Toby Chess

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at tcspeedster@gmail.com.

Friday, 07 February 2014 19:25

Honda’s Repair Instructions Need to Be Read and Followed

Written by Toby Chess

Question: What is the major difference between the two Honda Accords?

Answer: The “A” Pillar reinforcement, “B” pillar reinforcement and Rocker panel reinforcement are constructed of one of the highest strengths steels seen in passenger cars. They have an 1500 MPa steel rating.

Question: What does Honda say when these parts are damaged from a side impact?


First and Foremost—Honda states “No body repairs should be attempted without first referring to the appropriate body repair manual for complete information”. I find it amazing how many collision repair shops in this country will repair/replace structural components on today’s vehicles without having the appropriate procedures when the vehicle is estimated and repaired. I also find in appalling that many insurance adjusters will estimate a vehicle without having repair data before writing their estimate. Furthermore, why do body shops have to prove that they need a certain procedure for a OEM stated position, when they should have this information as well. Just the other day, A shop owner called me for information to justify why the shop could not use heat on repairing a 2010 Toyota Tacoma frame that was damaged in the rear. Moreover, I feel that there should be a charge on the estimate for data retrieval. It cost me $300.00 for a one year subscription to the Honda web site and I don’t have a shop or write estimates anymore. (Sorry for getting off the subject, but I needed to get it off my chest.)

Use of Heat for body straightening and repairs. What does Honda say? “When you are doing body straightening and repair procedures: DO NOT apply heat to any body part during straightening. This may compromise the internal structure and strength of high strength steel parts. Moreover, any part that has heat applied to it during straightening MUST be replaced with new parts. Ignoring these instructions, may significantly reduce occupant protection in any subsequent collision.”

Let’s look at what Honda says about sectioning. “Because of body structure improvements for collision safety and rigidity, the materials, steel thickness and internal reinforcements have become very specific. Follow these guidelines to avoid an unsafe repair: avoid sectioning (cut and joint) except for outer panels and floor panels unless a specific procedure is provided in the body manual (As I stated previously, how do you repair todays vehicles without having the repair data) and relace body structural components as assemblies that match the replacement parts configuration. Honda dedicates 3 pages in their guide lines for replacement and welding, but I will address this later on in the article.

Honda states in their body repair news about seats with airbags “ damaged front seat covers should be replaced and not repaired. Furthermore, Do not install non-factory seat covers, because they may alter the airbags intended deployment.”

Honda also states “NEVER attempt to modify, splice or repair airbag system wiring. If airbag system wiring is damaged, replace the wiring harness(es).

What does Honda say about their Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). “TPMS calibration must be started every time you: Adjust the pressure in one or more tires; Rotate the tires; Replace one or more tires; Replace or update the VSA-modulator control unit. A couple of other items that should be noted when estimating and repairing a 2013 Honda Accord.

Honda now sells replaceable headlamp brackets that get broken in an accident. It should noted that they only work if the following criteria is met: No damage to the headlamp assembly and sealing of the headlamp lens and housing is maintained.

Some models may be equipped with one or more of the following systems the require aiming after collision repairs (special tools are required to complete the aiming procedures).

Lane Watch—Lane Watch uses a camera and center dash display for blind spot detection. The camera must be aimed if the following operations are performed in the repair process: The camera is removed or replaced, Door mirror is removed and/or replaced, door panel is removed or replaced or the door is repaired. It should be noted that DTC will not be displayed on the dash, but will be stored in the control module.

Forward Warning: The camera must be re-aimed if the FWC camera unit is removed or replaced. If the windshield is removed or replaced, the unit must be re-aimed. Note a dash light will illuminate if the system is in-operative.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). The millimeter wave radar of the ACC must be re-aimed if the radar unit is removed or replaced. If damage occurs in the unit’s mounting area, the system needs to be re-aimed. A malfunction of the unit will be displayed in the multi-unit dash. Let’s look at welding and repairing the 1500 MPa steel on the Honda Accord.

