Second chances…

Giving our van a face lift! We decided due to the amount of time our van spent on dirt roads and the numerous rock chips near the bottom that adding a rock guard paint would be a good idea -specifically we opted to use professionally applied bed liner. Of course like everything we vastly underestimated the amount of time and work it would take. Actually I had a pretty good idea how much work it was and I knew I wanted to do the absolute minimum amount of body work. When we were looking for a van Aaron kept showing me all these very rusty vans and saying well look at this price tag we could fix this up.

I however found a couple small rust spots behind the panels so I popped them off because I wanted to make sure they were completely sealed up before we started to build out the interior of the van. I make it sound so easy, but those panels were not particularly easy to take off -there are panel popping tools that would have helped but we did not have them when we started, and it only became a necessary purchase after our struggle to get the door panels off. Once all the panels were eventually off we cleaned it all with soapy water and had to seal all the rust spots inside and outside with pinch weld primer -Sprinter vans are notorious for leaking underneath those panels so we wanted to make sure it was never a problem.

After all the rust spots were dealt with on the inside and outside. We sealed the rust spots with pinch weld primer followed by an application of zero rust spray just to be extra careful -we do live in an area where rust is a common problem. Luckily we have a wonderful neighbor who does body work and he helped us with this whole process.

The next step of the process was to decide exactly where the rock guard line was going to be. We used 3M green painters tape to mark the line that the rock guard was going to go. So many decisions to make and always the second guessing about whether we are going to hate what we decide. We decided to follow the line of the panels all the way across the bus. We used the green painters tape to make sure that we didn’t accidentally sand higher than we wanted to go.

Next, we finished all the never ending sanding along the side and on the hood -we decided to do the hood too as it had a ton of rock chips in it. We then washed up all the sanding residue and we used a gun wash to remove the dust and clean the surface. After that we used wire tape to mark the lines between the bedliner spray and the original van colour.

We then used the painter masking tape and “handy mask” which was so handy to prevent any over spray. We protected any part that we did not want sprayed. Finally it went to the shop to get the bedliner sprayed on. I had watched several video’s on people doing the spray on themselves but in discussions with our neighbour apparently the cans of spray on bedliner do not tend to hold up more than a couple of years.

Lastly she came out of the shop looking so pretty with a whole new lease on life. There were definitely moments along the way that I wondered if it was really worth it. It was a lot of time spent away from the actual van build. However, it is the little things that make so much difference. I am so glad we took the time out of the van build to protect the van and keep it looking so much nicer.

Here she is looking all fresh and pretty straight out of the shop. The last step was to clean up the side panels and put them back on. We used Meguiar’s Plastic Restorer on the plastic panel to clean them up before we put them back on.

And finally, we used an adhesive and sealant to apply the panels so they should never leak. They might never come off again but they definitely won’t leak.

“Sometimes, life gives you a second chance because just maybe the first time you weren’t ready” (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: