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Check your suspension... Or... How my car tried to kill me this weekend. by Synthesis
Started on: 05-16-2016 05:15 PM
Replies: 26 (681 views)
Last post by: theogre on 05-18-2016 11:47 PM
Synthesis
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Report this Post05-16-2016 05:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
A week ago, seajai and I pulled my engine to do some work, replacing the clutch and timing set in the process. The cradle, suspension bushings and ball joints were all installed back in 2012 on the original 86SE, and then moved to the GT in 2013.

At no point during our work a week ago did we disconnect any of the suspension components from the cradle, nor did we loosen any bolts in the suspension beyond the removal of the three strut tower nuts on each side.

We reinstalled the engine, worked on the clutch, and Friday I took it for its shakedown run.
The next day my wife and I piled into the Fiero for the Minnesota club cruise up to Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore of Minnesota along Lake Superior.

The car handled beautifully all the way up to Duluth and North to Two Harbors.
North of Two Harbors, I heard several metal on metal popping noises, but encountered no strange effects. It sounded like I had hit something in the road that in turn hit the bottom of the trunk.

When we stopped at Gooseberry Falls, I checked the rear suspension and noticed no play at all.

We drove back to the hotel, and then the next day we drove back down toward the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul on several bumpy backroads through the wilderness of Northern Wisconsin. The car continued to handle great.

Once we got back into St Paul and I had pulled off the main highway onto some backroads, I noticed that whenever I'd step on the gas, the back end of the car would steer to the right, and hitting the brake steered left.

I got the car home, jacked it up and grabbed each of the rear wheels, giving them both very solid pushes/pulls on both the vertical and horizontal axis. I found no play in the suspension at all.

This morning, I drove it in to Tires Plus... They put it up on the lift, and as the symptoms were nearly identical to what a loose in the control arm ball joint feels like they focused on tie rods/ball joints and wheel bearings.

They couldn't find anything obviously wrong with any of those, so they did not charge me anything.
I picked the car up, left Tires Plus to head to the O'Reilly down the street and pick up some things when I stepped on the gas and the car did the same twitch to the right, only much worse.

I pulled into the O'Reilly Auto lot, looked around for a few minutes and that was when I noticed this:

This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.

Yep. The front control arm bolt on the driver's side rear control arm was missing. The rear bolt was still in place, but the nut was almost completely unscrewed, with only two or three threads left holding it.

I drove the car all the way back from the North Shore with the bolt either missing, or hanging out of the hole.
The sway bar end link is likely the only thing that kept the control arm from pulling back any further than it did.

I walked into O'Reilly, and they couldn't help me and didn't have the bolt specs. Called Tires Plus, and the manager called several places, and GM said they could have the bolt in two days.

So, I reached out to Rob at the Fiero Store. He grabbed one of the control arm bolts from his stock and tossed me the specs (12x1.75x90mm - Grade 10.9), and I called Fastenal right down the road from the Tires Plus. They had the bolt on hand, along with a flange nut and some loctite. I called the manager at Tires Plus, told him I found the issue. He stated that if I could get the car back to them, they'd run me to Fastenal to get the bolt, and put it in for me.

I limped the car back to Tires Plus and the manager took me to Fastenal himself, and when we got back he pulled the car in.

Twenty minutes and some pounding with a dead blow hammer, and the new bolt was installed, and all of the other bolts were loosened enough to locktite the threads, and then re-torqued.
Both the tech and the manager stated they had never seen a control arm bolt missing like that.

Tires Plus refused to charge me for any of this because they missed it the first time... So I paid the tech and manager with some brandy, and all the rest of the staff with caffeine.
This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.

Anyway... That's my story... Go check your suspension components before your car tries to kill you.
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Patrick
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Report this Post05-16-2016 05:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:

Yep. The front control arm bolt on the driver's side rear control arm was missing. The rear bolt was still in place, but the nut was almost completely unscrewed, with only two or three threads left holding it.





