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Sudden tie-rod failure?

A coworker scraped about 5 feet of the side panel of a rented bus (1996 MCI D Series) on a concrete block, which caught on the rear wheel well and ripped up the panel behind the wheel. He says that the bus suddenly fishtailed and that a roadside mechanic told him that a shackle on the tie-rod seemed “loose.” The mechanic told us later that he found the tag axle was twisted and he “loosened the shackle on the center link, allowing the tag axle to be realigned” and then the bus was fine to drive back. The question is whether the driver drove into the concrete block, damaging the tie-rod, or vice versa? Is it possible for a loose shackle on a tie-rod to cause a bus traveling about 3 mph on dry concrete to swerve into a concrete block?

Possible, but also possible that there was operator error. This is one of those things where you let the person and their insurance take care of it and keep your thoughts to yourself.


Thanks, it’s my job to try to figure out what probably happened with the limited information we have.

What was the mechanic’s opinion?
If it’s your job to figure out what went wrong, I think your best bet is to rely on the mechanic’s opinion.

It’s a fair bet that people on the internet that cannot see or touch the vehicle or interview the driver won’t come up with an answer to swear by.

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If you are to report your findings to someone at your workplace anonymous opinions from a forum are worthless. Insurance companies have accident investigators.

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I can’t say for sure but I don’t believe that a bus traveling 3 MPH is going to suffer a suspension failure and suddenly swerve into a concrete barrier.
However, a 3 MPH impact on something that large can certainly damage suspension or steering components.

One has to wonder if the co-worker is simply trying to pull a CYA maneuver to absolve themselves of responsibility for damage on a rented bus. And 3 MPH…???.


"I was only going 3 mph", ranks right up there with, “I only had one beer, officer!”.
People will frequently come up with explanations or excuses that are barely believable when they try to exculpate themselves.