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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello team,

English is my third language, my apologies in advance for any grammatical errors you may encounter ahead. This is Tony, I just picked this USA '97 Geo Tracker, 16 valve engine, auto trans, 4wd model, with 144k miles, AC and PS, removable fiberglass hardtops. This is my very first time owning a Geo Tracker (or Sidekick), am trying to bring it back to its glory. I picked it up for a decent price (in the local market of Florida, that is), certainly knowing of a few things that will need fixed.

I have numbered the different items I'd like to discuss about (as of today) from 1 to 10, feel free to start whichever item you'd like to add on by referencing the number item. I hope this makes sense.
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1. I removed what was left of the speedometer cable last night, very easy job. Previous owner stated a horrible nose started to come from behind the instrument cluster, so he disconnected it and zip-tied it on the engine bay. I bought the car with no speedometer or odometer reading. The old man that owned it seemed honest enough to tell me he only drove it like this less than 10k miles, therefore the car should be sitting somewhere under 150k miles. The route it followed was the following: being zip-tied near the brake fluid reservoir, to the passenger side of the firewall behind the valve cover, then down towards the floor, then along the passenger frame rail and finally to the transfer case. (see pictures of the cable).
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1. I need to know with certainty, Rockauto sells two different models of speedometer cables for the '97 Geo Tracker. I believe the one I require to replace is the ATP Y893. See pictures of what is left of my speedometer cable, it measures a bit over 100" long altogether.
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2. The interior is in very nice condition other than a tear in the butt section of the driver seat. If anyone has a butt seat cover of this same upholstery willing to let go for a decent price in the central Florida area, please let me know, I would be more than happy to have it.
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3. I'd appreciate any information I could have on it. I discovered a leak coming from under the transmission (the car displayed no leaks when I checked under it during the inspection). Upon further inspection, I saw the transmission oil pan has gasket maker material around it, instead of an actual gasket...I'm guessing the first thing I shall consider is to purchase an actual gasket and replace it properly, correct? I will find out this evening which exact transmission I have to make sure I get the proper Rockauto gasket. On the maintenance records of the previous owner, a receipt for a full re-haul of the transmission and transfer-case shows up from 2018, yet they use gasket maker....go figure.

4. I intend to give the car's interior a full cleanse this weekend, that is removing the seats, giving them a wet vacuum pass, cleaning the rails (maybe painting the rails if time allows). Removing the carpet, pressure wash it, shampoo, etc. All to get rid of 20+ years of farts and musty smells.

5. The passenger door is banged and dented beyond what a PDR mechanic could fix. Does anyone have a passenger door of same color for a good price? car-parts.com does not have one anywhere near me at the moment.

6. In the menu, there is also giving the paint a much needed clean and polishing. I intend to clean, clay bar, and wax the car.

7.I have never polished around the squiggly 90s decals (love the thing btw). I will most likely remove it while I treat the paint. Does anyone know where I can buy these 90s decals? I think the car as a whole is a 90s time machine and would love to keep it period correct.

8. Both hardtop shells will also get cleansed and most likely painted. Trim parts will be replaced with new trim.

9. I will also try to visit a Tracker/Sidekick junkyard to pick up all the little plastic parts and trims (interior and exterior) that are broken at the moment. I will keep you all posted. In the mean time, enjoy some pictures of the car.
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10. P.S.: The RV hauler attachments will be removed and sold if any of you would want them in central Florida.
Thank you in advance for all your input!

Tony C
 

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Welcome to the forum. And best of luck with your new car - you’ll find plenty of info on this forum in order to help you put it into good shape. It looks nice and clean and well cared for.
Some of the easy answers: You would have the 3 speed auto transmission (known as 3L30 or TH180), which is normally what was in the 2 door convertibles.
You’re correct about the speedo cable - the factory number 34910-60A41 is for the 4wd vehicles, so the ATP would be what you need. The Pioneer (factory #34910-71E10) would be for 2wd vehicles. Of course, in order to connect the speedo, you will have to unfasten the dash to move it out a bit - connect the cable at the dash end first, as with having the cable connected at the tranny end, you will not be able to move the dash out enough to work behind it.
You should also confirm that your check engine light is on with the key on, and off once the car starts. If not, while you have the dash moved outward, it would be a good time to check the bulb and replace it, if needed.

