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Taymar

Opinions needed on front bodywork removal

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The front sheet metal on my '75 car (fenders, nose panel, hood) are shifted slightly over to one side, following an accident at some point in it's life. I know the car has had a new full nose panel, and I'd assume one or both fenders were replaced too.

My front shock towers are about 11mm closer together than they should be, and one tire sticks out maybe 1/4" further than the other.

I have a lot more parts removal and prep work to do on the car before I get a bodyshop involved, but what I'm wondering is whether I make their job more difficult if I remove the hood, outer fenders, and possibly nose panel before they've seen it?

I'm not sure if they'd need a reference point of how it sits now vs. where it needs to be, or whether they're just able to start fresh and get everything aligned when they refit it.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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This sounds like a big job - are you really committed to the car?

You are going to essentially want to put the whole car up on a jig and true up the rear subframe mounts to the front subframe mounts and strut towers. You'll need to straighten out the front frame rails (both horizontally and vertically).

If you go to these lengths to get the frame/chassis straightened out you might as well add in cabrio braces up front (they brace between the firewall and the front frame rails).

That car must have really be whacked to have bent & moved the whole front end like that.

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I'm fairly committed to it, yes. Although sourcing another shell isn't completely out of the question if it made more sense financially.

This one doesn't have much rust on it, is a non-sunroof shell which I wanted, and seems to be in good shape aside from the front bodywork. It tracked straight when driven last. I'm not sure the frame rails are severely bent, to my untrained eye it looks like the front bodywork wasn't aligned as well as it could have been before it was welded on.

I've actually been hoping to get the car put on a frame jig but have had trouble finding anywhere nearby which has the tools/skill and inclination to look at a car this old.

If I were to go that route, would the car need to still have wheels/suspension to put it on the jig, or would it be best to do it as a bare shell so they can get all the subframe pickup points?

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I used to be much more knowledgeable but I've taken a 5-6 year stint away from cars so now I'm getting back up to speed.

There are a couple of guys in North Carolina that could do it and I'm sure someone else may post up anyone in FL that would have a jig. To be honest you may be able to make your own if someone would post up the dimensions (I'm sure CD has them somewhere).

Even if the shell is great are you going to keep the big bumpers? If you are eventually going to go back to shorties I'd say try and source a new shell. I had a fairly rusty 74 that I used as a DD for years and I tried to convert that over to shortie bumpers. It was a royal pain in the butt. I ended up just taking the front bumper off and covering the holes and then in the rear it looked really bad/ghetto. Again, it was a hack DIY conversion on a rusty DD car.

If you plan on going to shortie bumpers I'd say source a clean, straight shell and just swap over the VIN#. If you are married to that shell then just take off the nose and outer fenders. You can strip these things down pretty well to just a bare rolling chassis. Keep the wheels on just so that you can move it around the garage and on/off a trailer easily.

Just knowing that it was bent previously I'd do the cabrio braces as well as make sure you run a front strut bar; possibly one that ties into the firewall

http://www.kormanautoworks.com/3.0resto%20pics/strut_brace_2002.JPG

Some of them (like linked above) actually bolt to the metal vs. just sit flush to it. If you do it properly you can strengthen as well as triangulate the front end.

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Thanks again,

would you mind letting me know which shops in NC might be able to help? My email is taymar02 at gmail dot com if you'd prefer not to post it publicly.

The big bumpers are off, I have a turbo air dam waiting to go on the front. I'll be fitting either a shorty rear bumper if I can find/afford one when the time comes, or one of the fiberglass copies if I can't.

I appreciate the info on the cabrio braces. A strut bar was definitely on my list, but I didn't know about these ones that attach to the firewall.

I'm hoping to do the M20 swap to the car so I'd definitely like to strengthen it up wherever possible.

If I can find a shop with a purpose built jig, I'll probably give them a call to talk about cost, then price up truck & trailer rental and see how it compares to a shell + shipping.

I've taken the fenders off today and I can see both are replacement fenders, and the car had a full nose panel not just the inner part.

Really appreciate the help, thanks again.

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Korman is in NC. They have done some top notch race cars and restorations so I'm sure they would have a jig (i assume). Call them, Ray will talk to you.

I don't know of any other specific BMW/2002 shops down south or further south than Korman but there are a bunch of members on here that live down your way. Probably after the Thanksgiving weekend holiday they will chime in.

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Before you take it far, check local bodyshops. They might crank that sucker back in line .

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service manual, and certainly you should be able to find a well-equipped body shop with a frame rack who, when supplied with all the dimensions, could set your body shell up and tweak it to its proper dimensions...

This is a fairly common procedure now, since most passenger cars (and many SUVs) are unibody, and dthe only way to straighten them after an accident is on a frame rack.

Probably won't be cheap, but you can be assured that (if done right) it'll be back to factory measurements.

cheers,

mike

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It's surprisingly not expensive- you usually pay the shop by the hour,

and sometimes that includes the guy, and sometimes not. Sounds

like you need maybe 2-4 hours...

And if it's a 'by the numbers' job, then by all means have it stripped down

as far as it can go, because that lets them get onto it however works best.

One thing- it's easy to get it close- as in, within a quarter.

Getting that last 1/4 to 3/16" sometimes just can't happen-

you have to overpull the metal to get it to settle where you want it,

and sometimes overpulling does way more damage than the initial hit.

But sure, it's quite do- able.

t

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I put the two pages of the measurements document together, thought I'd share in case it's useful to anyone else:

http://i.imgur.com/weNNG.jpg

The tolerances are something that's pretty interesting to me. I've called several shops and almost all said that the +/- 1mm for the specifications is unrealistic. I was told that some current GM cars use a 5mm tolerance, while BMW likes repair shops to get much closer.

In general, are race cars set up/repaired to closer tolerances than street cars? I've been trying to figure out whether a shop that prepares race cars may be more likely to get it all squared up better than a regular collision repair shop.

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