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Back in March, I had my Volt towed to a dealership to get some bad battery cells replaced (see thread here). Since I got the car back, both my wife and I noticed that the car seems unstable on the highway and likes to follow grooves in the pavement. I finally got around to taking the car in to get the alignment checked out and it turns out that the rear toe angles are off by quite a lot, something like 1.5 degrees. There was no problem before the tow.

I watched the tow truck driver put the car on the flatbed, and he hooked it from the rear. It looked like he was having problems and the car was briefly cocked to one side while it was being pulled up. My mechanic found scratches caused by the tow hooks that slid along the rear beam.

So, I have two questions:

1. Since rear toe is not adjustable, the mechanic suggested to install a shim kit to get it back in alignment. Does anybody have any experience with this? Is it OK to do or is there a better fix?

2. I'm in contact with the towing company about paying for the repair. From the sequence of events described here, should they be liable for the repair?
 

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Holy crap, if he hooked on to the torque tube across the back then that tow company owes you a replacement!

That tube is primary to your suspension geometry and is intended to act a a torque bar, it is NOT an axle and is not designed to be grabbed and pulled on as it will bend (and goodbye suspension geometry).

See this PDF reference

Rear – Wrap a tow strap through one or both rear trailing arms, between the bushing on the torque tube, and pull the vehicle onto a flat surface. DO NOT wrap the tow strap around the rear torque tube.
(Nor are you supposed to use the torque tube to "lock down" the car on the flatbed for exactly the same reasons)

Get thee straight to an actual GM cert mechanic, tell them what happened, and have them inspect that rear torque tube very closely. I'll bet you a hotdog it's bent/damaged!
 
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Dutch,

I'm pretty sure that the tow company did exactly that -- there are scratches all along the rear torsion beam. Do you think that it is worth giving the shim kit a try? I was quoted on the order of $300 for the kit, installation, and alignment. Would a bent torsion beam + shim kit combination be unsafe?

One other wrinkle is that the tow was paid for by a dealership since it was needed after a software update ended up bricking the car (ultimately due to the bad battery cells). There would never have been a tow had the dealership diagnosed the bad battery cells in the first place before sending me on my way with the software update that caused the "no propulsion" condition. I'm guessing that the dealership would balk at replacing the bent torsion beam whose proximate cause was the tow company, not themselves. At this point, I'm thinking that it will be a miracle if the tow company can be convinced to pay for anything.
 

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Dutch,

I'm pretty sure that the tow company did exactly that -- there are scratches all along the rear torsion beam. Do you think that it is worth giving the shim kit a try? I was quoted on the order of $300 for the kit, installation, and alignment. Would a bent torsion beam + shim kit combination be unsafe?

One other wrinkle is that the tow was paid for by a dealership since it was needed after a software update ended up bricking the car (ultimately due to the bad battery cells). There would never have been a tow had the dealership diagnosed the bad battery cells in the first place before sending me on my way with the software update that caused the "no propulsion" condition. I'm guessing that the dealership would balk at replacing the bent torsion beam whose proximate cause was the tow company, not themselves. At this point, I'm thinking that it will be a miracle if the tow company can be convinced to pay for anything.
However did the deed is responsible in my book.
 

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As I understand it, if the dealer ordered the tow, then the dealer is the contractor and is responsible for their sub-contractor's work and is responsible to you for any damage however caused by the sub-contractor. After that, the dealer needs to get restitution from their sub-contractor. If it is an expensive repair, you may possibly even involve your insurance company if the dealer and his tow company have any issues. I would assume the parts are all replaceable. For what it's worth, I carry a tow diagram in the back of my car in the event it has to be towed.
 

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As I understand it, if the dealer ordered the tow, then the dealer is the contractor and is responsible for their sub-contractor's work and is responsible to you for any damage however caused by the sub-contractor. After that, the dealer needs to get restitution from their sub-contractor. If it is an expensive repair, you may possibly even involve your insurance company if the dealer and his tow company have any issues. I would assume the parts are all replaceable. For what it's worth, I carry a tow diagram in the back of my car in the event it has to be towed.
FWIW, I agree, and hope that the dealer was not Bozarth, as I have had great service from their Grand Junction store!
 
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For what it's worth, I carry a tow diagram in the back of my car in the event it has to be towed.
Sounds like good info to have, Do you have a copy you can post? or if it's already posted on the site can you direct me where it posted??

Thanks!
 

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Dutch,

I'm pretty sure that the tow company did exactly that -- there are scratches all along the rear torsion beam. Do you think that it is worth giving the shim kit a try? I was quoted on the order of $300 for the kit, installation, and alignment. Would a bent torsion beam + shim kit combination be unsafe?
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a mechanic and there are actual Volt techs on this forum who may be able to give you better information.

Having said that, I would absolutely NOT settle for anything less than replacing the torque tube. Bending a major suspension component and then trying to fix it with shims... makes me shudder.

Just my two cents worth.
 

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Just to update this thread with the resolution, the tow company agreed to pay to have the car fixed at the dealership service department. They ended up replacing the rear torsion beam (AKA torque tube, AKA rear torsion axle). The total cost was something like $1700, so definitely a costly mistake on the tow company's part.

Just another reminder, if you end up having to get your Volt towed, be sure to inform the truck operator of the proper way to pull it up on the flatbed (print out the file referenced by Dutch above) or risk a headache trying to get the tow company to pay to fix your car and the inconvenience of having the car in the shop for several days!
 

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Just to update this thread with the resolution, the tow company agreed to pay to have the car fixed at the dealership service department. They ended up replacing the rear torsion beam (AKA torque tube, AKA rear torsion axle). The total cost was something like $1700, so definitely a costly mistake on the tow company's part.

Just another reminder, if you end up having to get your Volt towed, be sure to inform the truck operator of the proper way to pull it up on the flatbed (print out the file referenced by Dutch above) or risk a headache trying to get the tow company to pay to fix your car and the inconvenience of having the car in the shop for several days!
Glad to hear that the issue with the torsion beam was corrected and that the towing company stepped out to the plate and paid for the repairs after the flunked tow operation. As you said, that document containing the proper towing procedure is a must have for every Volt owner.
 
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