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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have seen on this forum and others that some XC70s, especially the early ones of the current generation, suffered from some creaking noises. Sometimes it would be in the suspension, sometimes the front subframe or the tailgate or even the B pillar. I ran into a creaking noise on my 2013 that had just rolled off the ship from Sweden. It's a story of perseverance, courage and ambition... :p

The noise I experienced can be best described as a creaking old pirate ship. The noise seems to be coming from right under the driver's floor, or maybe it's the passenger's floor, or the floor under the backseat. It depends on where you are in the car. These noises travel along the chassis and can drive a person insane.

My noise was intermittent though and in an effort to track down why it was intermittent I managed to keep records of humidity, driving patterns, fuel level and various other statistics. Sure, I could have just given it to the dealer but I have had noise problems in a new car before and at that time, the dealership replaced almost the entire front end before finding it.

Throughout the two weeks I kept records of driving habits and environmental changes I was never able to find a pattern, that is until I washed the car at a car wash. I drove through the car wash and the noise vanished afterwards. After that I was able to determine that water on the underside of the car made the noise go away. Armed with this information, I finally brought it into my local dealer.

I had a technician come with me on a drive around the parking lot. I drove in a tight circle turning left and my pirate wagon made it's noise. Immediately the technician said it was the front right strut. I was elated that someone knew what it was. I brought it in the next day and the technician replaced the strut and then tested the car. It still made the noise. The technician was now sure it was the left strut but didn't have time to replace that strut that day and requested I bring it in two days later.

I became a little paranoid about the path I was going down with the dealer. I didn't want this to turn into a week without a car and get it back with 20 parts replaced. The day before I was scheduled to bring it back I made the decision to track down the noise myself. So I put the car on ramps and used my garden hose to spray down certain sections of the underside.

After each spray down I would then drive the car in a circle and see if the noise occurred. After several hours of doing this and getting multiple false positives I was finally able to track down my problem. It was a subframe to chassis bolt on the subframe reinforcement over the exhaust canal in the rear of the front subframe. There is also a bushing up there to allow some movement, it's my best guess that this bushing may not be allowing enough movement, hence the noise. It's located right under the driver's foot, just about.

Excited as I was that I found this, I ended up at the dealership the next morning. I met with the technician in the service bay and told him I had found the exact place the noise was occurring. He nodded and asked for my keys.. and this is where it gets weird. The conversation went like this:

Tech: Give me the keys
Me: Yea, sure, let's go get the car and I can show you where it is
Tech: No, just give me the keys.
Me: ok, here
..a few seconds..
Me: So, do you want me to wait here while you get the car, so I can show you where it is?
Tech: No, just let me do my damn job.

At this point I was a taken aback. The only thought in my mind now was to get out of there without causing a scene. I asked if I could have my key back for a moment to retrieve some belongings from the car. The tech gave the key back and I fled the dealership. Never told anyone I was leaving.

I found out the dealership was closing permanently on Oct 31st, just 5 days after this occurred.

As for my noise, a dab of grease and its now more quiet than the day I drove it home.

The downside to greasing my own car is that in order to get this "fixed" under warranty the vehicle has to be making the noise at the time it's brought in for repair. Now it's not, and it may not for a while or may not for as long as I own it.

The problem is not a safety issue and does not affect driving. Greasing is just one of three solutions the dealers will actually do for this, as I have been made to understand. The others are grinding down or replacement of bushing or bolt.

For those interested, I live in Atlanta, Georgia. The dealership I purchased my Volvo from and where this incident occurred is Nalley Volvo. They are now closed. A new dealership is opening down the street and I have it on good authority that the technician who treated me rather poorly will be working there. I will be finding a new shop for my XC's repairs.
 

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Interesting story. I have an '09 with a persistent subframe-to-chassis bushing squeak/groan. Your description (both behavior and location) sounds exactly like my problem. I thought they fixed it with a different bushing design?

