Rebuilding after crash...any input appreciated

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by massmikey, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. massmikey

    massmikey Member

    Hello's been a bit. Glad to be here...Glad to be anywhere.
    Eighteen months ago I was struck by a senseless cage driver. After months of rehabbing a shattered and nearly lost right leg I'm ready to get the show back on the road. I bought my insurance company totaled 2002 FLHRC-I back from them for just a couple grand knowing that worse case senario I could part it out and get double that. I dont want to rebuild a bike that may not be fit for riding due to something that I'm overlooking. I know that there are some great minds here and I respect the opinions shared. Hopefully I can get my beautiful baby back up and going.
    The Hit:
    After braking Id say my forward speed had decelerated to about 20-25 mph. The car had pulled directly perpendicular to my direction while attempting a 3 point turn on a 2 lane bridge with wide breakdown lanes. I almost made it by her rear end but she continued her turn and thru it in reverse and slammed into my crash bar and leg. I continued straight while the Road King went left and a little backwards. Her speed had to be only a mile or two an hour.
    The damage:
    Amazingly it seems that the big bagger doesn't look too bad. The crash bar is bent back 75 degrees. Light bar and headlight torn and frayed. The rest is just road rash and not difficult to figure out.
    So with this general idea of the speed and area of the impact on the bike, is there anything that I can do to test the integrety of the frame...that's my biggest concern. After the safety concern Im ready to transform the bike into a more Street Glide look by adding a fairing and hard bags. The bike as it stood and yoy know has many different looks attained by removable windshields, bags and backrests. I'd like to throw the fairing and solid bags into the cloths closet.
    Kudos to all the contributers here.
  2. tourbox

    tourbox Senior Member

    As you stated the Frame is the main thing. On your ins. claim did show a defective frame? Some can be straightened by a good shop. Other things can easily be replaced or changed.
    Keep us posted.
  3. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

  4. massmikey

    massmikey Member

    I never saw any report papers from the insurance company....just that it was totalled and the buy back price. My guess is that the biggest chunk of cost of repair was 100+$/hr labor including paint labor as the machine will need it. Not so much from the accident but from the tow drivers shoddy job lifting the bike. big dent in tank from lift chain no doubt. How does a frame shop check trueness and integrety of the frame?
  5. Jennmarr

    Jennmarr Junior Member

    The frames on the touring bikes are very strong. Generally speaking it takes a pretty stout hit to bend one. However, there are a couple of vulnerable areas that will almost always automatically total a bike. One is the frame tab where the engine guard attaches near the top of the down tubes. If that tab is torn the insurance calls that frame damage and they write the estimate to include a new frame. The labor costs of replacing the frame usually result in a "total" loss. The other area is the frame tab where the saddlebag guards attach. Same rules apply here. Bent or broken tab = frame damage in their eyes. Generally, neither one of those locations is a threat to the structural integrity of the frame, and both can be repaired rather easily. The dealerships doing the insurance work don't want to repair frames because of the liability involved and because a totaled bike often results in a new bike sale.
    As to how to check a frame. To really check one requires that it be stripped and put in a stand. However, a close visual inspection will go a long way to answering your concerns. Look closely at each piece of the frame. Especially at the joints. Does it look straight? Any stretched welds? Are there any places where the paint is cracked? Are the fork tubes bent? Is the rear tire still centers in the swingarm? Does the belt rub when the bike is rolled? Look closely at the rear transmission mount. Side impacts often break the transmission case there.
    I hope this helps. Be patient and be thorough and you should get along just fine.
  6. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    WOW!! I had a head-on with a cage that was going the wrong way on the HOV on 59 in Houston. Rush hour, and the idiot kept going despite facing over a mile of on-coming traffic.

    Anyway, I had the chance to buy my bike from the insurance company too. I was worried that there may be some frame damage that was not visual and could not be detected until the coating was removed and the welds all UV or magnafluxed.

    And then, the front of the bike was a serious mess with all the fairings and wiring trashed. I felt like it was gonna take too long for me to do this (especially since my little bike is still waiting on an engine and tranny overhaul!!). So I opted not to.

    I would be very vigilant on the neck of the frame unless there was just no load on the fork or front end. With a side crash, I can't really imagine there not being a lateral load on the neck, but there may have been sand or something else that reduced the bike's bite on the road. Just make sure about the integrity there.

    Best of luck to you. Take lots of pix and do a story about the rebuild of your bike. We love to see that kind of thing!!