To Patch or Not to Patch


Hello! I want to say thanks in advance for all the experience and wisdom on this website! Already it has been a vast help.

I just finished ripping out the interior of my 2005 Dodge Sprinter 2500. I bought it a week ago and looking to build a winterized home on wheels. After ripping up the floor I found some rust near the tailgate. It's actually rusted right through.

The question I have is: what would you guys recommend? Should I grind out the rust, reinforce with fiberglass or something else, seal and paint it? Or should I get a patch panel, cut out what I can and weld in the patch? I have no welding experience, but I live on an airport and the mechanic here said he would help me out for $20 an hour.

If I did that, any leads on patch panels?



Rob S

2008 Navion J on 2007 V6
I might just try to powerbrush off all the rust, which appears to be mostly just surface from the picture, then reinforce the holes where the latches engage by minor welding, and then re-paint with the best galvanizing paint you can find.

Not sure to what extent you can gain access to the underside to clean and repaint that area as well.

I think suitable patch material for this particular area and shape will be pretty hard to find.


My advice after welding up mine and doing some welding on various vehicles before:

- Make a note of what should go where before you start, take photos and make measurements and maybe even a card template of the floor you're going to repair first. That way you have a template for the holes and mounting points.
- Sand all the rusty bits away until you're back to metal, if you've made huge hole you can cut a template patch panel and weld it in place. It you've just got some small holes you can patch weld it up and build it up gradually.

It doesn't look too bad to me, but the only proof is once you start removing the rust that's been munched away. Have you checked under the plastic steps and the sliding door runner? those were rust magnets for me when I stripped ours. I also would recommend getting underneath and checking the brake lines for rust. They are dead easy to get to and follow the fuel tank back to the rear axle. Get them carefully wiped down and then coated in some nice anti-rust paint or something similar.


New member
If you dont wanna get too invasive you could treat and paint the rust, and make a little aluminum plate of sheet metal that matches all those holes and stuff and just screw that on top. That way if it has to be redone you can just pop the plate off. I just did this with the bottom edge of one of my doors cause it was all rusted and i didnt have time to fully restore it with some welded flatbar


New member
Oops just realized the clips for the threshhold might not be long enough if you do that. Oh well


New member
vintage car guys have pretty good luck with POR-15. Anything structural should be replaced with steel, though.

If you're going to be putting in some DIY camper/conversion flooring, I don't think it would matter if you replaced the ribbed section with flat steel (assuming you can't find a matching ribbed donor). Welding is obviously best, but many body shops use adhesives for some applications.

Rust is like cancer, it must all be removed or encased or it will continue to spread.


Right on. I've been working the last couple days mostly on the slider step area, and the driver side rear wheel well. Both areas are getting fiberglassed tomorrow after two days of arduous prep work in both very tightly restricted places. Will be happy when they are done.

After looking at the floor more closely, I think that will be a much easier fix than the step and wheel well. Yeah, I can have it welded. But I also might just bolt an aluminum plate to the c channel at the bottom door strike area, bolt the floor to it, seal the **** out of it and call it a day. Currently undecided. I guess it will depend on if the welder will be available or not. Will update once its finished :)

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
If you are near salt at all I would avoid adding aluminum to the mix. Over time you could have reaction with aluminum. My choice would be steel. Galvanized steel would be fine.



Well, I'm mostly in Colorado and California. No salt on roads. But There is plenty of scrap steel here on the airport that I can use. It's not galvanized but I can probably get away with a couple years without worry if I just paint it well.

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