I-CAR Training and Certification: Steel Sectioning Course Updated

Figure 1 - When welding the sectioning joints on the 2013 Ford Taurus inner front lower rail, the weld is made from the inside.

To help the industry be better prepared for repairing new vehicles, I-CAR has updated the Training and Certification: Steel Sectioning. With the changes to vehicles happening daily from new materials, thinner materials, new technologies, and new repair procedures, collision repair technicians have had to update their skills to repair the new vehicles.

Changing Repair Procedures
Let's take a look at one example of an updated repair procedure, on the 2013 Ford Taurus. The front lower rail is made of two rail halves and has three sectioning locations for the lower rail. In the body repair manual, it says that the "Member assembly - front side outer (outer lower rail) is made of 350 MPa steel and the Member assembly - front side inner (inner lower rail) is 600 MPa steel."

So is knowing that the inner and outer rails are made from two different strengths of steel going to change how you think about straightening that vehicle? It should. Looking at the instructions for the sectioning joint, the manual specifies an offset repair joint, and when welding the inner lower rail, the technician is to "Seam weld along the inside of the sectioning joint (open butt joint) using a GMA welder and ER70S-3 wire 0.9 mm (0.035 in) to 0.11 mm (0.045 in) diameter." (see Figure 1)

This Ford Taurus procedure is different than what was done even 10 years ago. Without looking at the collision repair information you may have not been aware of this update. Not only has the weld joint configuration changed from a straight open butt joint to an offset joint, but also the side of the joint you actually weld. In this case, the root gap and weld penetration will be critical in completing a complete and safe repair.

New Test Parameters
welding the sectioning joint on a 2013 Ford Taurus inner front lower rail, the weld is made from the inside.Figure 2 - This is an example of the three sectioning joints that must be completed during the Training amd Certification: Steel Sectioning. When the I-CAR Training and Certification: Steel Sectioning course was first launched, it was created using the most common joint types at that time and was representative of a common lower rail configuration. The new Training and Certification course incorporates both thick and thin steel to simulate a common lower frame rail configuration and a thin outer body panel, using some of the most common joint types being used in the industry today, including cutting a window to access a hidden reinforcement.

During the I-CAR Training and Certification: Steel Sectioning course, the participants will be creating sectioning joints using a body repair manual designed specifically for this Training and Certification course. The repair procedure that participants follow incorporates some of these twists on the vehicle maker repair procedures and joints like the example of the Taurus given above (see Figure 2).

The I-CAR instructor is there to help coach the participants to better perform the tasks associated with sectioning including measuring, cutting, and welding. This will allow the participants to have an opportunity to learn new techniques and hone their existing skills.

At the end of I-CAR Training and Certification: Steel Sectioning course, the participant will have learned and improved their sectioning skills and be better prepared for the ever-changing repair procedures in the collision repair industry.

This article first appeared in the November 7, 2013 edition of the I-CAR Advantage Online.


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