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Old 10-07-2017, 04:51 PM   #1
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What is foam in rear wheel well for?

This is a 1997 Ford E350 7.3 Diesel. We have been rebuilding this camper over the last 11 months. Looking to work on the underbody now to protect it from rust. Both rear wheel wells have had foam applied in the past by previous owner (see link below for image). The image is in left rear wheel well, looking towards the front of the vehicle. I am guessing it filled up holes, potentially leading to the rocker panels. Does anyone know what this foam may be for? Can I cover it with 3M undercoat?

Thanks, Marcel

Marcel Huijser Photography | Van underbody | Photo 1

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Old 10-07-2017, 04:57 PM   #2
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May have been there to prevent water intrusion, to prevent rodents/insects from entering, or who knows, maybe to add flotation to the van for those river crossings.

The risk of sealing that area with foam and/or 3M undercoating, is if water enters by some other path and then gets trapped in there without the ability to dry out.

Though call.


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Old 10-07-2017, 05:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Herb!
Hadn't thought about this potentially being a rodent barrier to the inside!
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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Herb you beat me to the punch... line. Floating!
Look around and under to see if you can get a feel for what is already behind there; make sure nothing is already rotting. Plenty of folks see a developing problem and patch it up; kinda like they way we treat medical symptoms sometimes.
Cut it out, probe and replace that with a flap of material that allows for blocking rodents but can be removed to asses future issues... or re-foam it with a prettier job.
Oh, please consider i'm sitting on my butt, three dogs pinning me to the couch, watching the boob tube and typing away versus working on our rig.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:17 PM   #5
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Doubt that. Varments would chew right through that and use it for a nest. Voice of experience. Probably BroncoHauler's water idea. Maybe even sound proofing. It is a head scratcher isn't it
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:00 PM   #6
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You may end up putting some new foam back in place, but personally I would not undercoat it without removing the existing foam and taking a look at the situation behind the foam. If there's significant rust back there, now is the time to find out.


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Old 10-08-2017, 02:20 PM   #7
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Thank you all!

Indeed, probably a good idea to take a look before sealing it up further.
No indication anything is rusting from the outside, which doesn't tell us everything, but it sure isn't the worst!
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:54 PM   #8
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You can imbed stainless steel wool in expanding foam to make it very hard for rodents
to chew through. Great Stuff makes a formulation that is supposed to deter rodents as well, I think it has something that makes it taste terrible.

My Quigley Turtle Top Van Terra has foam in a few places on the underside. I'm pretty sure it's factory, but it does seem like a dirt and moisture trap.
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