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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
R-Design: Ride Quality...part 2 (updated)

Part 1 is here: http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread.php?169983-R-Design-Ride-Quality

The summary of the 29 posts in part 1 is: I was wondering if the RD's ride was too rough before we bought one; bought one because we love everything else about the RD; decided it wasn't horrible but hypothesized on ways it could be better including different tires, tires with a slightly higher profile, softer suspension, etc.

This is the teaser for part 2 (arrived today):



Those are the rear springs and shocks from a non-RD T6 (aka the touring suspension as opposed to the RD "sport" suspension). Starting here and we'll see how it goes. Sports purists might scoff, but hey I daily drive an M5 for Pete's sake!

Unfortunately, it may be a couple of weeks before I get these installed (they were on backorder for a while so I didn't know when they would arrive) since my wife actually needs to use her XC60 - imagine that.

Results forthcoming...(and I can't believe I didn't get past the 90 day mark before I started modding).
 

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Does your R-deign have the 4C adaptive suspension? IOW, are you trying to soften the ride "softer" than the Comfort setting if you do have 4C?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yobyot - that's actually one of my gripes about the RD. 4C is not available on the RD otherwise we would probably have held out for one with it. 4C is only an option on the regular T6. All RDs have the firmer "sport suspension" which may actually be firmer than the firmest setting on 4C (can't really get a solid answer on that). If it weren't for the electronics I might have tried to retrofit a 4C to our car, but it is more than just a couple of shocks and some standalone modules. The end result is I am stuck with the base touring suspension as my only option. If the softer rear springs/shocks compromise roll too much I could offset that with the IPD sway bar that several folks have tried. This is one of the reasons I am starting with the rear (beyond the fact that it feels just as firm as the front - if not firmer - and is easier to deal with than the struts).

Do you happen to have 4C? I see VERY few cars with it as I think dealers view it as a "high performance" option and if someone were to want a performance version they probably figure they will just go for the R-Design (that was certainly true for us).
 

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This is so interesting. I chose the R-design specifically because I couldn't stand the soft ride of the non-R.
 

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This is so interesting. I chose the R-design specifically because I couldn't stand the soft ride of the non-R.
THAT is so interesting! Here in central Texas. many of the residential intersections have 'channels' to allow storm water to drain quickly...think about 1/3 of a 'ditch' running across the intersection where a crosswalk might be. Our '10 T6 is plenty stiff going through those(not uncomfortable, but much firmer than our '07 XC70 ). The C30, for example, will give you reason to slow down when crossing such an intersection...I would imagine the R-series XC would, also. Perhaps things have changed since we purchased from the very first shipment of XC60s back in March '09; but, I don't find the stock suspension soft at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I actually have only mild expectations for improvement on this. We had a 3.2 loaner with the 17" rims (i.e. best case scenario for "comfort" on an XC60 - except for perhaps a 4C set on comfort, but I've never driven one of those), and while it was softer than the RD for sure it wasn't a night and day difference. Like coach says it wasn't Lexus soft by any means. I do expect to lose some taughtness and stability in turns...
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So my wife got back in town yesterday and I decided to go ahead and tackle this job this morning. It took me about 3.5 hours which was twice as long as it should have, but I had to sort of figure it out as I went, etc. As usual with stuff like this, the first side took more than twice as long as the second side since I knew what I was doing by then. Basically, you have 3 bolts on each shock (2 at the top and the big one at the bottom), the stabilizer link nut, and the lower control arm to the knuckle bolt. The scariest part was when my jack slipped a bit when raising the rear of the car (oops)...kids, be leery of doing this work on a slopped driveway like me! I also used a pair of 3 ton jackstands for a nice sturdy base. You basically:

1. Jack up the car and put on jackstands - I used the rear crossmember for the jack location - not it is slick! and put the Jack stands on the jacking location on each side.

2. Loosen top two shock bolts almost all the way, but do not remove entirely (10mm socket)

3. Removed nut on stabilizer bar link (13mm deep socket)

4. Place hydraulic jack beneath control arm - close to tire (note: you may need to remove the tire to get more clearance...I didn't, but it might have been easier).

5. Jack up control arm a few pumps

6. Remove lower shock absorber bolt (18mm socket)

7. Finish unscrewing to the two top shock bolts bolts and remove shock (easiest shock removal ever on this car)

8. Remove lower control arm bolt (15mm socket)

9. You will need to wiggle the bolt and use a combo of pumping the jack (lowering slightly perhaps) to get the bolt to pop free. A pry bar is VERY useful here - get a set of 3 cheap at harbor freight.

10. Slowly lower the hydraulic jack a bit while using the pry bar to free the control arm from the knuckle. it will bind in there so you'll have to persuade it. It will eventually pop free and you can keep lowering the arm.

