When we purchased our little Santa Fe, one of the first things we noticed was that the front and back body panels had some pretty severe cracking. Fixing them has been on our “to-do list” since we bought the camper. This year we decided to get serious about cleaning up the outside of the PUP, so the body panels were the first thing we tackled.
Wow! That camper was long overdue for a cleaning, huh? 🙂 You can see the major cracking we have going on in the front panel. It was more severe than the back panel because it gets all the rocks and debris that flip up from the tow vehicle. We priced out new body panels, but they were over $300, and that was definitely not in our budget.
You can see how severe the damage was. There were places on the panel that were barely hanging on. After a little research, we decided that since our ABS roof repair went so well, we’d use the same method to repair the panels. The first thing Mr. TypeTwoFun did was remove the panels from the camper.
The body panels themselves are attached with screws along the top and bottom. Mr. TypeTwoFun first removed all the lights along the camper. Once you pop off the lenses, you’ll see that they are all attached with pop rivets. We drilled out the rivets, just like we did when we replaced our stepper door lock. Then we removed all the screws from the top of the panel. Be sure to label everything you take off the camper so you’ll have an easier time putting it all back together. We put all of our screws in Ziplock baggies and labeled them, and we did the same with our marker and tail lights.
On the bottom, you can see that there are screws and washers holding the panels in place. Just remove the screws and washers, and the body panels can be taken off pretty easily.
Mr. TypeTwoFun found that, at the top of the panel, just underneath the bunkends, there was some sort of adhesive, probably silicone caulking, between the metal plate and the body panel. He took a couple of plastic putty knives and slid them underneath the metal plate to loosen the seal. Once he did that, the panels popped right off.
Now that we have the panels off, we can start the repair…