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something's bent - subframe???

3158 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  stevo camaro
As I look at my '69 Camaro from the front, the grille is at a slightly different angle than the windshield. I noticed when I installed aluminum body bushings that the subframe is much closer to the floor at the bottom of the firewall on one side. I can only fit one finger between the frame and body on one side, and two fingers on the other. Also the front frame horns are at different heights by less than an inch. Is this normal assembly tolerance or am I looking at trouble? I know the car has been hit in the front, but I don't know how hard. Has anyone had success straightening a subframe at home?
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for starters no the frame horns shoudl be the same hight. otherwise the fenders will not fit amung other things . as far as the distance between the frame and the body that could be the frame mounting point could be bent causing the frame horn to be up on that side. i would look at the mounting points on the car and the subframe to be sure that the are all the same. if the sub frame is bent then do not try to repair, it is a replace only because it is the foundation of the car. it is like a house. it is only as good as the foundation. trust me on this i have been in the coillsion repair bus. for over 30 yrs. and did nothing but major hits for 15 of those years. my advise is if the car is movable have a local frame shop look at it of have a frame tech. come over and look. there might be other damage that you don't see that need to be repaired. good luck
Mine was the same way. The two frame rails were 3/4" off in elevation both front and back (probably twisted from a front-end collision). Everything sat wrong, and lining up the fenders was nearly impossible. The local frame shops wouldn't touch it while it was off the car because they said it might screw up the final position of the motor mounts. Instead of install it and take it back I got a good used one and everything went back together just fine.
Thanks for the info guys. I have to think this is messing up my front end alignment and a whole bunch of other things too. Anyway I think you are correct in comparing the subframe to the foundation of a house and I will look into replacement when this car comes apart for resto.
My 67 RS was hit so hard it shoved the pass. door back 1/2". Caved in the cowl when the wheel+spindle tore off & punched it. The subframe looked good. But, the right frame rail was twisted 1/4" and you couldn't see it. So I tossed it out & got 1 from a 68 that was straight.
I took it to a body shop with a laser rack & they pulled out the cowl & dialed it in. I've never had a problem with the car since. The same front tires are on the car wearing perfect for 11 years now. Very few shims to line the body up. Doors shut nice.

Now, the second 67, got hit too. I don't know how hard, but the cowl on the divers side has a punch mark on it, I noticed after I pulled the front clip, which by the way, was a different color.
This, along with the fact that the subframe rail on the drivers side "sprung" outwards when I pulled the bolts, makes me positive the car is bent somewhere.
I knew this in the back of my mind but went forward with the build anyway. After replacing the sub-frame.
I put the motor & tans in, & went to hang the frontclip.
With a very nice door alingment to the quarters, I had an uneven gap at the door/rocker area, only on the drivers side. (Gee, imagine that).
Also, on both sides of the car, the gap at the front fenders to door were way off.
I loaded it up friday & took it to the same shop that did my RS. It goes on the rack today. We know that somewhere, the body is tweaked just enough to create problems.
It's not worth going forward until this is adressed.

Everything from this point on would be a waste of your time until you make sure things are straight. It doesn't take much to knock these uni-body's out of shape. Even a car that's never been hit, can get tweaked just from too much horsepower.

It cost me $250 for the RS 11 years ago. I didn't ask this time, because it needs to be done regardless of cost. But I'm going to guess $400? I'll post how much next week. It should be ready for me to pick up friday.

If you can "see" a problem, I'm pretty sure you've got one.
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