August 2009

Right frame rail repair

I take some days off and we moved on the bodywork repair. The whole front end needs to be fully restored. We started with right frame rail.

After removal of the rail cover, I am sandblasting all surfaces before any repair. This shows the condition of the frame rail after sandblasting - very bad shape.
Next, we moved to patch the bottom side of the shock tower which suffers from the water and poor drainage design. I used 1,5mm steel and few patches formed to correct shape. View of the repaired part.
The reinforcement bracket needs to be repaired as well. Cut , bend and weld to copy original shape. I used 2,5 mm steel.
Before final welding back to the place I trial fit the new upper control arm. The chinese copy of the original ones looks similar but after fitting in place we saw a difference. The arm move was only about 10 cm due to interference with the shock tower. I need to form the tower a little bit and finally cut some piece even from the new control arm. Now, everything is ready for the new frame rail.
The front crossmember looks also very bad. I cut the bottom piece and fabricate a replacment piece from the 3 mm steel. Bottom side view of the crossmemeber.
I have clamped repair patch in place. This is how it looks like after welding and some grinding.The front side is butt welded. Back side is plug welded. I reinforce the strut rod areas with L shape profiles.
Meanwhile, I let the local company to plasma cut and bend the new frame rail. The new frame rail is made from 2,5 mm steel. This shows my drawing of the inner part. This is my drawing of the outer frame rail piece. Before cutting I also made 1:1 scale inner template from thick paper and mark all original holes for idle arm, bumper bolts and sway bar holder.
As I have the floors welded in place the full frame rail replacement was nearly impossible now. So I decided ti butt weld the new front piece. For better strength, I cut the seam in double L shape as shown on the picture. I guess this will give me reasonable strength compromise for this type of repair. Frame rail after welding in place.
I need to form the idle arm cavity. I used the paper template to mark all required holes and drill it to proper size. I also weld a 3mm U shape steel profile into the frame rail for better strength. And finally, I paint all surfaces to protect against the future rust. My brother is welding the outer plate to cover the rail.
And finish... Remains to repair the torque box cover. Original steel was too thin so I weld a 2mm steel over the original piece.
Torque box is plug welded in place. We formed the firewall extension patch. The original piece was rusted through due to the cowl leak.

Left frame rail

The right rail took about a week of the work. Than we moved to the opposite side. This side looks better, but for the first view only. This left side is much complicated. It's bended the middle due to the car power steering option. The full replacement would be hardly possible. So I decided to patch the worse pieces and than fully reinforce from inner side.
Flex the muscles and let's go to drill the original spot welds. I used 10 mm drill bit or spot weld cutter fro this job. Removal of the shock tower bracket.
I am using a pneumatic chisel and removing the frame rail cover. Inside condition.
And a tons of rust spills out.
Also for this side we started with shock tower repair first. I shape the pieces and tack weld only. We will continue with sandbalsting and next repairs. Stay tuned for next month update.

Small repairs

I also need to remind for small repairs made on the car a pillar to roof connection repair and roof frame patch.

Roof frame was rusted through at one place due to water leak through the door moldings. This shows the repaired patch. And A pillar to roof connection was rusted as well as top right window frame. Small pieces of steel to repair it.