Structural Sectioning Procedures: FCA/Stellantis

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 FCA/Stellantis says about structural sectioning.

Vehicle-specific FCA/Stellantis body repair manuals offer procedures for sectioning of various parts found in Collision Information ➤ Standard Procedures ➤ Sectioning Location and Procedures. It is crucial to pay attention to the various Notes, Warnings, and Cautions through the entire procedure.

For example, in the front lower rail sectioning procedure for the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica, one of the warnings states: "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."

The type of sectioning joint is dependent on the specific repair procedure being referenced. Notes will also be provided, such as: "To prevent warping, apply 25 mm (1 in.) stitch 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/Stellantis 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 While Repairing Damaged Structural And Non-Structural Components
    • "If heat is used to straighten structural high-strength steels, advanced high-strength steel, or ultra high-strength steel, the component must be replaced. If the damaged component requires heat for making a pull, the adjacent component, to which it is attached, must not be affected by heat transfer. Cold straightening may be used without replacement of the component."
  • Repair Parts Used For Structural Repairs
    • “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/Stellantis has a free collision repair website where you can find position statements and other collision related information. Always refer to the OEM vehicle-specific body repair manuals for proper structural sectioning repair procedures. To access the free website, go to www.moparrepairconnect.com.

For additional FCA/Stellantis 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

Additional I-CAR Collision Repair News you may find helpful:
Collision Information Website Access: FCA/Stellantis
Step-By-Step: Accessing FCA/Stellantis Repair Information


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