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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, new to this forum...I have a 2003 Limited 2wd 7.3 psd, with 344,000 on it. I purchased it about 4 years ago at right around 300k. I love driving it, and use it a few times a year to pull a 9500 lb travel trailer. I recently started noticing a leak inside, which led me up to the roof (I admit I haven’t been up there much) where I discovered some rust. It appears the previous owner removed the roof racks and bondo’ed the mounting holes. I recently moved from Fl to Va and I think the freezing weather has allowed the bondo to crack along with the paint over it, and water leaks in. I’ve had two estimates, for around $5000, to replace the roof. One shop wants to use OEM roof panel then do separate repairs on the edges (I was told the OEM panels don’t go to the edges in the back). The other shop wants to get a donor roof and replace everything 6 inches down the pillars, which to me sounds the better option.
So I wanted to get some other opinions. Any other options I haven’t considered yet? Would it be possible to just cut out and replace the rusty areas? The body shops didn’t seem to think that was a viable option. Or should I just drive it like it is for 5 more years? I have the areas covered with flex seal tape for now to keep the water out...
Im torn between doing it right and keeping a fairly rare vehicle on the road indefinitely, or getting a newer 6.7 psd truck, or just patching this one up and getting what I can out of it.
 

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If the problem is just that the roof rack holes need to be closed up, a custom body shop can weld them closed. It might take a bit more hammer and dolly work, but maybe the shops you went to don't have those tools anymore. Bondo is a crappy fix for thru-holes, as you found out.
 

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As Kevin said, without a picture it’s hard to make an assessment, for a temporary fix if you’re worried about continued water damage— I use 3M 5200 on my watercraft. It is a above and below water line silicone and sealant and is tough! almost impossible to remove. I have used it on thru hull fittings and holes drilled below water and have never had a leak. Just an idea to get you by for awhile— I usually buy mine at Home Depot.
 

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One word of caution- if you decide try the sealant in place of tape you’ll have to work fast. It starts curing quickly and you won’t get a smooth texture.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I should also have said that there also is some rust around the lift gate hinges. I haven’t noticed any worrisome flex in that area as of yet, but I’m sure it’s not great long term. The Ex is pretty clean underneath so I wonder if maybe there was also some previous roof damage from a tree limb or something?
Its tempting to just patch it and go, but I know the rust will continue to do its damage under the surface...
 

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If the rust hasn't perforated the roof, you can treat it and stop it from growing. There's a product called Evaporust Gel that neutralizes rust (Actually the liquid product works much better, but it's going to be hard to immerse your Ex in it ;)). Then use something (Rustoleum or similar) to encapsulate it.
Rust is the pits (ha ha). Believe me I know about that with my '51 Chevy Pickup project. (oops, can I use the C word here? :p )
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I’m not sure if the rust has perforated the roof, or if it’s just the holes that used to be there for the rack, but rain water will leak in on a heavy rain, or did before the flex tape anyway..
so I can spend $5k on roof repair or $10 on flex tape lol. Does anyone know the production numbers on this. I know it’s around 175k total, but I’m thinking the 2wd limited with the 7.3 must be a pretty small number of the total.
 
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