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Old 03-23-2004, 06:30 PM   #1
Corn-Picker
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Exclamation Hit a curb hard at an auto-x, what might be screwed up?

Well, I managed to do some damage at an auto-x...

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=525832

I'm curious as to what could be wrong with my car besides the three rims (one fragged, and two with lips bent slightly), and two tires (a few chunks of rubber missing from them).

Here are the positives:
#1 Car leaks no fluid
#2 A quick visual inspection found nothing obviously bent or wrong
#3 Car feels "normal" when driving except for a pull to the left
#4 Car had no shakes/wobbles up to 55 mph (I was on the donut spare so I didn't go any faster than this)

Here are the negatives
#1 Damn I hit the curb hard (I would say about 25-30 mph into a 5 inch curb, but I'm not 100% sure of the speed)
#2 The steering wheel is about 15 degrees off in the clockwise direction, and it pulls to the left (the opposite way that the steering wheel is offset).

Any ideas on what could be wrong underneath? I'm taking it to a tire/alignment shop tomorrow (or whenever my new rims and tires come in), and I want to get an idea of what the cost could be. Hopefully I can get away with only tires and rims, but judging from how my week has been going this far, (2 other major problems, I guess things do come in threes) I doubt that'll happen...

Thanks a lot for any help you can provide.
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:35 PM   #2
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u may have just put it out of alginment. i wasnt so lucky. i hit a 5" median at aroun 50 or so mph. bent the strut and frotn subframe and destroyed my wheel. $731 including an alignemtn...not including a new rim
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by lawn boy
u may have just put it out of alginment. i wasnt so lucky. i hit a 5" median at aroun 50 or so mph. bent the strut and frotn subframe and destroyed my wheel. $731 including an alignemtn...not including a new rim
Did you try driving with a spare after the accident? If so, what did the car feel like?

Sorry about your luck. Looks like my first auto-x is going to cost me about $1700. $1200 for new rims, $340 for new tires, $60 for an alignment, $60 for mounting and balancing four tires, and $15 for the auto-x. I think if you wreck your car at an auto-x they should at least refund the $15

Edit: If you were running stock rims, call tire rack and ask for WRX takeoffs. They are only about $60 each.
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:05 PM   #4
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If a curb impact is going to bend something, usually the tie rod is the first to go. Check the control arm as well. You really should have a pro look at it, the damage may not be obvious, but if anything is bent, it won't align properly.
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Old 03-23-2004, 11:35 PM   #5
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Like the above post stated, whatever damage you have will show up on the alignment. I'm sure you have some damage since your wheel is crooked, but the printout you get will help pinpoint what's bent.
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:31 AM   #6
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Here's a piture of the underneath of my car. The left side is on the left, and the right side on the right of the picture. The swaybar and endlinks look screwed up.

Any good suggestions for aftermarket swaybars and end links? No use paying top dollar for Subaru if I can get better for less...

Can anyone else spot anything else screwed?

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Old 03-24-2004, 10:37 AM   #7
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Corn-Picker --
A year ago same thing happened to me (2002 WRX -- sliding on snow in an empty parking lot, slid right into the curb). I may have been going 18 - 25 (ish) mph. In addition to trashing one tire/rim and denting the lip of a second rim, here is the damage list:
1. r/f lower control arm bent
2. r/f sway bar end link bent
3. right side lower cradle bent
4. right rear (from when the rear end hit after the front) camber barely out of spec as a result of a slightly bent rear strut.

I fixed the r/f tire/rim and items 1-3 at a dealer -- total cost about $1,600, parts and labor. I have been living with #4 unfixed because it is just barely out of spec and I plan on upgrading the suspension completely this summer. Hope this helps.

-- Scooterforever
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Old 03-24-2004, 08:01 PM   #8
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I did some more digging with the wheels off today. The tranverse link (control arm) is definitely bent. I'm going to replace the front bushing, rear bushing, and ball joint while I'm down there, as I imagine they took it pretty hard too.

How can I tell if my strut is bent? For the control arm I simply measured length from one section to another on both control arms, and noted the one control arm was signifigantly different from the other.