I have been looking into my issue since the car is far out of warranty, and I actually think that it is an issue of too much flex in the bushing. The subframe is fairly rigidly connected to the "feet" on the outer ring of the bushing, and the chassis bolts to the center of the bushing. I think the bushing is too soft, which lets the subframe move and the feet to rub against the support plate that is bolted to che chassis, and they squeak. The newer bushing design has bigger feet, and I can't see why that would fix the problem. I really want IPD to develop poly subframe bushing inserts for our P3 cars, because I think reducing flex will kill the groan.

Out of curiosity, what kind of grease did you use? I understand that petroleum-based greases aren't so good for rubber. Was it silicone-based? And did you have to unbolt anything to apply it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I made a bit of a folly when I greased it. I used lithium grease which is petroleum based. However, I didn't grease the bushing, or rather, that wasn't my target area. I didn't have to unbolt anything either. I have since cleaned the bushing off with a toothbrush and some dawn dish soap and hot water, just in case. I must say, it's the cleanest looking bushing lol.

I am out at the moment. When I get home I will post some of the photos I have of the area and where I greased it, along with diagrams of the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Here are my images of the underside of my 13 XC and the place where I applied the grease. It's very tight in the area and consequently I could not get the greatest of photos.

This is the bushing, most notable is the blue coloring which can be seen extending out at the top as well. I applied grease near the base of this. To be honest, and because I had no real visibility to it, I do not know for sure where I stuck the grease that ultimately silenced it.


This is on the subframe reinforcement peice, shown here. The bolt and the bushing above it that cannot be seen, are circled in red.


This is part of a subframe beam that runs across the exhaust canal shortly after the manifold, as shown here. Problem area circled in red, for reference.


In the manual, it appears as this:


The parts diagram that shows these parts and the assembly, though not wholly accurate as to what is down there, is shown here. The parts applying to this area are enclosed in red:


In the diagram shown above, the parts are listed as:
22. Flange Screw (the large bolt).
43. Washer (for the bolt).
48. Bearing Bushing (reinforced bushing). Listed as PN 31201148, that PN is from VIDA, but looking on various parts sites, I get varying numbers. That seems to indicate a part change.

If you intend to apply some grease to your bushing, I would suggest a silicone based grease. My intention when I cleaned my lithium grease off was to actually force it to come back despite my ambition to have it return being somewhat low. It will take a considerable amount of time for the very small amount of lithium grease, and now even smaller since I cleaned most of it off, to have any effect on the reinforced rubber bushing. It is far more likely, in my scenario, that the grease would deteriorate naturally before having any significant effect on the bushing. If the rubber does start to soften due to the grease it's likely the noise will return anyway and then I would just have it fixed.
 

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Wow. Thanks for the great pics and all the detail! That's the same bushing that is giving me grief, and that was supposedly fixed for MY10 cars and later. Maybe I'll try some silicone grease (or whatever won't attack the rubber) as a temporary measure. Even if that just quiets the car for a few months at a time, that would make it tolerable until a permanent fix is identified.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You're welcome.

That's interesting that it's the exact same bushing. If they did fix it I wonder how I ended up with the bad one on a 2013.

Did you report this problem while it was under warranty? If so, and they were unable to fix it, you may be able to have them fix it still. The process of replacing that bushing is a fairly long one. They have to drop the entire subframe which involves quite a bit of disassembling. I think it's about a 4 hour job.

After having done all this research I can't even say for sure if I really want them to fix it. Sometimes I think the fix is just as bad as the problem, unless they replace the part completely.

Anyway, as I said before, it's not hurting anything, it's just a noise. If its quiet, why bother, right?

Every new car I've purchased has had some kind of issue.
My Mazda3 had a loose drivers seat.
My Subaru Outback didn't have enough oil in the engine.
My Toyota Tacoma climate fan squeeled like a mouse.
My Saturn, well, I don't have enough time to go over all those noises.
 

