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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm still feeling sick to my stomach from this...

Just bought a 2007 Cayman 3 weeks ago in like new condition. Was in a big hurry today leaving work because I was late for dinner. I totally forgot that I was parked next to a concrete column on my right and I backed the side of my car into it as I was backing out :(

Luckily there was almost zero damage to the body of the car (a small scratch and no dents) because the rear part of the front right tire took the brunt of the impact. I was going under 5mph and the wheel was nowhere near full lock. However, when I got back in the car and backed out, I found that my steering alignment was off... a lot! It's probably off by 15-20 degrees to the right. This set off the PSM error light too.

I drove home and besides the alignment being off, there was no pulling or other abnormal behavior of any sort on the highway.

I am going to take it to the dealer to get it checked out on Monday, but I can't bear the waiting/worrying all weekend! My main question is. What kind of damage do you think I could have done? Could I have done anything serious going at under 5mph? How much could it cost?
 

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What intended to happen did happen, all cars are designed to give at the alignment mechanism. Your car simply needs a wheel alignment. Hitting curbs, pot holes etc all contribute to misalignment.
While at the alignment shop have them balance the front right wheel to check for a buckle, most cases they can balance out a slight rim buckle (adding weights).

How much will it cost? well probably half the amount it would here in OZ :crazy: Oh welcome to the forum!
 

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It really depends on the angle of the hit - you might have also bent some of the suspension parts - you/they won't know until they put it onto the alignment rig and try to do an alignment. Carefully inspect the sidewall of the tire, too. If you have a bulge, you'll have to replace the tire, too.

brad
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info. Does anyone know what the maximum movement angle is in the wheel alignment adjustment before you'd start bending the suspension?
 

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Thanks for the info. Does anyone know what the maximum movement angle is in the wheel alignment adjustment before you'd start bending the suspension?
I'm sorry for your mishap. It's very hard to say because of the angle of the hit - the PSM light coming on could also mean a bunch of things, from a broken sensor, to things being so out of whack that the sensors can't get a reading. Did the PSM error go away, or stay on? The alignment adjustments are pretty much vertical (camber) and horizontal (toe) - caster is not adjustable on these cars - so if you hit it at a very strange angle, you may have bent some suspension bits and the usual adjustment planes in the alignment might have nothing to do with it... you might have only been going 5 mph, but 3,000 lbs., even moving at that slow of a speed, can have an awful lot of momentum. You'll have to take it into the dealer or a very good alignment shop that really knows late-model Porsches, to really see what's going on. when you find out the damage/cost, you also might look at your insurance policy and see if it's worth it to make a claim.

brad
 

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Hi Aaron, sorry to hear about your mis-hap. While I agree with most of the above, being familiar with the components involved, I would suggest that you did bend something - probably a tie-rod (AKA toe-link or track rod) if you're lucky. With most cars, this would typically bend first. Other potential items could be: the steering arm (which is integral to the upright ($) or the end of the steering rack or the rack itself.

The adjustment for front toe is not something that would typically spin under a big load (unlike the rear susp eccentrics, which might). It is a jam-nut on the tie-rod, which would typically stay locked, and the tie-rod would bend.

While it is probably possible to just re-adjust the tie-rod to compensate, I would ask the tech to have a good look for anything bent - esp the tie-rod.

Regarding the wheel - I would have it road-force balanced (places a roller against the tire at force during the process and measures the load 'runout'), and also ask the tech to watch lateral run-out while it is spinning, or better yet put a dial indicator on it.

Odds are, you'll get out with a tie-rod, an alignment, and a re-balance - not too bad$.

On the brighter side, as you noted, you are lucky to have escaped $ignificant body damage.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the information guys. I'm taking it into my local Porsche dealer tomorrow. Will see how it goes...
 

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Don't worry about the steering-allignment being off.

I climbed up a curb while sliding off black ice last year, I thought all of the suspension was out because "straight ahead" meant driving with the wheel at a 40 degree cant.

The center part of the steering rack is dramatically sensitive. If you turn your wheel 30 degrees, you'll notice the wheels are only 10 or so degrees turned. My damage was circa 6mm of Toe Out on the wheel that literally climbed up a (banked) concrete curb. At over 30mph. (and a thankfully almost invisible scratch)

Don't worry about it. The worst that you'll have is a dented rim. If this is the case, be aware Porsche charge an arm for them, you'll probably get 4 rims cheaper off ebay. Get them to swap wheels with a car in their showroom (so they can correcly do the allignment) and run with the dinged wheel for a few days until you can get some 2nd hand rims is my suggestion, if this is what happened.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just got my Cayman back from the dealer today! They did a four wheel realignment and found no problems with the suspension components or power steering. Even buffed the scratches away 100%! I'm very relieved. :)

Still... I drove on the highway a bit and it seems like the steering is very slightly misaligned to the left by a few degrees now. It's pretty subtle, so I can live with it for now... if it starts driving me crazy I guess I'll take it back in next week and have them try again.

Thanks for all the info! :thanks:
 

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I ALSO knocked my front wheel alignment way off. How much damage?

HEY! I did a similar thing... and I feel like a total total idiot. Time to slow down my life a bit...

It's been, what, five years since the last post? Anybody around to see this?

Mine is a 1991 911.

I was turned FULLY to the right and backed right into a concrete column on the left.

I believe I hit my wheel full force and then continued somehow enough to dent the front left fender also. Holy moly!!!

I even didn't realize I had hit the wheel from behind like that till I thought about it. I thought it was just a dent. But nooooooo....

So, when I pulled out to leave. I heard a wump, and as I rolled forward, more wumps. This isn't just alignment! ****! So I parked it... It's been there a while now. I had put the new registration sticker on it just the day before.

I have a feeling even though I moved maybe 2 feet before I hit, something is very expensively wrong...

So. What do I do? Body shop? Alignment expert? Mechanic?

Did I possibly damage the entire frame? Or did I possibly rip the wheel right off its mounts? Or did I just bend something?

Let's suppose I messed up the steering assembly. What will that set me back?

Thanks Porsche geniuses!

James
 

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You do realize you're responding to a post from 4 years ago, right?
LOL! Well he's been here since 2008 and posted 25 times........he's on slooooooooowwwww motion.
 

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It really depends on the angle of the hit - you might have also bent some of the suspension parts - you/they won't know until they put it onto the alignment rig and try to do an alignment. Carefully inspect the sidewall of the tire, too. If you have a bulge, you'll have to replace the tire, too.

brad
Brad is spot on about the tire. I hit a pothole in my Merc a while back. I thought I had no damage until I noticed a small bulge in the Pirelli P6. Cost- $228. for the tire, mount and balance. A small bulge is a blowout waiting to happen, so don't take the chance. If you see one, replace the tire.
 

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It could be less true if the cost of an alignment went up as much as other things have over the same period of time.
no, I posted assuming 2013 dollars (like I said, I didn't notice the age of the original post until after I posted)

if you are paying $500 to get an alignment and 4 wheels balanced, you're getting abused
 
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