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Engine Bay Frame Rail Installation


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#1 Andrew_L26

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 04:14 PM

Hi all,

I was wondering what a front frame rail installation would run me, I'm planning on properly inspecting the sills in my 2+2 and if everything is up to scratch then I might seriously consider replacing the rails. I got an estimate of around $3,000-3,500 for the rails to be replaced from a local classic restoration joint. That was if I removed the motor crossmember etc myself. I feel that the price they gave me is a fair bit more then what it should be. Are they in the ballpark? I was expecting around $1,000 to get them replaced + the cost of the rails.

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#2 Cozza

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:21 PM

I haven't any experience in panel repair but I would assume a half decent tradesman is going to charge $100+ an hour. Then there's paint and as you say, cost of rails.
How many hours do you think are involved?

#3 gilltech

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 11:06 PM

Having seen rusty/damaged front rails replaced on a couple of classic cars I would expect up to a day & a half's work for each side, for a meticulous removal of the old rusty rails, followed by some inevitable associated rust repairs & clean up of the apron panels & strut towers; then install new rails with inevitable trimming & fettling to get them to fit & tidy welding into place to closely replicate the factory finish. Then clean up of the area, priming & painting & making good. Taking measurements all along to ensure it all goes in square. So, if three days, at $100 / hr = $2,400, plus good quality consumables; for a professional repair shop to me 3 grand doesn't seem too far fetched. Sorry, but I can't see a grand doing it, quality work takes time. But, shop around.


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#4 Brabham

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 09:43 AM

Take it to Locky if he has time, or send it to Paul in Adelaide. They both know zeds and do good quality work.

#5 mossy

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 10:16 AM

Or try Rob at the Z factory mordialloc



#6 Andrew_L26

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 11:54 AM

I was actually thinking today that if I welded in suppprts all around the front end (basically building a frame around the car), removed the rails and then installed them with the help of a mate who is a professional welder, get everything straight following the measurements of the factory service manual. Then take it to an accident repair place to have the car straightened. It's probably not worth it but what do you guys think? Because I can't see myself spending that kind of money on a 2+2, if it was a 2 seater it would be a different story...

#7 Scoota G

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 04:07 PM

I replaced the floorpan rails on a Zed recently and that came to nearly $1000 with parts and some floorpan repairs so the quote is probably right. To do this properly one should take the Zed and mount it on a Dolly connected to chassis point so you have a point to measure to. 1mm out at one end can mean a lot at the other end. Some shops have a computer measuring system used for smash repaired vehicles but i doubt they would have measurements for your model. Once you get into it i'm sure by the end that quote will start to look better all the time. Thing is once they start they may look at the rest of the rails and say "Nup no good need to be replaced too" as the rear section is usually the most heavily affected. At this point you may be held to ransom by a shop who had no clue what they were up against.

 

One question comes to mind. Why are you replacing the entire front section of the rails?



#8 Andrew_L26

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 10:19 AM

I'm considering replacing the rails because the front section on both sides (about 10cm in front of the sway bar mounts to the radiator support) is pretty badly rusted, I've cut out the sections of rust on one side and a previous owner patched the other side, the rust is limited to those areas however I don't think it's really the right thing to do, cutting out a section and welding in another. Although, it is forward of the motor mounts and the suspension.

#9 Scoota G

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 11:47 AM

This link is to an XT Falcon where i repaired the same area.

 

https://www.facebook...596894747109470

 

Any vehicle that is front damaged (late model) they usually front cut from the k frame forward. If it's damaged beyond that it's written off. Any engineer will tell you the national code permits any repair or modification from the firewall forward without an inspection or certificate.


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#10 Brabham

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 02:34 PM

So long as you cut out back to sound metal, and your welds are good, replacing sections is fine as Scoota implied.
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#11 nat0_240_chevZ

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 09:45 PM

I've done both repairs from firewall and from behind the sway bar mounts.
When doing a front section it need to be a joggled flange,. With a small lap Weld and some plugs. It's not my preferred repair but when you have a sound rest of rail it's by far a better option. As long as you pay close attention to detail, straightness etc all good. Be sure to check the length of the rail from a good front end, as if you are too short or too long it throws out your rad support but down low.
If doing the whole rail and or inner skirt you can run into many other alignment concerns, although if you prepare and have the balls to potentially do a Guido repair... And potentially bin your car....
I made a chassis jig with complete alignment capability which datums of the sills and the fsm's datum. All in all ye I spent 20 hours + building the jig alone let alone doing the rail, skirt, tower, rad supt etc etc.
Rail height is one main concern, but other factors to consider is strut tower to rail, height & width as well as along its length.
I don't recommend it to those trying it for the first time, without serious help or experience from someone in the game.
Just a suggestion.
I have lots of pics of both types of repairs.
Nat0

#12 Andrew_L26

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 01:58 PM

I've done both repairs from firewall and from behind the sway bar mounts.
When doing a front section it need to be a joggled flange,. With a small lap Weld and some plugs. It's not my preferred repair but when you have a sound rest of rail it's by far a better option. As long as you pay close attention to detail, straightness etc all good. Be sure to check the length of the rail from a good front end, as if you are too short or too long it throws out your rad support but down low.
If doing the whole rail and or inner skirt you can run into many other alignment concerns, although if you prepare and have the balls to potentially do a Guido repair... And potentially bin your car....
I made a chassis jig with complete alignment capability which datums of the sills and the fsm's datum. All in all ye I spent 20 hours + building the jig alone let alone doing the rail, skirt, tower, rad supt etc etc.
Rail height is one main concern, but other factors to consider is strut tower to rail, height & width as well as along its length.
I don't recommend it to those trying it for the first time, without serious help or experience from someone in the game.
Just a suggestion.
I have lots of pics of both types of repairs.
Nat0


I've pretty well decided not to replace the entire rail as the entire rail is fine except for the very front bit. I'd be really interested in seeing some photos from the front end repair as it would really guide me through the process!

Cheers,
Andrew




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