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Putting a Squat Rack Together

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So I got a really great squat rack on Craigslist and it sat for a couple months when I moved out of my apartment and into my house.

Now I'm trying to put it together and am having some difficulty.

It's a cage that was under a lot of load and some of the pieces have bent, so bolt holes aren't lining up quite right. If I had the strength to bend 0.25" plate steel, this wouldn't be a problem. The mis-alignments are slight, but 3 bolts in 3 of the 4 top corners just will not go in. Any suggestions on making this safe enough to use? Should I use a thinner bolt? Or some kind of nylon chord?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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General rule when assembling these sorts of things:. Don't tighten any bolts until all the bolts are through their holes.  Let the cage be loose and floppy until fully assembled, which should give  you enough play to line things up.

If that doesn't work, try sticking a sturdy screwdriver through the misaligned holes and using it to pry/lever the holes into alignment. Then hold the pieces in place while you pull out the screwdriver and shove a bolt in.  Might need a helper.

Also, are there any pieces that can be flipped 180 degrees, or swapped from one side to the other?  Maybe things might line up better if you reverse one or more pieces.  

If it had been assembled before, it should be possible to put back together, one way or another.  I've been in this situation a few times. It's always frustrating, but I've always managed to solve it in the end.  Definitely would avoid using smaller bolts or (yikes!) nylon cords (??); don't want this collapsing at the worst possible moment.

Good luck!

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Everything Steve said, +when I was having trouble assembling mine, I ended up using 2 large C clamps so I could get it lined up from 2 directions, and have both hands free  to insert and tighten the bolts...good luck! (and some incentive...most used piece of equipment in my basement gym.  I lift alone, so I  put my bench between the side rails so I can push my bench press lifts.  Don't have to worry about losing balance or dropping the weight, and don't have to deal with rolling the bar over my nuts when I can't complete a lift...heaven! 



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