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Old 08-26-2015, 02:18 PM   #1
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E350 Rust Problems

I purchased a 2007 Ford E-350 Extended Body van from the local university surplus auction. I thought I got it for a good price but after taking apart the rear seats, etc. I noticed some rust spots. I began to wire brush and angle grind some of it away but it kept going. The question I have, is this going to open Pandora's box or will it be manageable.

I took some pictures which can be seen in the album below:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing

Please let me know your thoughts?
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Old 08-27-2015, 04:56 AM   #2
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

Almost a tough call on this one, FWIW I've been there, done that living here in Ohio.

The underside rust at this point is mostly surface only, mostly because the metal in those photos is a bit thicker than the floor. In 8-10 years the under body pieces will be shot, the body by then pretty much toast.

Your floor is another situation, caused most likely by the factory-style rear mat or carpeting backed with the cotton-type material---it absords and holds moisture against the floor, never evaporating out. A stop-gap method would be a thorough wire brushing of every inside rusted floor area then a strictly by-the-book application of POR-15 using their entire system. Due its high solids content I like their silver but color is irrelevant since it will be covered over again anyway, I assume.

Also assuming you'll be adding a plywood floor over the sheet metal floor---avoide the temptation to use any sort of insulation or other material between the plywood and metal. I've used 3/4" which gives enough strength in addition to as much insulation and sound deadening as you'll need.

Over on FTE I posted a write up about my before & after process---here's a link: http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/11...-por-15-a.html

HTH
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:10 AM   #3
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

It's rust, nothing spectacular at the moment. Clean it up, treat it, and forget about it.
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Old 08-27-2015, 10:39 AM   #4
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

I agree, treat it as best you can and then enjoy your van for the next ten years...
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:21 AM   #5
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

Interestingly I had an earlier but same style van with the same problem in exactly the same area. After figuring out why I believe it happened in just that spot I have been wondering why more vans haven't been reported with the same problem. Now I know there is at least 1 other and so presumably more.

As far as I could figure out on mine and it looked identical to yours, the area where you have the rust is where a structural member is welded up onto the underside of the body to reinforce it for the frame to body attachment points and for the seat mounts. There are multiple places for road spray and moisture to get up between the two adjacent panels and of course, in a triumph of engineering over common sense, no effective way for the moisture to get out. I think the rust starts between the reinforcing panel and the underside of the floor and then spreads from there.

Once I started digging out the rust on mine it became apparent that the floor and the heaviest part of the structural member (the rectangular seen in pic 3) plate were basically shot on both sides. This area is were the frame mounts are as well as my seat mounts were located. I was not willing to assume that the same engineers who designed this brilliant system were wise enough to have also made it redundant. I cut it all out and welded in heavy steel panels, sealed it all up with paint and figured it would last as long as the rest of the van and probably longer.

In pic 5, that's a frame to body mounting bolt. In number 2 it's where the seats mount. What you do from here is obviously up to you but if you are not going to use the seat mounts, I would guess the body has enough remaining bolts to hold together for the rest of it's useable life. You can always add reinforcing plate under the body and mount the seat through an intact part of the floor if you do want the seat. It's also not that bad from where you are to cut out the offending material and weld in good steel...

You could also spray a rust converter in every nook and cranny, paint it the same way, seal it all really well with silicone from underneath and bolt in a plate from the inside that overlaps solid floor on all sides. You don't say what you paid for it but if the rest of the van's good I'm sure it's worth it to keep it.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:37 AM   #6
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

Thanks for everyone's input so far. When removing the carpet floor, there was a decent amount of moisture in there. It was slightly nasty to say the least.

It's nice to see that others have had similar issues and were able to solve them.

Also, I will not be reusing the seats in the van so I will be removing the brackets once I get the right tool, should be coming in today.

Just for the record, I only paid $950 for the van.

Witoke-Do you have any pictures of your solution/welding job?
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:52 AM   #7
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

Sorry, I didn't take any. I cut out all the rusted floor in that area and the heaviest part of that member. Slipped a larger plate in from the inside and welded it to the remains of the reinforcing frame and the floor. The replacement plate was probably 10 x 24, 1/8th mild steel. I then covered it with thick plastic roof paint and a plywood overlay.

I am still convinced that the moisture comes in from underneath. Seems to me that the floor would be rusted randomly all over if it was just condensation. Plus in one of your pictures I can see the same thing I had, a penetration through the floor allowing outside air and water to come in.

At $950, assuming the rest is ok, I would say it's got to be worth putting some effort in to saving it!
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Old 08-29-2015, 05:17 AM   #8
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Re: E350 Rust Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by witoke
I am still convinced that the moisture comes in from underneath. Seems to me that the floor would be rusted randomly all over if it was just condensation. Plus in one of your pictures I can see the same thing I had, a penetration through the floor allowing outside air and water to come in.
We can debate where or how interior floor rust enters the cabin and does its damage---all to only have me refer back to more significant rust inside than appears outside.

Referring to my own hands-on experience during first inspection of my "new" '03 E250 EB (shown in the above link) the factory rubber & backing pad was absolutely saturated with water; not moisture as in slightly damp---soaked. After placing a hold deposit I asked the owner to remove the mat completely and flip it upside down so the padding was away from the floor, could in theory dry out in the week before I'd return to complete the sale.

When picking the van up (summer months in Ohio) that mat and padding were STILL soaked, like a sponge in fact. The van had been sitting still for nearly 2 months by this time, no chance of tires slinging water against the under body.

Once home I laid the mat out padding side up on my patio where it sat for another 5 days of warm dry humidity-free days. Each day I'd place a hand in several areas testing how quickly it was drying out.

Curiously that same mat & pad is rolled up laying naked (uncovered/unprotected from the elements) on my front porch but even so the padding has not absorbed any moisture, its fairly dry even 3 years later.

Sooooooooooo all this is saying interior floor rust where an absorbent material such as carpet or carpet padding is a direct result of moisture trapped in that material and it never being able to completely evaporate out. This then keeps that moisture against the metal 100% of the time which leads to interior rust.

This condition also happens to the front seating area, exactly the same way, exactly the same results

FWIW that absorbed moisture comes from bare bones cargo-only vans without any sidewall or roof insulation---our vans "sweat"

Other opinions may exist where or how that rust forms but my ersatz "research" and experience tells me I'm onto something. Even though its my thread on FTE its a good read for anyone dealing with this issue of interior floor rust no matter its severity or state of advance.
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