Smashed Corvette Z06 Undergoes DIY Frame Repair
With a little ingenuity and a lot of patience, even you can repair the frame of a Corvette Z06 at home.
Aluminum is a hard metal to work with, especially when it comes to repairs following an accident. Steel has plenty of give for straightening and reshaping things. Aluminum, on the other hand, can break like a Kit-Kat bar if not handled properly. And welding aluminum back together is just as tricky. Thus, it’s always best to leave major aluminum-related repairs to body and frame shops who’ve got the proper tools to fix dents, dings, and cracks like a pro.
That’s not to say you can’t do it yourself, though. As the crew of YouTube channel goonzquad proves, if you take your time and find creative ways to work around any given situation, working with aluminum can be as easy as steel.
In their case, the DIY project is repairing the front aluminum frame of their recently acquired 2017 Corvette Z06. The Copart ‘Vette was totaled by the previous owner’s insurance company due in part to the frame receiving a few cracks around the welds. But before the lads go to work, they made sure the supercharged LT4 worked after trickle-charging the battery for a few days. The sound is amazing, to say the least.
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With the battery recharged, the original plan was to “get this frame on a frame machine” to pull the front section back together, then “throw some nice welds” and some black paint to make it good as new. Their friend’s aluminum welder, however, broke two weeks before the video was shot, so they opted to go ahead and buy such a welder. Instead, they had the welder already, and just needed aluminum wire and the right argon gas to get going.
The frame machine was another matter. Though their friend had one free, by the time it was time to go to work, all of the frame machines in the area were busy, and would be “backed up for a couple of weeks.” After “talking with a few guys” and sending them pictures of the frame, the lads decide to tackle the repair all by themselves with help from a Jeep with a winch, and a forklift with a chain.
With the forklift acting as a paperweight to keep the Z06 from moving, the winch was used to gently pull the frame back together before spot welding the cracks. Once that was handled, the old welds were grinded down, and fresh welds were laid in their place.
A fresh coat of paint to top it all off, and the Z06’s frame was, indeed, as good as OEM. All it took was “a good day of practicing” welding aluminum, a lot of patience pulling the frame together, and a bit of creativity to make this DIY repair work.