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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been a member on here for some time now, but haven't actually posted anything about my own car. Mostly lurked around soaking in knowledge on the e46 and bought up a bunch of parts haha. I grew up in the repair industry and had a few projects before this one. So this wasn't my first rodeo when it came to paint and body. The car is cosmetically done right now (custom wide body) so this thread will be of the build from when I purchased it as an insurance write off, to its current state with extra wide wheel arches inspired by OSS :pimpin: (the first wheels were courtesy of Chase (2000_328ci)).

The the engine bit is a slow work in progress right now, and the plan is for boost (thanks to Hobbit382, Daniel_f and of course PEI330ci).

So without sidetracking too much I'll start off the thread with the before pictures, and add the rest over the next few days.




First day when I bought the car and it arrived at the old shop.

(shitty camera phone pics from a Palm Treo 650, yes this was a while ago I was still in university)





Some better stuff taken by a friend






Disassembly









I'll put some more pics up tomorrow of the car being pulled straight on the frame machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Couldn't resist here's a few of the car on the frame rack.

A blurry one, but still the first pull.



Plate bolted to the shock tower, for the remainder of the straightening.



Nothing fancy, just a thick piece of steel cut with an Oxy-Acetylene torch to match the upper shock mount pattern

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Nope, the whole car is clamped into place on the frame machine and the bent sections are pulled into place with the hydraulic ram. The ram has to be positioned properly of course otherwise you'll pull/stretch in the wrong direction. (This is was also on Gas Monkey Garage when they fixed the written off F40, that was a really elaborate set up (bigger $$$ than most places I've seen)).

We slowly pulled the shock tower back into place, making sure the under-hood measurements were to original spec (provided by the dealership). Then (since my upper frame rail was beat up badly) cut out the old upper frame rail (where the fender bolts to) and the front of the wheel housing. I'll post up some more pictures later today of the process.
 

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Doesn't pulling out the frame like that weaken it?
yes. body shops can align the panels back to "spec" but spec is just a measurement. as soon as any metal on the car takes a hit it is instantly weakened. that's the characteristics of metals.
think of a coke can. in perfect form it can probably support your weight. but if you crush it and then roll it back to it's original shape it will be incredibly weak. yes it still has the same shape and measurements as a new can but the metal has lost it's structural integrity.

most shops will try to argue against this but they are wrong.
 

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even the rear frame of the car is now weaker than it was when new. that's because modern cars use a unibody chassis that is designed to channel forces through the main frame rails to the rear of the car. this reduces shock to the passengers in a crash. because the ENTIRE chassis experienced this shock the ENTIRE chassis is now weaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
That's why there's non repairable, vs written-off but repairable. Shops aren't wrong, because if the vehicle was that unsafe it wouldn't be allowed back on the road at all (there are rules to this). Like any industry there's good workmanship and bad, and the repair industry wouldn't exist if everything repaired was "weaker" and unsafe. Your coke can analogy works in the event the whole car is crunched from a severe hit (in those cases the car is only good for parts and not allowed to be repaired). The coke can is also more or less one single piece. Modern cars are built in sections which are designed to be repaired. Just about everything can be purchased from the dealership with a blown up diagram for every section (like those seen on realoem). The various crumple zones are divided into sections and can be repaired by cutting and welding in new sections. By your logic any car that has rear subframe cracks now risks the engine falling out in the front from the shock of the subframe twisting... The actual frame rails that make up the major structure weren't damaged (they're straight in the pictures), nor was the vehicle cabin/anything past the firewall. If those had been damaged it'd be classified as "parts only" and I wouldn't be repairing it. The metal that was crumpled (as you described) gets cut out and replaced with new as seen below.

Back to the build;

So after the first pulls, took measurements and everything had lined up. But the upper frame rail had a kink in it decided to drill out the spot welds and chop it out. It was stubborn so the air chisel came out for any pain in the ass welds and the cut off wheel to take it out in sections.





Upper rail and front of the wheel housing chopped out. To be replaced.





What was left.




Take some measurements







New parts!!



Clamped and mocked up in place





Radiator Support bolted in to see fitment



 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the positive words. I got lucky that my most of my family were in the business. So growing up with a dad who's a body man/mechanic with a shop helped me learn a ton. I'll post some more pics later tonight.

If you want to learn I'm sure there's courses in your area, our local technical college puts on courses as well that are awesome for beginners welding (mig/tig), auto maintenance and even body work. Easy way to figure out if you like something before investing in the tools yourself, especially with welding.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Mock up to test panel gaps before making anything permanent. (still just clamps holding things underneath)









The hood and bumper were courtesy of some fellow fanatics:thumbup:(euro bumper with no reflectors).








Headlights were also from mainland Europe and had the city lights bulbs inside as well.
 

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I like the seam sealer and primer. Looking good.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Fixed :D






The black was the aluminum etching primer, and then came the high solids primer. The suppliers only had it in white at the time which was kinda shitty given the car was going to painted black lol.








Assembled sorta (passenger side hinge for the hood hadn't come in yet so it's still not aligned correctly here).

 

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Wish I had an oem hood. nice work!
 
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