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Old 05-24-2003, 03:01 PM
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Post Replacing camaro rear frame rails

I am going to have to replace the rear frame rails in my 72 camaro. They are rusted past the point of being safe. I haven't replaced frame rails before and would like to avoid any problems a "rookie" might make. I have done other body work on this car but not any frame work. I am in the process of restoring this car from front to back. Does anyone have any pointers or words of wisdom to steer me in the right direction concerning the frame rails? I would appreciate some help with this. Thanks!

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Old 05-25-2003, 05:59 AM
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I have never done that particular thing but have built a couple frames. First it is very important to measure and figure everything out before you remove the old one. Also, I would suggest building some kind of jig to set the care on while doing this. This will insure that eveything goes together straight. If you cant do that make sure you devise some way of holding the car perfectly square while working. You can see how I built my jig in my photo albumn. Only about $60 in material from the scrap yard.

Also, while you are doing it, I would get full length rails that connect to the front subfame. It will be much stronger.

Chris
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Old 05-25-2003, 06:55 PM
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Isn't the 72 unibody? If it is, as I believe it is, it is different from regular frames. The easiest way to replace frame rail sections is at the original joints. Joints on unibody cars are spot welded. You need to cut the spot welds and plug weld where the spot welds are. That goes for where the frame rails join and the body panels as well. Unless you are an experienced welder and have done this before, I don't recommend it be done at home without supervision. Replacing both rails can be extremely unsafe if not done exactly right.
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Old 05-25-2003, 08:05 PM
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Yep, the are unibody which is why the new frame rails that tie into the original front subrame are a good upgrade. They basically change the car to a full frame design. I also agree that you have to be careful. You have to realize that a unibody car flexes ALOT. That is why I recommend a jig or something to hold it straight while you make your mods.

Chris
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Old 05-25-2003, 10:12 PM
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Its not that difficult to do if you take a few precautions first...get some 1x1 square tube around 1/8 wall use this a bracing, when I do it I start by bracing the door opening before removing the door then I brace across the inside at the rear of the door opening then across the front effectively making a box then i brace cross ways to the corners, the trunk is done in the same fashion. Also brace down to the tranny tunnel and the rockers as well as the inner wheel houses and to the back rail where the bumper bolts come thru....sounds like a lot of work I know but the results are worth the effort. another thing to keep in mind is the part your getting may and probably is, slightly different in demensions than the part in your car now.....so I highly recommend that you replace only one side at a time...good luck
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Old 05-28-2003, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I was aware that the car is a unibody but the advise about joining the front and rear frames to make a complete frame is proably the way I will go. I have my welding tickets so I'm not worried about tackling this job at home. A friend of mine also suggested fabricating a rotiserie so I can work without welding overhead. I use the bracing suggestion as well. I'll let you know how it all works out when I am finished!
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Old 05-28-2003, 04:54 PM
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[quote]Originally posted by 72camaro:
<strong>Thanks for the advice. I was aware that the car is a unibody but the advise about joining the front and rear frames to make a complete frame is proably the way I will go. I have my welding tickets so I'm not worried about tackling this job at home. A friend of mine also suggested fabricating a rotiserie so I can work without welding overhead. I use the bracing suggestion as well. I'll let you know how it all works out when I am finished!</strong><hr></blockquote>

Just a precaution on the body flex. If you pic up a car by the ends it will sag in the middle. I would devise a way to support the center while you get it all figured out. BTW, I thing fat man fabrications may make the frame rails you are wanting. If not try competition engineering.

Chris
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