Visit The Dirt Forum for More Information

Author Topic:   What should I look for?
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted July 11, 2005 04:40 AM  
Today's the magical day that I get to go survey the damage from smacking the wall in hot laps 2 weeks ago... (We were off this past weekend and I've had other obligations.)

I know that the J-Bar mount on the frame and pinion are both bent on the rear and the lower ball joint and the tube on the tie rod on the right side are bent. (I saw those things at the track.) The rear bars all seemed to be ok.

I'm sure some of you have smacked the whall with the right side of the car...what else should I look for? (I will do my best to check everything over but I'm sure there are some less-obvious things to look for, right?)



Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 67
posted July 11, 2005 08:27 AM  
check your axle tube and make sure thats straight and also check your front end components.mainly the control arms and spindle on the rf and check all your steering components. the centerlink will tend to bend some when you smack something hard enough.

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 104
posted July 11, 2005 11:12 AM  
Sounds like the axle tube or the snout is bent then too if the axle goes in hard or takes a prybar to get out.

Mr. Badboy
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 29
posted July 11, 2005 08:44 PM  
Check for bent panhard (j bar).

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted July 11, 2005 08:56 PM  
Apparently, we didn't have 1 impact on Saturday--we had 2. I thought the second one only hurt the LR wheel--boy was I mistaken.

In addition to what I mentioned in my previous post, we also have a bent upper ball joint and upper control-arm on the left side. Someone tried to to use us for a "8 wheels are better than 4" scenario...

Needless to say, the rear end is the least hurt that I found. (It could probably be raced like that...the front is all screwed up.)

Thanks for the replies...


Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1261
posted July 11, 2005 09:18 PM  
When checking the front be sure to check the splines on the steering box(they will start to twist).dont over look the lower control arms also. Check all the motor mounts for cracks...also loosen the front mounts and make sure the motor didnt shift some. Depending on how they cut for the front springs check the inside of the frame were the cross member and the frame meet. The other thing to check is the trans to make sure you didnt break a ear on it.... Yes these are all things i have found after hitting the wall or being in a good wreck on the front end. Hope this helps!

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 180
posted July 11, 2005 10:14 PM  
Also, when checking the rearend for bends, you can put a straight-edge on the tube and check for obvious bends. Then we take out the center section and measure across the rearend from brake rotor to brake rotor. If your measurement in the front of the rearend doesn't match the measurement across the backside of the rearend, you've got a problem.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted July 12, 2005 06:42 AM  
The saga continues...

I guess one of my problems is that since we bought this car used, I don't know what little "blemishes" were already there. I do know that the front end wasn't all bent up...

Looking at the motor, it doesn't appear that it has shifted but the mid-plate on the engine is a little skewed on the right side. Did it happen last weekend or before I got it...I don't know. (We did take a hit with the right side to the wall--in that impact, the rear end smacked the wall and bent some other things. In this "shifting of the rear" upon impact, is it possible it twisted everything and slightly bent the mid-plate?)

Funny that you mention the steering box... Last night we made an adjustment inside the cockpit to make the driver more comfortable and he started moving the wheel and noticed a little play in the wheel... Was it there before? He doesn't know. Basically, if you move the wheel back and forth with the engine off, it has about 1/2" of play in it. (You can rock the steering wheel back and forth 1/2" before you feel the resistance of moving the front wheels.)

It seemed to turn ok when I drove it from the track to the trailer the night of the race... (In doing so, I drove it pretty far and turned in both directions.) Is that a sign of a bad steering box?

This crash is getting expensive. Here is what needs to be replaced:

-Upper Control Arm, LS
-Upper Ball Joint, LS
-Lower Ball Joint, LS (Questionable)
-Upper Ball Joint, RS (Most-likely)
-Lower Ball Joint, RS
-Swaged tube on tie rod, RS
-J-Bar frame mount
-J-Bar pinion mount
-Steering box (questionable)
-Front Bumper
-(4) wheels including (1) Bead-lock

I'm sure all of you have some "tricks of the trade" when this happens... Where do you get your parts from? What do you do if there is no parts store within close proximity and you want to race on Saturday?

I've been ordering parts from Speedway, DirtWorks or Midwest Motorsports and all of them are 3 days at minimum with standard shipping. (Actually, my last Speedway order took 6 days.) What do you guys suggest?



Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 136
posted July 12, 2005 11:33 AM  
MS: Things like upper control arms,ball joints,bumpers,swedge tubes and j-bar mounts should be kept on hand as spares.Because you WILL need them.Most ball joints can be purchased at any good auto parts store,you just have to find out what they were originally meant to fit and you will save some bucks rather than buying them from a race supplier."The voice of experience" You should be able to pick up a steering box from most any salvage yard.Good luck.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 796
posted July 12, 2005 12:09 PM  
Just an idea, and i have told a few people that want to get into racing this, to save money.

