Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-01-2020, 08:14 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
geoffff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 964
Cracks in the old van

I finally got a friend to weld up all those body cracks I had where the awning used to attach. But I've discovered some alarming new cracks.

This first crack worries me the most. It is visible inside the front passenger-side wheel well. It's about 2" long, in that rectangular-tubular section of the body right where it meets the frame-attachment bushing (or whatever it's called). I suspect this is why I now hear ominous creaking/groaning sounds whenever the front end flexes:




I also see another crack (a bit smaller) in the same wheel well - in front of where the shock attaches. Doesn't seem as important.




Finding these cracks made me decide to cut my Baja trip last month short.

Then my new radiator (1-year-old) cracked and started leaking just like the old one did last year while I was in Baja. I strongly suspect this is from the front end flexing more than it should. The water seems to be coming out of the black plastic "tank" crimped onto the bottom of the radiator.




A mechanic friend tells me the van may not have been designed to endure the amount of flexing my 4x4 gets exposed to.

Any of you also seeing cracks in the body of your 4x4 Fords?

I fear my old van may be nearing the end of its usable life...

-- Geoff
__________________

__________________
2004 Ford, SMB 4x4, RB-50
https://octopup.org/sportsmobile
geoffff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 08:22 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
geoffff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 964
more pics



__________________

__________________
2004 Ford, SMB 4x4, RB-50
https://octopup.org/sportsmobile
geoffff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 08:34 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Denver Colorado
Posts: 203
Wow! how many miles ya got on it? more importantly how many off road miles.
Lilnuts2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 09:59 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Oregon Ciry Oregon
Posts: 2,512
Time to check my frame.
__________________
Larrie
Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog, luinil.com.
Visit my Patreon page: patreon.com/LarrieEasterly
Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
larrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2020, 07:31 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
TomsBeast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Brentwood, CA
Posts: 928
Those all look like sheetmetal body cracks.


I built and drove a V8 Vega in highschool, I'm familiar... LOL!



I typically won't simply weld over a crack... the metal is fatigued and work hardened, is no longer malleable, like it should be. A weld over the top of a crack usually just cracks again.



But there's a top notch repair :-)



I usually drill a tiny hole at each end of the crack, to keep the crack from 'running' any further. Then make a patch panel that I either rivet or weld over the cracked area, at least 1" of overlap in all directions, that helps redistribute the load around the crack, instead of through it.
__________________
1995 E350 7.3 Diesel, 4x4 high roof camper, UJOR 4" lift
TomsBeast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2020, 07:40 AM   #6
REF
Senior Member
 
REF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Boulder, CO.
Posts: 1,942
Send a message via MSN to REF
Cracks in the old van

Zoinks!!
Iím no frame or welding expert by any means, but thatís not good. Iíd want to consult with a good body shop to see what it would take to repair before it gets worse and certainly before your next outing to Baja. They might be able to weld in a plate, but seeing how your body mount bushing is right there it might not be possible without lifting the body or dropping the frame.
Just curious, I donít recall what 4X4 setup you have, quigley or early SMB with front leaf? Stock swaybar? Disconnects?
....sheetmetal? The crack that the frame bushing is under? The other one maybe yes, at the pinch seam
__________________
'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
REF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2020, 09:53 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 4,563
This probably has to with having the poptop, combined with the offroad flexing.

I wouldn't write it off just yet. And yes, you can weld it. You'd want to drill the ends of each crack, and plate over it.

The good news is, since E-series are body-on-frame, so some body cracking isn't the end of the world. If you have similar cracks on a Sprinter or Transit, then it would be game-over.

It looks like you have a front hitch receiver? If yes, I'm surprised that isn't stiffening up the front enough to prevent the radiator leaks. Do you remember what brand radiator that is? Regardless, I think all leaf-spring conversion would benefit from U-Joint's front crossmember, since leaf spring do load the frame in ways not exactly designed for.
__________________
2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
carringb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2020, 03:16 PM   #8
Orv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 321
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post
I usually drill a tiny hole at each end of the crack, to keep the crack from 'running' any further. Then make a patch panel that I either rivet or weld over the cracked area, at least 1" of overlap in all directions, that helps redistribute the load around the crack, instead of through it.

I like this -- if it's good enough for airplanes it's good enough for a van.


I'd be a lot more worried if these were in the frame.
__________________
N8SRE
1990 E-250 Sportsmobile w/ penthouse top, converted when new by SMB Texas.
Orv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2020, 11:52 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
geoffff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 964
Thanks, everyone. Drilling the ends of the cracks is a good tip. Yes I'll get it all fixed up once more after we're on the other side of this stuck-at-home time. And post a full report!


-- Geoff
__________________
2004 Ford, SMB 4x4, RB-50
https://octopup.org/sportsmobile
geoffff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2020, 08:27 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Riverside Ca.
Posts: 412
Ditto what Tomsbeast and Carringb said.
Pull the body bolt so you can pull the body rubber puck out (for welding purposes). If it is too hard use a jack to take the load off the frame. Once you do that plate it or even wrap it like c channel. Get square thin wall tubing and cut it to match what you need or at least L shape the patch. Jeep Cherokee unibodies are plated all the time. Make sure if you put a big enough piece you plug weld this really helps spread the stress over a bigger area not just the end welds.
__________________

Vanimal is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry

MoMo

skyrat

Agnes

alta825
Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×