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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently, the steering wheel on my Karma went 'cockeyed'. In order to drive in a straight line, I'd have to point the steering wheel as if I was going to veer to the left. Also, the Traction Control Warning Light would come on even though I was simply driving in a straight line.

I took the car to Alex Pop at Elite Motors OC. He diagnosed a broken front subframe. Alex said the only new subframes that were available were bound for Fisker to be used in new vehicles. So we welded the part which failed again in a few weeks. My steering wheel is once again listing to the left.

So far, Alex has been unable to source a new subframe despite multiple calls to The New Fisker (or whatever they're calling themselves these days). Now, I'm reaching out to the community here to inquire about whether any other dealers/certified service providers have a lead on a new subframe or even an intact subframe from a damaged Karma.

I would appreciate any help I could get. Thanks!
 

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Recently, the steering wheel on my Karma went 'cockeyed'. In order to drive in a straight line, I'd have to point the steering wheel as if I was going to veer to the left. Also, the Traction Control Warning Light would come on even though I was simply driving in a straight line.

I took the car to Alex Pop at Elite Motors OC. He diagnosed a broken front subframe. Alex said the only new subframes that were available were bound for Fisker to be used in new vehicles. So we welded the part which failed again in a few weeks. My steering wheel is once again listing to the left.

So far, Alex has been unable to source a new subframe despite multiple calls to The New Fisker (or whatever they're calling themselves these days). Now, I'm reaching out to the community here to inquire about whether any other dealers/certified service providers have a lead on a new subframe or even an intact subframe from a damaged Karma.

I would appreciate any help I could get. Thanks!
woah - never hear of that, are you referring to aluminum structure?
 

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woah - never hear of that, are you referring to aluminum structure?
It's a steel tubular structure in most cars. Usually there are two subframes, a front and rear. Makes assembly and repair of major components easier. From Wikipedia:

There are generally three basic forms of the subframe.

  1. A simple "axle" type which usually carries the lower control arms and steering rack. (This is what probably broke.)
  2. A perimeter frame which carries the above components but in addition supports the engine.
  3. A perimeter frame which carries the above components but in addition supports the engine, transmission and possibly the full suspension. (As used on front wheel drive cars)
 

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This is what the Karma front sub frame looks like. Only previous failure that I have seen was when a tow truck driver attached straps to the steering gear assembly. A big no-no.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How do you think it broke in the first place?
There is a pothole that goes across an entire lane of traffic, and I have little choice but to navigate it every day. I think I just drove over it too many times and, given that the car weighs 5 million tons, the subframe eventually failed.
 

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There is a pothole that goes across an entire lane of traffic, and I have little choice but to navigate it every day. I think I just drove over it too many times and, given that the car weighs 5 million tons, the subframe eventually failed.

For the rest of us who hit potholes here in California (Gov. Brown, are you listening?), did you have any symptoms besides the left-canted steering wheel and the TM warning light?

For example, did your Karma want to veer to the right or left? Did it make any "clunking" noises during turns?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For the rest of us who hit potholes here in California (Gov. Brown, are you listening?), did you have any symptoms besides the left-canted steering wheel and the TM warning light?

For example, did your Karma want to veer to the right or left? Did it make any "clunking" noises during turns?
The only symptom was that positioning the steering wheel in a way that you would think would send it straight ahead would cause it to veer right. The only way to get it to steer straight was to tilt the wheel as though you wanted to veer left. There were no noises.

And the pothole in question is in West Hollywood which means it is a responsibility of city, not state, government.
 

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And the pothole in question is in West Hollywood which means it is a responsibility of city, not state, government.
This is getting a bit off-topic, but in case California Karma owners are wondering why we still have so many streets in disrepair . . .

Yes, Weird Fishes, local street repair has always been the responsibility of city government. But these days, street repair is often deferred because Gov. Brown and the Legislature dissolved the RDA (Redevelopment Agency) in 2012. RDA funds from the State had mandated that cities fix streets, build schools, and otherwise "urbanize" to "improve the quality of life" in California.

The State of California still provides some funding to local municipalities by funneling back a portion of our property taxes to local "Successor Agencies" that were formed to replace the State's RDA.

But it's a lot less now than it was when we had RDA funding.

If you are a policy wonk and want to know how complicated this all is, take a look at:

http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2011/stadm/infrastructure/infrastructure_082511.aspx.

The speaker from Legislative's Analysts Office admits that infrastructure project priorities are often misdirected, i.e., low priority projects are given high priority.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm just bumping this thread. My front subframe remains broken. I have not been able to find another. I cannot continue driving the car without repairing this part. If I cannot find another subframe, I will be forced to sell the car. I would appreciate any help that anyone could offer. Thanks!
 

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That part is tough to find, strange that Karma Auto is not facilitating the sale of such a part. I do have that part but its in another vehicle which would render that vehicle useless. I am planning a future swap of a different engine for that vehicle so maybe it works out. Would rather buy your vehicle though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just picked up a message from KarmaTechnicalSupport letting me know they have front subframes to sell, so it looks as though my problem will soon be solved. Just wanted to say thank you to everyone and to give a big shoutout to KarmaTechnicalSupport. Thanks!
 
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