ICEngineering Subjects

Saturday, January 3, 2015

GTI Repair, back in 2012

After being fairly deflated at Sno*Drift 2012, I heavily procrastinated on the car repair.  It got so bad that I even went in with a couple local Detroit Region competitors and rallycrossed a rental automatic Yaris (sounds awesome, was awesome, not a good idea though), and also bummed a ride in an rx7 in an Ohio event (straight awesome, and the 198something Suburban tow rig with 3spd manual and fragile coolant lines = also awesome, I can only try to give back enough awesomeness someday Kevin!) to get my dirt-driving fix as my car sat broken in the garage.

The damage was as minor as possible given the hit: conveniently we'd relocated the battery to the rear of the car, and its' empty OEM location was the entire crumple zone.  It (the crumpling) was 98% contained forward of the strut top, but at that area we had serious accordion-ing and spot weld tearing.
The light is shining in from the wheel well = not good!

After pulling the engine and evaluating the extent of the damage (~April...) I sent an MSpaint picture to Matt Bushore's brother (of Bent Mettle Racing) for a sawzall request, and a couple weeks later, that car chunk arrived at my house! (Thank you!)

Overall Damage (un-crashed grey fender on outside is mocked up to show 'before' shape)

Requested frame-part to Bent Mettle (not his or my car pictured!)
After deciding I could live with the crumple and wasn't going to pull the chassis, I cut the left frame horn off with a $20 Harbor Fright reciprocating saw.  Awesome tool/dollar, went through like butter.

Hehe, looks like a bad photoshop...

I think by now it's late summer, about 8 months after the tree...  like I said, I was embarrassed and procrastinating...

I matched up the pieces, and reassembled all the body panels to serve as a 'jig' for the frame.
I thought this was pretty rally.

I even used a ruler to jig it!  Pro.

Then went through and welded the pieces together.  I was very pleased with quality of the welds I was able to get with the little mig.
After removing the panels again, finishing the welds and painting, I reassembled.  Maybe the car isn't as square as it used to be, but wow, the reassembly was much easier than before the crash, thanks to the jigging method!

Finally, it was back together. 

(Oh man, I will miss the exhaust sound on it, it was great in the final iteration:
Supersprint stainless long tube 4-1 header, high flow cat, Hushpower muffler, then about 5 feet of 2.25dia tube.  Highly recommended) 

Driving it: Got it out for the September 2012 DRSCCA rallycross in which I hit almost every cone (9mos after tree), and then at Thistle Hill in December.  I took the win in that one, unbelievable mud, but the car was good and apparently I was trying to impress my girlfriend: I took overall FTD (not just 2wd), and caused all my in-class competitors at least one max time.  Sweet.

The car at its first return event, 9months after tree

The car at second return event, December, now with lights and grill...

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