Source of rust: I have a theory - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 15th, 2014, 11:46 PM
bababoris
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Boris Kogan
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Source of rust: I have a theory

My second post. Hopefully it will make sense.

I own a Defender 110. I've had it since 2003. Most of the time it has sat in a covered garage. As I am sure you know, it comes with running boards that look like this:


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After taking a closer look around the truck last weekend, I was really disappointed to find that the running board on the passenger side experienced a significant amount of rust:
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What I find interesting is that only the passenger side has rust and ONLY the outer side/pipe of that particular running board. The inner pipe has no rust at all and the driver side one is completely free of rust.

That got me thinking. If the rust was caused by the environment, I would expect that both set of running boards would have some rust, perhaps not equal amount but some. Since that isn't the case I am wondering if something corrosive has been leaking from the engine down through the engine well onto the running board pipe, collecting there on the pipe and causing it to rust. As I felt underneath that pipe, I can clearly tell that all the rust is on the underside of the pipe which to me makes sense as that is how moisture would collect, and it runs along the entire length of the pipe but is most severe in two spots (one of which is the pic I posted).

I have suspected for a while that the engine is leaking coolant and that at some point I will need to get a new set of head gaskets but I did not think the fluid leak was sever enough.

My questions are: could cooling fluid be the culprit considering this is happening on the passenger side? Could there be another cause? Is my theory sound or am I off base? Thanks in advance for you help and let me know if I can provide additional info.
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  #2  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:04 AM
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Odds are it was caused by a stone chip and enventually rusted out.
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  #3  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:10 AM
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The running boards are crap. They are powder coated and have poor drains. One chip of blocked drain and they rust out.
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  #4  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:13 AM
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I wouldn't think Coolant would be caustic enough...stone chip seems logical. Man made objects are full of imperfections it may have not even have been that.
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Old January 16th, 2014, 12:14 AM
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Boris Kogan
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Ok so theory being flushed down the toilet as I type this...

Is it relatively easy to find replacement boards, ideally keeping the truck as original as possible? And if you find a replacement set, are they easy to replace? Since the driver side boards are still in good shape, is there a process to seal them in order to prevent or extend their life? Thanks
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  #6  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:39 AM
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I can't comment regarding rust repair but I have a method for rust prevention. My previous truck, a 94 NAS, had very little rust when I sold it. This truck had lived in the mountains of Utah for two years and in Colorado for three. I was totally fanatical about washing this truck. If I ever drove it on a road with snow, it was at the car wash as soon as the roads were dry. I went to the credit card washes and typically spent $15-20 at a time washing the truck. No matter how windy and how cold and shitty it was, I was out there washing my truck to keep the salt off. It did a very nice job.

Another thing I did was the "redneck waxoyl" treatment. I thought it was a good idea and later made fun of myself for doing it but looking back now, that shit actually worked. Diesel fuel and paraffin wax, heated on a hot plate and painted on a cleaned frame. Every part that got that crap painted on it stayed nice and clean. I would do it again and still laugh at myself.
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  #7  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris snell View Post
I can't comment regarding rust repair but I have a method for rust prevention. My previous truck, a 94 NAS, had very little rust when I sold it. This truck had lived in the mountains of Utah for two years and in Colorado for three. I was totally fanatical about washing this truck. If I ever drove it on a road with snow, it was at the car wash as soon as the roads were dry. I went to the credit card washes and typically spent $15-20 at a time washing the truck. No matter how windy and how cold and shitty it was, I was out there washing my truck to keep the salt off. It did a very nice job.

