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Old 06-25-2018, 12:31 AM   #1
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Interior pinch welds ok to bend?

In the planning phase of my interior build on a 2006 E350 EB I recently picked up. Looking at lines for wall paneling and on both driver and passenger sides in the cargo area there's a pesky pinch weld about 4-6" above van floor that I'd really like to pound flat to get my wall panels to fit a little tighter to the exterior of the van.

Has anyone done this before? Good idea, bad idea?
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:54 AM   #2
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If you are bending a small area here and there , probably not an issue. If you are never off-roading your van, probably not an issue. I personally would not mess with the entire length on both sides with risk of breaking the welds and cracking the paint and corrosion preventing coatings.

What are you doing for insulation? I layered a sheet of insulation against the inside of the outer wall where I could reach and then another two layers on the inside face of the inside wall. This left an airspace in much of the double wall cavity and left the weep holes intact and functional. That pinch seam became a non-issue and I did not have to mess with it, so structural integrity was retained.

You may want to consider applying POR-15 to the entire floor and up the sides about 4 to 6 inches. Be careful applying around body bolt downs.
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Old 06-25-2018, 06:29 PM   #3
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When updating my interior with flat lower walls and stock window trim, I found the pinch welds moved my wall in less than a 1/2" from plumb, as seen in the attached photo with the cabinets setting in place. If yours is a panel van and/or the factory window surrounds aren't utilized, then you could gain an inch or so by folding the pinch seam over. I didn't gain much over the plastics, except behind the drivers seat, room-wise, but the 1/8" plywood covered with trunk carpet certainly feels warmer than the plastic.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:27 PM   #4
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What are you doing for insulation?
The plan, from outside in, is stick on butyl deadner- scrim backed 3M Thinsulate(glued to butyl and stuffed in cavities between inner and outer sheetmetal)- 1/4" hardboard wrapped in fabric/vinyl.

I'm trying to keep the interior panels as tight to the wall as possible as this van is more of a gear/people hauler and space is at a premium. It won't be getting much of an interior buildout other than adding a passenger bench seat, tie down points and a small cabinet around the passenger wheel well to house electronics and a subwoofer.

The floor will be more robust to combat road noise and provide a secure, even mounting surface. Again, working outside in, butyl- reflextix strips in the low ribs- closed cell foam (aka ensolite)- mass load vinyl- 3/8" plywood- peel and stick vinyl/Loncoin (TBD)
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:38 PM   #5
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If yours is a panel van and/or the factory window surrounds aren't utilized, then you could gain an inch or so by folding the pinch seam over.
My van is a cargo model, no interior panels or windows. I plan on adding one CR Lawrence window behind the driver, but the rear will remain as is. For my wall panels, I plan on an upper and lower panel, with a horizontal section of L-track mounted halfway up the wall acting as the seam between the two panels.

I was using some mason string to experiment for panel lines/spacing. I'll check again with and without the pinch weld in the mix.

If I do bend the pinch welds over, I plan on using a strip of 1/4 steel and a few sets of sheet metal pliers to create a pseudo press-brake to help fold the sections uniformly and minimize distortion/warping
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:14 AM   #6
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I would leave it intact. The tiny increase in space isnít worth upsetting structural rigidity. These van bodies are tough but the do bend, or flex, ALOT and can tear as well.


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