Honda states when repairing and welding 1500 MPa steel parts as follows:

● NEVER attempt to straighten damaged 1500 MPa steel
● 1500 MPa steel parts MUST be replaced at factory seams using squeeze type resistance spot welds
● MIG weld braze joints should be used ONLY in locations that can not be reached with STRS welders.
● To maintain adequate weld tensile strength, always set the spot welder to specifications in the body repair manual.
● NEVER perform MAG (aka MIG) welding on 1500 MPa steel parts
● MIG brazed joint locations are specified in the body repair manual
● A single or double hole MID braze may be specified in the body repair manual depending on tensile strength of the parts being joined.
● A pulsed MID welder MUST be used. You can convert most MIG welders to weld bronze silicon, but you have better heat management and control with a pulsed welder. More on this a little later on in the article.
● Parts made of Ultra High Strength Steel (UHSS) must be installed as complete part. No sectioning allowed. FAILURE TO USE THE PROPER EQUIPMENT OR FOLLOW THE PROPER PROCEDURES CAN RESULT IN AN UNSAFE REPAIR.

Honda specifications for repairing and welding steels with 590 to 980 MPa ratings: Parts made of High Strength Steel (590-980 MPa) must be installed as a complete part. No sectioning is allowed unless a procedure is provided in the body repair manual. Plug welds using a MIG welder may be done joining body parts with 590-980 MPa steel ratings. MAG (MIG) butt welding may be done only steel parts with a tensile strength of 590 MPa and lower. You will need to print out the diagram showing the locations of the different strengths of steel from the Honda web site.

Here is what Honda specifies for welding 1500 MPa steel on the 2013/2014 Honda Accord. You will need to go to the web site for pictures on the welding procedures.

2014 Accord 1500 MPa Parts Welding Specifications


High-Strength Steel (1500 MPa) Parts Welding Specifications

The high-strength steel (1500 MPa) material is used for the front pillar area, the roof side area, the center pillar area, and the side sill area of the vehicles.
Parts replacement for the reinforcement and/or the stiffener may be required depending on the damage to the side panel. Take notice that spot welding conditions for welding the replacement parts differ from the normal welding conditions. MIG brazing must be used where spot welding cannot be done. NEVER perform MAG welding.

MIG brazing welding method

To ensure adequate joint strength, use a pulsed MIG welder with specified wire and the following brazing technique. This will create a capillary action in order to liquefy the solder so that it can penetrate into the upper and lower plates:

• Begin brazing about 5mm (0.20in) before the holes(s).
• Move the torch across the hole in a zigzag pattern as you close the holes(s).
• Continue the brazing operation about 10mm (0.39 in) past the hole(s).

Spot welding specifications

• Current: 9000 A
• Pressure: 3432 N (350 kgf, 772 lbf)
• Welding cycle: 40

• MIG brazing machine with pulse controller
• Wire: CuSi3
• Shielding gas: Argon gas (100%)


• For details about correct brazing current and voltage, refer to the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations.

• MIG welding/brazing: Metal inert gas welding or brazing where 100% Argon (Ar) shielding gas is used. Argon is inert and does not react with the molten weld pool or brazing operation.

Brazing hole size

For joining, or brazing of stiffener (340 and 980 MPa) and the high-strength steel (1500 MPa) parts: Drill two holes φ8 mm (0.31 in) in about 10 mm (0.39 in) pitch.

For joining, or brazing of outer panel (270 MPa) and the high-strength steel (1500 MPa) parts: Drill one hole φ8 mm (0.31 in) at the outer panel.

As I previously mentioned, let’s talk welding machines.

I purchased a Prospot SP5 after testing it at the SEMA show.

This is the 5 in one welder. You can MIG Steel, MIG Weld Braze, MIG aluminum, TIG steel and arc weld all in one machine. It is a 220 volt single phase machine that is pulsed. It is a very user friendly and the welds that are produced are amazing. This machine is overkill for the body shop. Prospot has the same machine, but with 2 guns (steel, aluminum or MIG braze—your choice). It is about 25 percent cheaper and I would highly recommend this unit. You can go to Prospot.com and click on the SP welder for a video demonstration of this welder. Now to the actual replacement of the center pillar and rocker reinforcement.

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