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Repairing crash damage - advice?


ABolton

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Had a bit of a prang at Cadwell last month :(. It's not too bad, but there is some chassis damage. Around suspension mounts on the front offside corner a couple of chassis members are bent, and a couple of welds have torn. I'm not planning on fixing the chassis myself, but I was wondering whether I should just take it to any body shop or welding place or what? I've got very little experience with this kind of thing, but it seems a pretty simple job - cutting out the bent bits and rewelding in some new bits of square-section steel. And repainting, which I'm sure I can manage myself :).

Any advice generally on repairs of this nature would be much appreciated. I'm sure it's happened to a few people round here :).

Cheers, Andrew

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It depends on how old the car is. If its relatively new, I personally would get the factory to do it. If its fairly old, I would probably have a go at getting it done as you suggest. Some people in the Speed Series hve had good results by getting it done themselves. It really depends how deep your pockets are.

John

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I think I'd leave it to the factory regardless of the age.

It will be a much better (safer) repair if it is accomplished on the jig that the car came from in the first place. Bear in mind that welding a space frame chassis that isn't EXACTLY flat and square will lead to a bent chassis. IE I wouldn't do it on chassis stands, and I certainly wouldn't jack the car up on one end or side to weld!!!! Chassis jigs are set up to be perfectly flat/square  and have their dimensions checked frequently to ensure that they are perfect. Nothing else will do.

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Keith Scarfe

Not that I am an expert, but when repairing even the smallest damage to the chassis it should be put in a jig to check for alignment of the pick up points. The factory are obviously the best people to do this. You might even find they are pretty competitive on price as well. My car is a narrow 1990 and when I had a bit of a bump (also at Cadwell as it happens) they replaced the whole front with no problem. They even had one already made up on the shelf so age shouldn't be any problem. The service was excellent, it was done the same day, but I did have to completely strip everything off (both front and rear) before delivering it to them.

As Blatman says, I would suggest trying them first.

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Its not the black twin engined car is it? I know that was owned by someone called A.Bolton.

If it is, then I wouldnt send that back to the factory. They'll be racing it up and down the carpark against their megabusa. :)

If it is, give Chris at Z-cars a ring. He's handy with a welder and chassis chopping!

If it's not the twin and you're a different A.Bolton then yep it's a factory job. Strip the car down completely first so you've just got a  bare chassis (then you wont have to pay factory labour for that).  Then trailer the chassis to the factory and they'll sort it.

I had heard it costs 600quid to have a new  front welded onto a chassis (from battery shelf forwards). But you might want to consider buying a new chassis. I think they're about 1K (maybe +coating)

Cheers,

Horsebox.

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It is the black twin-engine car, yes. I know Chris did a lot of strengthening work to the front end anyway, so probably will ask him for help. Understand the comments about jigs and stuff, but not confident the factory can/will help, as the chassis has been modified in it's various incarnations - it started out as an SE and converted to independent (not that that matters for the front, I know, but I'm not sure how much modification there's been). The passenger footwell is a foot shorter to get the engines in, and the battery is in the back in front of the fuel tank. Front end is probably pretty standard though, apart from some extra cross-bracing I know went in.

Chris might be a bit busy soon, as his twin-Tiger appears on Top Gear tonight - I imagine he's hoping he'll get some orders out of it :).

Too much car, not enough talent :blush:.

Thanks for all the advice

Andrew

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When a friend bent my previous car we thought the chassis was fine (measuring by eye). We stripped it and sent it back to the factory just incase. Turned out it was twisted (only visible when checked on the jig). They were most helpful and had it turned round very quickly and at a very reasonable cost. If you let them know where bracing needs to be put I'm sure they could come to some arrangement, no harm in ringing them right?

I'd prefer that the chassis was fixed in the appropriate, accurate jig than welded elsewhere, it may look straight to the eye but could be banana-like when measured.....

It may just be the front end that needs to be re-jigged. Best of luck! *fingers crossed*

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Was that the yellow car, at Mallory, Graeme? If it was, I have some pics (can't remember if it's video or stills now) of the immediate aftermath.......

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A***. Very sorry to hear it Andrew. It's a very awkward situation too. Dont spose you were insured were you?

I think Chris@Z will be able to give you the best advice on what to do.

If the car has been about so much maybe it's time to rebuild it around a new chassis? You could ask Chris how much it'd cost to have the chassis mods done to a new chassis?

It will be hard for the factory to repair/rejig it, because there are a lot of changes/non standard bits about it.

Even if they could do it (and theres no doubting their welding skills), it would require close co-operation between the factory and Z-cars to make sure the extra bits are put back correctly and this is sure to bump the price up a lot. It's  a one-off chassis, basically.

Got my fingers crossed that Chris will know how best to go about fixing it. He might have chassis jigging contacts within Tiger.

Cheers,

Horsebox. :(

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I _think_ the way I'd approach it would be.

Buy a new chassis, unpanelled and without powder coating from the factory. (Will be about a grand I think)

Take this straight to Z with all the bits from your old car and get him to do the engine mounts, gearbox mounts and strengthening.

Get this powder coated. Then rebuild it yourself.

Not cheap, but end up with a new car. I remember you saying a while back that you thought it could do with rebuilding sometime soon.

Cheers,

Horsebox

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