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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I’m fairly new to the forum, but I’ve been on here hundreds of times. Many of your posts are what motivated me to not only purchase a Dart, but mod it a bit. Well this past Thursday, I was hit while driving down the highway in my town. While I do have full coverage, I still have a balance on my loan. The car is considered a total loss, and my loan will be paid in full. My question is this: at what point is it worth keeping my Dart and repairing it myself if I’m capable? Any recommended sites to find a good salvage car to use would be great. I just don’t want to give up on this car yet. I’m literally typing this out, while sitting in my Dart. I wanna add that it’s running and idling just fine, with ac on(it’s a humid 88 here lol). The first 4 photos included are of all damage. Last photo is what it looks like after I removed all damaged parts. I can provide a list of everything damaged if needed, but you can almost literally see everything. Most of the suspension looks decent except the strut honestly. Again, just looking for other opinions. Thanks in advance guys.
 

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Sorry for your accident. Is the frame okay? Also, how wide spread was the impact absorption? Meaning, beyond what was physically hit and/or visually damaged, are there other areas of the vehicle that took on the energy of the impact and may need to be corrected as well?
 

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As far as I can tell, most of the impact damage is secluded to just the one spot. The alignment is off because of some bent suspension parts and the tires are wrecked. But I think the frame is decent enough to keep, and fix the car. The worst spots on the frame are pictured here.
 

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Depends heavily and unfortunately with the suspension messed up as it is you can't try to verify it can drive a straight line without fixing it :/

Of course there is another option. Gut it, fix only what is required, and turn it into a death kart :D

Seriously though.. I guess it all depends on what resources you have and what your capabilities are. If you have access to a full body and frame shop, why not man. If you don't have access to any of that stuff and do not already have the capability to bend out frame issues, you may be better off getting rid of it. IF you are lucky and there is minimal required frame fixing, then yeah it's worth it. You can find a dart with a blown engine and talk whomever into a couple hundred to let you have the roller and use those parts or go to the local U-pull it and get everything you need for minimal cash. After that it's just the grind of sanding and painting, and sanding, and clearcoating, and sanding... Did I mention sanding?

**BTW nice drilled/slotted rotors and CAI man.. Sorry that happened to you**
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I’ve not had a ton of time to post much more on this, but I took the jump and bought all of the repair parts. This thing is majority untouched from that accident.

Fresh pics show all new installed strut(I forget brand?), stabilizer bar link(moog), steering knuckle(used oem), Front Lower control arm (mevotech), hub assembly(moog), and impact bar(?).

Believe it or not, the new moog hub had enough play in it to be considered “bad” so I’m already getting a replacement for that. I have a new fender, bumper cover, transmission/engine mount(mine is cracked), and axle nut on the way. The only thing I have that’s not pictured with the rest of the new parts is the new oem combination headlight which I bought used for 96.00 plus s&h (I think?). Anyway, here’s some pics. What do you guys think so far?

Sorry about the bad pics, will try to post more later. Thanks again for any responses, as he feedback is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Dartanyion-nice name! Haha. But yeaaaah, she was getting to be nice. Was hoping to add a lot more mods to her, but alas, life gets in the way sometimes.
 

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It will never be the same. If that bugs you the way it would bug me, I'd just start fresh with a new car of choice. But it doesn't bother some folks. Me, I can here the difference of having a small pebble stuck in my tread and it will bug me all day until it's out. :big smile:
 

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@Motiv8ted - What are you planning to do about the grill shutters? I'm just curious if there is a way to just hack them to stay open but still keep it from throwing a code.

Also the job looks pretty clean so far man. Looks a lot like you ended up getting a FREE DART! (well minus what you already paid for it on the loan). Plus mo money to mod it with! :D
 

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So far nobody has mentioned how disgusting it is that a Dart can be considered totaled with that little amount of damage. If I'd known I was buying a disposable car I wouldn't have bothered getting a new Dart and just continued to buy older used cars instead.
 

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You'd be surprised how easy it is for any new car to be totaled (cost effective wise). Easier for the insurance company to cover the remaining cost of the car than to pay the extortion rates of a body/repair shop.
 

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So far nobody has mentioned how disgusting it is that a Dart can be considered totaled with that little amount of damage. If I'd known I was buying a disposable car I wouldn't have bothered getting a new Dart and just continued to buy older used cars instead.
That's hardly unique to the Dart. Repair costs from collisions, even excluding airbags, are very high. Just getting a smashed fender looking good as new can run over $1K from a reputable body-shop. And there's a heck of a lot more than a fender needing to be repaired on that car. As @dad's dart suggested, once the body shop is done billing their work, you might as well have just burned the car to the ground and started over. Also, like he said, the car will possibly never be quite right again, and if you think a Dart's resale and trade-in value is bad under normal circumstances, imagine its value after it's been in a major crash and repaired.
 

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You'd be surprised how easy it is for any new car to be totaled (cost effective wise). Easier for the insurance company to cover the remaining cost of the car than to pay the extortion rates of a body/repair shop.
Funny thing is, as high as those extortion rates are I never see body shop owners sailing around in 50-foot yachts. I can't help but wonder where all of that money goes.
 

