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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another weekend project to replace the upper spring seats and bearings. I was getting some looseness in the suspension and there was some knocking noises so I assumed it was time to replace those items.

Parts:
IPD HD Upper Spring Seat (2x)
OEM Febi upper strut mount bearings (2x)
OEM strut top washer (2x)

The process was actually very easy and took about 2 hours for both sides. To get the strut out of the vehicle, it's as simple as undo the 2 main strut collar bolts and the 3 upper strut mount bolts and the whole thing pops right out. Compress the spring, remove the strut bolt, top washer, top nut and the spring seat and reinstall new parts.
I did used a Torx T45 bit to insert at the top of the strut to remove the strut mounting bolt so this wouldn't be a bad thing to have in addition to the usual sockets.

I was surprised when I saw the parts out and inspected them that they DIDN'T seem to be damaged or worn. Even the upper spring seat looked intact and I did not see any visible tears. Even the upper strut bearings seemed to be fine as they turned smoothly. I was beginning to doubt whether this project was even necessary....after I buttoned everything back up I took it for a test drive.

Even as I pulled out of the driveway going over the small lip onto the road I could feel a difference. As soon as I drove further down the road, I could feel the responsiveness and tightness to the suspension was back. The knocking was gone and the whole suspension felt solid and like new again. Went down a bumpy road and it was beautiful.

So it was 100% worth it and i'm very happy the XC90 is feeling great again. It was interesting to know that even with no visible signs of damage or wear, obviously after 100K there was enough play in the various pieces that degraded the ride and performance of the vehicle and replacing those parts were totally necessary.

pics:
new parts


Loosen upper bearing bolts


Remove lower strut collar bolts



Strut out


Crusty old bearing


Compress spring and remove


New parts installed


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I'm @ 115k and noticed the same symptoms. Just ordered the parts to do this and your write-up will make quick work of it. Thanks very much for posting !
 

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This was a great write-up, thanks for posting the instructions. It took me about 3.5 hours, total, to do both sides. An impact wrench really helped things move along.

The OP did not mention how to remove the securing nut for the shock absorber (the one that actually holds the spring mount in place). I purchased the Volvo tool from Automotive Specialty Tools for about $45. The tool part number is V999 5469.

For the top nut I used a 21mm crowsfoot wrench and a Torx bit socket as a counter-hold.

I used Febi-Bilstein strut mounts ($19/each) and bearings ($65/each) that I bought from http://www.rmeuropean.com/. The strut mounts were made in China and and the bearings were made in Germany.

My wife noticed how "tight" the car felt even on a very short test drive. It was very much worth the time and effort to do the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The OP did not mention how to remove the securing nut for the shock absorber (the one that actually holds the spring mount in place). I purchased the Volvo tool from Automotive Specialty Tools for about $45. The tool part number is V999 5469.
For me I just used large channel pliers to grip the securing nut and inserted a hex wrench to hold the strut shaft from spinning when loosening the securing nut. It's not on that tight (maybe 30ft/lbs max)
 

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reviving this old thread. I did this job a couple days ago and it took me a lot longer than 2 hours... The main problem I had was the cheapo harbor freight spring compressors (a/k/a suicide sticks) I had were not up to the job. They had worked fine on other cars I have worked on but the xc90 springs are so thick and stiff they could not compress them enough (one seized up). I bought much beefier compressors at pep boys and they worked much better. It is still scary working with these things. I would not cheap out on the spring compressors.

a few points I would add -
1. If i had to do it again I would buy new bump stops and bellows. Mine looked pretty worn and they can't be that expensive but it was too late to buy them once I had everything out.
2. there is a plastic bracket on the strut body that holds the ABS wire. My new struts (Sachs) didn't have it so I transferred it from the old struts. It is held on with 2 nubs, one broke on one side so I used a zip to to hold it on better. You can probably buy these brackets for couple bucks and I would probably get new ones next time.
3. If you are thinking of doing control arms/ball joints, a lot of the work is the same (removing wheels, unbolting strut). I had already done control arms, ball joints and sway bar mounts a year or 2 ago.
4. as a previous poster mentioned there is a cross shaped nut below the big rubber covered washer. there is a special volvo tool but I just used pliers to turn the cross thing. I have done struts on a few other cars and they had strut, strut top, hex nut. Volvo has strut, strut top, cross nut, washer, hex nut.
5. make damn sure all the tension is off the cross and hex nut before you remove them. Years ago I had a spring fly 30' fortunately away from me when I removed the top nut. I thought all the tension was out but I was wrong. I have also seen youtube videos of guys talking about the compressor slipping and the spring shooting off and scaring the crap out of them. The compressors I got have pins that try to keep it from slipping off. the cheap harbor freight ones didn't.

My car just hit 100k miles so that is why I renewed the struts. Car does not feel as tight as I'd hoped afterwards, still hear some rattling. I think I may do motor mounts in a few months to try to deal with that. I am also going to do the tie rods ends (already ordered).
 
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