For the Volvo Enthusiast

1998-2000 V70: AWD Propeller Shaft Repair

Volvo’s viscous clutch all-wheel drive system offered in the 1998-2000 vehicles provided 95 percent of the engine’s power to the front wheels and transferred power to the rear wheels in slippery conditions. Volvo’s supplemental TRACS would apply brakes when both wheels on one side of the car start to slip and shift the power to the opposite side.

In slippery conditions, power is transferred via a propeller shaft connecting the front and rear drive wheels. Years of use and abuse can take a toll on the propeller shaft. Symptoms typically start with vibrations felt in the body of the car. A bent wheel or a flat spot on a tire can create new and unusual driving sensations. Many components can cause vibrations. I recommend a thorough examination of the suspension and driveline components. Escalating maintenance costs are always a significant concern for an older Volvo, so get an expert opinion from a trusted Volvo service center or enthusiast to help prevent thousands of unnecessary repair expenses. My 2000 V70 XC began to have very noticeable vibrations between 40 and 50 miles per hour and after determining that the propeller shaft was out of balance, I began searching for a replacement.

Volvo offers shafts but the cost is nearly $1000 for the part alone. After recommendations from swedespeed members, I contacted Dave at Colorado Drive Shaft. He took the time to explain the process. His knowledge and experience with the varied Volvo specifications for the 1998 to 2000 propeller shafts was very reassuring.

Colorado Drive Shaft has been remanufacturing Volvo propeller shafts for over eight years. They service both the center of the shaft and the constant velocity joints at each end. A high-speed balancer provides a precision balance. Delivery to my door was surprisingly quick and the box included a pre-paid UPS label making the return of the old shaft as easy as finding the nearest UPS Store. The shafts come with a one-year warranty and prices start at $435 for 1998 vehicles plus a refundable $100 core deposit.

One of the questions Dave frequently responds to relates to the mounting bolts. All of the bolts on my V70 XC were the same size, but if you have two bolts that are slightly longer than others, he recommends putting these on opposite sides of the coupling. Dave mentioned that Volvo did not use longer bolts for balancing purposes but mounting these on opposite sides offers customers peace of mind.

If you are experiencing significant vibrations, you can remove the shaftand drive your Volvo as a front-wheel-drive vehicle until you remanufactured shaft arrives. The removal and installation can be completed with a set of jack stands in the driveway, but the additional height provided by a lift makes the installation much easier. A counter hold tool is needed to prevent the shaft from turning while you reinstall the bolts. Installation and removal is straightforward for shade-tree mechanics and can be completed within an hour.

Looking at the position of the front coupling and the downpipe, it is easy to see how years of exposure to heat can take its toll. Start the process by removing the bolts for the center exhaust hanger holding the propeller shaft’s center bearing. At each end of the shaft, 6mm allen-head bolts secure the couplings. Colorado Drive Shaft labels the front coupling so you do not have to worry about which end goes where during the installation.

Volvo recommends initially reinstalling the bolts crosswise to 8Nm and then tighten to 30Nm. After verifying all bolts have been installed properly, and reinstalled the center exhaust hanger you are done. While under the car, take a quick glance at your oxygen sensor wires and other under carriage components for signs of excessive wear or rust. The remanufactured driveshaft should provide thousands of vibration free miles.

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