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Winter -> iced over bridge -> Loss of traction -> K-Rail -> ouch.

I need to replace the hood, fender, all front metal pieces, bumper cover, headlight, and grill. The frame, drivetrain, and engine are all fine.

I so far have a new hood, grill, top cross piece thing, and headlight.

The big problem is the wheel well. It's pushed in pretty far. What's the best way of course here? Try to bend it back into shape and weld as needed? Is it feasible to remove it as a section from another TrackKick and attach it to mine?

Here's pics of the way she stands right now and the wheel well in question.
 

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It all depends on your skill level and tools available on how you want to approach it. It is kind of hard to tell the extent of the apron damage in the pic, but if you have access to any kind of a clamp and large slide hammer, it should come right out. You WILL have to either push or pull it out. Just trying to hammer it back into shape won't work it is back a couple inches or more. Once you get it yanked out as far as you can, you can hammer and dolly it back into shape. I doubt it needs replacing, and seeing you are in the rust belt, finding a good donor piece may be a challenge. This is all assuming the strut tower is not back. If that's the case, you should either replace it, or visit someone with a frame rack.

If you were closer, I would help you out since I am a body man by trade, and have been for 40 years.
 

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If you were closer, I would help you out since I am a body man by trade, and have been for 40 years.
I wish you were closer to me, too, sadly.
In any event, in case you have an interest as to what is entailed in the wheel house, or photos, I had mine replaced (and the replacement was difficult to find, as well as costly) as mine had completely rusted away (due to battery acid). Photos of it here:
http://www.suzuki-forums.com/suzuki-sidekick-escudo-vitara-geo-tracker/42354-my-beautiful-wheelhouse.html
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It all depends on your skill level and tools available on how you want to approach it. It is kind of hard to tell the extent of the apron damage in the pic, but if you have access to any kind of a clamp and large slide hammer, it should come right out. You WILL have to either push or pull it out. Just trying to hammer it back into shape won't work it is back a couple inches or more. Once you get it yanked out as far as you can, you can hammer and dolly it back into shape. I doubt it needs replacing, and seeing you are in the rust belt, finding a good donor piece may be a challenge. This is all assuming the strut tower is not back. If that's the case, you should either replace it, or visit someone with a frame rack.

If you were closer, I would help you out since I am a body man by trade, and have been for 40 years.
Thanks. I have a variety of tools available to me that I can borrow. I'll see about borrowing a slide hammer and a bigger clamp than I have on me. Any tips from your years of experience would be appreciated. I'll try to get around to removing the fender and surrounding pieces to get a better view soon.

I wish you were closer to me, too, sadly.
In any event, in case you have an interest as to what is entailed in the wheel house, or photos, I had mine replaced (and the replacement was difficult to find, as well as costly) as mine had completely rusted away (due to battery acid). Photos of it here:
[/quote] There's a Tracker in the junkyard near my work that looks pretty rust free. I was thinking about going to it this Friday to snatch the bumper cover and fender. How difficult would it be to remove a wheel house from a junker? How many spot welds would need to be drilled/chiseled out? How many bolts?
 

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It would be a PITA to remove one in a junk yard, unless you have some portable power supply, either air or electric. An air hammer or Sawsall would be the quickest way. You would need to cut off more than you need so you can trim it to fit when you got it home.
 

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once the rest of the bent metal is removed you should be able to use force to straighten out the inner fender. Unless you are a purist I would just pry it back to shape rather than replace it.
 

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I have had good results with a come along and Hydraulic ram.... Hammer and dolly..

Last 3 repairs,
My 99 Tracker, 360 roll over,
Sons Explore sport, RR quarter, tailgate and bumper, argument with a big tree.
Daughters Hyundai, kissed 2 deer... (like yours but all front/sides)

.... Philip
 

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I have had good results with a come along and Hydraulic ram.... Hammer and dolly..

Last 3 repairs,
My 99 Tracker, 360 roll over,
Sons Explore sport, RR quarter, tailgate and bumper, argument with a big tree.
Daughters Hyundai, kissed 2 deer... (like yours but all front/sides)

.... Philip
I agree... come-a- long and a tree in my back yard have been useful in many straightening jobs I used to perform on vehicles I bought to fix and sell.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, guys.

The weather is going to be crappy for me for the next couple of days. Overcast, rainy, windy, and cold. I hope to make some more progress this weekend. I'll update the thread when I do.
 

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Maybe take before and after photos of the repair? Would be interesting to see.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Today is sunny and warmer, although there are some high wind gusts. But I figured that I'd get a least a little bit of work done. I wanted to remove the bumper and fender and see what everything looks like underneath.

The bumper came off easily enough. Remove the 4 bolts, firm tug, and it popped off. One side of the bumper has the mounting bracket bent out of shape and the other side has the end bent out. I think that it might be salvageable. I figure that I can bend it back into shape and add a couple of welds to keep it sturdy.

I started to remove the bolts for the fender. It's thinner than I thought and the bending isn't too bad. I wonder if I can get some body hammers and dollies and work it back into shape. And since the light was shinning on the fender just right I got a picture of the blue metallic paint on the truck. There's lots of evidence that the truck was resprayed at some point. I'm assuming that this is a stock color.

I needed to open the passenger door in order to get to one of the bolts for the fender. But I have a narrow driveway and there's a retaining wall on the passenger side. I can't open the door far enough. So I figured that I'd start up the truck and back it up a bit shifting it toward the driver side to get more room to open the passenger door. But I ran into a problem. The truck wont move.

