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Hi

I need to replace the front struts on my 2007 XC90 which my daughter uses to drive to and back from work.

So far I can see the following online:

Sachs $105
Bilstein B4 Touring $140
Koni $270
Bilstein HD $325

A wide range.

Is there that much a difference in performance between them?

Any practical experience with any of these?

Thanks

Alex






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For your daughter, my assumption is you would like a stock ride and performance. Then go with Sachs. Bilstein B4 is firmer and the Bilstein HDs are much firmer.

Just remember to replace the other hardware such as the spring seats and strut mounts. I believe the Sachs comes with new lower spring insulators (call/email to confirm before ordering), but they should be replaced as well. The strut boot and bump stop can be swapped over.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo-strut-kit-front-6-piece-xc90-kit-p2xc90strtkt2p6 Main parts that need to be replaced
https://www.volvopartswebstore.com/...2l-6-cylinder/Insulator/1146188/31200486.html If needed
 

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My 2005 XC90 2.5T with 120K drive like a boat, so I am "in the same boat"....

I have not done the strut on the XC90 yet, but in the 1998 S70, the Bilstein B4 is about 5-10% firmer than Sachs.
I highly recommend Bilstein B4.
The Bilstein B6, from reading in different forums, are very stiff and may "break your back" even with minor potholes.

I plan to do the whole thing soon and do a little DIY for forum:
- Bilstein B4 struts + new seat + bearing
- Volvo OEM control arms + new Lemforder ball joints.
- New Inner and Outer Tie rods, end links, basically refrsh the entire front end.

This is b/c I don't ever want to do suspension work twice.
 

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I am in the same boat and currently thinking of Bilstein B4 to replace my front struts. Very interested in some feedback.
 

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I wouldn't recommend Bilstein B6/HD struts for the front unless you have very smooth roads. They're great on the highway but on the harsh side with rougher roads.

I went from OE Sachs to HEICO B6 Bilsteins and now back to B4 Touring Bilsteins.
 

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Just out of curiosity, are there any struts that are more comfortable than the OE? I'd like to go more in the direction of a RangeRover, not a Porsche Cayenne... Does anyone know, if such things are even available? Or do the Bilsteins make it more comfortable AND more firm to drive?
 

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If you look behind the passenger side B-pillar, black label, and post the 12 alphanumeric characters in the lower left hand corner (right below Made in Sweden), we can see what you have on the car now.

There are a few combinations of spring, sway, strut and strut bumpstop delivered in this vehicle over the years. Entirely possible you can swap out another OE front setup and make it ride more soft, above and beyond any aftermarket options but let's see what's on it first.

Same goes for the OP, let's see what you have on your '07.
 

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I am in the same boat and currently thinking of Bilstein B4 to replace my front struts. Very interested in some feedback.
Depends on which XC90 of yours as well as what kind of ride and performance you want.
 

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35,000 miles ago I would have said go B4. Now I say otherwise. I have the 4C systemin my S80. The 4C shocks suck! I like more feedback so I went with the B4 in my S80. Bilstein says the shock is supposed to leak some oil. I have a slight leak in one strut and what I believe is an unrelated noise when it is hot outside. I had the dealer look at it twice, most recently two weeks ago.

The tech didn't look for the noise which was the reason I brought it in. The video says in addition to what we told you last year your tires are wearing on the inside. Thanks for nothing. Tires wore on the inside before the last alignment. Winter tires are wearing even.

I would go with the Sachs on the XC90 and will probably do them on the S80 when the noise bothers me enough. The shock in the S80 isn't bad (dealer doesn't want to read what Bilstein wrote. Easier to say replace both shocks for about $2,500 with 4Cs I don't want), but if I am going to replace them it wont be just the shock, it will be all the hardware around the strut.
 

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This is a general guide to what may be suitable based on the springs and sway bars on the XC90. This does not include all the factors, like if you are 5 passenger versus 7 passenger, which tire/wheel combination is on, or the longevity of the struts/shocks. I hope it helps as a starting point and then you can make the decision after. Tire selection plays an important role in planning/blue-printing your suspension as it is the first point of work when going over uneven pavement and lateral/yaw behavior.

Also, remember these options are for the best fit, not exact rates of stock Volvo. All of them might seem harsh at first because we get used to the old worn struts over time, but the real test is how it feels 10k miles and so on and what is the drop off rate of the performance over time. Like a cell phone battery, might be great the first month, but I am more interested in how it holds charge month 2 to 24.

Use it or don't, but it's a starting point. Hope it helps.


Model (suspension)SachsBilstein B4 TouringBilstein B6 HD
2.5t
Stock ride

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firmer ride, yet will still nose dive and sway due to springs

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Too harsh

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2.5t Sport
Might be good match

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Good match

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Too harsh

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3.2
Stock ride

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firmer ride, yet will still nose dive and sway due to springs

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Too harsh

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3.2 RD/Sport
Might be good match

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Good match

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Too harsh

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4.4
Might be a little under damped (compression) for the 4.4 weight

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firmer ride, yet will still nose dive and sway due to springs

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Too harsh

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4.4 RD/Sport
Not a good match

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Good match

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Too harsh

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Notes
Probably designed for the 2.5t weight; ride height the same; good overall match to the factory non-sport/RD springs

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Not for shorter springs; may feel harsh at first, especially when comparing to old worn struts, but have good firmer feel after ~10-15k miles; longer extension & compression height by ~10mm; ride height the same; may help with towing or if you constantly carry 7 passengers; does not come with lower spring insulator

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Not for shorter springs; ride height the same; might be suitable if you plan on having heavy wheel/tire combination; if you tow a lot but do not have rear Nivomats (self-leveling); does not come with lower spring insulator

<tbody>
</tbody>

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Depends on which XC90 of yours as well as what kind of ride and performance you want.
I have 2007 v8 Sport


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Would be nice to hear of some impressions from anyone with B6's, I've heard their firmness varies based on application.
 