Note that you are actually driving a rebadged Suzuki Sidekick. You’ll find out that Geo Tracker is supported basically nowhere at this point. Here is the link to the Suzuki Sidekick parts manual for your car. It often helps to get the factory part number, when searching for aftermarket parts:
This forum has a classified section, where you may find some of the bits you are looking for, but the best bet would be your local junkyards. There will be some differences between various years - as these cars had ‘3 generations’ although some items cross over. For the most part, 89-90, 91-95 and 96-98 would be the generations, but there are many exceptions to various items so ask first, just in case. You can also find parts on occasion on eBay.
 

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I agree with BEX.
I have a '91 Tracker, and when looking for parts OR accessories -- new or used -- I always search for "TRACKER" and "SIDEKICK". It makes for twice as much work, but I'm more likely to find SUZUKI parts than GEO parts -- which are identical.
 

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With the rv tow apparatus on the front, this could have been towed behind a motorhome/RV. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the odometer continue to increment when towed on some of these older cars?

If so, the actual driven mileage could be less than what the odometer shows.

Nice looking project car, by the way. I really like these little cars. The hard top looks good. Do the rear windows slide open?



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As with any car that’s new to you, I would recommend doing a compression test on the engine, to make sure it’s timed correctly. And confirm that your spark plugs are gapped to .028”.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good morning team,

Thank you all for the warm welcome, these are all great pointers, I will keep them in mind moving forward!
Bex, thank you for all this knowledge, I will go ahead and order the speedo cable as well as the 3-speed oil pan gasket. I checked cilinder #1 sparkplug and saw a bit of the ceramic chipped, so they are getting changed no matter what. I will go ahead and find a compression tester to also run this test.
Does anyone have any illustrations showcasing the proper routing of the speedo cable for a +96 4wd auto speedo cable? I have read nightmares of difficult routing, and lube, and at the end, not being able to yield a correct read-out for the speedometer.

Xkaes, this is crucial info, searching both ways (Suzuki and Geo) is definitely proving to yield many more results, thank you.

PCola, I don't think I am qualified to answer this. Either way, this would be a bonus if it is correct. Maybe one of the other more seasoned guys can help us answer it.

I got some work done last night. Removed the RV-haul related wiring and lights from the rear. The driver's tailight was the one that they used to piggyback the RV lights. Let me tell you, the wiring job left much to be desired, I will be properly splicing the original wires back. No pictures of this, will get some later today.
Also removed the rear seats, they are in very good condition. Some of the mount tabs are a bit rusty, but nothing that sanding and painting can fix. Also will find a wet-dry vacuum to clean the upholstery. I removed the carpet...which revealed the nasty sound deadening material. It is in very bad shape, I will be cleaning this out to the paint, leaving it spotless for new sound deadening to come in. Does anyone have a rough estimate on the square footage of the tub? (trunk area and under the front seats). Would like to buy enough material to cover at least under the carpet sections.

Have some pictures of last evening's ordeal.
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it smells exactly as bad as it looks

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last night's haul, notice the horrible state of the underside of the rear carpet.
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it already looks better without the RV lights. Anyone with knowledge on PDR repair can tell me if the kink on the outer edge of the rear driver's taillight could be removed or "smoothed"?
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This last picture is partially as a joke. The car is not intended for me, but rather, a lady friend. I recently covered my balcony on this high quality astro-turf, it came out great (highly recommend to anyone renting out a small apartment). What you see in this picture, are the leftovers from the project. I jokingly told her the rear carpet fitted perfectly in my astro-turf leftover and she said she would love it if I would cut it out to cover it lol, we will see if I get it done. For now, I will center my attention on continuing to clean out the interior.

Thank you guys.
 

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Regarding your Tracker's "decals". Years ago, I wanted to remove the "decals" -- actually stickers -- from my '91 Tracker. Fortunately, I didn't get very far.

I have no idea if my stickers are like your "decals", but my stickers are basically FUSED to the body. Trying to remove them would definitely mess up/scratch/ruin the paint underneath. Maybe there is a way to remove my stickers, but I'm willing to live with them. And maybe there is a way to remove your "decals", but I'd advise you to be VERY CAREFUL. Maybe you will be better off learning to live with them, too.
 

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If the car is for a lady friend, she may actually like the decals as they are???
As you are doing all that work on the rear pan, I’ll throw out some food for thought - the area around the gas tank, which is under the rear of the rear pan, can be a known area for fuel pump repairs or replacement at some point. Normally, in order to do those repairs, you have to drop the fuel tank. In my car, I have a removable hatch that allows you to get to the top of the fuel tank without having to do that. Just a thought. Your rear pan looks in great shape - sadly, as my car spent a great deal of its time in New York, when I pulled the carpet, I was confronted with rust. Ugh.
 

