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Old 02-05-2015, 04:00 PM   #1
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Post Oh No! Curb Damage Report

Took my 95 in to get an alignment today.

Back in December I hit a curb pretty badly, and as a result had to replace my passenger side front upper & lower control arms. I discovered my outer tie rod end on that side was completely shot, and had virtually no resistance, which probably contributed to why I lost traction while turning and ran into the curb!

Anyhow, I've replaced the control arms, as well as both outer tie rod ends and sway bar end links. The car drives firm, and handles much better than it did before the incident, so I just needed the alignment. The shop inspected it today and cannot adjust the toe. They're saying the control arm is too far off its original position, indicating a bent crossmember. They also said the steering rack needs replaced - passenger tie rod is slightly bent, and the rack is losing fluid.

Long story short it'll take over $1,700 to have this shop do the repairs. I trust the shop, but that's more than half the value of this car. I'm already a few hundred dollars into it just from the work I've done, but I don't know if I should try to replace the crossmember or steering rack myself. Anyone have any thoughts? (keeping in mind I'd prefer to keep the vehicle)

Also: if I replace the steering rack, is there a better one, performance, etc. that I could use? (This is the 3.4 v6, but might as well replace with an upgrade if I do it...)
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Old 02-05-2015, 05:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
and cannot adjust the toe. They're saying the control arm is too far off its original position, indicating a bent crossmember.

I could see a cross member issue if they couldn't adjust the caster or camber.
But can't adjust the toe doesn't seem right for some reason.
Just sayin.
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:23 PM   #3
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I'll have more details tonight, going to pick up the car in a few minutes. I'll try to get all the specs from the alignment, if they got that far. From talking on the phone it sounds like when they saw the issues they just aborted mission.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:33 PM   #4
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Try and get some pictures of the damage for us.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:33 AM   #5
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Here's some pics, sorry it took a bit, I always have a hard time getting pictures to post in forums. Something usually goes wrong at least once.


First a look at how bad the damage to the suspension was, with the wheel off. And... the wheel.

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Old 02-10-2015, 12:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoaRyan View Post
Here's some pics, sorry it took a bit, I always have a hard time getting pictures to post in forums. Something usually goes wrong at least once.


First a look at how bad the damage to the suspension was, with the wheel off. And... the wheel.

Attachment 31876 Attachment 31877 Attachment 31878
Yep, there's some serious issues there, maybe more than just a k member.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:15 PM   #7
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I've had to replace the following: Passenger side upper & lower control arms (lower was bent, upper became loose), both came with a ball joint (lower is Moog upper is stock), and the salad 'shooter' wheel.

Here's everything getting put back together with the wheel off.

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Things that may need replacement: hub bearing assemblies (both), engine crossmember, all 4 ball joints.

Here's why I think this. Hubs are 170k miles old, and one of them just got smacked head-on (or side-on, technically). Because I was trying to steer out of the slide I had to turn toward the curb, probably at about 20+ MPH. That can't be good on a new wheel bearing, much less an old one. Ball joints because I now have 3 different components. The originals on the driver's side, and two different ones of unknown age on the passenger. And lastly the crossmember may be bent, making a proper alignment impossible. I'll expand on this in another post.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:29 PM   #8
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All right, last post for now. So my crossmember may be bent, according to the alignment shop. They basically centered my steering wheel by adjusting the tie rods (I think), and then discovered that the bolts were not in their original location on the damaged side. I told them, well yeah, because I installed a new control arm and didn't put it in exactly the same spot. My limited understanding of how alignment adjustments work led me to believe that's what they do to get it set just right.

So, I don't know whether they tried to adjust anything, and failed, or just assumed that it wouldn't work out right. I'd like to determine specifically what is out of spec before I just go buy a crossmember. Technically I could do the job in my garage because I have a cherry picker that could support the engine while I swap the parts, but that's a lot of work and I want to make sure it's the right thing to do. As NavyVet said I could have more than a bent crossmember.

My question, if anyone can help, is how do I determine what's wrong? After leaving the alignment shop my pull to the right was worse. I assumed they "reset" the toe, so I measured and determined it was toed out a bit. I took it in and it does drive straighter, but still pulls. Does this mean my caster is greater on the right side? If so, would I need to adjust the rear LCA bolt to compensate (if possible)
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:55 PM   #9
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Caster shouldn't make it pull, it's most likely a camber issue.
Caster is what makes the wheels want to straighten out like the front wheels on a grocery cart.
Cross member and K member are the same.


As for toe, they are supposed to center the steering wheel first and then adjust the tie rods to set the toe on each side.


