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Discussion Starter #1
So my 2001 was wrecked. I bought a 2003 and basically had to purchase my 2001 back from the wrecker server. I have put too much time and money into it to let it go. I figured I would use it for parts BUT I would like to slowly rebuild it if possible although I have never done anything this advanced before. I am familiar with going to the salvage yards and replacing parts.

I figured I would just keep removing damaged parts until no more remain and then start rebuilding from salvage parts/etc. BUT I have run into a problem that I am not familiar with. I have attached a picture with arrows. This metal is crumpled at the elbows of it and it is all connected to and a part of the inner lining of the engine compartment. I apologize I do not know the correct name of what its called. I cannot continue as this cannot be removed OR it can and I need to see if its possible to repair it as I believe removing it is beyond my skills.
 

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That's the front crash structure or bumper support. Honestly you're going to have a hard time fixing this if you don't have a shop full of body equipment and experience. It's not going to be as easy as unbolting the wrecked parts and putting on new ones. You're probably going to have to cut out that bumper, straighten the structure, and weld a new bumper on at a minimum. You also have a buckled fender so you might have a bent frame. This is dicy because in the event of another collision the front of the car might not hold up again (cars are only designed to be crashed once).

So you can take it to a body shop and try to get a quote (I wouldn't be surprised if they call it totaled). Your only other options are to sell it to a junkyard or part it out.
 

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From the pictures, it doesn't look TOO bad - but the actual damage is almost always worse than what it outwardly appears. I had an accident with my '97 GL wagon a little over two years ago. Got 'lucky' in that it was a 4x4 truck and the nose of my car went underneath the right rear corner and on past the rear wheel. The top of the hood got scored pretty deeply, headlight smashed out, fender scored lengthwise, upper radiator support crushed at headlight socket, bumper cover slightly cracked. For a good laugh I took it by the Ford dealer and they quoted me $2500 (for starters). I ended up buying a non-running '98 GL sedan (same color) for $200 on CraigsList and transferred all the parts. You'd never know it was ever damaged. Panels fit perfectly and the paint matched great! The only thing that really got bent was a 90-degree piece of metal inside the driver-side fender cavity. I used a sledge to tap it back into place.

If I had YOUR damage, I'd probably try to find a body guy out in the sticks who could straighten that front piece and re-fortify it with new metal welded onto it. Then I'd either visit a Pull-A-Part yard for the replacement panels (hoods are $50, fenders $25, I believe were the prices) or wait for a same-color parts car to appear on CraigsList. You definitely have to do this on your own, though. It's not worth it to pay any kind of money to have it done professionally.

Just curious ... what did you hit .. a post or a tree? And was your radiator damaged ... because if it wasn't, then that MIGHT be an indicator that it's worth repairing.
 

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Thanks for the responses. Sorry for the delay in responding I've been busy. The breaks went out coming up to an intersection and my wife drove thru the red light and side swiped another car. The radiator is ruined. Its pushed back so far that the belt can't turn as it snapped off the turn wheel on the power steering pump. What sucks is I just drove the car down the block and back to test it and it drives and runs just fine. Didn't run it longer than that cause no coolant in it.

I am experienced with going to a junkyard with good prices and was pretty confident I could rebuild it but now that I've run into this problem its looking like I am going to have to part out the vehicle or sell as a whole. The junkyard offered me 225 and they would haul it off for free. Problem is a week before the accident I installed a brand new 200 dollar alternator and now I own a 2003 that someday could need parts off the wrecked car. But I can't keep this in the drive for very long. I can imagine someday needing a part and gong to the junkyard and having to get it off a car that used to be mine.
 

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Did you figure out why the brakes suddenly failed? I would file a NHTSA report for something that serious. Did they work when you drove it?

I would take the alternator back and anything else you might want off the car and send it to the junk yard. I know it's kinda sad because that car was in good shape, but accidents happen and otherwise nice cars end up in the junk yard. If you want, you can post pictures in the For Sale section here and see if anyone wants anything.
 

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No idea why the brakes failed except for I was do to check and eventually replace them. Currently they working fine for me driving it up and down my driveway but im not going fast. Wife tells me car was vibrating which to me sounds like the anti-lock breaks. The tow truck driver that picked it up said that ABS sounds so great to everyone but actually causes many wrecks. Now this was his opinion not mine as I have no idea.

You hit the nail on the head when you said its sad cause it is so sad to me to actually have it sitting out in the drive and i can start it and drive it although only one block. I'm so mad cause someone is coming to look at it tomorrow to possibly buy it but I still don't know whether to get rid of it as a whole or part it out on craigslist and ebay or try to repair. Or save it and find a 2001 just like it and be set on part. The 2003 I bought has same body and most parts EXCEPT for the engine its totally different. The 2001 was so easy to work on. The 2003 is a DOHC and is crammed in the engine compartment. The alternator is so deep in there that you either have to take the engine apart or take it out from the bottom or have some long tools.
 

