Bent rear crossmember; can it be straightened?

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Looks like a PO tried to pull a stump or a very stuck fellow wheeler. Hard to see in the photos but, the bottom center is pulled out about a half inch. I tried pounding it back, standing in the bed and swinging a 12 lb sledge on the bulge. It didn't move at all. (I don't think)

I'm afraid of what a frame shop might charge to straighten it. It will soon be a bare frame. Was considering replacing it, but as I write this, maybe a shop is the way to go.

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I bent mine in by going up a steep, smooth, dry rock face… loosing traction, and then sliding down and having the trailer hitch stop the vehicle movement. It pushed it in about 1/2-3/4 of an inch. That would do it for you… ;)

Strangely enough, a few weeks earlier, it made the climb without any trouble in the rain with water flowing down the rock.

The key is that it needs to be in excess of a 100% grade. Say 65-70*… :grinpimp:

A couple years later I heard from a friend that that was where they’d rolled their truck… and they’d seen a few others roll there. Since then, I’ve decided to bypass that obstacle… going up it four times was enough and the 40 is getting to be irreplaceable so I’d rather just enjoy it… not kill it. Oh to be 18 again and be able to buy a nice 40 for $3k.
 

pb4ugo

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I bent mine in by going up a steep, smooth, dry rock face… loosing traction, and then sliding down and having the trailer hitch stop the vehicle movement. It pushed it in about 1/2-3/4 of an inch. That would do it for you… ;)

Strangely enough, a few weeks earlier, it made the climb without any trouble in the rain with water flowing down the rock.

The key is that it needs to be in excess of a 100% grade. Say 65-70*… :grinpimp:

A couple years later I heard from a friend that that was where they’d rolled their truck… and they’d seen a few others roll there. Since then, I’ve decided to bypass that obstacle… going up it four times was enough and the 40 is getting to be irreplaceable so I’d rather just enjoy it… not kill it. Oh to be 18 again and be able to buy a nice 40 for $3k.
I was thinking the OP could back in to something immovable. There's metal angle brackets behind that cross member. Hitting it with a sledge ain't gonna do it. In the past I removed a crossmember and straightened it. I also removed the angle brackets so I could add another crossmember behind as an anchor to support a receiver hitch in the outer crossmember.
 
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I was thinking the OP could back in to something immovable. There's metal angle brackets behind that cross member. Hitting it with a sledge ain't gonna do it. In the past I removed a crossmember and straightened it. I also removed the angle brackets so I could add another crossmember behind as an anchor to support a receiver hitch in the outer crossmember.


Do you think heat would help?

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pb4ugo

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Back up to something solid, put er in 4wd, low and push er back.
Be careful with that. It's a good way to break a birf. Especially on solid ground.
 
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Be careful with that. It's a good way to break a birf. Especially on solid ground.
That’s why modify the T-case to have 2WD low.


Or roll back into something solid and depress the clutch pedal just before impact. My goal would be 1/8” at a time. 4-5 stops and it’ll be good as new.
 

pb4ugo

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That’s why modify the T-case to have 2WD low.


Or roll back into something solid and depress the clutch pedal just before impact. My goal would be 1/8” at a time. 4-5 stops and it’ll be good as new.
Yep. Or don't lock the hubs.
 
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😂 Thanks for those tips, but the body is about to come off. While the drive train is technically in it, it is just sitting there to mock up mounts. Won't be driving it for a while and want it straight before powder coating and reassembly.

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That’s why modify the T-case to have 2WD low.


Or roll back into something solid and depress the clutch pedal just before impact. My goal would be 1/8” at a time. 4-5 stops and it’ll be good as new.
Just make sure your head is against the headrest! ;)
 
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My 79 has the same issue. Bought it from a friend who used the cruiser hard in the few years he owned. For this cruiser sure it was caused by a homemade trailer hitch. Has angle bracing from the horizon to the vertical on the sides. Steel is probably twice as thick a the back frame member. Drop of a ledge the rear frame member inside the side rails is the weakest section and bent. Still waiting on a few parts to get started on the project. My plan is to anchor a chain between the frame rails just in front of torque tube behind the transfer case. Then use either a come-along or chain fall attached to the center of the chain and the trailer hitch that caused the problem to begin with. At the same time put some heavy steel plates on the inside and outside of the bottom of the frame. Where the angle braces from the side rails meet the rear frame member can see a gap. Using multiple heavy C clamps keep tightening those while pulling the frame back in shape. I figure using the trailer hitch it will reverse the damage in the same direction that caused it in the first.
 

WarDamnEagle

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So just guessing, your head was about chain high when you were pumping the cylinder? No thanks.
Sure was. That's why there is a 6' hose on the cylinder.

Those rear cross members are super weak. Mine bent back really easily. I tried the sledgehammer first of course, but the thing would just come right back. Had to drive it past flush to get it to stay.

I had to build a brace to the bottom of the hitch to ever consider using it again.

Mike
 
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Just wanted to update, I got it straightened with some advice here. Thanks, Mike!

Rear crossmember straightening.jpg


Frame from PC.jpg
 

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