checking out front end...question

sunliner

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
365
So...I was out of town last week. Driving my Trailblazer (2wd) and I swerved to avoid another car. I went too far to the left and hit a concrete lane divider with my left front wheel. Hit hard enough that I was sure I had ripped the wheel off, but I didn't see any damage when I got out and looked. Took it to a local shop, the only damage they could see was the underside of the left running board was chipped up. Went ahead and drove it the 430 miles home; seems to handle pretty good, I can take my hands off the wheel on a decent road, and she tracks straight as an arrow.
Problem is, I'm paranoid. I feel every little pop and rattle...may be the same ones it's always had.

I jacked up the front left wheel in my garage to day. Spun the wheel, no problem. Push/pulling the wheel is ok, no movement felt. I grabbed the wheel at the 12 & 6 oclock positions and tried to move it and it's solid.
The only movement I can elicit is when I place my hands on the tire at the 3 & 9 oclock positions and move. I can make the wheel move just a little bit back and forth. Is that indicative of something being loose or mis-aligned?
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Hard to say. If you hit the curb head on and ran over it you might be ok. But if you hit the curb into the side of the wheel then I would get an alignment check. That would definitely tell you if something was loose or damaged.
 

sunliner

Original poster
Member
Mar 25, 2012
365
I'm going to take it in to a shop here at home and get their opinion. With the first shop I figured if anything, they'd see out-of-state plates & jump at the chance to do some expensive repairs for a tourist.
thanks
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
Turn the wheel so you can view the outer tie rod end and have someone turn the wheel very slightly back and forth, there should be no wobble in the joint, only wheel movement. The tie rod end pivots like you would be threading it on the steering rack, that's normal.

Raise the left front wheel off the ground by the lower control arm and place a prybar under the tire, raise the tire and see if the lower ball joint compresses at all, it shouldn't.

The front bearing generally doesn't show any movement if you rock the tire back and forth unless it's real bad, at that point you generally hear it way before it gets loose...sounds like a mud tire.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
Excellent advice gmcman. I am going to do this just to checkup on things. I have 130K on my truck atm without a failed hub or any suspension components that I know of. I think it would be a good idea this spring to just give everything a once over as preventative maintenance. Now to just buy that floor jack at Harbor Freight I have been eyeing.:smile:
 

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