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  #1  
Old 10-19-2011, 10:24 PM
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Dieselkiss Dieselkiss is offline
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Default 99 RAM Vs Loaded 18 wheeler trailer!! Repairs advice sought.

I've not been online here for, gosh almost a year?? Thanks to work and life commitments, but thought I'd update you in an incident I suffered.
A few months back while driving 18 wheelers for one of the US' largest haulage firms, I stopped outside the office to collect my paper work, slipped my '99 Ram 1500 into park and popped in.
I came out a few minutes later and the first thought that went through my head was "I'm sure I parked her just here".
My second thought was someone had stolen her. That made no sense, the gate would have stopped someone else driving my pick up. So glancing around I spotted her. Back end wedged under the corner of a parked up, fully loaded 18 wheeler trailer!!!!!!
To say I was gutted would be a mild understatement. My truck has 200,000 miles on her and though she runs like a dream she is of course getting on in years now. Turns out, I'd not fully put her into P and sitting idling she'd slipped into R and flew backwards across the yard into the trailer.
I am rather fortunate though, because the trailer was parked next to our diesel pumps and had it not been there she would have slammed straight into them and things could have been an awful lot worse. Also everyone else's cars are parked around the permiter of this area and it could have smashed into someones car. The trailer didn't even blink, not a scratch on it. Dodge Ram 0 - 20 Ton Trailer 1 !!!
Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Now, if I leave her idling, I always use the handbrake.
Not sure if here's the right place to ask, but I'd like some repair advice.
The damage doesn't look so bad on the photo, but it's worse than it looks.
The tailgate is not an issue, I have a donor truck with a flawless tailgate, and I bought a brand new rear light for her (Which is kind of jerry-rigged in place because it no longer fits into all the holes). However, my donor truck is a short bed and mine is the full length bed so switching out the whole bed is not an option.
I'm torn on how to go about the repair. The area where the tailgate locks in at the side and the top of the bed (around the first hole) is completely mangled - stretched and buckled to all holy heck - to the point I actually had to use a crow bar and brute force and ignorance to get the tailgate off. I'm reluctant to pay a body shop to repair the area because honestly, I just can't afford it and I like fixing my own truck. I've done body work before but not to this extent.
So I've considered chopping out the damaged area from my truck, doing the same on the donor and welding the section from the donor back in. I've also considered cutting out smaller sections and using fibreglass or epoxy repair to fill in the removed sections and then shaping accordingly.
How would you go about this repair and do you guys have any advice??

Sorry for the long thread, but I thought the story was a lesson best shared, and if this is the wrong place for it, by all means move the thread.

Thanks.
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Last edited by Dieselkiss; 10-19-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:15 AM
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Well, the corner piece will either have to be straightened or cut out. I'd cut it out and use the undamaged portion of the short box to replace it.

Weld it in, random spots so as not to heat and buckle the metal, work your way all around with the welder, grind and smooth, a little filler, primer and paint. That way you don't have to do anything to pattern the area for new metal or use the tail light as a pattern to make a new tail light slot.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:18 AM
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Thanks for the advice maddog. I laid awake in bed considering the concept of filler and epoxy and coming the the conclusion that shape and alignment to the level I'd want would just be a nightmare - not to mention that I'm not entirely sure that the locking pin for that side of the tailgate would be secure enough in an epoxy set up. I woke up this morning thinking that, yep, cut and weld would be the best option so am glad someone with some experience backed that up for me lol
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:47 PM
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yup cut it off and replace with the shortbox piece, and yeah i can see how mangled it is cuz the box tacks a hell of a turn before the stack pocket lol
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:59 PM
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wow that sucks to hear! It definitely could have been a lot worse!!!!
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