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Old 07-11-2006, 11:30 AM   #1
scotty757
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Default How hard is it or what does it cost to repair a frame on a C5?

I have a chance to get a 2000 hard top millennium yellow corvette with 30,000 miles and all the parts to fix it for $7,000. Also the same guy has a 2003 convertible with 20,000 miles on it and all the parts to fix it for $9,000. Both where hit in the front and need a frame rail replaced, he has the frame rail for both and all the parts to fix them. What am I getting into, is this something an individual with automotive experience can handle? If not what if I pull everything off the front and pull the motor and trans what do you think it would cost to have just the frame fixed. Any advice would be appreciated this is my first post, also do you guys think the prices are ok, both cars run but like I said they need help.

Last edited by scotty757; 07-11-2006 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:09 PM   #2
scotty757
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Default Please Help!!! I would love to have a C5.

Anyone??? I think it would be a fun project but I don't want to get in over my head. I was a welder/fabricator in a hotrod shop for 3 years, but have never worked on a C5. Is this a DIY except the frame work?
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:13 PM   #3
94legaleagle
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If I understand your post correctly, you can buy the cars AND all parts for either 7,000 or 9,000 correct?

If so, I'm guessing either one is a good deal (if not a GREAT Deal) and that if nothing else you can part them out and make money on them -

I rebuilt / am rebuilding a 2001 front end wrecked - assuming you know how to turn a wrench and have some mechanical experience, you can do the work yourself - the frame work I'd leave to a competant body shop - I think the book says something like 14 hours to replace a frame rail section - it can be done, but first I'd consider trying to have the existing frame rail pulled back into place

good luck - keep us posted
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:40 PM   #4
scotty757
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"If I understand your post correctly, you can buy the cars AND all parts for either 7,000 or 9,000 correct?"

Yes, that is correct which would be a better deal or which would you get? What do you think it would cost if I did all the work excluding the frame?

1. If they can pull the frame.
2. If they need to replace the frame rail which I would have.

I am on a budget. I think I could talk him down, he said both can be rebuilt but he does not have the time to mess with them.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:40 PM   #5
SpeedyZ
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Welcome to the forum!

Did you build models when you were a kid? A C5 is kind of like a really big model! Pretty much glues together. Of all the cars I have been involved in rebuilding the C5 is one of the easiest out there due to the fact they have a full frame. Replacing the frame rails is easy as long as you are replacing ahead of the firewall or from the rear of the doors back. Center sections are pretty hard because they have so much stuff attached to them. A word of warning, C5 frames are VERY strong, they don't bend easily, in or out. It will take a good frame machine to pull the frame back into place. I wouldn't want to get involved in a C5 repair if the A-pillars are not straight. If it was hit hard enough to bend stuff that far back you have a mess. Frame damage on the ends is not bad. When replacing the frame sections you want to be sure you overlap the frames where they are welded. C5 frames are very thin, but very strong, if not overlapped you won't have a strong joint. Do not heat a C5 frame to straighten it, once heated it needs to be replaced. Be careful buying used C5 parts. Nothing wrong with used parts but new parts are a lot cheaper than you would think. I have seen people selling used parts for more than new parts! I have had a lot of fun rebuilding my car. I have learned a LOT about C5's with this project. And remember, when it is all torn apart and everything is out of the way that is the time to do your mods! Here is my current project, a 2001 Z06 that had light rear damage, the body is off for paint. All the crash damage was fixed a long time ago, now I'm in mod mode!

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:57 PM   #6
94legaleagle
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If the damage is equal on both cars, the 2003 Vert is the better buy the way I see it - however, I'm not a convertible fan - I like a roof / removable roof on my Vette, but that's just me.

Even though he says he has all parts to fix them, I'd plan on spending $1,000 minimum and possible $2,000 ADDITIONAL for stuff you find you need but wasn't included -

any chance you can post pictures of them?
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Old 07-11-2006, 04:12 PM   #7
AU N EGL
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have you done frame repair before??? and then align the frame ?? and put them all back to gether ??

