Tl;dr: What does it cost to have a frame re-bent at a body shop?
I have a 1963 TR4. The car, many moons ago, was in a rear end collision, causing the rear of the frame to bend. The previous owner decided to have the frame straightened, and this took the upturn at the rear of the frame away. The body and bumper do not fit properly at all. I'm trying to figure out, prior to painting, whether I should shim it, make a janky bending rig at home, or go to a body shop to have it re-bent to the correct angle for the rear of the frame. The frame is just salvageable, nothing worth worshipping, which is true for most of this car.
My main question is, about how much would it cost to have a body shop complete that frame work? Also, how the heck will they know what to bend it to?!
This car is going to peak at 'driver' quality for some years, I just want it back on the road, nicely.
I have a feeling it will be $500-1000 to straighten out a more conventional ladder type frame with such minor damage. I had to pay $2200-ish to get my unibody Lincoln Mark VIII straightened and it had a lot of complex bendy bits to re-bend back to their correct position.
I am finding, if you're lucky, about $100.00 per hour on the straightening rack, so I think you're quote is about right.
I have currently engaged a ridiculous NASA engineer to design a home rig using a bottle jack and some tow chains...
My Dad's just-restored C10 had a rear frame rail bent on the lift at the garage doing the safety certificate to allow it back on the road. Not clear how that happened. That was a bad day. Body shop had it for an afternoon to straighten it back out, but had to remove the box to do it.
Service manual for the TR4 have frame dimensions diagram in it? [Most of the old GM ones I have seen do for example.
Getting enough force to bend your frame probably won't be that hard. Old-school hot rodders would get out the torch to heat things before bending (good way to ruin an axle, but it was the way). Preventing unwanted deforming and/or fatiguing things may be a DIYer pitfall.
Way back in the day work such as you describe we would’ve “subbed” out to a “Frame Shop” since it required some fairly HD equipment and a car-sized table to gauge and secure the vehicle before using heat and hydraulics. Seems like in some areas those shops are getting harder to find. I think these days most cars are unibody and even framed trucks are built to such tight tolerances that if damage gets much beyond suspension, the vehicle is totaled. Over time it’s not good news for old-car owners.