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All,

Recently acquired a 1989 Dodge Dakota Sport. It had been garaged stored, in a non-running condition for the past 12 years. Winched it onto the trailer, swapped out the fuel filter and changed the fuel pump, and she's back to life! I've pulled all of the Dakota sport flarings, bumpers etc for the upcoming body work. She's in quite good shape frame and body wise considering she lived in WV her whole life, but she was well loved and cared for by her previous owner who bought her new.

I have new decals on order from Phoenix Graphics, and she needs repainted at the very least to return her to her former glory. I'm not much of a body man, mechanics is more my thing, so I have two questions:

1. The passenger fender had rust under the factory fender flare, should I replace the fender entirely, or have the body shop fix and repaint?
2. Same goes for the tailgate, typical dodge tailgate rust.
3. Passenger door, same deal? Repair or replace?

Any other general commentary is welcomed. I'm a Mopar guy, but this is my first Dakota.

Dodge Photos
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Photos of the trouble spots, the link above is the whole gallery so far of the truck.


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I would say it would depend on how good your body shop is; I'd try to fix that before I replaced.

It is however your decision.

Consideration: 'Verts were rather rare, and the door is different between a 'vert and a non-'vert.

RwP
 

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Interesting, I'll stick with repair I think. The tailgate seems difficult to find new. The doors is likely impossible, fender seems standard.
 

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Tailgate you'd have to find in the boneyard; a lot of them are in worse shape than yours.

Doors, yep, rare'n hen's teeth since yours is a 'vert.

Fenders are; used from 1987 to 1996. But that one just needs a strip, glaze, and prime from the pictures.

RwP
 

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Here is my two cents worth.
Body work can be bad fair good and great.
Do not trust body work to just anyone.
If you just turn this loose to anyone you will most likely get a little repair and a lot of Bondo!
Either know and trust your body through past experience and or be involved in the process. See the work that is being done in stages. See the rust cut out and see touch and feel. Get close up pics from the shop. Make sure the repair is properly sealed inside and out. welding a patch panel will remove interior coatings that need to be properly replaced.
Make sure the body shop gives you a WRITTEN warranty against rust through.
Most reliable body shops will warranty work more than just a year for rust through if they do in fact do quality work.
You will pay for quality work. Be prepared to shell out some $ for a job done right.
You can either get a cheap body and paint job and have to be doing it again in a couple of years or you can get it done right and be able to enjoy it for years to come.
Good luck.
 
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