Maybe wonder why he is selling those major project cars.

actully you might make out more financally to sell the parts piece by piece. Then with what you make on the two project car pats buy a good used vette.
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Old 07-11-2006, 04:34 PM   #8
scotty757
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Thanks for the info, I called a local body shop and they said the last C5 they did got a new frame (roller from a parts car) for $2000. So from what I am thinking if the frame is too bad he said I should be able to get a frame for around $2000 and do a complete swap to the new frame. I think the frame can be fixed for $1000 or less if I strip the front (local body shops get $50 hr for frame work). The 2003 runs and body (doors back) and interior are suppose to be in good condition. He said he has not started the 2000 but it is suppose to be in good condition as well.
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Old 07-11-2006, 04:35 PM   #9
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I agree that with parts and that being the total price either should be a good buy. I think the vert would be an excellent buy. My assumption is that both would have a "salvage title" which for me wouldn't be a problem if I was going to repair it and drive it myself otherwise I might consider parting it out.
My neighbor has a Z06 which had extensive front end and frame damage. The frame was repaired and I defy anyone to tell the difference. If you can do much of the work yourself having it painted might be the most expensive part. If I were you I would do the project sounds like a great opportunity
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD's C5
My assumption is that both would have a "salvage title" which for me wouldn't be a problem if I was going to repair it and drive it myself otherwise I might consider parting it out.
One of the problems I have w/ getting a salvage vehicle, espeically one that I'd invest more than $10k altogether, is that insurance will not cover it for more than liability. So if you get in an accident where it's your fault, and or if your car is stolen, you get nothing back.
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:06 PM   #11
94legaleagle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vectorz
One of the problems I have w/ getting a salvage vehicle, espeically one that I'd invest more than $10k altogether, is that insurance will not cover it for more than liability. So if you get in an accident where it's your fault, and or if your car is stolen, you get nothing back.
Find a different insurance company/agent - salvage titles should not create a problem to insuring a car.
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94legaleagle

any chance you can post pictures of them?
Also, are the windshields broken? This might help tell you if the a-pillars are straight. How does the top fit on the coupe?

on the parts, allow for extra budget. Plus tools if you don't already have a lot. The car is fairly easy to take apart, especially if they have been stored most of their lives.
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:34 PM   #13
scotty757
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Any advice or pictures of what to look for on the frame damage, how do you find out how bad it is? I will get some pictures of the cars this weekend and post them. Any deal breakers to look for?
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Old 07-11-2006, 06:46 PM   #14
94legaleagle
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if the frame is bent in front of where the front suspension mounts, less of a problem - is the frame bent on one side or on both, and how is it bent - also, where is it bent

Vette's have a "crush box" area in the frame about where the firewall is - the frames can be sectioned together in this area if the frame in that area is good, but if the area is damaged, you might end up needing 2 pieces of frame, instead of one piece.

Also, if the frame is damaged in front, I'm guessing the front impact bar that runs between the frame rails that the bumper attaches to is bent damaged -

Check - is the engine pushed back into the firewall or upwards? There isn't much room between the back of the engine and the firewall, but there is some room nonetheless.

Is the car driveable despite the damage? if so, try it

Airbags - ok or need replacement?

Used (and good quality) parts can be obtained here on the Forum from members who have done mods and no longer want the old parts - check both the Forum and Flea-bay for parts - you get good deals at both places.

Any cracked tabs on suspension mounts, on engine or transmission mounts?

Radiator and a/c condensor OK or need replacing?
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Old 07-11-2006, 06:48 PM   #15
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Also, as someone else pointed out - how is your tool box equipped? do you have enough tools to do the job? wrenches, jack stands, jacks, etc?

Where are you going to work on this project at? Plan on this project taking up a garage / shop stall for at least 2 - 3 months.
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:13 PM   #16
scotty757
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I think I have plenty of tools and all that is necessary (compressor, impact gun, chop saw, jacks, hand tools, ect...) but since I am not going to do the frame work I think mostly sockets ect... would be needed to strip the covette and put it back together. I think I am leaning toward the 2003 convertible with 20,000 miles. I will get tons of pics this weekend but any more info would be greatly appreciated (what to look for ectů).

