Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-25-2017, 10:08 AM   #1
Senior Member
SteveInLA's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 369
Body damage repair advice needed

A few weeks ago, we were camping in the back country of Carrizo Plain. Overnight rain turned the soft dusty dirt roads into squishy slippery mud roads. I lost traction on a banked part and slid sideways into a big bush. The branches damaged the sheet metal on the driver's side of the van.

The metal is only dented, but the body shop says they would want to heat and cool the metal to shrink it back to shape. They wouldn't feel comfortable doing that unless that part of the interior was removed which turns this into a whole different kind of job. It is an EB-50 layout, but taking out that cabinet probably means removing much more.

Here are my options as I see it. What is your opinion?

1) Take the van to SMB West, let them remove/replace the interior and have a body shop in Fresno do the repair. Pro: Interior removal done right. Con: Big bucks and long time without the van.
2) Remove/replace the interior myself or find someplace in So Cal to do it. Pro: Don't need to drive to Fresno. May save some money. Con: Can I trust anyone other than SMB to do the job?
3) Live with the dent. It looks a little better now that the mud is washed off. Pro: Costs nothing. Con: Reduces resale value. Evidence of my poor off-road driving skills for all to see.
4) Buy a driver's side Aluminess ladder. Pro: Cheaper than repairing the damage. Sort of hides my shame. Con: Doesn't address the damage. Don't really need another ladder.

Any other options I haven't considered?


2010 Red EB50 V10, Quadvan 4WD (El Guapo Rojo)
1978 VW Westfalia Champagne Edition (Pepe - gone, but not forgotten)
SteveInLA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 10:18 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Newberg, OR
Posts: 1,009
Talk to a paintless dent removal tech.

They can get some ugly dents out without using heat like that body shop is talking about.


mgmetalworks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 10:18 AM   #3
Senior Member
Bellpilot's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bend, Oregon
Posts: 302
Seems like a body shop could pull the dent out and complete the body work all from the outside. They weld pull pins on the exterior and us a slide hammer to pull the dents out.
2010 E350 6.0 4x4 EB 50 SMB
2012 E350 V10 4x4 RB 50 SMB (sold)
2007 E350 6.0 4x4 RB 50 SMB (sold)
Bellpilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 10:36 AM   #4
Senior Member
rallypanam's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: San Francisco/Nevada City
Posts: 3,687
Yes, find a good dentless guy.. or find someone who will pull the dent from the outside (weld on stick slide hammer tool thingamajob), throw a little bondo on it and spray it. My guy up here would fix that for $300 or so.
rallypanam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 11:15 AM   #5
Senior Member
Bbasso's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 1,258
Chick's love battle scars...
The hold stories too

I say let it be and use the $ for more adventures!
2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
Bbasso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 11:17 AM   #6
Senior Member
Bellpilot's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bend, Oregon
Posts: 302
Bones heal but chicks dig scars, is how I remember the saying!
2010 E350 6.0 4x4 EB 50 SMB
2012 E350 V10 4x4 RB 50 SMB (sold)
2007 E350 6.0 4x4 RB 50 SMB (sold)
Bellpilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 11:33 AM   #7
Senior Member
wadewaydo's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Flagstaff
Posts: 193
Get a second or third estimate. It does sound like the shop is being extra cautious, maybe they've burned up a few interiors...
1995 Econoline E-150 Custom Campmobile "Jupiter I" RB, 4wd Dana 60s, 93 Eurovan poptop.
1976 VW Type II Transporter Westfalia Campmobile.
1994 Toyota 4Runner,2001 Ford Escape,1970 Chevy El Camino,2 Cargo Trailers, 5 bikes, 4 Kayaks, 1 Canoe
wadewaydo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 12:11 PM   #8
Senior Member
shenrie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: boise idaho
Posts: 2,274
I tried paintless dent repair on mine, but for some reason they couldn't do work in that spot. I live with the dent. Not quite as bad as yours, but real close to same spot on opposite side. I'll be interested to see if you can find someone willing to try it. My guy said he was sorry but placement didn't allow him the accesses needed. I'll never understand, but his work was outstanding on our tl.

"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
shenrie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 12:39 PM   #9
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 29
W have a 2003 SMB and had one of the original BFG "D" rated tires on the left rear shred most of its tread. Tire stayed inflated but the left rear quarter panel was crumpled and the bushwhacker flair went flying. We got the same advice as you regarding the repair. I.E. the cabinets had to be removed. The reason given was the inability to rust proof the inside of the repair. Ours was bad enough that a new panel had to be installed requiring welding. A slide hammer/bondo repair would most likely work for you but you would still have some bare metal on the inside. Luckily for us our insurance company agreed with letting us have the cabinets removed and replaced as part of the repair, and when the inspector looked at our install he recommended that we take it to SMB Fresno and have the body work done near them. SMB recommended a body shop nearby that did a fantastic job so it now looks as good as new.

If you want to repair your ding I recommend talking to your insurance company as we did. The only issue we had after the repair was a plastic water line that rubbed on some jagged metal created by the repair. I was able to reroute the affected line and it's been good since.

After that incident we went to the "E" rated BGF's. Three of them were so out of round that they wouldn't balance and had to be replaced. While this should be part of a different thread, I know of several other SMB's that had tire failures with the BFGs with similar results to our incident. I now use Toyo All Terrain tires and they balance perfectly and wear very well.

Best of luck with your repair... or scar..
darryldickie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2017, 12:52 PM   #10
Site Team
daveb's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,855
Oh man Steve, that sucks. What ever you can live with. How about having a large thin aluminum plate made to hold a couple of Maxtrac's? Pulling out the interior can open the door to rebuilding with a bit more quality than SMB or even if at one time you wanted to redesign... ever want a window there?

Originally Posted by Bbasso View Post
Chick's love battle scars...
Originally Posted by Bellpilot View Post
Bones heal but chicks dig scars, is how I remember the saying!
but the question is if the wife likes it

2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote

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

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

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 12:13 PM.

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