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View Full Version : Wheel Works in Walnut Creek, CA DRILLED HOLES IN MY STRUT TOWERS!!!



JohnnyGraphic
01-27-2012, 09:31 PM
I am SO *!#IRRITATED*!*#*

In fact, that doesnít even begin to describe what I am feeling at this point. I took my car to Wheel Works for 4 new tires and an alignment on 1/24/2012. Since I picked it up, the carís handling was worse. It wouldnít track straight. The steering wheel was not centered. It would constantly drift to the right and the rear end felt like it was coming around on me in a turn.

I was expecting my car to handle BETTER, not worse after an alignment. When I was looking at the specs on my alignment sheet, the camber was way off on the right front. In fact, the right front was out of spec on the camber and caster. The cross camber and cross caster was likewise out of spec.

I popped the hood today and I noticed that the mounting bolts/nuts at the top of the strut tower was moved over quite a bit. You can see the depression in the paint where the bolts were originally. Wheel Works had also DRILLED HOLES in the strut tower!!! They didnít even put any bolts in it. It was just an open hole. You can tell it is fresh and horribly done too.

Now, I will need to get this repaired as well as find out if there is any other hidden damage to my car! Iím sure it will need to be welded/patched and then primed and painted too.

Ugh.

315131523153

spencers
01-27-2012, 09:49 PM
The hole in the tower was already there. They just drilled out the dimple of your strut mounts.

That's typically how we add camber for auto-x. Push out the dimple, and push the bolts inward (like the last picture depicts).

Regardless, that's a crappy alignment job...

JohnnyGraphic
01-27-2012, 10:02 PM
The hole in the tower was already there. They just drilled out the dimple of your strut mounts.

That's typically how we add camber for auto-x. Push out the dimple, and push the bolts inward (like the last picture depicts).

Regardless, that's a crappy alignment job...

You're kidding! I've seen camber plates, but never have I seen them make such drastic movements on the bolts before. And yes, SUCKY job!!!

Is it common to drill and leave bare metal?

I noticed that there is an arrow on the rubber piece. What is that for?

Johnny

spencers
01-27-2012, 11:11 PM
You're kidding! I've seen camber plates, but never have I seen them make such drastic movements on the bolts before. And yes, SUCKY job!!!

Is it common to drill and leave bare metal?

I noticed that there is an arrow on the rubber piece. What is that for?

Johnny

Yeah, if you were to take any of those bolts off, you'd see the holes are oval shape (if I recall). Allows for a decent amount of play if the dimple is punched out.

Well, the dimple in the strut mount is metal... But whoever drilled it out didn't have a steady hand and nicked the pre-cut hole on the shock tower. Thus, I see paint loss around the edges. Still doesn't make sense why they drilled them out in the first place!

The arrow just points to where the dimple is supposed to go when the strut mounts are installed.

JohnnyGraphic
01-28-2012, 12:37 AM
Yeah, if you were to take any of those bolts off, you'd see the holes are oval shape (if I recall). Allows for a decent amount of play if the dimple is punched out.

Well, the dimple in the strut mount is metal... But whoever drilled it out didn't have a steady hand and nicked the pre-cut hole on the shock tower. Thus, I see paint loss around the edges. Still doesn't make sense why they drilled them out in the first place!

The arrow just points to where the dimple is supposed to go when the strut mounts are installed.

Thanks for the insight.

I think I've calmed down a bit now. (Thanks to Mr. Pinot Noir!).

I looked at some older pictures of my car and I saw the metal dimple coming up thru the hole. I haven't taken the bolts off, so I'm not sure if they widened the holes or not. I also don't know if they did anything to the rear to get it to align.

I still am going to pursue Wheel Works to have them explain themselves. I will talk to the guys at Edge Motorworks and ask them about what to do.

I imagine that the way to do that on that dimple would be to use a steel punch to mark a starting point for a small drill bit and then progressively go larger until you drill it out.

Johnny

kayger12
01-28-2012, 04:02 AM
Wow. What a hack job.

Droid X. Tapatalk. Use it.

danewilson77
01-28-2012, 05:21 AM
There isn't a lot camber adjustment (zero really) with the pins in place. You can see where mine have been punched out below. If your steering wheel isn't straight (first step in an alignment) and car handles as described, take it back, and be calm about how you approach them. Have your facts ready, and game plan in check. Additionally, it's my understanding that stock specs can be achieved with pins in place (if you're not lowered)


http://i1015.photobucket.com/albums/af278/nicee46/Maintenance%20and%20Misc/Struttowerpunch.jpg

HTC Thunderbolt+TT

kayger12
01-28-2012, 05:24 AM
Affirm. I am on stock suspension and had my alignment done at the dealer recently. Pins were not punched, alignment is to spec, and the car drives beautifully with a straight wheel.

danewilson77
01-28-2012, 05:26 AM
Affirm. I am on stock suspension and had my alignment done at the dealer recently. Pins were not punched, alignment is to spec, and the car drives beautifully with a straight wheel.

Roger. Out.

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zj96sc
01-28-2012, 07:09 AM
What am I missing? How would there be any case (ignoring bent components) where the car could NOT be dialed to factory specs with the pins in? Wouldn't that be how she rolls off the line?

Regardless, work like this isn't work that I want corrected by the same shop. Indicates a fundamental lack of proper attention to detail and workmanship. Find a new and well recommended alignment shop from your local BMW communities. And as a bit of friendly future advice, scour the car right when you pick it up and know what specs you're looking for on your before/after sheet. Would've saved you the trouble of finding out days later :)

spencers
01-28-2012, 07:35 AM
All I can think of for reasoning to do something like that, is if a worn suspension component throws the alignment off. But I can't think of anything where that may necessitate the need for extreme camber. Perhaps a blown shock or worn control arm bushing?? Especially on one side, cause it seems like the the drivers side has more of a change than the passenger.

