Decided to remove the left front frame rail

Ugh. Bad rust

If you’ve been reading along, when I cut out the floor pan I was undecided about repairing or removing the front frame rail.  With the inner frame rail repaired, I decided to cut more of the toe board out of the car, to find out how bad the front frame rail is.  As you can see in the second photo, the bottom and the inner side are completely rusted away.  Between this and the rust hole by the coil tower, I decided it was best to replace the whole frame rail.

This post just covers the disassembly.  The front frame rail turned out to be such a big job, I decided to put it in it’s own write up.

Before removing any of the frame, I made sure the car was completely level, both front to back and side to side.  I also double checked the chassis measurements.  In the next post, I’ll show how to make your own frame gauge.  If you want the chassis alignment specs, you can down load the image here.  After rechecking that nothing on the car had moved.  I started by cutting the coil tower out of the car to provide better access to the frame rail.  As you can highlighted in the photo, the lower part of the coil tower, and the frame were no longer attached.  The motor mount brace, was still solid, but the coil tower was rusted through on the bottom. I guess it should not be a huge surprise since that is also where I found the rust hole in the frame.  The second circled area is a stress crack, I guess from the coil tower flexing since it was not attached on the bottom any more.  I was planing on putting on a independent coil over suspension system to improve the handling, this  just sealed the deal.

The rest of the removal was cutting away the frame with the plasma cutter, and drilling out a large number of spot welds.  You can see in the last photo, I have jack stands on the newly repaired rocker/inner frame rails, and a jack on the front radiator mount to hold up what is now two parts of the car, that are held together by the thin sheet metal at the top.

Next up, is installing the replacement frame rail.  This job scared me, and with good cause, read on.