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?
2002 E350 ext.; 160K; 7.3L; 4R100 (w/4x4 deep pan & filter); 4x4 conv. w/2007 F250/F350 coil frnt axle (oppos. dual Bilstein press. shocks cured DW) diff chg from 3.55 to 3.73 (bad!); BW1356 t.c. (bad!); LT265/70R17/E Michelin LTX M/S2; Engel MT60 Combi Fridge-Freezer; 4 BP 380J pv panels; Auragen 5kw AC gen. in top alt. position; Webasto Dual-Top; Voyager top. 1995 5.8L EB Bronco, bone stock.