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Discussion Starter #1
Had an accident on on the way in to work this morning. Rearended another car stopped in my lane. My fault, just could not stop in time.
I am fine but my 97 T-Bird is not. Front end damage and air bags, you get the picture.
I am afraid they will total it. Only worth $4000 or so per KBB.

Not sure what they will do with it. If anyone can share a similar experience I would appreciate it.

I am just sick about it. I wasn't feeling well and had just come back from an overseas trip. So the jet lag probably factored in somewhere. Couple that with the LA traffic and it is a recipe for disaster.

I keep thinking it might not be to bad. A aftermarket hood(fix the rock chips), new radiator(so it runs cooler), new headlights(the old ones were yellow anyway), new windshield(the old was hazy from all the gravel dust), etc. But the insurance is a bit picky about how they do things.

Just looking for some sympathy I guess. Thanks for listening.

James
 

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Sweet T
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I hate to say it... but they're probably going to total the car. When the airbags go, it's usually a pretty safe assumption. They might not and you /might/ be able to buy it back from them and repair it. Just thought you might want to prepare yourself for the relatively likely outcome...

Looking on the bright side, though. Atleast you and the other driver are okay. I'm sure things will work out well for you in the end.
 

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Refrigerator Raider Hater
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you also mentioned the radiator, which means the rad support was damaged. At that point I'd ask them to total it.
 

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My damage was a tad over 4k and they totaled my car. I faxed them all my receipts of stuff i've done to my car and within a few hours I got a call back from the insurance company telling me they were cutting me a check for a lil over 4k and didnt total my car :) . So what I'm tryin to say is if they total it fight it.
 

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I've had both airbags go off when i smacked a deer. They totalled it and we bought it back for 130 dollars or something really small. This was also a mint 96 with only 90,000 on it. As long as their is no frame damage and its all just a ripped up hood, bumper, and other exterior parts i would buy it back if it gets totalled by insurance. My experience is that replacing the damn antenna was the hardest part of the hole hood/fender and bumper removal and installation. It really was not all that hard at all. I'll tell you one thing though when the airbags go off they mess up a lot of electronic stuff in and out of the dash. One of the horns died and the spiral wound ribbon wire for the cruise control was trashed (that took a while to find). Also if your smart you won't take the whole dash out just to get to the damn passenger airbag, and if your lucky the passenger airbag didn't distort enough to where you have to :( .
Either way i say it could take you about a month at the least from getting all the parts to painting the car, and its semi driveable during the whole process, illegal but driveable. That is if the frame isn't bent or anything more serious than exterior panels. My guess that if you need a new radiator, and your windsheild broke it might have more extensive damage than just bumper and fender parts. (I bet not having a windshield will help a lot with dash removal!!!!)

tony
 

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Find another one and use it for parts. I see alot of them out there all the time. I know how you feel. If I broke mine I'd be real upset too. Just and idea. Then you could drive one and fix the other. 2 bird's would be cool. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First of all I want to thank everyone for all your support.
Still working with the insurance but the initial feeling is they may total it.
The radiator and everything does need replaced. Will need to do some negotiation with the loss adjuster to get what I want.

I asked a few what if questions to the adjuster and she said I would have the option to buy it back if they totaled it but my settlement amount would be adjusted by the salvage cost.

So I am not sure yet if I will buy it back or not. Did some looking last night and seems I can find another one fairly reasonable. Being in LA they are fairly plentiful and in pretty good shape. Gotta have another one.

The main reason for keeping the wrecked one would be it does have the HD suspension on it with the 16" wheels which are all chromed. Also I just did the intake swap and a little other engine work. The AC is also the automatic kind which I really love, my 96 did not have that.
So do you guys think I can find a similar one out there? Will my wheels swap over either way? If I buy it back it technically would then have a salvage title right? Anything wrong with that?

Again, thats for all the support. I miss the Bird already.
James
 

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3rd Gear Chirper
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2,399 Posts
If they total it, buy it back. Easy as that. Strip the front end, pick up a sledge hammer, and that rad support should go right back into shape. New Cobra radiator swap when that's done. Windshield, have a pro do it, it's not easy to get it to seal right. all other front end parts should be easily changed. The airbags...drivers airbag comes out with 2 bolts, one on each side of the steering wheel. Passenger airbag, drop the glovebox, pull out the vent ducts, and there are 3 bolts holding it in. Should take about a half hour to change both airbags. You'll need new crash sensors too. They're up front on either side of the radiator support. Black box with a white and blue label on it. One on each side. Make sure you straighten the horn contacts behind the DS airbag when you have it out. If anything else is busted, like cruise control switches, those shouldn't be hard to change either. Our cars are really not that hard to work on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hotbird, thanks for the post. It gives me a little bit of confidence.

They did total the car. I went over on Saturday to look at it just in case I do not buy it back. The damage just does not seem that bad. The fenders are clean except for the very tip on one side. The front bumper really does not look like it got hit straight on. My nose was so low when I hit that it hit right at the headlights. The rad support is bent and the radiator. I did not check the AC condensor, but nothing is leaking.
The windshield is cracked but it is behind the rear view mirror.

I am thinking the same as Hotbird. Buy it back. Cobra radiator and fan assy.. Add the tranny cooler because I understand the Cobra radiator does not have one. Pick as many parts up as I can at the Pick-a-Part and aftermarket. End up with a cleaner Bird than I started. That way I can fix it like I want to.
If I do rebuild it do I need a factory manual? Where can I get ahold of one?

Thanks again,
James
 

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3rd Gear Chirper
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Sounds like it wasn't so bad after all. :thumbsup: You shouldn't need a factory manual because most of this is body work and right now I can't think of anything that would take a manual to figure out how to remove. Front clip, fenders, radiator, condenser, crash sensors, headlights, airbags...those all come off easily. Just make sure that when you do the crash sensors you also change the safing sensor, which is behind the drivers side kick panel, looks very similar to the front primary crash sensors. Once you change these, then do the airbags. (If you do the airbags first, then reconnect the battery without changing the sensors, the new bags will deploy due to the old sensors being in the "crash" state.) Good luck...I hope to see another Bird saved from the crusher.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thought I would update you guys on what happened with my wrecked Bird.

Insurance company made me a final offer yesterday. After a little bit of discussion I will get about $4500 for it. I do not think that is all that bad considering that also includes my deductable, sales tax on a new car, DMV reg fees, plus I get to keep my old car.
Something to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in the same situation.
Know exactly what options are on the car and how much they are worth.
Account for every penny spent on the car. It may help it may not. All the routine maintainence stuff I did would not count toward the offer price.
As I said before, ask about the sales tax that you have to pay when buying a new car, registration fees, etc.. I was reimbursed for all that.
I also can not thank you guys enough for your support. The information I was able to glean from this web site helped greatly in getting this all sorted out. The topper there was finding a window sticker for a 97 in one of the forums and telling the insurance guy he was wrong about the value of the power/light package. That got me an extra $200 just like that.

Well I am looking for another 97 right now. If anyone knows of one please let me know. The old one is going into the garage and start a repair process.

Thanks again,
James
 
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