Fixing a Mustang 2016 Conv EcoBoost after accident, Salvaging the rear-end, trunk, taillights

pb0000

New Member
Jun 22, 2018
5
0
1
47
California
Hi, I just thought I'd post here what I'm learning as I'm fixing up a Convertible 2016 Stang that was in a rear accident. Was hit by a truck at low speed mostly above the rear bumper, crushed the trunk, broke the tail lights, scarred the rear bumper cover, destroyed the center panel between the tail lights, and placed a dent in the rear passenger quarter. Ended up eventually figuring out the metal between the tail lights was pushed in about 3 inches. I have taken the car back from insurance as a salvage, they were saying 12K in damage, I'm trying to fix myself for about 1K. Keep in mind the car really isn't that bad, just minimal rear damage.

1. The tail lights are really not serviceable BUT if you CAREFULLY use two flathead screwdrivers, you can pop apart the welded outer and inner covers. You can see where they are ultrasonically welded by the small "dots". Once you get inside, you can access the internal circuit board and the LEDS. I have bought three used tail lights so far and two of three have bad circuit boards, so BEWARE buying used tail lights. The circuit boards and LEDs are side specific, you can't swap right to left parts unfortunately.

2. I found a place in Hayward, CA; D&S Bumper, that perfectly fixed my pretty tortured rear bumper cover. Came back in primer, but they fixed holes and pretty bad distortion without using much filler at all. Cost was $250.

3. I painted my bumper cover outside using spray cans of all things. I didn't have access to a paint shop and thought I'd try. I used SEM brand YZ white spray cans and urethane clear that you push the bottom of the can to activate catalyst. Once activated you have three days to use, but can extend time by placing in a fridge. It came out pretty good, a little hard to get good flow on the clear but fine for a bumper. The paint seems more fragile than my usual painting in a booth. The white isn't perfect match, going to paint my trunk in a booth using more conventional approach.

4. While putting the bumper back on, I finally realized the rear metal structure between the tail lights was pushed in about three inches. Harder to tell than you would think because the trunk lid was equally crushed in. After a lot of thought and experimentation, I ended up using lumber to build a brace in the trunk, a T shaped brace that extended across the trunk at the braces behind the seat, and then down to the inside of the well for the trunk tire. I placed some lumber inside the trunk where the trunk latches too. I then used the mustang jack to push out from my wood braces. Thankfully it moved back pretty easily once I had it really well built rig set-up. I was able to push it back to where it should be. One positive side affect was that most the dent on the rear passenger quarter fixed itself once I pushed this panel back into place. I did learn that a lot of hydraulic jacks don't work sideways or upside down, the simple screw driven jack that comes with the mustang was perfect for the job.

Will add pictures when I get a chance, next step is getting a trunk, painting it, installing, and then going through whatever salvage title hoops California has for me...

I hope this info might help folks out that are trying to fix their 2015-2018 mustangs on their own from a mild rear end accident.
 

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pb0000

New Member
Jun 22, 2018
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California
Few more pics... one with bumper cover off and close up off inside of tail light. The LEDS and circuit board can't be swapped from left to right on these tail lights unfortunately.
 

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pb0000

New Member
Jun 22, 2018
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47
California
Spent almost all day yesterday trying to figure out what is required now in the state of California to get this car back on the road. Actually stopped into AAA headquarters (our insurance provider), hard to get info from people off the phone. This is what I've figured out so far:

1. When we took the car back as a total loss, AAA insurance sent in a form called "Salvage Vehicle, Notice of Retention by Owner" to California DMV. That went in a few weeks ago.
2. There is a back log of 8 weeks at the DMV for this form to get processed. If I go into the DMV, they wont be able to help me until this form is processed. Upside is I think there is no way that a police officer will know about the status of the car until the DMV processes this. So I'm driving it, no choice.
3. I can get an inspection done on the car now if I want, think I will, it's good for 90 days. That's done by the CHP not the DMV. I'll need that and more once the DMV processes that form.
4. In order for me to retain my accident damage insurance, I needed to send in proof of repair to AAA insurance within 30 days otherwise they were going to cancel it. I sent in a bunch of photos of the repaired car via email, not sure that will work or not, will see.

I was hoping to get this all done fast, but apparently I can't. Car does look good, need to do a few more tweeks only. I lucked out, found a trunk in southern California on craigslist that had the right options, my brother painted it white. The spray can clear I used (catalyzed 2k) really was not a good choice for the bumper, it is not real durable but its all I had.
 

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pb0000

New Member
Jun 22, 2018
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47
California
Finished now... did the following “red tape”:
1. Received original title in the mail from insurance company.
2. Had a “brake and light inspection” done for $100. Was kind of a joke, took them 5 minutes to do. Received a cert from them, was done by a mechanic certified for this work by the state.
3. Went to DMV; took 5 1/2 hours there, but everyone was waiting that long. They took my title, brake and light cert, and two forms I filled out. They did an inspection at the DMV, really just a VIN check, took 5 minutes. They took my plates and gave me new ones and a new reg tag. New rebuilt salvage title will be coming in the mail. I spent $102 at the DMV, less than the $250 I expected.

That’s it, all done.