I live in a wet area that gets about 120" rain per year and have been pretty diligent about rust prevention on my rig(2004 E350). I have had all of the under carriage and door panels treated with rust preventer and plan on going back to the shop that treated it once a year for touching up. Unfortunately, I just noticed a small area of rust crop up on my rain gutter above the rear door. I took the van to a body shop that is supposed to have a good reputation thinking that the rust spot could just be treated, sanded, and painted over. However, the guys at the shop brought it to my attention that there is a seal in the top of the gutter that was put there by Ford for cosmetic reasons to hide all of the welds along the gutter. They said that the seal on my van had become hard and brittle, cracked along its edge, and that this was allowing water to come to rest under the seal causing the rust on my gutter. They likened the situation to a truck bed rusting out under one of those plastic bed liners.
Their recommendation is to grind out the seal(about 10 hours of labor for that alone), and treat all of the rust areas. Then the roof and gutters would need to be repainted and clear coated. Upon further discussion it was also thought that replacing the seal would be a bad idea as it too would eventually become brittle and crack, starting the process all over again so after the rust is all treated the gutters will be left bare and painted over. My van is lifted and I don't really care about the cosmetics of my roof that much since it's not really very visible from ground level. I just don't want my rig to succumb to rust as I plan on being buried in it someday
The estimate for these repairs is a whopping $1200.00. Anybody else dealing with rust on their gutters. I imagine that this must be a pretty common issue on these vans and it would be great to hear about other's experiences and solutions.