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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought an 88 Astro today with the intentions of fixing it and using it for my work van. I bought it wrecked but not bad enough that it is undrivable. The wreck folded the floor and pushed in the doors. I have another Astro that I can get for free so I have all the parts to fix this one. So how do I straighten out the damaged floor?

My options are:

Bury a steel pipe in concrete with a ring welded to it and use it with a com-a-long to pull out the damaged area.

Weld a piece of steel between the frame rails and use a bottle jack (I can dismantle my press and use it's 12 ton jack) to push out the damaged area.

Do either of the above and cut out the area after it is reasonably straight and replace it with the floor of my donor van. Not the whole floor just the damaged area.

My plans after fixing the crash damage are to do a V8 swap and add a middle seat. This will be my work, family and parts chaser van with some light towing in its future.
 

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Use a comalong, attach it to anything you can to get a good pull. use a big hammer and beat down then dents. you might not get enough pulling power on it to pull it out. i work in a body shop and to pull somthing like that out it can take up to 5000 lbs of force. pull it out all the way before cutting it apart. if you dont do that it could spring apart and we dont want that to happen. i hope you can do it with a comalong. well good luck. Mike
 

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How much clearance ya got on the underside? Some pics of the underside would help and pics of the inside without the mat probably wouldnt hurt ;)
Just guessing, youll need to straighten it as much as possible then cut it out & replace, since ya have a donor vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have come to the conclusion that straightening then cutting out the damaged area is what I will do. I 've been asking around anywhere I think I can get an answer and that seems to be the best way to do it. As soon as the donor van follows me home and I get my other truck running I'm going to start working on it. I asked today about driving a crashed van for work and my manager told me my next truck inspection is due in six months, so I have a little more time than I thought.

I plan to use the donor van for measurements before amy cutting is done and usining temporary bracing when I cut apart the wrecked van. It does not have to be perfect just functional. I rarely sell my trucks so I will be the only one driving this thing for a long time.
 

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Looke to me like you need to do more than just pull the floor back. The doors are overlapping at the bottom and open on the top. That means that the sides are pulled together. That's one of those jobs that needs a pull from 3 directions at the same time. You need to pull/push the sides out at the same time you are pulling/pushing to the rear.

Aaron
 

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I have no experience with fixing collision damage, but I have a question...

Rather than trying to pull the floor back close to shape, then replacing it, wouldn't it be easier to cut out the floor first, then pull the remaining parts into shape, then replace it?

Seems like its a lot of extra work and force to try and stretch that floor back into shape, if you're just going to replace it anyhow.

Maybe I'm missing something - that's why I'm askin'...
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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ckucia, IF he had access to a REAL frame rack, in a regular body shop you WOULD pull before you cut away parts. This is standard procedure in autobody 101. It pulls on secondary damage and helps you make a more "complete" repair.

HOWEVER, if you don't have a frame rack, a come-a-long just is NOT going to pull the type of damage seen in these photos. So, cutting out the center of the floor, pushing the rails apart at the rear until the bumper reinforcement fits, AND the replacement doors are installed and fit makes sense.

You then weld in the rear crossmember and then the floor. You know, in this country we are so spoiled. In many third world countries we wouldn't even think of buying another floor, new or used. That floor would be cut out, the frame repaired as I described, and the floor repaired, then welded back in.

Even the rear crossmember would be repaired and welded back in. But that takes a lot of craftsmenship to pull off.

This van being repaired at home without a real frame rack is going to have a few "rough" spots. But it can be made to function well again and be presentable.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
adtkart: The rear rails are pushed in I plan to push them out again and use the measurements off the donor van as a guide. When they are straight I will weld in a temporary brace, until the crossmember is in solid.

Rambo: The roof did not buckle, if the van had been damaged any where else I would not have bought it because I dont want to get into cosmetic repairs. The donor van is white and I dont plan to paint the new doors or front fender. This will be a circus wagon for a short time.

Brian: You caught me! Yeah I posted this question on another site. Spoiled??? Yeah I guess so. I can get on the net and ask complete strangers for help. And get free or nearly free parts. But I still have to do the labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes unfortnately. But it is a cargo van and I want a window van. This van has the seat mounts for the middle seat. The donor van's engine trans and rear are not complete. The only thing worth while on it is the body. Some day I want to put a mid engine big block in the donor van. I know it seems like a waste to cut it up but it was about to be crushed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah I got to have windows. My current family ride is a S-10 extended cab. My daughter sits sideways and looks out the drivers side of the truck. It is time she gets a better viewe. And I cant stand how conversion van windows look. Also I dont want a car payment but I want an Astro window van so it may not be easy but it is cheaper.

The wrecked van runs pretty good and the donor doesnt run at all. I'm down to one vehicle until I get the new motor and air compressor installed in my fullsize GMC, it is on airride and the compressor sucked in some dirt. Dirt + Compressor Motor = Dead Compressor. As for the engine, well I killed it. On a side note for those with airride. Find a way to put a manual fill valve in your lines. Moving a grounded truck is no fun.

Lon
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I had that thought for about a minute. That is big curved side that I will surley screw up. I really think (this gets me into trouble) this wont be that hard if I measure and remeasure, and go slowly and thoughtfully with the cutting and welding. All of the damage will be hidden behind a roll pan and the closed doors. I plan on using truck bed llining for the floor when I get done with the repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I was all ready to cut apart a good van to fix a window van. However tonight I drove the van again and I discovered some problems with the engine that makes me not trust it for my daily 200 mile drive. So I figure if I'm going to pull the motor out or do any major repairs I might as well stick my smallblock in the Cargo van. So back to plan A, I will strip what I want off of the wrecked van and use it on the Cargo van. I wil use the seat mounts rear end and the headliner plus some other stuff I cant think of right now.



Thanks for the help and suggestions.

Lon
 
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