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Drove off curb hidden by snow - Couple problems


Chris

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Hi guys,

About a month ago I drove off a curb hidden by snow. I figure only the right wheels actually went off the curb - there was a loud "clunk". I was driving very slow (creeping onto the road so I could see around the snowbank).

As soon as the "clunk" sound, the heater blower motor turned off. I pulled over and got out of the car and took a look to make sure there was no apparent damage.

On the drive home, I was driving on a smooth section of road at about 30mph and all of a sudden - while holding the car in a straight-ahead trajectory - the steering wheel moved about 30degrees. I pulled over again and turned the wheel all the way to each extreme, getting out to look for damage but again, nothing apparent. The steering remained that to have wheels facing straight, the steering wheel had to be ~30deg CW from normal.

Then I drove to a local shop for an inspection & alignment. They said there was nothing broken but a horrible alignment. They did a 4 wheel alignment and also charged for a "left front camber kit/bolt". Everything seemed fine.

About 1000 miles later, I notice that the steering wheel is off about 5deg while driving straight down the road.

I'm not sure exactly how this changes, but it really makes me uncomfortable. Any thoughts?

Also about the blower motor - It now works most of the time, but goes off when I drive over even small bumps in the road. Definitely sounds like a loose connection - any ideas where to look?

Thanks!

-Chris

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Check to see if the bolts for your steering rack were ripped out or if they are loose, maybe your rack is shifting. Also, check your tie rods at the rack.

Check grounds, but your HVAC motor is probably bad if it it intermittant

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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your car is a 93? same strut design as my 96. i had an issue with my camber this summer. found out even a slight adjustment in camber affected my toe a lot. the strut/knuckle joint is sturdy but can be prone to much slop since there are no camber bolts installed from the factory. you loosen the knuckle bolts and the knuckle can really move a lot. any front end hit can damage strut body which will change your toe/camber settings. i would think you might have strut damage first.

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Thanks for the quick replies! I plan to jack it up next weekend to see whats going on (where I live during the week I'm stuck in a parking garage with no tools!)

BodybyFisher - I suspect the HVAC motor is shot too but thought there may be a connector somewhere that would magically be the problem :)

joeb - Thanks, I'll look for damage at the strut.

I'm just thinking about it now... it was definitely the passenger side of the car that drove off the curb yet I see the camber bolt kit was installed on the driver side. Not sure if theres any meaning to that...

-Chris

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  • 1 month later...

I had the car back in the shop. They didn't find any steering or suspension issues and re-aligned it (no charge).

Following are measurments out of manufacturers' range (mainly for interest in case someone has a similar issue in the future):

Front Left:

Toe -0.26deg (range: 0.00 to 0.20deg)

Front Right:

Toe 0.46deg (range: 0.00 to 0.20deg)

Rear Left:

Toe 0.24deg (range: 0.00 to 0.20deg)

Rear Right:

Toe 0.46deg (range: 0.00 to 0.20deg)

Rear Overall:

Total toe 0.70deg (range 0.00deg to 0.40deg)

All others were within normal range. Hopefully things don't change!!

-Chris

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frt left was -.26, frt right was .46? car was pointed to the right. let go of wheel and head for the ditch. spec is slight toe out for both tires. you have before measurements. what are the final measurements? within spec so maybe leave it at that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry Joeb, I don't completely understand your post.

Those values were pre-alignment. After the alignment, all numbers were within spec.

The steering wheel is slightly off center again.

Tonight I was driving in the country - my first time on a county road in a long time:

I found that under heavy acceleration, I had to "steer" maybe 5deg to the right to continue straight.

Maintaining high speed, I had to "steer" 2 or 3 degrees to the right to continue straight.

When coasting, the wheel was almost straight.

When braking, I had to "steer" somewhat to the left... the more braking, the more left I had to "steer".

Does this make any sense????

-Chris

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shop told you "before" readings. why can't they tell you "after" readings? i always get final printout of results. riding on crowned country road and you have to steer to the right to go straight? you should be steering slightly to the left in most cases?

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shop told you "before" readings. why can't they tell you "after" readings? i always get final printout of results. riding on crowned country road and you have to steer to the right to go straight? you should be steering slightly to the left in most cases?

They did tell me, I just didnt bother typing them out since they are within factory specs.

