This is my first post on the site; I've been coming for years for mechanical repair tips, but don't have much expertise to be able to contribute to discussions.
I have zero body experience, but zero mechanical training and have been able to do all of my own maintenance and some mechanical repairs as well for the past ten years since buying this truck.
This winter, I got into a front end collision. I know I could save some face and make up a story, but the fact of the matter is it was completely my fault. There, I said it and I don't want to talk about it anymore (except to say that, no I wasn't under the influence)!
I hit a tractor trailer's box at about 20-25 mph. The point of impact was directly on the passenger side headlight. The frame was NOT damaged (per a body shop), but the hood, passenger fender, bumper, grille, etc. were destroyed. The radiator was also destroyed.
My insurance company totaled it and I bought it back for $900. My plan is a parts truck (looks like I can get one for $500-800), but I need some direction. The engine fires right up and the fan spins true. The force of impact pulverized the passenger side tie rod, but I've replaced that. I believe once I install a new radiator, it will technically drive, but obviously the body is the question.
So, what next? Do I need to take it to a body shop and get the parts you see replaced? How are they attached to the frame? The deal is, I'm extremely patient, will settle for slightly less than perfection (although I of course want it to be road worthy), and am willing to learn by trial and error. I'm also extremely cheap, not in a hurry and have the space to keep the vehicle garaged as I work on it. I'd rather spend money on the tools necessary than pay someone else to do it. That way, I get to learn and also get some tools out of the deal.
I had a Honda that had a unibody. I did what you plan on doing. I pounded and pulled as much of the under damage out as I could. I used things like chains, cable come along, rubber hammers, BFH, etc.. and got it as close to good as possible.
I then replaced the fenders, hood, etc.. I also had to redrill a hole into the fender but no biggie since I got so much money for the total out.
Why did Ford start building them like that? My 86 and 96 F150 had a subframe built into the fender that could be taken off when the fender came off, and the core support could be changed out simply by unbolting it? I have the same truck as the OP and really didn't realize how Ford started cheapening them up. It's like a unibody truck...with frame rails for show j/k
Good luck man, me personally....I would have bought it back and sold parts starting with the drive train. Or, find a truck with a bad drive train part and put your drive train in it.
Thanks everybody, for the replies (smartasses included). As I said, I don't have body experience but have a lot of time on my hands (you know, between the 60 hour a week job and two kids). The way I'm reading you is that I should beat the bent parts shown in the picture into submission. My main questions was, what can I do to the components that the fenders/grill mount to? I don't know what they're called. Those are bent badly, but other than that, everything looks straight and I think I can take parts off a truck and just bolt those parts right on. What I'm hearing is, just get it as straight as possible, or else buy a plasma cutter and a MIG welder and cut them off. Since I don't want to spend THAT much on new tools, I guess it's beating them with a hammer for me!
No offense intended. I appreciate the help from everyone. You're right - - - the unibody is what's crumpled badly and is my main problem. It looks like two pieces welded to the frame - the fender support and the front grill support that stretches the width. I thought about come-alongs and hammers but obviously that's going to be quite a project and throws the integrity of the unibody out the window. Maybe if I get the parts truck I can tow both over to a welding shop and have them remove the proper components from the straight truck and replace the damaged stuff on mine? Anybody know if it's possible to remove the unibody intact? I've got a welding shop a couple miles down the road; maybe I can bring them the pics I've posted here and see what they say.
What you could do is look at your truck on the unibody part and cut it off in a part thats not warped or bent and do the same thang on the parts truck , and put a new front peice on it. Then the half fender supports and the radiator support would stay one peice......... heres a pic of what i mean , cut it like where the blue line is if its straight from there back toward the door
Gotcha. I'm gonna take a look at it this week and see if I can find someone to do it for me. I'll try the welding shop tomorrow, and if not them, then maybe I can find a welder looking for a side job. My father-in-law used to be a welder; maybe I can talk him into giving a look.