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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it unusual for a front strut on an Escort to fail at the lower mount bracket? The strut was an original part. TThe bracket that connects to the knuckle just snapped in two, like a twig. Fortunately, I was backing up in a parking lot at low speed when it happened, and not cruising down the highway. The wheel, without any strut support, just buckled at a 45 degree angle. I'm sure if it happened at high speed the wheel would have torn off, or got stuck underneath the car. Since I was only moving slowly, there was no damage to other suspension components. A miracle! Here's a photo of the damage.
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I've had 3 2nd/3rd gen (2x 1993, and currently 1 1998) escorts and never even came close to that. But I replaced my original struts on the 93's . If this part is that bad, I'd have the whole car checked for excessive corrosion. Common failure points are the trailing arm mounts to the body, the top of the rear strut towers, and on the 91 to 96 the center pivot point for the rear lateral arms for the rear suspension, and the rear connection for the front crossmember/subframe where is connects to the body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, 1993Tracer and zzyzzx, for the list of common failure points. I just replaced the two front struts yesterday, and noticed that the lower mount bracket on the other "good" strut also was cracked and rusting at the exact same place. The car is a 1994 second generation LX sedan. With the new struts, the car runs and handles great, and my son just passed his drivers license road test in the car this afternoon. But as you all suggest, I need to check these other points for any sign of cracking or weakness. I'll check the rear strut towers, lateral and trailing arms, etc. in the next few days. Several years ago, I did replace the rear struts, and I don't remember seeing excessive corrosion at the strut towers then. But worth another look. The strut towers in the front are clean.The lower suspension of the car is certainly rusty, but I'm hopeful I can drive safely in it with careful inspections.
 

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From the photo it looks like the bracket holding the top of the knuckle only has an upper attachment (now broken) and a lower attachment (also broken), with a section in between where the bracket arcs away from the cylindrical part of the strut. All of my escorts are 2nd gen LX's, and with each of them the bracket that holds the knuckle to the bracket on the strut is continuous; i.e. It runs from the upper bolt down to the lower bolt, being clamped around the cylinder of the strut - continuously, with no gap. So Im wondering where that strut, which looks non-standard to me, came from.
It is possible the sedans were different? Can you tell from the sticker on the driver side door frame where the car was made?
I have a 95LX sedan, and have replaced both the front struts, along with the ball joints and outer tie rod ends.
Until your posting I would not have considered that the strut-to-knuckle as a weak point. But then mine dont seem to be as rusty as your appears in the photo.
 

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Thanks, 1993Tracer and zzyzzx, Several years ago, I did replace the rear struts, and I don't remember seeing excessive corrosion at the strut towers then. But worth another look.
I think I made a mistake when I replaced the rear struts (the first time I replaced them) on my 1995LX, in that I only replaced the strut itself. If I had to do it over, I would have replace the strut mount as well. The rear strut mounts rust out as well, and may have contributed to the strut tower rust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are 3 photos comparing the broken strut bracket to the unbroken but failing bracket. After considering your responses, it's possible that I was wrong in saying these struts were original equipment. My ex- may have had a shop replace the front struts when she had control of the car's maintenance, so maybe they were cheap struts to begin with. As for not seeing this during maintenance, my only defense is that I was not looking for lower mount failure, as I would have guessed failure at this point would be very unusual. Wrong.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Could these cracks be caused by failure of the mount bearing at the upper mount, which would create a sideways force on the brackets each time you turn the steering wheel? Over time, the repeated stresses might have cause metal fatigue at the base of the bracket. Just a theory. I never noticed any difficulty steering, though.
 

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Could these cracks be caused by failure of the mount bearing at the upper mount, which would create a sideways force on the brackets each time you turn the steering wheel? Over time, the repeated stresses might have cause metal fatigue at the base of the bracket. Just a theory. I never noticed any difficulty steering, though.
Late to the party here, but...
You are over-thinking this.
This is a mass-produced, entry level car with over a quarter century on the planet, much [or all] of it in the rust belt.

This is RUST on an oem strut assembly.
There wasn't some mysterious arc where the bracket wasn't continuously attached... it is cancerous rust.
This isn't some other-wordly stress from the upper mount surface binding... it is cancerous rust.
Good job catching this, but I second (or third/fourth) to call to arms to look elsewhere on the car for similar cancerous rust.

Live in a stupidly overpriced zip code in a state controlled by crazy leftists, and you might be able to avoid this sort of thing.
Many would not think that is a fair trade-off.
But what do I know, I'm the crotchety old man who so far refuses to move.

And in case I didn't mention this before... This. Is. Cancerous. Rust.
 

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Just some strut replacement recommendations....do not use the KYB strut mounts.... I've had several fail in only 2 to 3 years and 15 to 20,000 miles. However, the KYB Excel-G struts ( the gas adjusts are no longer available) seem to be quite good, taunter than stock, but not abusive, and seem to really hold up. I had 80,000 miles on one set when I sold the car and the struts were still quite solid. I've got about 50,000 on my current set and still good and solid.

BTW they are $27 US dollars each at Rock auto right now.
 
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