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Old 12-02-2019, 12:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
top penthouse bolts rusting and rust around roof lights


I've got a 2005 Ford e-350 with the penthouse. I've got 2 rust related issues.

1. the top bolts on the penthouse are rusting out. They're on the exterior of the top of penthouse. It looks like they originally had a cover on them but only a few still have that. Is there a diagram anywhere detailing the penthouse top? I'd like to know what I'm getting into before diving in. Also, I assume the best replacement will be stainless equivalents.

2. The 5 or 6 exterior lights on the chassis above the front windshield have a little rust around them. One, in the center of course, is blistering around the light holder and needs to be ground out patched and painted. The others with early rust will be cleaned, primed and painted at that time. I'm afraid this is a body shop effort. Should I decide to tackle it myself, is there any magic paint/primer that stops the advance of rust?

Thanks for any thoughts on the above.

- Dave

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Old 12-02-2019, 09:02 PM   #2
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Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,016
Even if the plastic covers for the roof bolts were still there they would still be rusty.....they are just beauty covers. The original fasteners that sportsmobile uses are garden variety cheap stuff.

It's quite simple.....the four bolts in the front are holding the padded wood block inside where the roof is resting on the front crossbar. Two of the bolts are likely also bolting the lifting handles up.

Same for the rear..just no handles.

...Just replace one or two bolts at a time...everything will stay in place.

Get them off any way you can and replace with stainless. 18-8 stainless is plenty good; 316 stainless is more $$ and not as robust...and it tends to gall more than 18-8. Regular stainless at Lowes/Home Depot is 18-8..which is plenty corrosion resistant..unless you live at the beach.

If you want new beauty covers, reach out to member 1der here...he has them. You may be able to buy them from Sportsmobile as well.

2008 E350 RB passenger 4WD SMB penthouse
2013 KTM 350 EXC
2008 KTM 250 XCF-W
2000 KTM 200 EXC
2003 Honda Element
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:47 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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Thanks. I'll try to get to that this weekend. I am in the beach area so I'll shoot for the most corrosion resistant solution. The beach air is what's causing the rust cancer around the lights too.
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Old Yesterday, 11:59 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 306
I've heard good things about POR-15 for treating rusty metal. I've always preferred to treat it like cancer and go for 'clean margins' -- grind back to good, shiny steel -- but that's not always practical if the rust has gotten beyond the surface stage.
1990 E-250 Sportsmobile w/ penthouse top, converted in 1990 by SMB Texas.
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