Corner Panel Repair

Repairing the Corner Panel

After having the rack on the vehicle for two summers, I hadn’t noticed any ill effects. That was until someone tried to see if they could lift my Jeep using their shoulders under the rack and lifting with their legs. As they tried (which they couldn’t) I heard the sound of metal stressing...

A couple days later, while I was packing for a camping trip, I noticed something odd: there was a long tear in the body’s corner panel beneath the tire carrier’s locking bracket. I placed my hand on the rack and lifted, and the corner made a similar sound to the one I heard before (metal stressing).

Since I didn’t have a welder handy (and wouldn’t know how to use it if I did), I needed to reinforce the damaged area so I could use the rack for the weekend. I figured I needed to try and disburse the weight from the tire carrier’s locking bracket. I went through my garage and found some metal plate material and cut out a section to cover the length of the torn metal. I removed the locking bracket and used it to drill holes in the plate material. I then bent the plate to fit around the inside edge of the corner panel by the tailgate. I installed the backing plate between the body and the locking bracket. This was just a temporary fix until I could solve the problem.

Corner patch job: plate beneath the bracket

The permanent fix (hopefully) came when I took the Jeep to the body shop to get it repainted. The body shop welded the seam of the tear, and then added a piece of angle iron to the inside of the corner panel, above the rear fender. The angle iron was really just a piece of "an old Jeep’s front bumper" according to the owner of the body shop. Inside, I felt it was good karma! Holes were drilled through the reinforcement and now the carrier locking bracket attaches through both pieces.

Old Jeeps never die, they get recycled!     Left rear corner - ready for paint.jpg (45095 bytes)