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I bought mine used just a few months ago, so it was already well out of warranty by the time I noticed the noise. Fortunately I am of a similar mindset on the importance of it. I would like to fix it, but I'm not willing to spend huge money on bushing replacement (assuming that would even work) for something that's only irritating. The poly insert would be under $100 plus a couple of hours of DIY at minimal risk, which is part of what makes that an attractive thing to attempt. (Plus I'm pretty sure it would fix the root cause.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Grease works! I went to Lowes this weekend and bought a little container of thick petroleum-free silicone grease intended for rubber o-rings. I applied it to both bushings (left and right) by smearing it around the contact areas between bushing and frame with one of those little brushes that you use for applying flux to a copper pipe. I didn't expect much because that seems like a pretty poor way to apply grease. All the same, it worked immediately! My creaking has been virtually incessant since the day I bought the car, yet today I didn't hear a peep out of it. It makes for a much more pleasant driving experince.

Who knows how long that will last. Maybe not long, but at least it's a 5-minute procedure and confirms the problem area beyond any doubt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Woot! Glad to hear it's quiet for you! I can't really say much to how long it will last. Mine is still very quiet. I actually took my XC70 off-roading in some sand pits in central Florida over the weekend. I'm sure there is some sand sticking to the grease now.



It may not be a permanent fix but the grease you bought will surely last you a long time and if it only takes five minutes every few months or so, it's worth it.
 

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2.5 months later and my bushings are still quiet, even having driven on wet and salty roads, and in sub-zero temperatures. I'm sure it will start squeaking again tomorrow morning now that I have said something, but it's a minor victory for such a simple treatment to have lasted this long in winter conditions.
 

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I have seen on this forum and others that some XC70s, especially the early ones of the current generation, suffered from some creaking noises. Sometimes it would be in the suspension, sometimes the front subframe or the tailgate or even the B pillar. I ran into a creaking noise on my 2013 that had just rolled off the ship from Sweden. It's a story of perseverance, courage and ambition... :p

The noise I experienced can be best described as a creaking old pirate ship. The noise seems to be coming from right under the driver's floor, or maybe it's the passenger's floor, or the floor under the backseat. It depends on where you are in the car. These noises travel along the chassis and can drive a person insane.

My noise was intermittent though and in an effort to track down why it was intermittent I managed to keep records of humidity, driving patterns, fuel level and various other statistics. Sure, I could have just given it to the dealer but I have had noise problems in a new car before and at that time, the dealership replaced almost the entire front end before finding it.

Throughout the two weeks I kept records of driving habits and environmental changes I was never able to find a pattern, that is until I washed the car at a car wash. I drove through the car wash and the noise vanished afterwards. After that I was able to determine that water on the underside of the car made the noise go away. Armed with this information, I finally brought it into my local dealer.

I had a technician come with me on a drive around the parking lot. I drove in a tight circle turning left and my pirate wagon made it's noise. Immediately the technician said it was the front right strut. I was elated that someone knew what it was. I brought it in the next day and the technician replaced the strut and then tested the car. It still made the noise. The technician was now sure it was the left strut but didn't have time to replace that strut that day and requested I bring it in two days later.

I became a little paranoid about the path I was going down with the dealer. I didn't want this to turn into a week without a car and get it back with 20 parts replaced. The day before I was scheduled to bring it back I made the decision to track down the noise myself. So I put the car on ramps and used my garden hose to spray down certain sections of the underside.

After each spray down I would then drive the car in a circle and see if the noise occurred. After several hours of doing this and getting multiple false positives I was finally able to track down my problem. It was a subframe to chassis bolt on the subframe reinforcement over the exhaust canal in the rear of the front subframe. There is also a bushing up there to allow some movement, it's my best guess that this bushing may not be allowing enough movement, hence the noise. It's located right under the driver's foot, just about.

Excited as I was that I found this, I ended up at the dealership the next morning. I met with the technician in the service bay and told him I had found the exact place the noise was occurring. He nodded and asked for my keys.. and this is where it gets weird. The conversation went like this:

Tech: Give me the keys
Me: Yea, sure, let's go get the car and I can show you where it is
Tech: No, just give me the keys.
Me: ok, here
..a few seconds..
Me: So, do you want me to wait here while you get the car, so I can show you where it is?
Tech: No, just let me do my damn job.

