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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the S40's suspension has seen better days. As far as I gather, it's all original, and after ten years and 165,000 miles, it's done for. It's now thunking pretty bad over even small bumps, and all of it needs to be replaced. Front in particular seems to be the major trouble area. The car is my girlfriend's, and at the moment she doesn't have the budget to do a full suspension rebuild. A Volvo enthusiast friend of mine suggested the following for the front as a bare minimum:

  • Control arms assemblies with bushings and ball joints
  • Struts
  • Strut mounts
  • Sway bar end links
I'm hoping I can get some suggestions for parts and retailers and what I should expect to pay. It's a 2006 2.4i, and no sport or dynamic option to the best of my knowledge.

Also, how difficult of an install are we talking? I don't have a ton of experience wrenching - on this car I've done oil, air filters, coolant expansion tank, spark plugs, and pads and rotors. The plugs and the brake job re probably the two most complex jobs I've ever done, and I've never worked with suspension before. Is it feasible that I'd be able to do this job on my own if I set aside a full weekend for it?

Thanks, everyone!
 

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Are you wanting to go aftermarket or OEM?

As far as difficulty goes, I'd say the struts will be the toughest part. You could definitely do all of that in a weekend though. There are write-ups for replacing all of those parts so I'd check those out to give you an idea of what you're getting into.
 

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Hi dwells,

I just recently changed out my front end (LCA's, end links, drive axle and struts(last year)). Makes a huge improvement in the handling and ride of the car. Your list of replacement parts is good. I personally prefer OEM. I know other have used others and have been happy with them.

Save a few bucks and buy from someone other than a stealership. Eurosport tuning has all the parts you want and usually at a good price. There are others, like some of our sponsors and Tasca as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Are you wanting to go aftermarket or OEM?

As far as difficulty goes, I'd say the struts will be the toughest part. You could definitely do all of that in a weekend though. There are write-ups for replacing all of those parts so I'd check those out to give you an idea of what you're getting into.
Looking to go as cheap as possible (without buying junk), so aftermarket. I took a look at the install guides for the control arm and the struts and it didn't look terrible. However, having never done this type of work, it's hard to really get a feel for what I'd be getting into...

Hi dwells,

I just recently changed out my front end (LCA's, end links, drive axle and struts(last year)). Makes a huge improvement in the handling and ride of the car. Your list of replacement parts is good. I personally prefer OEM. I know other have used others and have been happy with them.

Save a few bucks and buy from someone other than a stealership. Eurosport tuning has all the parts you want and usually at a good price. There are others, like some of our sponsors and Tasca as well.
Yep, no way I'd go to a dealer. I've been shopping around online a bit, saw some options at eEuroParts and FCP Euro. I did see that TireRack had Bilstein struts for $95 a side - same price as the generics on eEuro and FCP, but I would imagine they're better quality?

Probably going to aftermarket due to tight budget constraints, but I'll check out Eurosport Tuning like you mentioned.

Thanks, guys!
 

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Never hurts to check ebay for used assemblies pulled from a donor car. I got a great deal on front springs/struts from a C30 a while back for the V50.
 

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So the S40's suspension has seen better days. As far as I gather, it's all original, and after ten years and 165,000 miles, it's done for. It's now thunking pretty bad over even small bumps, and all of it needs to be replaced. Front in particular seems to be the major trouble area. The car is my girlfriend's, and at the moment she doesn't have the budget to do a full suspension rebuild. A Volvo enthusiast friend of mine suggested the following for the front as a bare minimum:

  • Control arms assemblies with bushings and ball joints
  • Struts
  • Strut mounts
  • Sway bar end links
I'm hoping I can get some suggestions for parts and retailers and what I should expect to pay. It's a 2006 2.4i, and no sport or dynamic option to the best of my knowledge.

Also, how difficult of an install are we talking? I don't have a ton of experience wrenching - on this car I've done oil, air filters, coolant expansion tank, spark plugs, and pads and rotors. The plugs and the brake job re probably the two most complex jobs I've ever done, and I've never worked with suspension before. Is it feasible that I'd be able to do this job on my own if I set aside a full weekend for it?

Thanks, everyone!
Go to Rock Auto for everything but the struts - go to Volvo for that.
 

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Go to Rock Auto for everything but the struts - go to Volvo for that.
I have to respectfully disagree.

