Front left wheel has ''broken loose'' from the front end.
The top of the front left wheel looks to be leani ng about 10 degrees inward as if the wheel is leaning into the wheel well. On the way home my sister described the feeling that she had a flat tire so she stoped and checked and continued. She then described some clanking, grinding and difficulty steering. She pulled into a parking lot and the wheel looked like it was about to fall off as if there were no lug nuts holding the wheel on. Steering knuckle, ball joints, controll arm? I hope this is something I can fix myself. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks.
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Re: Front left wheel has ''broken loose'' from the front...
From your description, it sounds as if the lower ball joint is broken. I'm not there to see it, or i would give you an exact diagnosis. Chances are, whatever the issue is, you will be able to repair it yourself.
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That sounds very much like you broke off a tie rod end. Check to see if the front wheels agree with each other. Turn the steering far left, verify both front wheels are turned left. Turn the steering far right, verify both wheels are turned right. If the front wheels don't agree, DO NOT attempt to drive the car - have it towed somewhere or have someone repair the steering where it sits.
Lift the front end of the car and support on stands.
Remove the front wheels.
Remove the fowards under-tray.
Remove the forward halves of the front wheel arch liners.
Unscrew the small down-facing Torx screw at each top rear corner of the bumper.
Gently pry inwards the rear end of the U-shaped steel channel that holds the fender and bumper flanges together.
Pull the channel rearwards to disengage the lugs from the diagonal slots at the forward end, and remove the channels.
Disconnect the external air temp sensor in the bottom left air intake.
Disconnect the parking sensors connector at the right rear corner. You need to open the lever lock and pull hard without damaging the wiring.
Open the hood and remove two bolts on top of the bumper, next to the inner headlamp mountings.
Remove two nuts in lower grille - vertically beneath above bolts.
If its your first time, get a friend and pull the bumper forwards very slowly and gently, avoiding scratching the fenders.
The bumper is surprisingly light.
The front suspension allows each wheel to compensate for changes in the road surface without affecting the opposite wheel. Each wheel independently connects to the frame with a steering knuckle, ball joint assemblies, and upper and lower control arms.
The control arms specifically allow the steering knuckles to move in a three-dimensional arc. Two tie rods connect to steering arms on the knuckles and an intermediate rod. These operate the front wheels.
The two-wheel drive vehicles have coil chassis springs. These springs are mounted between the spring housings on the frame and the lower control arms. Double, direct acting shock absorbers are inside the coil springs. The coil springs attach to the lower control arms and offer ride control.
The upper part of each shock absorber extends through the upper control arm frame bracket. This bracket has two grommets, two grommet retainers, and a nut.
A spring stabilizer shaft controls the side roll of the front suspension. This shaft is mounted in rubber bushings that are held by brackets to the frame side rails. The ends of the stabilizer shaft connect to the lower control arms with link bolts. Rubber grommets isolate these link bolts. Rubber bushings attach the upper control arm to a cross shaft. Frame brackets bolt the cross shaft.
A ball joint assembly is riveted to the outer end of the upper control arm. A rubber spring in the control arm assures that the ball seats properly in the socket. A castellated nut and a cotter pin join the steering knuckle to the upper ball joint.
The inner ends of the lower control arm have pressed-in bushings. The bolts pass through the bushings and join the arm to the frame. The lower ball joint assembly is a press fit in the lower control arm and attaches to the steering knuckle with a castellated nut and a cotter pin.
Ball socket assemblies have rubber grease seals. These seals prevent entry of moisture and dirt and damage to the bearing surfaces.
Four-wheel drive models have a front suspension that consists of the control arms, a stabilizer bar, a shock absorber, and right and left torsion bars. The torsion bars replace the conventional coil springs. The lower control arm attaches to the front end of the torsion bar. The rear end of the torsion bar mounts on an adjustable arm at the crossmember. This arm adjustment controls the vehicle trim height.
Two-wheel drive vehicles have tapered roller sheel bearings. These bearings are adjustible and need lubrication.
Four-wheel drive models and RWD Utilities have sealed front-wheel bearings. These bearings are pre-adjusted and need no lubrication.
Heat treatment may create darkened areas on the bearing assembly. This discoloration does not signal a need for replacement.
Hope this helps?
ck the CV boot. if its broken you need a new cv axle, if its ok, jack up the car so both wheels are off the ground. either put the car in drive or just manually spin each front wheel while gripping the coil spring for the front strut. if you feel any (roughness) at all, that wheel bearing is bad. it should be smooth. if you have a bad one you will know it by this method. Even good mechanics sometimes replace the wrong bearing, but this 100% works every time.
THIS NOISE IS USUALLY THE HUB. HAVE SOMEONE GO WITH YOU ON A TEST DRIVE. GET THE ROARING TO HAPPEN AT ITS LOUDEST AND GENTLY SWERVE THE CAR LEFT AND RIGHT. DON'T BE SURPRISED IF YOU THINK BOTH HUBS ARE BAD.
LIFT THE FRONT OF THE CAR AND PUT IT ON JACK STANDS. PULL OUTWARD ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TIRE WHILE PUSHING INWARD ON THE TOP OF THE WHEEL. IF THE WHEEL MOVES EXCESSIVELY YOU FOUND THE HUB THAT IS NOISY.
USING A MECHANICS STETHOSCOPE YOU CAN SOMETIMES HEAR A ROARING TYPE NOISE ON THE BACKING PLATE SIDE OF THE HUB WITH THE ENGINE RUNNING AND THE TRANS IN GEAR. TRY NOT TO GET THE SPEED UP TOO FAR ESPECIALLY IF YOU CAN HEAR THE NOISE AT LOW SPEED, YOU DON'T WANT TO VIBRATE OFF THE STANDS.