Q:

I recently purchased a 1962 Corvette that has a rusted through right rear frame (just ahead of the right rear wheel). I was wondering if there is a repair kit available. I have been unable to locate a right rear frame section. The only alternative that I have found is the replacement of the entire frame rail at a cost of about $1000, plus shipping and labor. I would be very grateful for any help you might offer.



A:

Congratulations on your purchase of the 1962 Corvette. I hope that you have many years of pleasure driving and working on it. If you notice, I said driving and WORKING on it. It has been my experience that working on them is a big part of the challenge and a big part of the pleasure.


I know of no smaller sections of frame available than the side rail that you mention. I know it seems expensive, but the alternative is to replace the entire frame. As a matter of fact, I would suggest that you consider doing just that. If you have a frame with a section rusted through, you have a frame with a rust problem. Even if you were to just replace only the right hand rail, the rest of your frame is still burdened with corrosion, and therefore weakened from the corrosive materials that have found their way into it.


When you attempt to replace a part of a frame as big as the rail, you must be very careful to install the new part inexactly the same position. This is not easy. I would never try it without removing the entire body, and placing the frame on a frame-straightening machine, so I could get the new part EXACTLY lined up with factory baseline specifications.


As we know, the frame is the foundation for the entire car» and its position dictates the success of the fit of the body parts. The doors, lids and especially the fit of the tops will be affected by the position of the frame to body mounting perches. Unless the frame is excellent, the body fit will never be good.


When you consider the cost of properly installing the right hand rail, including any other unexpected frame repairs you find necessary when you are cleaning and inspecting it, and then mounting and shimming the body for a satisfactory fit, you may want to compare that cost to that of replacing the entire frame with a new one. We are very lucky today because we have new replacement frames available of outstanding quality.


You may find that, in the end, you would have more value and long term success with your project.