16 Photos - Dec 31, 2013
Photo: Here we see an LLV that has recently arrived at our shop, having been hit hard in the left rear. It has already spent some time in our body shop where all of the damaged body material was removed. Now it is our turn, in the accident, a portion of the main structural frame was bent, needing to be replaced. Here it goes up on the lift where will unbolt the body of the truck from the chassis itself.Photo: After some quick work has been done underneath the hood, it is time to reposition the lift, and pick the body right up off the chassis. It may surprise you, but other than 10 bolts, there is not much more holding the passenger compartment from the frame. As you can see on at the bottom left of the picture, the frame has suffered extensive damage to the point where the backmost bolts on the frame have ripped right through from the upper body. As the frame is one complete piece, the whole thing needs to be swapped, that means stripping it to the ground, and rebuilding it.Photo: Photo: At this point, the motor has been unbolted and removed, along with the transmission and complete electrical harness. In the background, you can see a member of our body shop working on the body of the vehicle, as he must replace the crossmember that was damaged and bolted to our chassis.Photo: First we strip the front end, removing the bumper, tires, control arms, and knuckles, followed by the steering rack. Once the front is done, we move to the back.Photo: Once the rear end has been stripped, we are left with nothing but the old frame, an empty bay, and a bunch of parts scattered about.Photo: Photo: Once we have cleaned up the bay, there is one last thing to do before we bring in the new frame. The bolts that were damaged in the accident must be removed, time to break out the oxy-acetylene torches. These bolts are Grade-8, meaning they are extremely hard, and must be cut with torches that burn hotter than the surface of the sun.Photo: Once the bolts have been removed, it is time to open up our box of goodies, and see what they gave us for new parts. A majority of the new kit is body mounts, but we also got some new shocks, fuel tank straps, sway bar links, and a bunch of new bolts.Photo: Now we bring in a new frame, and must rebuild it from the ground up, using all of the old key components.Photo: The back of the frame is fairly straightforward as once the axle rolls in as one piece, it is just a matter of a few bolts, replacing the fuel tank, and a couple more minor things. Onto the front we start by attaching the upper and lower control arms.Photo: The spring must then be compressed and the knuckle replaced. All nuts and bolts must be torqued down to the specified measurements and cotter-pins installed where necessary.Photo: The same must now be done on the other side, following which, we will install the front sway bar, and the steering rack. Then it is time to put the tires back on, and the engine is ready to go back in.Photo: Photo: The engine goes back in, and once bolted, we can install the exhaust, connect the fuel lines, and run the wiring back to the fuel tank.Photo: At this point, the body is ready to rejoin the chassis. It is carefully lowered into position as the chassis is moved around by floor jacks to ensure the body mounts will line up correctly. The entire vehicle will now again be lifted as the body mounts are tightened and all engine connections are made under the hood. Once the computer is reconnected, and the engine flushed with coolant, the truck will be ready for an alignment, and sent back to the body shop.