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I've had a lot of front end work done in the past 4 months; new struts/seats/bearings, lower control arm and ball joints. When I had a shop install the struts, they also performed an alignment. The mechanic said the car will come out of alignment again because the camber bolts are worn. I didn't think the XC had a camber adjustment, so I just blew him off.

2 weeks later, another shop installed the lower control arms and ball joints; this time Firestone performed the alignment. I have a lifetime agreement with Firestone and have performed nearly all the alignments to the car. Never once have they mentioned a worn camber bolt.

So my question is, why is my car losing alignment...worn tie rods? Or is the first mechanic correct about camber bolts.
 

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The two bolts that hold the struts to the steering knuckle hold the camber of the wheel. They are not camber adjustment bolts per se, but the bottom one is kind of the pivot and the top one locks in the camber angle.

* one of the two XC90's I changed struts on would not hold the camber with the old bolts.

Volvo says to measure the distance between the back of the strut tube to the top front of the knuckle where the bolts pass through with calipers to retain the camber when work involves detaching the strut from the knuckle.
I used these bolts because they are cheaper and I was doing two XC90's, so 8 bolts. The thread length is the same, they just don't have the taper at the tip; they work fine for me:
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo-flange-screw-steering-s60-982870
this is the correct lock nut: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo-flange-lock-nut-985660
This is the correct, but more expensive bolt: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo-strut-mount-flange-screw-m14-982869 (these actually have the taper)

By the way, the control arms need new bolts when they are changed; at least that's what the anecdotal evidence shows.
 

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Or maybe you answered your own question and it was the control arms that was making it difficult to align. When they make an adjustment, the looseness of the bushings didn't keep the alignment while reading and would float. I have seen that happen when I tried to align with bad bushings. It gets frustrating because it seems like breathing on it would sway the alignment when adjusting, but the culprit was worn suspension pivot points. Perhaps the 1st shop was just giving an excuse because those types of adjustable bolts are seen on other vehicles.

Once the new control arms and ball joints were replaced, it may be easier to keep alignment when adjusting on the alignment rack/lift.
 
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