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2013 Cadillac CTS 3.6 Sport Luxury
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Discussion Starter #1
Had to go to the local garage. Right front wheel was so much off alignment I could see it with the bare eye.

It happened after a long trip with no issues. After backing into the garage I noticed the defect. I towed around 700 kgs of firewood but I guess it should be okay and not related to that.

As I changed struts and bushings in October my first thought was “Not Again!!!”.

But it was not struts or bushings. My mechanic found that the bolt adjusting the camber on the lower strut had loosened itself (apparently a Cadillac design flaw) and went off alignment.

What I think is worse is that the strut itself ends in a kind of recess in the chassis without any kind of stabilization. In most cars there is a disc that is also tightened after alignment keeping the strut in place.

The steering wheel was 45 degrees off, stabilitrac came off driving less than 100 meters after taking off. Apparently misalignment happened backing into the garage (we could see from “fresh” thread on the strut that the bolt moved recently).

I recently drove a lot on highway and is really scared about what could have happened if this takes place when driving fast or during a curve or overtaking.

According to the mechanic same problem is seen on a few other US models like Jeeps.

Have any of you experienced the same?

The bolt has been tightened to the brink of cracking but I’m a bit worried about driving the car in general.


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Go ahead, blame me. Everybody does 🙄
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Damn, and we were just talking about you hitting top speed less than a month ago.
Jeep has the "death wobble", but IIRC it has more to do with the solid front axle models.
 

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08 CTS DI
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Glad you made it home safely and sorry to say that I'd be skeptical about a properly torqued bolt, by a reasonably calibrated torque wrench backing off not too long after being removed for new struts, when the first stayed in place much, much longer without a similar problem. Assuming you took it and had someone else align it, is there a possibility a technician loosened it and guesstimated on retorque? I understand that a special tool is needed to adjust the camber on these cars and that it can get a little involved. Perhaps now would be a good time to check the other side as well.
 

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'14 CTS-V LongRoof; '16 ATS-V Sedan,' 04 Trailblazer 4x4; '10 CTS LongRoof gone but never forgotten
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Read this (all six pages!) as it may help. Keep in mind this is for the V so it may not apply to the regular CTS. Also, this Cadillac Forum has a strange phobia about the website I am forwarding you to, so I tried to break it up so this website doesn't automatically delete this post. Hurry up and copy this thread before it is deleted.


(ignore this)

owners

.com/threads/nordlock-washers-thread-to-keep-your-alignment-tight-and-right.91057/
 

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2013 Cadillac CTS 3.6 Sport Luxury
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Discussion Starter #5
Got it. Thanks for moral support and advice.

Could be that bolt was not tightened properly from the beginning.

When I dumped the car at the workshop I knew they could not do 4 wheel alignment but they work with a local tire shop I use myself and that I trust.

As I was busy that day and needed my car for a trip to Copenhagen in the afternoon I asked the mechanic to take the car to the alignment shop.

He told me when the tire shop technician was done they together tightened the shit out of the bolts in both sides. So I think it is a done deal


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Read this (all six pages!) as it may help. Keep in mind this is for the V so it may not apply to the regular CTS.
Nice find tinman, the control arms are the same from 08-14 and 15 for some parts. Looks like two nuts could be used also in jam-configuration. They usually come in pairs anyway
 

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Got it. Thanks for moral support and advice.

Could be that bolt was not tightened properly from the beginning.

When I dumped the car at the workshop I knew they could not do 4 wheel alignment but they work with a local tire shop I use myself and that I trust.

As I was busy that day and needed my car for a trip to Copenhagen in the afternoon I asked the mechanic to take the car to the alignment shop.

He told me when the tire shop technician was done they together tightened the shit out of the bolts in both sides. So I think it is a done deal


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On second thought after viewing post 56 & 68 of the link tinman posted, EjS you are right, that is a terrible design, as the camber adjustment hinge point is also a load bearing point with contant considerable outward tension. I can't imagine an educated engineer did not realize this could be a potential problem during the design phase, especially when the upper strut mount location suggests that slotting the mount holes up top is possible for a vertical load to counter easily, with four bolts to overcome in order to move camber, instead of one at the lower control arm with a continuous horizontal load that increases with every dip in the road and turn.

What's really needed is little blocking tabs to go inside the slots adjacent to the bolt, to keep it from moving, unless the nut backs off far enough for them to fall out.

No, no, not nuts now! Are we going to start this up?
You crack me up tinman!
 

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2013 Cadillac CTS 3.6 Sport Luxury
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Discussion Starter #8
The wheels kept going out of alignment. Seems like I only stared at the steering wheel every time i sat in the car during my holidays. Complete paranoia.

So today I got Nordlock washers installed. Wheel alignment up for tomorrow.

