Structural Sectioning Procedures: Fiat Chrysler Automotive

Structural Sectioning Procedures: Fiat Chrysler Automotive

Ask I-CAR receives many technical inquiries referring to sectioning. The collision repair industry wants to know where can you section, does the OEM have a sectioning procedure, and where can I find the sectioning procedure? Most OEMs allow sectioning to outer body panels and the front and rear rails. Sectioning reinforcements is not as common, as most reinforcements are replaced at factory seams.

Parts are made from various materials including HSS, UHSS, aluminum, and carbon fiber. These parts also have complex designs to collapse or transfer collision forces in a specific manner. Introducing a sectioning joint to many of these parts will alter how the part reacts to those collision forces. For this reason, sectioning a part is only allowed if supported by vehicle maker repair information. Let’s see what Fiat Chrysler Automotive says about structural sectioning.

Vehicle-specific FCA repair manuals offer procedures for sectioning of various parts. However, it is crucial to pay attention to the various Notes and Warnings through the entire procedure. For example, in the front lower rail sectioning procedure for the 2017 Chrysler Pacific, one of the warnings state, “Sectioning of components may only be performed in the described areas if damage to component does not extend past sectioning location. Should damage extend past sectioning location entire component replacement is the only acceptable repair. Failure to follow these directions may result in serious or fatal injury.”

The type of sectioning joint used will be dependent on the specific repair procedure being referenced. Notes will also be provided, such as, “To prevent warping, apply 25 mm (1 in.) welds until the sectioning joint is completely welded.” Also use the vehicle-specific body repair manual to determine which type of welding is required for the repair you are performing. Failure to follow OEM procedures will sacrifice the safety and quality of the repair.

FCA has two position statements pertaining to structural sectioning that you should be aware of. Several highlights from each of these position statements are listed below.

  • Use of Heat During Repair
    • “During rough straightening prior to replacement, damaged panels or frame components may be heated to assist in body/frame realignment. This application of heat, if absolutely necessary, must be constrained to the parts which will be replaced and not allowed to affect any other components.”

  • Structural Repair Part Usage
    • “All structural distortion has been identified and corrected using appropriate structural straightening equipment (“frame rack”) and a three-dimensional measuring system.”
    • “Unless partial replacement procedures are documented in a FCA US LLC publication, structural panels must be installed in their entirety – partial replacement or “sectioning” of panels may compromise vehicle structure.”

FCA has a free collision repair website where you can find vehicle-specific body repair manuals, position statements, and other collision related information. Please note that though this website is free, you will still need to setup a username and password. To access the free website, to www.moparrepairconnection.com.

For additional FCA information, check out the following pages:
Alfa Romeo OEM Information
Chrysler OEM Information
Dodge OEM Information
Fiat OEM Information
Jeep OEM Information
RAM OEM Information

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