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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,
Had a low speed, minor accident and broke the lower control arm. Car was not drivable and had to be towed. Picture attached. Tow driver didn't hold the wheel properly and hence it looks bent as seen in picture, but was not bent at all after accident. Insurance totalled the car in anticipation of major damage as BMW collision gave a large estimate without even tearing it down. But to me car looks perfectly fine and hence considering to buy it back from insurance as a salvage. Here are the questions after I inspected car jacking it up.
1) steering moves smooth with no noises. BMW recommends to replace it as there was damage to control arm
2) wheel rotates fine without any play or noise. Can I drive without replacing bearings
3) looking at wheel can the rotation shown in picture damage the struts or mounts? How to inspect.
4) fender was pushed in towards door. Will a new fender just bolt right back in or will it need any frame work.
5) subframe looks good without any cracks or bend on visual inspection. Can there be damage to it which are not visible?

My plan is to change control arms and do alignment as first step. But want to know community's thoughts on case anyone had experience dealing with similar repairs. Control arm breaking is very common on these cars as it's made up of aluminum. I learned it can even break on hitting curb at low speed.

Thanks
Bulletguy
 

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You have many questions about some pretty serious issues that can't be answered on the internet. I would advise getting a second opinion from another shop. As far as the rack is concerned, with your wheel positioned as it is, the tie rod is WAY out of its normal range. It's possible that the rack is damaged because of that.
 

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Impossible to tell the extent of the damage until you get things opened up. For starters, the front bumper cover, fender, and wheel well liner needs to come off.

As another poster mentioned, that tie rod (connecting to the steering rack) is really out there. I'd be concerned about the internals of the steering rack and would insist on a replacement.
 

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Yes you definitely need to pay for the opinion of an experieced set of eyes. Be sure to think through the impact of a salvage title on future value.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wheel was not bent (like in picture) after the accident. It happened as a result of towing. Can steering rack go out of whack when pulling wheel when car is not on? I pushed the wheel in started car and with friend holding wheel turned it full left then right from steering. Did not observe any noises.
 

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This is from BMW:


" the steering box should be replaced after a vehicle has been involved in an accident, including experiencing driving conditions similar to an accident, if any of the following points are applicable."

Damage, permanent deformation or fractures to:
- Wheel rims in the event of a negative result from the wheel/axle alignment check
- spring struts, steering stub axles and/or wheel carriers
- wishbones
- leading or trailing links or anti-roll bars with this function
- body-side screwing/attachment point for wheel-guide control components
- front axle support
- pitman arms
- tie rods
- steering box features
- steering column
- visible or otherwise noticeable damage to the steering box
- unacceptable torque increase and clamping when the steering box is turned from lock to lock (without hydraulic/electrical assistance)
- fire damage
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good news. No frame or steering rack damage. Replaced both control arms and did alignment. It's only wee bit off after adjustment. Technician mentioned strut and/or knuckle may be bent a wee bit but nothing to fret about right now. Car drives straight.
 

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Good news. No frame or steering rack damage. Replaced both control arms and did alignment. It's only wee bit off after adjustment. Technician mentioned strut and/or knuckle may be bent a wee bit but nothing to fret about right now. Car drives straight.
If you have insurane why not just get the car fixed completely.
 

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Good news. No frame or steering rack damage. Replaced both control arms and did alignment. It's only wee bit off after adjustment. Technician mentioned strut and/or knuckle may be bent a wee bit but nothing to fret about right now. Car drives straight.
If you have insurane why not just get the car fixed completely.
The car was totalled by the insurance company and owner retained
 
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