The road is slightly crowned, but it doesnt matter which side of the road I drive on... I always need to steer to the right. Especially during hard acceleration. Only during braking do I need to steer to the left. Odd eh?

-Chris

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"I always need to steer to the right. Especially during hard acceleration"

The Northstar frontwheel drive system has something called "torque steer". Torque steer is the natural tendency in a front wheel drive car to move in the direction of the wheel that is delivering the most power to the road.

The first time I did a WOT in my Northstar, it pulled me toward a median, I was shocked because I was not prepared for it, but I found out that it was a normal characteristic of the NS platform and was always conscious of it when I WOT'd. Torque steer is one of the reasons GM went back to rear wheel drive. So the 'pull' or torque steer that you feel on acceleration is normal.

Now, that is not saying that you don't have worn parts making the problem worse, because you may.

I would check the strut rod bushings, tie rods, steering rack bolts, ball joints, control arm bushings AND also given the year of your car, I would check the carriage to frame bushings for wear and make sure the bolts are tight. Also make sure that the bushings in the rear suspension are not worn allowing it to shift, but I would do that last

A good alignment shop should have checked for wear but checking for wear is not that easy in most cases.

See this on torque steer

http://www.aa1car.co...orque_steer.htm

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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Thanks for the link BodybyFisher!

Something has definitely changed (I've never noticed anything to this extreme over the 8 years I've had the car), and this gives me some suspects!

I just bought an 02 SLS (will make a post once I get it) but need to figure out the problem with my 93 once its off the road.

joeb: its been to two different shops so far, but I still havent gotten it to my regular mechanic.

-Chris

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driving the car gives you feedback if things are changing or out of whack. lately it seems my steering effort is greater to keep going straight. but only on the newer interstate road. on most roads, my car rolls straight. little to no effort required to keep straight. get on new widened road and it seems to drift left in left lane and drift right in right lane. very annoying. i did replace 2 different tierods. rack seems tight. are rack bushings slightly worn? how about subframe bushings. do they get looser over time? my interstate went from 2 lanes each direction to 3 lanes with an exit lane so its 4 lanes wide for about 1 mile. old lanes were flat. new lanes have a serious left/right crown. we don't build new highways in mn. don't have any money.

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  • 1 month later...

After deciding to sell the car, I took it to a carwash, then parked in a parking lot for a photo shoot. The pictures were originally for the classified ad, but I ended up taking almost 80 pics, at every angle (including some under the car).

When I put the pictures on the computer, I saw something out of whack. Ran down to the parking garage, and sure enough (took a few more photos!).

Hard to describe, but a large washer is missing... see photos,

Problem Side - behind RF tire, facing towards front of car

Good Side - behind LF tire, facing towards front of car

I suspect that mechanics were using the metal frame as a jackpoint when putting it up on the hoist, explaining why it was missed twice.

The bushing and washer sell at Rockauto for $6.20. I wish I'd looked under my car sooner (stupid me didn't bother since I have no tools or place to work on the car where I currently live!)

Lesson learned. :)

-Chris

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After deciding to sell the car, I took it to a carwash, then parked in a parking lot for a photo shoot. The pictures were originally for the classified ad, but I ended up taking almost 80 pics, at every angle (including some under the car).

When I put the pictures on the computer, I saw something out of whack. Ran down to the parking garage, and sure enough (took a few more photos!).

Hard to describe, but a large washer is missing... see photos,

Problem Side - behind RF tire, facing towards front of car

Good Side - behind LF tire, facing towards front of car

I suspect that mechanics were using the metal frame as a jackpoint when putting it up on the hoist, explaining why it was missed twice.

The bushing and washer sell at Rockauto for $6.20. I wish I'd looked under my car sooner (stupid me didn't bother since I have no tools or place to work on the car where I currently live!)

Lesson learned. :)

Did you sell it already? If not then I would fix it and keep driving it...and if you did I would contact the buyer to let them know you found the problem. That's just me though.

big4870885.jpg

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Did you sell it already? If not then I would fix it and keep driving it...and if you did I would contact the buyer to let them know you found the problem. That's just me though.

Scrapped it actually :( I had bought an '02 SLS and had no place to park a second vehicle. You can see my thread about the STS's life and death at http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=37755 .

When I was trying to sell the STS, I had been showing potential buyers the issue, as well as a printout from RockAuto showing the part.

Edited by Chris

-Chris

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