Okay brand new to the forum and need some tips and advice on how to restore our family truck of 9 years. It's a 2001 Dodge Dakota SLT Quad Cab with a 3.9L V6. Before the recent accident it had just reached 100,000 miles. It was my parents truck but now they bought a 2014 Focus and now it is mine and is collecting ice and snow in the yard.
Here's before (Its better days)
After the ice storm
Not sure if frame is bent or something got knocked out of place. Anyway,other than the obvious Bumper, Headlight, Fender, Airbags, what all is needed to fix this? Does anything special need to be done in order to re install some used airbags like modules or clock springs? How am I going to fix that shroud hitting the pulleys? Is it worth it or should I part it out? I would really like to get this truck running to work on my other car i have serious plans for
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I can understand its going to be a lot. I do a lot of work myself, including painting. Forgot to mention I do know a local guy who salvages Dakota's and he could give me air bags, module, and a fender for $150 total. I do worry though that the truck won't be the same after everything. It's a shame if I have to part it out, just had an alignment, new steering rack and tires put on this summer.
You're fine. Hell, yours looks TONS better than mine did when I smacked the back of an 18 wheeler
The steps below are alot out of order from how I did them, but that's partly to compensate for keeping it look decent int he street and protecting some components from the weather. I happened to be working for a dealership at the time, so i had time and space.
You're from up north so this will be harder than here in texas, but...
#1: Take a cardboard box, paper sack, plastic bag, or any combination of the 3, and cover up the PCM on the passenger side fender. We don't want that getting any kind of wet.
#2: Crawl under the truck, and see if the cab mounts got sheared off or mushed around. The cab definitely moved, but i don't think you hurt the frame. I think you just shoved the cab around on the bushings like I did.
#3: Unbolt the upper core support that has the hood latch. It's 4 or 5 bolts on each end on the front/back, the 2 radiator support bolts, and the hood latch. Remove it. It'll pop straight up. Yours looks more salvageable than mine was.
#4: Unbolt the fan shroud from the radiator. 10mm and there's 4 or 5 of them. You'll have to wrestle it off since it's against the pulleys, but don't worry. it's only plastic, you wont break it.
#5: with the upper core support and the upper fan shroud out of the way, you can remove the fluid bottles. 3 10mm screws on each side i believe. Leave the radiator overflow on the bottle, unhook it at the cap. This helps reduce spilling. Same with the washer fluid tank, leave the hose on it if you can, and plug it with a bolt or golf tee. Again, you may have to wrestle it off.
#6: OK, so you have the upper core support, fluid bottles, and upper shroud out of the way. Now you should be able to see most of the major damage on the engine side, if there is any. Did the radiator shove into the fan? If so, it may have knocked the water pump shaft back into the timing cover. I took my clutch fan off long ago, so I got lucky there (my radiator was about 3" from the front of the pulley).
#7: Remove the air box lid. If you can separate it from the hat, leave the hat on. If not, cover the throttle body with something to keep moisture out.
#8: remove the air filter and the air box. There's a 10mm nut up on the fender (and it probably broke off line mine did) and one somewhere else, i think inside?
#9: with the airbox out, you can now see if the A/C lines were damaged. Also, now you can get to the fender mounting system much easier.
#10: remove the plastic fender liner. They make a tool for the christmas tree fasteners, but you can do it however you like.
#11: remove the 13mm nuts behind the PCM that attach the fender to the hood hinge brackets on the cab
#12: Remove the ground strap behind the passenger side headlight
#13: Remove the 13mm bolts under the fender that attach it to the cab. Theres 3 I believe.
#14: Remove the three 13mm bolts mounting the fender to the lower core support (the 3 obvious ones on top)
#15: Remove the fender. I think there's a few minor things that mount it that I have forgotten. Check before pulling.
#16: Remove the front bumper. There are 4 17mm or 18mm bolts on the very front of the frame rails, and you WILL need the sawzall to get to them, just like I did. There may also be some bumper supports underneath. Some trucks had them, some didn't. The bumper should quite literally just fall off.
#17: Evaluate the lower core support. It looks like you got lucky and it may be intact like the top is.
The body parts are nothing to fix. Biggest part is making sure the frame is ok. Start by pulling the parts that way you know what you are getting into. Once you pull the bumper you will be able to tell how hard the frame was hit. Since the airbags deployed im guessing it was a pretty hard hit. You can fix it and be up in running but as far as driving like it should it prob wont. Thats why it is very important to find a good shop that can fix the frame. The price is worth it. Only other option is buy a truck that has a rusty cab/blown motor or tranny and swap your parts onto it.
At the moment I am finishing my semester at college so exams are top priority. When I finish this week I'll be on break. I'm going to buy a cover for it as well as pull it apart hopefully this weekend.
what bothers me is that the strike is in the right front, but the cab is tweaked to the left rear. I don't think the frame could make that much of a move without being obvious to the naked eye. Keep in mind I smacked the back of an 18 wheeler at 30 MPH and my air bags didn't blow and my frame is straight [never got touched, impact was right above right frame rail]. But both of the body mounts for the core support were snapped.
I'm looking at the second to last picture, and it looks like the butt end of the frame rail pierced the bumper. But there should be some mounting bars that would pierce first, so it's hard to say what folded how.
I'd like to say that somehow, all 4 body mounts, or at least 3 of the 4, got snapped. But That's definitely not certain.
Tomorrow i will try to get underneath the truck and see what's up. I will take more pictures. If the frame is bent, then i will part the truck out. No sense in wasting money.
Here's how the accident went down:
My mother was the driver. She went on her way home from work. The roads were icy and snow plows have not even came out for the season yet. Was the first snow/ice storm of the year. She went up the bridge and the truck lost control in the rear slid around and hit the concrete median of the bridge wall.
When we initially received the truck from the tow, we could not get it to move. The bumper was pinching the tire. The tow truck guy had to pull on the bumper to get the truck off. Also, i think a factor in what caused the crash was new tires in the front only.
So it took a sideways smack to the right front then. Gotcha. You *might* be able to see if the frame is bent, but I'm going to guess that it will have some sort of damage to that right front node. I can vouch that our frame rails can be robust at times and weak at others depending on the hit angle. I believe the rails should be dead straight from the front of the cab forward. I've never measured, but I don't think our frames narrow at the front like some do.
First things first, get the frame diagnosed at a reputable body shop. It's okay to preserve the truck, but I wouldn't start buying parts or fixing 'til you know the frame is straight--unless it's badly twisted, it can probably be straightened.
I think I kinda agree with JKeaton, tho, getting the truck fixed is gonna bump right up to or pass the total value of the truck.
Front portion of the frame is definitely bent(where the front mount is) Look around in the paper or on craigslist for a torpedo heater. A must if you are gonna be working out in the cold temps. I have one and it comes in handy I just put it pointed under the truck and I get a nice warm breeze. I know how much it sucks to work on something outside when your hands are freezing cold.
I totally see it now. Man, i need new contacts. I was so much in a rush to get things done i haven't really looked at the pictures i took until now. Was busy lifting the truck off the ground and everything else i didn't bother to actually look. Also, i am getting a garage to work in soon.
Last edited by gerser777; 12-11-2013 at 08:16 PM..