Building my Adventure Van (2011 NCV3)

PaulDavis

Member
Thanks Paul!

I was just going to mask around the panels.. but after reading yours and Mean_in_green's threads about the potential for rust under those panels it just makes sense to remove them and plasti dip under them as well.

So it sounds like it is just a gentle prying job pulling the panel straight away from the van (not forward or backward) and eventually the clips "pop" loose.
I'll wrap a paint scraper in duct tape to do the prying so I hopefully don't mar the paint.

:cheers:
I still think think this is a crazy idea :) I'd be willing to bet that when your Sprinter finally rusts (and I hope that it is a long long time until it does) it will start inside the paint (and plastidip) layer(s). However, I hope it takes so long that I'm not around to find out!
 

PaulDavis

Member
Trivia question Paul: what is required for rust to form?
moisture in contact with oxidizable steel.

I think you meant "Trick question Paul". And I suspect that you believe that chip damage etc. to the exterior paintwork is what leads to moisture contacting the steel and that therefore plastidip will help protect against this. I don't doubt this.

The question is: is damage to the paintwork from exterior damage the primary mechanism by which moisture ends up in contact with the (incredibly oxidizable MB) steel? Or is it more likely that moisture inside the body somehow makes it through either flaws in the paint or long term openings in the paint?

When I look at the rusted out Sprinters I've seen, most of the appeared to me to have suffered from rust which started when moisture came into contact with the steel inside the vehicle and which then led to rust that eventually spread to the outside. There are exceptions, of course, but this seems more common. Typical "hot spots" seem to be anywhere near where water would drain to, so along the bottom edges of doors and the main body.

New Sprinters (well, I saw one 2013) appear to come with the same kind of corrosion resistant coating that MeanInGreen and I both used, but all over the inside of the body where the water drains to.

chip damage is not rare, but i'm not sure it warrants masking and spraying the entire vehicle. You're welcome to feel otherwise - you're the guy doing the work !
 

Geek

New member
When I look at the rusted out Sprinters I've seen, most of the appeared to me to have suffered from rust which started when moisture came into contact with the steel inside the vehicle and which then led to rust that eventually spread to the outside. There are exceptions, of course, but this seems more common. Typical "hot spots" seem to be anywhere near where water would drain to, so along the bottom edges of doors and the main body.

I fear you are far too presumptuous. For you to state "I think you may be making a serious mistake" and "doing a lot of work for nothing", in MY opinion is unproductive and perhaps even egotistical. I don't know you so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt; this is the internet after all... :cheers:

If my van was infact rusting from the inside out, I would be going to the source of the rust on the inside and be fixing/treating it. Unlike Mean_in_green who is in the UK, I live in Colorado where we have very little humidity. People assume because we have snow we have humidity, but this assumption is false. I live in a desert climate. My vehicle has *zero* rust anywhere inside of it. In the last 3 years my vehicle has been "in pouring rain" less than 10 times *total*.

Because this build thread (spread across a couple of forums) has over a million page views, I will take a minute to share my perspective as every time this forum seems to have something posted on it where an opinion is stated as fact, I end up with a crap load of emails asking me "why did you or didn't you do such-n-such". Arresting rust, again in my opinion, is NOT a wasted effort and implying that it is a "waste of time" is a dis-service to the members of this forum for them to not try and solve a rust issue before it really takes hold.

What I do have are rust spots (which at this point are tiny - the largest perhaps 2mm in diameter) on the exterior paint where it has been breached (due to it being excessively thin and not having a proper prime coat underneath - which the hood DOES have btw - and those rock chips are not rusting). I spend a lot of time on dirt roads and trails in Colorado and Utah and the lousy paint simply is not up to it.

It sounds like you understand that rust is an example of corrosion that is caused by an electrochecmical process in which when a piece of metal (an anode) uses an electrolyte (liquid) to bring electrons from oxygen to the anode. Eliminate oxygen and eliminate the electrolyte (often water) and rust does not have the electrical flow required to continue to convert the iron into ironoxide.

When you plastidip an object you *seal* it in rubber.
When applied correctly it is impossible for any type of fluid/electrolyte to travel through it.
It also does not allow the passage of oxygen or the electrons needed to cause corrosion of metal due to the transfer of electrons to the anode (metal).

When I bought the Sprinter I took into account that I would have to repaint it at some early point in its life due to the disappointing quality of the Mercedes paint. I'm now at that point.

I've chosen to experiment with plastidip.
I have zero doubt it will solve the rust issues.

I worked in a paintshop for years - so why not paint it?

1) Plastidip is something I can do easily in my home garage in a weekend.
2) If I decided to trade my van in on a 4x4 when they become available here in the USA in the next year, I can peel the plastidip off and instantly return my van to stock (which has higher trade-in/resale value).
3) I'm curious to see how plastidip does (compared to paint) in my situation - which is offroad drivings debris marring/chipping the paint because it will not mar the plastidip in the same way as the surface has elasticity. (That said there is a good chance I'll snag it with a tree branch or cactus and peal it horribly :lol: ).

:popcorn:
 

Geek

New member
It has occurred to me that I've been remiss in re-posting the rust spots that I'm dealing with (which were posted hundreds of posts ago) which may have contributed to Paul's assumption that my van was rusting from the inside out like the ones that he has seen.

So here are some more pics I just snapped to put things in perspective again:

1) The hood. This is why this entire situation is frustrating - you can see Mercedes used proper primer protection on the hood and the hundreds of paint chips there are NOT rusting. The bean counter who decided they should save money by not putting this coating on the rest of the van should be tarred and feathered. :bash:

Finger for size reference:



Here is above the windshield. They obviously did NOT put the same coating as the hood as each chip is rusting badly. I have dozens of rust spots (not to be confused with the hundreds of rust-like rail dust spots - which is a completely different issue)



... and then here are the back doors - Bluetec badge for scale. My rear doors are covered in spots like this everywhere. I tried to get Mercedes to repaint the rear doors under the rust warranty but they declined.


