Automotive frontend issue
March 27, 2007 12:02 PM   Subscribe

While driving I heard a crunch from the cars front end, got out and saw that the left front wheel was angled inwards at the top about 17degrees.

I can steer the car a little going forward and almost zilch in reverse. I have it up on jack stands with the parking brake on and the wheel off but what is broken is not readily apparent to me. Any ideas about what part off the linkage is most likely busted would be a big help as would any links to good fixit sites or other relevant info. Thanks.
posted by Iron Rat to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Check the axle
posted by Alpenglow at 12:07 PM on March 27, 2007

The Cartalk website has helpful info and forums.
posted by divka at 12:12 PM on March 27, 2007

your ball joint is broken.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:13 PM on March 27, 2007

What kind of car (year/make/model)

Could be an upper or lower ball-joint.
posted by davey_darling at 12:13 PM on March 27, 2007

I had a cracked control arm on a car (Datsun) and the mechanic said that's what would have happened.
posted by theora55 at 12:18 PM on March 27, 2007

If the top is angled inward, it's probably the upper. If you remove the tire, you should see it plainly. If you replace it, you should probably replace the others as well. Unless you have hit a big pothole or something.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:20 PM on March 27, 2007

Sounds like a ball joint to me too but that should be pretty obvious just looking as the lower control arm will be separated from the knuckle. If you've got struts you could have a bad strut bushing or mount, that might not be obvious from underneath, you might need to open the hood. Make and model will be helpful.
posted by Mitheral at 1:03 PM on March 27, 2007

I'm not a car expert, but when something like this happened to me, it was the ball joint.
posted by drezdn at 1:13 PM on March 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all, the ball joint sounds right but nothing looks wrong there. It is a 86 chevy caprice classic station wagon and it's built like a tank so this is a real surprise. I am just gonna keep poking and prodding and wrenching until it becomes more obvious. And I overestimated the angle, it is more like 10 degrees.
posted by Iron Rat at 2:14 PM on March 27, 2007

I know nothing about cars, but my tie rod broke and caused the same thing. Good luck.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:57 PM on March 27, 2007

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