OK, so I bought this Tracker a few weeks back and love it. But a couple days in I realize that the driver side door has a bit of an issue with hitting the latch a bit hard. "Fine," I think, "I'll replace the door bushings as soon as it gets warmer. But I had a haunting suspicion in the back of my mind that said it was more than bushings. My mind was correct (for once.)
Turns out the hinge mount had rusted through where the nuts are welded onto the body. To make matters worse, someone had attempted to fix it by blindfolding themselves and pulling the trigger on a wire welder until the spool of wire was empty. Nice try, but the body metal on a tracker is about the same gauge as the metal in the can that held the beer they were drinking.
So now I have to correct the problem before my door becomes a wing at 65 MPH on I-71.
Here's the process:
1. Gather you fondest tapes from 1970-1989 for replay on the Trackers bitchin' tape deck.
2. Assess the damage. Holy CRAP! That's a lot of welding!
3. Remove door. Grab a 12mm wrench. remove the bottom bolt from top and bottom hinge.
4. Support door with any redneck device you can find. I used a sub-standard floor jack and a Coke crate. Fabulous.
5. Remove remaining bottom hinge bolt. Now, while holding door as if your stupid apparatus won't hold it up (because it probably won't,) remove the remaining top hinge bolt. Be ready the door is now ready to depart the vehicle. Place door on non-marring surface, propped against stationary garage clutter.
6. Grab a 12mm socket and loosen the five bolts at the top of the fender, under the hood.
Also, loosen the two bolts on the piece above the fender here
7. Remove the fender liner. (sorry, no pics, but you'll figure it out)
8. There is one stubborn phillips bolt at the front of the lower fender (no pic because I was drenched in PB Blaster!)
9. Remove large chunk of sod from fender at rear of tire.
10. Remove plastic trim piece. This is held on by a screw inside the wheel well and a really goofy nut/bolt/stud combo under the vehicle. Just turn the nut and the bolt/stud thing will come right out. Be sure to bypass the step where I got my pneumatic grinder out and destroyed the nut thinking it was seized and had a purpose.
11. Remove two bolts from lower fender.
12. Remove the upper bolts holding on to the fender so as to not let it fall off.
13. Once fender is free, unplug marker light.
14. Put fender in safe place.
15. Look at the heinous job somebody did!. This is where I step back and marvel at those who have worse welding skill than I do. There aren't that many, so I take note.
16. Cut the bitch away from the truck where ever luck may be holding it.
17. Grind off any godawful HUGE chunks of weld.
and cut body metal back to good solid material. If possible, leave some of original support bracket.
18. find a good piece of metal, like a shroud from a riding mower deck.
19. Cut a piece of this to size.
OK, this is where I got all caught up in stuff and forgot to take pictures. It is IMPERATIVE that the placement of his plate is dead on. So picture this if you will: bolt the hinges back to the door. Take the door and put it in place on the truck. Engage the latch. Bolt the lower hinge to the truck. Now put the new piece of flat stock in place and swing the hinge over it. Mark the holes. Remove the stock and center punch and drill the holes.
20. Put nuts and bolts though new plate and weld nuts in place. You should end up with something like this.
21. Bolt the plate to the hinge and swing it into place. Weld it in. I used a wire welder on a low setting with a low feed rate. this allowed me to fill holes a little better. You should end up with something like this:
22. Grind everything flat, and prime and paint.
23. Mount door and marvel at the fine fitment.
24. Remount fender, trim, and anything else your removed in steps prior.
25. Drive with no fear of unexpected door deployment!