Wow, that's scary. I wouldn't think it was possible.
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1MohrFiero
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Report this Post05-16-2016 07:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 1MohrFieroSend a Private Message to 1MohrFieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wow! I am glad you are okay. It's a good thing you kept looking for the problem. You weren't far from a big headache.
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Raydar
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Report this Post05-16-2016 10:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Yikes!

I have never seen anything like that, either. Good eye. That could have messed up your whole afternoon.

I'm about to rebuild my entire suspension, front and rear. Think I may have to check on some more loctite.

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 05-16-2016).]

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GTGeff
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Report this Post05-16-2016 10:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for GTGeffSend a Private Message to GTGeffEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


Tires Plus, Chanhassen? Good crew of guys. I have bought a lot of tires for the Fieros there.
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doublec4
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Report this Post05-16-2016 10:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for doublec4Click Here to Email doublec4Send a Private Message to doublec4Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Almost had this happen to me a few years ago. I had similar symptoms and I caught it before the bolt completely fell out. It was backed out and caught on the last thread. Pretty scary stuff.
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Blacktree
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Report this Post05-16-2016 11:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Stuff like this is why I use lock-nuts on suspension bolts.
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theogre
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Report this Post05-17-2016 12:29 AM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Bolts etc there I think are class 10.9, equiv to SAE Grade 8.
Wrong bolts or heated hard one can break anytime after.

------------------
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
(Jurassic Park)


The Ogre's Fiero Cave

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84fiero123
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Report this Post05-17-2016 07:18 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 84fiero123Click Here to Email 84fiero123Send a Private Message to 84fiero123Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Just a suggestion dude but it seems every time you go to a get together for the Fiero, something happens, maybe you should not go to those as often.

I don't believe they didn't catch it on the lift,

Glad everyone was OK in a drive as long as you did.

Steve

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Technology is great when it works,
and one big pain in the ass when it doesn't



Detroit iron rules all the rest are just toys.

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IanT720
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Report this Post05-17-2016 09:05 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IanT720Click Here to Email IanT720Send a Private Message to IanT720Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This reminds me of a Fiero I bought a drove home. Handled super sketchy and scary but I had a short drive. Anyway... The rear drivers control arm had literally ripped off the cradle from rust!!! Just the back was attached!
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E.Furgal
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Report this Post05-17-2016 09:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for E.FurgalSend a Private Message to E.FurgalEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Those factory bolts, and nuts, the nuts are ovaled a little,, they are one use only,, many reuse them, a few recrush the nut a little before reuse, others will take a chisel to the nut/bolt to lock them together after torqued driven and re-torqued.. or tac the nut/bolt so it won't back ..

I'm kinda shocked that both you and the tire shop missed it.. As I'd have been looking at the control arm mounting to cradle welds, and that red bushing would have stuck out like a sore thumb..

I'd re-torque them all, and tac the nut/bolt..
Trick I've done when I know I might need to take it apart some day, is double nut the bolt, after you have re-torqued, and torque the 2nd nut up against the 1st.. then tac them together..works very well or at least re oval the nuts.. and with a yellow paint pen after cleaning the bolt and nut, torque,, drive ,re-torque then mark the bolt nut with a line of yellow paint, this will show easily if it is moving/backing off..
I do this to every thing I touch.. it's cheap insurance, and makes spotting a problem before it becomes a huge one easy..
Learnt this when I started Crewing for a Busch North car/team..

I don't like the nylon locking nuts, unless you can 100% know it not see heat..

[This message has been edited by E.Furgal (edited 05-17-2016).]

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Report this Post05-17-2016 12:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by E.Furgal: I don't like the nylon locking nuts, unless you can 100% know it not see heat..

If your suspension mounting points are getting hot enough to melt nylon, something is seriously wrong.
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hyperv6
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Report this Post05-17-2016 07:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
How come when you want these to come out they won't but when you want them in they will not stay in?

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Patrick
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Report this Post05-17-2016 07:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by hyperv6:

How come when you want these to come out they won't but when you want them in they will not stay in?