Does anyone have any pictures of the front frame rails on a C5?
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:55 PM   #17
SpeedyZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94legaleagle
Vette's have a "crush box" area in the frame about where the firewall is

Also, if the frame is damaged in front, I'm guessing the front impact bar that runs between the frame rails that the bumper attaches to is bent damaged -
I'm 99.9% sure there is no "crush box" in the frame anywhere on the C5. These frames are dang tough. The weak spot is the angled part that come from the rocker up to the straight rail on each end. That is where the frame will bend if hit hard on the end. Normally it will pull right back out with enough force and of course it's not bent too bad. The C5 is not easy to hold on a frame machine, you can pull the mount holes right out of the bottom of the frame since the frame is so thin. It is hard to hold a C5 to allow enough force to pull these frames back out. A neat trick I just seen the other day was to weld 1" angle to the bottom of the frame rails just inside the inside the rockers. That allowed many more clamps to be placed on the car than the standard Kent-Moore frame bolts.

The impact bar on each end of the car is part of the frame. It is easily replaced and only cost about $100 new from GM.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 94legaleagle
check both the Forum and Flea-bay for parts - you get good deals at both places.
Excellent advice! Although after finding out how easy it is to get screwed on eBay, and how little eBays care that you got screwed, I don't use eBay anymore. But before getting screwed I did buy an entire perfect condition butt end of a 2003 Z06 for only $600!



Quote:
Originally Posted by 94legaleagle
Any cracked tabs on suspension mounts, on engine or transmission mounts?
Another excellent point. The bell housing/torque tube is easily broken in a crash on a C5. There is so much weight hanging out so far on each end of the torque tube and a good shaking will break the cast aluminum housing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by msuc5vette
Also, are the windshields broken? This might help tell you if the a-pillars are straight. How does the top fit on the coupe?

on the parts, allow for extra budget.
Good point! Also if the doors open and close smoothly then the center of the car is most likely still straight.

Figure you may spend $500-$600 on glue depending on how much stuff you have to take apart!



I would advise you if you decide to buy one of the cars to have the frame guy from the body shop go over and take a look at the car. It would be best to get the car up in the air and look it over good from the bottom. Those guys will spot stuff you never thought of! They can give you a good idea what it will take to fix. Of course there is no way to see all the damage before you take the car apart, so the is always risk that it will be worse than you first think.
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Old 07-12-2006, 06:08 PM   #18
94legaleagle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyZ
I'm 99.9% sure there is no "crush box" in the frame anywhere on the C5. These frames are dang tough. The weak spot is the angled part that come from the rocker up to the straight rail on each end. That is where the frame will bend if hit hard on the end. Normally it will pull right back out with enough force and of course it's not bent too bad.

That area is what I'm referring to as the "crush box" - I'm not sure how easy it is to pull a frame if that area is damaged - and that's why I mentioned that if that area is damaged, that you might end up needing two frame rail pieces instead of one piece.

Speedy Z does make good points, especially about the torque tube breaking / bending / being damaged
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Old 07-12-2006, 11:14 PM   #19
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I have seen a few of these put together over the past few years and in every case the results were excellent. One was even assembled from two frames pieced together midway between the doors. All body panels fit perfectly and the doors hung as new.

One was a 2003 convertible with less than 100 miles on it. A new frame was included and when all was put together, it turned out that the hit to the frame cracked the block. As good as the LS-X engines are, the aluminum block can't take the twisting of a cast iron block. (While the cast iron doesn't flex, it will often break a mount first.) New block and all internals were transferred by an engine shop and you would not know it was ever damaged. In every case these cars sold for well under retail and the buyers were happy to get them.

Some of the larger salvage yards will collect all of the pieces and farm out the reconstruction to sell a completed car or sell the project because they have too many projects in the works. If a competent shop (or individual) does the work these cars can be a bargain.

Good luck but remember there are often unknowns that pop up and can take some of the luster off of the project.

GUSTO
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