View Full Version : T1N Passenger Rust

03-06-2013, 05:23 PM
I did some extensive research last few days about T1N and rust issues. I read in a few places how having metallic black paint protects the vehicle from rusting. I also read somewhere that the cargo models because they were knocked down and shipped here was one of the main reasons for rust.

Can someone help me understand this better? I am considering purchasing a T1N but don't want a rust bucket. I would have gone with a NCV3 to have more power but they are much more expensive. If the car has no rust is there anything that can be done to seal it or protect it from rusting?

03-06-2013, 06:10 PM
The paint quality on the T1N cargo vans is not good. The standard Arctic White seems more prone to rust. I wouldn't buy one without looking at it yourself. If you find a rust free, or mostly rust free one, you can treat the rust spots and then paint over them. One place to check is actually under the door steps. Water can collect there and cause extensive rust.

03-06-2013, 06:35 PM
I am looking at a non cargo van - The passenger version.

03-06-2013, 06:41 PM
My '04 is a metallic silver passenger and it rusts like there is no tomorrow! They are the worst vehicles for rust I have ever seen! I'm constantly fixing rust spots.

03-06-2013, 07:13 PM
My '06 white passenger van also has quite a bit of rust that I will need to tackle this summer (need the van to last until 2020 or 2021 - kids and numbers thing). Strange this is that it is isolated to primarily two panels both on the passenger side of the van. Rest of the van looks quite good.


03-06-2013, 07:23 PM
Is there anything that can be done about rust? The one I am looking at is a California van but I would hate that within 1-2 years it start rusting in the salty streets of Chicago.

03-06-2013, 08:30 PM
I used to live in Chicago - Rust is caused by all of the street salt that is put down in the winter - you will want to find an under coating company to protect your van - do it as soon as you possibly can.

03-06-2013, 08:32 PM
You can fix the rust as you find it.
The best option would be to spray the whole van with
rust bullet dot com
then paint it.
After all of that $, you're probably better off getting a new model without the paint issues.
Best is to find one that is as rust free as you can and spot treat it with rust treatment, then paint.

x2 to the undercoat

03-06-2013, 08:37 PM
My understanding is that the new models also had serious rust problems as well. Some of the threads I read said people had cars hardly a few years old developing rust.

With http://rustbullet.com/ is it necessary to paint it? What about hitting with a coat of gloss?

Aqua Puttana
03-06-2013, 10:41 PM
I feel that the standard Sprinter arctic white vans have serious issues with either inconsistent metal quality, surface prep or paint quality. Even after a grind down to bare metal, prime and new top coat the rust will readily pop out again in the same area. Altered Sprinter Richard would probably disagree with me.

As much as I hate to admit it :dripsarcasm::dripsarcasm:

Richard is probably correct that a regular wash, wax with good quality products should keep a Sprinter with good solid paint from going bad. I would think a good polish/wax every other month would be an appropriate program. I have no data for support.

That said, I treat my Dodge Sprinter truck like I have treated every other truck I have owned... it gets a bath when nature decides to supply one from above. Maybe with a clean and wax supplied by me on occasion. As much as that program served me well for decades, it is not working so well with my Sprinter. :bash:

Surprisingly the under body panels are holding up extremely well to our northeast road salt vehicle abuse program. Good luck. vic

Altered Sprinter
03-06-2013, 11:11 PM
I've been on the forum for what seems years.I can say that there are two Arctic Whites one most likely is the N/American models the other as in OZ Type 11 is not a problem..
However the weak points are the sealants as to being water based they do shrink with age, and this is where the rust can enter.
Bolts on tow bar, replaced with Marine grade stainless steel never rusted since.
Photo taken in macro format looks worse than it is, clearly shows the shrinkage of the sealant below the main window screen Left hand side.
De-lamination of sealant under the same side Left hand side, the drain hole blocked up with litter last winter, enough moisture and microbes to lift the sealant of off, since been repaired temporarily till the weather cools down.
The screen area is most vulnerable, to rusting

This van is now eight years old, yes it has little chips here and there , ,however its proven to be the most reliable van I have ever owned, hence the primary reason for not off selling it for a newer model of which have one too many electrical or ecu and sensor problems for my liking.
Cheers Richard

03-07-2013, 12:52 AM
The van I am considering is black. Hearing about the reliability has got me thinking about this van. New MBs are soo problematic that I strongly urge to stay away from them (not sure about NCV3).

03-07-2013, 01:03 AM
I haven't seen such rust on a high marquee model before.
They rust like the early Toyota's and there is no salt used on the roads here.
I have not seen a T1N Sprinter rust free under the wiper blades ever.

Dear Mr Mercedes
wake up, your killing us and your reputation.

03-07-2013, 01:12 AM
That's whats got me worried about buying a used one in mint condition. I wonder if Mercedes does these things intentionally. They probably realized that if they make them last forever people wouldn't come back to buy another.

