View Full Version : 1st big repair project


02-16-2006, 09:47 AM
I recently had a brake failure and ran my 89 Nissan 240sx into the back end of a Jeep Grand Cherokee at 30 mph. The Jeep was fine, my front end is pretty messed up.

I really like the car, and want the challenge of making it driveable again.

I have metalshaping experience in college level sculpture and jewelry and high school level welding. I was very good at it, but high school was 18 years ago and those college classes were 14 years ago.

I teach high school art, and should have access to most shop equipment. I can't use it here, as there are no certified welders on site and the autoshop teacher only does half days. His classes are filled with destructive a-holes anyway. I should be able to borrow anything i need, barring political interference ( a distinct possibility here).

I am tenacious, and talented with materials enough to get this project done. I just do not have experience doing body work at this level. I will post 1 picture here, and any others later to get an idea of what I am dealing with.

I plan to either use a come-along and torch/hammer to shape, or possibly cutting the front section of a junked 240sx, then popping out the spot welds and welding on the front end.

thanks in advance for any suggestions and insight.

02-16-2006, 10:26 AM
Make a list of parts as you disassemble the vehicle so that you know what to hunt for as time passes and you work on the car.

We would remove the radiator support by unbolting the attached parts then drilling out the spot welds. Once that's out of the way you can straighten the inner fenders then reinstall the new radiator support.

Before you start working be sure to check to see if the frame is bent. If the frame is badly damaged you may want to start looking around for a donor car that you can cut apart for parts. If you find a donor car it can make the job go a lot faster because you'll have parts and a repair reference.

If you need to PULL the sheet metal in order to get it back in position you may need clamps and chain as well as a come-a-long.

Pulling Tools Link (http://autobodystore.net/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=4P1)

02-16-2006, 10:59 AM
Thanks, that seems to be a lot less work than what I originally planned.

One question, is the radiator support something I can usually order from autozone,etc. I would hate to buy one from Nissan, they wanted $1200 for a replacement stereo.

There is a junkyard 45 minutes from me that has 2-3 240's but they are not the identical model year. These are rare cars in my area. 90% of the parts are interchangeable between years though. There are 2 near my dad in Florida that are 89's, and he just won a cool industrial cutting saw (he has been a Fireman for 30 years) which he could use to chop what I need and ship it to me.

If the frame is bent (which I doubt it is) I will call it quits and part the car out.

02-16-2006, 12:03 PM
If you need a lot of parts like hood, fenders, radiator etc. you could purchase a "nose" from a junk yard and ask them to cut it either just in back of the radiator support or behind the inner fenders depending on the amount of damage on your car. Most junk yards don't like selling pieces off the front because they like to sell the fronts complete.

You may be able to get an aftermarket radiator support from Mill Supply, Keystone or some other company.

02-17-2006, 11:54 PM
If you dont have an aftermarket parts house there, you can order your parts online. Go to http://www.carpartswholesale.com they should have aftermarket hoods, bumpers, lights, and fenders less than half of the dealer. You can probably reuse your raditor support, Get it were it is in the right place then hammer and bondo it to make it look good.

02-18-2006, 10:24 AM
thanks for the link. The good thing about the 240sx is that there are tens of thousands of aftermarket parts for it. Most of them cheesy ebay ricer stuff, but the car has a dedicated following.

I will definitely need some stock parts for it, and since this is Detroit there are only a handfull of good import shops here. So I will be shopping online quite a bit.