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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I've had a shudder at 60mph. I know the front control arms are notorious on these, and mine are probably due. The bushings looked OK last fall when I did brakes. They look much less OK now.

My options seem to be:

1. Powerflex, but I don't care for much increased NVH. I have a "tastefully" IPD'd 1995 945 turbo for that!

2. Genuine Volvo from FCP. Then I can abuse their lifetime warranty.

3. IPD's new "HD" control arms. I suspect that I'll be the first guinea pig if I go this route. I really do like IPD, but I'm cautious of some of their HD products for the P2 chassis. Only a one year warranty on these.

What'cha guys think? Would love to hear from folks using Powerflex. Should I roll the dice on IPD?

Thanks!

-Ryan
 

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Hi All,

I've had a shudder at 60mph. I know the front control arms are notorious on these, and mine are probably due. The bushings looked OK last fall when I did brakes. They look much less OK now.

My options seem to be:

1. Powerflex, but I don't care for much increased NVH. I have a "tastefully" IPD'd 1995 945 turbo for that!

2. Genuine Volvo from FCP. Then I can abuse their lifetime warranty.

3. IPD's new "HD" control arms. I suspect that I'll be the first guinea pig if I go this route. I really do like IPD, but I'm cautious of some of their HD products for the P2 chassis. Only a one year warranty on these.

What'cha guys think? Would love to hear from folks using Powerflex. Should I roll the dice on IPD?

Thanks!

-Ryan
Just as a reminder - the lifetime warranty with FCP. - You have to pay to have it shipped back. The LCA are not light in weight so it can cost. Cost of shipping old part and receiving a new part can be a wash.
 

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Yes, I have gone poly. The best upgrade I have done to date. I just did the forward bushings and the original rubber Volvo rearward bushings as the polys kind of pop out of the rear ones. If you look at around 1:48, you will see the rearward poly bushing does not seat well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RAoeR8Oshg I also ordered several tubes of the iPd grease for the bushings and to have on hand for work on other vehicles.

This does not give the noise or vibration that one might think. I had another member on the forum test drive my XC90 and he was wondering why people keep on saying poly is harsh. Well, those same people have not used or tried the street version poly bushings on an XC90. Along with the sway bars and Bilstein Touring front struts, the forum member described the ride more like a regular BMW, not the ///M version harsh. Ironically, I find that going over speed bumps is better because there is less shudder/flex and more direct movement for the suspension angle and force transfer to the struts. Kind of like having tight versus loose knees when landing from a jump.

I like the fact that I know I don't have to worry about the poly bushings for a very very long while and have no doubt they are working in tip-top shape even after hitting potholes; unlike any rubber option.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQQ1Nb9T5-4 Another install video
 

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Hi All,

Should I roll the dice on IPD?

Thanks!

-Ryan
Geez, I wish someone would ;)
There's a whole THREAD here about those where no one has tried them and IPD weighed in without apparently motivating anyone. They don't claim improved performance, just longevity. Good comments from ChitownV about poly bushings, there, if you're considering them.
That's a good point from Gruendig about shipping. I mailed back two Meyle HD forward LCA bushings for around $20 to get a refund from FCP for $32 (bought Lemforder to replace). The Meyle were too soft, resulting in braking pull.
So, all that being said, I wonder about the "shuddering". That doesn't sound like LCA symptom, to me. Can you expound on that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, all that being said, I wonder about the "shuddering". That doesn't sound like LCA symptom, to me. Can you expound on that?
The shudder comes on around 60mph. Just like a wheel that needs balancing. You don't notice it braking or accelerating.... or at all under 60mph. I first plan on getting the wheels re-balanced, as I have to take a set of RWD wheels in for new rubber. Front suspension otherwise seems good. Brakes are all brand new, so it's not a warped rotor. I would not be surprised to find that a wheel weight came off.

Thanks for the tips so far. Interesting idea to go poly just for the front position. I agree that poly doesn't necessarily mean harsh. IPD makes a low durometer poly cone bushing kit for the 740/940's and you'd never know they weren't rubber from the driver's seat. These bushings are the only Achilles heel of the 7/9-series suspension. Nice to have poly here. One the other hand, I went all Super-Pro on one of my 240's, and it was jarring.

