Make your Campervan Conversion Watertight
Cleaning and Sealing Mercedes Sprinter Side Trim
A lot of people don't realise that the side trim bumpers on a Mercedes Sprinter can leak and let water into the inside of the van - shocking eh! So that water could potentially be coming inside your van making your insulation wet and soggy which is really not ideal.
This is quite a shocking flaw with sprinters and may well be the same case with other panel vans with side trims - its well worth checking them all.
There are drain holes in the sills of sprinters which allow any water that comes in to drain straight out, however - as you can imagine with these being low to the ground they can get clogged up easily and need regularly cleaning out. The trouble is, once you have insulation in place the water will just get stuck in that rather than draining out so you must make sure you dry it all out, seal the trims and unblock the holes before insulating.
How to Clean and Seal Mercedes Sprinter Side Trims
Ideally you would do all this before the insulation goes in so you can seal the clips from the inside but it can be done retrospectively too.
Step 1: Locate the drain holes and unblock
These can be really tricky to find at first but once you find them and know what you are looking for it's dead easy!
Start just behind the front wheel and look under the sill - with a very small screw driver remove any muck and look out for what looks paint imperfection or a raised up area and behind that there should be a small hole that you can just fit your screw driver up. Insert the screw driver and give it a good waggle around to clear any muck. It goes without saying - be careful not have your face right under it as you could get showered in mucky water!
These are spaced at regular intervals along the sill - make sure you go along and clear them all.
Step 2: Remove Side Trim
Some of the trims have little screws which need to be removed first before pulling the trim off. These are usually found inside the wheel arches - you may need to dig around to find them and clear the dirt out of the holes. We needed a small star head screwdriver to remove these.
Then you can either use a flat head screw driver (carefully) or you can get plastic spatula type tools to get underneath the bumpers at the ends to remove them. You have to be very careful not to damage the paintwork whilst prizing the first few off then you should just be able to pull the rest off.
Step 3: Remove any clips which have stayed in the bodywork
You will find that some of the bumper clips will come off with the bumper and others will stay in the van. To get the ones out of the van you need to use a little flat head screw driver to push the small ears either side the clip to get them out (can be a bit fiddly). The following video shows how to do this easily:
Step 4: Clean and polish the holes, clips and bodywork then add sealant
Get rid of all the dirt and grime under the trim and then ideally polish the bodywork which will help to prevent rust. Make sure you clean the clips too as otherwise you will be pushing dirt back in the van.
Step 5: Place all clips back on trim add sealant & push back into bodyworkPut all the clips back into the bumper add sealant around the clips circular collar and then push the side trims them back onto the bodywork carefully aligning the clips with the holes in the bodywork - you may need to give them a bit of a tap to tease them all in.
Step 6: Seal the clips and the tops of the trim
You can put sealant around the clips from the inside of the van which doubly protects everything however if you are doing this after the conversion is finished/insulation is installed then you can skip this bit. You can then either seal the tops and bottoms of the bumpers with silicone which will probably need replacing every few years or you can buy kits like this:
Once done you shouldn't have to do this again but it's worth occasionally unblocking the drain holes just in case the water finds a way in and it can be released again. You should also keep an eye on the sealant and if it degrades replace it. In doing all this you will both be preventing your insulation and inside of the van getting damaged and preventing rust.
If you have any questions then please drop us a line here.