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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I could not find prior discussions about this using search. My car is a '95 Caprice 9C1. While lubing the front suspension recently, I discovered cracks in the braces that connect the frame to the rear mounting point for the lower A-arm (I have pictures but the files are too big to attach). This seems much less serious than the actual frame cracking that some drag racers describe in some of the posts that came up in the results from my searches. In fact, when I am under the car, it takes me back to my '73 Pontiac Grand Am which looked nearly identical underneath except that brace did not exist, IIRC. The hole seems to have stopped the cracking on the driver side, but it looks like the crack is starting on the other side of the hole on the passenger side. My questions are: Is this common? Should it be repaired? What is the best practical way to repair it? I know that just welding the crack will not work. Welding makes the steel brittle so the crack will form again.
 

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I've got to run off to a meeting so I can't answer your question, but thought I'd offer this URL for COMPRESS IMAGES ONLINE-FREE to help you post some pictures to help show the problem.
 

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Just use photobucket to host the pictures. It's free.

OR

If you really can't do it shoot me a pm and you can email the pics to me and I'll put them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Cursing is not allowed here so I will just say that reducing the file sizes was about as much fun as a DIY appendectomy without any pain reducer. But, I am stubborn enough to get it done. The picture on the left is the passenger side. IMO, Bill Gates is the greatest con man the world has ever seen.
 

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A bunch of folks on here cut those braces completely off so their headers have more clearances. I wouldn't worry that much about them. Any decent welder can get to them if they really bother you.
 

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On the 91-3s that brace is bolted on. I removed mine to get the header in on the driver's side. You won't notice it unless you are doing some serious road racing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Judging by the responses so far, it must not be a common problem. If anybody has had the problem and made a successful repair, I would like to see pictures of the repair. I don't like welding overhead, but I am willing to do a repair if it is not too complicated and I know that it will work.
 

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A bunch of folks on here cut those braces completely off so their headers have more clearances. I wouldn't worry that much about them. Any decent welder can get to them if they really bother you.
Jeeze, I'm still learning something almost every time I read the forum even after 13 years. I had never thought of completely removing them....
 

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You could also just weld the cracks, and leave them alone otherwise.
 

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I would weld the cracks just for piece of mind. I haven't had that issue on a b-body but I have completely reinforced a frame with 3/16" steel and grinded 98% of the welds smooth. You'll spend more time setting the welder up than anything.

 

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A bunch of folks on here cut those braces completely off so their headers have more clearances. I wouldn't worry that much about them. Any decent welder can get to them if they really bother you.
Just now seeing this....Tom, you surprise me, as I couldn't disagree more. GM Engineering put the braces there for a reason, and I would advise against removing them whenever possible. Header clearance is always a challenge, and I would encourage doing something to replace the braces if they do end up removed.

Exactly what the bracing does is anyone's guess--perhaps they're for impact situations rather than frame flex--the same basic chassis was used on quite a few model years (from 1973 forward), and impact standards changed considerably over that time....no one "intends" to have an impact event, so cutting out the braces is just one of those things that someone ought to at least consider any possible downside before just hacking them off.
 

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I wasn't recommending their removal (I still have mine),but simply reporting that people have. Any decent welder should be able to repair the affected area,and even add some reinforcing material if it will give you more piece of mind. These platforms are plenty tough. Especially considering all the vehicles out there without frames of any kind. I've done things,and most all of us have done things to these cars that would not have been appropriate for the factory to do on every car...
 

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My $.02 on cutting out those braces is GM would not spend $.02 on anything beyond what their Engineers felt needed to be there. Be it for operational or crash thresholds the frame is engineered for
 
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