Feren (feren) wrote,

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One-eyed truck

My route up to lady_curmudgeon's place involves a good portion of I-294. For those who don't live in the Chicago area and thus have no reason to know about this road, I-294 is a major loop for I-94. It is also currently undergoing major reconstruction in a number of places.

Last night, a few miles South of O'hare airport, I was in the left lane and heading North. Things were going well until I found that they'd closed the lane I was in. This was ... something of a surprise to me since the the electronic sign half a mile before that said that traffic "shifted left," not that they were closing the left lane. Long story short? I wasn't able to get over into the right lane immediately next to me quite fast enough to avoid clipping two of the traffic "sawhorses" (aka "caution barrier") with the driver's side bumper and front quarter panel. Sadly these weren't the big plastic barrels. As I alluded to, these were the metal a-frame "sawhorses."

The Expy's grill is okay, but in a brilliant feat of engineering Ford took each side of the grill and extended it around the headlight assembly as trim. That part is now broken, and given that it's all one piece I guess that means an entirely new grill is in order. Turn signal is utterly gone, lens and reflector are all MIA. The headlight was working for a little while last night but it burned out somewhere between Antioch and Curmudgeon's house (I don't blame it). The quarter panel has some dents and scratches along the side above the wheel well that I think are more than tolerable (this is a working truck, after all, not a show piece... I've got plenty of other scratches and dings on the body), unfortunately the area that the headlamp and running light/turn signal assembly seats into is pushed back. When I gave it a quick review last night while filling the fuel tank in Antioch I found that it showed some new wrinkles and folds in the metal that Ford probably did not intend to be there. That probably happened when the turn signal caught the edge of a reflector on the 'horse. The bumper is fine. The fog light, which lives in the bumper, is not fine -- the plastic frame on the assembly that mounted it inside the bumper did not much care for the shock and stress of impact.

Most of the assemblies that were damaged I can fix myself (replacing the fog lamp, replacing the grill, turn signal, etc is all pretty trivial work once you've found the right junk yard to get your replacement parts from) but the one thing I cannot do is color-match, paint and clear coat a new quarter panel. That means I'm probably going to just buckle and take the Expy into a body shop for repair. Out of curiosity I did some research at my favorite auto parts store and came up with the cost of materials:
  • Fender, unpainted: $144 or $246 (depending on brand)
  • Grille Assembly: $128
  • Fog Light: $72
  • Turn Signal Light: $31

My gut instinct estimates the total to be between $480 to $740, depending on how many man hours goes into painting and assembly/disassembly. The parts listed above total $377 by themselves, and there may be one or two surprise parts that have to be purchased so I don't think I'm too far off.

In the end I'm okay and the truck is more than okay to drive. It just needs some work done to it. Seeing as how I have nobody to blame but myself for this situation I can't be too angry about it. My only goal at this point is to get it fixed as quickly as possible.

[Edit at 1149 4/14: I have to wonder how much of this damage could have been minimized if I'd just given myself this really nice grill and brush guard for Christmas last year, eh?]

Life is a highway
Tags: expedition, loser, ow, status, truck, weekend

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