Page 5 : The Body Work .. Interior
Links to the previous pages:
Well as planned I need to remove the dash AGAIN, the seats and carpet. One of the reasons for not driving the Tracker more was the heater. The fan was not blowing much air, therefore my defrost was lame at best. It’s winter I need the heater. It is suspected that the heater core is plugged, and that would not be a surprise given the amount of dust I’ve found. So out comes the heater.. I’m still deciding how to fix the seats up. But they will be out and easy to do something with once I’ve made a decision. I’m really hoping the eight seat bolts come out easily. Doing the interior will be easier without the doors in the way.. and no top to make it dark.
Dec 9 2015:
I took just the blower half of the heater out. That allowed good access to the heater core. There was crap in there for sure.. So I took the shop vac and the air gun to it and cleaned the crap out. In fact all the air passages are clean now. The heater fan blows lots of air through the core now too. Just like new ! Now for those holes in the floor. Once the seats and carpet were out we can assess the extent of the patching.
The worst hole is the drivers side . The piece of heavy gauge metal I cut and laid in there earlier is not quite big enough. I have lots of good new metal to make up the rest.
I will have to rebuild these rear foot wells. This is a bit of structure here.. so welding is a must. Don’t have to be pretty cause the carpet covers all this.
Dec 10 2015:
Here’s the front floor all fixed. Heavy gauge metal glued and riveted in. Very strong fix. No more wearing out shoes on the road !
Today I took the two front seats to the upholstery shop. I decided to have both the seats redone… seats only , not the backs. I brought the drivers bottom frame back to my shop.
It needed a little fixing. So I lubed the sliders and gave it a quick paint job. I’ll take it back tomorrow.
Dec 12 2015:
Got a lot done today .. Despite wanting to just be lazy.
I cut out all the bad rust and made a plan. One of the eight body mounts is right there not holding much. So I first made and installed a new floor piece that would cover and weld to the mount. I glued and screwed the new floor to the existing floor.
Then I made a new wall that welds to the floor making it all strong again. Now the body mount is doing something once again. Holding up the corner of the rear foot well.
Then I did the same thing on the passenger side. Just not as extensive. Now to clean and spray with primer. That’s all the interior repairs done. The rest is just cleaning , painting and replacing. I’m not putting the interior back together till all the body work is done because of the dust.. Some of the exterior body work requires access from the inside as well. I’ve cleaned out the body cavities of all the mud and dust. Now I’m turning my attention to the rear of the Tracker.
One thing leads to another.. I don’t want to do all this rust repair and leave a rusty bumper hiding under the plastic cover. So I removed the cover and the metal bumper under for a cleaning and paint job. Also some of the metal is GONE under the tail lights and the lower rear of the fenders. And there’s holes in the sill under the tailgate. It’s all hidden under the plastic bumper cover, but I need to treat and paint this so it does not get worse.
This whole panel is missing on both sides. I need to replace it cause the bumper is held in place here. How fortunate that the lower bumper frames on both sides are still intact. Usually they are the first to rust away. And other then one side a little bent up, the metal bumper is in good shape.
Here it is after an acid wash. I then took the big wire wheel to it and sprayed it with rust converter. All painted up and ready to install… But need a good place to install it.. And without the bumper in the way it’s easier for me to fix the missing metal under the tail lights. I’ve not the tools or the skill to shape metal like the factory.. or even a good body shop. But I will do my best. The metal I have is twice the thickness of the body panels, which makes it a bit harder too.
So here’s my new piece. Welded in place with extra braces. Then I use expanding foam to fill all behind and give it the proper shape. And it all gets fiberglassed over with resin and cloth. It’s not perfect but it’s strong, seals the holes and mostly replaces what was gone.
Before the whole bottom of the tail light socket was gone with no place for the screws that hold the light in. Now I have good mounting and a re-shape of what’s visible above the bumper cover.
Looks good to me.. I’ll install the metal bumper and the tail gate, but not the cover till after painting.
Putting some things back together, The bumper and the tail gate. I’m happy with the fit. You don’t have to slam it. The power lock is installed, and that’s why the key hole and handle is too. Normally I would leave those two things off till after the painting. But the hook up required them installed.
Here’s the inner side with the sound proofing . I now need to turn my attention to the rocker panels… moochoo work to do there… So let’s start a new page.