Help! someone did a hit and run on my volvo, need front-end advice

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  #1  
Old 12-24-06, 09:56 PM
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Help! someone did a hit and run on my volvo, need front-end advice

Hello everybody,

great forum...

I have a nasty problem and two days to figure out what I'm going to do about it.

I have a 87 volvo 240 station wagon, I'm a small remodel contractor and my truck is blown for the time being so this is only my only work vehicle, so this is a big deal.

Anyway, I had it parked on the street the other night and someone in the adjacent parking lot must have backed into it pretty hard, damn Wingdome parking lot open till 3am, musta been a drunk frat boy. I didn't even notice until I drove it.

Visually: (no problem)
Okay the bumper cover popped off on the right side, and the left side front corner light is cracked w/ a little body damage just behind it (like a 2" horizontal gouge/scratch), that's it on inspection, looks very minor, but:
Drives: (problem)
the front end rocks side to side when I drive it, imagine two guys on opposite sides taking turns pushing down on the hood just above the wheels, pretty bad. the girlfriend followed me in her car and said it looked worse when I took right turns.

I checked both front wheels for play and the left wheel does have some play when I grab it at 9 and 3 o' clock and rock it left to right, up and down seems tight though... (maybe damaged tie rod end?) keep in mind I can change starters out and basic stuff like that but I'm no mechanic... especially foreign cars are new to me, I just know how to do basic stuff on older (pre-'85) american cars...

History: I just had a reputable volvo mechanic fix the ball joints and replace the Left tie rod end about 2 months ago... he only warned that after that kind of repair the assembly farther up may leak fluid around the end of the boot, but that's dry so I'm fairly confident this is solely from someone hitting me and not any kind of shoddy work.

I don't work much in late dec., so money is really tight. However, my insurance broker doesn't open until tues so I have until then to decide to make a claim or not. If it's over $300 to repair I can't really afford to drop that same week as bills/rent, but no vehicle = hard to get 16 miles to the jobsite this coming week. I do have full coverage so I could make a comprehensive claim on it if I can't afford a cash repair...

I'm posting as I will probably not be able to see a mechanic first working day after xmas, may be some delay there, so I'm hoping someone may have some insight into How Major this might be, judging from the symptoms.

Also, I'll be working at home and around the pc all night, so I"m available to answer any ?s or take a digital pic if someone requests something specific... I'll try to check the thread every few hours for the next day or two...

After droppin' $$$ on presents in a lean month, this couldn't have happened at a worse time, any help would be really appreciated...

I guess what I'm asking is, am I totally hosed or what?

thanks, jordan
 
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  #2  
Old 12-25-06, 04:40 AM
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If the front end shakes that bad you can' drive it. It is a hazard to you and to others. But it may be as simple as a bent wheel. Jack up the front end and spin the wheels, a bent one will quickly be obvious. If not, shake the wheels top to bottom and side to side checking for loose or broken parts. There should be very little movement. If there is a problem here, it should also be very obvious. If the body damage was not the extensive, I can't imagine that there could be that much hidden damage, but I have been wrong before. As to putting money in an old car, you need something to work from so you don't have much choice, it's that car or another one that might need more extensive repairs.
Merry Christmas
 
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Old 12-25-06, 06:16 AM
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I'm thinking along the same lines as Bill. When you drive it, if the movement is rythmic, I would defiantely look towards a bent rim.
 
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Old 12-25-06, 07:17 AM
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With any luck, you know a garage which can get used parts to save you $$.
 
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Old 12-25-06, 05:40 PM
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With what you're describing I'd expect to see more physical damage.......My first guess from afar is to check the front tires for out of round conditions............and the wheels also........Your problem may not be related to the "accident"
 
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Old 12-25-06, 08:24 PM
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Yea, sounds like a bent rim or bent tie rod. Probably got crunched up against the curb.

Like the other replies say, I agree. Jack up the front end and spin the wheels to see if one or both rims are bent.

You could also have a bent tie rod. Straighten out the steering wheel as best you can and stand in front of the car observing where the right and left front wheels are in respect to something uniform like the the bumper, fender opening or mud flap and see if there is an obvious difference like one wheel is in a straight line and the other is off to the right for example.

Or if you have an old curtin rod you can use it to check the tow-in adjustment. Put the curtin rod behind the front wheels as high up you can get it ( ussaully just below half way) and close it up against the outside of both tires then don't let that measurment move, gently pull out the curtin rod without changing the length and mark where the 2 halves come together.
Then do the same around the front side of the wheels and compare markings.
If you have more than a 1/4" difference in either direction you need an alignment or more.
This is a quick and easy way to check if your front end is damaged.
I use this method to align my own cars and it works great !
P.S. You'll have to get on the ground and roll around a little to do this.
 
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