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oldmangrimes

Front suspension fail

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I had a bad start to my day, but I'm very lucky it could have been much worse.   Thank God nobody was hurt and I didn't cause an accident.broken.jpg.2c4baa660ffbb68111e7a49cd04c23f9.jpg

I had just replaced my lower engine mount a couple days ago, which was causing the engine to move around a lot.    Unfortunately it wasn't my only problem, and this morning when I tried to drive the Cutlass to work, I made it about 10 miles but after taking a 40mph sweeping curve to the left, on a two-lane road, my right front suspension failed.    Luckily I had straightened out of the turn, otherwise I would have rolled the car down into a ditch, or worse.   I tried to steer to the left into a driveway off the road, but my forward momentum wasn't enough to get there, obviously dragging the wheel sideways, jammed into the wheel well.

I was blocking most of the road, but was able to get out of the car and flag down oncoming traffic.   Luckily one of the first guys that stopped to help had some flares and set them up.   Another guy with a truck and a tow rope hooked onto the A-arm and dragged me 20 feet off the road into the driveway.   I was a few miles from town, so I had to wait a while for a tow-truck.   The sheriff came, added a couple flares, wished me luck, and left.   The first tow-truck was a flatbed, and the guy tried but couldn't get the car up onto the flatbed without causing more damage, so he called in another standard lift-truck to do the job.    Eventually that guy got the car secured and towed it back to my house and he managed to place it in my garage, where it will sit while I decide what to do with it.   I haven't had more than 2 minutes to look at it up close, I had to run to work.

The ball joint popped out, the axle was destroyed, the transmission dumped a ton of fluid, (which while the car was being towed ran back along the entire undercarriage and coated everything back to the rear bumper), the tire is probably not safe to use, and I'm sure a ton of other parts would need to be replaced.   The hub has less than 5k on it, but it took a big side-load so might be shot.   The brake lines were stretched, the plastic trim on the wheel well was slightly damaged, the front strut/spring assembly was twisted out of place, the tie rod was damaged, etc.967238199_damage2.jpg.c4c17840838a13a18c087665df952e60.jpg

Of course I SHOULD scrap the car, it's got 235k miles and has some other problems that aren't related.   But I really don't WANT to get rid of it, it's got a new top and I'd planned on keeping it forever.   I'm going to take a few days to calm down and think about it, and I can leave it in my garage for awhile.  But we only have one parking spot in my attached garage and my wife won't be happy about going out in the weather all winter.    The good news is that the belly stayed off the pavement, the fender metal seems ok, and the car might be savable.   I can manage the bolt-on stuff, but I'm mostly worried about the transmission/axle.    And of course since this failure happened, I'll replace everything on the drivers side too, as I'm sure it all is due for replacement.   

Unfortunately I won't have time to dig into it and assess anything until after Christmas, so I'll post an update in a couple months.   I don't have the money to take it to a shop now, although I may have to eventually if I can't do it myself.    In the meantime, I'd appreciate any advice from you guys.   This isn't a show car, just a driver, so I'm looking at ways to get it safely back on the road in time for next summer for less than $1000.    I can take other pictures if you want to see different angles, but I won't have time for much disassembly as I've got another car to drive and other projects screaming for my time and money.

Edited by oldmangrimes
clarifying

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I'm glad to see that you're doing alright, that definitely could have gone a lot worse. I wish you the best in repairing this car and hope to see it all fixed up.

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Ditto, probably just popped the CV out of the tranny. Assess the damage and I bet you'll find a leisurely day's worth of labor and a a few hundred dollars in parts.

From the picture I'd say CV and Ball joint, maybe a tie rod and if the tie rod is bent do the outer tie rod end because it'll be off anyways.

 

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There's A LOT that should be checked periodically. Ball joints at the top of the list, subframe bushings should be up there too.

Even living in a state with mandatory safety inspection I find stuff from time to time. 

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That was terrible! Must have been scary too! Good no one was hurt. Like everyone says, it won't take much to fix. Good luck with the repairs. You should be back in business by next summer. 

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