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Old 01-19-2021, 09:57 AM   #1
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Parking outside on driveway / street vs. garage

Good morning van people,
For my "new" van I will need to increase the height of my garage door opening by a lot to fit it, and it still may be close. (may have to choose between garaging it and having a rack, and a winch may be out due to the length axis anyway.)

What have been your experiences parking the van full-time outside? In terms of impact on the undercarriage, paint, and interior?

The van is a '13 E350 EB (southern state origin), and I'm planning to spring for raptor lining on the top when CCV puts the mid-height top on in a couple of months. I'd also be interested in real-world height measurements of similar builds:
E350 EB, Expo van 4x4 (6" lift), mid-height CCV top, plus full-length expanded metal CCV-installed (brand?) rack. I want the rack for stargazing, etc.

My guess so far is: 89 inches (as measured from a RB Expo Van 4x4), plus 3 for the additional height gain due to the EB / angle, plus 12 inch for the CCV top, plus 6 for the rack=110inches.

But, I don't know if the CCV adds a true incremental 12 inches. (the SMB top appears to be 6 in, but I think only adds less than that b/c of the stock crowning.

My only experience with full-time outdoor parking was that the paint of my light-colored 1988 GMC Vandura conversion van eventually started flaking off all over from rusting underneath the factory paint at the 15-year mark.

Sorry if this has been covered-- I search a lot and couldn't find much except for battles with HOA's etc.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:26 AM   #2
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Nothing harder on a vehicle than parking it outdoors, especially if there are trees nearby. My son's car is left outdoors and we just replaced the windshield seal because it had rotted away and water was leaking into the vehicle under the glass! Maybe you can have a flexible (canvas?) cover made for it.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:58 AM   #3
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Nothing harder on a vehicle than parking it outdoors, especially if there are trees nearby. My son's car is left outdoors and we just replaced the windshield seal because it had rotted away and water was leaking into the vehicle under the glass! Maybe you can have a flexible (canvas?) cover made for it.
Yeah-- we had a similar experience. Wife's garage-kept suv went to the dealer for something small that it took them 2 weeks to get fixed. Their parking it outside discovered a windshield leak, unfortunately not until after sitting for 10 days full of water from a storm. Dealer was the big winner b/c the mildew convinced wife to buy a new car from them on the spot rather than pick up the now smelly car.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:53 PM   #4
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Like most anything else, what you put into it is what you'll get out of it. I have a 2006 which has lived its entire life outside.
I spray the undercarriage 2x/yr, and have it waxed 4x/yr (with quality wax). Fortunately the previous owner was just as judicious in maintaining the Van. Paint still looks new - with a high gloss. Attracts quite a bit of attention, and almost all are astonished to learn its 15yrs old (despite the little bit of forest rash).

Regular waxing also helps "fill" small cavities that develop - helps prevent moisture from getting into areas that would otherwise begin deteriorating quickly.

Would I like to have it garaged while not in use, absolutely.
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Old 01-19-2021, 06:24 PM   #5
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Depends on where you live....
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Old 01-19-2021, 07:16 PM   #6
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We keep our van washed and covered when not in use. We have a 2019 Transit 350 HR 148” WB. 10 ft including 17” wheels, Quigley 4X4, and rooftop AC. Here’s the product: Classic Accessories Over Drive PermaPRO Deluxe Tall Class B RV Cover, Fits 23'-25' RVs - Lightweight Ripstop Fabric with RV Cover (80-416-171001-RT).
10 months after delivery ... so far, so good. Exterior still looks like new except for a few “pinstripes.”
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Old 01-19-2021, 08:45 PM   #7
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It depends a lot on your climate. I street-park my van in SoCal, and the main issues I have are dust accumulation on the body and windows, and UV cracking on the tire sidewalls. Interior fading can also be a problem but that's easily solved by closing the drapes and using a windshield sunshade. Spiders like to build webs on any exterior protrusion but I find that happens indoors too.

This van has actually spent most of its 30 year life outdoors, as far as I can tell. The top seal had to be replaced at some point, and the front window scrapers are pretty shot. The fiberglass top itself seems to have held up well, though. The paint clearcoat is flaking off but I don't know if that's due to sun or due to bad prep by SMB.

For a while I lived in Michigan, and there I had problems with water intrusion -- snow would accumulate on the van and then seep into any crevice when it melted.

A cover can help but be careful -- if it's not secured well it will rub against the paint when the wind blows and damage it. This is worse if the vehicle isn't completely clean, since any grit will act as an abrasive. When I lived in Washington State I occasionally saw unfortunate results from covers trapping water...did you know seats can grow mushrooms?
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:20 AM   #8
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Good datapoints. I was curious about covers-- worried about abrasion, but if you wash it prior, that makes sense.
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:57 PM   #9
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My Brother-in-law deals in Antique/Classic cars, PROBLEM with tarps is RUBBING! Wind can wear 'spots' where it contacts on corners etc...IF he used a tarp, he (almost) shrink-wrapped it it it was soooo tight....

We were lucky, our garage had enough room on height, we simply raised header, re-built door frame, bought new/taller garage door. We live in Iowa so the 4 seasons are in full affect and terrible on paint...tornadoes/wind, T-Storms/debris, hail, sleet, ice-storms, 100% humidity, over 100 degree sunfilled days, below zero blizzard conditions....what in the heck are we still living here for lolol
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:23 PM   #10
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We live in Iowa so the 4 seasons are in full affect and terrible on paint...tornadoes/wind, T-Storms/debris, hail, sleet, ice-storms, 100% humidity, over 100 degree sunfilled days, below zero blizzard conditions....what in the heck are we still living here for lolol
As a child, I used to visit my grandparents on their farm in south-central Iowa. Iowa is beautiful country. You are fortunate to live there.
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