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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought a 98 4 door Tracker a couple months ago for $500 and love it off road. Want to fix it up but found some really bad rust in one of the front wheel wells by the shock mount. Is this fixable or is it just a matter of time before the mount rusts through and the truck is totaled?
 

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... Is this fixable or is it just a matter of time before the mount rusts through and the truck is totaled?
Yes and yes.

how much are you willing to spend?

It always amazes me on the amount of work some people put into a rusted truck or car. I see better, less rusted, examples in the scrap yard around here!

But yes, given enough time and money, anything can be fixed, but would it be "cheaper/less hassle/worth more when done" to get a non-rusted body/frame from a area from outside the rust belt? You can use yours for parts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking the same thing because if I spend too much on repairs I'll have none left to fix it up the way I want. Just drive it until it rusts through I guess and then get one in better shape. Only paid $500 so if it lasts a year it's worth it. Stupid rust, frame looked great when I bought it and the body was salvagable but didn't think to check the shock mounts.
 

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Are you referring to the actual shock mount on the frame or the inner fender of the body. The inner fender is not part of the structure of the frame and can easily be fixed by welding in sheet metal or buy a replacement wheel house. The shock mount on the frame can also be fixed but you should have it done by an experienced welder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's just the inner fender of the body but I don't have a welding machine. Would rivets work? To have it done at a garage would be too expensive I think.
 

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I have rust in the same area (driver's side - if you have this on passenger side, check your battery for corrosion, as this is a prime reason for rust in the wheelhouse on that side of the car). If you confirm that this is just the inner fender, and not structural, yes, riveting could work (although I think that the shape of this area will make it difficult to work in). I was planning to use something like Tiger Hair (fiberglass enforced filler) to close off this area, as you can get to this area from top and bottom, and mold it to the shape of the wheelhouse. Whether or not it lasts, of course, is another question...;)
 

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Rivets will work fine, cut out all the rust and put in new metal. In our province they want welded patches. But if it does not enter the passenger area and your car is full frame some places let you rivet. Cover up your patch with undercoating or roofing cement and it will seal out any moisture. Fiberglass works but fibre glass over rust just escalates the problem.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nothing from the battery but surprised there was no plasitc barrier in the wheel well to protect the metal. Glad I can fix it anyway, as long as there's enough solid metal left (not sure the extent of the rust yet). Won't have to worry about the rivets because the state of Connecticut has no inspection requirement, just emissions. It is an odd shape so I hope I can make it work. Still debating whether or not it's worth all the work though because on top of this problem it needs a good amount of body work, a good cleaning of the intake (EGR system is clogged making it run like shit), a new sensor for the auxillary fan (tested the fan and it works but doesn't come on normally making the engine overheat at low speeds), brakes, tires, and who knows what else because I haven't had it that long. Can't complain for $500 though, starts right up, 30 mpg, and 4x4 works great.
 

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Here's 2 cents. I seriously doubt the RUST ends there. You need to put the vehicle on a hoist and take a good look underneath. Rust is rarely confined to one area. I recently took a 96 tracker off a frame (a big job for a shade tree mechanic with jacks and jack stands) that had spent it's entire life in Michigan. The entire floor was gone, few neck mounts rusted away, horrible rear fenders, many pieces of steel could be removed by hand (with gloves) tearing chunks of flimsy steel off. The brace that held the front of the gas tank between the frame was 80% missing. I would peddle this one. Save $2,000 dollars, Catch a one way SouthWest flight to Tampa Bay, FL for $89. Look at the Craigslist for Tampa a week before your flight and pick out your top three Tracker/kicks to look at. Buy one and drive it home! A friend flew from Flint, MI to Tampa ($99 on a tuesday) in March and drove back a beautiful 2002 tracker 4 door 4x4 with air for $2,300. COMPLETELY RUST FREE! The rust game is losing battle.
 

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I seriously doubt the RUST ends there. You need to put the vehicle on a hoist and take a good look underneath. Rust is rarely confined to one area. ... The rust game is losing battle.
+1
No truer words have been spoken.

Take a thorough look before you spend too much. Also keep in mind IF it is a Sport that parts for the Sport model are harder to find.
 

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You paid $500 if you do a cheap patch job you may get a year or 2 out of it. There are very few left around here and those that are in good shape are pricey. Fix it and drive it, if the frame looks good have some fun with it.
 

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The entire floor was gone, few neck mounts rusted away, horrible rear fenders, many pieces of steel could be removed by hand (with gloves) tearing chunks of flimsy steel off. The brace that held the front of the gas tank between the frame was 80% missing.
Where did you find my car?? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Pretty sure it's not a sport, did they make a 4-door sport version? Definitely going to take a good look to further access the rust damage. I think I still want to fix it up a little bit as long as it's not too much money. I won't feel bad about spending money on parts since I plan on getting another Tracker anyway so I'll be able to make use of them. I'll just have to find a place to hide my parts Tracker once I'm ready to get a new one. Just curious, I like the 4-door version of the pre 99 Tracker but it can be hard to find because they were only made from 96-98. How compatible are the post 99 Trackers with the pre 99 Trackers parts wise? Any opinions on which version is better? I've heard the pre 99's are more durable off-road. Thanks
 

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Pretty sure it's not a sport, did they make a 4-door sport version? ...
While there where some sub-models (normally sub base models with stickers) with the "Sport" tag applied, the "Sport" model normally is referred to here is the SIDEKICK Sport. This is a 4 door with a J18 motor sold mostly in the north American market. Most of the parts under the floor board and forward of the fire wall are different. Speaking of parts being "different" try and make your parts car and your drivers are of similar year. (the "big changes" happened in 1991 and 1996.) You can mix and match most (99%) Sidekick(non-Sport) and Tracker parts for the same year and engine/trans.

I like the idea of patching the rust and driving while looking for a good rust free body. this way you are "testing" the parts!
 

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I think the started making the Suzuki Sidekick in 1991 and parts are interchangeable.
 
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