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Disaster narrowly averted


Restorer32

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Yesterday my Son was driving a '59 Caddy Conv up our driveway at the shop preparatory to a test drive on the open highway.  This was a car we painted and detailed but to which we had done no mechanical work.  As he reached the end of the driveway the ball end literally fell off the pitman arm. He just told me about it and I am almost shaking. Caddy's can be replaced, my Son cannot.

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This brings back some long suppressed memories. In 1982, as a 17 year old, my upper ball joint failed going about 20 miles an hour in the high school parking lot.  The right front wheel buckled in and was wedged into the wheel well.  The previous night I was going 115 with 3 buddies in the car out in the country. 
 

this car. 

6C30D73F-352D-4656-82C6-4FFDAE9C6A08.jpeg

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Mr. Bloom!  You and your buddies are truly lucky!  I had a similar experience in NE PA when I was driving my Dad's F150 4x4 on the way home from Hazleton in a snow storm.  I may have still been on my learner's permit.  Driving on Honey Hole Road between Rt 309 and Rt 437, suddenly the truck veered off the road to the right, luckily into some brush where it was fairly flat and not into the trees or a ditch.  My dad yells out what are you doing?  I yell back, nothing!  We both get out and look underneath the front and there is just enough light from the headlights on the fresh snow to see that a nut came off one of the drag links, making the steering inoperable.  We managed to pop the stud back in place and slowly drove the rest of the way home.  Be safe out there!

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Back in 1974 or so working in a body shop my boss had a 1959.

He was going to pick up some parts instead of making a hard right the car went straight  across the road into the truck stop parking lot.

A short time after that there was some type of recall or warning "but" because the cars were "old" there was not the typical mandatory replacement. 

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Glad to hear your son is unscathed!

 

 

 

Back about 1984 I was running well over 100 mph coming up the highway on a return trip from a buddies wedding.  When one of my occupants wanted to stop at McDonalds, so we jumped off the exit and circled around to the entrance, as I crossed from the street into the parking lot the spindle broke just behind the nut and the wheel folded in under the car. Three minutes earlier there could have been three of us a a 68 Torino GT scattered across the highway and surrounding fields.

 I put upper and lower ball joints in that car 2 days and 300 miles before the failure, ya just never know when old steel is going to fatigue and fail..

 

 

 

 

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I once looked at a '36 Ford DeLuxe Cabrio for someone. Super shiny, very beautiful example that had been sitting in a museum pretty much since it was "restored", a term I'll use loosely here... Clouds and rain were coming in so I bumped up my test drive ahead of the chassis inspection, something I don't like doing. Put about 10 miles or so on the car, which was pretty loose. Got it back, put it in the air, and immediately discovered no cotter pins on almost all the castle nuts on the chassis, including both outer tie rods which were not even finger tight. The driver side castle nut needed only about one turn before the tie rod just fell off the spindle. Some people have no idea the death traps they sell out of their showrooms. I had a mild case of the shakes myself for a little while after that. My client was dang lucky.

 

Glad your boy is OK, that could have ended so much worse...  

Edited by JCHansen1 (see edit history)
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