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OK, just curious as I've had to "deal with" my fuel pump thanks to a dead ECM -- it turns out that the ECM was DEAD, but the fuel pump was fine.

Anyway, how did you get a "removable hatch that allows you to get to the top of the fuel tank"? Curious minds want to know. At some point, either my ECM will die or my fuel pump, and that would make things easier for sure -- especially since I removed my rear seat decades ago.
 

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You cut a hole and then make a sheet metal cover that covers the hole and screws into place - it'll probably be easier/neater to visit a junk yard and get a cover plate from a vehicle that has one from the factory and then cut a hole to match that.

Regarding removal of the decals, google decal removal and you'll find a ton of information, from warming them with a heat gun (or hair dryer) to "polishing" them away with an abrasive eraser wheel - be warned however, the paint under the decal is unlikely to match the surrounding surface as the exposed paint will most likely have faded, and even though the decal is not there, you'll probably still see the outline
 

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First, your English is perfect. Better to understand than some posts you see now and then! Like Bex said, I considered removing the zig-zag decals on mine ... but my wife objected. Women like them, so for a host a reasons (like keeping your lady friend happy), leave them alone. These Trackers and Sidekicks are getting old, 25-30 years old. Many now available for sale have very high mileage and very abused by now. It looks like you found a nice, clean unit. You're a lucky one. Even the engine compartment looks good. Biggest problem with buying these old cars is rust. Very expensive to repair rusted frames and under chassis metal pieces. Yours looks probably rust free. Replacing the carpeting and interior is minor compared to fixing a rusted out frame. Lastly, I replaced my speedometer cable a few years back. I don't remember it being a particularly tough job. The cable runs from the transmission to the instrument cluster. You have to wiggle it through a couple of holes in the firewall, but no biggie. Instrument cluster is actually quite easy to remove -- just a few screws on the under side (just above the steering column) and it pulls out until the speedometer cable catches. In your case, it should pull out until the cables get tight, which gives you plenty of room to attach the speedometer cable to the fitting on the back of the instrument cluster. Good luck with your Tracker/Sidekick. Looks nice. They're still fun vehicles and I'm sure you will have fun with yours. Where are you located?
 

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Regarding your Tracker's "decals". Years ago, I wanted to remove the "decals" -- actually stickers -- from my '91 Tracker. Fortunately, I didn't get very far.

I have no idea if my stickers are like your "decals", but my stickers are basically FUSED to the body. Trying to remove them would definitely mess up/scratch/ruin the paint underneath. Maybe there is a way to remove my stickers, but I'm willing to live with them. And maybe there is a way to remove your "decals", but I'd advise you to be VERY CAREFUL. Maybe you will be better off learning to live with them, too.
Those decals are stuck on then semi heat fused and maybe clear coated during the painting and drying process. They ain't coming off without a fight, and damage to the underlying paint. Heat gun might loosen them, but if you have clear coat over the top, forget it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good morning team!

Some updates and responses since last night, pictures ahead too.
You should also confirm that your check engine light is on with the key on, and off once the car starts. If not, while you have the dash moved outward, it would be a good time to check the bulb and replace it, if needed.
Bex, so glad I checked on this...I turned my key to the accessory position, the oil light, battery and airbag light lit up...but not the engine service light. I fear the bulb is burned, thus hiding a possible engine code (or just a burned bulb, imagine being this lucky). I will check behind it once I remove it for the speedo cable replacement job.

Xkaes, DesertRat and 2013GV, you guys were ABSOLUTELY correct...these decals will not leave the car any time soon. Not only does the lady friend love them, they are definitely fused to the paint job. The only decals that are removable are the "TRACKER" wording above the rear wheels, which I intend to replace with two new ones. Do you guys think I can compound, polish and wax over the decals and paint with no danger to their current state?


DesertRat and Bex, I will have additional questions in regards to the cable routing, I will call out a few pictures in my next post. The previous owner ran the cable through the engine bay only...I have no point of reference of where it enters or exits the firewall. Any help, illustration, diagram, or link would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

With the rv tow apparatus on the front, this could have been towed behind a motorhome/RV. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the odometer continue to increment when towed on some of these older cars?

If so, the actual driven mileage could be less than what the odometer shows.

Nice looking project car, by the way. I really like these little cars. The hard top looks good. Do the rear windows slide open?



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Hi Pcola, the rear windows do indeed slide forward! The screens are stationary, keeping bugs and debris out.