As for shipping to FCP, it's not bad from where I am. I have never taken advantage of their lifetime warranty, even with five driving Volvo's in the fleet. Even if it cost $30-$40 to send a pair of control arms back, that's small potatoes compared to the $400 buy in.

Thanks again!

-Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quick update:

I've a set of IPD HD control arms in the mail. I'll update in the next couple weeks.

-Ryan
 

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Quick update:

I've a set of IPD HD control arms in the mail. I'll update in the next couple weeks.

-Ryan
Cool! I'm anxious to hear your views. I'm thinking a bit about PU, but the comments about greasing them (like it's no big deal?) in service, kind of put me off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool! I'm anxious to hear your views. I'm thinking a bit about PU, but the comments about greasing them (like it's no big deal?) in service, kind of put me off.
A little marine-grade wheel bearing goop on poly bushings should last the life of the bushing. No big deal, but a little sloppy on install. Wear gloves. :)

Looking forward to trying out the IPD arms.

-Ryan
 

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Yeah, I agree. I've had polys in several other cars and had to re-lube with lithium grease. In my XC90 I used the iPd grease, which is believed to be marine grease, and it stays. Some grease squeezed outside of the bushing when installing and I can still see it sticking there. No problems or issues with grease longevity so far for me after driving nearly 20k miles in the past year and through snow/salt. I have it on the poly control arm bushings, on the iPd poly sway bar bushings, and the poly subframe bushing inserts.

Ryan R, I am definitely interested in hearing about the iPd control arms, especially after you have put 1k miles and so on. Longevity is what they sell, so let's hope it is the good affordable alternative to the blue box. It's nice for people to have options.
 

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Every time I read a post that suggests improvements to 3.2 front suspension and handling, I cannot get past the fact that there's no strut tower bracing on this variant. I've come over time to realize that DavidV's adding a brace many years ago had an absolutely logical and sensible reason behind it. My apologies DavidV.

The mounting brackets are there on all models, seems as though that might be a good place to include if one wanted to firm up handling.

As part of my apology to you DavidV, a question was asked in 2015 if the Sport/RD speed sensitive steering was software. It's the PSU, the electric module that manages the solenoid for speed sensistive steering. PN 31360223 for standard XC90 with speed senstive steering, PN 31360221 for Sport/R-D. I can't get exact location of the module, under the dash somewhere is about the best I can find so far. This was noted on another post that was specific to the V8 so thought to repost on this one.

Strut tower brace might be something else to toss into the ring for this engine variant if improved performance is desired. Poly LCA will firm up the bottom but I cannot imagine there's not a little flex that's then transmitted to the top.
 

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Personally, I'm not looking to improve handling so much as improve the travel of the bushings. When I put MeyleHD front control bushings on, my XC90 developed brake pull and just felt soft. I rigged a GoPro to video the control arms and found extreme motion (in and out) on the left one and more than I think is appropriate on the left during a simple trip around the block. I sent those back to FCP (Thanks, FCP!) and put on Lemforders. I'm afraid to video that set, because I expect I will find more travel than I would like because of the common design element of the voids on the inside and outside of the central axis. My concern is that every time the control arms travel in and out on a horizontal plane, the toe varies in and out. Toe causes tire wear, and these heavy vehicles are not known for excellent tire wear characteristics.
So, if grease is a non-issue, and road noise is not increased, then PU may be my next move, although the Lemforders are new.
Thanks for the info on the grease longevity, ChitownV , but now I have to overthink that application,too!
I wonder if the outside of the PU bushing moves at all and the whole thing just pivots around the bushing axle? I guess the installation has been successful for 20k miles, for you, so maybe just do it and forget it. But now I'll dream of micro-polishing the bushing axle and bedding the outside of the PU bushing with 3M 5200 :facepalm:
 

