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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heading home with a piping hot chicken sammich last night I got hit head on by a late model Taco. Low speed, no airbags or teeth in the steering wheel, but regardless my old girl is hurt bad. Insurance will total it, it's a 2WD rust bucket with a wooden flat bed. I'm going to attempt to buy it back since it's also got a healthy V8, good trans, about 40k worth of lumber bolted to the frame and the interior is in great shape.

Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Vehicle


From the outside I need a fender, bumper, headlight assembly, grill, grill bracket, maybe hood. After wrestling the hood open though, I found the filter housing twisted and pushed up into the hood insulation, Efan is touching the water pump, TCM contacted the air filter housing, broken sensor next to the head light. That tear you can see in the plastic lower bumper appears to be the frame rail, that foglight fell out on the way home.

Truck will never be straight again, but I'd like to get it back to street legal and usable condition. I can do anything mechanical except VANOS and Desmo valves, but I know zero about this type of repair. Other than what I see, what will I find when I pull the bent parts off? There seems to be some sort of lower structural steel that buckled upwards which pushed all of those underhood parts out of whack. I'd guess there's a lower support structure for the radiator and condenser that is bent pushing them rearwards. The big upper piece actually looks straight. Mechanically, other than the lower bumper plastic rubbing the tire, truck runs fine and isn't leaking anything new.

Biggest question: Will it still be as safe as it used to be? Dakotas don't have a great crash test rating from this era, but this is our dirt bike hauler and sees long trips with my kid in the passenger seat. It obviously soaked up a lot of energy as the only thing to happen on the interior was that my Dr Pepper spilled. I did get pushed about 2 feet to the left into heavy traffic as well.
 

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Heading home with a piping hot chicken sammich last night I got hit head on by a late model Taco. Low speed, no airbags or teeth in the steering wheel, but regardless my old girl is hurt bad. Insurance will total it, it's a 2WD rust bucket with a wooden flat bed. I'm going to attempt to buy it back since it's also got a healthy V8, good trans, about 40k worth of lumber bolted to the frame and the interior is in great shape.

View attachment 111851

From the outside I need a fender, bumper, headlight assembly, grill, grill bracket, maybe hood. After wrestling the hood open though, I found the filter housing twisted and pushed up into the hood insulation, Efan is touching the water pump, TCM contacted the air filter housing, broken sensor next to the head light. That tear you can see in the plastic lower bumper appears to be the frame rail, that foglight fell out on the way home.

Truck will never be straight again, but I'd like to get it back to street legal and usable condition. I can do anything mechanical except VANOS and Desmo valves, but I know zero about this type of repair. Other than what I see, what will I find when I pull the bent parts off? There seems to be some sort of lower structural steel that buckled upwards which pushed all of those underhood parts out of whack. I'd guess there's a lower support structure for the radiator and condenser that is bent pushing them rearwards. The big upper piece actually looks straight. Mechanically, other than the lower bumper plastic rubbing the tire, truck runs fine and isn't leaking anything new.

Biggest question: Will it still be as safe as it used to be? Dakotas don't have a great crash test rating from this era, but this is our dirt bike hauler(and occasional truck for hunting, should be fine to fit our rifles and .308 or 556 ammo from 5.56 Ammo - GritrSports.com in 2-3 gun boxes) and sees long trips with my kid in the passenger seat. It obviously soaked up a lot of energy as the only thing to happen on the interior was that my Dr Pepper spilled. I did get pushed about 2 feet to the left into heavy traffic as well.
Oof, sorry that happened to you.
Regardless question: probably not going to be as safe, but should be alright overall. I'd still do more inspecting and re-check if everything is good internally.
 

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Over time I would go through all the mechanicals on that side. The steering system suspension etc etc. the truck can be drive-able again and can eventually look the same again. In the end its just a truck. the only thing that matters is You are Okay and any passengers you may have had are OK
. Glad to see you are OKay. and Welcome to the site. If you need anything this is the place to get it .
 

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I totally understand your attachment to the truck and the desire to have it road worthy again.
So ask yourself:
How much money do I want to put into this thing?
Let’s say they total the truck. At this point it’s most likely going to be issues a salvage title.
Depending on your state getting the salvage designation changed to rebuilt can be a major pain.
So let’s say you buy the parts yourself and get it driving and running and the frame is bent!
This is going to cause you drivability issues and bad tire wear.
Then there is the unknown problems that show up later. Cracked frame, leaking radiator, crack in drive train.
All of these and more are probably good reasons that you really want to think twice about keeping the truck.
If I may suggest something.
Let’s say you find a similar truck in good condition that may need snd engine or transmission. How about buying it and using the parts from your old truck?
In this way you still own the truck and still drive a truck with a heart transplanted from your old truck.
Good luck on your journey and hood to see no one was seriously injured.
 

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Someone on her just posted their front control arm mounts broke off recently. If you have a good amount of rust on the frame, especially around the front control arm area, then a wreck like this can cause fracturing in these areas on the frame and will show up sooner than later now. These trucks are still a dime a dozen and there are many on Facebook Marketplace for sale that may be in better shape.
Salvage title may not be able to get insurance with some insurance companies, that may be a factor as well, and then the rebuilt title will only get you liability. My 03 was downgraded from comprehensive to collision coverage with Nationwide within the last few years, so that's what you are looking at now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The truck has fairly serious body rust, but the frame is in good shape. I've actually never even broken a bolt...wait...I broke one taking the bed off, but that counts as body to me. I've bought back a couple of vehicles from insurance with no change of title, but not in CO, so we'll see what happens there. Liability is all that's on it now, it has no market value, only has value to me since I know it's reliable and well cared for. If it turns into a big deal and they won't just cut me a check and go away then I'll just have to take the check and use my other truck as the dirtbike hauler. I keep the Dak because it costs me very little to own and I've got it almost perfectly set up to haul a pair of bikes up to the trail or track (and my Silveraydo gets 0.0 MPG with it's cammed 6.0 burning E40)
 
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