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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
**Update**
I've discovered the culprit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUawwo9Fhvk

This is Volvo part number 31216198 "Idler Roller" - in the diagram below it is part #2, and costs about $50.
In my case, it was the lower idler that failed. The upper one was still fine and very solid.


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And so begins my adventure of owning a high-mileage European car!

My V8 has 105k miles on it and there are a few noises I'm hearing develop in the car.

1. Creaking/squeaking sounds from front suspension. Sounds like when you're walking over poorly installed carpet and the floorboards are creaking. Happens only when I apply and release the brakes, and the suspension dives and rises slightly.

2. A whirring sound, similar to the sound of a dying power steering pump but much quieter. I had to turn off the radio and open the windows to hear and confirm it. I'm fairly sure it's coming from the belt drive area, but not certain what it could be. Tensioner? Idler? Water pump? Fairly sure it's not the power steering or A/C compressor

Here's a video of the sound from the belt area.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4F6o-qCs3w
 

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Peng, Turn off the ac compressor, when it it cool outside. My XC90 is pulling the same stunt re #2. I switch off the compressor and it is gone. Hopefully this weekend i will have time to connect my gauges and see what is going on. #1, could be sway bars need some lube in their bushings. IPD sells some lube for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I'm fairly sure it's not the A/C compressor or power steering pump - the noise did not change if I cycled the A/C, and it also did not change when I turned the wheel from lock to lock. However; if you do change or service the compressor I would be extremely interested to see your procedure and any photos. Last time I checked the refrigerant with the gauges, they looked a little high but otherwise normal. The A/C cooling capacity on the XC90 has always seemed poor but I've been told the system just isn't that powerful, especially when cooling the interior with black leather in the Texas heat.

I've also been told the valves in the compressor may be failing since sometimes i'll notice it takes a few minutes of driving before the A/C begins to cool, even though the A/C switch has been on the whole time.
 

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I'm fairly sure it's not the A/C compressor or power steering pump - the noise did not change if I cycled the A/C, and it also did not change when I turned the wheel from lock to lock. However; if you do change or service the compressor I would be extremely interested to see your procedure and any photos. Last time I checked the refrigerant with the gauges, they looked a little high but otherwise normal. The A/C cooling capacity on the XC90 has always seemed poor but I've been told the system just isn't that powerful, especially when cooling the interior with black leather in the Texas heat.

I've also been told the valves in the compressor may be failing since sometimes i'll notice it takes a few minutes of driving before the A/C begins to cool, even though the A/C switch has been on the whole time.
Darn, not something simple then. Mine started making "gravel in a corrugated cardboard box" sounds which led to to think I was joining the CB club, but thankfully it was just one of the idler pulleys for the aux belt. I am pretty sure you and I had a discussion about this about 3 months ago, but I think yours was over an alternator install. I have not been terribly impressed with Volvo's ac set up, but they probably do not have a lot of experience with AC in Sweden. Personally I do not know of any vehicle other than a standard cab pickup that drops the temp rapidly in the hot summer sun of the south.
 

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My neighbor's AC system on her 2.5T performs very well ... this being in Georgia heat, but with light colored interior and dark blue exterior. So I wonder if there is something sub-par about yours. Maybe dirty evaporator coil or condensor coil? Dirty cabin fan wheel? Is the radiator fan effective? Have you ever removed the front bumper and had a clean-up behind it? The front bumper is fairly easy to remove ... after you've done it once. May be surprised at the leaves and grass accumulated in there. Of course, refrigerant and oil levels are very important ... not too much or too little.

Compressors do eventually wear out ... but I would expect this unit to last many miles. I have replaced compressors this year on my high-mileage Windstar (350K miles) and daughter's Tracer (275K miles IIRC). You need a high vacuum service pump to do this sort of work properly.

Have you tried running the AC full blast while playing a garden hose water stream onto the radiator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
My neighbor's AC system on her 2.5T performs very well ... this being in Georgia heat, but with light colored interior and dark blue exterior. So I wonder if there is something sub-par about yours. Maybe dirty evaporator coil or condensor coil? Dirty cabin fan wheel? Is the radiator fan effective? Have you ever removed the front bumper and had a clean-up behind it? The front bumper is fairly easy to remove ... after you've done it once. May be surprised at the leaves and grass accumulated in there. Of course, refrigerant and oil levels are very important ... not too much or too little.

Compressors do eventually wear out ... but I would expect this unit to last many miles. I have replaced compressors this year on my high-mileage Windstar (350K miles) and daughter's Tracer (275K miles IIRC). You need a high vacuum service pump to do this sort of work properly.

