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We are anxiously awaiting our new 1500 136" high roof. The dealer tried to sell us on undercoating for $199 and Oil Changes for the life of the vehicle for $680. They will change the oil 2x a year for as long as we own the vehicle. We are thinking on passing on both offers but I'm curious on what other owners think.

Is the undercoating worth it? We live in Montana and they don't use salt but do spray calcium chloride or something similar on the snow and ice. Will it even prevent rust? Does it help lower road noise?

Can I easily change the oil with the van on the ground in my driveway? Taking the oil change for life appears that it will take 5 or more years to pay off with the amount we will probably be driving the van.

Thanks in advance for sharing your opinion on these options!
 

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I’d say NO to both:
Having lived through winters in the saltiest winter roads in America for 55 years I have tried every kind of “rustproofing” ever conceived by the mind of man. They fall into three categories:
1. hard tar like substances that coat everything well when new then crack and hold salty sand under themselves to encourage rusting worse than nothing. Remember nothing lets the van get washed off in those spring and summer rains.
2. Thick sticky layer that seems to be based on some chemical with a consistency like butter at room temperature. These are better but present a nightmare of dirt and sticky shet when you need to do anything under the car. The application is often over zealous so it is everywhere. It gets on the spare, and shields, and ....... !
3. Oily liquid that lasts for a year. Oddly this is the best and good old Bar and Chain oil works wonderfully. I bought an F150 in 1986 and did this myself with a cheap compressor applicator each fall and drove that truck 14 years and it had very little rust. Near us now a few businesses are using a Lanolin based oil for this. Bring back the sheep!
None of these are worth $199 in an area that doesn't salt continuously. NH is nowhere near the problem VT was. MA is hardly a problem at all due to regular winter rains that wash the salt off. Vehicles (yes the PM) are galvanized now so they last 10+ years even in the North East Kingdom of VT!

Oil changes? Do them yourself. The diesel is the easiest vehicle to do I have ever owned! I’d guess the gasser is easy too. You can do them for about $30. Lets see, thats about 23 oil changes- 160,000 miles if you change at 7,000 miles. You going to drive that much?
 

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For reference, the panels I removed to replace with windows have been standing in the dirt for nearly 3 years. Raw edges buried in dirt that is often wet. It took two years before the slightest hint of rust appeared on those raw edges. Even now it's just a faint speckle.
 

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If you have a gasser and change the oil yourself every 9k miles (as the oil change light indicates) you would spend a bit over $500 on synthetic oil & a good filter (18 oil changes X $28) so the oil change could be ok if you drive 160k miles as RD indicates but changing your oil twice a year is nonsense, one a year for very low miles is fine but mileage is far more important. All in all - do it yourself.

RD is correct on the undercoating - a waste of your money. I live in salty NH and have no signs of rust in 80k miles and 3 years. Undercoating tends to cause more rust than prevent it.
 

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...We live in Montana and they don't use salt but do spray calcium chloride or something similar on the snow and ice. ...
Technically, calcium chloride is a salt. There is no evidence it is any less corrosive to steel than rock salt (unrefined table salt, mostly sodium chloride).

RD has described the rust proofing options well. I would only add that the the soft, waxy oil (item 2 in list) is indented to be sprayed inside boxed metal structures and requires more sophisticated application and detailed knowledge of the body structure. It's unlikely you would get that done properly for $200. I agree item 1 does more harm than good. The hard tar does not flow well enough to penetrate body lapped metal seams so it ultimately can't prevent salt water from wicking into all the metal seams. It's debatable whether the soft, waxy oil would even penetrate seams if just sprayed on the underside (as opposed to sprayed inside body structure.

Similar RD's bar oil, I've used a lighter oil product for yearly protection called Boeshield. Woodworkers use it to protect cast iron tables from rusting. It's similar to WD40 in that it sprays on, but it leaves behind a more substantial wax coating than the light oil film of WD40. You can literally leave bare cast iron treated with Boeshield out in the rain. I spray just the body seams liberally, let it soak in, and wipe off the excess so it doesn't collect dirt under the vehicle.

Promaster and Transit both suffer from sloppy body assembly. If you want to do some good for $200, take it to an auto body shop and have them fill any gaps in the factory seam sealer. Or, you could do it yourself. Look especially in the fender areas where you can see big gaps that would let dirt and salt into the rocker panels or rear log leg. Once inside the body, the salt and dirt holds moisture which accelerates corrosion from inside. Search the threads here and you will find multiple people have had problems with water intrusion into the lower body. On the plus side, some Promaster literature claims the body is 100% galvanized steel.
 
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