Factory strut mounts & bearings are high quality & pretty cheap. Plenty of people here have had issues with aftermarket choices.
Rock Auto now has Boge shocks/struts. The old recommendation for budget replacement was KYB. Boge is even cheaper & all my past experience with them on other vehicles has been positive. They are OEM on many euro cars. B4 Bilsteins at $92 are tempting as well though. All about your budget.
End links you could go way cheap & experiment as they are easy to replace. Or, you can go with known good ones such as OEM or Mehle HD.
I lean toward OEM on control arms as well. Most of the good aftermarket ones are within only a few dollars. You know what you are getting with the OEM.
 

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As mentioned above, I recently replaced the LCA's, end links and right side drive axle. I went with OEM LCA's and end links. My indie guy suggested going aftermarket for the right side drive axle. I saved a few hundred by doing so.

Well...two weeks later, there was some spotting on my driveway. I had just had an oil change, so I took it back to them to complain. They pulled the skid plate off and then called me out of the car to go under and have a look. It wasn't the oil pan that was leaking, it was the seal on the aftermarket drive axle. It didn't fit properly.

Back to my indie guy, who said any repairs would be covered. He ordered another axle and it turned out that it too would leak, so we ended up ordering an OEM one and having it installed. I ended up loosing some tranni fluid. I had to drain and replace the tranni fluids (yup, just add more to the bill). My indie guy was really good about the whole thing. He knew he couldn't get me my car back in time for an upcoming road trip, so he rented me a brand new Audi A4 S-Line Quattro (really nice car btw).

This little experience has once again taught me that OEM is a good thing.
 

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Looking to go as cheap as possible (without buying junk), so aftermarket. I took a look at the install guides for the control arm and the struts and it didn't look terrible. However, having never done this type of work, it's hard to really get a feel for what I'd be getting into...


Yep, no way I'd go to a dealer. I've been shopping around online a bit, saw some options at eEuroParts and FCP Euro. I did see that TireRack had Bilstein struts for $95 a side - same price as the generics on eEuro and FCP, but I would imagine they're better quality?

Probably going to aftermarket due to tight budget constraints, but I'll check out Eurosport Tuning like you mentioned.

Thanks, guys!
My advice of your not very confident is find a small shop or a buddy to at least help you out with those hard parts, you don't want get halfway thru tearing the car down and realize you have no idea what's going on. The job is very simple but always depends on the user, tools and workspace.

As for parts if you want dirt cheapest hit up eBay, you get what you pay for but for me ebays always been mint. 🏼


"Embody god... Then go crazy"
 

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FCP Euro has kits that may be of interest. https://www.fcpeuro.com/Volvo-parts/S40/Suspension-Kit?year=2006&e=153&m=1427&page=1
Not sure if this is the cheapest but the prices don't seem too bad.

NOTE: Be careful to order the correct LCA's if they have ball joints included or if ordering ball joints. I believe 2006 was a crossover year where, at some point, Volvo switched to a larger diameter shaft on the ball joint. You need to verify with your VIN.
 

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Install isn't bad on any of these if you have the right tools. Air tools or an electric impact wrench will make your day much shorter. You'll definitely need a torque wrench as well and a set of spring compressors.


Other things to check for clunks are the R side engine mount and the transmission mount. Honestly I'd just replace the transmission mount regardless with the e-focus mount because of the improved feel.

Don't forget to replace bolts that are angle torqued (meaning their torque specs are ft/lbs +degrees)
 

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Having done every suspension component and having put 30k miles on all of it - here's my recommendation: Go with anything that has the best warranty. These P1 suspension components (OEM and aftermarket) seem to fail prematurely. To provide a few data points on aftermarket, specifically: KYB GR2 struts handle well but are stiffer than OEM (which I'm guessing are Sachs); Raybestos professional LCAs are super stiff / good; MOOG strut mounts are mediocre; MOOG end links are excellent but are a pain to install at the rear due to their fastener design / no allen nut.
Generally speaking, pzceilon is right - OEM is hard to beat for ride quality. BUTt I wouldn't let that steer you clear of doing aftermarket parts, especially if it has a good warranty (MOOG).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
FCP Euro has kits that may be of interest. https://www.fcpeuro.com/Volvo-parts/S40/Suspension-Kit?year=2006&e=153&m=1427&page=1
Not sure if this is the cheapest but the prices don't seem too bad.