See if that track will allow you to rent it for a day or afternoon.

Reason is, you will save a ton of money by renting a track out for a few weeks and getting used to the car and getting it set up decent versus going out stone cold and trying to figure it out. I wish i would of done this, i know that much.

Only thing is some tracks dont do it, because of various issues.

As for the parts, i've noticed the ball joints are generally cheaper at racing shops, but shop around, some are cheaper than others. Smiley's usually has a good price on things.

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1261
posted July 12, 2005 08:25 PM  
Be carefull buying front end parts at the local shop.....unless you have a buddy that works there. I have seem the big mopar balljoint around $70 at the parts store...same on tie rods and things. Ask for the house brand....or if they can get it its parts master brand....great parts and real cheap...$9 for the small mopar ball joints and $12 for the big chevy....about the same for tie rods. Depending on what quick steer you have the play is probally a combo between the quick steer and a tad in the box. As stated before its allways good to have a spare for everything on the front end....and rear tubes at the when things like this happen you dont have to pay threw the nose to make the race on sat. I live on the west coast and for the most part i have to order everything....i end up paying allot for 2 day air and next day.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted July 13, 2005 06:57 AM  
Thanks for the advice. I looked again, and it doesn't appear that the steering box is damaged--I'm probably just paranoid.

I agree with everyone that said we should have some spares on hand. I am usually really good about being prepared. For example, when I ordered the parts to fix the rear end, I ordered extra front-end parts, too. I just didn't know that both sides of the front had issues. (The wreck, which wasn't our fault, happened late in the race. We loaded the car on the trailer and I didn't see the car again until this Monday.)

My idea for bars, mounts, etc. was to get one of those large RubberMaid containers and put a bunch of parts for repairing from a wreck in it. That way, I can just leave it in the trailer and use it when I need it.

I don't think our track will let us rent it for an afternoon to get practice. There is a 3/8-mile track that might--but we run a 1/2 mile track and that would require a different setup and gear. All in all, we were fine in the feature--we were even competitive to a point considering we had the wrong gear. (We ran a 5.00 gear and needed a 5.29, which didn't come in until the Wednesday after the race.)

In the feature, we started 19th and were running 14th for a lot of the race (16 laps). We could have passed 2 or 3 cars in front of us if the car in front of us wasn't blocking...but, that is racing. (We even tried to go under him but he cut us off...) We also didn't have the gear to get a run off of the turn...we were fast as he!! getting in the turn, though.

The feature was a huge confidence-builder for us.

There are some racing shops in Richmond, VA--which is only 1 hour south of here. The problem is that not a lot of people race mods so some of the parts may be hard to come by.

Thanks, again for the advice...


Dirt Roller

Total posts: 10
posted July 13, 2005 10:38 AM  
Call Carl at SCP he can get you fixed up. they have most anything you would need. we get most of our parts there or at Townsend. Making the trip today to get ball joints 3 shocks and tie rod from our mishap with the wall. Bent rear housing 1/4" hope they can fix. Wall at VMS don't give much.
Good luck

Dirt Roller

Total posts: 13
posted July 13, 2005 10:51 AM  
Not trying to state the obvious you might use toe plates. I have bent a drive plate which did not allow me remove an axel before.
Originally posted by Camaro_Dude_1991:
What is the best way to see if the RR axle tube is bent, and tell how far off it actually is,.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted July 13, 2005 11:52 AM  
I was looking at the SCP Catalog last night and I noticed that they had swaged tubes and ball joints. My problem is that I don't know what size bars I need or what p/n ball joints to buy... I'm waiting for my order to come in from DW so I can get more locally.

I agree, the wall at VMS is kind of hard and bent a lot of stuff on the right side. Then, the contact with another car bent the other side to match!

AlanP2, what division/number are you at VMS?

Smyle, are you ready to back it into the wall again this week? Maybe once you bend the bottom LR bar, it will handle better like it did last time!


Dirt Roller

Total posts: 10
posted July 14, 2005 04:10 PM  
09 Mod, Mark was running 5th,going into 3 left rear lower arm bracket tore out of frame did extensive damage still hoping to make it Saturday.

Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted July 15, 2005 06:32 AM  

The 09 car is Mark Schools, right?

I remember watching him race with the Jamerson's back in the "olden days" of Saluda. (I think I have a picture of his old #9 Super Street where he won a race--his sponsor was Joe's Machine Shop, I think.)

It is strange to see another local on this forum--since it is mostly people racing "real" modifieds out west. (For those of you offended by that, I'm pretty sure we are the only group of dirt modifieds that race in Virginia... If we want to run more than 1 track, we have to travel 5 hours to NC.)

Back to the Archives