What are you refering to when you say "right side lower cradle?"

Suprisingly enough the tie rods look straight I thought they were usually the weakest link. It scares me that the control arm bent, that is a beefy piece of aluminum...
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:12 PM   #9
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Corn-Picker,

It looks like your swaybar and swaybar link are just in a bind because the bent control arm is pulling on them. The swaybar is basically a spring anyway so it'll be fine and even your endlink looks ok. Those style endlinks either snap or bend at the shaft or the plastic guts inside break, in either case it'll be obvious.

Your control arm probably took the brunt of the impact, so you might be lucky. Hitting the curb sideways, the force of the impact went from the wheel directly to the lower arm so I wouldn't be alarmed by it, it's just the way it was hit. Check the mounting points on the crossmember for anything funny, like cracked paint or a shifted bolt head. It looks like you're ok there too.

Check your strut visually using the other side as a guide. Where it bolts to the knuckle, look around there. I would change the control arm and ball joint mainly, and have it aligned, that may be all you need.
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corn-Picker
[b]How can I tell if my strut is bent?
My strut wasn't visibility bent, but the alignment check revealed that the camber of the right rear assembly was slightly out of spec (with the strut suspected of causing this).

Quote:
What are you refering to when you say "right side lower cradle?"
Ah, a question that reveals how much of a newbie I still am -- not really sure. I remember the folks at the dealership mentioning it was a part that connected to the frame, but couldn't tell you for sure anything more.

As for the amount of force needed to bend the control arm, I know in my case the control arm took most of the impact of the entire car and bent so much that my r/f tire was in physical contact with the top of wheel housing.

Once the parts were replaced (and the pain in my wallet receeded) the car ran/handled great and I have not experienced any post-curb problems.
-- scooter
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Old 03-25-2004, 06:48 PM   #11
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How compliant are struts?

Here's the problem, the drivers side wheel is pushed back (from the front of the car) a little more than an inch than the passenger side wheel. The control arm is definitely the main culprit as far as I can tell. Will I need to replace the strut too, or is it compliant enough that when the new control arm is in place it will go back to its initial location?

I looked at the strut tops under the hood, and nothing looks bent there (I've seen horror pictures from rally where the strut tops get messed up).
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Old 03-25-2004, 08:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corn-Picker
How compliant are struts?

Here's the problem, the drivers side wheel is pushed back (from the front of the car) a little more than an inch than the passenger side wheel. The control arm is definitely the main culprit as far as I can tell. Will I need to replace the strut too, or is it compliant enough that when the new control arm is in place it will go back to its initial location?

I looked at the strut tops under the hood, and nothing looks bent there (I've seen horror pictures from rally where the strut tops get messed up).
Struts have a fair amount of compliance at the top hat. If you were to undo the strut from the knuckle, you would be able to move the strut around more than an inch. If the strut isn't bent, it'll go back to where it should be.
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Old 03-25-2004, 09:28 PM   #13
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Also, keep an eye on your bearing. It took a heck of a shot and might make noise down the road even if it seems ok now.
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Old 03-25-2004, 10:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by esteve
Also, keep an eye on your bearing. It took a heck of a shot and might make noise down the road even if it seems ok now.

Thanks a lot for all of your help esteve. Someone else in another thread also suggested I keep an eye on the wheel bearing. I would like to change it now while the wheel is off, but funds are tight. Hopefully I can get 3-4 months or more out of it until I can get this mess straightened out.
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Old 03-26-2004, 08:41 PM   #15
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Not what you want to hear, but I wouldn't run in that AutoX again. If you hit a curb, it seems to me like they didn't follow the space required for the course (ie. course to big for the space). I have run in plenty of AutoXs and the curbs are pretty far away from the course.
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Old 03-27-2004, 01:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rally Punx
Not what you want to hear, but I wouldn't run in that AutoX again. If you hit a curb, it seems to me like they didn't follow the space required for the course (ie. course to big for the space). I have run in plenty of AutoXs and the curbs are pretty far away from the course.

