Strut Failure Question


#1

I have a 2002 Dodge Intrepid had both front struts replaced along with swing bar in Jan 29 /15
Driving along the expressway at 65 mph and the driver strut failed leaving me with no steering at all. The car fishtailed twice and ended up in the ditch just missing steel i beams for the guard rail . Could have been a lot worse but walked away. Is it the fault of the garage or the strut??

I’m new here I have lots of pictures just not sure how to add them


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#2

The strut failed over 2 years after installation. Sounds like a defective strut to me, barring some sort of abuse.


#3

Have someone check if the upper strut tower is rusted out.

Tester


#4

Ask another shop to take a look and document with photos the probable failure mode. Could be a strut failure by itself, or something else broke loose first. The connection at the top, where the strut meets the body above the fender is a common place where things go south from reports here. However I don’t think I recall anyone here ever posting about a strut failure resulting in symptoms such as you had, so it must be a pretty uncommon thing. Sorry this happened to you, must have been a little frightening.


#5

After that length of time though, it’s all on you but I’m trying to picture how a strut failure would cause a complete lack of steering? I’ve had a tie rod failure that caused loss of steering on that wheel but even if the strut were disconnected, you still have the axle and tie rods providing the steering.


#6

I’m not an expert, but could the broken strut not jammed up the steering somehow ?


#7

It’d be nice to see a picture, but I don’t know, the strut just rotates as the hub is turned. I suppose if the thing snapped in half there would be no spring support on that side and the wheel could maybe be caught in the wheel well, but I’m just having a hard time picturing it.


#8

How did the strut fail? I’m having a hard time seeing how that would cause a total lack of steering short of something catastrophically breaking into pieces.


#9

Isn’t a front strut part of the stuff that defines the wheel-plane orientation, part of the wheel alignment mechanism in other words? Three points define a plane, and the each end of the strut is two of those three points. Does that sound right?

If so, then a strut malfunction could cause all sorts of problems with the steering.


#10

out of these 3 points:

failure of the bottom one is almost impossible to imagine as entire bottom link has to be detached to cause it

failure of the middle point would be tie-rod failure, not a strut fault

the only point where strut itself would be likely to fail would be a top point, where it has rod narrowing toward the top point

here I found a good picture:

I always wondered how can it be that somebody sells a set of 4 “no-name” struts on eBay for the price of one of reputable manufacturer… and if such parts would last even one year…


#11

On these cars the outer tie rods connect to the strut housing, not the steering knuckle. So a broken strut could have the same effect as a tie rod completely separating.

Without some pictures it’s impossible to determine the whats and whys and hows of the failure. But I’d have a hard time seeing how it could be the garage’s fault.


#12

@asemaster, after a look at a pic I see what you mean. The OP hasn’t filled in the details but I wonder if the strut actually broke or if an outer tie rod end gave up or came loose from worn out or not being securely fastened.

After 2+ years time I would imagine it may be tough to go against the shop.

If the OP wants a definitive answer about what happened they’re going to have to provide some detail along with a pic or two.


#13

There are more failure points than you think. A strut is a structural part of the suspension. Remove it and the car falls over. The strut tenon, the threaded portion at the top of the rod that bolts to the mount, is a critical point. It is also a high stress point of the rod because it is necked down, sharp corner, ect.

But there are more. I have seen the lower portion of the strut that is welded to the bracket attaching to the steering knuckle break free. That pushes the strut lower tube onto the CV joint and you lose steering at that wheel.

The lower strut tube itself can rust through enough to break the tube when you hit a pothole. The corner collapses, the tire hits the wheel well and all kinds of bad things can happen.

Additionally, the Dodge Intrepid has the steering arm welded to the strut itself, not the knuckle. Failure of that arm can cause loss of steering, too.


#14

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#15

Because I’m a new user it will only allow one picture


#16

This a shot of top of the strut


#17


#18


#19

this a shot of the backside that hold the strut at the top


#20

Driver side where strut failed, see where top of tire is angled out while the bottom of tire is opposite