Dmax inner guards repaired under warranty

There’s nothing worse than major car troubles, especially when you’re on a Big Lap of Australia and miles away from any major city. That’s exactly what happened to us, and if you’ve been following along you’ll know the story. If not, we cover everything you need to know about the Dmax inner guard cracking and repairs in this post.

What’s important to know now though, is that our 2016 Isuzu Dmax, with 111,000km on the clock has had the inner guards replaced in Brisbane, and our big Lap of Australia is back on.

New inner guard on our Dmax
Our Isuzu Dmax has 3 new panels, and we’re back on the road again

This is not a sponsored post

If you’ve been following us for some time, you’ll know we aren’t sponsored by anyone, and share these posts for the benefits of our readers, and that is it. We don’t get anything from Isuzu from sharing this, and they don’t know this is being posted. We’re in the business of giving credit where its due, and calling it out when its not, and this post is no different to any other that we’ve done in that regard.

We’ve done a post covering our thoughts on the Isuzu Dealer Servicing and also our Dmax Warranty claims that pretty clearly show our thoughts. You can also read about our thoughts on the MUX and Dmax problems.

What work was actually done?

Our Isuzu Dmax had one minor crack on the radiator support battery clamp attachment, a small one on the drivers side at the bottom of the inner guard and then a massive one under the battery (about 150mm long), which we only noticed when the air conditioner stopped working as it fractured one of the pipes when the guard dropped.

Regardless of where the cracks are in any of these 3 panels, the standard repair methodology is to unstitch the inner guards and radiator support panel, and to install new panels. As you might imagine, this is a massive job, and most quotes are between 2 and 4 weeks for the repair only. 

Inner guard replacements on a Dmax
They replace the three panels in front of the dashboard

We’ve got a Safari Snorkel, Provent 200 Catch Can, Secondary fuel filter, transmission cooler, winch and a pretty decked out 4WD, and I’m sure a good chunk of these things would have had to be removed and re-fitted.

It’s also common to have the body mounts replaced, and even though ours had been done at 60,000km due to cracking and sagging, they were just about due anyway. Interestingly, they only replaced the two front most body mounts, and left the others.

Of course, our aircon also needed repairing, as it had lost all the gas, which Isuzu sorted out after the repairs were done (new high pressure aircon pipe, and re-gassing).

A large crack in our Inner Guard
Our aircon line fractured when the inner guard let go, so that needed repairing too

Are the new inner guard panels different?

Yes, they have a different part number, and have bracing in the section that often cracks. I was told that the old panels were pressed from the wrong steel, which is entirely possible, and the new ones should be out of a more malleable steel, but who really knows. They certainly look better!

Inner guard bracing
You can clearly see extra braces in place

Who did the repairs?

The work was done by Drive Accident Solutions, and organised by Brisbane Eagle Farm Isuzu. I was recommended Eagle Farm in Isuzu as being one of the quieter dealers, who’d be able to get the whole work done quickly by Isuzu Ute Australia (head office).

Eagle Farm Isuzu did the repairs
Drive Accident Solutions did the work, and it was organised through Brisbane Eagle Farm Isuzu

The warranty process, from start to finish

Prior to our major guard failure, I had approval for the repairs down in Essendon in Victoria, but by the time they came through we were way further north, and I was trying to get a dealer in Queensland to take the claim on, but they all wanted to see the vehicle in person before doing anything, which meant we’d have to pull up and wait.

That said, the aircon broke when we were heading out to Stanage Bay, and I noticed the major crack just as we arrived.

Cracked inner guard on the Dmax
Our inner guard let go in a big way north of Rockhampton

I rang Isuzu Ute Australia on Tuesday 22/8 to advise them of the failure, and they recommended I speak to Eagle Farm Isuzu, which I did, and got a booking in for inspection on 25/8, which suited perfectly as we had to drive about 800km down to Brisbane.

