Bent frame, what to do

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My buddy has a stock 97 LX with 283k on it which was involved in a front end collision - not his fault. No airbags deployed, but his insurance totaled it. He's not mechanical, I am, and seeing the pics I thought the damage looks repairable. So we start tearing into it and I get the radiator support off and put a square against the front crossmember and frame rail. It appears that the frame, beginning somewhere around the motor mounts, is pushed towards the passenger side by an inch or slightly more. I can't tell where exactly the bend starts but I'd guess at the suspension/frame connection point.

The LX is in pretty good shape over all. It's from Indy so there is more rust underneath than I'm used to, but the body is in good shape - no dents, all the molding present, etc. It was his daily driver until this happened. I've roughly priced out the repair (before discovering the frame bend) to be about $4500 in parts and needed maintenance. If I have to take it to a frame shop I think that'll take me well over $5k which was my max number. The goal was to make it back into a daily driver with the ability to take it off road occasionally - more camping type stuff than wheeling. The salvage/rebuilt title is not a huge concern to us. But the possibility of it never tracking straight or chewing up tires is making me hesitate to throw any money at it at all.

What would you guys do? Do you think it's worth putting money in to fixing the frame? Should I pull the engine and get the hydraulic rams from Harbor Freight and just get it close enough?
 
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My buddy has a stock 97 LX with 283k on it which was involved in a front end collision - not his fault. No airbags deployed, but his insurance totaled it. He's not mechanical, I am, and seeing the pics I thought the damage looks repairable. So we start tearing into it and I get the radiator support off and put a square against the front crossmember and frame rail. It appears that the frame, beginning somewhere around the motor mounts, is pushed towards the passenger side by an inch or slightly more. I can't tell where exactly the bend starts but I'd guess at the suspension/frame connection point.

The LX is in pretty good shape over all. It's from Indy so there is more rust underneath than I'm used to, but the body is in good shape - no dents, all the molding present, etc. It was his daily driver until this happened. I've roughly priced out the repair (before discovering the frame bend) to be about $4500 in parts and needed maintenance. If I have to take it to a frame shop I think that'll take me well over $5k which was my max number. The goal was to make it back into a daily driver with the ability to take it off road occasionally - more camping type stuff than wheeling. The salvage/rebuilt title is not a huge concern to us. But the possibility of it never tracking straight or chewing up tires is making me hesitate to throw any money at it at all.

What would you guys do? Do you think it's worth putting money in to fixing the frame? Should I pull the engine and get the hydraulic rams from Harbor Freight and just get it close enough?
Check with local body shops with frame machines.
There was some claim a long time ago that the frames on these would max out the frame machines, so rather than spending the labor and time to do them, they would overprice it and total them.

You may be able to find a truck frame shop (that does semis) that may be able to do this. Again, start at body shops for info.
 

slow95z

Always parting 80s
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sounds like you are in for a part out to me. for 4500 bucks over the purchase price (lets say 1K to be nice but we know its more) you have a 5500 truck with a rebuilt title. there are plenty for sale for 7500 with a clean title and zero effort involved other than sticking a key in it and riding.
 
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Start at the frame shop, or you will play hell getting the body parts to line up on a truck with a bent frame. Ask me how I know - I got my old 80 back after a very minor collision, but with minor frame damage. The cowl/hood/fender gaps were a real challenge.

Based on the condition/miles/needs, you need to be getting this truck nearly for free to make this work, cost-wise.
 
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Thanks for the advice.
The initial price is low - likely less than 1k, though the specifics are TBD.
I'll see if I can find a frame shop that will give me an estimate over the phone but I think I'm leaning towards a part out though it pains me. I'll post back what I find out.
 
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Wild guess - the frame work (if just a pull) will be $450-550. They may give you a ballpark over the phone, but I can't believe you'll get a definitive answer.
 
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sounds like you are in for a part out to me. for 4500 bucks over the purchase price (lets say 1K to be nice but we know its more) you have a 5500 truck with a rebuilt title. there are plenty for sale for 7500 with a clean title and zero effort involved other than sticking a key in it and riding.
Where are all these turn-key 80s for 7500?
 
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All over Facebook
Hm, I thought in todays market 7500 would get you a fixer-upper. I just bought a 97 for 8k which is technically "turn-key," but its still has a fair bit of deferred maintenance to take care of in the near future. I thought you were talking fully restored/"baselined" 80s, which it seems are very hard to find for under 15 nowadays.

Maybe the market is different in Georgia.
 

slow95z

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Gotta search. Buddy just picked up a 275k 100 that needs a new steering rack for 2k. Deals are out there.

4 months back I bought my wife a gx470 that had a few minor issues but with only 200k on it for 4900. Gotta hunt and be ready to go that day or plop down 15k if you have no patience and can't turn a wrench.
 
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Gotta search. Buddy just picked up a 275k 100 that needs a new steering rack for 2k. Deals are out there.

4 months back I bought my wife a gx470 that had a few minor issues but with only 200k on it for 4900. Gotta hunt and be ready to go that day or plop down 15k if you have no patience and can't turn a wrench.
I might have overpaid a little at 8k but it was right down the road and didn't have any major issues aside from the regular wear items.

Sounds like a sweet deal on the Lexus though, did you have to replace the timing belt?
 

slow95z

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Sounds like a sweet deal on the Lexus though, did you have to replace the timing belt?
We have no history on the 100 so he might do it soon. The GX has a sticker showing it was done 3 years ago and about 40k miles but not sure if I should trust it or not. Will probably change it all in the spring just to be safe. It's not that expensive but that while you are in there rabbit hole gets me every single time. Will wait on taxes and probably do headers while in there.
 
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We have no history on the 100 so he might do it soon. The GX has a sticker showing it was done 3 years ago and about 40k miles but not sure if I should trust it or not. Will probably change it all in the spring just to be safe. It's not that expensive but that while you are in there rabbit hole gets me every single time. Will wait on taxes and probably do headers while in there.
Oh yeah I heard the manifolds like to crack on the 2uz, happened to my 3rz too. Gonna chase down the 0401 code soon on the 1fz. Hopefully not another exhaust leak lol.
 
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Thanks for the advice.
The initial price is low - likely less than 1k, though the specifics are TBD.
I'll see if I can find a frame shop that will give me an estimate over the phone but I think I'm leaning towards a part out though it pains me. I'll post back what I find out.

I sent some pics to a local shop here in Louisville, and it's a bit confusing, but I believe they are estimating ~12hr to correct the frame. Which puts that job in the 1100 - 1500 range and that's out of the question. I may get a second opinion if I can find another local shop.
I'm still considering options, but most likely this thing will end up in the Classified section.
 
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I sent some pics to a local shop here in Louisville, and it's a bit confusing, but I believe they are estimating ~12hr to correct the frame. Which puts that job in the 1100 - 1500 range and that's out of the question. I may get a second opinion if I can find another local shop.
I'm still considering options, but most likely this thing will end up in the Classified section.
Get some chains, a couple trees, a winch........maybe a portapower......
 

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