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Old 10-03-2022, 09:23 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Dodge Ram 3500 Campervan rusted frame

I have a 2003 Leisure Travel Van based on a Dodge 3500. Everything works and is in good condition but I have been told that the frame at the front end is so rusty that it will not pass a safety test. Is it possible to repair or replace this? Or do I now have a “little house on wheels”?
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Old 10-03-2022, 11:10 PM   #2
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I have a 2003 Leisure Travel Van based on a Dodge 3500. Everything works and is in good condition but I have been told that the frame at the front end is so rusty that it will not pass a safety test. Is it possible to repair or replace this? Or do I now have a “little house on wheels”?

I know there have been a couple of Dodges that had the front frame sectioned out and a donor frame put in, but it was very expensive and approached the value of the van. One that was documented had all kinds of trouble after the fix because the shop didn't get things hooked up right going back in. They had pulled the engine out for better access to the frame repair so it could be done from the top and bottom. The Dodges, unlike the Chevies and Fords of that era were a semi unibody that kind of looked like body on frame but was all welded in so it takes a lot more work the just unbolting the body and lifting it off like you could do the other brands.



You would have to find a Dodge 3500 of your year of chassis, which might be different from the motorhome year so be careful with that. Most likely you would find them in the US south or maybe the west coast. Shipping would be very expensive. I think anything close to you would probably not be in very good shape either as they have rust issues in the salt areas of North America with pretty much all of them, I think.


Tough situation, I fear, and not any really good ways around it.
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Old 10-04-2022, 02:20 PM   #3
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Default Rusted 2003 dodge 3500 leisure travel van

So, it seems that my “seemingly perfect” campervan with rusted front end is flawed to the point of not worth repairing.
Do you know where in Canada I can get it “recycled”?
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Old 10-04-2022, 06:46 PM   #4
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I have a 2003 Leisure Travel Van based on a Dodge 3500. Everything works and is in good condition but I have been told that the frame at the front end is so rusty that it will not pass a safety test. Is it possible to repair or replace this? Or do I now have a “little house on wheels”?
The Dodge vans around that time are very susceptible to front end rust on the frame. The following link is a story that someone wrote up of his attempts to repair a rusted frame. It is long (it goes no for eight or nine posts), but worth reading. From what I recall it does have a happy ending, but this was ten years ago.

https://fivespokewheel.com/2012/05/2...-little-rusty/
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Old 10-04-2022, 09:49 PM   #5
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Default Rusty dodge ram campervan

Thanks, I have an appointment with the “Frame expert” in town who is of course on vacation right now.
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Old 10-06-2022, 04:24 PM   #6
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Thanks, I have an appointment with the “Frame expert” in town who is of course on vacation right now.
Please keep us updated. I will be interested to hear if you can solve the problem, which is of concern to everyone who owns a vintage Dodge Roadtrek. The frames can be maintained indefinitely, I think, if you keep an eye on them and don't drive when there is salt on the roads.

I skimmed quickly through the posts on that link above, and it looks like he did solve the problem at a reasonable cost and continued using the RT for years afterwards without problems.
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:22 PM   #7
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Please keep us updated. I will be interested to hear if you can solve the problem, which is of concern to everyone who owns a vintage Dodge Roadtrek. The frames can be maintained indefinitely, I think, if you keep an eye on them and don't drive when there is salt on the roads.

I skimmed quickly through the posts on that link above, and it looks like he did solve the problem at a reasonable cost and continued using the RT for years afterwards without problems.

He mentioned the price for the frame and delivery which really was inexpensive so he got lucky on that one. Others have paid big for them, especially when they have to be shipped a long ways.


He did not give a total price for all the rest of the work and parts, though, at least that I could find. Just statements about "reasonable" which can be just about anything in reality.
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:55 PM   #8
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Perhaps another solution is find a similar body style van in reasonable shape and make it a campervan by transferring the camper parts. I know on the old VW Westfalias you could take the camper parts and unbolt and put in other VW Vans. I don’t think Leisure Travel Vans or Pleasure Way Vans are as easy but I sure with a bit of work it could be done.

Given the cost of newer vans I think that is something I would consider. Also if you are not up to the task yourself there probably is an independent van builder in Quebec that might consider doing the work for you.
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Old 10-09-2022, 07:31 PM   #9
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Default Charitable Donation (CRA Receipt) for ??Non-Saleable Vehicle??

Spouse & I (Canadians) have just donated a 2005 Toyota Matrix "beater" to Kars4Kids generating a charitable tax receipt for about 2X the value quoted to us by local scrap/recycle/parts salvage operators/other used vehicle charities. The system was seamless including flat bed on-site pickup of the vehicle although we could have driven it to Ottawa for drop off if needed. Sorry to read that you have a "good deal" gone bad. kars4kidscs@kars4kids.ca 877 527 7454

**Many other such organizations: so shop around for the best deal available.**
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Old 10-10-2022, 03:13 PM   #10
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Would it be possible to post a picture of the rust?
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Old 10-12-2022, 04:28 AM   #11
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I have a 2003 Leisure Travel Van based on a Dodge 3500. Everything works and is in good condition but I have been told that the frame at the front end is so rusty that it will not pass a safety test. Is it possible to repair or replace this? Or do I now have a “little house on wheels”?
If you do decide to not repair it, you might try selling it first instead of recycling it. Someone might want to just park it someplace and camp in it, or use it like a tiny house. A neighbor of mine has a 1960's era travel trailer at the back of her back yard that she just uses in her yard. She has it fixed up inside and has a gazebo not too far away from it.
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