Track spin, now front end is... weird

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Track spin, now front end is... weird

Postby HappyCatFilms » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:05 pm

Greetings, all. I'm seeking the collective wisdom of the Forum!

Had an on-track spin in turn 10 at Summit Point today in my NC.
Driver error. I asked more of the rear tires than was there early in the session, early in the day. Here's the video:

https://youtu.be/9ZLTlQpLbf8

No injuries or body damage, but when the car came back on track, the left front took a pretty good sideways impact as the tire hit the raised asphalt surface. (0:18 in the video)

Immediately, I knew something was wrong. Thought I had a flat, but actually, the left front is now toed out severely (like 10 degrees) and with positive camber with the steering wheel straight. But here's the weird part: Nothing in the suspension looks damaged or different than the right side. Several people looked at it today, and collectively we found nothing obvious for such a severe change.

Tie rod: no damage.
A-Arms: no damage.
No visible damage/shifting of position to any universal joints or bolts.
A-Arm adjusters(eccentrics): all in the same place as the right side.
Bushings position and location: all same right and left sides.

At this point, I'm thinking the rack and pinion steering - maybe something 'pulled out' in some way?

I trailered the car home and once I get some rest I'll think about next steps.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Very strange to not find something obvious after that hit.

Thanks in advance,

- Rob.
"Street Legal, Track Capable"
2009 Copper Ragtop 5-speed. AEM intake, GordyM seat lowering, Hard Dog M3 Sport roll bar, TDR ECU reflash, AiM MXL, Enkei PF01 17" wheels with Hoosier tires for track days.
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Re: Track spin, now front end is... weird

Postby Brian » Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:55 pm

Can't eyeball it....start with putting car on the alignment rack, see if it will take alignment.

If merely steering, that too easily adjusted while on the alignment rack.
Brian Goodwin
Good-Win Racing
www.good-win-racing.com
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Re: Track spin, now front end is... weird

Postby morrisg » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:24 pm

When it's up on the rack you should also rock the left wheel assembly to see if there's any clunking, like you would do to check the bearings. Sometimes things look good to the eye, but are broken internally. I would check the ball joints carefully and any bushings which might have torn. You'll also want to check the wheel runout just to make sure things are straight as well as search for wheel cracks with a dye solution. You don't want a wheel coming apart at speed…ruins the whole day.
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Re: Track spin, now front end is... weird

Postby HappyCatFilms » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:24 pm

Think I've found the problem. The upright/knuckle is bent, and it looks like the upper control arm ball joint bolt is also bent.

Looking at various parts sites, does the NC even use a replaceable upper ball joint? The service manual has a procedure for checking the torque of the upper control arm ball joint, and says if it's out, to replace the upper control arm. Is that right?
"Street Legal, Track Capable"
2009 Copper Ragtop 5-speed. AEM intake, GordyM seat lowering, Hard Dog M3 Sport roll bar, TDR ECU reflash, AiM MXL, Enkei PF01 17" wheels with Hoosier tires for track days.
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Re: Track spin, now front end is... weird

Postby morrisg » Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:58 pm

I went to Mazdamotorsports.com and logged in to use the parts catalog. Checking the 2009 NC, no the ball joint isn't separate from the upper or lower control arms. So you will need an upper control arm as well as the steering knuckle. Interesting prices: $118 for the upper control arm, but only $74 for the knuckle (not including the hub or bearings, etc.). These are Mazda motorsport member prices. You might want to go to a wrecking yard and pick a car that was rear ended for the entire assembly. If you take the control arms plus knuckle/hub/brake & rotor, you will have an easy swap and it might be cheaper, too.
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Re: Track spin, now front end is... weird

Postby HappyCatFilms » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:11 pm

morrisg wrote:Checking the 2009 NC, no the ball joint isn't separate from the upper or lower control arms.


Yeah, that is definitely the case. I wonder if that contributes to fewer 'track' NCs than NAs and NBs.

I've ordered the upright/knuckle and ball joint dust covers to get the repair moving. Junkyard is a good option for when I have time to do the searching.

Thanks for the input.
"Street Legal, Track Capable"
2009 Copper Ragtop 5-speed. AEM intake, GordyM seat lowering, Hard Dog M3 Sport roll bar, TDR ECU reflash, AiM MXL, Enkei PF01 17" wheels with Hoosier tires for track days.
HappyCatFilms
 
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