It might be enlightening to hear the story/history of this car's LCA poly bushing installation.
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Synthesis
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Report this Post05-17-2016 08:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

It might be enlightening to hear the story/history of this car's LCA poly bushing installation.


The cradle was purchased in 2012 with the control arms intact from a forum member local to me and installed in the original car (1986SE) to replace a rusty cradle.

When I bought the cradle, the control arms already had the poly installed, along with new lower ball joints and poly bushings in the control arms with new bolts, all from The Fiero Store. The nuts are a non-locking flanged nut.

I torqued the bolts to spec for the LCA when I received it, as I'm not prone to trust other people's work without direct experience, and then it was installed by Kev and Carbon in my 86SE as part of a manual transmission replacement.
When that car's frame gave up the ghost in April of 2013, the car was parked until June of 2013 when the cradle, engine, transmission and rear suspension were removed from it and moved into its current home, a 1986GT, replacing the knocking engine and automatic in the GT. The car was driven to Indianapolis and back with no issues the day the swap was finished (with no road test, crazy, right?) and ran beautifully the whole way down and back.

The SE was driven a solid 12,000 miles between 2012 and 2013 when it was parked, and the GT has seen an additional 11,000 since 2013, summer driving only.

The passenger side bolts are still tight and have no issues.

I have no idea why these bolts loosened. I have never seen this before, and honestly I've experienced identical symptoms when the three bolts holding a replacement ball joint in had loosened.. Looking at LCA bolts wouldn't be the first thing on my list, nor an obvious thing in my head... I didn't see the issue until I moved the splash guard out of the way. The squeaking of the bushing as it slid in and out of the pocket is what clued me in that it may be the LCA bolt, and that started as I left the Tires Plus parking lot.

I can only think that the loud "PING" noises I was hearing 200 miles North of home were when the control arm bolt was rocking back and forth just before falling completely out. It would have had to have the ability to get some really good swinging in order to hit the inside of the cradle to make the noises I heard. Maybe it stayed on the last two or three threads all the way home and came out down here. Either way, the first thing I said to my wife once I found the issue and called her was "The good news is, we didn't die horribly..."
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theogre
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Report this Post05-17-2016 09:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:
When I bought the cradle, the control arms already had the poly installed, along with new lower ball joints and poly bushings in the control arms with new bolts, all from The Fiero Store. The nuts are a non-locking flanged nut.
...
I have no idea why these bolts loosened. I have never seen this before, and honestly I've experienced identical symptoms when the three bolts holding a replacement ball joint in had loosened.. Looking at LCA bolts wouldn't be the first thing on my list, nor an obvious thing in my head... I didn't see the issue until I moved the splash guard out of the way. The squeaking of the bushing as it slid in and out of the pocket is what clued me in that it may be the LCA bolt, and that started as I left the Tires Plus parking lot.
TFS nuts and likely bolts are your problem... They have no clue using right hardware.

CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

Interesting...
Frame hole does not show the bolt was loose and lost the nut.

Wear should be very easy to see when that happens because the bolt and threads can/will oval the hole. Bolt head, nut, and Washers will have odd wear areas too. Loosing a nut often takes some time but Loose nut can/will wear parts while backing off.

Broken bolt can happen at any time and often does very little or no damage to the parts.

I would replace all w/ correct hardness. While frame etc are soft, Harder bolts and nuts have higher torque and clamp the parts better and take more abuse from hitting pot holes. This is more important w/ polly because core sleeve does not have "teeth" to bind the sleeve to frame. Example:
CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

OE is a "lock nut" but unlike rear axle nuts is not a one use only nut line. If OE nut goes on/off by hand then get a new ones.
GM and others use "deformed" lock nuts just because they are very cheap. Crimped, Staked, and other locking methods are very cheap step when nut are made.

Getting big class 10.9 or Grade 8 Nyloc nuts are not something to find at local HW store. Maybe big truck repair shop etc.
Big issue is many make "Nyloc" knockoffs that just doesn't hold up. Good ones do work and can often be used several to many times w/o problem.

