Classic Corvette Restoration: Repairing the Chassis

Autos & TrucksMaintenance

  • Author Joel Neuder
  • Published September 15, 2012
  • Word count 558

A perfectly-repaired, beautiful frame is one of the most important aspects of any classic Corvette restoration project. A great chassis will serve as a framework for a fantastic body and paintjob, and it will keep you safe when you drive and make other repairs. However, fixing your frame can be tough, and there are plenty of ways to make things worse. Here are a few of the most important things to consider when you're restoring the chassis on your vintage Corvette.

The Diagnosis

The first thing you'll need to do is diagnose the existing problems with your frame. If your car was ever in a collision, some areas may be bent or twisted - even beyond repair. You'll probably also encounter rust, especially if your car is decades old or was stored improperly by its previous owner. Whatever you do, make sure take full stock of all your concerns before you begin your repairs.

Need for Removal

If your chassis only suffers from minor rust, then you may not have to remove many components. However, alignments and other highly-involved repairs will likely require that you separate your frame from the rest of your car.

Removing a car's frame is a project most people leave to professionals. If you're going to do it yourself, then you must set up a safe, supportive suspension system in your garage or shop. Some people use their ceiling beams, but a sturdy, standalone model is by far the most reliable option. Once you've removed your interior components, make all the proper disconnections, attach your chains, and lift.

Steel or Fiberglass?

The repairs you need may depend on the exact type of frame in your classic Corvette restoration. If you've got tubular fiberglass, you may not need to worry about rust - but you'll still have dents and bends to consider. If you have a steel frame, you'll probably have to remove the body to work on holes, twists, and large patches of rust. It might also be a good idea to chemically strip your steel frame, which removes small pieces of grit and prepares it for welding and cutting.

Rust Repair

Getting rid of rust is critical for any project, especially when you're dealing with a broken-down frame. If left untreated, a rusty chassis can cause your entire car to breakdown, costing you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your valuable time. The most common rust removal techniques include:

*Sand blasting: This method is essentially sanding with air. A strong hose sucks in air and uses it to "blast" grains of sand at affected areas..

*Bead basting: Similar to sand blasting, this technique blasts tiny beads instead of sand. Beads can also be reused, and may be more cost-effective over the course of several projects.

*Chemical treatments: There are a variety of chemicals which can dissolve rust while leaving steel intact. However, it may be logistically impossible to remove parts of your frame for soaking.

Professional Help

Ultimately, you may need to consult a reputable auto shop if you need heavy-duty frame repairs. Not everyone has the equipment necessary for body removals, and alignments require extreme precision. If you need help with your current chassis - of if you want one custom-built - call a professional classic car restorer now, or contact a classic Corvette restoration shop to help you out.

Click here for an immediate consultation with an expert from our classic car restorations company now.

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