I'd love to hear the explanation when you find out from the shop

danewilson77
01-28-2012, 08:03 AM
What am I missing? How would there be any case (ignoring bent components) where the car could NOT be dialed to factory specs with the pins in? Wouldn't that be how she rolls off the line?



The only way you CANNOT reach factory specs, with FSM pins in place, is if you are lowered.

zj96sc
01-28-2012, 08:05 AM
ah, ok. that's what i was thinking. just confused by the way you guys said it.

JohnnyGraphic
01-28-2012, 09:03 AM
Thanks everybody.

The car handled better before! And I agree, if they couldn't get the car aligned, they should have found out the reason why. Like you said, worn shocks, bushings, bent control arms or whatever. I'm an adult. I can take that sort of thing. But, to blindly drill a hole is out of the question. Especially since you didn't contact the customer before making such a radical step.

Once they drilled into the strut towers, it's done. Nothing I can do about it except try to get it set up properly and be compensated for it.

There is a local BMW/Mini only shop, Edge Motorworks. I've taken my car here for a lot of the stuff I can't do. But, this time, my tires were in really bad shape-bald on the inside with the tread showing and REAL scary in the rains we just had, so, I was in a bind and went with Wheel Works since they were close to my work. In fact, I wasn't even planning on having them do the alignment. But since they had a 12 mos/12k deal, I could replace my bushings (which I was planning on) and take it back and they would re-align it for free. Not now. NEVER taking it back again.

I have an appointment on Monday to take it to Edge (they're mentioned in the Die Fleuster Bombe-BMW Newsletter) for their finishes in the 25 hours of Thunderhill.

Johnny

danewilson77
01-28-2012, 09:14 AM
Johnny... They did not drill the hole in your strut tower.

The hole is there, on every E46. It is there, to receive an alignment pin in the front shock mount. The "pin" is what they removed, to alternate camber.

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LivesNearCostco
01-28-2012, 10:38 PM
When I got my car, one pin was missing. I punched out the other one with a nail setter and a hammer so I could make camber more negative on both sides. (I think on the E46 M3 you unscrew the alignment pin instead of punching it out.) Whether they used a punch or a drill, it looks like they were a little sloppy and nicked the paint around the (pre-existing) holes.

JohnnyGraphic
01-28-2012, 10:57 PM
Well, whether they used a punch, hammer, wrench or a drill, they did a piss-poor job of it. Aside from replacing the part underneath, there is no way to get it back to original.

I am not slammed. I am on the stock suspension. At 92k miles, I KNOW I have worn control arm bushings. Don't know what else needs to be done. What they did should have been the last resort. They should have suggested repair/replace this or that. Having them do what they did should have been my call. They didn't let the customer decide. It is common for most shops to call and get some sort of a verbal o.k. from the customer before doing any extra or additional work. Most of the time, it's due to added cost. I think they should do the same before making any permanent modifications to a car too. It is, in my book, common courtesy. The other thing is, if they had to do all that to get the car aligned, why does it still pull to the right? It tracked straight and true before.

In Wheel Works defense, the Manager called to try and resolve the issue. I will be bringing it by at lunch on Monday for them to look at only so they can assess the damage. Then, it's off to Edge Motorworks on Monday afternoon. I will get an impartial third party opinion on what to do. I will take it from there. Hopefully Wheel Works steps up to the plate. Just how they plan on doing so is yet to be seen.

JohnnyGraphic
02-01-2012, 06:57 PM
Update to my experience.

I was contacted by Tom, the manager, at Wheel Works. I calmly explained the situation and once he saw the pictures of what happened, he understood my gripe. He explained that they removed the alignment pins from the strut mounts in order to align the car. This would have been okay had it been the last resort and the final step in trying to get the car to align. My gripe at this point was that they made an irreversible (except for replacing parts) change to my car. In the process, they also did a bit of damage to the surrounding paint. Since they had such a hard time aligning the car, they should have addressed any underlying problems first-worn bushings front & rear. I knew I had worn bushings and planned to replace them (which was later confirmed by an outside shop). In speaking with Tom, who was very calm and professional, we both agreed that there was a breach of my trust and confidence with Wheel Works. Although he made a generous offer, I declined since I felt it was not fair to them.

All in all, I have to give props and kudos where due. Tom and Wheel Works really stepped up to the plate. They wanted to make sure that I was happy and that I would consider coming back for future business and recommend them. While I am still hesitant to bring my car back, I would not hesitate to recommend their work or to bring the wife's car here.

Wheel Works has a history with me. I have always been happy with their service and the level of work over the past 20+ years or so. The Walnut Creek store in particular. I've taken a quite a few of my cars there.

If the same thing happened to me again, I would not hesitate to write another bad review of any company/business. I believe in the power of the internet and that we all can benefit from forums such as yelp for good and for bad. This includes businesses. How else can they improve/change unless they get candid and sometimes unbridled reviews of their work/business. Times have changed and the speed at which word of mouth is spread happens instantly. Again, good or bad.

Sorry for the long post, but I felt I owed it to Tom and Wheel Works to explain the situation in detail and the steps they took to remedy it.

In this instance, the bad was offset with good. If nothing else, Tom and Wheel Works have won my respect for how they handled the situation.

Johnny