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Thread: Body Shop/Fab Shop recommendation

  1. #1

    Default Body Shop/Fab Shop recommendation

    My brand new sled got hit before it had 100 miles on it! Another sled quartered into the foot board about 18 inches back on the left side. To be fixed properly the whole tunnel would need to be replaced and even though it's insured, I don't want to spend the money or lose the riding time. The entire running board/footboard is folded up almost 90 degrees, I tried unsuccesfully to straighten it myself, but I'm going to need smarter people and better tools to get it done. Can anyone recommend a auto body shop or fab shop that has experience working on sleds that can get it straightened out?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    One thing to be concerned with straightening aluminum of a structural member is that down the road you can almost be assured that it is going to crack. Honestly I'd say spend the time and $ to fix it right and replace the tunnel. You're asking for trouble by taking a shortcut in the repair.
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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    where are you located?
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledneck View Post
    My brand new sled got hit before it had 100 miles on it! Another sled quartered into the foot board about 18 inches back on the left side. To be fixed properly the whole tunnel would need to be replaced and even though it's insured, I don't want to spend the money or lose the riding time. The entire running board/footboard is folded up almost 90 degrees, I tried unsuccesfully to straighten it myself, but I'm going to need smarter people and better tools to get it done. Can anyone recommend a auto body shop or fab shop that has experience working on sleds that can get it straightened out?
    A sled needing a tunnel even one with 100 miles is almost always a total.....should be looking at a new sled. The other thing it's more of an alloy then just alunimum. Many of these pieces do not take to straightening or welding for that matter. I fixed an 2007 that had a bunch of rear damage and put alomost 25 hours into getting it straight. If I did not get the sled real cheap, it would have went for junk. It was a nightmare of heating, hammering, bending, jacking, and more BFH.

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    What kind of sled?

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    Thanks for the responses -- I'll try to address the issues and question you've raised. The sled is a 2012 Ski Doo Renegade Backcountry, I live in Anchorage but the sled is in Willow where I spend most weekends. Replacing the tunnel has about a $4,000 (mostly labor) price tag, expensive but far from making it a "totaled" sled. Ultimately I may end up replacing the tunnel, but the damage is all cosmetic and the sled is perfectly ridable for the time being as the forward protion of the running board is still OK -- the folded-up part is about 18"back -- standing is a little tough but doable. Someone suggested laying it on its side and using a come-a-long together with a big hammer to try to straighten it, I was just looking for a more "professional" solution as a first option.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Any pictures? That area should be easy to straighten. I take it you didn't insure the sled?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sledneck View Post
    Thanks for the responses -- I'll try to address the issues and question you've raised. The sled is a 2012 Ski Doo Renegade Backcountry, I live in Anchorage but the sled is in Willow where I spend most weekends. Replacing the tunnel has about a $4,000 (mostly labor) price tag, expensive but far from making it a "totaled" sled. Ultimately I may end up replacing the tunnel, but the damage is all cosmetic and the sled is perfectly ridable for the time being as the forward protion of the running board is still OK -- the folded-up part is about 18"back -- standing is a little tough but doable. Someone suggested laying it on its side and using a come-a-long together with a big hammer to try to straighten it, I was just looking for a more "professional" solution as a first option.
    Welll that makes a load of difference....we can rebuild that one. A come along, a hammer, some heat, porta power and you need to leave the area(cause it is going to hurt a little when we operate) and we can get it straighten out......Oh forgot the bottle of Jack to help with the busted knuckles. Them there new ones have lots of holes and should be pretty easy to bend but to do it without cracking it is the trick.

    Do check your distance across the tunnel to make sure things are running straight. Also look at the rear suspension mount that it did not tear any rivets on that area near the bend. Last hollar may be able to lend a hand....have an assortment of hammers, a porta power and a large empty glass.