[This message has been edited by theogre (edited 05-17-2016).]

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Quad Raider
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Report this Post05-17-2016 10:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Quad RaiderClick Here to Email Quad RaiderSend a Private Message to Quad RaiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Do the factory specs call for the control arm bolts to be installed from front to rear? The last time I did any work on a control arm was on my '70 LeMans and I remember the manual making a point to say that the bolts must be installed with the nut towards the rear of the car.

Is it even possible to install the bolts from back to front? My Fiero is in my mom's garage or else I'd just go look at it right now.

[This message has been edited by Quad Raider (edited 05-17-2016).]

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theogre
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Report this Post05-17-2016 10:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Quad Raider:
Do the factory specs call for the control arm bolts to be installed from front to rear? The last time I did any work on a control arm was on my '70 LeMans and I remember the manual making a point to say that the bolts must be installed with the nut towards the rear of the car.
No... Bolts heads pointed away from each other.
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Synthesis
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Report this Post05-17-2016 11:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SynthesisSend a Private Message to SynthesisEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by theogre:

TFS nuts and likely bolts are your problem... They have no clue using right hardware.


The nuts and bolts sold by TFS are grade 10.9 metric. The bolt is the correct one for the use and is specified by GM as such. The nut being a non-locking may be the problem, though the nut does have a textured contact surface on the flange. I know this, because Tires Plus found the original bolt and nut laying in the cradle openings. The bolt was laying up in the front of the cradle, and the nut in the center between the control arm bushings, as specified in the drawing that was posted above.

 
quote
Originally posted by theogre:
CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

Interesting...
Frame hole does not show the bolt was loose and lost the nut.

Wear should be very easy to see when that happens because the bolt and threads can/will oval the hole. Bolt head, nut, and Washers will have odd wear areas too. Loosing a nut often takes some time but Loose nut can/will wear parts while backing off.

Broken bolt can happen at any time and often does very little or no damage to the parts.


The bolt loosened and fell out. I have the original bolt. When they installed the new one, they handed me the old one they found resting in the cradle, including the nut.

 
quote
Originally posted by theogre:
I would replace all w/ correct hardness. While frame etc are soft, Harder bolts and nuts have higher torque and clamp the parts better and take more abuse from hitting pot holes. This is more important w/ polly because core sleeve does not have "teeth" to bind the sleeve to frame. Example:
CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

This, combined with the non-locking nut may be the whole culprit... Since the sleeve can pivot inside the frame, even when the bolts are tight, this may have caused the bolt to also spin, which would have loosened the nut on the threads and eventually caused it to back off and fall out.

I have to tear the wheel off of that side to replace the axle this week or this weekend. I'll be checking the nuts again and installing new locking flange nuts from Fastenal to ensure I do not encounter this again.
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Report this Post05-18-2016 05:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for E.FurgalSend a Private Message to E.FurgalEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Blacktree:

If your suspension mounting points are getting hot enough to melt nylon, something is seriously wrong.


you ever see a bead melted off a tire.. sorry the heat does not only go toward the wheel
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84fiero123
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Report this Post05-18-2016 07:58 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 84fiero123Click Here to Email 84fiero123Send a Private Message to 84fiero123Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by E.Furgal:


you ever see a bead melted off a tire.. sorry the heat does not only go toward the wheel


Ayup, because of heat from stuck caliper piston or misadjusted ebrake or bad wheel bearing, but that part, bolt is never expected to get that hot under normal conditions. Heat can be created at all sorts of places because of all sorts of reasons. That is not something that is not uncommon for a back yard wrencher, a mistake made by many here that are new to these cars, Synthesis is not what I would call a newbie to these cars. The nut is most likely the problem in this case, not having the nut with the proper lock nut on the built in washer of the nut.

http://removeandreplace.com...2013/12/nut-type.jpg

I believe, and I could be wrong but I think the proper nut is called a flange nut in that picture. At least that is the kind I have seen on most suspension bolt/nut combos at the factory. But then I am no engineer. it allows more metal contact to those teeth on the part the nut hits.

