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Old 10-28-2011, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 31,771,034 times
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My son (16) was driving my 1995 Camaro Z28 and claims he slightly misjudged a corner and hit the curb. He broke the wheel. I was a bit suspicious of the story because it seems like it would take a lot of force to break a wheel, but it is aluminum and it only shaved a small piece off the edge of the rim, so maybe it is possible.

He was very responsible, found and ordered a new wheel on E-bay, took off the old one, had the tire switched and reinstalled the new wheel. Then I had him take it to the shop to check the alignment . . . .

Tie rod end is destroyed, control arm is bent, sub frame is bent.

Before I confront him with lying I want to make sure that there is no possibility that he is telling the truth. IT could be really devesatating to him if he is actually telling the truth. He is generally a really responsible kid and feels really bad about damaging my car. I really do not know how much force it takes to do that kind of damage. Is it possible to do that much damage taking a corner at say 5-15 mph? It seems to me that he must have been screaming around the corner (i.e. 30-50).


Second question. Mechanic says they can install a used control arm, used sub frame and a new tie rod end for $1000. They said "We have had good luck with used sub frames in the past." Why do you need luck? Is this one of those things like a major accident where the car is just never the same again?

The car already needs new upholstery (or a repair at least) a new heater core, and replacement hatch lift pistons (seems minor but it is expensive). I am wondering if maybe I should just scrap it. If replacing the sub frame means that it will never handle quite right again, I probably do not want to keep it.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
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I was 16 once, as I'm sure you were, and I would guess he was going considerably faster than 5-15 MPH to do that kind of damage. 45 MPH plus would be my educated guess.
I damaged several cars during my youth and ALWAYS made the story sound far better than the truth, to save my butt from my dad's wrath....
A good subframe installed correctly by a quality shop should never cause further problems... if the car needs other expensive work, you'll have to add up the cost and decide if the car is worth fixing..
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
11,290 posts, read 9,897,515 times
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When I was an LEO we were trained how to "jump the curb" at a fairly high speed in an emergency situation. I did it once in my Corolla to avoid an accident at about 30 MPH with no damage other than a slightly bent rim (not even enough to deflate the tire) that I just banged back with a hammer. I still have the car; I've owned it for 11 years...

I don't think your son is telling you the whole truth...
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:35 AM
 
13,591 posts, read 17,043,342 times
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The 4th Gen's aren't exactly known for their robust subframes. If I had to guess, I doubt he was going 5mph, but 15-20mph may have been enough to do that kind of damage depending on the angle he hit it at. So, while his low end isn't reasonable, the high end is within the realm, especially if the car was otherwise drivable. A hit at 40+ would have most likely done far more damage. As a parent I like to believe my kids, but do put on my best Reagan as well, "trust but verify", lol.

As far as the repairs go, it is all up to the quality of the shop doing the work. This is no longer a mechanic/tire shop problem. I would take the car to a good body shop and have them give you an estimate and their feelings on whether or not they can affect a good repair. The body shop will have the frame machines necessary to do it right.

Once you have a good estimate in hand, it's all up to you whether or not it's worth it.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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Depending on how the force of the hit was set up, it could do that at 5 to 15 MPH. I sort of doubt that speed, but it is possible.

Like Chango I don't think your getting the whole truth, but at the same time you don't want to mess up the kid who is 'normally' honest.

I think I would have a Father/Son talk, and have him earn back the parts and labor as you see fit.

In 05 I crashed a Kawii No mad with my wife on the back. We were going about 15 mph.

A trailer the bike was pulling somehow came off the ball hitch, where it had been locked for the 4 previous days. The road was a BLM gravel road on Pine Ridge.

In the crash, my wifes rt elbow was cut to the bone, I broke my lower 3 rightside ribs, and we bruised our rt side hips.

The bike was bad, as the trailer hit the high side again, and the right side slide more than 25 feet on gravel and ended up wheels high on the crash bars. The damage to the bike was incredible for the speed I was going.
If I wasn't there myself I would guess the crash was a lot closer to 45 MPH than 15.

Today cars are built to bend and break up to absorb shock. 1995 is a car made that way too. The whole idea is to save lives by letting the car break up and bend. That has a lot to do with the extensive damage, even to frames.