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Personally, I'm not looking to improve handling so much as improve the travel of the bushings. When I put MeyleHD front control bushings on, my XC90 developed brake pull and just felt soft. I rigged a GoPro to video the control arms and found extreme motion (in and out) on the left one and more than I think is appropriate on the left during a simple trip around the block. I sent those back to FCP (Thanks, FCP!) and put on Lemforders. I'm afraid to video that set, because I expect I will find more travel than I would like because of the common design element of the voids on the inside and outside of the central axis. My concern is that every time the control arms travel in and out on a horizontal plane, the toe varies in and out. Toe causes tire wear, and these heavy vehicles are not known for excellent tire wear characteristics.
So, if grease is a non-issue, and road noise is not increased, then PU may be my next move, although the Lemforders are new.
Thanks for the info on the grease longevity, ChitownV , but now I have to overthink that application,too!
I wonder if the outside of the PU bushing moves at all and the whole thing just pivots around the bushing axle? I guess the installation has been successful for 20k miles, for you, so maybe just do it and forget it. But now I'll dream of micro-polishing the bushing axle and bedding the outside of the PU bushing with 3M 5200 :facepalm:
Haha. I was in the same boat before. I want to clarify my previous post. I have about 12k miles on the current LCA bushings, 20k on the sway bar bushings, and about 40k miles on the bushing inserts. No squeaking or anything. To be transparent, I did not like the poly LCA bushings for the first week or so, but then they broke-in and it was glorious. You make a good point on the toe shift with the cut-outs and I believe the polys being solid is where a lot of the precision comes from. People forget that rubber can be harder than polyurethane so it's not really the material, but the durometer and design that are helping. Poly just lasts longer and is more resistant to common chemicals that reduce rubber life (salt, oil, coolant, etc.).

The outside perimeter of the bushing does not move. The center shaft is slid in after the LCA poly bushings are pressed in. It still takes some force to press the bushing even with the center hole not occupied. So, the extra force pushing out from the center mounting shaft locks the bushing to the arm; think nailess and screwless carpentry, lol. Also, there are lips on the bushing perimeter to prevent it from sliding sideways. The center shaft comes shiny and polished. It has inner radial grooves to help store and distribute the grease for pivoting. It is a nicely engineered bushing.

Every time I read a post that suggests improvements to 3.2 front suspension and handling, I cannot get past the fact that there's no strut tower bracing on this variant. I've come over time to realize that DavidV's adding a brace many years ago had an absolutely logical and sensible reason behind it. My apologies DavidV.

The mounting brackets are there on all models, seems as though that might be a good place to include if one wanted to firm up handling.

Strut tower brace might be something else to toss into the ring for this engine variant if improved performance is desired. Poly LCA will firm up the bottom but I cannot imagine there's not a little flex that's then transmitted to the top.
I would say the strut tow brace is minimal compared to the subframe bushing movement...not to say it wouldn't help. I just would put it at #7 or #8 on the list of things to do to the suspension to improve the handling.

Also, I will try to clarify the "firm" as in a tighter and more direct pivot of the arm. Again, I like to compare it to loose versus tight knees. The looser knees will transmit more force to the lower back and other body parts when landing from a jump, similar to the rubber bushings and cut-outs transferring force laterally into the cabin and not up to the struts (compare to the quadriceps). In regards to the strut brace, for most bumps while going straight, not having a strut brace helps limit the force transfer from one tower to the other, which can limit harshness.

Of course, now that you talked about the strut tower brace, I just might keep an eye out for one to try it out, lol. Thanks a lot. I thought I was nearly done with my suspension. Anyone have an extra strut tower brace?
 

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I too have powerflex in the front position of both Volvos. I hate the sloppy stock design; powerflex selected a good durometer poly, the steering is razor sharp now and there is no more NVH than stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll probably put poly in the arms I take off for the next time I do control arms. Ultimately, "performance" is not high (actually, not even) on my list for the XC90. I'm doing the no compromise, "lazy poshness" stock ride. I've got other cars for when I want a zippy ride. Not to mention, that there are loads of Volvo projects keeping me busy this summer, so the plug and play of IPD's arms is attractive.

As for poly, indeed differing durometers are available. As I may have mentioned above, IPD has a low durometer "cone bushing for 740/940's that's darn near indistinguishable from rubber. On the other hand, a good friend used IPD's subframe inserts and found them harsh. When it comes to poly, NVH is very subjective.