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Funny thing is, as high as those extortion rates are I never see body shop owners sailing around in 50-foot yachts. I can't help but wonder where all of that money goes.
Well, that's like saying I don't see many other tradesman related businesses reaping high dollar rewards. Like in government , it's the "food chain" of all the many entities along the way. But what separates the auto restoration business from the rest is the painful reality of what the car is worth after the food chain gets done with it. "Everything's Expensive" in comparison to the consumer earning index , but autos are a relative worst case scenario due to their declining value even without fantastic repair expenses. Even a highly prized niche vehicle that holds resale value well is subject to scorn after substantial repairs have been documented.
Oh, ...yes.... to return to the 50's and 60's when even a car that was in several accidents could be cleaned up and sold by a guy with a plaid sport coat.
 

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Yeah, I know... I was just sorta venting out loud. A car is usually the most expensive purchase a person will make in their lifetime besides having a mortgage, yet they're also the worst investment of any consumer product in existence. Entire industries feed off the fact that they need constant maintenance and expensive repairs, and are only good for an average of 10-12 years even if you don't wreck them.
 

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Funny thing is, as high as those extortion rates are I never see body shop owners sailing around in 50-foot yachts. I can't help but wonder where all of that money goes.
Weeellllllllll....

I used to work for a couple of dealerships as a parts runner so my job was literally to deliver auto parts and body parts (VW, Mazda, Daewoo, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury) to shops both body and auto shops.

Long story short:

#1: It's supposed to be a requirement for a body shop to use only genuine dealership parts which makes it STUPID high
#2: Paint supplies have skyrocketed in price since 2005.
#3: The insurance company has to account for what they call "making your car whole". Which means directly and exactly as if the wreck never happened.

Look at your car. Sure you can go to a junkyard and get a fender for $50. Then you have to paint it. Yes you can scuff, paint, clearcoat, finish yourself for around $60-ish. But most probably it's not going to look exactly right and that's ok for the bulk of us. For a body shop that's not permissible because their work shows their quality. For what you fixed the panel with for roughly $100 will cost them $500 to $600 (before charging for labor). That's for one panel. Back in 'le day, you could get a whole car completely smoothed and painted for around $1500. Now-a-days it costs around $5000, to $6000 depending on paint color, type, etc. Not including the time, transfer of money, etc it takes to get it all taken care of.

Body shops make money. If they didn't they would all be out of business. They just don't make the type of money you would think (usually).

On the good note though? If you can get your car back in order, you just got a free car! There are many cars out there now a days that even just a fender bender will be enough to total it if the car itself lists for less than $25,000.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
@dad’s dart: yeah, I definitely know what you mean about the pebbles in the tire, annoys me too bud! It definitely won’t be the same car, but after the repairs, she honestly feels pretty decent. I think I was maybe even one or two turns off for alignment on the right side.
@Dartanyion: honestly man, I’ve been thinking the SAME thing. Pretty much a free dart. How could I just give that up? Haha. You’re 100% right on the “making the car whole” aspect too btw. They listed like 3-4 parts that weren’t even damaged that added up to around 1500, which dumped me over the “total’d” line. You’re also right as far as body parts go. That’s why I bought a used black fender and bumper cover 😁 so no painting or finishing for me. The fender actually came with a free splash guard for the wheel well!
I’m actually at a shop currently, attempting to have them align it(the one thing I can’t do myself 😅<img src="http://www.dodge-dart.org/forum/images/smilies/wink.png" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" class="inlineimg" />. Ironically enough, the front bumper cover was the first item I bought, and it STILL isn’t here. So she’s sitting outside looking ugly as hell with no bumper on her.
I included a few pics of the repair. Have yet to crimp the axle nut, but I haven’t forgotten yet. The one pic shows most of the parts replaced. There’s no headlight because that plastic pos was GONE lol. The last pic is actually a “new” Moog hub I bought from rock auto that I had to return because the seal wasn’t pressed right enough. How do you guys like that 1/4 inch gap??
 

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@Delta Dart: I definitely agree with your rant though man. Cars can be real annoying, but they’re kind of one of the only things that you HAVE to have nowadays. Especially since like you said, they’re one of (if not the biggest), purchased most people make in their lives. Auto businesses in general tend to have a terrible mark-up, which is why I try to make it a point to do these repairs myself lol.
 

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So just wanted to post some quick details. I’ve got her mostly together. Everything except the bottom front bumper cover. Still waiting on that, and it was literally the first thing I ordered. Damn greyhound package express lol. So I have the old trashed one on there. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting to where it was! Best part is, it’s drivable as of today. Fresh 4 wheel alignment(they said it was incredibly straight, for having been in an accident like that one), along with two new mounted and balanced tires. No codes thrown as of 11pm 09/11/2018(last one was ags because the bumper wasn’t on 🏻) Peep these pics guys! Sorry, I’m just really excited about this 😁
Ps: there is extra body damage on the rear passenger fender, and front passenger door from the accident, I’m just not sure how or if I could fix this myself. This is the biggest bummer here, but it’s purely cosmetic. So there’s that.
 

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Glad it's working out for you! At this point I would be thinking about making it a wide body :money:
 
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