Dmax inner guard crack update

If you’ve been following along, many of you will know that after 5 years, and about 100,000km, our 2016 Isuzu Dmax developed a crack on the support that goes over the battery, which is spot welded to the passenger inner guard. I believe they call this the radiator support, as it goes around from the left to right inner guard. This is one of the better known Isuzu Dmax issues.

Now, you should know that we had our Dmax body mounts replaced under warranty at 60,000km, as two were cracked and starting to deform, and I didn’t want to have any cracking issues, which inevitably gets contributed to by body mounts failing.

EDIT – we’ve provided a much more recent update below, with a massive crack just found

Cracking on the Dmax
The crack on our Isuzu Dmax inner guard when it was first noticed

The Dmax inner guard cracking is very well known by now, and repairs by Isuzu are common, but not always taking place without a bit of work on the customers end. Nonetheless, I took the vehicle to Port Lincoln Isuzu to get it checked out on the day I noticed the crack, and they lodged a technical case.

I followed up with them, and then went to Isuzu Head office to see if they could help us in our situation, as we’re travelling and by the time a dealer gets a solution we are thousands of kilometres away.

They put us in touch with Essendon Isuzu (ironically where the vehicle was purchased from), and the service manager there was hugely helpful in pushing the claim through, and speaking to various panel shops.

The reply I got was simple; they’d accepted the warranty claim, and wanted the vehicle for 3 weeks to replace both inner guards, the radiator support and the body mounts. I was quite shocked to read that for a tiny crack they wanted to pull the entire front end apart and replace the majority of the panels, and when I queried this, I was told that’s the standard repair method.

Obviously we’re over the moon that the repair is completely covered by Isuzu, but its really hard to organise the actual repair when you are on the road full time.

I’ve taken photos at various stages, and as far as I can tell, it really hasn’t grown at all from January to April, which is good news.

Dmax crack in January
The crack grew until January
Dmax crack in April
Now, in April its hardly changed

I have noticed that one body mount (passenger side footwell) is starting to crack, but its still in reasonable condition. Still, after just 35,000km that’s a bit of a worry.

The bigger concern for us was how we could do without our Dmax for 3 weeks, whilst we literally live out of it. Its our method for moving the camper and our family around, it has our fridge which we literally live out of, and everything we need to travel.

We missed the opportunity of getting it done around Essendon by a couple of weeks, and with a busy next few months heading through NSW to Queensland and Cape York, I couldn’t see how we’d fit it in.

We have some friends around the Sunshine coast, and I might see if a panel shop will do the repair up there, whilst we borrow or hire (Isuzu did say they’d help out) another vehicle. I’ve yet to see any hired vehicles that come with brake controllers though, so we can’t even move the camper even if we wanted to during that time, which is a bit of a problem.

Either way, its covered, and Isuzu (and us) would like to get it repaired and sorted ASAP.

I suspect that the new panels will be different in material, and dearly hope it doesn’t happen again.

Update August 2023

So, we’ve continued travelling, and completed the bookings that we had with caravan parks and cruises with family, and I started looking to get it booked in advance. Isuzu Ute Australia made it very clear that we’d have to start the entire process again with a different dealer, which I was not very happy about, but didn’t have much say.

I rang about 7 different dealers, and every single one of them (bar one; Paramatta Isuzu) wanted to see the vehicle before they’d do anything, which was not what I wanted to do, as its the same scenario as we’ve already repeated. By the time the vehicle gets inspected, approved for repairs and its ready to go, we’re miles away, and I was trying to pre-book it in, so it was ready for repair when we arrived at a place, and we’d wait for 3 weeks for the job to be done.

However, on our trip out to Stanage Bay, we lost aircon (which we’ve had happen before), and I assumed that the corrugations had just cracked the evaporator again. Just minutes out of camp though, we had two yellow fault lights come on, and I opened the bonnet to see what had happened, and discovered something of nightmares. I could visibly see a massive crack just in front of the battery on the passenger side, and it was bad. 

I could see fluid sprayed everywhere, and it had a green tinge, and I was wondering if it was coolant. We limped to camp, where I discovered that the high pressure aircon line attaches to the part of the guard that cracked and sagged, and it most likely split the hose and let all the dye and oil out. I guess its better than a radiator coolant leak, but still no good. 

I rang Isuzu in Rockhampton, who were the closest dealer, and we’ll see what they can do, but they mentioned it needs inspecting, then approval, then its 3 – 4 weeks wait for the panel beaters to fit us in (which are 4 hours away as no one in Rockhampton is approved to do it), and then the repair will be 3 or so weeks.

That’s nearly 3 months of sitting in one spot, which is exactly what I was hoping to avoid, but it seems we don’t have a choice now. I’ll update as this changes, but its pretty disheartening! That’s our Big Lap on hold, for sure.

Update October 2023

The inner guards, along with the radiator support were replaced through Eagle Farm Isuzu, and we lost the vehicle for 3 weeks, whilst we had to pull up stumps for 7 weeks. You can read more about this at Dmax Inner Guard Repair.

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