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I have a '05 Laramie Crew cab Dakota.I know that it is 10 yrs old. But now I have noticed rust at the bottom of the driver's door, near the rear of the door.
Body shops won't tackle a repair just on the rust, they only want to re-skin the door at projected cost of $1500.00!!!! , I guess I'm lucky the rust didn't begin much earlier. If there are any Dakota owners out there with the same problem, what was the cure?
 

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Ugh! Rust is horrible. To control it, you have to completely and utterly kill every microscopic bit of it, otherwise it will return.

Although a small blotch seems like an easy fix, rust can be one of the most difficult repairs to make because it can come back, if it's not eradicated. It is truly a form of cancer.

I had a similar problem. I bought my Dakota back in '05, and the car fax history showed that before I owned it, it lived in Michigan and was likely exposed to road salt. There was also a few small spots of rust, including in both doors, in the same areas, you described. At the time, I just treated the rust with a dab of POR15 paint, which is supposed to kill the spread of rust, but probably just slowed it down. However, years later I discovered major rusting on structural components supporting the cab, which eventually failed. At that point I had no choice but to somehow repair or replace the rusted part. I chose to take the extreme, and replace the entire cab, with a rust free one. (I also took that as an opportunity to get a larger quad cab)

My suggestion to anyone who finds rust, like yourself. Start by looking beyond the doors. Chances are, there is more rust somewhere else on the truck, and you'll have to address those too. Inspect every square inch of the body. Get underneath and even behind the fender flares if you've got them. Flares are particularly notorious, because they can trap dirt and mud, and rust out your wheel wells in short order. Check the rocker panels too. They tend to rust from the inside out. Make sure every drain hole is clear. There are a few on the bottom of each door and under the rocker panels. Hose out any mud you find.

If you find any spots of rust, try to get rid of every bit of it you find. Grind it out, or cut it out. It has to go, or it will spread. The worst areas will be those you cannot easily access. You'll have to get creative, to get rid of the rust and it may become a much bigger job, but if you want the truck to last, you'll have to do it.

Chemically treating rust, such as painting with POR15 or similar, or using a rust convertor will not stop rust from spreading, but it can buy you more time to address it. However one of the best all time things to stop the spread of rust is to coat the metal in oil. Oil is a natural and extremely effective rust stopper. The only problems with using oil is that it's messy, and requires constant reapplication, but if you have a part thats not easily seen and it's rusting from the inside-out, where you can't see it and repair it, at the very least, oil over the rust and it will stop the spread.

OK, back to your original question. Fixing your doors is going to be a bigger job than you want to know. The outside of the doors isn't difficult to access, it's the inside. Theres no way to get a grinder inside the door cavity to grind out all of the rust. Cutting out the rust spots and patching over the holes is another option, but it's very labor intensive, because the patch is difficult to blend in with the rest of the door without a lot of effort. You can't blame the shop for wanting to re-skin the doors.

There is another option. Replace the entire door with rust free units. This is something you can do, but you'll have to paint the doors to match. In fact you may want to repaint the entire truck because old paint is usually full of microscopic scratches and cracks that allow moisture to reach the underlying steel, and cause rust to form.

Ed
 

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Rust is rust i deal with it all the time around here as i live on the east coast of canada and we get roadsalt about 5-6 months out of the year. The only way to help stop it is to use a oil on all unpainted parts, also you can drill a small hole in the inside of the door and spray oil inside the door. You can use just about any kind of oil, the best stuff to use would be hydraulic oil, or power sttering oil but you can buy stuff like fluid film but you will need quite a few cans and they go for about 10-15$ a can here.
 

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The way doors are made is the outer skin is literally folded over the frame of the door. This creates a sandwich which is a haven for rust if it is not treated properly to begin with. It also makes it completely impossible to eradicate rust and repair the area without removing the door skin....or doing a hack job... I have made some repairs where I just cut out the rusty section, including the folded over part and replaced it with sheet steel without worrying about replicating the folded over part. Total hack job though for my own truck, wasn't trying to trick anyone into buying it.

I pretty much agree with the above that your choices are either to have the door reskinned or find a rust free door.

Fluid Film is a great product, expensive if you buy it buy the spray can, but at least here in the U.S. you can get gallons to spray using a $15 undercoating gun. I can do 2 full undercoats of my truck for one $50 can, including inside rockers and doors. I do one coat before winter and one halfway through. Highly recommend that stuff, oil works awesome but is messier.
 

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Por 15 is a very decent product! However idk of anyone that has found the perfect product. Tbh rust is almost impossible to stop especcially if you dont have a garage to keep your truck in. but por 15 will definetly slow it down alot. rust oleum truck bed coating is good too.
 
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