Steve

[This message has been edited by 84fiero123 (edited 05-18-2016).]

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cvxjet
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Report this Post05-18-2016 11:17 AM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
First- The guys at tires plus should have caught it- but at least they took care of you after; I took my Mustang II (Absolute crap) down to get the suspension checked at Big O in 1983- They said it's good, so I bought some tires and wheels a month later to have them install- get a call...There was almost an inch of play in one of the lower BJs! They took care of it- but the manager(Gary) was PO'd and I always wondered what happened to the "Tech" who did the inspection......

Second- My main thing is suspension- I go down to check out the new cars(Camaro, Mustang, Vette, Etc) and lay on the floor and look under at the suspension- The dumb-bun sales men make fun of me sometimes, but.....HOW IS YOUR CAR ATTACHED TO THE GROUND?!

If the engine or trany takes a crap it doesn't send you over the edge of a cliff......

.......check your suspension regularly.......and especially check your(Locking)nuts........
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Report this Post05-18-2016 01:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for E.FurgalSend a Private Message to E.FurgalEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by cvxjet:

First- The guys at tires plus should have caught it- but at least they took care of you after; I took my Mustang II (Absolute crap) down to get the suspension checked at Big O in 1983- They said it's good, so I bought some tires and wheels a month later to have them install- get a call...There was almost an inch of play in one of the lower BJs! They took care of it- but the manager(Gary) was PO'd and I always wondered what happened to the "Tech" who did the inspection......

Second- My main thing is suspension- I go down to check out the new cars(Camaro, Mustang, Vette, Etc) and lay on the floor and look under at the suspension- The dumb-bun sales men make fun of me sometimes, but.....HOW IS YOUR CAR ATTACHED TO THE GROUND?!

If the engine or trany takes a crap it doesn't send you over the edge of a cliff......

.......check your suspension regularly.......and especially check your(Locking)nuts........


Tis the reason I take a yellow paint pen and put a line on the nut/bolt..
easy to see if they are moving..
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Report this Post05-18-2016 01:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:

We drove back to the hotel, and then the next day we drove back down toward the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul on several bumpy backroads through the wilderness of Northern Wisconsin. The car continued to handle great.

.


Yeah the wilderness where there was no cell phone signal. Glad nothing happened.
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Report this Post05-18-2016 05:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:
This, combined with the non-locking nut may be the whole culprit... Since the sleeve can pivot inside the frame, even when the bolts are tight, this may have caused the bolt to also spin, which would have loosened the nut on the threads and eventually caused it to back off and fall out.

I have to tear the wheel off of that side to replace the axle this week or this weekend. I'll be checking the nuts again and installing new locking flange nuts from Fastenal to ensure I do not encounter this again.
Maybe...
Another issue is that Polly users get whatever Polly Grease/oil all over the inner sleeve and frame.
Even when you tighten clean/dry Bolts nuts and frame where they hit to correct spec w/ a Torque Wrench... the polly lube is in the tube/frame joint and can let the parts move a little. A little turns to more and more movement down the road.

Most times grease/oil is on everything and torque to spec w/ a TW can break/strip things.
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Raydar
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Report this Post05-18-2016 09:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Synthesis:

... Since the sleeve can pivot inside the frame, even when the bolts are tight, this may have caused the bolt to also spin, which would have loosened the nut on the threads and eventually caused it to back off and fall out.



I am of the opinion that the sleeve should probably not pivot. It should be locked into place between the flanges. The urethane bushing should pivot on the sleeve. That's the whole point of slathering on the silicone lube.
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quote
Originally posted by Raydar:
I am of the opinion that the sleeve should probably not pivot. It should be locked into place between the flanges. The urethane bushing should pivot on the sleeve. That's the whole point of slathering on the silicone lube.
Correct. Inner sleeve should NEVER move/pivot when the bolts are tight.

As I posted above, Problem is Polly grease and sleeve w/o teeth allows sleeve to move/rotate very easy and Never a good thing.
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