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Old 07-20-2010, 02:30 PM   #11
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Re: Where do SMB's (and dreams) go to die?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
You all need to have grown up in Indiana. Unless the frame rusts through (even if) then it's nothing. If the body isn't rotting off the frame and doesn't have cancer, then you probably just have normal underbody rust. Seriously, I've looked at year old Jeeps on the dealer lot that were already rusting. I can see a mechanic out West freaking out about something like this, but I doubt your problems are nearly that bad.
Jage, I LIVE and GREW UP in OHIO - and long enough ago to remember when new cars were expected to rust through in 5 years or so. I've had more than one VW where the floor fell out due to rust. And this van has spent its life in Vermont and Pennsyl-Fing-Vania. So no, this isn't just normal underbody rust. I wish it weren't so but it IS that bad. I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel yet - still hoping someone can tell me that this can be saved without a chassis transplant, but it's not looking real good.
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:07 AM   #12
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Re: Where do SMB's (and dreams) go to die?

I'd get a second opinion before doing anything.

On your own inspection, I assume you see and flake off large chunks of peeling rusted out steel from your van frames?

What is the cause? Any mechanic worth their salt (pardon the pun) should be able to identify the most likely culprit. I'd really be interested because I have not opted for a bottom coat (yet) on my 2010 SMB.

I have a 1990 Chevy 1/2 ton and live next to a beach in the northwest salt permeated air. Over nearly twenty years I went through a couple mufflers (no big deal), some shocks, and some other minor component due to rust. The truck has small knicks in the paint here and there, but no signs of body rust. Didn't seem out of the ordinary to me, but your talking anomally here and I just gotto know what happened. I've also seen a couple photos on this forum of folks with significant amount of under body rust - don't know how old their vans are - not that it looked terminal (more like a scale, which can sometimes serve as natural protection on major steel forgings).

Keep the faith!
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:18 PM   #13
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Re: Where do SMB's (and dreams) go to die?

I'm obliged to post a final (?) resolution to this chapter. After searching locally for someone, anyone who could give me a more optimistic read on this, I was able to:

1. Find an "affordable" shop to replace nearly the entire brake system (rotors were OK at least). This made the van safe-ish to drive for the short term while I investigated further options.

2. Find a shop that builds and converts medical exam trailers. They were the first folks I spoke to that weren't basically overwhelmed by the problem and said they deal with these kinds of problems on a regular basis. (Mobile Conversions International in Amelia OH area, for the record.) They were good to work with and seemed pretty knowlegable. They removed the aux gas tank and pressure washed the rusty undercarriage with TSP. When they de-rusted the aux tank it developed a leak (the steel was that weakened) so they cut off the bottom and welded a new one.

So I'm back in business. I'll be finally able to use the SMB for its intended use, not just to go from shop-to-shop. Yes, I did panic a little - there seems to be no need to trash the entire chassis - but I lost the summer and over $3K to get to where I thought I started so a little panic seems justified. See my gallery for before and after pics.

End of story - on to better things. Revive the dream
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:35 AM   #14
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Re: Where do SMB's (and dreams) go to die?

That's awesome news. "We'll just cut the bottom off and reweld"... got to love that places like that still exist. My bet is you'll look back on this and it will have been worth it.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:30 PM   #15
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Re: Where do SMB's (and dreams) go to die?

That just goes to show you, dreams may fade away but they never die. Glad to hear you're back on the road in style. The photos in your gallery seem to suggest somebody did some home made modifications to your gas tanks. The aux tank end looks like a dissimilar metal problem that could have caused the start of all the rust problems. Same thing with the strap (it looks like pot metal). You can't even see the gas tank in the 2010 model - it's got a plastic protector cover over it (probably to keep rocks from dinging it and potentially starting a rust spot or worse, ripping a hole in it).
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