Thanks to Tinman for pointing me in the right direction and to Joseph for confirming it was actually sliding bolts that was the issue.

Even so - the mechanic noted - to stay in place forget everything about torque wrench. It has to be tightened until the whole damn thing almost comes apart.

If this does not work my CTS will be the first one with welded fixed wheel alignment.






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2009 CTS 3.6L DI rebuilt to FE3 J55 G80 3.42:1
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Good idea, will do this when I next need an alignment. The high-end alignment shop I used complained and charged extra for the rear alignment, they said there is no mechanism for camber adjustment. Just slotted control arm holes; loosen, pry, tighten and check. Rinse and repeat. Kind of cheesy for a car at this level.
 

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'14 CTS-V LongRoof; '16 ATS-V Sedan,' 04 Trailblazer 4x4; '10 CTS LongRoof gone but never forgotten
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Keep driving your car in the saltwater. Soon it'll be permanently tightened in place.

My former F150 that I bought at auction had a 'frozen' front end, never to be adjusted again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Its terrible. Got the alignment today. Double cost of a standard alignment because of this lack of decent engineering.
Anyhow. After getting on the washers I asked not to tighten too much to spare the washers until it was aligned. After a short 10 km ride to the alignment shop everything was looser than loose.
Now it is tightened with the largest wrench he had. If it comes loose I dont know what Im gonna do.


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I'm surprised we haven't had more cases of this in our subforum.
Chalk it up to EjS driving like a complete maniac :)
 

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I don't know if this is any help but this is an alignment I had a month ago.

Don't mean to hijack your thread but any idea why the right rear camber was not adjustable?

This was farmed out from my shop & I haven't talked to my mechanic about it just found this on my seat when I picked it up.
wheel alignment printout.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No worries. I got the same message today reg. rear end. You are going to loosen everything, adjust, tighten a little, put load on wheels, adjust again etc. until you reach a decent result.

Simply not designed for adjustment.

It is the worst thing about this car because you cant go anywhere without risking you cant get home and impossible to fix on the road.


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Discussion Starter #15
I'm surprised we haven't had more cases of this in our subforum.
Chalk it up to EjS driving like a complete maniac :)
Surprises me too. But it can slide a bit without noticing and the recess is not that wide - but you would notice it over time on the tire wear.

After it happens first time it is much more prone to happen again.


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After it happens first time it is much more prone to happen again.
Probably true, hope you got it fixed this time. I'm not sure why we haven't heard more about this. There is the possibility people simply don't notice unless it is catastrophic, most aren't that particular. I'm sure I would notice, and it hasn't happened to me. Yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes you would. Twice it happened to me and of course it happens after active driving style but what really had it going totally out of alignment both times has been reversing with full steering. That sort of pulls the bolt all the way to the outer end stop of the recess.

In this case you see alignment is wrong with your bare eyes from the outside. On the inside the steering wheel is exactly 45 degrees out of alignment and warnings comes on after few meters of driving (stabilitrac). The front end is like its sailing.

Tried to push it on the way home until the front wheels slide and so far so good.
 

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2011 CTS Coupe FE3, 2003 Thunderbird, Gone 2013 ATS, 02 Deville
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Ejs, if you are talking about the lower control arm on the front suspension it is used on most Cadillac models.
  • Description:
    STS, with awd. CTS, CTS-v. STS, STS-v. SRX. All. 2wd. Right. Auto trans. Wagon, with awd.
  • Notes:Includes Lower Ball Joint & Bushings.
I don't think it fails on regular bases, unless someone may have not tightened yours to at one time, maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Agree that statistics here does not suggest common problem. Would say though that a google search will show you a lot of hits in a competing forum for many cts-v owners. I have found a few other non-v cases as well.

Some complains the rated torque on the nut is way too low to keep it in place.

I cant say if it was not tightened but once I made a right turn in high speed, miscalculated and hit the curb a bit. Could be the sinner in my case. The way the alignment is designed is still a complete stroke in my opinion.

I hope it stays in place this second time - three strikes and this car is out. Unfortunately way too busy at work to spend time during the day for fixing this kind of stuff.
 

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Agree that statistics here does not suggest common problem.
I doubt even 1 in 20 on this forum have maintened their suspension, most seem content to let it wander, wallow and rattle. So the opportunity for a mechanic to not read the manual and under-torque hasn't happened to most. I would even venture a guess the difference with CTS-Vs is a keener interest in maintaining like-new suspension performance, with more of them having bolted/unbolted their control arms. Suspension components take a lot of torque, more than can be achieved with some torque wrenches. You need a long lever arm.

I think if your mechanic properly torques the bolts it will be OK, especially with the Nordlock washers. While the design could be better, some of this is the mechanic's responsibility.
 
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