Aluminum can be tough to work with, but Tussik makes it look easy.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the repair handiwork of Arthur Tussik on YouTube, but he’s as busy as ever. This time around we’re treated to something we haven’t seen before – a very in-depth repair of an all-electric Tesla Model S. In this instance the car is an older P70, and its all-aluminum structure isn’t as easy to work with as steel. More on that in a bit.
A car is a car regardless of what is – or in this case isn’t – under the hood, and the first step is still the removal of all the damaged components. This Tesla hit something pretty darned hard, and with the crunched body panels removed it’s easy to see extensive damage to the car’s front rails. Even the interior is gutted for this repair, and literally everything is removed from the front clip, including all suspension components, steering system, and the lower subframe.
Gallery: Tesla Model S Repair
At first, it seems like straightening the passenger side frame rail is a fairly straightforward process. Damage further up is a bit more extreme, however, and during the pulling process, a chunk of the upper rail simply rips away in dramatic fashion. Ultimately, Tussik removes the complete rail assemblies from both sides and installs undamaged items into the factory mounting points. We suspect it was the costlier option but if the upper rail was compromised enough to tear off the car, it seems like replacement was the only viable solution.
As such, there actually wasn’t that much repair work to perform on existing components. The firewall received some attention, as did the passenger-side A-pillar. The mangled driver-side doors were simply replaced, leaving just the quarter panel to mend. Rather than replacing the whole section, Tussik cuts a portion and pulls the structure back into place before welding in a new outer skin.
After a fresh coat of black paint, the Model S returns to Tussik for reassembly. According to the video, the entire process took 30 days with 20 being devoted to bodywork and repair. Given Tesla’s questionable reputation for fit and finish – especially on earlier models – it’s quite possible the panel gaps on this P70 are actually better than they were at the factory.
With everything polished up, we’re reminded once again that good bodywork is as much art as it is science.