strut tower failure
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  1. #1
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    strut tower failure

    I couldn't find a lot on p-9 in regards to the strut tower failure that has been reported on our cars. I apologize if we have covered this. There is another forum with an extensive conversation on this failure. One of the members has gone to the point of creating a database of the failures. If you are not aware of this failure google porsche strut tower failure.

    In this forum they have mentioned that tarett maybe making a brace for this failure and Rick Deman Motorosports is also looking at a fix. This seems to be speculation at this point. Porsche does make a bracket that goes over this area, however it seems to be more of a safety precaution as it is just a plate that covers the top of the tower. I have attached a photo of this apparent fix.

    Some blame this failure on a lowered car. Others blame the missing of a bump stop on the strut and more blame a weak area of the car. Some failures happen in accidents and others apparently happen while driving down the highway.

    The tower that seems to fail most often is on the passenger side. Some people mentioned that the right side of our roads contain the most potholes, however others mentioned that the issues is just as bad in europe and is still on the same side. Another person pointed out that on the driver side front strut of our cars there is an area of the tower that has a bulge in the tower that provides a bit more support.

    Apparently there is a brace for the rear tower in the gt4 that didn't come on the cayman 981. I have attached a photo of it. I couldn't find the part number. This brace is inside the rear tower and actually appears to be something that would help this sort of failure versus the top mount option on the front tower. I would imagine if they made a brace like this for the front they maybe admitting there is a strength issue in the front shock tower.

    I went down the rabbit hole this am on this topic. I am sharing it with you all in the case that someone has any other information that I am missing. Does anyone know the rear part number for the gt4 sleeve that fits inside the rear shock tower? This seems to be a good fit with vertical rivet areas to transfer some of the load to those vertical areas and not the top of the tower. Do we know of any other fixes similar to this for the front? I don't believe the black plate that is placed on top of the shock tower will add enough vertical strength from a shock pounding through from the bottom. Its important to note that this is a cup car part and cup cars have had failures with this part.

    How widespread is this problem? One person mentions they live in a populated metro area and there are two jigs in their city that are used to fix this failure. He said that both of them are fixing four cars a month. Is it really that bad? Was his information incomplete and they are fixing much more than shock tower failures with these jigs? They started a database of failures on this forum and have reported 9 so far. Should we be concerned?

    The forum also mentions that when Porsche looks at this they find ways not to cover it. For example if you have a bent wheel they blame a pothole and not design defect. If you have track insurance they are apparently not covering it as there wasn't an accident and if it happened on the track your auto policy won't be covering it.

    Its a failure that seems to be a really big pain in the a-- if it happens to you. Something to at least have a plan in place. If it happens, the costs have been estimated at 15-22k+
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails strut tower failure-gt4strut-jpg   strut tower failure-frontbrace-jpeg  
    2014 Cayman S gt4 front clip center radiator, gt4 side vents, gt4 rear diffuser, rss lca and toe links -2.7 F, -2.8 rear, re71r, ag lightweight wheels, fabspeed race headers and cobb tune, kw H.A.S springs, gt3 front bar, tarrett rear bar, techno brace, giro discs, ds1.11, custom brake cooling, macan paddle steering wheel...2018 was my first summer, love this forum, it helped me to deplete my savings account.

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  3. #2
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    Re: strut tower failure

    This is primarily a GT car problem and you should have posted in the GT4 section. Most of the suspected causes that you listed are specific to the GT4.

    Of big note, the strut top is leaned significantly towards the center of the car on GT4s (for increased camber), sending forces at the tower opening that way. Most partial tower breaks break at the center/inside where the strut bearing is on GT4s. Coincidence? I think not, On normal 981s, the strut bearing is in the center of the opening, distributing forces more evenly. As a result, regular 981s have fewer instances of strut tower failures, if any. The springs/shocks are different, too between GT4 and regular 981s.

    V6

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    Re: strut tower failure

    I'd just follow the large GT4 failure thread on RL. Folks there are attempting to secure a failed piece so it can be scanned for possible reinforcement. The speculation on the plates you posted is that they do nothing more than retain the failed strut tower. The cause of the failure is undetermined with some guesses towards spring rate, struct inclination angle, and/or force distribution via strut tops. To date, I don't recall any non GT3/4 failures.

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    Re: strut tower failure

    Well there have been failures on 991s too and not just GT cars. I think, like Voyager6 stated, we are probably ok in our regular 981s. If you have modified your car and hit the track frequently though, this is a good thing to be aware of, and maybe inspect those areas when appropriate.

