Toyota Sienna Body Repair

Author: | Posted in Projects No comments

If you follow me on Twitter you know that I had a near death encounter with a flying chunk of steel last week .

This is how I spent my Saturday.

. . .

I was in the far left lane on Rt. 128 and a big rig in the far right-hand lane ran over a draw-bar hitch that had fallen off of some yahoo's pick'em up truck.  I spotted the draw-bar as it pin-wheeled across the highway but since I was in typical 128 rush-hour traffic (bumper to bumper at 75 MPH) I had zero options for avoidance and just had to man-up and take the hit.  Here you see the results:

Yeah, it could have hit any one of the hood, fender, turn signal, or headlight – but no, it had to impact at the intersection of all four.

I ordered a new headlight and turn signal assembly from, my new favorite online auto parts place, total cost was about $90 including shipping and everything arrived in about 5 days.  My guess is the dealer would have been well over $300.

I also ordered an auto body hammer and dolly kit from that old standby, J.C. Whitney – 'bout $20.

I am a true believer in the Pareto Principle. Which states:

for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

and the von Slatt corollary which states:

If you define "good" as 80% of "perfect" you can get 5 times as much stuff done.

Step one, bang out the dents, ideally no part of the sheet metal should end up more than 1/4" from where it should be and edges should be in alignment.


Next we grind and sand off all of the loose paint and feather the edges.

I used my trusty angle grinder and an orbital sander – the panty hose keeps dust out of the motor and extends the life of the sander.

Looks like there has been some previous work on this hood, there are a couple of layers of putty here.

Ah! Bondo! I remember that smell!

A "cheese grater" is used for rough shaping, I have a couple of divits so I will apply another coat of Bondo.

After the second coat and another round of the cheese grater I block sanded with 120 grit paper and then feathered further with some 400 grit.

3 coats of sandable primer come next. These I wet sanded with 400 grit paper before masking the area for the color coat.

The guy at the auto parts store told me about this trick, you fold over half of the masking tape to mask some of the spray, it makes for a smooth transition when you buff out the newly painted area with rubbing compound.

I'll let the color coat cure for a few weeks then I'll wet sand with 600 grit and lay down a coat of clear sealer.  Total cost of repair was about $100 including all parts, Bondo and paint.  Total time spent: about 5 hours.