Many now available for sale have very high mileage and very abused by now. It looks like you found a nice, clean unit. You're a lucky one.
DesertRat, I appreciate the kind comments. I cannot consider myself lucky, I have put a tremendous amount of work to find this specific car. This is #7 of Geo Trackers/ Suzuki Sidekicks that I have checked since I started looking for them. I am located in the Tampa Bay FL area. Down here, the demand for these nuggets is strong and very competitive. I had a strong set of standards to look out for and a set of requirements to meet (stated by lady-friend), as well as a tight budget. Overall, this car was owned by an elderly couple that trailered it behind their RV.
I have seen death-traps on wheels of people with absolute no disregard for safety or condition of their trackers/sidekicks with an asking value worth over its weight in gold, absolutely crazy! I can do a single post showcasing some of the pictures I took from these death-traps, if you guys were interested in seeing horrific fixes and conditions of car. This tracker was found by doing daily alerts and reminders to check all sites (FB marketplace, craigslist, letgo, etc). Finally after 6 months of intensive search, this one showed up 10 mins away from me.

By the way, I was introduced to this beautiful country through the Midwest, I spent 9 years up in Iowa. I have seen (and driven) one or two rust buckets in my life! I am so glad that this is a FL car, and the only rust I have found is surface rust, and very very very minimal. I did my time and paid my sentence, no more rust for me down here! :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good morning team part 2!

I decided to make a separate post to differentiate answers from updates. Thank you all for the overwhelmingly support, I love a community that has eager to help.
Flavors of the day are as following: Tub, car archaeology, nasty carpet.

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First of all, last night's final result! A tub! Everything came out with very little fight, didn't break any components (as far as I could tell), and most importantly, VERY little rust, easily treatable.

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Last night's haul. From left to right, front seats, speaker covers over the passenger seat, center console front and rear, floor mats, rear wheel wheel covers, and carpet. Up in front, both front floor-mats and rear floor-mats.
I intent to pressure-wash the crap out of the carpet this weekend, shampoo it, bring it back to a somewhat acceptable condition.
Seats will get decades worth of farts extracted, rails painted, rusty hardware replaced for new, and all plastic trims conditioned.
Floor-mats will receive a general clean and will try to hide as many scratches. If anyone has any tips on how to hide or decrese gouge marks and scratches on these plastic consoles, I'd much appreciate any advice.

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Front console area. Notice the brackets that hold the console are rusty. I'll be wire brushing these and painting them. I'll give a cookie to the first person that finds the dead lizard in this picture.
Notice the RV-wiring coming out from under the driver's foot-well. The only RV item left in the car is the front brace, which shares the bolts for the front lower arms to mount it. I will need a breaker bar for this, which I don't have at the moment.

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This picture was taken from the passenger side of the gear selector. Notice the eyelet going no where? I found it like this, my guess is that it slipped over time? I looped it into its home again. Is there any form of cotter pin to hold it in place that you guys know of?
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These plugs are directly in front of the gear selector. Please disregard my dying nail, I had an accident at work a month ago. The connector I'm holding with my middle finger, where does it go?What does it do? Should I be concerned that it is sitting there disconnected?
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This picture is dedicated to all of you friends outside of the south of the states. This is the only rust I have found in the tub, right behind the passenger seat. I will be diligently treating this with POR-15 or similar.
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State of the carpet on the passenger front side.
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This is the state of the front section carpet. The only piece of trim that I have found in the front that I'm missing is the inboard rail front seat cover for the passenger side. Circled in red is the driver's side counterpart.

Going onto part two, the forum will not allow me to put more than 10 pics per post
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good morning team part 3!

The rest of the pictures are coming now.
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This is the lifting jack bracket holder under the passenger seat when it is not in use. I have the jack...but I have no idea what these tabs do. I'm assuming they hold one of the levers to turn it, can anyone clarify please?
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The carpet! In all it's glory. This will get vacuumed, shampooed, pressure-washed, and combed this weekend. Do you guys think I can make it look acceptable? Bear in mind I can hide some crimes with the seats and the floor-mats.
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Some of the beautiful workmanship of a tech in the past. This is the "professional installation" of the GPS tracker that previously was installed in this car. The tech piggybacked of a fuse by just wrapping the wire around a leg. Some of you may think that this is a pet-peeve of mine, but I cannot tolerate crappy work being valued (and paid) as a professional service. The GPS tracker has been removed by the same company that installed it for the previous owner, but decided to leave this wire behind.
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Okay we are looking at the section of the engine bay around the brake booster. This may appear as a metal bolt covered in hard silicone but it is in fact rubber! Not metal, never seen this before. Now, I can tell this was not here from the factory. Is this the speedometer cable hole to route? Or should I buy an appropriately sized grommet to cover this hole?
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OR, is this the hole (circled in red) for the speedometer cable? also around the brake booster, but on the engine side instead of the frame side.
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and finally, the under-side of the carpet (where cars keep their secrets). It smells so bad. Is it worth for me to remove this material and rely on my application of aftermarket sound-deadening material? I'm thinking about the peel-back silver closed-cell foam material that is applied with a smooth applicator roll, if that makes sense. I could remove the nasty OEM sound-deadening and then double-side tape the carpet onto the new sound deadening material for adhesion purposes.
 