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If you look in the squirrelly places on the internet, you can find Koni FSD's for the XC90. They're really nice on the Wife's Fiat.... the temptation to get a set for the XC90 is there, but I've no reason to tighten up the ride on mine. There are other cars in the driveway for that.

-Ryan
 

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I went with the Bilstein HD's up front. They completely eliminated the floatiness of the ride and improved the handling precision. You do feel the sharp bumps more, but it was a good tradeoff for me. If you like the original ride these are probably not the right option.
 

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If you look in the squirrelly places on the internet, you can find Koni FSD's for the XC90. They're really nice on the Wife's Fiat.... the temptation to get a set for the XC90 is there, but I've no reason to tighten up the ride on mine. There are other cars in the driveway for that.

-Ryan
The updated version of the FSDs are the Special Active now. If someone is interested in trying these I wonder how they perform with the different weights, from the 2.5t to the 4.4. Also, I wonder how it would handle a bump or dip on an offramp when the vehicle is already loaded. My concern is if this type of scenario would make an unpredictable change in handling. Viva has them for a good price if anyone is willing to try them out: https://www.vivaperformance.com/koni-special-active-front-struts-volvo-xc90-i/

What I like about the Bilstein B4 Touring struts is having better control all the time. Just yesterday I had to drive through heavy crosswinds and with the XC90 being higher up and top heavy, I can only guess the Konis would not handle this type of situation as well or predictable as the Bilsteins.
 

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The updated version of the FSDs are the Special Active now. If someone is interested in trying these I wonder how they perform with the different weights, from the 2.5t to the 4.4. Also, I wonder how it would handle a bump or dip on an offramp when the vehicle is already loaded. My concern is if this type of scenario would make an unpredictable change in handling. Viva has them for a good price if anyone is willing to try them out: https://www.vivaperformance.com/koni-special-active-front-struts-volvo-xc90-i/

What I like about the Bilstein B4 Touring struts is having better control all the time. Just yesterday I had to drive through heavy crosswinds and with the XC90 being higher up and top heavy, I can only guess the Konis would not handle this type of situation as well or predictable as the Bilsteins.
Interesting. Thanks for the heads up on the Koni's. The FSD's are/were magical. My wife has the "big" Fiat, the 500X (still is dwarfed by the XC90), entry-level with the little turbo motor and 6-spd manual transmission. These came from the factory with FSD's. Ride quality and handling are quite amazing.

If the XC90 was my only car, I'd probably spring for the Koni's. I have the 945 set up for spirited driving.

-Ryan
 

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Would be nice to hear of some impressions from anyone with B6's, I've heard their firmness varies based on application.
Sorry for the late comment.

I fitted Bilstein B6 with OE springs to our Gen 1 Tiguan. Drove it, quickly, weekly on dirt roads.

Now damping is entirely personal. Me, I despise soft floaty under damped suspension but know over damping too. I'm fussy about my suspension...

Other car is a Mk3 Focus RS Ford. Dual mode dampers. Stiff is useless - harsh, jiggly and costs grip. Ford did a recal of damping mid model life, and by circumstance I've had the original and update. They softened compression and added a bit of rebound. I was intending to replace the dampers but no longer feel desperate. Far from great, but tolerable. Ford tuned to help the car rotate and have the rear a bit high and stiff to make it 'loose'.

I ride dirt bikes - enduro not motocross. And have quite reasonable experience tuning suspension damping, under advise of real experts. 'Good' suspension is essential for confidence.

My 2020 XC60 T6 R Design on Sports Chassis, for both my wife & I, is under damped in compressing (bump) & more so in rebound (droop). And it's new so has the most damping 'power' it will ever have and is only going to soften.

We almost didn't choose the Volvo because there were no Sport Chassis examples within 300km to test drive and was reviewed as 'harsh' in the media. While the generally recommended air suspension, for us, was waaaay to aloof. Very comfortable but disconnected. Many like this. We didn't. I was very keen for the height adjustability for snow clearance and ease of un-bogging. I gave this advantage up.

My sister has an XC60-T8 Polestar on Ohlins. She drives it too 'stiff'. I've played with the adjustable settings. If I had the cash, this is the damper. Without doubt.

But Bilstein B6, if you like a controlled ride, tremendous grip and great bigger hit resilience - they retain proper road car wheel travel. These will impress. They are not harsh but you do feel the road.

I hope, come 30-50,000km, Bilstein have released a B6 for our XC60, assuming I last that long. In the mean time I'll keep an eye out for a wreaked Polestar looking to give up it's Ohlins.
 
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