-Ryan
 

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No matter of all this if your engine mounts are old worn nothing will help.
First start from engine mounts. All changing at once not one by one.
If your mechanic told you: ah left one is still good lets change only one
kick him in ass from me. All by one and drive well. Car is like new from 2014
when I placed all new LCA and engine and sub frame bushings and inserts Poly.
Top engine Poly first weeks made vibrations on steering wheel just on engine starting
low rpm or if i very cold outside...as soon engine heat no vibrations :)
 

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After having good original Volvo forward Lower Control Arm bushings, then MeyleHD, then Lemforder, all withing 6 months, I finally went to Powerflex Polyurethane front bushings. Thanks, ChitownV and 377Z for the heads-up on practical experience. The front end is definitely more stable, noise-free, and generally a pleasure. If I ever have to R&R the control arms for another reason, I think I will do the rears in poly, as well. Anyone have poly both front and rear on the front lower control arms? Comments?
 

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That's great news and thank you for the feedback. Your experience is particularly interesting because you have had all the other rubber options (minus iPd).

If you do the rear polys, I am interested in your experience with that too. 377Z said the rears are not good so I did the Volvo rears. Then I see on the one install video I noted in this thread that on full extension, the poly cannot flex enough to stay (fully) in the control arm.

Again, the poly forward lower control arm bushings are by far the best upgrade on the XC90. Powerflex also makes a really good poly bushing and pivot shaft. Do the poly forward bushings, forget it, and enjoy the drive.
 

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Yes, I have gone poly. The best upgrade I have done to date. I just did the forward bushings and the original rubber Volvo rearward bushings as the polys kind of pop out of the rear ones.

This does not give the noise or vibration that one might think. I had another member on the forum test drive my XC90 and he was wondering why people keep on saying poly is harsh. Well, those same people have not used or tried the street version poly bushings on an XC90. Along with the sway bars and Bilstein Touring front struts, the forum member described the ride more like a regular BMW, not the ///M version harsh.
Yessir. That was me, and everything Chi wrote is 100% accurate to my remarks after I was done with the test drive. Bearing in mind that he's running a mixed poly front / rubber rearward set-up, I'm sure even a poly/poly set-up wouldn't add so much undesired harshness as to make the ride unpleasant at any speed on any road surface.

I have a feeling the naysayers have not driven an XC90 on polyurethane and are relying on their experience from having driven vehicles with track or sport spec'd poly bushings, perhaps forgetting that poly bushings can come in several firmness levels that can range from slightly firmer than rubber to extra hard.
 

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After having good original Volvo forward Lower Control Arm bushings, then MeyleHD, then Lemforder, all withing 6 months, I finally went to Powerflex Polyurethane front bushings. Thanks, ChitownV and 377Z for the heads-up on practical experience. The front end is definitely more stable, noise-free, and generally a pleasure. If I ever have to R&R the control arms for another reason, I think I will do the rears in poly, as well. Anyone have poly both front and rear on the front lower control arms? Comments?
Did you buy them direct from Powerflex and did you re-use your old LCAs or buy new ones and have the polys pushed in?
 

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To ChitownV and Shadowdancer, thanks for leading the way.
Maybe the concerns about road noise came from misinformation or conjecture, but we're all here to say there is no reason for that concern. I agree that the poly bushings are the best of all choices, and to reiterate, my original genuine Volvo bushings were in structurally good shape, but I changed them out with MeyleHD forward, and Delphi rears, just to renew the weather-checked bushings and get things tight for new tires. They felt soft and squirrely, so I hung a GoPro under the car and saw that there was extreme deflection at low speed braking on them. I compare that to a video I saw here on Swedespeed where a poster showed the extreme deflection of new cheap control arms. I exchanged the MeyleHD bushings for Lemforder, and didn't notice any real improvement, so I then found ChitownV's comments on the polys in this thread and went for it. In answer to Shadowdancer's question, all bushings were installed in the original control arms. I've gotten to be much better at pressing the bushings in and out than I ever wanted to be with my Harbor Freight hydraulic press and bushing ring set. Naturally, the Harbor Freight bushing ring set doesn't have the exact size bushing drifts to fit. I got a real kick out of the advertising copy for the Powerflex bushings where it says no special tools required, made for the DIY'er, etc. There is no way to install the poly bushings without a press, and even then it's a S.O.B.
For those of you who change original style bushings in the control arms either yourself or take the arms and bushings to a shop, there are specific instructions in VIDA as to how the aft bushings are to be aligned.
 
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