How to do a B-pillar reinforcement replacement

Jan. 1, 2020
Repairing the B-pillar reinforcement on a 2009 Toyota Camry is performed at the roof line instead of by sectioning.
Toby Chess ABRN collision repair auto body repair B-pillar replacement Last month I described the importance of organizing your technical bulletins, and I outlined steps you can take to help you incorporate these key pieces of repair information in your repair routines. Now it's time to take those lessons and put them to work. In that article I discussed replacing the B-pillar reinforcement on a 2009 Toyota Camry at the roof line.

Use the following steps to perform this repair:

Step 1: Place the vehicle on a frame bench and begin measuring the extent of the damage. See Fig. 1 and Fig 2.
Step 2: Take upper body measurements. See Fig. 3.
Step 3: Put the replacement outer panel into position and mark it, Fig. 4.
Step 4: Refer to Fig. 5, and Fig. 6. Note that the outer roof panel and post cover are cut and saved. Note too that the welds on the inner B-pillar reinforcement are exposed.

Step 5: Clean and expose all spot welds as outlined in the Toyota Technical Information System (TIS) removal document. Be sure to read the TIS carefully and follow its guidelines (it can be way too easy for even a veteran repairer to stray from these guidelines and make the mistake of unnecessarily removing some of the spot welds). I suggest that you mark all spot welds on the car as well as on the data sheet.

Step 6: Mark the outer rocker at the sectioning location and cut.

Step 7: See Fig. 7. Remove this entire piece as a single unit. (This is another reason why you need to pay close attention to all repair instructions. If you don't remove the entire piece as one unit, you'll waste time removing the damaged parts separately).
Step 8: Clean all the mating surfaces. See Fig. 8.

Step 9: Apply weld thru prime to all bare mating surfaces. See Fig. 9.

Step 10: Measure the thickness of the metal.

Step 11: Weld some scrap metal from the removal process and perform a destructive test. Note that I welded a number of scrap pieces at different thickness settings. The welds looked good, but all failed the destructive test. I discovered that there was not enough amperage on the circuit the welder was plugged into. I then moved the machine to a different plug (85 amp circuit) where I was able to get a good weld that was able to pass a destructive test.

Step 12: Test fit the inner B panel reinforcement. See Fig. 10.

Step 13: Weld the inner B panel reinforcement to the outer rocker reinforcement. I reused an old one but recommend that you use a new outer rocker panel.

Step 14: See Fig. 11. Weld the upper portion of the B panel reinforcement to the roof panel.

Step 15: Apply epoxy primer to all bare metal. As outlined in the TIS, I mixed up some epoxy primer in a cup and applied it with cotton applicator.

Step 16: See Fig. 12. Weld the outer rocker panel reinforcement to the vehicle. Use only an open butt weld since Toyota does not recommend a butt weld with backer on any welded joints (as per Toyota's Collision Repair Information Bulletin #176 revised).
Step 17: See Fig. 13. Set the outer B panel reinforcement on the vehicle and mark the plug weld locations. Perform practice welds and conduct a destructive test prior to welding on the vehicle.
Step 18: See Fig. 14. Measure according to the dimension sheet in the repair instructions.
Step 19: See Fig. 15. Weld outer the B panel reinforcement with squeeze type resistance spot welds and MIG welds as outlined in the Toyota Repair Manual.

Step 20: Apply weld thru primer to all mating surfaces.

Step 21: Apply semi rigid foam as outlined in the Toyota Repair Manual. See Fig. 16.

Step 22: Weld in the outer access panel.

Step 23: Set the outer B panel and rocker cover on vehicle a mark the cut location.

Step 24: Cut the panels using the cut and join technique. See Fig. 17 and Fig. 18.

Step 25: Weld the outer panel with stitch method and squeeze type resistance spot welding.

Step 26: Dress all the welds and apply epoxy primer to the bare metal.

Step 27: Apply body filler.

Step 28: Complete the repair with the refinish.

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