Recently we officially ended the Hardcore Knight project without ever really addressing the paint job. Since it is the first thing you notice on this car, it bears some attention.
The flat black from Kustom Shop’s Hot Rod Flatz collection was used to finish off this project. What’s great about this collection of paints is that it has that old school rat rod feel, but with a durable paint system. This whole flat paint look came from the days when guys would hot rod their rides, but never got past the primer stage when it came to paint. It may have been due to lack of funds, but more likely, since it was in the early days of hot rodding, speed was king and fancy paint jobs came second to horsepower.
It has been over twenty years since the original I-CAR research on structural sectioning took place. That research resulted in a list of general sectioning guidelines for repair facilities to consider as a subjective business decision for partial replacement. Many things have changed over the years that have affected the general sectioning guidelines. However, nothing has had more of an impact as the increased use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) and vehicle maker design technology.
At this year’s International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE), Chrysler released three new body repair CD-ROMs and a Structural-Sectioning Procedure Guide. This is in addition to the publications that are already available for order on the Tech Authority web site.
There’s no doubt about it – the collision repair industry has officially entered the high-tech age. As vehicles have become more complex and insurance companies more demanding in their need for verification and documentation, information has quickly become as important as welding equipment to any collision repair center that hopes to successfully compete in the 21st century.
If you’re not thoroughly assessing vehicle damage, a lot of money is being left on the table and you are not doing your job. You are in business to repair damaged vehicles, however, many shop owners and estimators leave a good portion of the damage untouched, unpaid for, and perhaps jeopardizing your customers.
In concert with the repairer’s right to repair information, GM has issued the Recommended GM Steel Reparability matrix, a chart that identifies GM’s repair recommendations according to the type of steel that the part is made from. The matrix contains information on the steel identification stamping symbols, steel grade, GM specifications, recommended welding methods, cold reparability, use of heat for repairs, the temperature range that should be used, and the maximum heat allotment. The second page of the matrix is a chart of Descriptions of GM Steel.
While touring collision facilities in the southwest, we were asked by a shop owner our thoughts about the difference between the popular method of repairing a unibody vehicle structure with the Universal Anchoring and Measuring methods compared to the up and coming Fixture Method, also called Fixed Point Anchoring or the Jigs. The shop owner asked if we might be entering the age of the NETbuilt vehicle of zero tolerance. This was a topic we were not totally knowledgeable about, prompting us to do some research on the subject. You know the old saying: “if you think you know, you don’t know; but if you know you know, then you know.”
As part of our research, we asked a cross-section of repairers from around the country about their views on the differences between these two methods for structural repair. Why choose one method of repair over the other? Is there a need for a shop to offer more than one type of repair method, thus allowing the repairer to use the method that is most suitable for a particular type of repair. Here is what a few within our industry felt about the subject. (Please understand, there is always a level of bias when asking repairers about their view on the equipment they use.)
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In the past when a vehicle frame was damaged, the repair was simple…you just pulled it back into place.
The Jeep Wrangler was redesigned for 2007 (see Figure 1). The changes, especially the new features of the frame, are indicative of other vehicle maker trends in body-over-frame design. These include closed rail construction, hydroforming, less use of rivets, and crush zones in the frame rails similar to unibody construction.
Consider for a moment all of the flammable materials that are used and stored in a typical collision repair facility. This includes solvents, fuel, oil, gases, and other types of dangerous chemicals. Add to that the type of tools and processes that are used in the facility that can ignite these materials. Welders and torches are a couple examples. Electrical shorts and static electricity can also be possible ignition sources.