They should be able to tell if the K member is bent by comparing the location of the front wheels.
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:12 PM   #10
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Did some math last night to approximately determine my camber. I found that in fact I do
have NEGATIVE Camber on the driver side, and POSITIVE Camber on the passenger side.

I used a level and tape measure to do a very crude estimate of the angle, so I had to move about 2mm on the driver's side to get level, and 4+mm on the passenger's side (but in the positive direction - top of the wheel sticks out further than the bottom). With my rims that translates to (again, roughly) -0.5° camber driver side, and +1° or 1.5ish° camber passenger side.

Since I made the mistake of thinking adjusting the toe would somehow help I'll have to adjust that back to a more normal setting. It does drive straighter, but this will burn through my tires pretty fast. I have nothing else to drive right now, so I'll have to just live
with the pull until I can get things fixed.

It wouldn't surprise me if this is bad for the power steering pump, but I may have to do a full steering rebuild/replacement because of this anyhow. I know I'm leaking some fluid from the steering rack, and the shop recommended that be replaced.

My plan is to get started, or finished, on my S10 project. The (V6) engine has some internal problem that may be a shot bearing, though I won't know for sure until I pull it out and tear it apart. I have a 350 in my garage, but it needs some work to get ready to put in the truck.
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:18 PM   #11
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**One more thing - The adjustment for camber on the passenger side is all the way out, I cannot move it out any farther, so this is (I guess) the best it can get without replacing more stuff.

How about a different pic for a nice change of scenery? This is Emily left, WITH a new wheel, and my 350 on the right, waiting to be partially rebuilt.

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Old 02-11-2015, 04:42 PM   #12
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Toe is supposed to be zero on these cars and yes it is critical.
You can kill a set of front tires in a few hundred miles.
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:47 PM   #13
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Personally, I would have gone to the bone yard and just taken a whole other front end...K-member, control arms, brakes, everything, and just bolted it right in...

This would also tell you if you stretched the uni-body at all...plus it's easier to change bushings and tie rods later, but you wouldn't be dealing with alignment issues now that apparently will plaque you for the rest of the cars life...
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyVet View Post
Toe is supposed to be zero on these cars and yes it is critical.
You can kill a set of front tires in a few hundred miles.
Reset toe last night, based on how much I had adjusted it previously. This weekend I'll be able to measure again, using the vehicle's track as a guide to set up parallel lines with strings, and see how close to zero I am now.




I like how this article explains the effects of differing camber side-to-side, it helps me understand what's going on/what's wrong. AGCO Automotive Repair Service - Baton Rouge, LA - Detailed Auto Topics - Wheel Alignment, Camber and Caster

And the recluse - Yeah at this point that might've been the easier route to go. Of course I don't have a way to pull a suspension system out like that at a yard. I've seen an (unknown condition) front suspension on eBay for $300, could have had that shipped to my driveway lol.

You know, the moral of this whole story is -- DO NOT RUN INTO CURBS. I'm really paying penance to my Camaro for this. But the bright side of it, at least for me is, I'm learning all about suspensions and how to work on them, and how different components interact. It's really going to come in handy on my truck, which at 150k miles is due for some freshening up when I put the new engine in.

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Old 02-12-2015, 12:25 PM   #15
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All you need if you can find an LT1 car without an engine in it are 3 sockets and some extensions. As far as I know, that's pretty much all that's needed, aside from a way to get that out of the yard and onto your truck.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:52 PM   #16
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Right, and that's what I don't have right now, lol! That and the truck. I have an engine, cherry picker, and truck all within 20' of each other. Just need the engine in the truck, then the cherry picker in the bed, easier said than done. But it'll get done.
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:34 PM   #17
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Where are you located? I'm about to take a 95 lt1 parts car to scrap and it's got the entire front end under it.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:12 PM   #18
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Oh nice, I'm in central Oklahoma. That suspension would be basically the same as mine, except for the coilovers, right? I have the v6. Also I might be getting my frame checked out before buying anything, would hate to go through the work just to find out the frame was off the whole time.

(Cause I've already done enough work for having done it wrong lol!)
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Old 02-13-2015, 01:41 PM   #19
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Ah I thought for some reason you had a V8 car. My k member wouldn't work for you as V6 and V8 k members are different.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Ah I thought for some reason you had a V8 car. My k member wouldn't work for you as V6 and V8 k members are different.
Maybe it was this:

Lots of people think I have a V8 when the engine's turned off ^.^

Uneducated people still think I do when it's running... Truthfully my little 3.4 sounds nice at low RPMs, but damn once you get up about 3 grand it's a little embarrassing haha. Benefits/curses of opening up the exhaust flow.
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