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I can give one quick answer - regarding the jack, yes those tabs are what holds to rod in that raises and lowers the jack.
I’m not much help on the speedo cable routing - I’ve never had to repair mine, so hopefully someone else will chime in. In the meantime, might be some info here:
 

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I looked under the hood of my 89 with 5 speed manual transmission.

The hole beside the brake booster - toward the middle of car is for a clutch cable. I can't see the penetration for the speedy cable.

I looked under the dash and it appears that the cable is coming from trans hump area, but it is harder follow. Your car is newer than mine and an automatic, so there could be differences.

Picture below of clutch cable entry point...

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An '89 -- congratulations. Do you have a 1600 or 1300? I think '89 was the only year they used the 1300, but I'm not sure. I would have preferred a 1300, but I'm "stuck" with a 1600.

Things could be worse.
 

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I think it is a 1.6. It has the throttle body injection. Around 141K miles.

I bought it from the original owner. He ordered it with no back seat, no power steering, no air conditioning.

I'm adding the back seat...it's being shipped now. I'd like to add power steering and air conditioning, but those are harder to find. It has a soft top and it is in decent shape, but have thought casually about a hard top...but they are a bit more pricey than a soft top.

Pics below...



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Discussion Starter #20
Good evening gentlemen,

Beautiful car PCola, you scored big! It surely is nice to have amenities like AC and PS, I spent a long time coming around to fine mine. But hey you could look at it this way: 2 less things that can break in the car lol.
The hole beside the brake booster - toward the middle of car is for a clutch cable
Now this is fast!! Thank you! Crucial information, I will find an appropriate block-off plate to cover the hole, thank you very much! In regards to the speedo cable, I have a rough estimate on routing thanks to Bex's links posted under #16 post. Thank you Bex! Once I get the ATP replacement, I will take a massive amount of pictures to keep you guys updated on the routing I select.

Today I spent a great deal of time on the tub, removing all sorts of gunk. Mind you, my tool arsenal consist of a simple tool box and unfortunately I do not have a working space other than my driveway, making corded electric tools a luxury. Even then, I managed to borrow a mini shop vac from a coworker, and my neighbor allowed me to run a power cord to his balcony outlet. Here are some pictures of the progress.
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Here you can see the versatility of the shop vac being used as a driver's seat. I cannot disclose this part with coworker lol. It served its secondary purpose to drive the car around the parking lot for closer placement to the nearest outlet.
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Here's the start of my c;leaning process. I purchased a series of plastic thread brushes, and went to town agitating any surface that was bare. Notice the difference on the rear passenger side of the tub (agitated) and the rear driver side of the tub (not yet agitated). This step allows for big chunks as well as caked dirt to become loose enough for the vacuum to later suck it. I also picked up larger debris by hand and placed it in the plastic bag you see.
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And my stopping point for today! As per usual, central Florida's evening storm rolled-in and put a damper to my progress. As you can see, all surfaces of the tub cleaned out fairly well, in preparation to its final demise, scrubby bubbles. I learned this trick from Tom's turbo garage, on youtube. I praise this man's work on everything he does, truly a gifted human, with the patience of a saint. If you enjoy clean, well thought-out mechanics and projects that are surgically executed, this channel is the one for you. He makes heavy use of scrubby bubbles bathroom cleaner on his Nissan Figaro soft restoration yielding amazing results.
Also, before I forget, I will be purchasing dry ice to remove the rest of the old sound deadening. I will be installing aftermarket butyl-rubber-based sound deadening film to the whole tub.
There is a small amount of surface rust, centralized behind the rear mounts of the front passenger seat. I will also be purchasing a wire-wheel to attach to my drill to eradicate any of this rust before treating the area with rustoleum paint. More updates tomorrow!
 
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