ZCar Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It had to happen - I spend many sleepless nights in the garage getting the z to perfect order, and then I get rear ended at the lights!!!!!!!! I am sick of the insurance companies delays (2 months!!!!!!!) so I am going to beat out the bumper and rear myself and get the guy to pay me a couple of hundered.

My experiance with pannel beating is pretty fundamental. Im planning to do the bumper first. I plan to go hard out with the vice and a hammer to try and get it back to shape, then polish off all the scratches and ripples with a grinder with a fine grit. I will probably paint the thing chrome to stop it rusting after grinding.

Any suggestions? Should I be using heat to get rid of the stresses and help me bend it? The steel is a good 1mm thick. I need help with ideas on doing the panel behind the bumper.

Thanks in advance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,298 Posts
Sorry about the hazzles you are getting with your insurance company. It is for that reason that I'm looking into an alternate source of insurance, one that SPECIALIZES in collector cars. My point of contact is Rich Nydegger at Classic Collectors Insurance, he's out of Boring Or, and his quote for an annual premium is less than half of what I'm paying for 6 months with AAA. So for what it's worth, his numbers are as follows: 503-558-9330; Fax: 503-558-9231. As far as I know all he can insure is Oregon and Washington, but he might know the name of the agent in your area.

If that fails call Hagerty Classic Insurance at 1-800-747-5348 and they will surely connect you with an agent.

From what I've been told, these guys insure the car for what YOU think it's worth, there is comprehensive / collision, as well as liability, underinsured motorist, personal injury / property protection and medical and towing. It might be worth your call.

Next, regarding doing the body work yourself, if you are NOT an EXPERIENCED body man, and by that I mean someone who's able to recognize frame damage, as well as other impact related damage, do yourself a HUGE favor. Ask the other Z-guys in your area whom they recommend for body work, then go get an estimate.

Just from the fact that you've been rear-ended, I can tell you about several different problems that would be beyond your scope. First, Frame Damage, and yes I know it's a unibody, that doesn't mean that they can't be tweaked out of being straight, do you know where to check for crumple zone damage? Is the car going to track correctly or did you tweak the body such that something else (drive train, suspension, doors, hood, hatch) is going to "suddenly" give you grief. A simple 10mph smack in a parking lot, on your rear bumper, off center, i.e. not dead on perfectly, will definitely compress one corner of the body more than the other, as a result, you've got to have that pulled at a frame shop.

Next, you mentioned the bumper, how about it's mounting brackets? Are the holes where they mount ok, or did the impact shear the internal nuts or connectors. The fuel tank is also mounted back there, did the impact cause it to be damaged? Is your rear-end still aligned to the body?

Trust me, depending on the severity, you may have a simple bumper replacement to an all out body frame pull, key component weld, fenders to get back into position and then the paint job.

The most likely problem with the claim is that the other guy's insurance is probably arguing with yours over who pays what. If necessary, get a hold of a lawyer, or tell them that you will be contacting one if they don't resolve you quickly. But whatever you do, if YOU fix it, or muck it up worse in trying to fix it, you may not have a leg to stand on legally.

I would do what it takes to hurry them up rather than lose out on everything because you got impatient.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don't worry about frame damage and fuel tank damage. Even though I can't get all the insurance companies to do it, I have had the car inspected at two body shops when I was trying to get the insurance companies to do the work, and they both said it was just the bumper and panel, so im safe!!! Thank god for towbars!!!

I have fixed the bumper today, using an oxy-acetelene set and a hammer, looks as good as new except needs painting.

I am still worried about the panel behind. I realy don't wanna fork out for the panel beaters myself. Its too big a dent for filler, but ive heard some people stech a wire mesh accross the dent and put filler over that. Is that a good idea???

P.S Thanks for the tip about classic car issurance. Unfortunatly, as I live on the island of New Zealand in the south pacific ocean, I dont think I can use yours!!! But I will definatly try to find one down here. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,298 Posts
Ok, if you're handy enough with an oxy-acetylene torch, then you'll be ok with this next procedure.

