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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I replaced my 100K mile rear shocks (dampers) with Bilstein B6 no trouble - so easy. The fronts are another story but I knew that going in.

I followed the YouTube video here (minus pulling the hub from the axle) and ended up tearing the lower control arm boot (womp womp). I got the shock out and dis/reassembled fine - and the new control arm in - but I cannot get the steering knuckle hole and control arm ball joint stud to line up, partly/mostly because I cannot force the control arm down enough. This would be a problem regardless of the new control arm or not. I noticed in the video he edited out his control arm struggle.

Any help, guidance, thoughts, or prayers on how to push the control arm lower to get the knuckle into place?

Thanks
 

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Does it not line up because the new control arm ball joint's stud is pointing in towards the car too much? Therefore you feel like you need to push the control arm really far down in order for the ball joint stud to be vertical enough to get into the knuckle hole?

If that is what you are describing, just move the ball joint stud or gently wack it with a hammer to loosen it up. A new ball joint will likely be super stiff and seem like it's solid and unmovable at first.

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I do not know if this would help if you case, but I have seen it being used to get ball joint OUT. But could you use the weight of the suspension so help you get it lined up?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sort of. The ball joint moves around just fine, the problem is more I need to push the control arm further down to get knuckle to move into place. The entire this under tension when assembled.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do not know if this would help if you case, but I have seen it being used to get ball joint OUT.
Unfortunately no. The control arm has so much resistance and I need to be able to push it lower for the knuckle to move to where it should be.
 

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The control arm can move really far down, when I replaced my front shocks I had my mom stand on the knuckle to push the knuckle+control arm down and off the shock. If it is close to lining up and you need just a little more, you have a couple options.

A. Use a car Jack to push the knuckle up, be careful as you can start to lift the car up once the spring starts compressing.

B. Get someone heavier or stronger than you too push the control arm down.

C. Buy the super cheap control arm tool that looks like a hook and allowes you to use a pry bar to pull the control arm down.

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I have replaced control arms and/or MacPherson style struts on several cars (Hondas, Saabs, Audis, Volvos) and can tell you from my experience, this is always a struggle. Every car is a little different and I usually have to get creative with cheater bars/lever arms, and sometimes do some slightly sketchy stuff with the floor jack to partially compress the strut assembly. Sometimes it is easier to disconnect the lower control arm from the subframe and connect the ball joint first, then re-attach the assembly to the subframe. If you do this, just be sure to leave any bushing style mounts a half turn loose and tighten them down when the suspension is weighted and at ride height.

Sometimes you need to just take a step back, think about it, and get creative. Just be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thebobwiley - Thank you. Control arm hook tool looks like the business (or something similar). Jacking the knuckle/shock hasn't been an option as the jack either cheats it one way or another. Looking for someone heavier indeed - they just need petite feet to get in there. :)

budleach - Thank you. Great advice. I've been oozing creative juices but missed the beat that thebobwiley provided of creating a lever to push it down.

Will give it a whirl later today and report back. Thank you!
 

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I hope it works out, really sucks when you get stuck on something and can't even take it somewhere to get help.

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I used a 30 or 36" pry par to push the control arm down and get the arm to line up with the knuckle. It should easily go in. I promise. :)

Also, yes, go ahead and work the ball joint so it's moveable, it will help you line up easier.
 

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I bought a set of these lower control arm tools and this prybar for doing my struts. Problem is, I've had all of the parts in the trunk of my car for the past four years!
 

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I used a 30 or 36" pry par to push the control arm down and get the arm to line up with the knuckle. It should easily go in. I promise. :)

Also, yes, go ahead and work the ball joint so it's moveable, it will help you line up easier.
The handle of my old Walker 2.5 ton jack has a permanent bend from standing on it over the years while replacing struts :eek:
 

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thebobwiley - Thank you. Control arm hook tool looks like the business (or something similar). Jacking the knuckle/shock hasn't been an option as the jack either cheats it one way or another. Looking for someone heavier indeed - they just need petite feet to get in there. :)

budleach - Thank you. Great advice. I've been oozing creative juices but missed the beat that thebobwiley provided of creating a lever to push it down.

Will give it a whirl later today and report back. Thank you!
The handle of my old Walker 2.5 ton jack has a permanent bend from standing on it over the years while replacing struts. I also have a 4' breaker bar :eek:
 

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The handle of my old Walker 2.5 ton jack has a permanent bend from standing on it over the years while replacing struts. I also have a 4' breaker bar :eek:
I have snapped more than 1 breaker bar in half trying to get rusty bolts off. I curb stomped a 6' breaker bar on a suspension bolt on my friends jeep and it snapped in half, came off the bolt head, and smashed my shin. I have always wished I had an impact gun, but I also kind of like the challenge...

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It's a complete pain in the ass in these cars. Volvos are the only cars I've worked on where the struts just don't come in and out when they are unbolted. I say that because even my old 240 was that way. It's probably some type of safety thing to keep them attached to the car in an accident.

When I did my lowering springs I ended up having to unbolt the control arm from the car, however, it is then a bitch to get those back in too.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Took a week off to go bird hunting in SD. Came back and still struggling. I got the LCA leverage bit down but I'm literally .5-.75 inches away from getting the LCA ball joint stud in the steering knuckle. I've nailed it down to two culprits that I can think of.
1 - the new strut bearing isn't aligned correctly. I bought the new version and it's not quite the same. The little channel is in the back but it only has one "nubbin" - the original has two, facing front and back. Looking at the other new one I have the nub should probably point backwards to align with the channel and the fin that slides into the knuckle channel. I originally had it this way but forgot the top rubber to spring isolator and in haste must have bumped it askew (facing forward) in my haste to fix that.
2 - the axle (I'm FWD T5-E) moves in and out of the transmission a bit but as is I can't push it inboard any further to get me that extra fraction of an inch. I cannot imagine it somehow just slipped out of the trans but... with how crappy this been anything seems possible.

More to come.
 

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Maybe someone else can comment on the Axel movement, but as for the "nub" on the strut, it needs to slide into the slot on the knuckle. For mine, the bottom of the strut sits almost flush with the bottom on the knuckle's hole.

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If you can't get it with the strut in the knuckle, you are going to have to take the strut back out, attach the knuckle to the ball joint and then put the strut back in. At least for me, once I figured out the right way to push it down and rotate it forward to get the strut in and out, it was really easy.

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