Have you tried running the AC full blast while playing a garden hose water stream into the radiator?
I am EPA certified to work on A/C, so I just haven't got around to evacuating the system and measuring what came out. The cabin temps did not drop significantly when I sprayed water on the condenser so I'm going to do more debugging inside the cabin. When I got the car at 75k miles, there was no cabin filter so it's also likely that the evaporator is dirty. Already cleaned the condenser - no debris blocking it.

Still worried about the noise in the engine bay though - I'm really hoping it's not the tensioner or water pump, though with 108k miles, it might be time to change the water pump anyway for good measure. It's incredible the tensioner is more expensive than the water pump. Tonight I'm going to pull the old aux belt off and start the engine - make sure it's not the CB shaft, though it's unlikely and i'm 80% sure the noise is coming from the belt drive area and not the cylinder head. Can't run the engine for more than a few seconds though, no water pump if I take the belt off :(
 

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Can't run the engine for more than a few seconds though, no water pump if I take the belt off :(
I do not know if it is better to do such while the car is still warm and the thermostat is likely to be open which should allow more convection than when the engine is cold. You could also try using a mechanics stethoscope on the bolts for the pulleys with the belt on and the the engine running (I used a long extension in place of the stethoscope, not advisable but the best tools are often the ones you have in hand). Just make sure you mind the belt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I do not know if it is better to do such while the car is still warm and the thermostat is likely to be open which should allow more convection than when the engine is cold. You could also try using a mechanics stethoscope on the bolts for the pulleys with the belt on and the the engine running (I used a long extension in place of the stethoscope, not advisable but the best tools are often the ones you have in hand). Just make sure you mind the belt.
I plan on only running for 10 seconds or so, enough for me to start the engine, hop out of the car, listen for a bit, run back in and kill the engine. Shouldn't be enough to let the engine make any significant heat. Good call on the mechanic's stethoscope - I have in my toolbox, now's a good excuse to use it.
 

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I had an BMW 528 (yeah it seems like I am talking about them a lot lately) in which the impeller fell off the water pump. With the engine cold it very quickly (no more than 15 seconds) boiled the water in the water jacket, the radiator cap (same as the expansion tank cap) was off so you may have a few more seconds with it on. We had just bought the car for its body, but the engine was still in it so we spent about an hour trying to see if it would run. It started once it had new plug wires on it, and then about 15 seconds later water was overflowing the expansion tank rapidly, then it stopped flowing sucked all the water out of the expansion tank and repeated. Took a look at the temp gauge and it was going up to about 3/4 of hot and then dropping back down to cool to correspond with the water overflowing. It took us a little while to figure out what was going on. However, once we got it taken care of that same car with the engine took all 3 of my siblings through high school. I am pretty sure I saw it still on the road about 6 months ago. I would have never guessed that the boiling would have happened so quickly. There is not a large amount of water in the blocks now days, with the emission regs like they are they want the engine to get warm as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of unburnt hydrocarbon leaving the tail pipe, so the passages are small and the water pump ensures that there is sufficient convection to keep things from heating too quickly. However without the pump there is little opportunity for natural convection to set up to cool the combustion chamber walls. So be careful if you decide to start it without the belt in place I would hate to hear that you have a cracked head/ blew a head gasket.
 

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Is that with or without the aux belt?
 

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I think when you have the belt off, you will discover the noise maker by turning things by hand.
 

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I think when you have the belt off, you will discover the noise maker by turning things by hand.
Yeah, you should be able to find it by turning with your hand it will feel rough and will give you some noise.
 

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Glad you got it penned down!
 

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Yep, glad you found it .... that prelubricated thingey, that is so similar to the one supporting the CB shaft. Stay alert and you will be OK!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Replaced that idler and the noise went away...for a few days. Now I notice a similar albeit much much quieter noise coming from the car. Confirmed that it's probably my A/C compressor because noise comes and goes when I turn the A/C on and off. Just checked in with the local A/C specialists to see how much they charge for rebuilding the compressor, or for sourcing a rebuilt unit. Of interesting note, the V8 shares the same compressor as the VW Touareg. I'll keep this thread updated!
 

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the creaking could be subframe bolts or bushings....take out the rears (bolts) first grease them re-install then remove the front bolts grease and reinstall....they are either 18mm or 21mm heads on the bolts.....hand thread them a few turns efore reinstalling...DO NOT CROSSTHREAD!
 
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