Sectioning the Front Hinge A-Pillar of the Buick RegalSectioning the Front Hinge A-Pillar of the Buick Regal
A new car is in the shop, and the front end looks like it ran
into a tree. Turns out it did! So what’s it going to take to get
it back on the road? Well, it starts with you, the estimator. As
an estimator, you need experience, good judgment, diplomatic
skills and accurate information.
As far as experience, judgment and diplomacy go, you either have
them or you don’t. We can’t really help you there. But when it
comes to information, that’s a different story. Today, every
model year brings innovations: materials technology, electronic
systems, finishes, vehicle drivetrains, steering and suspension,
Can you develop a repair plan just by looking? How about an
educated guess, or calling your friend who worked on one of these
vehicles once? Sorry, the old ways just don’t work anymore!
Information is the key – but not just any information. You need
manufacturers’ information. OE procedures and guidelines are
absolutely required to efficiently and effectively repair today’s
vehicles. You need them to write a repair plan. Your parts
manager may need them to order the correct parts the first time.
And, of course, your technicians need OE information to make
accurate repairs in the shortest amount of time possible.
Back to the car in the shop. You start to build your repair plan.
As an experienced estimator, you probably have a good sense of
how deep the damage goes. But what about that frame rail? Can you
section it? (Figure A). Are you sure? Can you tell what kind of
steel is used in each location? Those are just a couple of
factors that will make a difference in the estimate…and,
ultimately, in the profitability of the job. Of course, profit
isn’t the only concern. Your primary mission is to deliver a
vehicle that’s safe to drive. That’s really the bottom line,
Here are some of the questions you may have to wrestle with:
How do I determine the types of construction materials?
Is the part I’m repairing made from high strength steel?
Ultra high strength steel? Dual phase steel? High strength low
alloy steel? (Figures B.1 & B.2).
How do I know for sure if the manufacturer says it’s safe
to section a particular component?
Do I have all the information I need for a safe, reliable
yet efficient repair, including electronic system reset or
Will my estimate comply with my shop’s DRP agreements (if
you participate in one)?
Will the shop make money on the job?
Do I have the precautions I need to work safely? What are
the special safety concerns for hybrid vehicles? With hybrids,
the safety of the technician and the vehicle needs extra
Precautionary Statements for a 2011 Toyota Prius
CAUTION: Pressing the power switch with the
brake pedal depressed causes the system to enter the READY-on
state. This is very dangerous because high voltage may be
applied to the inspection area.
NOTICE: A short circuit to ground may occur if
the AMD terminal is disconnected before the cable is
disconnected from the negative (-) terminal of the auxiliary
battery. If a short circuit to round occurs, it can result in
an open circuit in a fusible link or fuse.
NOTICE: When the cable is disconnected from
the negative (-) battery teminal, initialize the following
system(s) after the cable is reconnected: Advanced Parking
OE information is the gold standard for collision repair. When
developing a repair plan, OE repair information helps you:
Increase estimate accuracy for collision and mechanical
Identify proper repair procedures to reduce supplements.
Provide required documentation to customers and insurers.
Increase sales and consumer confidence with a professional
explanation of necessary repairs.
Manage costly vehicle returns.
Here is an excerpt of an OE repair article for a 2011 Buick
Regal A-pillar – front hinge pillar body sectioning (upper).
Always refer to ALLDATA for safety procedures, identification
of material types, recommended refinish materials, removal and
installation procedures. Always refer to the vehicle
manufacturer for questions relating to applicable or
non-applicable warranty repair information.
WARNING: Sectioning should be performed only
in the recommended areas. Failure to do so may compromise the
structural integrity of the vehicle and cause personal injury
if the vehicle is in a collision. The body side outer panels
are available in one-piece side frames. You can perform any one
of these replacement procedures separately or in any
combination, depending upon the extent of damage to the
vehicle. Sectioning must take place in specified areas only.
Stay away from the door and window opening radius areas.
Perform sectioning only in straight areas of the openings.
Disable the SIR system.
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Remove all related panels and components.
Repair as much of the damaged area as possible.
Remove the sealers and anti-corrosion materials from the
repair area, as necessary. NOTE: Sectioning can be done anywhere in the
straight area along the rocker panel.
On the A-pillar, measure down 100 mm from the door wiring
conduit hole lower edge (1). Mark this cut location on the
front hinge pillar (2). Mark a cut location in the straight
area on the rocker panel (3) (Figure 1).
Cut the front hinge pillar body where sectioning is to be
performed (1) (Figure 2).
Locate and mark all the necessary factory welds on the
front hinge pillar body. NOTE: Record the number and location
of welds for installation of the service assembly.
Drill out all factory welds (1) (Figure 3).
Remove the damaged front hinge pillar body.
Cut the replacement hinge pillar in corresponding locations
to fit the vehicle (1) (Figure 4). The panel should be trimmed
to allow a gap 1-1/2 the metal thickness at the sectioning
Create a 50 mm (2-inch) backing plate from the unused
portion of the service part for the A-pillar area.
Create a 100 mm (4-inch) backing plate from the unused
portion of the service part for the rocker area.
Trim the backing plates as necessary to fit behind the
panel at the sectioning joint.
Drill 8 mm (5/16-inch) plug weld holes along the sectioning
area in the service part, and at the locations noted from the
Prepare all mating surfaces.
Apply weld-through coating to all mating surfaces.
Fit the backing plates halfway into the sectioning joints,
25 mm (1-inch) at the A-pillar area and 50 mm (2 inches) at the
rocker panel areas. Clamp the plates in place and plug weld to
the section joint.
Position the outer front pillar to the vehicle using
three-dimensional measuring equipment (1) (Figure 5). Clamp the
pillar in place.
Plug weld accordingly (1) (Figure 6).
Stitch weld the butt weld locations (2) (Figure 6).
To create a solid weld with minimum heat distortion, make a
25 mm (1-inch) stitch weld along the seam with gaps of 25 mm
(1-inch). Go back and complete the stitch weld.
Clean and prepare all of the welded surfaces.
Apply the sealers and anti-corrosion materials to the
repair area, as necessary.
Paint the repaired area.
Install all of the related panels and components.
Connect the negative battery cable.
Enable the SIR system.
NOTE: This repair/service procedure is
excerpted from information published by the vehicle
manufacturer and is intended for the purpose of promoting OE
collision repair information to trained, professional
technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the
job properly and safely. Before attempting the repair
described, refer to the complete article in ALLDATA Collision
S3500. It’s recommended that this procedure not be performed by
Toyota and Prius are registered trademarks of Toyota Motor
Corporation and/or Toyota Motor North America. Buick and Regal
are registered trademarks of General Motors Company. 3M is a
trademark of 3M Corporation. All other marks are the property
of their respective holders.