90,000 Miles to Me

The Metal Protectant and Headliner

As part of my campaign against rust, mildew, and mold, I now added an extra line of defense to my home.

First, I removed the cab headliner to expose the last of the metal areas, next I used a degreaser to super scrub clean every bit of the interior of the bare van, and then added three coats of a metal protectant to every inside metal surface, and added insulation to the headliner area before finally replacing the headliner again.

Most people don’t bother with any sort of metal protective coating on the inside, and if so then it is usually just the floor. But I read too many stories of people peeling back walls and floors and discovering nasty mildew or rust, that I didn’t want to take any chances.

The metal protectant came from the same Canadian company that makes the Cool Foot roof paint. I used 6 gallons of their Metal Safe sealant. It was a bit pricey, and an addition that doesn’t have an immediate, obvious purpose—not like a bed frame or battery—but I think it will be a good long-term investment, and in the short run, I don’t have to worry about mildew growing behind my walls every time it rains.

Coating every surface of the van in a thick substance also did double duty as an acoustic dampener. I had heard lots of stories of people being annoyed by the sound of rain tap-tapping on their roofs, and so had looked into various options for noise dampening layers, adhesives, pads, and whatnot. This did the same thing for about the same price. Bonus!


On to the installation…or rather, the removal of the headliner:

Taking the headliner out also meant disconnecting the cab overhead lighting and other wires.

The headliner, overhead storage and lighting, and visors, are all down.

Now it is empty space, waiting to be coated.

The metal coating looked and felt like thick, black tar. Smelled nasty, too. It was so thick that the brush could stand up in it, and it didn’t so much drip as glob.

Making sure to get all the holes and crevices. Those attachment points (bottom of the photo) were all removed for the coating, and only a couple strategic ones replaced again later.

One wall coated.

The entire inside of the van, except the floor, ended up looking like this. The floor will come later, since I will be walking on it to work for quite a while and don’t need the sticky tar getting on everything or attracting all the random bits of whatever that fall on the ground, like wood chips and sawdust.

Because building the partitions are next.