On the 25/8, I took the car to Eagle Farm Isuzu, who had a look at it, and took it to the smash repairers for them to take a look. An hour and a half later I had the vehicle back, and drove back to family in the Sunshine Coast.

From there, I made a few calls every couple of days to Eagle Farm Isuzu, or IUA, or the smash repairers. It took them just over a week to get the quote formalised, and the claim was lodged with Isuzu Ute Australia that day (5/9).

I spoke to IUA again a couple of times, and the approval came through on 12/9, with a booking at the smash repairs for 19/9, and an estimated timeframe of 2 weeks. IUA organised a hire car through Right 2 Drive, and I dropped the Dmax off at Eagle Farm, and drove out in a fairly new Toyota Hilux.

Our Hilux hire car
We were given a new Hilux for the duration of the repairs

How long did it all take?

From the first inspection on 25/8, to me collecting the Isuzu Dmax on 11/10, it was just under 7 weeks, which in my opinion is pretty good. That includes the quoting, submitting of the claim, approval of the claim, waiting period for the smash repairs and the repairs themselves.

My initial guess was 8 – 12 weeks, which was absolutely destroyed. It could have taken a lot longer to get approved, and for the panel shop to be ready to start the work, so we got very lucky in that regard.

Was a hire car provided?

Yep, the Isuzu dealer weren’t able to assist with this, but Isuzu Ute Australia organised one with minimal fuss, and we needed one to get around with the family. They even went to a bit of work to get something similar to what we had, which was appreciated, and this was a fairly major expense for them, at roughly $200 a day (so more than $3500 for the whole lot, paid for by Isuzu).

Our Hilux for a few weeks
It was interesting to drive the Hilux around for a while and compare it to the Dmax

Was anything done poorly?

I always hate vehicles being pulled apart, because I know that they often don’t go back together as well as they once were. We’ve proven our Dmax, and when you’re pulling a substantial amount of gear off a 4WD, and then reinstalling it there’s a decent chunk of room for error.

Our Bull Bar was a pain in the bum to line up when we installed it, and there’s a dozen other things you could easily do wrong when reassembling, and I was quietly confident it wouldn’t go perfectly.

My first impressions when I had a look over the vehicle though, were that the job was done really well. I could see a couple of places where I wanted cable ties, and a bit of rubber was missing between the secondary fuel filter and battery, but overall it was done really well.

There’s a small paint run down the chassis where they’ve painted the inner guards underneath, and two small paint splodges (like 3 and 4mm wide) on the outside of the inner guard, but I’m not that fussy.

I did have a weird knocking noise on bumps and turning corners which I stopped to investigate, only to realise the winch wasn’t wound in all the way and the steel block was banging on the bull bar fairlead!

New panels on the Dmax
It looks like they’ve done a really good job

How do we feel, overall?

Life throws lemons from time to time, and when I discovered the major crack up near Stanage Bay, I was expecting a tow truck out (I initially thought it was coolant everywhere), and that we’d be stuck in a caravan park for up to 3 months, which was the last thing we wanted to happen.

I was annoyed that it had happened, but had known it was a possibility given other failures I’d seen over the years, and I know nothing in life is perfect. Things are built incorrectly, or there’s design flaws, or mistakes made, and that’s just life. In my mind the way these things are dealt with is far more important.

We decided to head for the Sunshine Coast to be close to Brisbane (a major hub for repairs, and also head office of Isuzu) and where we have amazing family who put us up in their house, and looked after us extremely well. 

I was expecting the warranty process to drag out, and for the smash repairers to be busy and have at least a 3 – 4 week lead time before they could start, but it all flowed through exceptionally well.

Previous experiences with warranty through Isuzu Ute Australia had been really good, and I was thinking we could be in for a bit of a battle with getting it through, and a hire car sorted, but in all honesty they couldn’t have been better.