I won't run in that particular area again, but I will run in auto-x. I like to get back on the horse if I fall off, but I won't be going back to the scene of the accident
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Old 03-28-2004, 11:42 AM   #17
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I was in a really bad mood last night, looking at my rear wheels, one looked way off. I jacked it up this morning and luckily everything looks ok at the rear. It must have been the way the car was parked (on a slight angle with a wheel in a depression) that made it look screwed up.

For my final (and hopefully last) question, how can I tell if the steering rack is damaged? Steering feels 100% normal and responsive/sharp, but it bugs me that the wheel is off in the clockwise direction about 15 degrees. Could the bent control arm alone be the cause for the 15 degrees off clockwise rotation of the steering wheel?

I think the control arm could be the cause, and here's my logic. If the front wheel got pushed back and in, it could "push" the steering to the right, and since the tire/wheel is also pushed towards the rear of the vehicle, that would cause it to pull left as I experience. In summary, it seems plausible to me that the bent control arm could be the cause of the non-centered steering wheel, but a lot of members on this forum know a lot more about cars than me, so I thought I would ask. Thanks a lot again guys.

Hopefully in on week I can on.
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Old 03-28-2004, 11:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corn-Picker


This picture really illustrates how bent the control arm is (I must have been too excited and missed this the first time).

You can see on the left, the control arm is in the plane with the camera shot. On the left side, you can't see much of the back of the control arm.

On the opposite side, from the same angle, you can see the middle of the control arm below the front of the control arm, things are definitely out of the plane.
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Old 03-28-2004, 02:12 PM   #19
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Actually, if the photographs are indeed taken from the same position, then I wouldn't worry about the control arm, but another problem. The forged aluminum control arms are incredibly strong, and a number of other parts on the car will bend and break before the front control arms on the STI bend, even the slightest.
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Old 03-29-2004, 03:58 AM   #20
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A bent control arm will definitely throw off the toe causing a crooked steering wheel, and judging by the way the swaybar link sits your control arm is bent.

I've seen many bent forged aluminum control arms. As strong as they are, they'll lose the battle against a curb every time.

I would get under the car and look over the rack. Check the mounting brackets, sometimes they get bent from the impact. Since it feels ok from lock to lock, it's probably fine.

Hopefully your rear is ok. It hopped over the curb too right?
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Old 03-29-2004, 10:20 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by esteve
A bent control arm will definitely throw off the toe causing a crooked steering wheel, and judging by the way the swaybar link sits your control arm is bent.

I've seen many bent forged aluminum control arms. As strong as they are, they'll lose the battle against a curb every time.

I would get under the car and look over the rack. Check the mounting brackets, sometimes they get bent from the impact. Since it feels ok from lock to lock, it's probably fine.

Hopefully your rear is ok. It hopped over the curb too right?
Yeah, the rear hopped over the curb too. From what I can tell looking at the rear underneath, everything looks straight, whether or not is is straight will only be told by an alignment of course, but it looks OK.

I'll be sure to check the shop manuals (best download from google ever) and see what bolts are associated with the steering rack, and give them a good look over when I change the control arm this Friday.

After changing the control arm I'll take a bunch of measurements against the other side of the car and see if they agree. Hopefully everything is and I can start the pain of paying off my credit card...
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Old 04-03-2004, 12:57 PM   #22
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OK, I finally got to do some wrenching this weekend. Before I say anything, let me say that I'm a big believer in "rally heritage." This car is much easier to work on than any modern car I've ever owned (Chevy Cavalier, For Aspire, Buick Station Wagon, Oldsmobile Station Wagon). I guess this is one area where racing experience does make it to the showroom floor, I didn't run into one bad wrench spot while I was working.

I'm a super slow worker, and I had the control arm done in ~7 hours. And that included an hour of waiting for UPS delivery, and an hour dinner. For me that's amazingly fast... I'm sure with proper tools you could get it done in about an hour or two.

