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.