If you're concerned with the "panel beaters", and I take that to mean the specialty hammers, dollys and other body specific tools, you can still do quite a bit with your regular tools.

You can use your regular ball peen hammer or regular claw hammer as long as you're careful of the claw.

See if you can address the metal from behind. Typically this will involve removing the lights, wiring and other trim pieces that will be in the way. Once done with that, take a good look at the metal.

Remember, metal will stretch when dented, when you are pounding on the dent from the back side (inside of the car) you will also have to do a fair amount of pounding from the outside to restore the metal to the level required. If the metal has been stretched a bit, you have an acetylene torch, and you can do a fair amount of shrinking with the large heating tip, we called it a rose bloom but it's basically the one with many holes at the tip, used to heat large pieces of metal.

The trick is to heat the stretched area till it's somewhat glowing, not orange but kind of reddish, then with a rag thoroughly soaked in water, you quench the metal. This causes the metal to shrink rapidly and will strengthen it in the process by hardening the metal. You have to be careful of the amount of steam that will be generated, so wear gloves. Don't over do this, cause you can over harden the metal and then it can become brittle. Remember, you're just trying to reverse the stretching caused by the impact. Without a shrinking hammer, this is the next best method. By the way a shrinking hammer should only be 10-20 dollars, it has what looks like a meat tenderizer face to it, you use it like a regular hammer, but you have a metal dolly behind it. By the way, if you have spare pieces of solid metal lying around, look at them, you may have the basics for a metal dolly, i.e. a piece of metal to both anvil against and also to act as a counter hammer to your striking hammer.

The basic technique to pounding out the dents with a hammer is to use your dolly on the low side back side. That is, from the side that you are working on, find the deepest part of the dent, then from the other side (the side opposite you) put your dolly there and press outward or towards you. Then find the ripple in the metal out from that dent. This is the "rebound" dent. When metal gets hit, part of it sinks in, and the surrounding metal will bulge out. With your hammer now work around the dent, hitting the rebound part of the dent. If you work it properly, you'll slowly but surely see the rebound dent going down, and the deep dent coming out.

You CAN use the dolly to smack against with the sheet metal between, but this is usually reserved for smaller dents where you can work faster that way. Just be careful with your fingers and don't get too crazy, you can thin out the metal that you're working on, and you'll end up with a washboard wobble, then you'll HAVE to shrink that metal.

Once you've brought the majority of the dent out or all of it if you've been lucky enough all of it, then use your plastic body filler to finish the panel.

If you should have a dent that is too deep to try to hammer out, you can use a slide hammer, or if you don't have one, get some sheet metal screws, drill a smallhole in the deepest part of the dent, and using pliers or some form of gripping the screw use it to pull the metal out, while again taping down on the rebound dent.

I hope this helps, but I do caution you, I've summarized techniques that I'm sure others will say are too complex to be tried by the amateur as well as simplified some to basics that some may argue are too simplistic. Check your library, there should be some basic books on body working to help you.

The concept you described of welding a mesh and then filling it with filler would be ridiculed by anyone in the body working industry. If you were to do that, why not just use fiberglass strand reinforced plastic body filler and pile it on 4 inches thick like I've seen on some trucks, at least that way you wouldn't have to weld the mesh.

Anyhow just my 2¢ worth. If you want you can e-mail me and I'll try to advise you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, thanks. Ill let you know how it gos, but don't expect a reply to soon!! My loved ones have avowed not to let me use my fire toys anywhere near the fuel tank, so ill restrict myself to the various dumbstick (hammer) methods you mentioned. Ive only previously used the gas cutter on D9 Catterpillars, which was a some what less elegant undertaking. But the only way to learn is to try. Can you believe im actualy having fun beating the s out of my z??

If i cant do it with the dumbsticks, ill just swallow and send it to the shop. It should be cheaper since i will have done a fair bit myself. Im only on a U.S$14,700 pay salary - our monetary system is on a completely different scale down here.

Thanks for all the advice.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top