The Art of Automotive Frame Repair

Proper automotive frame repair is essential to any collision repair as it being the main foundation for the structure of the car and its various alignments. At Chatsworth Auto Body, we stand by our auto body and frame work. We will not begin repairs to your car until we have a plan on specific procedures.


Typically, automobile, or truck frame repair includes two basic steps:


  1. Frame Rack Setup: How the car is fastened to the frame machine.
  2. Frame Pulling: The type of technique used for pulling the frame to its original status.


During the process, the frame setup and pulling method must be in sync with one another.


Types of Frame Pulling


Depending on the vehicle’s damage and angle of impact, one of five types of frame pulling will be applied.


  1. Mash Pull: When one side of the frame is shorter than the other side. This usually occurs when a vehicle is impacted on one side of the front, or rear.
  2. Sway Pull: When one of the ends (front, or rear) gets impacted from one side, so it bends it.
  3. Diamond Pull: A condition where one side of the vehicle gets moved to the front, or rear. This type of damage causes the frame to be off centered.
  4. Sag Pull: Similar to a twisted frame but not as extreme. Sag occurs when a vehicle is directly impacted from the front or rear.
  5. Twist Pull: When one side of the car sits higher than the other. This occurs when a spring, strut, or shock cannot hold the same weight as the others.


Frame Work Planning and Execution


Frame work is an art in of itself. And, like fine art, it requires specific tools and calculations to arrive at the correct measurement, in this case to straighten a vehicle frame back to factory specifications.


Typically, this process consists of the following steps:


  1. Securing the vehicle to the frame machine with special clamps.
  2. Guiding the bent frame back into its original position using 20,000 pounds of pressure without moving the car from its anchored position.
  3. Using special gauges to measure the correct, original position.
  4. Applying new panels after the frame is set back in place and making certain that they are aligned with the other body panels. The panels are removed and replaced several times to ensure that all parts fit according to manufacturing standards.


Turnaround for Frame Straightening


The entire frame straightening process can take anywhere from 2 to 20 hours plus, depending on the damage to the vehicle. Two of the more involved repairs we’ve done were for two Ford F-150 Raptors.


The first, a 2013 version of the truck, ran into a ditch, resulting in the replacement of half of the front end. The repair consisted of a full overhaul of the chassis, including the removal of the cab, engine, transmission and suspension. Our auto body technicians then cut the frame in half, removed the damaged section, and replaced it with the new framework.


The second was a 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor which rolled at 80 mph while driving off road. We had to overhaul all the cab components in order to reposition the shifted race cage.


Whether you’re adventuring off road and end up in a ditch, or end up colliding with another vehicle, poll, or tree in the busy city Chatsworth Auto Body can make your car, or truck back to its normal state again. We are your auto body experts!