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With the '98 GL "donor" car I bought (for $200, by the way), after I swapped the damaged panels, I stripped just about every part out of the engine compartment that I could store relatively easily: wiper motor, alternator, degas tank, ps pump, hoses, all the sensors, coil box, synchro, idler pulley, tensioner, blend door actuator, etc. I even tried to salvage the wiring harness, but gave up when it appeared that it had been installed in such a way that it couldn't simply be pulled through the firewall. Tried to sell the glass, too (because it seemed like such a waste to crush it), but no glass place wanted it. Thought of getting creative with the seats, but they were soiled pretty bad as the previous owner was a smoker and did not take care of the vehicle. When I was done, I had a Maxwell House coffee can filled to the rim with fasteners, and all that was left was the engine and tranny. I put all the harvested parts into a 55-gallon drum, pulled the four tires/wheels off, then had the rest of the car crushed for the price of the metal ($180).

Maybe you could do something similar. It doesn't take all that much space to store all the stuff AROUND the engine. And removing these parts doesn't reduce the overall weight of the car very much, so you'll still get about the same amount for the metal at the shredder.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
With the '98 GL "donor" car I bought (for $200, by the way), after I swapped the damaged panels, I stripped just about every part out of the engine compartment that I could store relatively easily: wiper motor, alternator, degas tank, ps pump, hoses, all the sensors, coil box, synchro, idler pulley, tensioner, blend door actuator, etc. I even tried to salvage the wiring harness, but gave up when it appeared that it had been installed in such a way that it couldn't simply be pulled through the firewall. Tried to sell the glass, too (because it seemed like such a waste to crush it), but no glass place wanted it. Thought of getting creative with the seats, but they were soiled pretty bad as the previous owner was a smoker and did not take care of the vehicle. When I was done, I had a Maxwell House coffee can filled to the rim with fasteners, and all that was left was the engine and tranny. I put all the harvested parts into a 55-gallon drum, pulled the four tires/wheels off, then had the rest of the car crushed for the price of the metal ($180).

Maybe you could do something similar. It doesn't take all that much space to store all the stuff AROUND the engine. And removing these parts doesn't reduce the overall weight of the car very much, so you'll still get about the same amount for the metal at the shredder.
Did you have to pay to have the frame pick up or did the shredder people do it? Also what did you do with the engine and tranny? The window on the 2001 are tinted but the ones on the 2003 are not so I did consider swapping them but it looked like a nightmare as I've never done it. I would love to take the wheels too but was concerned that they would be needed to haul it off. Lastly what did you do with the parts in the drum? Are they your back ups or did you sell them?
 

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I had to pay a tow truck guy $75 to haul the car to the shredder. At this particular place, the metal comes to them pretty much non-stop so there's no need for them to go pick anything up.

The engine and tranny ended up going to the shredder with the rest of the car. The tranny was (allegedly) bad - this was the reason the owner gave up on the car. The engine was a Vulcan like mine with "only' 165,000 miles on it. I wish I could've stored it and done a rebuild in my spare time but I just don't have any space for that.

As for swapping the glass, I think Harbor Freight sells tools to remove/replace a windshield - and I thought about doing that, too ... but again - where do you store such large items in the meantime?? As my luck would have it, about a month after I crushed the donor car my windshield got cracked and then the crack travel about 3 feet across the windshield! It's been like that for about 2 years now! I've got glass coverage with my insurance but they paid out $5k to "fix" the 4x4 truck I slid under and I just couldn't put in the claim after that! But I would've attempted the windshield swap using the HB tools just for the fun of it. In your case, I wouldn't bother swapping glass if it wasn't cracked. And the tinting you're talking about - is that aftermarket stuff? If so, even less reason to do it. Don't bother.

As for the wheels, with my 'donor' car it was kind of funny. It had two newish BFGoodrich tires on the front which I definitely wanted. So I took them off and left the car on two cinder blocks waiting for the flatbed truck to arrive. When the guy arrived he told me to take the other two wheels off, too, because he claimed the shredder wouldn't take the car with ANY wheels on it. I KNEW this wasn't true, but I actually wanted all four wheels, so I gladly removed them. The only thing the shredder cared about was the battery and gas tank. I had to removed these things (gas tank was pretty easy, too). But they didn't care about tires or even the fluids still in the engine, tranny, or radiator (which surprised me). You might want to check with your facility to make sure it's the same thing where you are. The other thing you might want to check on is the price of metal - because it goes up and down. I think my shredder yard kept the price steady for the whole month ... 9 cents/lb, or 10 cents/lb. And don't be surprised if the weight they quote for the vehicle is less than the documented weight. I think they might deduct for the weight of all the non-metal stuff that comes on the car that they really don't want. Not sure if this stuff gets separated out or is just crushed along with the metal...
 