Another thing I did was the "redneck waxoyl" treatment. I thought it was a good idea and later made fun of myself for doing it but looking back now, that shit actually worked. Diesel fuel and paraffin wax, heated on a hot plate and painted on a cleaned frame. Every part that got that crap painted on it stayed nice and clean. I would do it again and still laugh at myself.
That's funny... I didn't realize that was yours Chris, I remember drooling over it when Expo Journal or something of the like posted its for sale ad online.
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  #8  
Old January 16th, 2014, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z.G View Post
That's funny... I didn't realize that was yours Chris, I remember drooling over it when Expo Journal or something of the like posted its for sale ad online.
For some reason I thought I'd met you and you'd ridden in my old truck but I was confusing you with Taylor, who I met at SCARR in 2010:

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  #9  
Old January 16th, 2014, 01:15 AM
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The running boards were a dealer installed option. Most did not have them, most of those that did rusted away by now. They are crap.
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  #10  
Old January 16th, 2014, 07:08 AM
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It is common for the passenger side to rust out first. Due to the crown of the road, water runs off to the right side of the road (left side in the UK) so it is typically wetter. As such, the front passenger side tire kicks up more water/salt/crude than the driver side.
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  #11  
Old January 16th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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Just the way it goes. My driver side step rusted thru to the point of no repair. The passenger side was rusted and bubbly but still solid.

You can find new ones starting around $300 if you look around.

I replaced mine a couple months ago. Fairly simple (except for some rusty bolts/nuts).

I most likely will pick up another set assuming at some point they'll go again and at that point they'll probably be NLA.
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Old January 16th, 2014, 07:51 AM
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My Dad would drive to work 25 miles along a road that ran by the sea.
Drive home using an inland route.
The side of the car facing the coast every day always rusted faster than the other side.

Explain.
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  #13  
Old January 16th, 2014, 08:26 AM
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I have nothing to add except to say that running boards are far and away one of the dopiest accessories on any vehicle. They add nothing useful. Right up there with highway pegs on a Harley.
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  #14  
Old January 16th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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I can say with certainty that a leaking head gasket did not rust out the outer tube of your running board.
On the contrary, coolant is full of rust/corrosion inhibitors. Additionally a leak @ head/blocks seam to running board corrosion is virtually impossible
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Old January 16th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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Prevention:
Coat the underside with waxoyl and spray wax into the tubes.
Just like treating car doors.
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  #16  
Old January 16th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
I have nothing to add except to say that running boards are far and away one of the dopiest accessories on any vehicle. They add nothing useful. Right up there with highway pegs on a Harley.
Agree.

I would even take them off of my Suburban but in a way i think they save the lower door panels from the winter road grim. But they are not very useful - can't use them to load stuff on the roof and to stand on them to get in is more work than just hoping in.
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  #17  
Old January 16th, 2014, 09:13 AM
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Why not have a set fabricated, and do it right? Then reuse your plastic tread pieces.

Sometimes it seems like LR intentionally dipped everything in salt water prior to assembly.
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  #18  
Old January 16th, 2014, 09:17 AM
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I would be more concerned with the rusted hinges and bolts that will sooner or later make for a bad day for somebody.
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  #19  
Old January 16th, 2014, 09:34 AM
bababoris
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Boris Kogan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
I would be more concerned with the rusted hinges and bolts that will sooner or later make for a bad day for somebody.

Good call out. That is on my to do list.

------ Follow up post added January 16th, 2014 06:35 AM ------

Thank you all for the great info, input and options for addressing this. Very much appreciated
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  #20  
Old January 16th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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Bob Vogler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
I have nothing to add except to say that running boards are far and away one of the dopiest accessories on any vehicle. They add nothing useful. Right up there with highway pegs on a Harley.
I take it you're not height-challenged like me! Without the step rail, I'd resemble a kid on monkey bars trying to climb up into my car.

As to the rust issue, I think Chris Snell's post sums it up--get the salt off as soon as possible. Up here in the soggy Pacific Northwest, we have a well-deserved reputation for getting lots of rain. But Seattle rarely has to salt its roads because we don't get a lot of snow. As a result, our cars don't rust out the way they do in other areas. After reading this post, I just checked my step rails and they are virtually rust-free, as is most of the car (it's spent its entire existence here in Seattle). I've never been particularly obsessive about washing it, so I would conclude that the lack of salt up here makes a big difference.

Our biggest cosmetic problem is moss--if you leave your vehicle sitting for awhile, it will soon have moss growing in every crack on the north side of the car. Of course, that means you never need a compass when wandering through Seattle.
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