It fired right up after sitting for the past couple of months. Transfer case in 2 high, hand brake off, transmission in reverse, clutch off, gas on... and it wont move. I tried in first and reverse gears. It's trying to move. By the way the suspension is dipping/twisting it seems like the front passenger wheel isn't turning. It seems as if something is stopping the wheel from moving. There's nothing under any of the tires.

So long as the weather is less windy tomorrow I want to get the truck jacked up, take the tire off, and see if the brake is seized up. The truck drove relatively fine back to my house after the crash. And in the next month after I had to reposition it a couple of time. Both times it moved just fine.

Other than the brake what else can cause the wheel to lock up after sitting? The suspension and other mechanical bits on that side looks like they're fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I didn't get a chance to look at it on Sunday. It's supposed to rain for the next couple of days.

Anyone have any advice or thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I jacked up the front of the Sidekick and took a look at the wheels. The driver wheel spun by hand. The passenger wheel did not.

I took off the caliper and knocked free the pads. They were, indeed, stuck to the rotor. I lightly sanded the face of the pads, pushed the cylinder in a little, and reassembled the brake. The wheel now spins by hand.

So I lowered the 'Kick back to the ground, started her up, and tried to move backwards. It still wont move. And it might be my imagination but it feels like the hand brake doesn't have any tension in it.

I'm guessing that the drum shoes might be stuck as well. So I gave her a little more gas to try to use the engine to pop free the shoes. After slowly applying gas the driver rear wheels starting spinning in place. Power is definitely getting to the rear but it seems like the rear passenger wheel isn't moving.

I relocked the front and put her in 4 High. The truck didn't move at all. I wasn't getting any more tire spinning at the back but I stopped before giving her too much gas as I didn't want to break anything further.

I'm taking a break to think about it and cool off from the heat some. Could the hand brake cable be snapped off and stuck locking the rear passenger wheel? Could it just be the shoes rusted against the drum like with the front?

Any advice on how to continue? And could anyone point me toward a guide for disassembly of the brake drums?

Thanks.
 

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Instead of guessing, perhaps you should jack up the rear of the car and see if you can get the rear tires to spin. If so, it would seem that there is a drive train issue, rather than frozen brakes. The parking brake works off of cables, which can stretch over time or disconnect, etc.
 

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If the ebrake was left on when the car was parked the shoes may be rusted to the drums or the cables stuck. If you are parking a car for a long period of time never leave the ebrake engaged. Sometimes hitting the drums will free things up.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Instead of guessing, perhaps you should jack up the rear of the car and see if you can get the rear tires to spin.
Well, yeah. That was the plan but I figured that I'd go into it with as much info as possible. Info helps the on-the-fly trouble shooting process.

It turns out that the brakes on that side were rusted to the drum. I got them broke free and now the truck rolls just fine.

I have a tree in my yard. I put a hand winch (come-a-long type) on the tree and the other end on the edge of the crumpled part. But all that happened was that I slowly dragged the Sidekick across the yard.

I suppose I'll either have to try the slide hammer route or maybe try my hand at carefully using a 2x2 and a sledge to tap the metal back down. Any better suggestions?
 

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Sorry, I'm having a problem with comprehension here - not that I would be terribly helpful with this anyway. But your post is about a front end collision this winter - I wouldn't think that a rusty drum would be part of that damage, no?? And I don't understand if the wheels now 'roll free' why the Kick is being dragged with the winch rather than rolling.....????
 

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Sorry, I'm having a problem with comprehension here - not that I would be terribly helpful with this anyway. But your post is about a front end collision this winter
Correct.

I wouldn't think that a rusty drum would be part of that damage, no??
Also correct. The brake pads and shoes rusting is from the truck sitting in place for about 3 months. Non use sitting through many weeks of snow and rain caused rust. The crash happened at the tail end of January. For various reasons, I'm only able to get to it lately.

And I don't understand if the wheels now 'roll free' why the Kick is being dragged with the winch rather than rolling.....????
I tried to use the winch to pull out the bent metal. So, I'd want the Kick to sit in place. One end is attached to the truck, the other to a tree. Tightening the winch was, in theory, to pull the bent metal back out closer to it's original shape.

The truck not being able to free roll due to the rusty brakes is what prevented me from repositioning it to be able to work on it. So, get it moving again -> fix damage.

But instead of the truck sitting in place as an anchor and the winch pulling th metal back out, it just pulled the whole truck across the grass.
 

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A well placed 4x4 or 6x6, placed between the stationary object and the truck will keep them apart, then when you apply tension on the bent metal it will pull out, put some tension on, then use a dolly and hammer, then reapply tension... Gently with the hammer it is used to relax the metal..

.... Philip
 

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... But instead of the truck sitting in place as an anchor and the winch pulling th metal back out, it just pulled the whole truck across the grass.
From the pictures it looks like you are trying to bend the frame back into shape.... in order to that you are going to need to brace the vehicle... the frame has to be strong! You are going to need to apply more force than the TracKick weighs! Look up frame machines to see how the pro's do it. Granted you do not need a full machine for a "down and dirty" repair. I once chained a sports car to a Aircraft tie down "pad eye" and used a 40 ton aircraft jack to "straighten" a frame. (Actually ended up pulling it to far... :huh: )

Even just pulling the body sheet metal will most likely require bracing.
 
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