BODY EXPERTS: Correcting New Rear Frame Rails Welded in Incorrectly

Discussion in 'Body Restoration' started by 80WA7113, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. 80WA7113

    80WA7113 Veteran Member

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    I am considering buying a 1968 RS convertible that has had extensive bodywork already completed. The work completed consists of a new full floor pan, rear 1/4's, rear wheel housings-both inner and outer, inner and outer tail panel, new doors, new front fenders. (All parts are Dynacorn). The body panels and doors on the car line up beautifully. Now here is the fun part: The current owner can not bolt the rear (with springs attached) back onto the car. He can attach the springs in the front just fine, but he can not attach the springs on either side to the rear frame rails...both are off enough to keep from being able to bolt the shackes into place.

    He did not discover this fiasco until he got the body home. The body shop he paid to do the work has ignored all of his attempts at establishing communication. In the meantime, he put the body back on the trailer and took it to another shop where the shop did an inspection. The body shop looked that the bodywork itself and commented that it appeared that had been done correctly, with the exception of the rear frame rails. They said that to correct the problem, the crooked frame rails would have to be removed, and new ones installed correctly.

    I have not replaced rear frame rails before and I am not afraid of tackling this job, but I am concerned about being able to obtain the proper "starting" points from which to begin measuring for correct placement of the frame rails. Since the car had new a new full pan installed, can I use the front spring mounting points as a starting point, cross measuring from side to side to get started? I know I would then have to cross measure to the front subframe mounting points to ensure I'm true front to rear to avoid running dog-legged down the road.

    I would really like to hear from those who have done this before to give me some guidance and share thoughts base on the info above.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dave
     
  2. 80WA7113

    80WA7113 Veteran Member

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    Looks like all the true "experts" have left the building.
     
  3. bodymanbill

    bodymanbill Veteran Member

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    It’s a really difficult question to answer without getting under the car and putting my eyes on it and taking some measurements. I’ve never put a full floor pan in a 1st gen but doesn’t the shape of the floor kinda dictate where the rails sit up by the spring mounts ( thinking they follow the shape of the floor) so they would be hard to get way out of alignment. Thinking myself the floor is in wrong. Either way it’s going to be a difficult fix. Have u tried to put the springs in without the axle then feed the axle in and measure the wheelbaseand see what u have.
     
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  4. bodymanbill

    bodymanbill Veteran Member

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    Without knowing what’s original and what has been changed I think I would drop a plumbob straight down from the fender mounts on the firewall (should be original) than measuring back from there. U need a starting point that u know hasn’t been altered.
     
  5. ronzz572

    ronzz572 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I have a friend that builds 1st gen camaro and firebirds from the ground up. He uses a jig he made. I'm sure if he puts it on the jig he could get it right. If interested PM me your phone number? He is a little west of Cleveland Ohio near Norwalk ohio, Actually right down the street from summit raceway park.
     
  6. NOT A TA

    NOT A TA Veteran Member

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    Was a new trunk pan installed as well as a full floor pan? Do the spring pockets bolt in place easily?

    As Bill mentioned it's very hard to guess what's wrong without looking at it as well as the springs/rear end set up and doing some measuring. He also mentioned there might be contours in the pan the rail fits in, which there is. The rail also straddles the seat belt reinforcement plate so it can't really be moved very far left/right.

    If the rails do have to be removed plan on buying a full trunk pan, even if you end up sectioning it in.

    Hmmmmmm, depending on the car and your intentions, maybe offset shackles?

    This is primarily a 2nd gen forum. The 1st gen experts hang out here https://www.camaros.net/forums/

    Spring pocket & torque box in the car should be the same as this '67.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. 80WA7113

    80WA7113 Veteran Member

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    Thanks for all of the replies! A full floor pan and trunk pan were installed. The problem is when the rear (with springs) are bolted to the torque box mounts, the rear of the springs can not be bolted into place. The RH side is off by about 6" and the LH side is off by about 4".

    Too much has been replaced and done to this car that I played no role in doing, so I have no idea if there are any more "surprises" waiting for me during the reassembly process...but I'd bet the farm that if something like this (rear frame rail replacement) was done so hap-haphazardly, there are other problems are waiting in the wings.

    I have wisely decided against purchasing this car. It's too much of a gamble.
     
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  8. Green hornet

    Green hornet Veteran Member

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    That is probably a very smart idea on your part.
     
  9. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    6" off? :eek:
    I don't see how anyone could be that far off in this process.

    I couldn't convince myself to tackle that mess (or pay someone to do it correctly) if the body was free!

    Good choice to walk away, IMO.
     
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  10. 80WA7113

    80WA7113 Veteran Member

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    According to the owner, the body shop was pushing near the end to get the car out the door. The owner didn't notice how off everything was until he went to bolt the rear up with the springs attached. The bolted right up in the front, but the problem came when he tried to mount the rear shackles...he was nowhere close to getting either side to bolt up. It's a shame the body shop did what they did. He can not get them to fix it...they are completely ignoring him. He checked into suing the shop, but an attorney told him it would most likely be cost prohibitive, and even if he did and won there is no guarantee he'd ever see any of the money. At this point in his resto, he does not have the funds to continue to move forward. So he's decided to jump ship.

    No way do I wish to board a doomed craft like that. Even IF you could straighten out the frame rail issue and get the rear back in, my fear would be that thing would run dog-legged down the road.

    My bank account is thanking me.
     
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