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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It only had one ding before a distracted college girl took it out in an Accord.
The insurance company totaled it fairly at the value equal to our purchase price and $1,000 invested and we purchased it back for $1,500. We plan to keep it 15 years till it has 400,000 miles. It is a 2008 Limited with power tailgate, parking sensors, and rear view camera. Visible damage to the tail gate and bumper. The tailgate still works fine. The stow area is also bowed inward several inches. The tailgate module still communicates fine. I wanted to buy a used portapower hydraulic jack, and try my luck with used white parts. We could pocket $5,000 going this route. The wife wants to spend it all at the body shop. She does not seem to appreciate how long it takes anyone to save up that much in spare cash. I am a busy guy but that seems to be the quickest way put before us and best investment of my time.
So to convince the wife and keep her happy, I am trying to come up with a few plans.
1. Promise her to have the shop paint it if the color match does not work.
2. Have the shop install the used parts and repair the tub. Saves about $1,500. I may need to drive 6 hours for the parts.
3. Change the bumper first and see if she likes it.
4. Can I install the remodeled 2011+ tailgate and bribe her with the late model style? Were they still Stone White after 2010? Will this change work?
 

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That's it?? You made it should like the trunk was caved in. New hatch, new bumper cover, likely new bumper interior support, and done.
 

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If it comes up, 2012 tailgate won't work unless you change to the newer bumper, taillights, and probably some other parts because the bottom corners are more rounded.
 
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That bumper seems like it could be saved. If anything you could remove it from the vehicle (super easy), heat up the area, and try to push it back out. Might need some paint but it beats having to replace the bumper. The tailgate is a different story.
 

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IMO you really need to pull the bumper cover to see the extent of the damage. That said, I would just swap what parts you need to with any available color and to get the wife on board... get any new parts painted.

Can you open the tailgate? Any interior damage?
 

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Bumper cover looks like it can be saved. It looks like the paint didn't even crack! Pull it off, lay it in the sun for a while to warm up, and push the dent out. Inner bumper will have to be replaced, along with straightening the body. You might be able to make a bottle jack and some wood blocking work instead of buying a porta power (or see if you could rent one for a day). Replace the liftgate with another white one, transfer whatever parts you need to, and done.

Why put money into painting it? It's already been totalled so it will never be fully valued again. If it gets rear-ended again insurance will not pay to fix it, or total it since it has been totalled already. Get matching color used parts like you plan to and save the money for gas. I've replaced some parts with same color used ones, and there's no difference in shade (only pinstripes in my case, or lack of). I fully endorse the fixing it yourself, as that is the biggest savings of money and you have the personal satisfaction of knowing you did it and it was done right. (y)
 

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That may be a state by state thing. Not necessary in Illinois for example, I don't think.
 
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Should be every state. Requirements to get it may vary, but you can't legally drive on a salvaged title.
 

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When I wrecked my old Bonneville years ago, they wanted to total it. I went with the option to keep the car and 90% of the car value in reimbursement. I bought some used parts and had the shop install them. Came out way ahead. The title is still normal. So it may depend on the insurance company's process, or follow through on all the steps maybe. Doesn't even show up on Carfax.
 
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Yep, some will do that if the damage is not structural. Definitely the option I would go for. Rebuilt titles cut the resale value significantly, so avoiding them if possible is always best.
 
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It is a state by state thing. Here in Minnesota the car has to be 6 years old or newer to be totalled and have a salvage title. Once that car is over 6 years old and ownership gets transferred, it gets issued a CLEAN title. This has been a loophole for many years, that is going to change in 2023. Cars are getting fixed and airbags not replaced, and sold and driven by unsuspecting owners. Too dangerous. Right now it's buyer beware.

A friend's daughter was in a car that got hit/totalled by a hit-and-run driver. They were still making payments on the car, so didn't have the title. Found out it was a salvage title, and insurance would only pay her a THIRD of the full value! Car salesperson never mentioned it had been in an accident before, maybe didn't know? So now she was stuck with no car through no fault of her own, and no money to buy a replacement. I think they were getting a lawyer?
 

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Amazing how quickly they total easily repaired vehicle. A new tailgate will fix it. Remove the rear bumper cover and you might be able to push back the dent in the plastic. If the paint flakes off, try the special Rustoleum "for plastic" and "bumper" paints at Ace. Their "plastic adhesion promoter" first might help. I think there is a Styro-foam part between the bumper cover and steel bumper which got smashed a little. Chicken Littles will scream "must replace or unsafe", but I would just shave it flush to match the cover. If really worried, spray a little Dow Great Stuff foam to fill the depression. If the cover won't pop back, try a heat gun on the backside, but not too hot.

I recently got around to improving the torn front bumper cover in our 1996 Voyager from an accident in 2000. I had used fiberglass body filler then and painted it, but the paint flaked to expose the ugly filler and it wasn't sticking well anyway, so I peeled it off. I tried a different approach, using a giant electric soldering torch I bought in a garage sale years ago, I melted the plastic tear back together. Came out pretty smooth. It felt like melting ABS together, if you've ever worked with that. If fussy, I could have pressed smooth surface texture while the plastic was soft, but just filed it flush w/ a cheese grater. Looks presentable, at least on an old van which has been smashed on both front sides (repaired), with failing clear-coat paint and a used fender and door which aren't the exact same paint code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The free-to-us van has been cruising around fine so far.
I popped the buckle out of the bumper using a heat gun. There is lots of room behind the cover with metal all smooshed out of the way. I also took the black pad off and flattened it in the sun with wood blocks, clamps, and a heat gun. That helped as much as popping the buckle out. I intend to replace the bumper cover as well as the reinforcement but have not found a clean white one yet with parking sensors within a convenient distance.
I bought a white tailgate off another Limited for $300. They made the 2-hour drive as part of a standard delivery route.
 
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