Back last October I let someone use my wagon, and they ended up having an accident, where the front bumper got ripped off.
The damage was not limited to the bumper. The Lh part of the frame bent over several inches and putting it through the radiator, the Rh outer part of the frame peeled back and bent over 90 degrees, the mounting tabs on the grille broke off, the Rh headlamp upper mount broke off and the rear bumper Lh energy absorber collapsed tearing the cover too.
The front of the car afterwards
After looking at the exploded views of the front end sheet metal, I ended up taking the trip to Pa to the junkyard after finding on line that they had a '90 in the yard. The car was a 2 dr in rather good condition and I cut the front off going about a foot back, so that outer frame plates would be intact. Once I got section home I went about drilling out the spot welds and removing the unneeded metal. I then further broke the section down to the lower portion from the frame rails down and the upper radiator support and side baffles.
Resulting lower section
Winter came and the car sat until spring, then I started to try to straighten the left side of the frame. I was over to the right about two inches and I was able to pull it part way, with my come along. Then all I could due was drag the car sideways without moving the frame further. I noticed that the frame was buckled in just below the battery tray, in the area of the V indentation in this picture, just in front of the large hole.
The hard part was how to bang this dent out. The solution was to cut a hole in the outer part of the frame. Using a little heat and large steel rod I straightened it out, all the while keeping tension on the end of the frame. This worked and I had the frame straightened to where it should be.
To keep from damaging the frame where I had the chain around it for pulling, I made two shoes out of heavy angle iron.
With this done I drilled out the spotwelds for the outer frame plate and removed it, giving me more access to due some final hammer and dolly work on the frame rail. I cleaned up any rust and installed the outer frame plate from my donor section.
I also had to replace the riser section from the lower rad support to the frame. This I managed to locate nos.
Then I had to suspend any further work due to a double hernia that had worsened.
Well July 14 was not only Bastille Day, but it was also the day I had my umbilical and linguinal herna repaired, and after about five weeks I was back working on the wagon. Next up was finishing up welding the left frame plate and starting repair on the right side. Since most of the spotwelds had popped when the outer plate bent, I finished drilling out the rest and removing the plate. This is what the plate looks like, removed and straightened
And the frame with the plate removed
I did my clean up and then installed the replacement plate from my donor. I also straightened the mounting ears on the frame for the energy absorbers on both sides. With this done I turned my attention to the upper rad support, was was quite rusty, along with the baffles below it. Once again I drilled out the spotwelds and removed the old sections. I sandblasted the donor section, primed and welded it back in. After painting I reassembled everything and finally had the car operational again.
I still have to paint the repaint the replacement cover, but it at least it looks better than before.
Frank, you do such wonderful repairs! Ever since you posted the damage to your Wagon I had wondered from time to time what had become of it. I seriously doubted you'd get this one back together - but looky at it now!
Gotta admit I sure wish I was as competent at the bodywork like you are. That wagon is mighty lucky to be in your care, surly if it was an insurance repair it would have been totaled and hauled away to a yard. Here is a photo of a '93 that was placed in my local yard for that very reason. Seeing what you've accomplished I'm sure this one wasn't a total write off - but a financial dump. Lots of new parts were on this one that I've been able to retrieve for my '94 Sedan.....including a freshly installed head - even had new valve springs in it too for just $25. It is sad to see a vehicle that someone put a lot of new parts on and obviously took good care of, just to have the insurance company take away.
Really enjoy seeing your work Frank!
I had the exact same happen to mine. With a budget of $0 however I was able to make it look pretty alright.