017 T-250 MR 148" 3.7L cargo van. Slowly becoming a campervan...
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:46 AM   #2
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Location: Corvallis, OR
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Re: Roof rust

The dots sound like contamination from a grinder. I'd just leave those be, unless the paint is actually perforated there. For the gutter, I just go over it occasionally with a touch up brush. My gutters take a good beating from the roof racks (go on and off as needed, and when fully loaded the roof will have over 1500 pounds up there).

2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:19 PM   #3
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Location: Salinas, CA
Posts: 147
Re: Roof rust has all the primers, paints and clearcoats you need to take care of nicks and scratches. You need the paint code off the front drivers door jam sticker. The small bottles of touchup paint are $9.95 ... primer and clearcoat are $4.95 each.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:41 PM   #4
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Re: Roof rust

Ah ha! contamination from a grinder? Mystery solved: when I bought the van in August, there were no rust specs on the roof. Now there are many.... all in the immediate area of the roof vent that was installed in October.

As for dealing with the rain gutter, I just stopped by AutoZone, and the fellow there suggested the following:
  • sand with 3000 paper to knock off loose rust bits, wipe with a damp rag, and let dry.[/*:m:3dr5xisq]
  • use a touch-up pen, which contains primer+paint. (Or should I use primer and paint separately as Philip suggested?) Let dry.[/*:m:3dr5xisq]
  • spray with water, and lightly sand with 3000. Wipe down, and let dry.[/*:m:3dr5xisq]
  • cover up with a clear-coat touch-up pen.[/*:m:3dr5xisq]

Does this sound about right? Is the clear-coat overkill?

Later this spring, I'll install my rain-gutter mounted Yakima towers, which will probably ride up there forever. A side-loading Thule Evolution cargo box will go up there, and eventually a kayak . So, I suspect that maintaining the rain gutters will be an on-going task.

2017 T-250 MR 148" 3.7L cargo van. Slowly becoming a campervan...
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