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Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 922
How to check and see if a 911 was hit hard?

I've been looking at numerous Carrera's and SC's over the past months and I've seen quite a few with accident damage. Is there a "go no go" check of weld points/structures that a novice can look at to determine if a 911 has been wrecked?

I want a driver, not a show car, is a light bump with a good repair acceptable if the basic structure has not been damaged? I've seen some bumps I barely caught, really good older repairs that have been somewhat covered up years and lots of driving.

I already wasted $325.00+ on a PPI for an '89 that needed an engine rebuild among other things. I don't want to keep blowing through PPI's, any advice?

I guess I need to find a mint original and look it over top to bottom - just so I know what the welds, seams, etc. look like on a proper example, advice?
Old 09-14-2009, 11:40 PM
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Rich76_911s's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ardmore, PA
Posts: 3,132
I know what to look for on rear end damage, but I am not too familiar with finding front end damage.

For the rear.

Look on the longitudinal tube that runs along both sides of the engine. It should be completely flat with no identations or anything of the sort. I've seen two cars that were hit from behind and repaired but that longitudinal bar is still dented in.

Look carefully at the end of the drip rail if the paint is cracking there it is another sign to look closer.

Naturally door and engine lid gaps should be consistent.

Look under the car. There is a seam that runs along both sides of the car from front to back. Make sure it is not split or pulled apart at all. In all likelihood you will find that this seam has been smashed at one point from improper jacking, but that is different than accident damage. When you are under the car near the engine there are two eyelets for towing purposes. These should both be straight not bent or twisted.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the info...

I'm interested in one that looks good and has good, but older (maybe 10-15 years old) paint. The rear looks good, bumper nice/straight, and the flat area you mentioned in the rear beside the engine looks flat.

I have a question on the welds, it appears to have a seam type weld along the reinforcement piece that is welded on the outside of the basic chassis (piece that also has the integrated tow eye). That weld appears to be uniform on both sides. I know these bodies had a bit of hand worked details, but almost everything else on the body is spot welded. Could this be a really good repair of the rear?

All the seams look straight, and the gaps are good. The trunk lit has a few waves from being pushed into the latch over the years, I think this is somewhat normal?

The front also seems to have had some type of bump, but the seems and gaps (door/hood) are good. The doors have a nice metallic "tin" when they shut. The worst damage is at the front right torsion bar. The torsion bar seems to have at some time been pushed up into the body directly above the bar which resulted in a slight bend in that sheet metal - it sounds bad, but is hardly noticeable.

A PPI revealed alignment trouble for the left front and right rear. The alignment guy could see no evidence of a hard hit, and said all the joints, steering, bushings were nice and tight. He said he thought it was a bent strut housing/bent spindle on the front and a bent banana arm and/or spindle for the right rear - he thinks someone slammed into a curb.

It's otherwise the nicest SC/Carrera I have looked at and everything worked but the power antenna. It runs/drives good, shifts well, good oil pressure and no smoke except on startup after not running it for a few weeks (normal?). It drives good, but has a bit of wander at speed (85+).

I guess it's better to find a wreck free run down one, rather than a nice once wrecked one? If I get a decent price is it worth trying to straighten the chassis (if bent)?
Old 09-18-2009, 08:39 PM
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Well, I bought the car. Too clean to have been hit very hard. I took it to a frame shop and they confirmed the tub was straight, but... it had an out of spec ("bent") piece in the left front (will not properly align) suspension.

The right rear is out of spec as well. I'm sourcing a used rear banana arm/rear carrier etc., and a front strut housing/spindle/torsion bar.

The alignment shop says it's not uncommon to see old 911's with "spin out" damage, where they loose it in a turn and curb a rear tire with enough force to bend something - sounds logical to me. Unsure about what happened in the front, but the right front has a tiny mark on the tub where it appears the bumper impacted it at some point. The rear shock absorber base appears to have been pushed back about 1/8" - 1/4" or so. I plan on trying to gently pull it out and call it good. all the measurements I took for the shock absorbers were almost dead on for both sides (less the slight 1/8"-1/4" length difference). No weld pushed/stressed, factory paint in place and no rust ('82 SC coupe).

Am I crazy to attempt this repair myself (other than pressing in the rear bearing which I'll defer to someone with a press)? It's a nice clean car and everything works except the antenna and the cruise will engage - but will not hold speed. It's a driver (over 160k) grade SC, and I want it very nice, but not too nice to drive!

Maybe I should post this in the tech section now that I'm through the worst of it (no frame damage, whoopee....)??
Old 09-23-2009, 08:33 PM
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skystak's Avatar
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Location: Austin, TX
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what did the frame shop charge to fix the front? where are you? I have a similar issue
Old 10-07-2009, 09:42 PM
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The frame shop only charged a few hours labor....

to measure the tub at fixed body points to check for damage.

I actually tried to pull the shock base out myself with a leverage rig with no success. I ended up using an approximate 1/8" spacer behind the shock base to even the bumper shocks out.

It worked good enough for me, and the bumper is almost dead even from all measurements now.

I'm sure I could have driven back to the shop and paid several hours labor to pull the mount out. If my car was a rare and/or important model (it's not), I would have done that - even though it would take disassembly to check. Proper bumper disassembly is time consuming, and I felt I would do a better job at it than the shop to be honest. I took the time to clean up all the parts and shoot Corrosion X and body wax rust preventative on many of the areas/parts, etc., which the shop would not do....
Old 10-09-2009, 03:18 PM
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