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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is my first post here.
I looked into the posting rules quickly, still if I missed something, my apologies.

My car - Sentra 95, 4door, AT

The problem -
2 days back - while coming to a stop at a traffic light before a left turn, I heard a "thud". After that I drove very slowly and carefully before finding a spot nearby to look into it. It was too dark to see much.
A little later (after driving another mile to school - just before parking - I heard a similar sound again) - then I could see a frame structure hanging at the center part just behind the front bumper. It is a longish plate about 3 to 6inch wide and about 3ft long - starting from the front end (central part) of the car going backwards.

On looking into the Service manual - I found it is called "center member" - attached at the front to a transverse frame/structure with two bolts. The attachment points of the bolts completely rusted out and the center member is hanging at the front end.

The following photos should explain it better. The structure marked "A" in yellow is the "Center member". (The first two photos are not that clear, I will edit it later).

01 from Top.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

02 FROM LT TO RT underside.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

03 closeup of 02.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

04 closeup of 02.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

05 View from front at ground level.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

06 closeup of 05.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

07 Closeup of front end FROM below.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

08 General view at ground level from driver side.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

09 closeup of 08.jpg photo - Tintin photos at pbase.com

My Question -
How to get it fixed, and how much will/should it cost?
I guess I have to go to a body-repair shop. But have no idea how much damage has this already caused. Specially I am worried about any major damage to engine support, or other major structural damage.
I have not driven it more than a mile (just to bring it back home) - that too very slowly and avoiding even small bumps in the road.

Thanks ahead

Tintin


(A brief self-intro - I am a student, busy finishing for my graduation in an year approximately, with little time/resources to go for any substantial repair myself at present. Unfortunately - I have no access to a covered space - to try the little bit of care I wish every now and then (like painting the undersurface, and doing some patch-up body/paint job to prevent the dreaded rust of NorthEast. I do wash the undersurface at least every 15 days or earlier after a major snow, but seems this model is too rust-prone. The engine runs quite well, and I get about 24/38 city/Hwy consistently. Yes the figures are correct - I have followed it up for last 3 years everytime I fill up the tank. The reason I don't want to let it go, unless I have to.)
 

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2018 Nissan Pathfinder SL
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Well thanks to your excellent photos its obvious the radiator support is rusted out.

I think there are many ways to approach this, so here are some suggestions.
One. replace the whole radiator support assembly. you can get an after market one or a genuine Nissan part. Any body shop can do this.
Two. find a used one that can be welded in.. again a body shop
Three. get it plated up. I don't know the rules for safety inspection where you are so ask to make sure the repair is in compliance. This is the cheapest route.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks IanH and metro273!

I just scheduled with a body-shop for estimate, but it won't be before another week.

Now I have two questions -
One - (to metro273) - how much were the charges for "parts" and how many hours "labor" was involved?
I am trying to have an approximate idea what is involved. It seems the radiator support costs anything between $50 (aftermarket, not sure if that is realistic price, or will work ok) and $350 (said to be the same as OEM?)

Two - is it ok to drive the car to bodyshop? (albeit driving slowly, ... it is a downward slope/plain road). Or do I need to get it towed?
(I am not sure the conventional towing with the front-wheels suspended and rear-wheel on road would reduce the tension on the frame - in comparison to driving).

Tintin
 

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the whole front radiator support, headlight support and top cross brace is about $68 aftermarket here in Dallas.
yes the OEM Nissan part, no not the same as OEM, actual OEM is $246

see here
625 Front Apron & Radiator Core Support :: Body(Front,Roof & Floor) :: Genuine Nissan Parts :: Sentra / 200SX Parts (B14U) 1995-1999 :: CourtesyParts.com

You don't need the whole thing...

So buy the after market and have the shop remove the bottom part and weld it in, or get a used part.

Or just have them make up some plates and weld over the rust. your choice.

As for driving it, that is up to you, and at your risk....

But i suggest you can get a piece of steel and place it over the engine support, and drill holes through the bottom support and bolt it up. Of course i have look to see how hard this would be to do, but i assume ok, or use 1/4 self taping thread bolts, maybe 4 of them.
Then drive carefully...
Get a second opinion from your body shop guy, talk to him...
 

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As for labour hours, that depends on the option you take,
Plating up may be only $50 for steel and $50 for welding, don't forget the nuts if they are part of the radiator support.

If you have the whole bottom replaced or the whole assembly it will get much more expensive.

My Guess, and its a guess, is 2 hours just for the bottom, ie weld over the old one, and 10 -20 hours for the whole thing ( radiator and A/C condenser, headlights side light grill, grill support etc etc need to come out and be replaced)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a lot Ian, your reply has been very helpful.

I had guessed it could be extensive work if done by the book - you confirmed it!
(I had a fender damage (Dear accident) before and from the different estimates of that repair - I had a guess that it might involve a lot of labor to reach actual frame step by step (removing bumper ...grille ... and all else) - thanks for confirming that apprehension.)

From all this, I can see that your suggestion of the aftermarket part ... or welding ... would be what I would go for.


Seems - I have to get the car towed.

[unless-
I can have a good look at the undersurface, and also get two good props/stands to raise the front side. I also need the steel bar, and guessing two U-bolts to attach the bar to frame - then attach the center-member by drilling to the steel bar. Need to figure out the anchor points in frame - where I can attach the ends of the steel bar across (left to right). ... A lot of guess ... and other than Sunday, I have hardly much time to go through all this... ]

Anyway - I will keep you posted.

Tintin
 

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i dont think there is that much weight on this, will take a look when i leave work.
The front engine mount is not used on the Auto's and is just a torque steady for the manuals. i think you can use a piece of flat steel and screw it up there so long as you don't go jumping with it. use self taping screws, i dont know you can get u bolts around it, i think the rad is sitting in the channel.

Ok how about this, undo the front mount / steady and adjust to hold this up !!!!
 

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this thing....
 

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Ahh...you have an Auto....so no front mount, and i am not sure if its supported on the front rad support or the member assembly..
I can see from your pictures there is nothing weighing this down at the front, it has the rear engine mount, and that's really close to the rear attachment, try some rope !!!
 
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