03-07-2013, 01:26 AM
Mine, a '96 T1N in Arctic white in the UK where we spread rock salt on the roads if it looks like getting near freezing seems to be mostly rusting from the inside out, presumably as a result of condensation running down the insides of panels and pooling along the inside of the sills and bottoms of the doors.

The original (I assume) underseal is doing a great job and I can't see any issues with the chassis rails, except just forward of the forward jacking points, where holes in the top of the rail (for radiator mounts if I recall) line up directly with the rust, so clearly water has run into the rails there. Likewise the floor seems to be in great condition.

As Richard says the seam sealant is cracking on most seams, on the side panels this means the rust extends a bit higher where the seams are, to above the sills. I have just done some sill repairs, almost all of the drivers side! Cut the rot out and made inner sill piecemeal last weekend, made new outer sill piecemeal this weekend (including up onto the side in may of the seams). I wasn't particularly tidy with it as the sills are pretty well out of sight most of the time, I just needed there to be no sharp edges in preparation for MOT test so I did it quickly rather than neatly. There is a shoulder where the sills transition to the sides and my fabrication is pretty poor at replicating those so I may well buy some repair panels in the future and re-do those areas.
I have managed to prime the new sills, and have used brushable seam sealer on the inside exterior tonight, unfortunately it started raining afterwards so I haven't yet seen how it looks dried, got a feeling it might crack a bit and need some touching up - this stuff makes an ugly finish so don't use on outer panels, for there I need to use the sealant in a tube which I can smooth down whilst wet and which will look OK once overpainted.
My plan is to apply underseal (schutz) over the seam sealer, both products should remain flexible, only worry is I haven't had a chance to test compatibility. I will then use cavity wax to coat the interiors of the sills and hopefully protect from water running down the inside of the panels - there are plenty of plastic hatches to pull off to gain access to the inside of the sills (rust was below the level of these).
This is not the only way to do it, some people prefer stonechip over underseal, and some people will spray a coat of wax over the top of whatever else they use as extra protection against salt. There is no shortage of confusing rival products out there to help you proof your van or car!

Apart from the sills the lower parts of the doors rust out (same reason, although there is a recent thread about window seals, I noticed after that that mine don't seal either), and the front wings and wheel arches - wings due to the drain above the bonnet sending water down the inside of the wing where it is just primed. The wings are easiest to change, there is a bit of sealant to cut but aside from that it's just bolted up, and replacement wings are easy to find (mine are actually second hand ones that were in good condition, but I cleaned up and painted to be certain). Front wheel arches are not too bad but need to be cut out and replacements welded in - they are complex in shape and have a lot of spot welds to drill out, but actually with a bit of care over alignment I found they passenger side went fairly well (not done drivers side yet).

Door skins are available (partial so you will have a seam somewhere) but the frame rusts out too. Only done the passenger door so far and I was able to rebuild the frame using flat bar - not perfect but holds the skin in the right place. The slider skin is currently completely separated along the bottom, i have taped it for now and hope it will be acceptable for the MOT - I do have the replacement skin but have not had time to fit it, and the frame is going to take more rebuilding than the front door did.

I do have rust in other places but the bulk of it is sills and doors.

For your purposes, if buying a van that has spent it's whole life in California and is still pretty immaculate - I reckon you should think about cavity wax for inside the sills,chassis rails and door skin-coat as necessary.

03-07-2013, 01:38 AM
I don't have any doubt the car manufacturer's would love to give everyone plastic cars, by introducing poor workmanship practices of metallic structures soon everyone will beg for plastic whilst not realizing they have been conned.

03-07-2013, 02:16 AM
Rust?, Smust. You want rust, buy a 2005 Chevy Trailblaser(really an Isuzu ass-ender). My 2006 Sprinter has rust, various places, but I work on it, keep it under control. We all know there are vehickles that need more tending than some. To me, most of the rust is light lifting, clean, sand, prime, paint, easy. ...white on white. There is a bunch of stuff in here about it. I remind everyone to check under their plastic step covers. Bad rust to me is that stinki'n Chebby, frame, upper,lower controll arms..all that stuff, can't get to it, going south.

03-07-2013, 10:58 AM
Most of the guys here are DIYers. Unfortunately, I am not one of you guys. I had a mint military G wagon that would develop surface rust which I kept worrying about. In the end I gave her up only because of worrying about her cancer spreading. I swore never to buy anything with any rust again.

The passenger van I am looking at shows no exterior signs of rust but as beautiful as sprinters are they seem to rot from the inside. Does anybody believe its possible for their to be a 2006 black sprinter with no rust.

03-07-2013, 11:30 AM
Does anybody believe its possible for their to be a 2006 black sprinter with no rust.

Look under the bottom front windscreen rubber then report back. :rolleyes:

03-07-2013, 11:54 AM
To start with, it's a Mercedes. What do you expect? Their cars aren't much better. I wouldn't have a MB car as a gift!

My minibus is now 12 years old and suffers here and there with rust. Usually around this time of year it becomes more noticeable due to the previous few months of salt spreading on the roads. As the better weather approaches I rub it down and touch in, then give it a good polish. Thing is, it's the same areas I'm treating each time.