Bent frame trying to pull stump


I have a 1998 Toyota Corolla. I figured I’d use it to try to pull a stump out of the ground by tying a chain around the stump and then using a hook to connect it to a solid-looking metal bar running across the front of the car under the hood (above the radiator and just inside the engine compartment). Dumb idea. Now the metal bar is bent where the hook was on it (near one side), and when I close the hood there is a noticeable difference on the two sides (the corner of the hood doesn’t line up nicely with the side fender panel or grill). I’d say it is 1/4" off or so.

Have I irreversibly damaged the frame of the car? Is this something that a body shop could reverse?


A body shop might have a problem with it. The body shop is, usually, the one to do controlled pulling. Now, to UNPULL, could be a completely different horse. This could be an expensive fix. Maybe, they could pull the other side to match the bent side; or, you could pull on the stump with the unbent side.


You’ve not bent the frame, you’ve bent the radiator support.

It’s a lot of work to replace, and it would probably be far easier to take the radiator and air conditioning condensor off, then straighten the support rather than replace it, but either is possible.

It’s certainly not irreversible.


I’m sorry, but trying to pull out a stump with a Corolla? Are you stupid or something?!

By the way, many cars have tow hooks under the front end, and behind the rear bumper. These are much more sturdy. But still, pulling a stump with a Corolla?! I didn’t realize people came this stupid!


You MIGHT be able to PUSH the radiator support back to “near enough” position. If that stump is still handy, and you can safely position a log or something to push against the radiator support, you might be able to drive the car, pushing the log, into the stump. You be the judge. Have observers posted.


Make sure you get this on video, especially the part where the log goes through the radiator.


just so you know those “solid looking” loops are ONLY to secure the car when it is either on the ship coming from japan, or on a car carrier.

they are NOT meant for pulling, yanking, or other such strain.

next time find a big dump truck (or better yet a bobcat) to do this kind of work.


[b]You didn’t bend the frame on this car, because it doesn’t have one. Instead you bent the uni-body of the vehicle.

The part you connected the chain to is called the radiator core support. And if look closely, you’ll find this is spot welded to the rest of the uni-body. And as you’ve found out this a flimsy piece of metal. Not designed to be subjected to this type of stress.

The proper way to fix this is cut out the spot welds of the bent pieces, straighten out the bulkhead where the fender attaches, and then weld in straight replacement pieces.

As you found out, a Corolla isn’t exactly what is called a stump puller.



You might have hooked onto the sway bar. It wasn’t made for that. Neither was the…


I have to say… I am sorry that your car has sustained some damage. But on the other hand, you sir, have completely made my day. When guys talk about their big pickup trucks and the motors within, they refer to powerful trucks as “stump pullers”. Infrequently will you find a Corolla referenced as a “stump puller.” Bravo, sir, you’ve landed a blow for Corollas everywhere.

Enquiring minds everywhere want to know: did it pull out the stump?!!


What have we learned? :wink:


Have we learned that, sometimes, the roots of the problem ARE the problem?! {The roots went too deep.}


What have we learned? I don’t know, I’m stumped.


Can you post a picture of what you have damaged? Above the radiator seems like a body support piece . . . not the frame (which this car probably doesn’t have). We can suggest some type of fix if we can eyeball this. And don’t feel bad . . . I’ve seen bodywork with much funnier antics than this. Maybe this could be a contest . . . the most crazy bodywork methods? Post back, please . . . I’d love to see what you did. Rocketman


Please, Lproter, the man made an honest mistake, realizes it, admits it, and is asking advice on the magnitude of correcting it. He doesn’t deserve to be called names. Besides, someone who really deserved that label would never have realized his mistake and posted the question.

Be nice.


Thanks to everyone (except lproctor) for the comments.

After looking at some schematics of the car, you are right that it is the top bar of the radiator support frame. It looks like a bear to disconnect everything from it and replace. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be a functional problem (the angulation is small enough that the hood latches nicely in the middle, no problems with the clearance of the radiator, radiator fan, battery, etc.) The cosmetic issue is that because the front end of the fender is attached to the side of it, it has been pulled down and in a little, so the edge of the hood falsely looks like it is sticking up.

I think what I’ll try first is to loosen the bolts that attach the fender to the side of the radiator frame and see if it all looks nice. Maybe I’ll put some washers in if needed. Only if that doesn’t work will I take it to a shop to see if they can straighten it.

By the way, (lprotcor) I had done a pretty good job digging out the stump before I tried this. I’ve done other stumps the same way with no problems. Yes this stump came out. No, a Corolla isn’t a monster truck, but even 110 horsepower is a heck of a lot more than one manpower. This was the last piece of landscaping on the list, so there won’t be a next time.

Thanks again to everyone who had great explanations and was supportive! You’re the best.


Oh, and on that topic, my little Corolla has served me quite nicely over the years in all sorts of situations. I don’t have 4WD, and I don’t have ABS, but when we get a good ice/snow storm here in Cincinnati, I’ll happily drive along the road right past all the Suburbans and Navigators and pickup trucks stuck in the ditches or snow banks at the side of the road. I’ve come firmly to believe that, unless they are buying it for their construction business, people who buy the trucks that are advertised as having the ability to drive up mountains made of boulders are far more dangerous (and stupid) than people who occassionally try to use a Corolla for a little leverage around the yard.


Oh, when I think of the dumb things I did with my '79 and '89 Toyota pickups.

By my house they were developing 500 acres, and (with permission of the property owner, a neighbor) I brought the front end loader operator a 6-pack of beer to drop a little sifted loam into the bed of my ‘79. He did. The ol’ '79 went straight to the suspension stops. Knocked one off.

And dragging fresh cut oaks out of the woods…no trails…when I was heating with wood.

And then there were the rocks for the stone wall. They were rock blasted out and being used to build the development roads. I (again with the owner’s permission) would park my pickup at the bottom of the piles, stand on the piles, and toss the stones into the bed. I’m lucky I didn’t punch a hole in the bed and into the gas tank. I’m lucky I didn’t zing one through the windsheild! I did zing a few off the sides, and had to pull one of the bed’s sides out to drive the stones home once.

Ah, sweet memories!


It’s not the fact he bent the front part of the car I’m amazed at, it’s that he actually thought a Corolla could pull a stump out of the ground.