Help! Bolt holes for x-brace/body brace
A few months ago I had my body brace literally ripped off my car when I hit an exposed manhole while accelerating around traffic in our nations capital.
The manhole hit close to the center of my butt-strut and yanked back the body brace as a result of the force bending the butt-strut (Picture below)
The body brace itself seems to be totally unharmed. The bolts holding the rear held tight, but the bolts going through the x-brace and the frame were not so lucky. The bolt below the passenger side was ripped clean out. This bent the x-brace out of position. (Picture below)
Knowing that the failure had to have come from the forward bolts, I assumed that all the threads had been stripped. However, upon looking closed at the holes after seeing the driver side bolt (Picture below), I realized that it was a combination of the bolts bending and the frame ripping (Picture below)
Driver side bolt (passenger side bolt was nowhere to be found)
Driver side hole
Passenger side hole
After getting a better look at the damage, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get the strut braces off and they'd be stuck there forever. Fortunately enough, as far as I can tell, the damage was limited to the forward bolt holes, the x-brace, and obviously the butt-strut. I took of the cap nuts that hold on the butt-strut with relative ease and everything came down pretty easily. Now my car has no butt-strut, body brace, or x-brace. This wasn't too much of a problem because I bought a hardtop in October and that really stiffened the car and holds it together while all the braces are off.
But seeing as Spring is right around the corner, I'm trying to figure out what to do because without the hardtop, my car feels like it's going to fall apart.
Here are my options:
A) See if someone can straighten my butt-strut (unlikely) or get a new one (although I hate to pay for another one)
a) If I do either of those things, I have to hope that the frame of my car is still straight and that the straightened/new butt-strut will fit.
B) Get the x-brace straightened/welded back together or get a new/used one
a) If I do fix the x-brace or get a new one, I still have the problem of the holes to attach the back of it. I've read up a bit on nutserts that I could put in the holes to provide me with threads, but I have no experience with them, don't have the tools to insert them, and don't know if they would even work with the holes as deformed as the are now.
Either way I cut it, it looks like I have to fix the holes. Nutserts seem to be the best option there, but I don't have experience with them. If I get the holes repaired, and can get a straight butt-strut back on, then I'll be all set and can reinstall everything (this time as tight against the car as possible).
I'm in the DC area and would love any help I can get (A lift, a metal worker/shop who can straighten hardened steel and weld, someone with experience using nutserts).
Anyone who can offer suggestions/solutions to this problem, please let me know.
Thanks in advance.
What would your insurance company pay for?
Seems like a straight forward road-hazard claim.<img src="http://members.roadfly.com/kurtzz3/Z32SMALL.JPG">
<br>2002 Z3 3.0i;black/black;sports package;BMW windbreaker;spoiler guard;LeatherZ armrest;Pinnacle Souveran wax;Whalen Shift Machine;Strongstrut tower brace;Alpine CDA-9847 CD;Alpine KCA-420i iPod converter;Silverstar 9006 bulb;Axxis brake pads;Stewart water pump;Zionville autosport radiator<br />
Don't think that's an option any more
Because I've changed insurance since that happened, I doubt I can get that covered.
have you called the city?
I remember (about 10 yrs back) also in the DC area, maybe Alexandria, a similar thing was reported on the news about cars that hit manhole covers during roadwork. In some cases the oil pans were ripped from the cars. The city paid for the damage because the lack of asphalt and the relative height of the covers (extra 2-3 inches) was not properly marked or detoured, or something like that. If you know the exact location and date, which I imagine you likely do, you might want to call them and see. It's worth a shot, anyway.<img src="http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs225.snc4/38573_416031212964_748877964_4854801_8274202_n.jpg ">
<b>97 2.8 <font color="Gray">Arctic Silver </font>- <font color="DarkRed">Tanin Red interior </font>with <font color="Sienna">wood console</font> - black top</b>
Whalen Shift Machine, polished - Type II windscreen (non roll-hoops) - Bilstein HD shocks/struts
Axxis Metal Master pads - Brembo rotors - Doug Whalen seat bushings
Passenger Eject (unfortunately non-functional) - OEM Passenger Airbag Disable switch
Polk Audio all around - Blaupunkt PA amps - LeatherZ Mark II armrest - Strong Strut Trio - AUX input via tapedeck</b>
UPDATE: Help! Bolt holes for x-brace/body brace
So on Thursday the 17th, I dropped the X-Brace and Butt Strut off at a local machine shop that has large press. They said they would see what they could do and then get back to me.
I talked with them today and apparently they are having no luck bending the butt strut back into shape. He did however seem confident that he could fix the x-brace.
I'm taking DaneKane's advice and getting some quality nutserts for the misshaped bolt holes.
I think I'll email Paul and the Strong Strut team and see what my options are for the butt strut.
I'll update again when I fix everything.