Lower Control Arm (LCA) replacement... or bent subframe

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My driver's side front wheel hit pothole while it was raining really bad in Houston and it knocked my alignment off.

The steering wheel is about 5 degrees to the left and the vehicle (hand off the steering wheel) leads to the left, however, when the steering wheel is centered the car pulls to the right -- they say its because of caster not within a certain degree.

After many conversations with the dealership, they're blaming a bent subframe.
I did my own visual diag and found the passenger LCA bushing torn.

Thoughts on their diag? Does this sound like a bent or warp subframe? I know the LCA affects caster, but the car doesn't seem to have any noticeable difficult turning problems.

I want to replace the passenger LCA before dropping $$$ on a new subframe. OEM passenger LCA is about $185.

Does anyone know if there is aftermarket, better, LCA out there? I've done some online research and haven't found anything.

Attached are images of the torn LCA bushing and the corresponding witness mark.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

20190423-163935.jpg

20190423-165010.jpg
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L8apex

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First thing, after you hit the pothole on the driver’s side, you inspected it and suspect it tore the passenger side control arm bushing? I don’t think the torn bushing is affecting the steering that much, not was it caused by the pothole.

Second, subframes rarely bend. Normally in collisions are subframes ever damaged enough to need replacement. More commonly, they are shifted and that will affect camber and caster.

Typically, pothole hits will affect the weakest link in the suspension, in most cases the steering tie rod. In the case of our civics, the lower ball joint is bolted, not pressed into, the lower control arm. I would check those bolts as well to see if they were shifted.

Yes caster that is out of spec will affect steering effort, but we’re talking handfuls of degrees. Like 5 or more. But as little as 1 degree variation side to side will cause the vehicle to pull to the side.

Has the dealership done or recommended an alignment prior to replacing parts? That will be the telltale or at least point you in the right direction.
 
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I took it in the day after hitting the pot hole. it took about an hr to "perform" the alignment, whereas then my advisor told me the tech said there was no damage to any linkages or the subframe. the very next day their story changed, saying there are outside influence marks on the subframe and it could possibly be bent. to inspect the subframe will be $500-$800. if so, a new subframe is $$$. if I have to R&R the subframe, I will do it myself. but i truly believe that is not the cause of my alignment issue.

they say caster has to be within a certain degree, and previous alignment printouts (I keep all records) show inconsistencies in the variance between driver's and passenger's caster.

I feel like they are trying to get me to throw parts at it until the alignment is correct.

Did I mention rocks were once wedged between steering rack and subframe? it is my understanding the subframe has been removed multiple times to clear rocks out (i live down a dirt road). their response "your car cannot drive down dirt roads."
 
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First thing, after you hit the pothole on the driver’s side, you inspected it and suspect it tore the passenger side control arm bushing? I don’t think the torn bushing is affecting the steering that much, not was it caused by the pothole.

Second, subframes rarely bend. Normally in collisions are subframes ever damaged enough to need replacement. More commonly, they are shifted and that will affect camber and caster.

Typically, pothole hits will affect the weakest link in the suspension, in most cases the steering tie rod. In the case of our civics, the lower ball joint is bolted, not pressed into, the lower control arm. I would check those bolts as well to see if they were shifted.

Yes caster that is out of spec will affect steering effort, but we’re talking handfuls of degrees. Like 5 or more. But as little as 1 degree variation side to side will cause the vehicle to pull to the side.

Has the dealership done or recommended an alignment prior to replacing parts? That will be the telltale or at least point you in the right direction.
So, they did an alignment. Afterwords the Service Advisor told me everything looks good and there's no damaged parts, however, the steering wheel will not center because the tech wasn't able to get CAMBER in spec.

I did my research, looked through all my automotive books from when I studied at TSTC. Nothing made sense!

I called the dealership the next day and spoke with the Service Mananger. He talked to the alignment tech and then told me CASTER was off by a few degrees and there's no way to center the steeling wheel perfectly. He said my subframe may be bent causing the difference between CASTER (there is a witness mark on the subframe proving outside influence.

My diagnosis reviled the torn LCA bushing.
 

davemarco

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Just curious - what ended up coming of all this?
 

hondabandit

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I have a bad driver side bearing and haven't found a complete knuckle assembly with bearing installed. Did you her a used knuckle?
Bad drivers bearing or hub. Ended up replacing the entire knuckle
 

NewCivicRs

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I have a bad driver side bearing and haven't found a complete knuckle assembly with bearing installed. Did you her a used knuckle?
You mean the complete knuckle is completely with lower control arm, and ball joint, lower and upper? Or just the bearing?
 

hondabandit

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I meant just the knuckle with bearing pre installed. I do all my repairs, but I have no means to get the bearing pressed in.
You mean the complete knuckle is completely with lower control arm, and ball joint, lower and upper? Or just the bearing?
 
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I got the knuckle assembly with the bearings and everything from ahparts
 

MarcusgibbS

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Steering wheel position has nothing to do with camber at all. It’s the toe that moves the steering wheel position. 👍🏻
What a lazy ass tech too. Always drive after align for that exact reason, steering wheel straight. Especially if it was straight to begin with.
Generally if other adjustments are made it can affect the position but super easy fix with toe, unless you are lazy like that guy.
Or pop off the steering wheel and move one tooth over.
 
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