Prevent a Leaking Roof


Prevent a Leaking Roof

Here’s the situation: there are a bunch of threaded holes on top of the Transit roof. These threaded holes are used to install roof rack and such. If you climb on your Transit roof, you won’t find any of these threaded holes because they come with rubber plug and Ford simply painted over them. So let’s say you want to use the threaded hole, you would have to remove the paint and the rubber plug. We didn’t use any of these threaded hole so we left the paint untouched. Unfortunately, it seems that the paint cracks over time and as a result the roof leaks:



Here are the threaded hole locations:



It seems we’re not the only one having this issue:  FordTransitUSAForum


After 6 months on the road, we noticed dripping water coming out of the wall over the sliding door; because our ceiling is insulated and finished, we could not locate the exact location of the leak. But we assumed it came from one of the threaded hole, so we climbed on the roof and we found that the paint was slightly cracked around the plugs (see previous picture). No big deal, we had some Silicone II in our toolbox and sealed the deal:

Ford Transit Cracked Paint
Faroutride Sixth Month (15)
After. So you think you could do better at 10F (-12C) with frozen hands, huh? 😛 (note: we heated the metal with a heat gun to follow the 40F temperature application of the silicone)

Don’t Panic!

It’s a quick and easy fix. If you’re at the early stage of your conversion, you should probably seal the paint as a preventive measure. You could, for example, use the Dicor self-leveling sealant leftover from the roof fan installation (

Note: if you’re thinking of sealing from inside the van, be aware that some of them are located under a frame and are not accessible… (source: FordTransitUSAForum).


Food for thought

Because we insulated our van using Thinsulate (, water found its way down; we were alerted of the leak immediately and we could fix the issue at the source. If we had use foam board or spray foam (or whatever), water would probably have been trapped and accumulate somewhere (remember some of the threaded holes are hidden within frames) and rust over time or drain all at once when driving and make a huge mess. Also, as opposed to denim or fiberglass insulation, Thinsulate is hydrophobic and don’t retain moisture; it will dry soon enough. We think that’s another good reason right there to choose Thinsulate (Buy on Amazon) for insulation…




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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!




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4 thoughts on “Prevent a Leaking Roof”

  1. Just found loads of water in my transit today which I’m currently converting and filming for my youtube channel “Mispronounced Adventures”, I guessed this was issue, went up on the roof. turned out it was the same. thanks for the article on it!

  2. Hey there is another possible reason contributing to your leak. When you insulate the roof of a house, it is required to have a ~ 3″ air space on the cold side of the insulation to prevent the roof surface from heating up, which can melt snow, which creates pools of water which can refreeze & thaw with the roof surface temp, the ice damaging/cracking the painted plugs in the Transit roof, breaking the roof seal & creating a leak. Also, ice damns at perimeter roof areas that are not heated are created/ increasing water pooling on the roof surface by preventing drainage, further exacerbating the problem. You’ve probably noticed ice build up on your roof at times ? Clearing snow from your roof may help prevent this..

  3. Love your website and all the tricks you’re giving!
    We also have a 2017 Transit and are on the road since December. We read about your roof leaking problem. So glad you shared this info! Since we stayed in the warmer temperatures, so far, no cracks on our roof. But better prevent!! Very valuable info! Bonne continuation!


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