Truck frame stretching needs to be done right for the safety of the vehicle in question. You cannot just stretch your truck frame with a cheap process and hope to end up with a safe truck that will hold up to daily use. This is why it matters to be sure that you are going to be paying for quality work.
The average cost is $1500-$2,000. For some makes and models of trucks, you will find that it can be $3,000-$4,000. Added costs are related to extending the driveshaft and lines and wiring.
The final cost of the frame stretching will depend on the make and model of the truck in question. If you want to learn more about the costs associated with truck frame stretching, read on?
Does the Length of the Stretch Affect the Cost?
Overall, the length of the stretch that you are paying for can affect the cost. You might double the cost of the process if you are having to extend the frame more than a little bit. The more cutting that you need to do and the more that you need to extend lines and the driveshaft, the more cost you will add to the job.
If you are extending more than 24”, you will need to add additional plates of metal to the frame and this can add hundreds to the cost. You will find that a long frame extension can cost as much as $5,000-$6,000. You should be aware that this might also make the truck drive in a less ideal way.
Remember that you will have to pay labor for this job as well. The hourly cost will be around $50-$100 an hour depending on the complexity of the job that is being done.
What is the Process of Stretching a Frame?
You will increase the length of the frame by cutting out the part that needs to be made longer. You will need to then install additional metal to make the frame longer and still strong. The average cost for each foot of extension is about $50/foot.
There is a limit to how much you can safely stretch a truck frame. Even if a shop will take care of this need for you, you should always consider whether or not the length change is worth the cost and if it will be safe.
How Much Does a Frame Extension Cost?
There are variables that can add to your cost. You might find that there is existing frame damage that needs to be shored up and there might be other problems that lead to added costs. Having to fix and change the wiring, driveshaft, and more might add to your overall costs.
The condition and age of your truck can make the project more or less expensive for you to undertake. It can be worth it to ask an expert or a mechanic to take a look at your truck before you decide to commit to this large job. You might find out that your overall costs will be so high due to the age and condition of your truck that the frame extension does not make sense to pay for.
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Wiring can be expensive to change or alter in a vehicle, and you might find that your overall cost for lengthening your truck frame can be increased by the amount that it will cost to rewire large portions of your truck’s existing wire harness. You might expect as much as $1,000-$1,500 in added wiring costs for this job. This can be especially true if your truck is older or has other wiring changes that need to be made at the same time.
Drivetrain repairs and changes can also add up and you might find that you will add $1,000-$3,000 in drivetrain refitting costs to the job as well. This is one of the main reasons why people are hesitant to commit to a frame extension that will be longer than 24”. The added costs for the changes to the truck frame can really add up when you get to this increased length.
To create a frame extension that is 24” or more, you might expect to increase the base price by as much as $5,000-$8,000. This might mean that the job is not worth it overall for your needs. You might not gain enough benefit from the extension and the costs associated with it to be worth having undertaken the project.
Always remember that older trucks might not be a good fit for this process as they will be likely to have wear and tear as well as worn-out parts that might get in the way of your overall frame extension process. The safety and security of the frame of your truck matter, and a frame extension can be a big mistake if it is going to threaten the structural integrity of the vehicle.
Will I Need to Add Tires to My Costs?
In some cases, the frame extension that you have paid for will necessitate adding tires to your truck. This might be overall beneficial to the stability of the vehicle as well as the weight of the load that it can carry, but this might also increase your overall cost. The cost of annual maintenance can increase as well with more tires attached to the truck.
You will find that semi-truck tires can cost about $500-$1,000 each. You should always make sure not to buy cheap tires that will not hold up and it can be a consideration to add tires that are not the same age as your existing tires.
If you are going to need to change out all the tires on your truck at the same time due to the frame extension, you might find that this stage of the process by itself can add $3,000-$4,000 to your total outflow for the frame extension. If you are not sure how much additional cost in truck upkeep you will have annually, you just need to add the cost of the two extra tires to your overall annual considerations.
This might mean that you will have as little as $500 in added annual costs or you could have as much as $1,500 in added annual costs related to the additional tires that have been added due to your frame extension.
Can Using a Donor Truck Help With Costs?
In many cases, a donor truck can help with costs for your frame extension. You will be able to get the best deal for your parts when you buy a donor vehicle for your frame extension process. This donor can provide you with all the drive shaft, wiring, and parts that you need for your frame extension at a great cost. Buying new will almost always be more expensive and you can often sell the donor rig’s remaining parts for some cashback on your overall frame extension job.
While a used and serviceable semi-truck might cost about $20,000, you will often be able to buy a semi at auction that will run you about $10,000 or less. You will have lots of parts left over when your frame extension is complete that will help compensate for the small amount of additional money that buying a donor rig has added to your overall cost.
Being able to get back about $1,000-$3,000 from your donor vehicle can help you to pay for your frame extension with ease. By the time you have saved all of this money on parts and reduced the cost of shipping and other considerations related to trying to buy new parts for your frame extension, you will almost always be many thousands of dollars ahead of the game.
Always remember to get some help buying your donor truck so that you get all the parts that you need for your frame extension. In some limited cases, the shop that is doing the frame extension for you might have some scrapped or soon-to-be auctioned trucks on the lot that you can buy for your parts needs. While this is not always the case, it can be worth it to ask if this is an option.
Frame Extensions Can be Expensive Without Some Preparation
There are many ways to save money on your frame extension, from donor trucks to used parts. You should still be sure that all of your parts and the process that is used to extend your frame is correct so that your truck can be operated safely and without issues, once the extension is done.
Make sure to budget for wiring and driveshaft changes and always ask the shop that is going to do the extension for you to evaluate the condition of your truck before you commit to the frame extension process. Being aware of all of the added costs and potential pitfalls ahead of time can save you a lot of money overall.