[DML] Anatomy of A Failed TAB
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[DML] Anatomy of A Failed TAB

To All:

If you haven't already replaced your trailing arm bolts please don't wait and just do it...DO IT NOW! This past weekend, I had the unfortunate experience of having a trailing arm bolt snap on me after having inspected it last year. It looked OK, but unfortunately, looks are deceiving. If you don't, here's what you can expect to happen... I was driving along at about 20 mph after just accelerating away from a red light. I hit a minor pot-hole as one occasionally does here in the Northeast. I heard a snap. (The bolt breaking) Then a loud bang. (The trailing arm slamming into the body tub) then the sound of loose change hitting the ground. (The shims and washers being expelled from the mount) Then a really loud bang followed be a loud whirrring noise. (My right rear tire hitting the rear pontoon and continuing to spin.) Next, I realized my front left wheel was no longer in contact with the ground and there was little steering control. Then the rear-end began to fishtail and there wasn't much I could do about it.  I managed to stop the car due to the relatively slow speed at which I was travelling without hitting anyone else. I almost $hit my pants. Had it been just ten more minutes later,  I would have been on I-95 doing 60mph and I don't think I would be telling you this story. After getting it flat-bedded home, (Which is very difficult to do with a lowered suspension and a loose rear wheel)  I sent the trailing arm bolt over to some metalurgist friends at a large anonymous aircraft company for analysis. (Four PhD Material Engineers that spend most of their time figuring out causes of mechanical failures that resulted in air-crashes.) They did a complete failure investigation for me including some scanning electron microscope micrographs that I have posted in the photo section of our Yahoo group under " Failure Analysis of Trailing Arm Bolt" for anyone interested in seeing the SEMs and written results. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is simple: 1. Don't ignore this issue. 2. This can kill you. 3. You can only inspect them if you completely remove them and even if you do, the problem may not be evident or may develop shortly thereafter as it did in my case.  (One year in the northeast) 4. If you go through the trouble of removing them, you may as well replace them anyway.  5. If you haven't replaced them yet..Don't screw around.  They're over 25 years old. Take it from me. Do it now.


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