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Question About Bent Frame Repair


Charter Member
Full Member
Apr 8, 2002
Northwestern Oklahoma
A few weeks ago my avalanche was wrecked and the frame was bent and the rear wheel was bent on the passenger side. you can do a search on this site for a thread called ( banged up av) and read about my av's demise and see the pictures.

My insurance company informs me that the body shop I have selected is on their preferred body shop list. Hence I dont have to worry about getting estimates or anything. The insurance company also stated that all repairs will be guaranteed for as long as i own the vehicle......This sounds to good to be true.

Now to get to the nitty gritty. I am concerned about the frame damage. The body shop says they can fix almost any kind of frame damage except for a crease and there was something else they couldn't fix but i can't remember what it was......frame straightning makes me leary.

The next thing that bothers me is the bent wheel on the rear passenger side. I ask the body shop about powertrain damage and they assured me that their 4 wheel drive alignment machine will find anything wrong with the rearend or frontend.......I don't know about this. I ask what about six months from now when the ring and pinion go out or I have to start replacing U-joints every 2000 miles. who will fix it the insurance company or the gm warranty. The body shop says the insurance will for a time then it will fall under warranty.....I don't like this. .... Looks to me that gm may refuse to do warranty work since it has been damaged.....I don't like this either.

I asked the body shop about totalling the av. They said the damage would have to be at least 70% of the purchase price to do that. The preliminary estimate is $4600 so that rules out totaling the ave.

I would appreciate some insight or suggestions about my concerns.

Hate to say it but most of the frame repairs I have seen haven't worked well. Cab on frames (like an AV) are easier that unibody construction cars to correct.

The only ones I have seen work are the shops that have to large expensive computerized laser guided frame straightening machines.

It has to be a big shop. They are expensive.

After repair, there should also be a front wheel alignment done. Sometimes when frames are repaired they "crab" down the road. (Look like they are going sideways while going down the road.) THis means they did a purpose misalignment to get it to go straight down the road because they could get the frame right.

Also, keep watching the tread wear. Funny wear means bad repair.

They might cut the frame to repair or relive stress. If so they should put an "over patch" on the spot. They basically take another donor frame, cut the same location out, stretch it to go over the cut, then reweld. Weld joints should be like any other good weld. Good weld, no voids and ground smooth.

That is about all for an amateur. Maybe an expert is here.

Good luck but I have doubts. "Preferred Shop" mostly means they are they cut the best price with the insurance company NOT that they do the best work. In automotive shops time is money and work done under these circumstances would make me leary.

Remember, after you accept the vehicle back, your recourse is with the shop not the insurance company. Make sure YOU can trust them.

One more thing. Make sure you get your "loss of resale value" because of the major damage to the AV. In most states you must disclose major damage and your resale will suffer.

Standard is 10% loss of retail of the pre-wreck value of the vehicle. That is what State Farm paid me. Believe you me they don't remind YOU about it and they don't automatically add it in.
hyper where do you live? If you are in or near the northeast I can recommend a world class body shop. They are at a Ford dealer :9: but they do tremendous work out of New Hampshire. They have folks from the Mid Atlantic (rich folks) flat bed in their bent up Mercedes and Porches to have them fixed site unseen just send me the bill.

When I had my Probe banged up in Vermont I had it sent to them out of my pocket - insurance company paid the rest. The car was PERFECT on the return. They are a large shop, do a ton of work, and have laser alignment machines.
I live in northwestern oklahoma, so i am a long ways from the northeast. However my av is at a large chevrolet dealer and they mentioned that they did have a frame machine with computerized laser alighnment and they also have some kind of four wheel drive alignment as well.....I guess that is a different kind of machine.

the accident happened about 90 miles from my home and the wrecker that was sent out by onstar hauled the av to the closest chevy dealer. I was going to go ahead and drive the av home and take it to a local body shop but since the engine was damaged as well I decided to let the chevy dealers body shop and mechanic repair my av. I thought it would save me a lot of heartache down the road when it came to repairs and who would cover them, insurance or gm warranty.

The info on the "loss of resale value" will come in pretty handy. I didn't know about this and my insurance company hasn't said anything about it yet either.