Sign in to follow this  
GM1995ES

Deer Ran Into Me - How To Fix?

Recommended Posts

Ah well, after 14½ years and 330,000 miles, the 95 suffered its first ding. Just after dark, country 2-lane road with no shoulder, going about 45 mph. No indication until a thump and a flash of beige past the passenger side window. The thing jumped from a low embankment and smack into the right fender, just ahead of the wheel well and behind the headlight. Shallow dent right where the fender meets the plastic bumper surround, so the fender edge is inset from the end of the headlight by maybe ¼ inch. Only a small scratch on the paint, the damage is hardly noticeable except up close, and it doesn't affect driveability in the least. Not critical, but I would like to get the headlight-offset problem repaired.

Estimate for repair: $2118, from the shop recommended by the insurance company. This is using new parts, of course, except for a used fender, and about half was for paint. I opted for the 2 grand (estimate less deductible), figuring I would have a "new" fender at half the value of the car while everything else is 15 years old.

My question is, does anyone have experience with any of the so-called Paintless dent repair methods? A guy I know showed me the results of a similar case where the dent was removed using magnets, all for $75, and I would go there except he lives 800 miles away. Does anyone think this can be pulled out without costing an arm and a leg?

This could have been worse - another foot higher and the thing would have been into the windshield, a little less bounce and it would have torn off the mirror, etc. I couldn't even stop until far beyond the scene (did see the traffic behind swerving, though) so I have no idea how the deer ended up, but I hope it at least had a bad headache.

One other thing. When I was straightening out the plastic fender well cover/shroud which had been crumpled a bit, I noticed a loose small white plastic open-ended box about half the size of a cigarette pack behind the cover. Any idea what this might be? It is not part of the washer fluid reservoir or anything else I can see, and looks to be a snap-on cover of some sort. Is anything attached behind the front fender well shroud? One thought was perhaps the outdoor temperature sensor - I never have figured out where it is located.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "loose small white plastic open-ended box about half the size of a cigarette pack" may be one of the two front airbag sensors -- there is one in each front fender.

I don't know if your dent could be removed but googling "paintless dent removal in pa" found of bunch of companies that do that in SE PA.

Maybe you could remove the headlight and hammer the dent out enough to get the headlight to fit properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The "loose small white plastic open-ended box about half the size of a cigarette pack" may be one of the two front airbag sensors -- there is one in each front fender.

I don't know if your dent could be removed but googling "paintless dent removal in pa" found of bunch of companies that do that in SE PA.

Maybe you could remove the headlight and hammer the dent out enough to get the headlight to fit properly.

Jim - Bingo on the airbag sensor, I think. Looked it up in the Service Manual, and that is exactly where they are located. Guess that one (or both) definitely need to be replaced. If I remove the headlight assembly, is that sensor visible? Or do you need to remove the fender shroud (cowl, I think its called) to get to it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The "loose small white plastic open-ended box about half the size of a cigarette pack" may be one of the two front airbag sensors -- there is one in each front fender.

I don't know if your dent could be removed but googling "paintless dent removal in pa" found of bunch of companies that do that in SE PA.

Maybe you could remove the headlight and hammer the dent out enough to get the headlight to fit properly.

Jim - Bingo on the airbag sensor, I think. Looked it up in the Service Manual, and that is exactly where they are located. Guess that one (or both) definitely need to be replaced. If I remove the headlight assembly, is that sensor visible? Or do you need to remove the fender shroud (cowl, I think its called) to get to it?

I doubt if you need to replace the air bag sensors if they aren't broken. At least they are fairly inexpensive -- $60.84 on Parts.com. The right and left ones have different part numbers. Right = 89173-09010; Left = 89173-09020. You can get part numbers for many parts at http://www.toyodiy.com and then search for the part numbers on parts.com and other websites.

I don't think you can get to the air bag sensors through the headlight openings -- only through the wheel well. Be sure to disconnect the car battery and wait a couple of minutes before you mess with those sensors or any part of the air bag system ... don't want an air bag inflating!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, after looking at the plastic "box" (see attachment, with wine cork for scale), I'm not sure this is part of the airbag sensor. The Service Manual does not show a picture, only a drawing, but it shows the case has a big arrow on it, which this part does not. It looks more like the cover for a terminal or electrical part. What else besides the airbag sensor is underneath the right side fender, in the space ahead of the fender liner?

post-23254-1262792940_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm ... a cigarette package and a wine cork to provide a size reference ... working on your image? ;)

Does there happen to be a part number on that white piece of plastic? Toyota seems to put part numbers on just about everything.

Do you see anything the white box could snap on to? There must be something else in the wheel well .... unless maybe the deer took it with him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim said:

"Hmmm ... a cigarette package and a wine cork to provide a size reference ... working on your image?"

Nah, just sedatives for the headache caused by this dent issue and a dead hard drive at the same time.

No part number or any kind of marking on the little white box. I have googled all over the internet for a picture (or place to buy) the airbag sensor. No luck - closest was an ebay listing for an SC300 sensor, which showed a YELLOW cover with a big arrow on it, not even close to the same configuration. Did I mention that the white box was perfectly clean, meaning it is from somewhere that 14 years of road grime, etc., does not reach?

I guess its time to bite the bullet, take off the fender liner (16 screws, if I read correctly), and poke my head up in there to see what is going on. Assuming it is nothing critical, I think that will wait until the garage is a bit above 40 degrees. The other option is to go to a Lexus or Toyota parts department, ask for a sensor or their catalog listing, and see if it matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this