Gary’s post about the truck with the bent frame reminded me of an incident we had at our shop a few years ago. One of our accounts that we took care of their trucks for was The Humane Society. Prior to us taking over that account their trucks had been taken care of by the city where they were located. Over the years as they upgraded their fleet with newer trucks they would remove the custom built box on the rear of the old trucks and then install them on the newer ones. What we did not know (and obviously nor did they) was the trucks were not rated to carry the heavy custom utility beds. What they were “supposed” to do was install a structural support plate near the middle of the frame in what is known as “the crinkle zone.”
Without the plate the weight of the utility bed is just too much for the frame which is simply too flimsy to withstand. One day while we were servicing one of them my foreman came to my office and said, “Hey, you better come out here. You are not going to believe this.
The crew had racked up one of the trucks which we had done countless times before and in fact had been working underneath the truck for some time as they performed a routine service. All of a sudden and without warning the rear of the bed simply relaxed and lowered itself to the floor while the cab of the truck remained in it’s original position.
I have to tell you it was something you just don’t see every day and for a while I didn’t know if we should leave it for the insurance company to see or take our chances and lower it before it fell off doing even more damage. Wait… did I say more damage? How much more can there be when the car is bent in half!
Eventually we carefully lowered the truck and I began making some calls and interestingly enough it was the insurance company who pointed out the missing plate that had not been installed. That bit of information instantly placed the financial burden on the city who had neglected to install the bed properly in the first place.
The funny thing was instead of repairing the frame they had a complete new frame installed which I thought seemed like overkill at the time. They asked me if I could help figure out how to get the truck delivered to a body shop down the street and since a tow truck could not do it in the shape it was in I just drove it down there. That’s right, I drove it and it was a sight to see as it looked like something out of a 30’s Laurel & Hardy movie.