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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2001 Volvo S60 T5, with 406,700km (252,715mi) on all original drivetrain and engine. I bought the car for 500$, and have done a fair bit of work to it. Just off of the top of my head suspension and alignment wise, I have replaced:
  • Rear Shocks: Bilstein B8;s
  • Rear Springs: Heavy Duty Lesjofors
  • Rear Shock Mounts: CUSTOM Solid Rear Shock Mounts (I am selling these parts as a kit, pm if interested)
  • Front Ball Joints: IPD HD Ball Joint
  • Inner+Outer Tie Rod: Volvo OEM
  • Front Struts: SACHS XC70 Struts with Lesjofors HD XC70 Springs
  • Front Control Arrms+Bushings: Delphi Front Control Arms + Powerflex RACE control arm bushings
  • Subframe Spacers: Cross Country Performance 1" Subframe Spacers
  • Tires: Toyo Tires AT3's 265/15/16

I got the new tires in June, and the final part that I installed was the rear shocks in the end of July. Since June, I have had 5 alignments. I have taken it to the dealer, alignment shops and another dealer. All of them, it left the shop in spec, and then a couple weeks later it would be out of alignment again.

The very very very worst that it has been was just last week. I got in the car in the morning and straight was suddenly 45 degrees to the right. When turning right either a sharp right, or going hard right (65km/h+ / 40+mph), it would be nothing, nothing, nothing, then you would feel the car shift to the right, and the car would suddenly turn/veer very sharply to the right. When flooring the car, the steering wheel would have to be kept at 45 degrees to the left to keep the car straight, and then when you would you release the pedal, straight would be back to where it was originally. I went back to the dealer yesterday for ANOTHER alignment, they got it within spec. When driving it back home, it was better but not what it should be. The issue when turning right was still there, but no where near as bad, however a new issue was there, immediately after making a left turn, straight would be 25 degrees to the left, when you applied some pressure to the gas pedal, the car would shift and straight would be in the middle again.

I am starting to think that the reason that my car isn't staying in alignment is because of subframe bushings. If you guys have any suggestions, that would be great!
 

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I assume it usually goes out of alignment in the rear? Welcome to P2. Only way to fix that is adjustable rear toe rods from Silverproject/IPD COMBINED with powerflex rear bushings.

Did you also replace the axles with XC70 ones? They're different. The passenger side will work despite being made for AWD.

What did you disassemble to perform these modifications? Take the rack loose at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I assume it usually goes out of alignment in the rear? Welcome to P2. Only way to fix that is adjustable rear toe rods from Silverproject/IPD COMBINED with powerflex rear bushings.

Did you also replace the axles with XC70 ones? They're different. The passenger side will work despite being made for AWD.

What did you disassemble to perform these modifications? Take the rack loose at all?
I have adjustable IPD rear toe arms in the rear. It seems to me that it is actually going out of alignment in the front almost, I'm not 100% certain though.

The axles are S60 axles, I didn't think that the XC70 axles would honestly be different.

I did have to loosen the rack from the subframe when I installed the spacers, but the subframe was all aligned back up and good to go!
 

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Its probably bump steer you have changed the relationship between the arc of the lower control arm and the arc of the tie rod ends.
 

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What specifically is out of alignment? Compare a printout of it aligned to the before for the next alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Its probably bump steer you have changed the relationship between the arc of the lower control arm and the arc of the tie rod ends.
Like the bump steer on one of the control arms? I know that there are different ones, and the ones that I have on, are black ones.
 

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2005 S60 T5 M66 with 4c
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Is your steering rack spaced off the subframe the same as your subframe is? (Keeping your steering rack in the same position) The slip joints on the steering shaft (that attaches your steering wheel shaft to the steering rack input shaft) are key'd to only go in a certain orientation (the upper joint can only be 180* off and the lower joint can only be attached 1 way), and both are attached at a fixed length with bolts.

Bump steer is what happens if you change the geometry of a car without proper research/engineering. When you hit a bump, the wheel, instead of following a nice constant arc and staying at the correct steering angle input, actually causes some steering angle change to happen. Bump steer is bad unless it is designed correctly for a specific application.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is your steering rack spaced off the subframe the same as your subframe is? (Keeping your steering rack in the same position) The slip joints on the steering shaft (that attaches your steering wheel shaft to the steering rack input shaft) are key'd to only go in a certain orientation (the upper joint can only be 180* off and the lower joint can only be attached 1 way), and both are attached at a fixed length with bolts.

Bump steer is what happens if you change the geometry of a car without proper research/engineering. When you hit a bump, the wheel, instead of following a nice constant arc and staying at the correct steering angle input, actually causes some steering angle change to happen. Bump steer is bad unless it is designed correctly for a specific application.
Thank you for this, I really appreciate it!

I did not space off the steering rack, because I only have the 1" spacers. Once you start going 1.5"+ with the spacers is when you require other spacers for the steering system and NOT APPLICABLE the all wheel drive system.

Are you recommending that I look into making a 1" spacer kit that would lift my steering rack 1" , back to its OEM orignial spot?
 

