View Full Version : Unibody straightening

05-26-2004, 02:11 AM
I want my body to be as straight as possible. My body at one point became so rusted out that as I cut out the floors the thing started to bend to the point where the doors would not close. I used jacks to get it too a point where the doors would close OK and welded on the rocker panels.
Now I'm redoing the rockers, because of a poor fit. What can I do to get the body as straight as possible? Both the floors, inner sills, and rocker panels need to be redone.
I welded in braces across the doors and in X pattern to the dash to the rear wheel well. What do I replace first and do I get things super straight? Thanks

05-26-2004, 09:44 PM
Wow! I had to at least respond Adam! I noticed you have a lot of viewing going on but no help yet. Well, I'm probably not going to be a lot of help either. Sorry. That really sounds like you have yourself a mess. When I did mine I cross braced it between the a-post and the rear of the door opening and then also spotted a x brace from side to side for good measure. If you have any other available midgets, I would recommend taking precise measuremnts from those and then try to duplicate them with carefull stretching. Perhaps a hydrawlic press would come in handy but I suppose that depends on how much you have welded in palce already.
Good luck guy and keep us posted. I'm sure we're all pulling for you! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hammer.gif

05-30-2004, 09:06 AM
Hi Adam.
Thought I would throw in my two cents here.
I replaced rockers, floor etc on my Sprite recently. What I did was just support the body, fit the doors and fenders, then weld everything in. I didn't take any measurements, I wasn't very fussy with this car as long as it looked good by eye.
However in the past I've restored both a 64 Corvette and 62 Daimler SP250 both of which needed extensive frame repair.
The shop manuals of these cars have dimensional drawings that show reference points to assess "accidental damage". After repairing, I set the frames on jackstands, leveled them and measured carefully using the reference points. Using bottle jacks, chains, and an I beam I twisted the frames until they were straight, not really very difficult.
I haven't checked the Sprite manual, but there must be a similar drawing someplace that you could use to check the unibody for sraightness. After all, body shops need dimensions when they repair crash damage. In your case, measuring first before welding panels would be helpful. Dont forget to check the fit of doors and fenders before welding.

Good luck,

05-31-2004, 12:11 PM
Hemiguy is right. Get it up on jack stands and level it. Remove the wheels, and under the car find identical measuring points on the frame or body tub, each side.Use a plumbob at each measuring point, mark a precise x on the floor. Do it at several different points on each side, but must be the same points on each side. Now draw x's from point to point. Measure those x's, if they are the same, the tub is square. If not, adjust tub until they are.After you have squared the tub, and you still have a level car, you should be able to refit your body panels, with slight adjustments.Comealongs, chain hoists and judicious cutting and welding may be requried.Remember, body filler is not a structural repair.Second option, get an MGB.

06-03-2004, 12:11 AM
Thank you for the help. I've checked "the complete official 948 cc & 1098 cc Sprite/midget" Manual and they give various points for a plumbob, but they so refer to two tools. "Body Alignment checking jig" 18G 603. Also "Body Jack and case (18G 308 B)" "for use when correcting misalignment on all-steel bodies."
1) Are these tools necessary or are there modern tools for straighting"
2) what do I replace first floors or rocker panels

3)Thank you for all the help. Taking on a project of this size is has been very difficult for me for the past 2 years and redoing my work several times is getting VERY old. Even with going to school for automotive restoration any help that you guys can give is very valued.

06-03-2004, 10:38 AM
If it's really screwed up, all is not lost....but the cure might be expen$ive.

If you have a shop manual with all of the proper dimensions, find an automotive body shop with a "Blackhawk Systems" straightening machine. This is a machine for straightening and aligning Unibody construction cars.

Tell them what your problem is and ask them how much they'd charge you to align your body/chassis.

06-09-2004, 06:16 PM
Would I do that before or after all the panels are welded on?

Trevor Jessie
06-09-2004, 08:17 PM

06-11-2004, 12:19 AM
I saw something on eBay that you might be interested in: a chart giving the factory dimensions of a Bugeye, which appears to have come out of a body shop. The "Buy It Now" price is less than $5.00. You can find it at:

https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6032&item=79050216 61&rd=1

I hope this helps, and good luck!