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    Re: strut tower failure

    Quote Originally Posted by lovetoturn View Post
    Well there have been failures on 991s too and not just GT cars. I think, like Voyager6 stated, we are probably ok in our regular 981s. If you have modified your car and hit the track frequently though, this is a good thing to be aware of, and maybe inspect those areas when appropriate.
    Last September, at Mid-Ohio, I hit a hole just in front of a curb (I turned in 6 - 12 inches too early) and the jolt shook my Modified Cayman. I pulled into the paddock and checked the left front rim. I had flattened the bead area slightly, but no air was lost and vibration was minimal. I checked the shock towers and no damage. I continued the DE weekend at Mid-Ohio with no issues.

    On the way home, I noticed I had a strong pull to the right that I did not notice on the track. I had another weekend at Mid-Ohio the next Friday and took the car to my indy shop. We both inspected the car, found no structural damage - the alignment was dead on, but the car would alternate between straight and hard right. If you held the steering wheel straight, the car would drive true - which is why I didn't notice it at the track. The car has all monoball suspension and everything was tight. After calling a shop in the Columbus area that works on Porsche track cars, they told my indy shop that the electronic power steering rack electronics can be damaged by a hard jolt and they had replaced a dozen racks on GT3s that were regulars at Mid-Ohio. The shop felt the car was safe for the track and I went to the track the next weekend with no issues. I put on my backup set of rims with new Sport Cup 2 tires for that weekend.

    In any case, the jolt was severe and I was sure I had broke a tower, but didn't. Perhaps the Schnell front strut tower brace on the car helped. I took the rim to a Cincinnati repair shop and they fixed it overnight. Interestingly, the repair shop told me the rim had four out of round spots and fixed them all. I bought a backup rim on close out, but Tire [email protected] had discontinued the gold color needed to match the other rims.

    V6
    Last edited by Voyager6; 06-03-2019 at 07:25 AM.

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    Re: strut tower failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager6 View Post
    Last September, at Mid-Ohio, I hit a hole just in front of a curb (I turned in 6 - 12 inches too early) and the jolt shook my Modified Cayman.


    V6
    You mean to tell me you can't even get away from potholes on the TRACK!?? Oy!


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    Re: strut tower failure

    If you were referring to my VW Corrado rim story... that was a rim design issue. The inner bead should never stick out that far beyond the rubber. All you had to do was drive over a 1.5 inch deep hole in the asphalt and catch the inner rim lip and ...BOOM! Flat/ruined tire and dented rim. VR6s had different rims and did not have this issue. The next owner of the Corrado also lost rims and finally went aftermarket and solved the issue for good. I should have done that myself, but I had already replaced the car and let it sit three years before I sold it cheap with full disclosure of all the problems. Never before or after (until this track incident) have I ever dented or damaged a rim.

    As far as the track, it was the turn at the top of Mid-Ohio's 'madness'. There was a deep hole in the dirt at the start of the candy cane curbing at the top of a narrow radius off-camber turn. You have to cut it close to make speed and the turn. I didn't hit the whole hole, just enough to put the sharp concrete leading edge of the curb into the outside edge of the rim. I was only 6 - 12 inches too early. I was lucky the OZ Ultraleggera rim wasn't destroyed. The fact that it held up is testament to OZ's strength, for a non-forged design.

    V6

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    Re: strut tower failure

    Oh man I had a VR6 Corrado as my first car. Turned out to be wrecked and a total lemon, and my dad didn't get a prepurchase inspection. Backfires and leaky head gaskets leading to the entire cylinder head being replaced, broken engine mounts, random parts falling off, but hey I learned to drive stick on it. I think the next buyer turned it into a track car, but I wonder what actually happened to it.

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    Re: strut tower failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager6 View Post
    If you were referring to my VW Corrado rim story... that was a rim design issue.

    V6
    I wasn’t and hadn’t heard that story before. I had a ‘92 SLC VR6 and had the 15” BBS wheels. Loved that car! Wish I still had it. My MKV R32 puts me in mind of the Corrado in many aspects. I won’t be losing another unique VW with the R though. That car is here to stay. strut tower failure


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    Re: strut tower failure

    Quote Originally Posted by PG-IN View Post
    I wasn’t and hadn’t heard that story before. I had a ‘92 SLC VR6 and had the 15” BBS wheels. Loved that car! Wish I still had it. My MKV R32 puts me in mind of the Corrado in many aspects. I won’t be losing another unique VW with the R though. That car is here to stay. strut tower failure
    There seems to be a lot of us former Corrado owners on here.

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