New project gone down hill only, bent frame

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rex
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD

New project gone down hill only, bent frame

Post by rex » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:36 pm

So I just picked up a new project and was super pumped even with the large list of problems it had. The car had a bad clutch but I attempted to drive it to San Diego from LA. The clutch totally failed while in route and a self proclaimed desert rat stopped on the freeway and gave me a tow with a strap. During the tow some slack got in the line and pulled the left side front subframe (under the radiator) about a half an inch forward, enough to sheer the bolts on the skid shield. I'm now wondering if the structural integrity of the car is totally compromised or if it would be safe to drive without repairing it? Is it possible to bang out the frame and weld in extra support? I got a quote from a buddy for $500 for the part (front end) and $600 for the labor which exceeds the value of the car. Also the front right axle popped of the trans during the tow and now it sounds like gravel where there used to be gears. Did I mention the car has 225K miles, the engine smokes when cold needs new tie-rods and new CV. Below are some pics of the car and the damage.

Am I in over my head or head over heels?



Image

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: New project gone down hill only, bent frame

Post by Petros » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:13 pm

no pictures showed up, but these kind of frame deformation is not fatal, and easy to fix yourself. It should not need any welding, you need to find a way to bend it back without doing more damage. usually using a tow strap, a hand winch (come-a-long) and a big tree or similar anchor, you just find a way to put gentle and controlled pressure on it the other direction.

I have fixed minor frame misalignment lots of times this way, the car should be fine. Metal is malleable, that is why they make car bodies out of it, it gets pounded into shape cold. pounding it a little one way or another will not harm a thing.

If your wheel alignment is okay you likely can just leave it, it does not sound like it is bad enough to fix anyway for a daily driver.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

rex
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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:55 pm
My tercel:: 1983 4WD

Re: New project gone down hill only, bent frame

Post by rex » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Well shoot, I thought those pics would go. Here's a link to the damage (imgur): https://imgur.com/t7OrwLe

And thanks a bunch for the quick reply! My two biggest concerns are: One-that the metal might crack through when taking her down some dirt trails (rock climbing adventures), and two-that the 1/2 inch displacement is what pulled out the CV and if so would that make the replacement of the CV or future functioning of the axel poor? As in would the gears from the CV to the transmission not line up properly?

I also think maybe bending it back and then welding on a little metal brace might set my mind at ease. Any input would be super appreciated!

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NWMO
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Re: New project gone down hill only, bent frame

Post by NWMO » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:36 am

my52.jpg



car

axle close up


If you want pics with the post, you need to add as attachments from below. You can then place in the body where you want, don't know that I had looked that close before or used that way, but it's nice.

Nice looking car, I wouldn't get to worked up over the bent cross member if the "main" sub-frame still looks good. Interesting that the axle popped out, would want to try and figure out why.
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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: New project gone down hill only, bent frame

Post by Petros » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:42 am

the cv axle has a large range of plunge, have your tried popping it back in? the cross member may be racked so one end is closer to the front of the car than the other. take some measurements, if so you can likely loosen the bolts and position it back into place. Put penetrating oil on the over night first (ATF works well for this).

find out what is bent, and than correct. If there is no damage or buckled sheet metal, it will be fine. If you want to weld on some doublers or reinforcment, there would be no harm in that. It may improve handling in fact, these frames are soft and flexible, anything to add strength and stiffness helps.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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