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Bent frame Silverado

Remember a couple weeks back I was looking for a particular wheel and I posted a picture of the damage to the one I have? Well because of very bad weather and the fact that my “garage” is a dormant Maple tree with mud for a floor, I just finished the disassembly yesterday.

First inspection did not reveal any frame damage and I thought that I got very lucky, considering that the impact with the culvert pulled the lower ball joint clean out of the A arm and the upper ball joint clean out of the socket and the tie rod ball joint broke cleanly in half. But after getting everything out, cleaning out some of the mud, leaves and pine straw and all the pieces of the inner fender liner, it appears not so.

Sorry I left the caliper in the picture, It’s just sitting on the upper control arm for now. But the frame where the trailing edge of the control arm attaches (rear bushing) is pushed in about a half inch and the the front attachment point is pulled out about the same, pushes the upper ball joint back about the same amount.

The lower control arm does not appear to have moved, maybe because of the big ole torsion bar holding it in place.

I have a friend who owns a body shop that can straighten the frame for me (small discount but he will be paid) or I can get an offset upper ball joint that can account for that small change in caster. Which do you think is best. I.m not sure I trust the offset ball joint as I think it would be weaker. It’s made for lifted suspensions.

It would help if we knew roughly how much :heavy_dollar_sign: to pull it back

that would be my personal preference, were this my truck . . . but it depends on the cost of the repair, and also depends on the value of the truck

I haven’t asked him for a price yet. Trucks like this one do get a pretty penny around here.

In that case, it’s definitely worth it to fix the frame

It’s worse than I thought. My friend with the body and frame shop told me that it would be worse than I thought but he has owned Chevy pick ups all his life and really knows them well. He gave me a list of things to look at and sure enough, even thought there is no body damage, the passenger door will not open, even though the gaps all around it are good.

Both control arms are bent and so is the steering knuckle. When he told me that it would be bent (sight unseen) I did not believe him, bend a steering knuckle? But sure enough, it is bent. The hub survived. Anyway it is up in his shop now. Probably going to cost around 2 grand but the truck has a fair market value in this area of about $5k. For $2k, there is no way I’ll get anything like it so I’m biting the bullet.

I may have him replace the control arms on the drivers side just so everything is matched up. Maybe lower back to its stock ride height while he’s at it.

Actually, I’ve seen a bent steering knuckle before and believe it or not it was not a collision that did it. Someone at a quicky brake shop somehow managed to bend it while trying to perform a brake job.
How on God’s Green Earth they did this I do not know but it’s believed to have involved an 8 foot cheater pipe.

I hear you about the control arms and steering knuckle

But what about the bent frame . . . ?!

Control arms and steering knuckle are easy to replace, but I’d be more concerned about the frame

Being as how the passenger door has problems I would be pessimistic that things will ever be as it should. Does your insurance cover anything? Personally I would let it go. What year? Miles?

Must be a pretty old truck if the market value is $5K, I assume you have faith that the rest of the truck has a long trouble-free future in it?

Steering knuckle failure isn’t rare. We have a 2017 Wrangler in the shop that’s a sublet to us from a body shop. RF impact broke the wheel and bent the knuckle. No damage to frame or axle though.

It’s on the frame machine now. The frame bent just behind the upper control arm mount weld and just after the first body mount, so it is putting a strain on the column the door attaches to. When that part of the frame is pulled out, it will take the strain off that column, but it is also going to need a new body mount cushion and bolt. The frame is also bent just forward of the upper control arm mount weld. This is the one the body guy says is tricky because the frame rolled there. The whole frame where the upper control arm is mounted is pushed in about 2" as well as bent. He says he has seen a lot worse and is very experienced with Silverados.

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sounds like your truck is in good hands :+1:

It’s out of the shop and back on the road.


great to hear!
did you do an alignment?
any troubles getting wheels point where they are supposed to be? :slight_smile:

Yes to the alignment but there was an issue. The truck had 9 x 17" Motometal wheels with a 32mm offset but one wheel got destroyed in the impact, the stock spare tire wheel 7.5 x 17" steel wheel with a 12mm offset was on the rebuilt side. The alignment equipment would not work.

I had 4 stock styled steel wheels I got from ebay, went back to Wallmart where I had just bought the new tires a week before the accident and they remounted the three good tires on my “new to me wheels” and replaced the fourth tire under the road hazard warranty and mounted it on the remaining new wheel. Then it went straight to the alignment shop for an alignment.