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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I am new to this forum as I new to Volvo ownership.
I have a 2007 Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD; has 212,000kms on it. It's a family work horse; 2 adults, 4 kids all the time basically. The kids have nicknamed him Sven
We love this SUV; but it's been a big pain lately and I've only owned it for about 8 months.
It developed a constant shake at highway speeds about 3 months ago. Assuming usual bad balance or something I took it in. Had a balancing done to all the tires. It didn't go away. Left it with my mechanic for a few days and we changed a lot of things.

Over-all I have done the following within the last 3 months:
Front & rear brake rotors and pads {premium parts}
Both rear wheel bearings
4 new matching General tires
Replaced the rear driveshaft
{New smaller CATs and flex pipes assembly replaced but not relate to the shake but they broke when it was removed for the driveshaft}
Both rear shocks are brand new Sachs brand shocks too.

It's a low shake in my seat. My kids or rear seat passengers only notice it when I go over 120kmh but I still feel it above 90kmh. I am just tired of throwing money at it and things not getting fixed. All the bushings and the like looks good. There are no squeaks or rattles anywhere either; everything seems tight. My mechanic said it may have a slight hum in the rear differential but it's very slight and not worth taking it out to replace it with another used one especially. I am thinking maybe the rear CV joints/axles is my last idea?

Has anyone had this issue or something similar or any ideas? Thank you in advance :)
 

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I too had freeway shaking. I started with easy stuff like tire balancing and wheel alignment, but the shaking persisted. This is a heavy car and suspension bits need replacing.

I started with new struts/mounts/bearings. That helped a lot and the drive was instantly smoother, but a freeway shake still existed, but not as severe. I then had the lower control arms and ball joints replaced, that good rid of the shaking altogether. Mechanic said the old bits looked ok, but looks can be deceiving.
 

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Check over the control arm bushings and ball joints carefully as well as the tie rods. Lift up the car and shake around each wheel (make sure it's supported well on jack stands) to check for any play. It's very likely that the suspension components are worn out and causing this shake. I recently redid the whole front end (tie rods, control arms, ball joints, struts, mounts, spring seats, bump stops, etc.) on our V8 because the steering lost feel while braking. This was probably just because of the tie rods, but I don't like replacing just one part when everything has 12 years and 150k+ miles of wear, plus the control arm bushings were totally shot.
 

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The first time I did my rear rotors I did not adjust the parking brake correctly which allowed them to rub slightly. At highway speeds the rotor (my left side) would heat up and cause a vibration. I would check the rear rotors and see if one is hotter to the touch than the other. The vibration would come on just over 65mph just like an out of balance tire.
 

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All the suggestions from those here are all good ones. It could be any of the front components contributing to the vibrations if those front components have never been changed. Another area that could be causing this are the engine mounts.

However, since you say you feel it above 90kph (~55mph), this is around the frequency where components connecting to the wheels give the vibration. Closer inspection to the rear axles might help as well as good inspection of all the suspension bushings. Changing the rear diff fluid and the rear Haldex fluid/filter may help (it might not as well, but is a good idea to change).

Just to clarify, the center driveshaft has two pieces with a center bearing. Was the entire unit changed with a new one? Or were the CV joints just changed? If not the entire unit, the center bearing or u-joints could still be bad. However, this usually can be felt under 90kph.

Another question, do you feel any vibration through the steering wheel? Any clicking from the front or rear when turning or going over bumps?

Last question, so this all started with a bad shake (from the rear?). Now it is just a slight vibration felt above 90kph? Correct? So, it has been improving with the change in parts?
 

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Mechanic said the old bits looked ok, but looks can be deceiving.
Just a note on lower control arms: I had mine twice blessed as "good" and chewed up two sets of tires in 45k miles before someone poked their head under and watched them moving around as I rocked the steering wheel back and forth. So far my new tires show signs of lasting a lot longer than the last two sets did.
 

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The design of the P2 control arms causes them to wear pretty fast. The bushings may look okay, but they probably aren't unless you know they were changed not too long ago, or if there are no tire wear/noise/handling issues. The size/weight of the XC90 just makes it harder on these bushings, so I wouldn't rule out the control arms as an issue until you KNOW they're good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone!
I will check all that out.

To clarify the entire middle driveshaft was replaced as well. I do want to change it's fluids but since my mechanic isn't a Volvo specialist he doesn't seem excited to do it. The shake has gotten better then it was but its there and its annoying.

I did have an issue with the parking brake hardware kit breaking not long ago too so maybe that's out of wack.

I appreciate all the response!
I will keep you posted as to what solves it
 

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On the S60 people recommend Lemforder control arms. But Volvo also sells the bushings separately, if a garage can press them in: a better and more durable option

To see the condition, just lift a wheel then turn to full lock and look at the rear bushing - when it's stretched like this it will show immediately the condition. It's mostly the one with the vertical bolt that goes first bad

I also have another suggestion. Since you mention the vibration in the seats, this usually point to rear wheels unbalance. I believe front drive train unbalance - be it from control arm or wheels, would also cause the steering wheel to shake. Maybe also look at the rear suspension bushings.

Final thought, I have a floor and steering wheel vibration that I'm chasing for a while. Last items on my list are front drive shafts and transmission carrier bearing to the front drive shafts. I know my left driveshaft has play where it goes into the transmission. As for the driveshaft itself, it can develop vibrations - but especially chinese replacement ones are usually faulty. Good to see if a previous owner (if any) had them replaced - the genuine ones have very thick Oeticker clamps on the gaiters
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just an update. I appreciate the replies!
Sadly my mechanic is injured so repairs are on hold. Nobody else in my area i can find that is comfortable with Volvo minus the dealership.

Once he back then i will keep digging to fix our Sven.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi again
Got it all sorted out. Turns out the rear wheel bearings were wrong. They were 2mm too small causing my tires to roll wrong. 2 more rear wheel bearings and Sven is smooth as ever
 

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Thanks for the update. So it was something connected to the wheels with the 90kph (~55mph) vibration. I used to feel this type of vibration when people bolted new wheels on their cars, but the center bore of the wheel was too large by millimeters, thus a thin spacer was needed. Bolt spacing was right, but different years of the auto manufacturer used different sized bearing hubs.

Glad you were able to figure it out.
 
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