11. Note teh position of the bump stop plate and spring - take a few pics! Once arm is hanging, the spring will be loose, but you'll probably have to pull the arm down by hand a bit to get it free. It comes out with the orange bump stop and black bump stop holder as a unit (I was wondering how the heck I was going to get the spring over the bumpstop, but it comes out!).

12. Transfer the bump stop holder and bumps stop to the new spring making noting of the positioning. Re-insert it the same way you got it out. Not the top plate's position.

13. Using your hydraulic jack, raise the lower control arm and use your pry bar to get the arm to seat in the slot in the knuckle. The first side took me forever as I was jacking too far out on the arm - got closer to the tire and it worked much better. The bolt slides in easily enough, but getting the other side lined up was a bit of a challenge - took some prying that's all. Do NOT TIGHTEN DOWN - leave a bit loose at this time.

14. Install the new shock (leave all 3 bolts a bit loose) - note: you will have to compress the shock by hand (easy enough) to get the lower bolt started.

15. Install stabilzer nut - leave loose

16. Lower the car

17. Drive it back and forth in your driveway a few feet to settle the suspension a tad.

18. Slide under there (not jack needed) and tighten all of the bolts now that the suspension is compressed.

A few cheesy Blackberry pics:












Obviously, those of you looking to go to a more high performance suspension would follow these same steps, etc.

My wife and I took a lengthy test drive, but the final test will come over the next few days. We drove on the freeway and over our regular work commute. We also drove over some of the bumpier roads where we always notice it and complain. The short summary is:

1. Definitely smoother riding and less impact harshness. I noticed it almost immediately. My wife was riding shotgun and it took more time for her to acknowledge it. Everything just had less edge and we weren't tossed around as much. Frankly, it felt more "normal".

2. Lost some of the "connected" feel to the road - not just in cornering, but all the time. It isn't dramatic, but I am very aware of this type of stuff so I noticed it right off.

3. More roll in long corners and going around turns. Doesn't take a set as quick, or hold it as firmly. Again, not horrible but there is a definite difference.

4. Just bouncing the car by hand right after install showed these springs were much softer - I was actually worried they were so much softer.

5. I measured the spring diameter on a couple of coils (differences were slight at best - not sure if this means anything)
a. Sport vs. Touring Middle coil - 14.96mm vs. 14.76 mm
b. Sport vs. Touring Upper Coil - 15.06 mm vs. 14.84 mm

Ultimately, this ended up better than I expected and (as of the first day) I am pretty pleased with the result. As of right now, I'm not in a hurry to swap out the front struts and springs. I am also not in a hurry to swap in the bigger IPD sway bar to make up for the extra roll. I will update more as the we get more miles under it. This does confirm (for me) my suspicion that the rear of the car is a bit oversprung and damped in the RD). As an FYI, we have 5K miles on the car as of this writing so I didn't get too far before modding!

I would ask if one of you guys could do me a favor and measure the vertical gap between the top of your rear tire and the fender lip (going straight up). At first I thought the gap was too high, but it may be normal (should have measured before I started). I know the springs will settle very slightly over the next few days too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just a quick update after having driven the car this week on our daily commute:

1. No real regrets on this change so far (still think the ride height is somewhat higher, but need some folks to measure to be sure...or maybe I'll start carrying a tape measure and measure one on a parking lot as I come across them - rare though).

2. The handling sharpness trade-off was definitely worth it for us in terms of improved comfort. The fact that this is Volvo's standard suspension as opposed to some random aftermarket setup probably helps.

3. Still don't feel compelled to run out and buy the IPD rear bar, but if I do then I know it is an option.

4. Most of my original comments still apply. The one item I probably miss the most is just turning from a stop where the car just scoots w/o the suspension absorbing any of the wind up. Still, not a big deal in my book.

In many ways, I think we have the best of both worlds for us - all the R-design cosmetics, R-design exclusive color (passion red which we love), R-design power boost, R-design quicker steering rack, plus near regular suspension comfort (still have the RD front suspension and 20" rims).

Later
 

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I noticed a big difference going from stock 17" to lightweight 17" on my car - although not an SUV admittedly.

Glad your springs improved the ride, cheaper than dropping to an inch smaller wheel I Guess! You don't need a car that can handle out in the US like here in Europe - different roads!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I noticed a big difference going from stock 17" to lightweight 17" on my car - although not an SUV admittedly.

Glad your springs improved the ride, cheaper than dropping to an inch smaller wheel I Guess! You don't need a car that can handle out in the US like here in Europe - different roads!
Yep, hoping to experience the same when I replace the Pirellis with the Continental ExtremeContact DWSes...the Pirellis are 34lbs each vs. only 28 lbs for the Contis (that's a huge difference). I think we appreciate the handling here in the US (but definitely have loads of speed limited interstates), but I appreciate this particular trade-off more.
 
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