At this point I was a taken aback. The only thought in my mind now was to get out of there without causing a scene. I asked if I could have my key back for a moment to retrieve some belongings from the car. The tech gave the key back and I fled the dealership. Never told anyone I was leaving.

I found out the dealership was closing permanently on Oct 31st, just 5 days after this occurred.

As for my noise, a dab of grease and its now more quiet than the day I drove it home.

The downside to greasing my own car is that in order to get this "fixed" under warranty the vehicle has to be making the noise at the time it's brought in for repair. Now it's not, and it may not for a while or may not for as long as I own it.

The problem is not a safety issue and does not affect driving. Greasing is just one of three solutions the dealers will actually do for this, as I have been made to understand. The others are grinding down or replacement of bushing or bolt.

For those interested, I live in Atlanta, Georgia. The dealership I purchased my Volvo from and where this incident occurred is Nalley Volvo. They are now closed. A new dealership is opening down the street and I have it on good authority that the technician who treated me rather poorly will be working there. I will be finding a new shop for my XC's repairs.
of the noise.


I am having a problem with my 2009 S40 that seems just like what you described. Dealer has no clue what it is and I have taken apart everything in the trunk. I have post on it and have this video https://vimeo.com/m/67755610
Your post is the only one I've seen which seems similar to mine and I'm just wondering if you could listen to the noise I'm experiencing from the video and see if it sounds anything like what you have described here. Thank you
 

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I have a 2013 XC70 T6 that I bought in September and it does sound like an old pirate ship. I haven't tried the grease yet but I will. It doesn't bother me that much but it is kind of embarrassing when you have passengers other than the family, "what's that noise, I thought this was a new car".
 

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Wow I can't believe it's been 5 years and the problem is still not fixed!
I used to have the same problem and it took awhile to fix. But it hasn't made any noise ever since.
I could always duplicate the creaking by using Rhino Ramps on one front wheel. Easily duplicatable.
 

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A little under 8 months since my first grease application, and my subframe bushing noise came back. I was already dirty yesterday so I just reached under the car and painted a little more silicone grease onto the bushings. Instant quiet again. I'll just keep re-applying as needed since it's a consistent remedy for a minor annoyance.

Sent from the fireworks tent while playing with matches
 

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A little under 8 months since my first grease application, and my subframe bushing noise came back. I was already dirty yesterday so I just reached under the car and painted a little more silicone grease onto the bushings. Instant quiet again. I'll just keep re-applying as needed since it's a consistent remedy for a minor annoyance.

Sent from the fireworks tent while playing with matches
Can you snap a pic of where the bushings are? I'd like to try this...

TIA :beer:
 

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Skywolf already posted the best pics you are going to find. The underside of my car will never be that clean again! If you have trouble orienting yourself, the bushings are just aft of the front wheels.
 

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Removal Necessary

Grease works! I went to Lowes this weekend and bought a little container of thick petroleum-free silicone grease intended for rubber o-rings. I applied it to both bushings (left and right) by smearing it around the contact areas between bushing and frame with one of those little brushes that you use for applying flux to a copper pipe. I didn't expect much because that seems like a pretty poor way to apply grease. All the same, it worked immediately! My creaking has been virtually incessant since the day I bought the car, yet today I didn't hear a peep out of it. It makes for a much more pleasant driving experince.

Who knows how long that will last. Maybe not long, but at least it's a 5-minute procedure and confirms the problem area beyond any doubt.
I have purchased the lubricant. Did you have to remove the bolt to apply the lube to the contact surfaces of the bushing or did you just try to push it on with the brush you mentioned?
 

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My mom's 2013 XC70 did this since new. I purchased silicone spray and applied it to the bushings mentioned. It was silent for two weeks now the noise is starting to return. I'm thinking a thicker grease would be more appropriate.
 
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