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2005 S60 T5 M66 with 4c
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I don't think it would be causing your weird alignment shifting issues, but you'll be doing some weird things to the steering shaft angles. If you space the rack off the subframe, it'll change the steering geometry so not sure which would be worse.

Your issue doesn't seem to be alignment related. Whenever you took it in for a new alignment, did they give you before/after numbers? Since it always happens when turning and/or stepping on the gas, I would look to motor mounts, axles, and/or the differential. Other things to look into would be the steering rack/steering shaft/couplers/steering wheel bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't think it would be causing your weird alignment shifting issues, but you'll be doing some weird things to the steering shaft angles. If you space the rack off the subframe, it'll change the steering geometry so not sure which would be worse.

Your issue doesn't seem to be alignment related. Whenever you took it in for a new alignment, did they give you before/after numbers? Since it always happens when turning and/or stepping on the gas, I would look to motor mounts, axles, and/or the differential. Other things to look into would be the steering rack/steering shaft/couplers/steering wheel bearings.
The only reason that I was thinking that it would help bring back steering angles is because the 1" spacers would bring the steering rack to its original position which should for the most part return the steering angles to their normal angles?

IF it is the diff, I will find out within the next couple months, because I currently have a manual swap coming for my S60 T5.
 

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If you space your steering rack back to the OE position, when your car is static and turning, you will not see any steering angle difference caused by the steering rack itself. The steering arms will be longer since your knuckles are dropped lower than OE which will cause some geometry change but not too much. The issues will happen when you're in any non-static sitaution. If the wheel is deflected upwards, say exactly back to where the OE wheel would sit, your steering arm will be longer, thus inducing an extra amount of steering angle due to the constant steering link length. Thus during bounce, you would effectively get more steering angle (bump steer) which should cause the car to not want to turn as easily.

Now this may be negligible but it may not be. There really is no way of knowing unless you measure all of the angles by cycling through the entire suspension travel at different turning angles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you space your steering rack back to the OE position, when your car is static and turning, you will not see any steering angle difference caused by the steering rack itself. The steering arms will be longer since your knuckles are dropped lower than OE which will cause some geometry change but not too much. The issues will happen when you're in any non-static sitaution. If the wheel is deflected upwards, say exactly back to where the OE wheel would sit, your steering arm will be longer, thus inducing an extra amount of steering angle due to the constant steering link length. Thus during bounce, you would effectively get more steering angle (bump steer) which should cause the car to not want to turn as easily.

Now this may be negligible but it may not be. There really is no way of knowing unless you measure all of the angles by cycling through the entire suspension travel at different turning angles.
I do not find the car difficult to steer as in, that there is a lot of resistance and it is hard to steer, I find it difficult to steer because the car is being very upredictable.
 

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that's why I was thinking it's not directly suspension or steering related. When was the last time you changed your engine mounts? (all 4?)
How about the condition of your gearbox/differential? Does it make any weird noises?
What wheels are you running?

Did you get a chance to check your lower steering shaft is bolted correctly? The shaft sits right by the pedals and bolts together with a cam-lobe bolt on the top (into a detent on the shaft), and to the steering rack input shaft, which has to be inserted on all the way and is held in by a bolt that functions like a pin.

Volvo Steering Shaft VOL-3409939

Also, for the lower control arms, did you use the poly bushings for the rear position also? Those poly bushings in the rear do not last long and are not recommended as they do not flex enough, especially when bending the control arm as far down as possible when attaching to the knuckle. Also, since you're control arms are LOWER than OE, will put even more stress on them. The front position is fine, and actually better/easier to use than the OE rubber design.
 

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Sounds like torque steer-bump steer and the extra load applied to a soft mounted subframe all combining for a less than ideal result.
 

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Scottish makes a good point. What subframe bushings are you using? If you just added spacers on top, are they keyed or do they have any provision to center the subframe on the chassis bolting location? There's no way the subframe bolts would be able to properly hold the subframe in place. Did you reuse the subframe bolts/using the same length subframe bolts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Scottish makes a good point. What subframe bushings are you using? If you just added spacers on top, are they keyed or do they have any provision to center the subframe on the chassis bolting location? There's no way the subframe bolts would be able to properly hold the subframe in place. Did you reuse the subframe bolts/using the same length subframe bolts?
when I installed the subframe bolts, I did not reuse the same bolts, I used longer with red loctite on the bolts and tightenened them to spec.
 

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when I installed the subframe bolts, I did not reuse the same bolts, I used longer with red loctite on the bolts and tightenened them to spec.
But it’s on stock bushings?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
But it’s on stock bushings?
It is currently on stock bushings, but I do have the Delrin Poly bushings on their way, which I will be installing once they arrive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
UPDATE:

I had the car on a lift, and noticed that there is gap between the knuckle and the ball joint on the drivers side. I am wondering if this would have something to do with the issues that I am having. Today I will be adjusting it, and bashing it back into place.
 

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That gap definitely won't be a good thing. Did the ball joint back out or was it never seated properly? Original Ball joint or replaced with new?

You can use the bolts to seat it correctly, or slip a correctly sized pipe over it and attach with a C clamp (that's basically what the Volvo special ball joint tool is. An air hammer will probably work also.
 
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