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We wanted to help our customers understand some of the basic things that they need to look for when estimating the amount of work to be done on their cars; this will make it easier to schedule an appointment. Please understand that first and foremost we are not a body shop; we only replace body panels and we don’t do patches on exterior panels.
First, it will be necessary for you to disassemble your car in order to do an accurate assessment and understand the scope of the work that needs to be done. In order to help you with this part of the job we will use pop up windows to illustrate what we are talking about. There are also many good restoration books available for the Camaro and Nova and you might find them handy when taking your car apart and certainly if you intend to put it back together yourself.
Removing the front sheet metal is necessary in order to assess the cowl shoulders, which are behind the fenders, and the firewall, which is best assessed after the motor and transmission are removed. Removing the cowl vent screen and windshield is necessary in order to assess the dash top. If the dash top is severely rusted where the windshield sits on it then the back of the upper cowl will also be rusted out and that will require replacement of the upper cowl. Removing the wiper motor will allow you to clean up the floor of the upper cowl directly below the motor and inspect that area as well. Removing the seam sealer between the top of the firewall and the upper cowl will also reveal any hidden problems in this area. To assess the floor you will need to remove the seats, the carpet and all of the sound deadener material on both the floor and the lower firewall. This is also a good time to remove all of the factory seam sealer along the rockers, kick panels, inner wheel houses and trunk to floor junction. Even if your car is solid you will want to remove all of the factory seam sealer and under coating in order to do a proper restoration job that will last (note the rust that was under the seam sealer on the inner wheel houses). Removing all of the side glass, both in the doors and quarters, will allow you to see into these areas and locate potential damage. Removing the rear wheels will allow you to remove some or all of the undercoating in the wheelhouse area in order to assess them properly (a heat gun and a putty knife will do this job well). Putting the car on a lift will give you the best look underneath the body; however it can be done with some good jack stands. Check the seam on the bottom of the rockers and get a good look at the rear frame rails, remove any undercoating from the frame rails (you don’t want old undercoating on there anyway) you can also see the back of the trunk drop-offs while you are under the car. Removing the fuel tank will allow you to get a look at the bottom of the trunk. Remove the rear bumper and tail lights in order to get a good look at the tail panel, make sure to look at the very bottom of the tail panel for signs of body filler as this area is seldom finished off well after repairs have been made. Remove the spare, jack and trunk mat in order to get a good look at the trunk floor, removing seam sealer around the trunk braces can also expose hidden problems. Last, but not least, remove the rear glass and all of the sealer from around the rear glass opening and the windshield opening in order to get a look at the deck filler, and the front and rear roof panel. If there are any holes in the front or rear of the roof panel, then there will usually be damage to the roof inner structure. A damaged deck filler will usually lead to rust under the deck filler. Here are a few other trouble areas to check, door post bottoms, lower quarter inner structure. The most obvious are problems with the quarter panel.
Now that you have made a list of everything that needs to be fixed or replaced you can use our price list to establish a round figure for your project. If the budget is acceptable and you want to proceed then please call for available appointment dates (usually within 30 days). When you call for an appointment you will receive an estimate (including materials and tax) based on the list of panels to be replaced that you have made by assessing your car. We require a non-refundable deposit of $250.00 to secure an appointment date and the $250.00 will be credited when the job is finished. When your car arrives we will give it a thorough survey and write a complete repair order at that time. Upon your acceptance of the repair order we will require payment for the parts on the repair order (we only install parts that we supply, see our policy).
Finally, almost every job requires some sand blasting on the inner structure, because of this, and for other reasons, we require the cars to come to us disassembled. Here are some photos to help you determine what needs to come off and what can be left on.
Stripped firewall and upper cowl area
Stripped dash and floor
Stripped roof channel and quarter glass
Stripped rear body
Stripped under body
The doors and the deck lid should be on the car if they are to be reused and the front sheet metal (header panel, valance panel, radiator support, hood latch support, hood latch, hood hinges & springs, hood and latch striker, and fenders may be brought with the car if they are to be fit by us.