NOTE: Be careful to order the correct LCA's if they have ball joints included or if ordering ball joints. I believe 2006 was a crossover year where, at some point, Volvo switched to a larger diameter shaft on the ball joint. You need to verify with your VIN.
Yeah, I've noticed that with the 2006s. I think it's one of the earlier ones - the last six digits is the chassis number, right?

Install isn't bad on any of these if you have the right tools. Air tools or an electric impact wrench will make your day much shorter. You'll definitely need a torque wrench as well and a set of spring compressors.


Other things to check for clunks are the R side engine mount and the transmission mount. Honestly I'd just replace the transmission mount regardless with the e-focus mount because of the improved feel.

Don't forget to replace bolts that are angle torqued (meaning their torque specs are ft/lbs +degrees)
I'd read about the engine mount the other day. Unfortunately the guide seems straight forward at first, but then there's a lot of comments after that talking about needing to do things differently to do it right, etc., so that's kind of scaring me off.

Haven't read much about the transmission mounts, I'll look into that. This car's got the 5MT. Also didn't know about angle torque or replacing bolts, guess I need to read up on that as well.

Tool-wise I have a decent set of sockets, wrenches, breaker bar, digital torque adapter, good floor jack, jack stands, etc. I'd rent whatever else I needed.

On a side note, I can't find a consensus on how to get this car up on four jack stands properly and safely. I thought the was you're supposed to do it is find a front central jacking point, jack the car up front, slide in the two jack stands, lower the jack, then repeat the process for the back. However, I can't find truly agreed upon front and rear central jacking points.
 

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As far as I can tell, there isn't a central jacking point in the front. At the front: jack on the lower control arm joint from just behind the front wheel; when appropriate height, place jackstand under the frame rail in the same general location. Repeat on the other side. At the rear: take a 2x4" piece of wood the same general width of flat center piece between the rear control arms, jack the car up on that piece of wood; when appropriate height, place jackstands under the piece of wood on both sides of the jack. :beer:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As far as I can tell, there isn't a central jacking point in the front. At the front: jack on the lower control arm joint from just behind the front wheel; when appropriate height, place jackstand under the frame rail in the same general location. Repeat on the other side. At the rear: take a 2x4" piece of wood the same general width of flat center piece between the rear control arms, jack the car up on that piece of wood; when appropriate height, place jackstands under the piece of wood on both sides of the jack. :beer:
Good stuff, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ultimately wound up going the Rock Auto route and getting Monroe for struts, strut mounts, and rear shocks as well. Saw some positive feedback about their OE Spectrum line and the price was impossible to beat, especially with the lifetime warranty. Figured it was worth a shot at least.

For the control arms I went with Dorman, as I saw some decent feedback about their stuff and that it was at least better than Uro/Pro Parts garbage. Plus, lifetime warranty again gives me some faith it'll last a couple years at least. I forget what brand end links I got, but options were limited to the somewhat more expensive stuff in order to get it at a reasonable shipping cost.

One of my Volvo enthusiast friends is going to take a weekend off from his S70 T5 head rebuild and 18t install to come give me a hand with the suspension install, so I think everything should work out alright.

Fingers crossed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, the job took two days with the help of my experienced friend, but it got done. We hit some serious snags along the way - lots of rust and seized components that took a while to get free. Then it turned out that one of the front coil springs had actually rotted and snapped off a whole coil in there. We had to wind up getting a scrapyard strut assembly to replace it, but that had a stripped screw on top and couldn't be taken apart to get the coil free. Took us two hours of trying everything before we eventually cut through the strut to free the piston and slide it apart to get at the coil.

Everything got installed though (struts, strut mounts, lower control arms, sway bar end links, coil spring, rear shocks) and the car is no longer clunking or making weird noises. Steering is tighter and body roll is drastically reduced. The car feels much, much more planted than it did before. You would hope so given that the old components were ten years old with 165,000 miles on them...

Not sure how I feel about the Monroe OESpectrum stuff so far. They're much firmer than I had anticipated, though performance wise they seem pretty good. We'll see if they soften up or break at all after a few thousand miles.

One issue did pop up though - at highway speeds there's now some vibration in the steering wheel. Not enough that the wheel shakes back and forth, but enough that you can feel it. I'm not sure what it is. I'm hoping it disappears when the car is brought in for an alignment.
 

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I noticed that once I replaced the lower control arms, the ride was almost jarringly stiff - it loosened up after a while.
 
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