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2001 Ford Ranger Frame Damage

I have a 2001 Ford ranger with ~130k miles on it. I live in the north east, so typical rust underneath. I’m also the second owner and have had no accidents. The previous owner was an older gentleman that put about 20k miles on it over the course of 8 years and also had no reported accidents.

I was driving yesterday and began to notice a rubbing sound on the back glass/ cab. so when I got home I checked out what was rubbing and noticed the bed of the truck had shifted slightly and was now touching.

So I went underneath to see if anything was odd and noticed a rather large crack in my frame. it spans the whole bottom part and is going up approximately 1-2 inches vertically.

Like I said. Ive had no accidents and the only explanation I can think of is pot holes? There is quite a few of them around here. It seems like that would be excessive, but given the age of the truck, a possibility?

Second question, would insurance cover this? If it was a pot hole? I have collision insurance as well as comprehensive.

How could anyone say what your insurance will cover ? That is a question for your carrier. You need to have a body shop look at this but frankly I think this thing is ready for salvage and I would not drive it any where myself.

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Do you know anyone with a welder that knows how to use it?

And if it’s worth it?


Rust +19 years = insurance not a chance

@Tester suggests finding a welder, worth a shot. But @ 19 years old there may not be a lot of frame left to weld to.

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As the owner of a 70’s Ford truck, never any chassis-related problems, my guess , this is a manufacturing defect that is just now showing up. Unlikely to have been caused by rust or hitting a pothole, although hitting a pothole may have been when the crack would have first appeared as a visible defect. I doubt you’ll get much in the way of help with insurance or contacting Ford, but no harm asking. The solution is likely a replacement frame, a knowledgeable, welder, or a new truck. I’m guessing there are aftermarket frames available for a 2001.

George, it is clear you have never lived in the Northeast. 19 years is enough time for rust to completely eat through the frame of anything that is driven all winter. I had a car that was about that age that broke in half at the firewall when the wrecker from the junkyard tried to pick it up. Good thing he had paid me for it first because he had to come back with a flatbed , winch all the pieces onto it and clean up the street.


A 19 year old Ford Ranger in the “Rust Belt” You have 2 choices.

  1. Scrap the truck, it’s going to get worse fast, once it starts rusting, there is no stopping it.

  2. Replace the frame, the shipping cost on a decent frame is usually more then the truck is worth.

You have owned it for 10 yrs?

Yes, why do you ask?

Some people view rust differently. I went to look at a used car with “minor rust” underneath once and could put my arm through the holes! Everyone defines rust differently. Rust may have taken out a weld or similar. Do you have pictures?

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It’s 20 yrs old. 2 owners. 1st owner had it for 8 yrs. math tells me current owner has had it for the remainder? It’s a question.

Yes, that is correct. The previous owner had it from 2001 to approximately 2009 and ive had it 2009 to now. So roughly 10 years.

Just curious why you ask?

Yes I just took one. Let me see if I can figure out how to upload it here

Looking at that picture makes me think that this vehicle has reached the end of it’s use . There just has to be other places in that frame that ready to fail .

I would not spend the money to even try to repair this and would not feel comfortable about selling it or trading it to someone.


Thanks for the picture . . .

The root cause was definitely rust

The truck has provided several years of good use, but it’s time to retire it

I suggest selling it to a junk yard . . .whoever gives you the most . . . or donating it to your local npr-affiliated radio station. Either way is easy

I advise against trying to sell the truck private party, as the next owner might turn a deaf ear to your warnings about the frame, and he’ll simply use it as a daily driver. Then, when something catastrophic happens, he’ll turn around and sue you for all you’ve got and then some


There may be a way to sell it with a junk or salvage title but odds are it needs to just be scrapped.

You could take it to a real body/frame shop and have it looked at just to be sure. I am not talking about some hack with a welder.

I sold a car to someone years ago with a broken frame. The car was buckled and couldn’t even put it on a hoist. I told the buyer verbally and in writing that it was dangerous and for parts only. A few months later I saw the car driving down the road. Good advice from @db4690.


When I sold my 1979 Toyota 4X4 whose frame broke (from rust) behind the cab, I had the buyer sign a statement that it was for parts only and not to be used on the road. He had it hauled to his place.

My brother had a 1972 Datsun pickup where the frame rusted and broke. The engine was still great. He found another Datsun of about the same vintage with a blown engine, but a good frame. He bought the Datsun with the blown engine and swapped in the good engine. He got several more years of use from the second Datsun. He then discovered the frame was about to break from rust on the second Datsun truck. He took it to a welding shop. After the welder looked at it and finally recovered from a laughing attack, he said “Junk it” and that is what my brother did.

Speaking of cars breaking in half, I saw another episode of the tv show Pawn Stars the other day. The were considering purchasing this huge robot. I mean this thing was huge. It looked like it was over 20 feet tall at full height. It could grab a car with its hands, lift it up into the air, and crush it. They had a junkyard car there for demonstration, and that robot lifted and tore that car right in half with its robot hands. Blowing fire out of its mouth at the same time. An operator sat inside and controlled the action. The owners said it could bring in $20,000 a day in income for the owner at amusement parks, tractor-pull , big truck etc stadium events. The problem for the pawn store owner was the price: $1M. A little on the expensive side, but it was definitely a sight to see.