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Old 09-15-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
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Rust in Gutters

I live in a wet area that gets about 120" rain per year and have been pretty diligent about rust prevention on my rig(2004 E350). I have had all of the under carriage and door panels treated with rust preventer and plan on going back to the shop that treated it once a year for touching up. Unfortunately, I just noticed a small area of rust crop up on my rain gutter above the rear door. I took the van to a body shop that is supposed to have a good reputation thinking that the rust spot could just be treated, sanded, and painted over. However, the guys at the shop brought it to my attention that there is a seal in the top of the gutter that was put there by Ford for cosmetic reasons to hide all of the welds along the gutter. They said that the seal on my van had become hard and brittle, cracked along its edge, and that this was allowing water to come to rest under the seal causing the rust on my gutter. They likened the situation to a truck bed rusting out under one of those plastic bed liners.

Their recommendation is to grind out the seal(about 10 hours of labor for that alone), and treat all of the rust areas. Then the roof and gutters would need to be repainted and clear coated. Upon further discussion it was also thought that replacing the seal would be a bad idea as it too would eventually become brittle and crack, starting the process all over again so after the rust is all treated the gutters will be left bare and painted over. My van is lifted and I don't really care about the cosmetics of my roof that much since it's not really very visible from ground level. I just don't want my rig to succumb to rust as I plan on being buried in it someday

The estimate for these repairs is a whopping $1200.00. Anybody else dealing with rust on their gutters. I imagine that this must be a pretty common issue on these vans and it would be great to hear about other's experiences and solutions.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:32 PM   #2
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Rust in Gutters

I wouldn't do it. Get yourself about 2 tubes of Vulkem (polyurethane sealant), total cost about $15. I filled mine with it and won't worry about them anymore. It is sold in several colors nowadays. It's a very thick, tar like sealant that I was introduced to working on old Airstreams. It never completely hardens, similar to that original seal. It will seal out water.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tremco-Vulke...item5892acd65f
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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Re: Rust in Gutters

There is a really good 3M product called 5200 as well. It is marine grade designed for through hull fittings under the waterline. I have used it on RVs before with great success. It too never fully hardens and adhesion is VERY good to just about any material. I just had to get the roof of my van resprayed due to flaking from the gutter-line. Ford body shop guy said sees it all the time they dont put enough clear on the roofs of these things and the UV breaks the paint down.

Anyhow I am going to seal the roof panel to gutter joint with 5200 once the paint has cured for a month or two. Just a heads up it does take 5-7 days to fully cure, so you need to keep it dry and clean for a few days.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:37 PM   #4
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Re: Rust in Gutters

When my dually fenders were put on they used the "semi-flexible" sealant used in the gutters. While my gutters are fine (I think earlier vans got better sealant pre-VOC-restrictions) the sealant on my fenders dried out and cracked. I tried the 3M stuff on the leading edge of one side as a trial. That stuff is GREAT! No cracking, looks smooth still, and has stood up just find to the pelting of winter road sand/gravel used on the highways around here. Will do the remainder of the fenders soon.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Rust in Gutters

Wasn't there a service bulletin or something on some of those rain gutter problems?
Seems like scbrian just had a leak on his van and did a post about it.

...Jamie
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:27 PM   #6
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Re: Rust in Gutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrasport12
Wasn't there a service bulletin or something on some of those rain gutter problems?
Seems like scbrian just had a leak on his van and did a post about it.

...Jamie
Yes, 1999~2005 but the problem affected more model years than that.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:06 PM   #7
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Re: Rust in Gutters

My van is a 2004. Can anybody post a link or something to that service bulletin? Also, as far as the 5200 and other sealants you guys are talking about, are you saying to just apply it on top of the paint and current seal and rust areas and then paint it, or should the original seal still be removed and then replaced with one of the products you mentioned followed by paint and clear coat?
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:37 PM   #8
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Re: Rust in Gutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by bighodad808
My van is a 2004. Can anybody post a link or something to that service bulletin? Also, as far as the 5200 and other sealants you guys are talking about, are you saying to just apply it on top of the paint and current seal and rust areas and then paint it, or should the original seal still be removed and then replaced with one of the products you mentioned followed by paint and clear coat?
I’ll see if I can find my copy of it. It’s one of those “Magic Disappearing Bulletins” that the manufacturers like to hide. If your van was under warranty, you could fight with Ford and they would fold and fix it. If you were out of warranty, they just offered the “informational bulletin” on how to fix it.
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ARB Differential Covers - Nodular Iron With Dipstick And Drain Plug
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:12 PM   #9
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Re: Rust in Gutters

Jamie was right, I just did this repair. My shop charged $140 I think(for repair and repaint). For the repaint he had some paint on the shelf left over from another car/truck and brushed it on. Before and after pictures are in my build thread. My guy actually ground out the promblem areas and refilled those as well as the whole rail all the way around. On my van it had rusted all the way through and was leaking heavily right above the top of the windshield. In fact originally I had blamed it on the new windshield that I had just had replaced. If your interested I can get the product info from the repair shop. By the way my van is a 2001.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:15 PM   #10
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Re: Rust in Gutters

I just thought of another option. Perhaps I can locate a used fiberglass top and just replace the roof. No more rain gutters and fiberglass doesn't rust!!
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