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No idea why the brakes failed except for I was do to check and eventually replace them. Currently they working fine for me driving it up and down my driveway but im not going fast. Wife tells me car was vibrating which to me sounds like the anti-lock breaks. The tow truck driver that picked it up said that ABS sounds so great to everyone but actually causes many wrecks. Now this was his opinion not mine as I have no idea.
The thinking is that people become alarmed when they feel the vibrations and pulsing in the brake pedal the first time the ABS activates and react the wrong way by letting up on the brake pedal. Some might be scared into thinking the brakes have failed or they believe pushing the pedal more will damage something due to the vibrations. In the split-second timeframe they reason they'll somehow be better off by just pushing the pedal lightly or not at all. Of course this seems like completely ridiculous thinking after the fact, but in the moment the brain is wired to react to fear faster than logic. In my expedience, this "fear of ABS" seems to happen much more often with females. I've had to shout "push the brake harder" several times as a passenger during several forced stops.

I don't mean to disparage your wife, but accidents can be very costly not just in cars but also human life. I think you were both lucky this time. Something like this is important and can mean a difference between life and death. After being a scared passenger, I made sure to tell them what ABS was, how it worked, and what to expect when it activates, and above all else, don't let up on the pedal, ever. I also had them do some panic stops on a snowy deserted road so they could feel what ABS is like. Afterwards they said they had no idea what that feeling was and would have thought the wheels would rip off if they pushed any harder. They said they were very glad to know about it now and admitted it would probably save them from an accident or sliding through a red light since they knew what to expect the next time.

I don't know why ABS isn't taught in driver's ed, but it's something all drivers should know about since almost all new cars have ABS standard.

[Gets Off Soapbox]
 

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behlinla,
I totally agree with you. Driver's ed needs to be expanded to include crash avoidance, ABS and non ABS braking and skid pad activities. Unfortunately, parents don't see the value in the cost associated with education that could save their child's life.
 

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My oldest child is close to driving and I can tell you that I already have a laundry list of things to go through with her before she starts driving - from the functionality of the cars themselves to the dangerous situations that you run into every day and need to be aware of (and thinking of) as you drive...
 

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Living in the northeast, my two sons have had the experience of feeling ABS activation on snow and ice covered roads. I taught them in winter conditions.

My Daughter will be learning to drive soon, but it will be summer. This is very good information to go over with her. Thanks!


FWIW – here is my diatribe on what the ABS (Antilock Braking System) is all about:

Any two surfaces have something called a "coefficient of friction" (COF); this is a measure of how much force may be applied before one surface begins to move against the other.

The reason we all do not (routinely) end up in the ditch on a curve is that the COF of our four tires on the pavement is higher than the centrifugal force that is pushing the car to the outside of the curve.

Different weather conditions and situations effect the COF. Rain, snow, ice and oil on the pavement make it "slick" - the COF is lowered. How much surface area is in contact, how much downward force is pressing the tires into the road surface (either by weight or air foil) also make big differences. Hydroplaning is a condition where the tires are skimming on top of the water on the pavement - COF is essentially zero.

Now here is a very important chunk of information to keep in mind, and the key regarding ABS brakes: When the COF is reached, and your tires begin to slide, the COF drops substantially. In other words, once traction is broken and your tires are sliding across the face of the pavement, the car will continue to slide even though the current forces may be well below the peak COF.

"Back in my day" this is why we were taught to "pump the brakes" because once the wheels locked up you had absolutely no control - no steering, no brakes, no anything... except momentum that was happily propelling you toward that ditch, tree, mailbox, car etc. When the brakes were pressed the car slowed, but often traction and control were momentarily lost. When the brakes were released traction and steering were restored, but the car was no longer being slowed down. So it was a balancing act between getting stopped and keeping the car from going fully out of control.

As you can imagine, pumping the brakes is inefficient and can depend a lot on the experience level of the driver and the prevailing conditions. For example, if only one or two wheels are on ice the “all or nothing” design of older brakes could cause the car to be “thrown” into a spin. Many years ago I was in my car behind my brother at night. He hit black ice on a curve. I was watching his taillights, but then I saw his headlights, then his tail lights, then headlights again. Next his headlights were playing leapfrog. They stopped with one directly above the other. He was fine, although his truck was a bit rumpled.

ABS changed all of this. The ABS has sensors in each wheel. The ABS computer receives data and the system “knows” when a wheel begins to slip under braking. The system then “pumps the brakes” at a very high frequency. It rides that COF “edge” of maximum stopping power while still holding onto traction. This is felt by the driver as vibration in the brake pedal and a corresponding vibration sound. ABS does this for each wheel independently. If one wheel is on ice, that wheel will “vibrate” while the others do not – maximum braking and control, and all the driver has to do is stand on the brakes. Sweet.

Well, sweet until someone experiences that feel and noise for the first time and believes something is wrong.

And here we are.
 
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