Here's what I saw after I got the plastic under cover and sub-frame taken off. This picture is of the two bolts (torqued to 185 ft-lbs according to the manual) that hold the rear bushing of the driver's side control arm to the frame.

You can clearly see the shiny metal on the mounting plate to the upper right of the bolts. This tells me the control arm got pushed way back and a little out. The way the arm was pushed back was visibly noticeable when looking at the way the wheel sat in the wheel well. The driver's side wheel sat back slightly over an inch more than the passenger's side wheel I took the control arm off and compared the old arm (on the left) to the new arm (one the right)

The picture does not do justice to how visibly bent the control arm is. I replaced the control arm (which includes the rear bushing, front bushing, and ball joint). After replacing the control arm the driver's side wheel now sits about 1/16th to 1/8th of on inch foward of the passenger side wheel. The passenger's side control arm also got pushed back a little (mounting plate looks like the first picture in this post, but much less extreme), but I neglected to fix it because I'm a dumbass.


Here's my driving impression.

Car's steering wheel sits straight. The car pulls to the right very slightly.

Now for the "bad" news. The car makes a muffled "tick" sound from the area of the driver's side control arm, and I have no idea what it is. The sound is not reproducable, but seems to occur most often at low speeds when the suspension is under no load (cruising at a constant 10-15 mph in a straight line). My best guess is that I should have torqued the rear bushing control arm mounting points (first picture) a little at a time, instead of simply snugging the bolts and then torquing one to 185 ft-lbs, and then torquing the other to 185 ft-lbs.

Next week I am going to:
Take off the subframe, and loosen both control arms. I am going to position (smack with a mallet) the passenger side control arm until it's where it was previously (the shiny metal will provide my clue). Then I'm going to retorque the bolts in the proper order, but use a ramping torque on the rear control arm mounting points. Hopefully that fixes my muffled ticking sound... Then I'll get it aligned and hope everything lines up.
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Old 04-03-2004, 01:30 PM   #23
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just hit a curb at about 25 same issues as scooterforever pretty much. need new
control arm
innertirod
outer tierod(looked fine to me but only 54 bucks)
rear control arm bushing
knuckle and bearing(didnt look bent to me either)

about 1500 bucks they are saying. the interesting issue is that my rear control arm bushing looked simmilar to yours, where the bolts shifted, i asked the service writer about it and he coulda been feeding me a line, but he said that they are mounted in a manner that they can shift exactly liek that to save the frame from damage.
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Old 04-04-2004, 12:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by WRXsPWN
just hit a curb at about 25 same issues as scooterforever pretty much. need new
control arm
innertirod
outer tierod(looked fine to me but only 54 bucks)
rear control arm bushing
knuckle and bearing(didnt look bent to me either)

about 1500 bucks they are saying. the interesting issue is that my rear control arm bushing looked simmilar to yours, where the bolts shifted, i asked the service writer about it and he coulda been feeding me a line, but he said that they are mounted in a manner that they can shift exactly liek that to save the frame from damage.
You may want to order the parts yourself from www.1stSubaruParts.com like I did. If the parts are in the country, they will get them to their dealership in a matter of days, and can ship them to you 3 day prioroty mail. The reason I mention this is because your price quote sounds a little pricey.

The STi control arm (which includes the rear bushing, front bushing, and ball joint) cost me about $260. With proper tools, labor time for changing those pieces should be 2 hours max. Add a 4-wheel alignment for about $60 and I don't see how they can be anywhere close to $1500. My total damages were ~$2000, only because BBS rims cost $400 each and 3 of them were hurt, along with two tires. The actual suspension damage is pretty inexpensive.

The Subaru technical manual suggests the oblong holes on the frame are for adjustment purposes. They may also be there to keep the frame from taking damage, but that's not stated in the manual.

Go to google, and search for STi_Manual

Download a web downloader like the one at http://www.spidersoft.com/downloads.asp

Paste in the URL, and 380 megs later you'll have the Impreza manuals. Then, you can call a Subaru dealership and ask for the parts by name, and they can give you a price. Even if you fragged a rim, I can't see your total damages being over $600, including an alignment...
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