Virtual Lift Time!

Another update!

After MOAB my brakes started grinding pretty bad. This was out of nowhere but not completely unexpected since I have not had to do the brakes since I bought the Samurai in 2015. The rear drum brakes went easy enough. Probably the easiest drum brake job I’ve ever done.

The front’s were a little harder. I had to drive to two separate auto parts stores to get the pads and the shoes. When I got the tires off and examined one the rotors the passenger side was pretty horrible. Probably the worst rotor I’ve ever seen.

I could not find rotors in stock anywhere in town. Finally I gave in and started calling brake shops to get them turned. I got them turned at PepBoys downtown.

Looked way better after having them turned.

I knew I’d be doing some extensive mods to the Samurai this year. I started with remounting my turn signals inside the grill and removing the portion of the crossmember that extended from the frame to in front of the tires. I used a pipe cutter to get a straight cut. My son helped out!

With that done I decided it was finally time to remove the rear fender flare mounts. One of them was rusted pretty bad and I needed to assess any rust on the body.

I was not happy about this…. I expected some surface rust maybe but not gaping holes. This isn’t the worst rusted samurai that I’ve seen but this one was mine.

I covered the rust with some spraypaint for a week while I thought it over…. Finally I said screw it.

I picked up some trailer fenders from the trailer supply store in town. I’d go with the virtual lift route.

I picked up a sheet metal nibbler that attaches to my drill, some more sheet metal, a roll on raptor liner kit and committed to completing the drivers side fender first because I’m still not sure how I want to work around the gas filler hose.

Removing the boom mat was a bit of a pain. I found that by balling it up I could stick it to the remaining boom mat on the body and pull it free.

The Samurai is first and foremost my family vehicle. I would need to notch the fender to clear the rear seat.

I busted out my harbor freight welder and cut some sheet metal and got to work.

I used some seam sealer to cover the gaps and seal out the elements. I used some bondo to to fill in my horrible sheet metal welding skills. The Samurai body is PAPER THIN! and I’m not the best welder. I used a orbital sander to smooth the bondo out.

At first I was planning on just mixing up a small amount of the raptor liner so that I could save it. After a while I figured that I would paint the lower part of the drivers side door too.

I sprayed some adhesion promoter on the bare metal parts and rolled on the raptor liner. I couldn’t be happier with the results and I can’t wait to get the other side done.

The carpet still mostly fits in the back of the Samurai, the seat still fits. The seatbelt is pretty tight between the wheel well and the seat but still works fine.

Now, I’m driving around with the drivers side done and the passenger side, with the worst rust is still how it was. I’m a little nervous to work around the gas filler and tank but I’ll tackle it in a week or two. Not sure when I’ll get the front done.

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