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Steps to put sportscars back on the road and track

Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 07:00
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Pity the poor sportscar.

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That’s the shared opinion of many in the automotive sales and repair industries, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone familiar with this vehicle segment. Even with respectable sales, these hot-running coupes always seem to be on the chopping blocks of auto manufacturers looking to shelve these vehicles to concentrate on far more popular SUVs, trucks and crossovers. For their part, repairers have grown used to seeing their mangled shapes towed to their doors, often because owners are eager to test their limits or too willing to put safety in the back seat when an aggressive roadway comes calling.

More than a few shop owners refer to sportscars as the kings of front-end damage. “We don’t see a lot of Mustangs, Camaros or anything like that with rear impact damage,” says Joe DeClaro, owner of Atlantic Collision and Restoration in Jacksonville, Fla. “You see some side impacts, but most of the time it’s severe front-end damage going right up to the driver’s compartment.”

(Photo courtesy of GM media) The long, sloping front-ends of sportscars might be beautiful, but they create a number of collision repair issues.

With so many sportscars utilizing long, sloping front-ends engineered with a host of lightweight materials and bonds to compensate for heavy engines and suspensions, these vehicles can offer significant repair challenges. The final weeks of Summer are a great time to brush up on your knowledge of front-end work as sportscar owners take advantage of their waning driving season (especially in northern parts of the country).

Refer to the following repair steps supplied by General Motors for the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro. As you work your way through them, note the level of detail in this work and the need to strictly adhere to OEM instructions to return a sportscar to form.  

Front End Upper Tie Bar Replacement

Removal Procedure

Warning: Before starting, refer to the following GM documents.

  • Approved Equipment for Collision Repair Warning
  • Glass and Sheet Metal Handling Warning
  1. Disable the supplemental inflatable restraint (SIR) system. Refer to GM’s SIR Disabling and Enabling instructions.
  2. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Refer to GM’s Battery Negative Cable Disconnection and Connection instructions.
  3. Remove all related panels and components.
  4. Repair as much of the damage as possible to factory specifications. Refer to GM’s Dimensions – Body instructions.
  5. Locate and remove upper tie bar rear fasteners.
  6. Locate and remove upper tie bar lower fasteners.
  7. Remove the damaged tie bar assembly.

Installation Procedure

Note: Verify that all mounting points for the upper tie bar are within dimensional specifications prior to installing the replacement tie bar.

  1. Remove the rear attachment brackets that are bolted to the tie bar ends on the replacement part.
  2. Install the replacement tie bar upper fasteners to the vehicle.
  3. Install lower attachment bolts.
  4. Apply the sealers and anti-corrosion materials to the repair area, as necessary. Refer to GM’s Anti-Corrosion Treatment and Repair instructions.
  5. Paint the repair area. Refer to GM’s Basecoat/Clearcoat Paint Systems instructions.
  6. Install all related panels and components.
  7. Connect the negative battery cable. Refer to GM’s Battery Negative Cable Disconnection and Connection instructions.
  8. Enable the SIR system. Refer to GM’s SIR Disabling and Enabling instructions.
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