posted May 10, 2004 10:47 AM
If it was just a T-bone hit (not multiple in other places) I'd fix it without hesitation.
My partner's new car last year was rolled twice it's 6th week out. He came out of turn 4, got T-boned, drove into the walled and rolled twice. The pass. frame rail (door area) was pushed in about 10"-12" and the front horns bent. We straightened the front horns and he ran it twice more before hitting the wall and bending the horns again. He then replaced half of the frame. It was cut on the pass. side right in front of the rear wheel on the factory weld and on the dr. side right behind the front wheel again on the factory weld. Then all the cage bars were cut out (cut the frame off then trimmed the frame away until the bar was clear). He ordered a few new doors bars for the cage and grafted everything back in.
Once the bent frame and door bars were cut out, it wasn't much to tweak the cage back into position. Then the new frame section (basically front dr. rail, k member and pass rail from front back to the rear wheel)was lifted into place and everything welded back up. Having the cage posts through the frame and welded on top and bottom helped strength, but added to the PIA factor.
On mine, last year I lost it in turn 4 and got broadsided on the dr. side of the front end, spun up the track and tagged on the pass. front, spun around and hit head on. 3 hits at full race speed. We cut all the cage bars off just in front of the firewall and cut the front frame horns off at the K member. Welded new horns on and rebuilt the cage (special attention to butting the bars at the firewall). After all that, my frame heights and wheelbase are within 1/8" of being perfect.
Soooo... it's all a matter of how much you wanna save the car. Don't be afraid to cut farther back than what you think you HAVE too. It's better to cut a weld or 2 back from what actually bent to relieve stress, grind the welds and reweld/gusset the joints.
Call the builders/cage manufacturer and see if they'll send you new door bars. It shouldn't be more than a couple $$ to get just the bars for the door.
Oh.. and for the alignment thing. Find symetrical holes in the bottom of the frame and X measure it. From the front lower control arm mount/bolt/area to the rear lower control arm mount/bolt/area on the otherside will give you the best measurement. If it's shorter LR-RF, then the right rail pulled the RF wheel back. Also measure frame heights before cutting anything to see if it pulled one corner up.
If all else fails... shim it!!! I use to work in a body shop and we X measure everything when something was in a front end hit. Get it within 1/16" or so and put a shim or 2 in a fender here.... shim in a header panel there... Never tell the difference. Although, late model street cars are like trying to straighten wet kleenex. The 'frame' on most cars is a couple pieces of 18 gauge steel stamped in a box and tack welded. Pretty scary once you see one stripped down.
[This message has been edited by Raz_900 (edited May 10, 2004).]