Overall, I’m super impressed with Isuzu Ute Australia, and Brisbane Eagle Farm Isuzu (and also Drive Accident Solutions). I mentioned above that the way in which a problem is dealt with speaks volumes about a business, and things could have gone a lot worse for us in this regard, if Isuzu hadn’t been so helpful and good about it.

I knew (but kept my fingers crossed) that this model Dmax had inner guard cracking issues when I got ours, and asides from this its been a pretty reliable vehicle.

I’m positive if we’d been stuck in a remote town, expensive caravan park and had nothing to do my thoughts would be vastly different, but from Isuzu’s perspective, there wasn’t much that could have been done better.

New panels on our Dmax
Things could have gone a lot worse

We’re back on the road

It’s been a forced stop for us, and asides from a major change in plans I can’t complain at all. We’ve been staying in a beautiful house in an incredible area, with so many amazing places nearby. I’ve been working 3 days a week at a local workshop, the kids have had more toys to play with than ever before and it was a very different change to our usual travels.

For now, we’ll continue heading south, and we fly back to Perth from Sydney in December, and then continue our travels around this amazing country (and hope not to have any more major vehicle troubles!).

Dmax on the beach
We’re off again, and can’t wait to see more of this amazing country

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  1. Hey Paul,

    Great to hear mate. They certainly made a bad situation as good as it could have been!

    All the best

  2. Paul FitzGerald says:

    Hi Aaron, just had my DMax returned from repairs, under warranty, in Brisbane (same repairer) for inner guard crack. Couldn’t be happier with the response and service by IUA, my local Isuzu dealer (Ipswich) and the repairer. Also, was provided with a rental vehicle while the work was being done. Would be very happy to look at another DMax when the time comes to replace my current vehicle based on this experience. Safe travels. Paul.

  3. Hey Richard,

    There is a lot on the larger shows that is not shown, for good reason. Damage gets done to lots of different products and it is often hidden or brushed away, which gives you a false sense of quality.

    I’d imagine that most panel shops these days would have seen a few of these come through by now, and anything remote is obviously more likely to suffer damage. Corrugations can be relentless, and I have no doubt that some vehicles get absolutely hammered.

    Interesting about the Bull Bars coming off though; they’re attached to the chassis and shouldn’t come off without major chassis damage, or bolts coming loose

    Cheers for your thoughts

  4. This is something I have recently found out about the Dmax, from watching 4wd247 I thought they where a great car but me being a automotive spraypainter and working at a shop in Alice Springs found out about this major problem with them
    they get a few in because of the rough roads out there and I was shocked. I did one and engine stayed in but rest of front end had to came off and replaced. but there was another one came in with cracks all over radiator support, inner guards, under outer guards and even bonnet hinges fully cracked. Heard stories off bull bars falling off and going under car.

  5. Hey Steve,

    I agree. They’ve been pretty good to us in terms of warranty issues.

    All the best

  6. Steve Burrows says:

    Just picked up your posts Aaron. Really interesting.

    I’m impressed with the way Isuzu handled the claim. There are other manufacturers who would have been a whole lot more difficult.

  7. Hey Dave,

    You have the new shape Dmax, which should have totally different panels, and no doubt substantial re-engineering after the costs Isuzu would have had to pay on our year model Dmax and MUX’s.

    I would not be concerned about panels cracking on your model Dmax, but you should take comfort in knowing that even if something like this did occur, Isuzu have been really good about it all.

    Thanks for the kind words, and all the best

  8. Dave Freakley says:

    G’day Aaron from a fellow sandgroper! Thanks for sharing your experience with IUA. I read your articles with great interest especially those relating to your Dmax as I have a fully kitted out 2021 Dmax with a custom made ali canopy and am concerned about cracks and damage we may suffer whilst we travel around the outback. It sounds like things fell ‘relatively’ into place for you guys and as you’ve said it could’ve been worse and dragged out longer. Glad to hear you’re back on the road and I look forward to following your travels but now to get back to reading your other posts! Stay safe, cheers Dave.