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Old 09-24-2013, 06:51 PM   #1
Mog Maniac
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Bent front subframe?

Hi, somebody hit my parked 2004 focus and managed to hit the front left wheel. The control arm was obviously bent as was the tie rod (like a banana!). I replaced the tie rod and control arm but when I dropped the car with the wheel back on it looks to be about 1/2" (1-2cm) too far back still.

As the control arm is attached to the subframe I'm thinking that the subframe may be bent. I did a visual inspection while I was replacing the control arm, it looked ok... I can handle replacing the subframe, I just have a few questions that will help me out please:

1. Are all mk1 front subframes the same (I have a 1.8 TDCI), I'm guessing the ST is "special", what about the others, all the same?
2. How can I check if the subframe is bent? (I happen to have another mk1 focus on the drive, are there some measurements I can compare?)
3. If its not the subframe, what could it be? Is it screwed?

Thanks in advance for any help.


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Old 09-25-2013, 09:28 AM   #2
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It is possible the sub frame is just shifted. Does he other side appear to be off at all? All the MK1 subframes should fit your car no problem.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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Just a few pics to illustrate the problem...

1. The bent bits I swapped out for new
2. once the new parts have been fitted
3. shows the wheel is still too far back
4. just after it was crashed into
5. comparison to pic 3 (before any fix attempted)
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:41 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. The other side looks fine and there is no obvious sign of frame slip (athough I'll get back under it tonight and have a few of the bolts out to check the hole alignment etc.) I can pick up a subframe for 50 so it's a good job they all fit - it's just the time and effort of swapping it out!

Thinking about it, because of the geometry of the suspension, a small movement in the subframe of just 2-3mm could be amplified at the wheel end of the control arm by over 1cm easily...
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:50 AM   #5
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That is strange. I misunderstood your post at first. It would take a lot to shift your subframe that much. and not have it be bent somewhere. Hopefully someone with greater knowledge can help you out more.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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A bent subframe doesn't bother me too much (he says before changing it!), it's the posibility that the chassis is bent that worries me. I'd like to know if there is a simple way to tell which is bent before I go to the effort of replacing the subframe.

If the chassis is bent, I'll most likely break it for parts to try and recoup some losses - a sad day indeed.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:25 AM   #7
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Loosened off the subframe bolts and repositioned the subframe as much as I could which improved the situation by about 1cm but the wheel is still ~5mm too far back.

I'm picking up a salvage subframe tomorrow for 40, so worth a go. If that doesn't fix it I'm thinking that I'm out of options, short of having the frame (chassis) jigged, which isn't economically viable.
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:19 PM   #8
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So how did it go? Did you replace the subframe? If so, was it very hard?
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:38 PM   #9
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I replaced the subframe myself without any help (probably could have done with a hand though). The hardest bit is removing / replacing the wishbones, which isn't all that hard really. It's a bit tricky jacking the subframe back into position, and getting the bolt holes lined up on the gearbox bracket is tough. I took the old subframe off and replaced it, with the wishbones in under 3 hours.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:50 PM   #10
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Thanks much Mog Maniac. I took a subframe off of another Focus in the junkyard yesterday. I'm thinking I want a mechanic to take the subframe off my car and put the "new" one on, as I'm afraid that trying to detach & then re-attach the rack and pinion properly might be a bit tricky.
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