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daveb 05-04-2014 08:27 PM

Body stress cracks
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OK, I wasn't too happy with this. I've already talked with a body shop about the stress crack at the rear side door and have been watching it for some time now.

Now this weekend I noticed this one. Don't know how long its been there but I'm way more worried about the location.

Guess my question to any of you body pros is how alarmed should I be? I'm not planning any rock crawling until after I get it repaired. My guess is they'll have to pull the window and it already has been repaired for a chip so my guess is I'll be springing for a new front windshield as well. Exactly how do they fix that and can it be reinforced? BTW the yellow is glue not rust.

Thanks for any help...gonna take er to the body shop tomorrow.

E350 05-04-2014 09:04 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
No pro here, just comments from a peanut in the gallery:

Dude! I am so sorry to see those stress cracks. We both know that Ujoint and Bajasportsmobile are probably the best guys to answer your specific question. But (that won't stop me) to add to the knowledge pool, about 10 years ago I was sitting around a campfire and I disdainly commented about how a pickup truck bed flexes vs the cab, and about how my stock Bronco and my 4x4 van were better because they were more rigid, and I was schooled by the campfire guys that the reason vans were not made oem in 4x4 is because the body doesn't flex. And that even my Bronco did not flex as well as a 4x4 pickup truck.* And that for true offroading you can't beat a 4x4 pickup truck because the bed is disconnected from the cab.

I don't offroad. My 4x4 van is for snowy roads only. But I plan on lifting the body 2 inches, so I hope I don't suffer those same stress cracks...

PS, with even a Harbor Freight 90 Amp flux core mig welder and a Makita 4" grinder and a can of white spray paint you can make that look like new. But that does not address your problem. Which is likely that you are expecting your van body to take the place of your suspension. So "travel" occurs in your body and not in your suspension...? *

That long travel Dana 50 IFS Bajasportsmobile front axle is probably looking pretty good right now...?

PPS, of course the body flexes more with a hole in the roof. You cut one of the four sides of the box out. I can hear creeks between my fiberglass roof and the remaining metal roof when I go over speed bumps at an angle for Christ's sake. (In my dreams I imagine that one day I will weld a sheet metal roof as pretty as the unibody tall Sprinter roof. But then I wake up and realize I have way too much other stuff to do...)

BTW, your picture below is probably cool to everyone else, but it is a nightmare to me. There is an unspoken dissimilarity between you sand SMBs and us snow SMBs, but in Rodney's words we are all SMBs so we should just all get along.

* I always wondered if the reason the Bronco had a fiberglass rear top was to enable additional flexing between the lower "pickup" type bed and the rear top. I bet BroncoHauler would know the answer.

** BroncoHauler: touche! Below, does it count that I was driving to Eddie Bauer when I encountered that speed bump at the Mall?

daveb 05-04-2014 09:12 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
Just worried that you fix one and another pops up elsewhere...nature of the beast I guess. I wonder if it has something to do with the top being cut out. But I can't say I don't do a little off roading with it :b1:

BroncoHauler 05-04-2014 09:57 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
Better a stress crack on your van body, than your body.

Bummer to see that, but at least you earned those cracks wheeling it, rather than driving over speed bumps at the mall.

As for fixes, I don't think it will be pretty. Will probably require some backing material welded on.


86Scotty 05-04-2014 10:03 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
Wow, I've NEVER seen that, and I've gotten pretty intimate with lots of high mile fleet delivery vehicles (read old Fedex vans). I've never seen that at a half million miles, but we do start breaking rear leaves by then. Weird. I'll be curious to hear what others with more offroad knowledge than me say.

photographix 05-04-2014 11:13 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
That's a bummer, Dave.

Something else we get to worry about along with the 6.0's. :a6:

daveb 05-05-2014 12:49 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
Looks like both cracks started on a spot weld. Body shop isn't that worried about it but attribute both due to body flex. They didn't come out and say it was the top being cut out as the root cause but said there is more flex due to the doorways. The window guy also told me the van front windows flex more than most vehicles. They plan to reinforce both areas but also warned more spots might pop up where no backing is. :b7:

E350 05-05-2014 01:02 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
Hey daveb: I just remembered reading one of those Ford van upfitter bulletins that said to disconnect both batteries and the PCM plug before welding on the van. I hope I am remembering correctly I don't have access to the bulletin. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

Zeta 05-05-2014 01:19 PM

Re: Body stress cracks
I wonder if new or different body mounts would help? Would one go stiffer or softer?


daveb 05-05-2014 01:25 PM

Re: Body stress cracks

Originally Posted by E350
Hey daveb: I just remembered reading one of those Ford van upfitter bulletins that said to disconnect both batteries and the PCM plug before welding on the van. I hope I am remembering correctly I don't have access to the bulletin. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

I'll hit them up on that...thanks.

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