Projects & Repairs --> Collision --> Rollover Repair --> Jeep Wrangler

Collision repair on a Jeep Wrangler.

Advanced Collision Repair:

Repairing A 2005 Jeep Wrangler After A Rollover Accident
Part 1

In This Article:

A section of vehicle frame is straightened and welded. Sheet metal around the wheel well is re-formed into proper shape. Body panels at the front are removed.

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Skill Level: 5 (Professional)

 

By Jim Wilk, Licensed Auto Body Technician

Start:

Two mechanics, who repair wrecked Jeeps as a hobby, bought a 2005 Jeep that had been "totalled" in a rollover accident on a trail.

They had a local "frame shop" straighten the frame, and then the owners brought the Jeep to us for the remaining body repair work.

When the frame shop did their work, they removed the fender flares and other minor parts.

Jeep Wrangler with body accessories removed.

 

Jeep with part of rear quarter panel removed.

The frame repair shop had cut off the back quarter-panel.

 

As I started to take measurements and look over the job, I began to wonder about the quality of the frame work.

Some things just didn't look right...

Examining Jeep and damage at rear quarter panel.

 

Bent metal on rear corner of Jeep Wrangler after rollover accident. View of left rear wheel panel (inner sheet metal above the wheel) that I had to save.

Replacing the wheel panel is a time-consuming job, and the owners didn't have a big enough budget for such luxuries.

 

The rear body support rail was twisted and for some reason the rear bumper support was never straightened. So I cut it off. Damaged rear bumper support.

 

Jeep Wrangler with left rear fender cut away. View of left rear side with outer body panel removed.

 

I cut off the bumper support and began straightening the rear body support rail. Straightening frame at rear of Jeep.

 

Frame straightening on Jeep Wrangler. To twist the support rail back into the proper shape, I had to push up with a hydraulic jack (the red tubular object) on one side of the rail and pull back on the rail with a chain hooked to a welded-on plate.

 

While the body was tied down I decided to straighten the rear wheel panel... Straightening rear wheel panel on Jeep after rollover.

 

Pulling panel back with body puller.  ...Using the puller, a dolly block and a hammer I reformed the panel back to the original shape.

 

All the while, I kept wondering about the work done at the frame shop.

Where I came from in Detroit, the frame shops always cleaned the frame rail they repaired, and painted it black, especially where it was heated with a torch.

The green arrow points to the spot on the frame rail that was heated and bent back into shape.

Frame on Jeep Wrangler after repair, showing absence of new paint on repaired area.

 

Rear wheel panel on Jeep Wrangler after being straightened. View of rear wheel panel after being straightened.

 

Bumper Mounting Problem:

I used the old blacksmith method to re-form the frame end where the back bumper is attached.

I used a homemade anvil (a small piece of thick steel bar stock) and a five-pound sledge hammer. I heated the end of the frame with a torch and beat the hell out of it.

Fixing bent rear bumper bracket on Jeep Wrangler.

 

Protecting gas tank during welding on vehicle. I did not like welding that close to a plastic gas tank... one splatter of red hot welding slag could melt through the plastic gas tank and ruin my day.

So I shielded the plastic gas tank with aluminum flashing and wet rags. I found that the sparks from welding just bounced off the aluminum flashing.

 

Warning:

When welding on a vehicle with a computer, the welding current can damage the computer, so precautions must be taken.

I used a surge protector connected between the positive and negative terminals on the battery to prevent damage to the computer.

Also, the computer can be disconnected and/or completely removed from the car.

Surge suppressor used to prevent damage to car computer during welding.

 

Repaired rear bumper support bracket, Jeep Wrangler. I welded the bumper support from the inside first.

I also filled in the crack on the frame rail with weld bead.

 

Then I welded a nice bead on the outside of the frame and installed the body mount (the small piece of rubber that isolates the body from the frame). Rear bumper support bracket repair, Jeep Wrangler.

 

Jeep Wrangler frame painted black after repairs. I ground down the weld bead on the top side of the frame rail, and about an inch down the side.

Then I cleaned and painted the bumper support and the frame rails.

 

Then using the hydraulic jack with a flat end (as a hard dolly) I did some fine metal finishing on the rear panel.  Fixing bent sheet metal on Jeep.

 

New aftermarket side body panel for Jeep Wrangler. View of a new factory side panel.

 

The owners decided that it was better to splice the panel instead of replacing the entire piece. So the panel was cut and fitted, but I did not weld the panel because the owners had not yet acquired a replacement door. Portion of new body panel set in place on collision damaged Jeep Wrangler.

 

Repairing Damage On The Front:

Front door hinge area damage on Jeep Wrangler after rolling over. At first glance, the damage at the front didn't look too bad... but the door hinge was bent and pushed inward, which indicated that there was some structural damage.

I removed the door and upper hinge.

 

I removed the twisted left front fender. Removing front fender, Jeep.

 

Front of Jeep Wrangler with body sheet metal removed. There were a lot of components and wires connected to the inside of that left fender.

 

Then I removed the twisted radiator grille and support so I could replace them. Removing radiator grille and support on Jeep Wrangler.

 

Damaged fender from Jeep. View of damaged fender.

 

View of radiator grille. It doesn't look damaged in this picture, but the whole piece was twisted. Jeep Wrangler grille damaged in rollover accident.

After removing these parts, I set the project aside while the owners arranged for the parts to be delivered.

Continue reading Part 2 to see new body panels installed...

 

More Info:

Tools Used:

  • Basic Mechanics Tools
  • Cable Winches
  • Body Puller and Clamps
  • Porta-Power Hydraulic Jacks
  • MIG Welder
  • Surge Protector
  • Oxy-Acetylene Torch
  • Spray Finishing Equipment

Materials Used:

  • Replacement Body Panels, Aftermarket
  • Professional Auto Body Supplies
  • Matrix Systems Paint and Clear Coat

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Written July 29, 2009