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Old 06-03-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
guitarfish
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Need help from collision repair guys!

I have a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix. I damaged the engine cradle by driving one of the front wheels off a curb, and front corner of the cradle landed on the curb and cracked. As you probably know, the engine cradle, which is made of aluminum, bolts to the unibody.

A body shop replaced the cradle with a used one, which they said was from a car which was hit in the rear. Now that I have the car back, it pulls to the left somewhat. Yes, they did a four wheel alignment.

Now, check this out. Using a tape measure and a friend, I did some measurements. I'm finding a 1/2" difference in wheelbase when I measure the wheels on the left side vs. the right side. If I measure from front wheel center, back to the front door seam on each side of the car, again, there's a 1/2 difference from side to side. It seems that one of the front wheels is 1/2" out of place compared to the other.

For comparison, I did the same measurements on my 2002 Grand Prix, which has never been in an accident. The measurements on each side of the car match exactly.

WHAT THE HECK is going on? I would think it's collision repair rule 101 to make sure the car is put back together so that everything is to spec. If one front wheel is 1/2" out of position compared to the other, isn't this a big giant red flag?? Especially if the piece holding all this stuff is a used part from a wrecked car?!

I have had a LOT of problems with the shop that did this repair, and now I am beside myself with this latest "discovery".
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:31 PM   #2
Mark Lapes
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

It seems to me that the body shop that you took i to dosent do quality work. The reason why your car pulls to the left is because you didnt more just hit the cradle. Your car needs to be put on a frame rack and re-measured. The most that a frame can be out of specs is 3mm. If its within this then your fine. When i pull a car i like to hang about 4 tram guages from the front to rear. Now, when the car is correct and when you look at 1st guage and the rest should follow right behind if the frame is straight. Your car can be saved
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:42 PM   #3
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

I talked to the shop today. I'm dropping the car off in the morning, and they said they will go over it from head to toe. I talked to my insurance company too. At first they weren't too interested, but I turned the screws a bit, and suddenly they were on the phone with the shop. I guess we'll see what happens.
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2008 GP - 174,000

Former Grand Prix's
1994 GP SE - 231,000
1997 GP GT - 134,000
1998 GP GT - 225,000
2002 GP GT - 222,000
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:47 PM   #4
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

If you have any more questions ill be happy to answer
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Mark, I do have a question. Can an aluminum engine cradle be straightened if it's slightly out of shape? I'm unclear on working with aluminum vs. steel.
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2008 GP - 174,000

Former Grand Prix's
1994 GP SE - 231,000
1997 GP GT - 134,000
1998 GP GT - 225,000
2002 GP GT - 222,000
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

In your 2002 grand prix. I believe that your cradle is steel. As far as steel vs. aluminum just rember this, all metal has a memory. What i mean is if a piece steel or aluminum gets bent alittle Then it can formed back to original conditon. Any more questions just feel free.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:16 PM   #7
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Lapes View Post
In your 2002 grand prix. I believe that your cradle is steel. As far as steel vs. aluminum just rember this, all metal has a memory. What i mean is if a piece steel or aluminum gets bent alittle Then it can formed back to original conditon. Any more questions just feel free.
It's my '08 - aluminum.
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Current Grand Prix
2008 GP - 174,000

Former Grand Prix's
1994 GP SE - 231,000
1997 GP GT - 134,000
1998 GP GT - 225,000
2002 GP GT - 222,000
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:25 PM   #8
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

I was thinking that it would be alot easier to replace your cradle rather then to try to work the metal and fix it since it just bolts up.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:30 PM   #9
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Well, I was just down at the body shop walking around under the car with the tech. He says the difference in wheelbase is 1/16". He says he's measured and remeasured, the cradle is square, the control arms are good, and he can find nothing on the car that is crooked. I can't account for why I measured 3/8" difference in wheel base. I'm not a pro, and maybe I did something wrong.

Regarding the alignment, he said the shop that did the alignment has the printout, and in any case, they'll send it back to be checked again. So I don't have an answer on why it's pulling to the left yet.

The car is also making a creaking noise ever since the repair, and after 10 minutes shaking that car with him and a mechanic, they put it back up in the air and found the motor mount on the front right making the exact noise I've been hearing. It makes perfect sense. They put a small prybar in and moved the engine slightly, and there's the noise.

So, they're ordering a new mount, that'll get done next week, along with the alignment.

I think we're getting close to nailing some of this stuff down and making my car right...it just might take another week or two of effort and some inconvenience.

Thanks for the help Mark, I really appreciate it!
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Current Grand Prix
2008 GP - 174,000

Former Grand Prix's
1994 GP SE - 231,000
1997 GP GT - 134,000
1998 GP GT - 225,000
2002 GP GT - 222,000
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Im glad that your cradle came out square. I guess that you fixed your mount and now your back on the road. Stop by any time.
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Old 06-27-2009, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Aluminum structural parts are not to be straightened! Aluminum tends to crack and unlike certain steels that can be heat tread(some High strength steel cannot) I would not suggest repairing a structural or suspension part made from aluminum. P.s. I am certifed in structural and non structural repairs by Ferrari.
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Old 06-27-2009, 05:54 PM   #12
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Thank you for the info. Fortunately, the used cradle installed in my car seems to be OK. The car has been correctly aligned, and is riding straight as an arrow.
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Current Grand Prix
2008 GP - 174,000

Former Grand Prix's
1994 GP SE - 231,000
1997 GP GT - 134,000
1998 GP GT - 225,000
2002 GP GT - 222,000
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:39 PM   #13
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

Where did you have your car repaired? Call Rothrock CARSTAR Allentown1648 Plaza Lane
Allentown,PA 18104
484-223-0632

They will be able to answer your question and help you get your problem solved.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:18 PM   #14
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

It seems to me that the body shop that you took i to dosent do quality work. The reason why your car pulls to the left is because you didnt more just hit the cradle. Your car needs to be put on a frame rack and re-measured. The most that a frame can be out of specs is 3mm.


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Old 08-07-2009, 03:43 PM   #15
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Re: Need help from collision repair guys!

The reason why the car pulled to the left is because the alignment wasn't right. The shop that did the alignment did it again, they had to drill out a couple bolt holes a little bit, and then it was in spec. I've been driving it for 6 weeks since then and it's great.
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Current Grand Prix
2008 GP - 174,000

Former Grand Prix's
1994 GP SE - 231,000
1997 GP GT - 134,000
1998 GP GT - 225,000
2002 GP GT - 222,000
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