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be one for adding heat to aluminum exept for maybe a little preheat to weld. Aluminum is damaged if it's heated to 400* Most everything I do I try to work cold first before ever trying adding any heat. I bet I could get the majority of your problems straightened out. I am just off the intersection of church road and pittman call if you'd like me to take a look at it
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    If it's a temporatory fix (i.e., you are going to replace the whole tunnel after the season), just bend it back. If it cracks, make a supporting bracket and rivet it on. Sounds like you just want it to look halfway normal and be usable for the remainer of the season.

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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    I wouldn't be one for adding heat to aluminum exept for maybe a little preheat to weld. Aluminum is damaged if it's heated to 400* Most everything I do I try to work cold first before ever trying adding any heat. I bet I could get the majority of your problems straightened out. I am just off the intersection of church road and pittman call if you'd like me to take a look at it
    When I say heat it I don't mean red hot......but warm seems to bend easier and I have had better time without cracking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sledneck View Post
    Thanks for the responses -- I'll try to address the issues and question you've raised. The sled is a 2012 Ski Doo Renegade Backcountry, I live in Anchorage but the sled is in Willow where I spend most weekends. Replacing the tunnel has about a $4,000 (mostly labor) price tag, expensive but far from making it a "totaled" sled. Ultimately I may end up replacing the tunnel, but the damage is all cosmetic and the sled is perfectly ridable for the time being as the forward protion of the running board is still OK -- the folded-up part is about 18"back -- standing is a little tough but doable. Someone suggested laying it on its side and using a come-a-long together with a big hammer to try to straighten it, I was just looking for a more "professional" solution as a first option.
    Don't use heat, don't use a hammer the alloy and heat treat on the alloys used in sleds don't respond well to either. Can you bang it back into shape? Yes. Is it the easy way to do it and have it look right? No. Is it a weldable alloy in your tunnel? Absolutly it should be 6000 or 5000 series may 7075 but probably not.

    The best way to fix that is to push it out with slow steady pressure, which is the same way it was formed into it original shape. To make it easier you could slit each side of the damage stopping just short of the corner radius where it goes from floorboard to vertical tunnel. Bend the damage back down, you will need to go past the original location to allow for spring back.

    Once it is close to original have the cuts tig'd back up and add a couple 90* extrusion spanning the bottom of the floor board to strengthen the damaged area. This would be a good route to go as the aluminum is stretched if its bent as far as you say it is. The slits cut in the floor board will help take out that "extra" length gained from the stretch.

    To bend it back, short of using the spreading fixture on a porta power, that will only get you half way you will need to make a bending bar. Think like when you take a crescent wrench spread the jaws enough to slip over the edge of a sheet of metal and then use the wrench as a lever to bend it. Now think on the scale of your sled tunnel. Some inch and a half pipe cut down through the sides so it slips over the floor board should lever it back down real easy.


    Hope you can make some sense out of all of that. I bend shape and form aluminum everyday and would love to help you tackle this but I just broke my left shoulder pretty bad right before christmas. Talk to IronArtist he's in meadow lakes if memory is correct.

    Just banging it back into shape will stretch it even more and it will just oil can back and forth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupont Spinner View Post
    When I say heat it I don't mean red hot......but warm seems to bend easier and I have had better time without cracking.
    again I don't like to heat aluminum and if I need to to weld if I don't have a 350*temp stick I smoke it with soot and when that disappears weld it. But I still don't like to heat it last time I did years ago when I tapped it to bend it down the last bit it shattered like a piece of glass since then I do not heat aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    again I don't like to heat aluminum and if I need to to weld if I don't have a 350*temp stick I smoke it with soot and when that disappears weld it. But I still don't like to heat it last time I did years ago when I tapped it to bend it down the last bit it shattered like a piece of glass since then I do not heat aluminum

    You know what your talking about, some of the parts I make have to be heat treated up to being that brittle and then annealled back down to the proper hardness. It takes a up 20 hours in a computer controlled oven to do it "correctly"

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