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Hagerty Employee

Project Goblin: It was right, it was wrong, it was a Christmas miracle

I've maintained an Internet presence (of sorts) since 2006 because of my dogged insistence to never stop being published. And yet, even with those intentions, I've neglected to sufficiently inform you about Project Goblin, one of the coolest endeavors I've had the honor of experiencing.

Hmmm - those Intrepids are sturdier than they first appear, that's some serious damage. Happy the injuries to Brett healed (and braggin' scars are always cool at car shows). Here's wishing that Goblin 2.0 is a total success.
Pit Crew

So far it's a success. More to come in a future installment.
New Driver

The good thing is his body will heal.
What a pervasive experience.
Thanks for writing about it.
Advanced Driver

Great piece, Sajeev! When I got to the pic with father and son strapped in, I thought, "That is one lucky kid." It turns out that that was also one lucky father.

Good object lesson for those pondering a kit car adventure. FWIW, that would not include me at this late stage, but I deeply regret not having the expertise.

Sajeev, could you please explain why there would be more play in the 20.5mm ball joints than the 19.5 mm ball joints? Intuitively it does not seem to make sense. Were the 20.5 ball joints defective and loose to begin with when they were installed? To me this sounds like the type of accident made noteworthy by the 911T. Inexperienced driver loosens rear end when turbo lag ends, driver lifts throttle or applies brakes worsening traction and swaps ends. Rear weight and moment of inertia contribute to problem. If the rear alignment had toe-out present it might be unstable to begin with. This is potentially a sub 4 second 0 to 60 car he was playing with. Those images of twisted DOM tubing and jagged edges will stay in my memory for a while. Thankfully, the driver will be alright.
Community Manager

What I can tell you is that the 20.5 mm ball joints were original to the donor Cobalt and had well over 150,000 miles on rough Houston roads under their belt. Replacing them was a good idea, just not with 19.5mm units. 

Pit Crew

So, here's the deal.  The 2009 Cobalt SS came with lower control arms that had ball joints riveted to them.  The proper spec is 20.5 mm on the ball joint stud.  The donor cobalt had 167K miles on it and I chose to replace the lower control arms to get all new bushings and fresh ball joints.  


Unfortunately, most manufactures of lower control arms for Cobalts install ball joints that are 19.5mm in diameter since the majority of Cobalts manufactured use the 19.5mm size and not the 20.5mm stud size found on the 2008/9/10 SS model.  


The 19.5mm ball joint stud, that I did not realize I had on both sides of the rear, induced some play in the rear suspension between the knuckle and the lower control arm.  While this is most likely not a direct cause to the accident, it is most likely a contributing factor.


Thanks, it makes more sense now. Congratulations for tackling such a huge project. Be careful out there.