I am taking a wild guess like the rest, but I have the idea all the weight of the car came to bear on these few parts, and the parts did exactly what they were designed to do and your son is breathing air on this side of the grass, which knowing you from your writtings is the most important thing.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Chicago
36,348 posts, read 57,054,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
My son (16) was driving my 1995 Camaro Z28 . . .
Good God, why??

But to get to bottom of the question... 5mph, no way. 15mph, maybe, if he hit the curb at an oblique angle with the wheel turned mostly parallel to the curb, which it probably was as he was trying to steer away from it. But to have hit it at 15mph means quite a bit of speed had probably already been scrubbed off before contact. You don't do that much damage by "slightly misjudging a corner," you do that much damage by grossly misjudging the abilities of yourself, the car, or both. I wouldn't say your son is "lying" so much that his perception of "slightly misjudged" as a 16-year-old male is probably quite different from that of an adult.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 31,771,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
As a parent I like to believe my kids, but do put on my best Reagan as well, "trust but verify", lol.
Exactly why I am asking. It seems like a lot of damage, but I have no idea what it takes to do this much damage. It is drivable. It just makes a bad noise at high speeds.

I really like that shop that gave me the $1000 quote. They have always been very honest with us as far as I can tell and do not overcharge. They even once admitted making a mistake and corrected it at no charge (something mechanics never do). I do not know if they have a frame machine. Is this necessary to do an adequate job replacing a subframe?

BTW is there an reason not to use a used subframe?
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 31,771,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
Good God, why??
The battery was not holding a charge so I could not drive it to work. I had to drive our Ranger. He had to go to crew practice (about 5 miles away) and he is the only person besides me who knows how to drive the Camrao and the other two cars were needed by others for work. Crew is close enough to risk the dead battery and he has time to get a jump if there is a problem. I should have just made him run to crew practice. A 5 mile run is nothing to a crew guy.

He has driven the camrao with me dozens fo times and he is very careful. He has driven it alone maybe 6-8 time on short very local trips. Probably will not be driving it again. (Except if I get it repaired instead of scrapping it, I may give it to him for graduation if he gets his grades up to 3.6 or better).

It is amazing how fast this car has decayed. Two years ago it was virtually perfect and had 78K miles on it. It was my favorite material possession. Now I am considering scrapping it because there is too much to repair. Grumble. I have sunk over $5,000 into repairs this year. (Part of that was caused by my accidentally backing over a floor jack ). I am thinking that it may just not be worth it to sink another $2000 into it. That will take some cogitation. It is still a beautiful car and fun to drive (in the summer).
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:16 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,580 posts, read 20,658,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
(Part of that was caused by my accidentally backing over a floor jack ).

Did you by any chance teach your son how to drive?

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Old 10-28-2011, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 31,771,034 times
Reputation: 11808
Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
Did you by any chance teach your son how to drive?

Yes. That is why I allow him to drive the Camaro.

In 16 years only two people besides me and possibly an occasional mechanic have ever driven it. I never even allowed valet parking.

He did leave the jack in the driveway after changing a tire for mom. They are kinda hard to see. Remarkable damage, the handle poked under the rear fender and bent up the gas tank filler tube, which of course messed up the gas tank door cover. A few weeks later I needed a new fuel pump which I am guessing was probably related.

Later I hit a bicycle that he left in the driveway. I cannot remember what that damaged, but it cost a couple of hundred. (Bike was supposedly worth $1200. Now I walk the whole 180' drive way every time before I back out. He has stopped leaving things in the driveway (I hope).


You are correct, I treasure this car, but I treasure my son much more. I think I will believe him. Not worth the risk of confronting him for lying and possibly being wrong. He struggles to win my approval hard enough. Boys are very sensitive. Girls are easier (but they run into stuff more when they start driving).

The car is getting a little frustrating anyway. I just cannot seem to keep up with it. I would get a Challenger STR8 or possibly a Corvette, but it is just too impractical. (Already have a Jensen Healey for a car that can only be driven in the nice weather). I really need to get a 4x4 truck. However with repairs and maintenance for six cars and a 175 year old house, and trying to help pay the non-scholarship portion of college x2, it is hard to find the money and I am not certain what I want. Thought maybe Avalanche, but the price is offensive to me. then I saw the new RAM with the hemi engine and the neato tool boxes and under seat storage. However I want to watch them for a while and see if they have their quality issues licked.

Anyway I digress, but it is Friday. It is ok to Digress on Friday.

Last edited by Coldjensens; 10-28-2011 at 10:53 AM..
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