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Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy #748458
May 16th 2019 3:38 pm
May 16th 2019 3:38 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline OP
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Deathorvictory  Offline OP
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Portland, OR
Hi All,

I have a 79 B200 that in general is in good condition. It was a california van but has pretty bad drip rails and some other sections of rot rust. Unfortunately there are a number of sections in the rails where the rails themselves are flaky and have spread to below the rail and above on the roof. There is even a section on the front wheel arch on the drivers side that is rotted through where the water from the drip rail came down. The A pillar seams are also bad. The low end of the van is totally fine as it never saw snow or salted roads but when the rail sealer cracked as it always did, water was able to collect and destroyed the rails.

Whats the best way to repair this? My thought is to cut donor sections of vans that have solid rails and cut them maybe 2-3 inches below the rail and up on to the roof maybe 2-3" above the rail? I know there are lots of layers to the side/rail/roof assembly and welding that all back together may be difficult and just wondering what the best approach to rust repair in this manner would be.

Any help from anyone with experience on this would be much appreciated. Thank you for looking. A few example photos below.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748459
May 16th 2019 3:40 pm
May 16th 2019 3:40 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline OP
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Deathorvictory  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
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Portland, OR
I happen to live in a very rainy state and would love to eliminate any further expansion of rust on this van. I plan to fill in the side windows so body work will be a big project but willing to take it on, if it seems like its salvageable.


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748466
May 16th 2019 4:17 pm
May 16th 2019 4:17 pm
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 48
Suffolk County NY
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DontComeKnocken Offline
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DontComeKnocken  Offline
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Those drip rails are such a pain in the ass. I tried POR 15 on mine since they weren't rotted through but just get destroyed from always holding water inside of them. Anything that isn't rotted through I try some rust converter and then I like to coat stuff with cavity wax to prevent rust from coming back. I did the same with the windshield frame too. The front fender looks like it won't be too bad, not as much work as the roof at least. Depending on how big the rust holes in the drip rail are I would maybe consider hitting them with a needle scaler, spraying with rust converter and then filling them in with either weld or fiberglass. If the holes are too big for that then transplanting sections from another van would be the way to go. I've done a lot of rust repairs which have held up over a couple years but it seems like a constant battle to stop things like the drip rails, pillars and rear valence from rusting.

A good way to prevent it however, is to drive the van everyday:) If its always on the road water won't pool up in the drip rails haha.

Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748473
May 16th 2019 5:11 pm
May 16th 2019 5:11 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline OP
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Deathorvictory  Offline OP
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Portland, OR
I'll have to take some better pics of the conditions up close on the roof. One section has a few holes (above the front side barn door) then are some sections like along the back corner where the drip rails are eaten all the way through and rusting below the rail line. The metal is getting kinda fragile in certain spots.


I'd like to drive it every day, but even if I did that when its raining, its parked at my work for 8-10 hours while Im in the office. Also its a gas hog. So its tarped while its not being used at home at the moment to keep it from getting worse.


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748587
May 19th 2019 1:02 pm
May 19th 2019 1:02 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline OP
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Deathorvictory  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
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Portland, OR
Alright, here’s some better shots of the rust.

Drivers side rear van corner
[Linked Image]

Passenger side rear van corner
[Linked Image]

Same passenger spot, above the drip rail
[Linked Image]

Passenger side above the side window below the rail seam
[Linked Image]

Same spot above the rail
[Linked Image]

Worst spot is above the barn doors.
[Linked Image]


I know for sure all the rust would need to be removed before fixing any metal but based on these condition and the fact It’s not on a flat panel, but all creased, folded and welded areas, I feel like it’s a real challenge. I could see fiberglass working in some areas, or maybe welding, but I don’t really know.


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748588
May 19th 2019 1:35 pm
May 19th 2019 1:35 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
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Reed  Offline
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Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
That is a comlex joint on the Dodge van body. There are 3-4 different body panels that are pinched together and welded at that seam. You need to do lots on investigating to make sure you have found all the rust and the repair will neutrallize and eliminate all the rust damage.

Start by grinding back to back metal, then remove any interior and inspect for rust inside and out. Start cutting the metal away and keep looking for rust inside the van. You might find far more than you anticipate.

The repair will likely involve fining a rust free van to get sections of the drip rail out of.


Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748589
May 19th 2019 2:20 pm
May 19th 2019 2:20 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline OP
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Deathorvictory  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
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Portland, OR
Thanks Reed. I’m definitely worried about finding more than I anticipate. I know it will be a pretty big undertaking if I start it.

It’s difficult finding a rust free van in these parts since it’s so wet. But thankfully I think all of the rails are the same on 71+ up vans so I hope that maybe finding a newer panel van can get me some good quality metal.

I’m going to patch the windows as well whenever I decide to do body work, I already found a clean panel for one side so It will be a slow accumulation of metal I think. My goal is to take the summer when it’s dry and get to as many vans as I can and use whatever I can.


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748595
May 19th 2019 4:06 pm
May 19th 2019 4:06 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Reed Offline
Maniac
Reed  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,871
Fircrest, WA
Yes. The roof is the same from 71-03.

Good luck!

WRCsixeight has a thread on the board about his repair of the roof rail above his windshield. He is a fiberglass guru and used resin and fiberglass to repair his van.

Last edited by Reed; May 19th 2019 4:06 pm.

Windows- they're what make a van worth owning!
Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748596
May 19th 2019 6:19 pm
May 19th 2019 6:19 pm
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 123
Oregon
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Don_F Offline
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Oregon
I am about 4 hours south of you. I use to pick up junk older cars and cut up the panels to sell on the internet. I was a pretty good business for a while until scrap prices went up and everyone got rid of their junkers behind their houses. Anyway the point is I would tell some of the people to just use thier rusty van/truck/car as a parts vehicle and let me find them a good shell for the same price. No one would listen! So I would get the same shell and cut it up and send them their parts. Like clockwork about 5 years later they would call asking if I can get them a clean shell this time. There are a LOT better vans to put your time and money into. Even if you have to spend two days driving to LA with a trailer, instead of grinding rust.
Here is one in your town that looks promising.
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1055267308005973/

Here is one in Washington a few miles east, for cheap. It is in WA, so it may have more rust than the pictures show.
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/896823160666282/

Re: Drip Rail/A-Pillar/Front Wheel Arch Rust Repair - Best Strategy [Re: Deathorvictory] #748605
May 19th 2019 10:47 pm
May 19th 2019 10:47 pm
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
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Deathorvictory Offline OP
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Deathorvictory  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 141
Portland, OR
Dang that 78 brown one is really cool. Sucks because I have a good amount of time and money into my current van. I love the 71-78 body style much more than the 79+ but I’ve had it two years already and most of it is in good shape. But I also know that it would cost a lot of $$$ to get it where I want it. Mines an auto with a 360 and is a great running van so it’s got a lot going for it. I have been considering if another van is worth starting over with.


1979 Dodge B200 Shorty
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