Then randomly around the van I have lots of rock chips from driving in the desert:


I could just treat the rust spots themselves, but as stated at the very beginning of this build thread, we were anticipating having to repaint the van at some point which is why we took the discount on a white van (which was not our desired color)

It is finally time for that color change! :rad:
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB, Portland OR
Wow, you have a lot of rust spots. My 2013, one and one half year old van has none. Always parked outside in Portland, OR, the rainy state. Do you think that MgCl2 or its combo with NaCl deicers and sand could be at work? My van’s color is Pebble Grey. I regret not getting a Silver one with the clear coat, well, too late.

George.
 

PaulDavis

Member
I apologize for any appearance of presumptiousness. Clearly you do have a rust situation underway, and I understand your desire to try to use plastidip to try to fix or mitigate it. I put a significant effort into rust prevention/avoidance during my (ongoing) build and I certainly would not want to appear to be saying that such efforts are a waste of time. I have also seen the chip-initiated rust spots you're talking about on a few parts of my van, although not the same extent that you're suffering from. I agree about tarring+feathering the bean counter.
 

Geek

New member
Wow, you have a lot of rust spots. My 2013, one and one half year old van has none. Always parked outside in Portland, OR, the rainy state. Do you think that MgCl2 or its combo with NaCl deicers and sand could be at work? My van’s color is Pebble Grey. I regret not getting a Silver one with the clear coat, well, too late.

George.
George: I think as soon as you get a "non-white" van, you get an extra coat of clear included with the color which makes it less susceptible to chipping.
:cheers:

That.. and most of us don't take there vans to these types of places :smilewink:


On "roads" like this:



or this:

 
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Cole

OUTLAW SPRINTER!!!
Cole: I was just down in the front range and it was all cloudy/overcast.

Blue skies up here at 8000
.mobile
Yeah, I was surprised how cold and cloudy it was this morning at the Cars and Coffee in Louisville.

We should have a few nice days here this week for you to spray it. :thumbup: Let me know if you need an extra set of hands.....um....hand maybe:idunno:

I can at least work on keeping the Mountain Lyons away:lol: (which made me curious if we needed a continuous unbroken barrier surrounding your house to keep the dog safe?:wtf::lol:)
 

Geek

New member
With any paint job being 90% prep and 10% spraying... I rubbed my fingers raw today :D



I'm doing a 3 part detailing on every square inch of the van.
This is after an extensive "car wash" (which really does very little to help in the way of paint prep level of clean).

The first is a cleaning agent, the second a de-greaser, and then the third is a paint prep.
Here's an example of the level of clean that occurs between the 1st and 2nd wash (with a lot of elbow grease) - you can see the color difference left vs. right:


Starting with the big stuff...
before:

after:


and then working into every nook and crany - for example this is filthy even after 3 types of washing:


This was half way through the day and you can see how many rags I went through.. and I'm only doing from the doors forward!



I took measurements as to where the emblems were:





...and then removed them with a soft plastic scraper:





Then *carefully* warm up the left behind residue with a heat gun


...and a bit of paint thinner and voila! No more emblem


I spent some time trying to figure out the best way to do the fuel door... and the best way is removing it and doing it right :D :




At this level of "finish detail" doing ONLY THIS door from the window down took literally a couple of hours (doing under the rockers, every nook & cranny, etc).


As for the roof I've arbitrarily chosen this line:

It is "over the hump" from anyone being able to see that the roof is white (unless they are on a ladder looking down).

Masking the awning:


Speaking of masking... some things are very easy to mask like the wheel wells which you can tape from the backside and drape from:


...and other things are MUCH more time consuming like the window edges because they are tight to the paint and have no gap.. so you just have to take your time and do it perfectly.


During the plastidip spraying, anywhere that the masking means a paint edge - like the window, the masking will have to be removed while the plastidip is still wet! If it is allowed to dry, when you peal the masking you could peal the plastidip too as it would be one contiguous piece with the overspray on the masking.

I'm making a list of which tape intersections have this "feature" and the second I stop spraying I'll be removing all of these tapes immediately (because plastidip dries quickly!).

I ran out of daylight, which is fine, because I need to convert the shop to "spray booth" mode which means hanging lights from the rafters - which requires closing the garage door. If I really luck out tomorrow and the air is completely windless I'll remove the lights, open the door, and drape the opening with plastic as the natural light from the south facing door is much brighter than the 8 sets of fluorescent lights I have. But more than likely this will be the mode I'll be spraying in:




Analysiing the cleanliness with fluorescent easily shows any missed spots:



So the van's paint surface is clean and ready from the back of the front doors forward.
Between now and when the ambient temperature hits 65 degrees tomorrow I need to finish masking.

Windshield, Drivers window, Drivers Mirror, Drivers Wheel trim, and then entire van from the sides up and over the top to my paint stop line.

Hopefully by this time tomorrow the front 3rd of the van is dipped!

:popcorn:
 
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Geek

New member
I've spent the morning detail masking.
The front 3rd of the van is probably going to be 75% of the work in this entire project.
Door handle:


Gas gap and draping of rear half that I'm not dipping in this session:


...and I started spraying!

ok, only with the cans at this point - doing some detail edging before I fire up the hvac gun.



It is very windy & gusty today in the mountains so I'm spraying in the closed shop using a fan to pull air threw the small door.
 

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