OMG! What Did I Hit?

Well, if you follow my blog at all you know that one of my cars is a 2010 VW Jetta, the Wolfsburg Edition with a 2.0 Liter Turbo motor and a six speed manual.  I’ve even done a blog post on how to drive a stick with that car in the video.

I drive this car for work, I put tons of miles on it and it’s been a pretty good car.  We always joke that it’s high maintenance but it has been fairly reliable.

To put this story in perspective, I have this car lowered on race springs and it handles like its on rails.  It is a very fun car to drive.  Unfortunately, this may have helped in its demise.

So, here’s the story:

I was driving down Rt 80 in NJ heading eastbound towards New York.  I was doing 69 MPH (had the cruise set) and was following another vehicle a little ways back.  I wasn’t tailgating or anything but there was traffic and I was as far back as you would expect someone to be in that situation.  Anyway, he passes over an object in the road and continues on, since he’s gone over it I figure I’m safe and I’ll do the same so I guide my car to straddle the object and just let it pass under.

Next thing I know is that my airbag has gone off and I’m still doing 60+ mph down the highway.  Oh Crap, what was that?  So I re-gain my wits and maneuver the car over onto the shoulder.

Everything is still functioning and the only damage that I see is that my airbag has gone off.  I get out and look underneath the car which looks fine to me.  Then I walk down the road a little to see if I can figure out what I’ve hit.  I can see nothing; whatever it was has broken up and is no longer really there.  Or I did not walk back far enough.

I get my knife and cut out the exploded airbag, put the dash board back together and continue on my way.  The car is a little wobbly but I figure that maybe a sway bar bushing or something is damaged.  I’ll look later when I get home.

As I’m driving down 80, I see a whole bunch of cars pulled over to the side of the road with flat tires, so I’m not the only one that hit it.  At least my tires are not flat, that would have sucked, not that this did not suck enough already.

I drive the car for the rest of the day and it seems fine, a little wobbly, but fine.  I wasn’t even going to check it but thought that since I hit something hard enough to set my airbag off I should.  So I jack the car up and to my surprise the damage was extensive!

The Sub frame was cracked in half, the lower control arm mount on the driver’s side was bent up, and there were holes in the floor.  Damn!  I drove that car over 70 miles like that!  I now decide to park it since it’s not safe and to try and figure out my options.

Cracked Subframe

Hole In The Floor!

At first I’m thinking totaled because it has so many miles and to fix it would be silly since the cost would be equal to what the car is worth.  I think about it a little more and find a sub frame on eBay for $100 and a used airbag for about $300.  OK, so maybe I can fix this.  I start getting my hopes up!

Well that was a little too soon.  The following weekend I decided to jack the car up and take a close look to see the true extent of the damage and to see if the frame is bent at all.  What I find is that the sub frame is indeed cracked in half and missing a piece, but the problem lies in what happened to the lower control arm mount.  The mount was cracked in half as well, but the half that was attached to the sub frame and the actual frame has been bent in.  The actual frame was bent!  I would need to pull that out to have any hope of the car riding straight again.  At this point, I gave up, the car is toast and has been put in the garage as I decided what I’m going to do with it.

Cracked Mount

Cracked Bolt

So, I’m either going to part it out or find an older VW (Scirocco / MK1 rabbit / Rabbit Pickup) to put the engine or transmission into.  That stuff was not damaged and has been well maintained.  I can also use the seats for those cars as well.  Then I would just dump the shell when I was done.  It was too much for me to repair anyway…..

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