Newbie needs advice
Brand new to this forum and wanted to say hi. I'm an HVAC mechanic of 26 years but also enjoy working on cars, motorcycles, bikes...basically anything with wheels. I'm good at basic maintenance and repairs like brakes, water pumps, radiators, belts, hoses, exhaust,etc, but never did any body work.
Recently my wife was involved in an auto accident and did some damage to to our family grocery getter.
1993 Cutlass Cruiser S wagon. I have kept this car in very good condition and can't bear to part with it. Don't laugh too hard it's been a great car.
In the past year have put a rebuilt tranny, fuel pump, fuel lines, front wheel bearings, radiator, new brakes, rotors, tires, water pump, harmonic balancer,
plugs, wires and who knows what else. Point is I have sunk a fortune in this hobby-mobile.
Anyway my front end damage as I see it is the bumper, bumper cover, header panel, bumper strut, passenger side marker light, RS blinker light, grill.
I realized that the damage is not purely cosmetic bolt on stuff that I have found at a local junk yard and could change myself.
The core support is also bent and looks like where the bumper "shock" bolts to..not sure if its frame.. is also crushed back about 1" or so.
Anyway insurance company totalled the car and offered me just over $2,000.
What do you think?? Can I get what I need done to fix it. Junk yard guy quoted me $300 or so for the parts I know I need, excluding core support.
Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated. I'll post some pics tomorrow if I can..
Welcome to the forum. Your collision repair on the cutlass sounds like an easy job. If the frame rail is kicked back a little where the bumper shock bolts on then the odds are it will have to go on a frame rack to pull it back in place. If this is a car you obviously plan to keep then the core support should be able to be hammered and pulled back in shape (won't be cosmetically perfect but it will be fully functional). We really need some pictures. I'd like to see a picture with the hood closed showing the gaps on both sides of the hood between the hood and the fenders. Another pic of the hood rear edge where it meets both fenders. Another pic of the area where the bumper shock bolts to the frame rail/core support. With those it would be pretty easy to diagnose your problems and formulate a plan of attack.
Welcome to the best site on the net...
Originally Posted by snaggletooth
Well, one needs to make a decision of when to call it quits and NEVER get attached to a vehicle. Post pictures of the damage so more of us can better advise you.
The radiator support doesn't usually get changed, it gets pulled back into place with a frame machine. Does the car still run, is the radiator pushed back and destroyed, motor sitting square, motor mounts upset, shock towers & lower control arms & strut bent, frontend swayed to one side or down or up? These are some of the things that need to be looked at.
I can understand the money you put into the car and that you want to fix it but who would do the work? The other thing is over $2000 for that car is probably more than you could sell the car for. What state are you in? Cost to fix this car is really based on what needs to be pulled and changed and not the cost of fenders and bumper cover. Let us know. Henry
Thank you guys for responding... I've taken some pictures to help clarify what's going on.
Hopefully this will give you more to go on.
Front passenger fender is pushed back approx. 1/4"
Radiator undamaged, and I don't think the shock tower or steering has been affected. What do you think of the passenger fender. Can it be fixed?
The car was hit from left to right and pushed everything towards the passenger side. Drivability is unaffected and yes it runs very well.
I have a buddy who was the service manager of a dealership , now owns his own car repair service and has good connections to an auto body facility with frame straightening capability.
fives pics per post so I'll post more
A couple of more pics. Wondering if you caught the ghetto-rific duct taped headlight, with sheet rock screws holding the bumper cover on at the corner.
Picture on far left bumper shock attached to bumper, second shot is bumper shock to frame. Notice where it is bolted is no longer square with front plane of car.
Dang! That thing got hit hard and I'm surprised there is not more cosmetic damage along with the structural damage. I can see why the insurance company totaled the car. It definitely has to go to a frame shop. Before you take the car to the frame shop you need to strip off the header panel, right fender front bumper cover. The frame shop may want the f. bumper reinforcement. Have the new/good used fender on hand and well as the new/good used header panel when you take the car to the frame shop. They will need those parts to test fit to make sure everything lines up when they're done on the frame machine.
that header panel being hit can explain the gaps to the front of the hood and SOME of the gap in the front of the fenders but obviously the right side fender was pushed back. There's probably a bracket in the middle of the support going to the header panel. Get that if you can cause I bet it's also bent, and it's a B to straighten cause it's crucial to lining it up with your hood.
If I were you I'd total it out and take the money. You couldn't sell that thing for more than $1500 and you'll probably put in about $1500 at least. I'd rather take the money, put in another $1500 and get a used Civic. They last forever.
1997 Cutlass Supreme for $2000
Definitely take the money and get another car.
Well after much consideration I think I have decided to take the insurance money but keep the salvage title.
I do have a used Honda Civic which I have bought for $500 last summer and have been storing it for my 15 year old son who recently got his learners permit.. Guess what? I'm gonna keep his car and run it through state inspection real soon and put the money from my claim into his/my car.
Next plan is to store my car and fix the SOB. My buddy's friend will put it on the frame machine for $150. Parts so far are gonna run about $300 from the junk yard. Sure it will need prep and paint but all in due time. I figure I can get it back on the road for under $1000. It doesn't have to be show room quality.
I'm not a butcher or hack in anything I do. I need a project. I love metal work or I wouldn't be the top notch sheet metal mechanic that I am.
Tell me what you guys know about getting a car with a salvage title back on the road. I've done my research through Maryland MVA and understand that the car will need to be inspected by the State Police, and then a subsequent State Inspection, re-titled, re-inspected and re-tagged. Sounds like a royal pain in the ass.
I don't care. I don't plan on ever selling the car. Don't care if I put more into it than it's worth. So much of the car has already been re-done I don't think buying something for $2000 could possibly be in the mechanical shape that mine is in.
I'll get some more pics after I get it off the road and pull it apart. Hopefully you guys won't dessert me on this one..
I realize you guys are pros and know far more than I do....that's why I came here..
One of my motto's is "don't go where you don't belong" it keeps me out of trouble when doing all kinds of projects.
I wouldn't jump into the middle of the ocean without a life raft..
Thanks for all your help guys
The Honda sounds good if the repairs are not too complicated or too expensive for the value of the car.
Originally Posted by snaggletooth
Don't worry, most of the experienced people here will help in any way we can.
Ok, so the word from the frame shop is not good.
K frame bent back near firewall. Pushed sideways and down. Shock tower was pushed back. Front end is worse than I thought .
Upper frame bent an kinked.
Bottom line $600 to 1500 for frame repair , and wouldn't guarantee that the front end would would be correct enough for everything to line up
As much as I like this car, it's game over.
Thanks for all of your advice guys, I think I've now learned when to quit.