Collision Repair News

Your job requires that you keep on top of the latest in vehicle, tool, and equipment technology – I-CAR is committed to helping you do so in one convenient place. We regularly publish new articles highlighting the latest and greatest collision repair information.

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When it comes to repair information, vehicle makers use a wide variety of terminology for replacement parts. All of the different names can be confusing, especially when repairing a variety of vehicle makes and models.

Have you ever printed a repair procedure only to find out that later on when you went to reference the information, it wasn't there? If so, most likely you discovered it the day after your short-term subscription expired, or it was for a procedure that was particularly difficult to find in the manual. You may have wondered if you did something wrong of if the procedure even exists.

How do you remove spot welds on something that is harder than a drill bit? Well you could always use a file belt sander.

To drill or not to drill, that is the question or more appropriately "how do I drill boron-alloyed steel so I don't keep going through drill bits?" Many of us have asked ourselves this when working with boron-alloyed steel or ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS).

There are an increasing number of materials being used in vehicles to help make them safer and create a quieter passenger compartment. Foam fillers, seam sealers, and adhesives often help accomplish this. It is impossible to see the location of all of these materials simply by looking at the outside of the vehicle. Not to mention, when you look at a product maker's catalog, there are many different options for replacement materials. So the question is: where do I find this information to repair the vehicle properly?

Why MIG Brazing?

It is widely known that GMA (MIG) welded; fully galvanized steel will lose some of its properties, including corrosion protection, due to the heat created during welding. OEMs are starting to counter this problem by using MIG brazing along with "stitch" and "skip" methods to control the heat. However, MIG brazing should only be done in areas specified by an OEM procedure. With MIG brazing, the lower heat input burns away a minimal amount of the zinc corrosion protection (galvanizing) adjacent to the weld (see Figure 1).

When it comes to repair information, vehicle makers use a wide variety of terminology for replacement parts. All of the different names can be confusing, especially when repairing a variety of vehicle makes and models.

It's just a recommendation, if they wanted me to follow it, they would call it a requirement, right? Wrong!

Knowing whether or not a part is made of boron-alloyed steel is important for repairs and replacement. OEM repair information is the best source to identify if a part is UHSS.decisions. The location of the part can be used to determine if the part is likely to be an ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS) part. However, part location is not definitive, the part could be boron-alloyed steel or it could be a part that is below 600MPa steel. The location will help to prompt further research into straightening, sectioning, or replacing at factory seams. Steel identification may also help determine removal and attachment methods.

With the use of advanced materials constantly increasing, it is hard to know where to start. I-CAR has addressed the first step to this common issue with the first two columns in the OEM Technical Information Matrix: the Body Construction Materials Identification column and the Body Construction Material Repair Guidelines column. Let's take a brief look at each one.

Repairing mild steel body panels with collision damage is nothing new. Using hammers, dollies, and picks when access to the backside is obtainable is a very common practice for straightening. With areas of limited access to the backside, using a weld-on dent puller for straightening is also quite common. So why does this change when dealing with an aluminum exterior panel?

So you've got a Chrysler sitting in your repair facility and a service part, but no installation procedure. What do you do? On any other steel vehicle, you would duplicate the original attachment method and plug welds are ok, but not a Chrysler. A couple of years ago (August 14, 2013 to be exact) Chrysler released the collision bulletin, Welded Sheet Metal Repairs and Replacements, that changed the way that their vehicles should be repaired. In this bulletin it states that: "weld bonding of replacement panels is the recommended installation method to utilize when repairing Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, or Ram vehicles."

On May 14th 2014 I-CAR's Steve Marks gave a presentation at Great Designs in Steel. In this presentation Steve gave a brief status of the current state of the collision repair industry, highlighting some of the common challenges in everyday collision repairs.

In your recent pursuit of late-model Ford sectioning information, you've scanned past the term "lap-joint backer plate" in their body repair manuals. Wait a minute, pause, rewind, what is a lap-joint backer plate and how do you make that?

"NOTE: The following steps provide a general guideline for replacement of body structure components. Refer to exploded views for specific component and assembly information." Additionally Ford says "Where possible, create a backer piece using a portion of the old panel. This will create a stronger joint."

These statements are found in the 2007-2014 Ford Mustang body repair manual under "Inner Body Reinforcing Panels" at Like others, you may have questioned if this is a general guideline giving you permission to apply general sectioning guidelines.