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OK so Ive had this annoying squeek every little bump or crevice in the road, and narrowed down to the tailgate. So loud I'd have to turn the radio up even more than we already have to do just to hear it. Anyways, took the spare tire off and drove around it was gone. Noticed these 2 cracks on each side of the spare tire mount. Took the mount off and u see these 2 pics:

20140412_125337_zpskpevsqzp.jpg 20140412_125331_zpshfzwmnvd.jpg


Question for the body work guys, can this be welded and smoothed out again for repaint, and if so, will the cracks return?

For the record, when I got the tracker 2 years ago, it had no spare tire, the tires on it were standard size, and the mount was cracked at several welds, and I had it rewelded/painted.
 

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Disclaimer: I myself, am NOT a metal worker, but I have worked with and around metal workers.

With cracks in metal they will normally return after repair if put to the same use and stress that created the crack in the first place. But to have the best chance to stop the crack from growing, you need to stop drill the crack. Basicly you put a small hole at the end of the crack to "round off" the metal so there isn't any weak point for a new crack to start. Here is an article about aircraft... working on aircraft is were I first saw this procedure.

Metal Fatigue patch and stop drilling

I have been told that is better to drill slightly beyond the end of the crack to make sure you have gotten to the end of the weak metal... that you can not see with your eye. I have seen rows of holes in the end of a "stop drilled crack." (Meaning that they didn't get the hole at the end of the crack.)

Some metals (normally on aircraft) do not need any additional repair, but steel, in most environments, should at least be primed. But best would be: After drilling, you can weld the crack, grind it smooth and repaint and refinish as needed.
 

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I would try and weld a reinforcing plate behind it, otherwise I think it will just crack again. You probably won't be able to get a welder in there but you can drill holes through the top panel and then 'spot' it.
 

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I normally make up a steel plate and bolt it with carriage bolts on the inside and through the tire mount. I weld up the crack and with the reinforcement it never comes back. This is a common flaw with Suzuki's
 

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I had this squeaking problem although I didn't find any cracks. I think for me it is because the spare tire is smaller than stock and it's not resting it's load on the bumper/stops on the tailgate. I fixed this by spraying lubricant everywhere, and tightening the bolts on the spare tire holder, and putting a larger spare on it so that it was resting on the rubber stops. I should probably go back and check for cracks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think I'm just gonna hold out for a decent donor from pick-n-pull and have it sprayed to match. I'm trying to keep this in as pristine condition cosmetically, so I think a new tailgate will be best.
 

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I had to weld my spare tire mount in about 6 different places. So far it's holding 2 years later, even after a lot of bumpy OHV trails. I'd try Oxy Gas welding it, personally. Strip the area of paint and have at it. If you don't do any wheeling (which I'm assuming from the nice paint and wanting to keep it nice), it will probably last a looong time.

A "new" tailgate is a crapshoot.
 

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I had this exact same problem, and the squeaking was terrible. My cracking was also much worse than yours was. I actually ended up getting a tailgate off of a different vehicle (a friend was parting another Sidekick out), and I used that. It went away. Now if I could just get the REST of the rattles/squeaks to go away, that'd be great. :D
 

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I had this exact same problem, and the squeaking was terrible. My cracking was also much worse than yours was. I actually ended up getting a tailgate off of a different vehicle (a friend was parting another Sidekick out), and I used that. It went away. Now if I could just get the REST of the rattles/squeaks to go away, that'd be great. :D
That is a constant battle. I have mostly given up. I think a lot of it is coming from the rear seat and rear seatbelt towers on my vehicle.
 

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That is a constant battle. I have mostly given up. I think a lot of it is coming from the rear seat and rear seatbelt towers on my vehicle.
I hear ya! I've been considering a swing-away tire carrier/off-road bumper, but that's mega cash. I have a hitch, and was considering a hitch-mounted spare tire carrier, too. Then again, who knows how much that will rattle! It's really only bad when I'm off roading or hit potholes, etc. But man, what a rattle trap.
 

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They must all be like that - possibly because of the stiff truck suspension. My car rattles too, and I fixed it by getting a louder radio....;)
 

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I 'd like to hear more on the reinforcing plate from Riley. My tailgate is cracking from a 235 /15 spare and I was thinking of fabbing a swing away carrier. Next set of tires will be 225 's so I may get away with the tailgate mounted spare. How do you install the reinforcement?
 
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