Rust on van , differing opinions. What would you do?

Discussion in 'Car and Van Talk' started by Dilby, Sep 29, 2023.

  1. Dilby

    Dilby Member

    Hi all - I have a Citroen Relay van that I'm currently converting into a camper, and over this year some rust has progressively got worse along the top of the stainless door runner. I bought it as an ex fleet vehicle that had been sitting during covid and my guess is that it was resprayed in a rush and I didn't spot it, and it's now coming back (you can see the touch ups in some of the photos I've attached). It looks like standing water between the rail and the body have corroded over time (not sure how but hey ho). The rail can be taken off from the inside and thankfully I haven't got too far on the camper so still have access - but it is a ballache to do, and I'm wondering how far I go with this before I reach a stage where I can't access it at all due the camper walls and furniture being up.

    I have no real proper bodywork experience or the gear, so this would be a case of me taking it somwhere but I was hoping for some advice from some kind folks before I do so I know what to ask for or expect.

    I've spoken to two companies so far; 1 said that they'd just use a Dremel and remove the rust and respray it and there's no need to remove the rail. They've said that once they had a bead of silicon along the top of the rail the water won't get down so if there's any existing rust down there it won't get worse as it won't get wet.

    A second I've spoken to said the rail needs to come off and the while thing needs sanding back and respraying (we have no way of knowing if there's rust behind the rail).

    It's worth noting that it's possible that i'll be wrapping this portion of the vehicle with vinyl, so I'm wondering how necessary a respray is. Or, even if I could just sand the rust parts flat, put vinyl over and reseal and leave it knowing it won't get more wet.

    Would love to know some opinions on this - thanks so much. And apologies for state of van - it's very dirty, it's just the rust bits that are the issue, the rest is just me being too busy to give it a proper clean!

    Attached Files:

  2. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    I’ve done a lot of car bodywork over the years and all I will say is that there isn’t really an easy or quick fix with rust. You either grind back to clean metal or if really bad you cut it out.

    It’s up to you, but since you’re investing into it on a long term basis, then I would take the rail off and do a thorough job now.
    Timbo66, quasar9, arrow and 1 other person like this.
  3. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    As CGN says - once fully exposed, remove worst of the surface rust, treat rest with “rust” converting fluid. Fill any deep pits with body filler. Primer undercoat/topcoat and clear lacquer if used. As it’s so close to the rail, you can get away with less than perfect finish that’s normally warranted on more exposed panels.
    Timbo66 likes this.
  4. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    The first lot are bodgers. Rail off, all rust out is the way to go, especially for a vehicle that is likely to be with you a while without doing big mileages
    Muzungu and arrow like this.
  5. Muzungu

    Muzungu Screwfix Select

    That's what I was about to say. How on earth can you determine the extent of the rust without taking off the rail! Bound to come back in short order, in fact it wouldn't be coming back because it never went in the first place.
  6. Mark DM

    Mark DM Well-Known Member

    Agree with what's been said.. rail off and completely remove rust before repainting. This type of rail is a great moisture trap and rust usually starts around the fixing points through the panel. Wouldn't rely on a silicon seal long term to prevent moisture getting back in. 3M do a bedding strip and rubber bedding compound which is a lot more durable and long lasting.
  7. Dilby

    Dilby Member

    Thanks - never heard of that, just had to look it up. So would I ask whoever does it to ensure this is applied before the rail goes back on?
  8. Dilby

    Dilby Member

    Thanks everyone - for some reason I can't use quotes of multiple posts but the consensus is to do it right which makes total sense. Does anyone fancy hazarding a guess at what price I should expect?
  9. billfromarran

    billfromarran Active Member

    I have restored a few cars over the years and one thing you can be sure of is that rust is always worse than it looks from the surface,and will quickly get worse if not treated.
    What you have looks like a fairly simple DIY job.
    Take off the rail..definitely especially before doing any fitting work inside.
    Get rid of the rust...either sanding, grinding or...if you can get ,borrow or hire..of ..a spot sandblaster gun. This is a small gun which looks just like a spray gun,but blasts a mixture of compressed air and sand on a small area. It will clean the area to bright metal very fast and remove all traces of rust.I just use patio joint sand as it is very fine and not aggressive.
    Then prime,fill if necessary and repaint to suit. Take your time,Do one bit at a time and you will get it looking satisfactory. Its not a rolls Royce so you don't need a perfect finish.
    Don't use silicone as it contains acid ,and guess what acid does to metal.If you want to seal a gap,as Mark says use something designed for car bodywork..try your local motor factor.
    PS.. Just noticed that you intend to vinyl wrap.......Even more important than ever to remove all traces of rust!!!!
    CGN likes this.

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