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Old 10-31-2018, 02:51 PM   #1
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Disaster...(Pics) Need some advice

Hi All,

Two weeks ago in Southern CA we had very high winds and it blew down my tree right on top of my Van. I was pulled as far forward as possible anticipating the tree may fall but I did not go quite far enough.

This is a 95 5.8L with 74k on the clock. I have it dialed in just the way I like it and I love the Van. The initial quotes I got are in the 7-8k range and the repairs seem insurmountable for me to attempt myself. I could buy 2 of these vans for the price of the repair.

I have contemplated:
- Parting it out
- Selling as Is
- Donating it
- Duck Taping a tarp over the gaping hole
- Try finding a body shop to do a minimal fix (Budget 800)

I may be a bit emotionally attached to the van because of all the work I put into it. 1 Month ago I just did Shocks, Balljoints, Tierod ends, steering gear, alignment and other various other things. I also did front and rear alpine stereos and new speakers... also alpine.
Motor and trans are strong.

What are your thoughts on what I could do here?

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Old 10-31-2018, 03:39 PM   #2
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Tijuana body shop.. or find a guy more local. It’ll take some bending but you could get it straight enough, add some bondo, and rattle can. It’ll never be right, but might be good enough.

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Old 10-31-2018, 03:44 PM   #3
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Do you have a garage/indoor space to work on it?

Seems like if you pulled the fiberglass top off you could bend/press things back into place. If not, well, you tried. If it works you could either go about fixing the existing fiberglass top or find another top at a salvage yard(and maybe one that'll give you a little more standing room?
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Old 10-31-2018, 03:48 PM   #4
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I bet you'd be surprised how close to straight you could get that with a Harbor Freight PortaPower, various sizes of wood blocks, a bottle jack and a hammer. The fiberglass is fairly simple to repair on the cheap. Where there's a will, there's a way. I've seen a lot worse come back to life.
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Old 10-31-2018, 03:54 PM   #5
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I take it you only had liability insurance... As far as keeping it, you're asking a van lover's forum. Keep it! You could just patch the top, and leave the rest of the damage and keep driving it. Doesn't look like it would effect being able to use it. Or you could do what all the cool kids are doing and buy a diesel Sprinter 4x4. It's only money.
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Old 10-31-2018, 05:32 PM   #6
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Hard to say this without sounding harsh. Eek.
Take the highest amount you can find and upgrade to a newer version.
2001 E350 PSD w/ a bunch of stuff.
And had three other E350s...
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:58 PM   #7
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Transfer all the goodies to a different van. Then cut it into a truck body. You might make $.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:05 PM   #8
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It's not that bad. It is probably cost prohibitive to make it perfect, so learn to live with it less then perfect. You (someone) could push out the worst of the dent from the inside, then patch the top from the outside. It wouldn't be hard to get it to 90%, then enjoy it the way it is.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:26 PM   #9
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Ouch. No advice to offer, bit I did want to wish you good luck in finding a solution.
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Old 10-31-2018, 08:03 PM   #10
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I agree with Arctictraveler. Do your best to make it as nice as you possibly can and use it until you can sell or buy another van. I have seen way worse vans and RV’s than this on the road with some happy Van Lifers following their dreams.

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