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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know if these front passenger side rails on 1984 GTI Mk1 look normal.

Are they suppose to curve like this or should they be straight.

Looks like the car had some small front end damage but not enough to bend these.

Did they come from factory with this slight curve? Any help would be appreciated.

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Nope, it's bent. Doesn't take much, the rails are designed to collapse and absorb impact energy.

Here's a pic from another thread. Plenty of engine out pics on the site.

 

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In his case they’re crumpled zones, but severe damage? Cut them off and weld straight ones on. As long as the body isn’t twisted and you can get the measurements correct, it’ll all go back together. Whether or not, it’s worth it, is a different story.

I’ve purchased donor cars and fixed this type of damage, in my driveway. Whenever I’m looking at a potential purchase, I look at these.

-Todd
 

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Doesn't the entire passenger front end side have to get pulled out about 1/2"? The new rail wouldn't line up correctly.
Looks like it got hit right on the corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It looks like it hit something from the front passenger side and the rad support was pushed in. The passenger side where it got the damage does look slanted downwards though from the full view.

I also found a donor car to get new metal from.

The rest of the car is solid.

Please tell me she's saveable!!

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Most things are savable. Good look at people restoring vw buses from the 50's. Do you want to spend the time and money to save it, Or find another car that would be easier to repair. That is the question.
 

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Doesn't the entire passenger front end side have to get pulled out about 1/2"? The new rail wouldn't line up correctly.
Looks like it got hit right on the corner.
Yes, standard practice is to straighten the entire structure as much as possible before cutting anything apart. If you jump right in there and start cutting off crushed parts, you’re gonna have a bad time.
 

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Yes, replacement of a frame rail might reasonably be called “severe”.
Touché... I suppose it’s all relative. I’ve fixed worse, so it doesn’t really faze me... car tracked straight and the body gaps were consistent.

Those frame horns don’t affect the unibody. Appears they collapsed, before damage to the strut towers occurred. Technically, they’re only helping hold the front clip on. If you can chain it to a tree, by the bumper and do a few light reverse pulls, you may be able to get the body straight enough, to call good. The front clip measurements are in the Bentley.

My truck had a slightly tweaked right frame horn. It was bent downward. I couldn’t get it to straighten out using the floor jack. It’d just lift the truck. I have a rapport with a local body shop, so I went in and chained the horn to one of their floor anchor points, jacked up the truck and got the tweak out. I thought it looked good, but the owner came out and beat on the seam with a mini sledge and what looked to be a blunt brick chisel. He said it relived the stress in the metal... long story short, it doesn’t look perfect, but the measurements are adequate.

-Todd
 

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Touché... I suppose it’s all relative. I’ve fixed worse, so it doesn’t really faze me... car tracked straight and the body gaps were consistent.

Those frame horns don’t affect the unibody. Appears they collapsed, before damage to the strut towers occurred. Technically, they’re only helping hold the front clip on. If you can chain it to a tree, by the bumper and do a few light reverse pulls, you may be able to get the body straight enough, to call good. The front clip measurements are in the Bentley.

My truck had a slightly tweaked right frame horn. It was bent downward. I couldn’t get it to straighten out using the floor jack. It’d just lift the truck. I have a rapport with a local body shop, so I went in and chained the horn to one of their floor anchor points, jacked up the truck and got the tweak out. I thought it looked good, but the owner came out and beat on the seam with a mini sledge and what looked to be a blunt brick chisel. He said it relived the stress in the metal... long story short, it doesn’t look perfect, but the measurements are adequate.

-Todd
I’ve read this several times. Are you asserting that front lower unibody rails are not part of the unibody? And that their only purpose is to hold the bumper on?
 

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Not the bumper, just the headlights and grill.

-Todd
The headlights and grille were traditionally attached to a header panel. Nowadays the grille is attached to the bumper cover and the headlights are attached to the radiator support.
 

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That was sarcasm. To your question. I’m sure they’re considered part of the unibody, but I’m also sure the flimsy upper rad support is also part of the unibody. They’re designed to collapse and they’re somewhat easy to replace. As long as the car isn’t tweaked to the point that it doesn’t need to be straightened on the rack, I say cut and replace, if it’s worth it.

The OP bought donor metal, so it appears he’s up to the task. His more recent pic doesn’t look too bad to me, but again, it’s all relative. Every year, there’s more of these cars that are wrecked, parted out, cut up as donors, etc.. Do what you can, with what you can find.

-Todd
 

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That was sarcasm. To your question. I’m sure they’re considered part of the unibody, but I’m also sure the flimsy upper rad support is also part of the unibody. They’re designed to collapse and they’re somewhat easy to replace. As long as the car isn’t tweaked to the point that it doesn’t need to be straightened on the rack, I say cut and replace, if it’s worth it.

The OP bought donor metal, so it appears he’s up to the task. His more recent pic doesn’t look too bad to me, but again, it’s all relative. Every year, there’s more of these cars that are wrecked, parted out, cut up as donors, etc.. Do what you can, with what you can find.

-Todd
Yeah I’ve just never heard this theory before that the frame rails are not a critical part of the car. They’re what the engine is bolted to. They’re what the suspension cradles are bolted to. They support the full weight of the car. They are the main energy absorbing and routing structure in the front of the car, transferring collision energy from the bumper bar to the A-pillars. Probably best not to spread misinformation about something so important. 😬
 

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I’ve read this several times. Are you asserting that front lower unibody rails are not part of the unibody? And that their only purpose is to hold the bumper on?
Believe it or not, an ASE certified mechanic recently told me the same thing. I admit that I was a bit sceptical. He pointed out that the bumper tubes have zero to do with suspension or alignment. I have to admit that they appear to be designed to crush independently from the strut tower/lower frame horns.

Does anyone make reproduction bumper tubes? I don't recall seeing them when I was searching body panels last.
 

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The right side engine mount is so far back on that frame horn, if the damage reached that area, I’d consider the car to have been in a major accident, not what we’re seeing here.

Left side is midway back, but again, I don’t normally see cars with damage to this point, where they’re looking to reconstruct.

These horns/rails are spot welded to the strut towers, so all of that would need to fold, prior to reaching the a-pillars. The strut towers are very heavy gauge steel reinforced by the lower control arm mount points, which are even heavier channeled steel.

What suspension cradles bolt to these frame horns/rails? You make it sound as if A1 chassis cars have subframes...

Not following the support the weight of the entire car bit.... these horns/rails are supporting the seats, fuel tank and rear suspension....?

-Todd
 

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-Todd
As long as the body isn’t twisted and you can get the measurements correct, it’ll all go back together. Whether or not, it’s worth it, is a different story.

-Todd
^This. Measure it and you'll know where to go next

Not following the support the weight of the entire car bit.... these horns/rails are supporting the seats, fuel tank and rear suspension....?

-Todd
I think he means that the mass of the car is reacted through the frame horns (crush initiators) during a frontal impact. As you pointed out, the reaction point is designed to fail long after the frame horns have crushed
 

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these horns/rails are supporting the seats, fuel tank and rear suspension....?

-Todd
Yes. Unibody vehicles generally have front and rear suspension crossmembers / “cradles” which support the entire sprung mass of the car.
 
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