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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Waiting for some nice weather to take this job on in the driveway. Just going with an OEM replacement.

For those that have done it before, how did you support the engine/subframe?

I’ve got a floor jack and jack stands. So there’s not really room to use a screw jack underneath. I saw a V70 write up where a engine support bar was used. But I have no idea how much the 2.5T engine weighs or whether they make support bars wide enough to safely span the XC90 engine bay.


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I'm guessing you mean this thread? I used the exact same setup on my T6 and it worked great. If I had to do it again I'd consider using 2 bars instead of just one because only using one caused the engine to twist once the subframe was free which made reinstallation a pain in the ass. It's doable though, just be ready with a floor jack and 2x4 piece of wood to put under the oil pan.

Some miscellaneous food for thought:

Use new subframe bolts, don't try and reuse the old ones. They're torque to yield and stretch upon installation. They have a specific torque sequence; make sure you're familiar with it. Now's also a really good opportunity to take care of other things like the subframe bushings and engine mounts. I highly recommend replacing them if you can afford it. They make a huge difference in vibration and ride quality. Just don't cheap out on them. OEM or Lemforder/Hutchinson is the way to go. Control arms and the radiator will also become stupid easy to replace.

You'll need to do something with the struts before dropping the subframe. With the wheels unladen, the struts push the control arms down which creates a ton of tension. I bought two sets of coil compressors, jacked up the arm at the ball joint, and slipped the compressors over the coils.

Good luck and post back with any questions! Overall it wasn't difficult but it was one of the most involved things I did on that car.
 

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https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread.php?155418-Installing-IPD-Sway-Bars-w-o-a-Lift as one example (there are a bunch of write-ups on Swedespeed for the P2s).

Standard installation instructions at the bottom of this page- https://www.ipdusa.com/products/4892/109280-front-rear-anti-sway-bar-kit-xc90 , same basic approach no matter who makes the sway bar.

*See the previous response, better than my links if you're working directly with someone who has done this on the floor. Good luck with your replacement.
 

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There are a few things to think about before you tackle sway bars.

1. ***Since you are in Vermont where there is good winter, first go to a shop to see if the forward 2 bolts will unscrew without breaking. They are usually rusted and frozen. These broke on me when doing inserts and others as well: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread.php?373865-Odd-Issue-with-Subframe-Bolt If you want to help the forward 2 bolts before trying to remove, look into the threaded area from above, drain it of its water and gunk, then spray a good amount of PB Blaster in there several times over a few days. Then I would use heat.
2. Are you upgrading? With all the work that is needed to do this job, it is only worth it with a larger upgrade. If it is a mild upgrade, I would not recommend it.
3. Remove the exhaust after the cat for clearance. New parts you may need include the exhaust gasket, new nuts, etc.
4. If you are planning 4 hours for the front, double it for your first time. Trying to figure things out and making sure things are safe takes time.
5. I did not drop the entire subframe. I used the iPd instructions. I had a 2x6 under the engine. I also used a cheater bar, which might be needed if you don't drop the subframe, so you can leverage/flex the subframe down for clearance.
6. If you do drop the subframe, like was already mentioned, change all the rubber you can. The subframe bushings and engine mounts.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm guessing you mean this thread? I used the exact same setup on my T6 and it worked great. If I had to do it again I'd consider using 2 bars instead of just one because only using one caused the engine to twist once the subframe was free which made reinstallation a pain in the ass. It's doable though, just be ready with a floor jack and 2x4 piece of wood to put under the oil pan.

Some miscellaneous food for thought:

Use new subframe bolts, don't try and reuse the old ones. They're torque to yield and stretch upon installation. They have a specific torque sequence; make sure you're familiar with it. Now's also a really good opportunity to take care of other things like the subframe bushings and engine mounts. I highly recommend replacing them if you can afford it. They make a huge difference in vibration and ride quality. Just don't cheap out on them. OEM or Lemforder/Hutchinson is the way to go. Control arms and the radiator will also become stupid easy to replace.

You'll need to do something with the struts before dropping the subframe. With the wheels unladen, the struts push the control arms down which creates a ton of tension. I bought two sets of coil compressors, jacked up the arm at the ball joint, and slipped the compressors over the coils.

Good luck and post back with any questions! Overall it wasn't difficult but it was one of the most involved things I did on that car.
Yep, that's the write-up I was looking at! Do you know the length of the engine support bar you used? The longest I can find is 59". Will that span the engine bay?

Good idea about the mounts. Looks like they are super easy to get to with the subframe dropped. I'd like to do the subframe bushings too, but will probably hold off due to $$$ for those. Also regarding the tension on the control arms--will using tie-downs on the steering rack as done in the write-up help with this problem?

There are a few things to think about before you tackle sway bars.

1. ***Since you are in Vermont where there is good winter, first go to a shop to see if the forward 2 bolts will unscrew without breaking. They are usually rusted and frozen. These broke on me when doing inserts and others as well: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthread.php?373865-Odd-Issue-with-Subframe-Bolt If you want to help the forward 2 bolts before trying to remove, look into the threaded area from above, drain it of its water and gunk, then spray a good amount of PB Blaster in there several times over a few days. Then I would use heat.
2. Are you upgrading? With all the work that is needed to do this job, it is only worth it with a larger upgrade. If it is a mild upgrade, I would not recommend it.
3. Remove the exhaust after the cat for clearance. New parts you may need include the exhaust gasket, new nuts, etc.
4. If you are planning 4 hours for the front, double it for your first time. Trying to figure things out and making sure things are safe takes time.
5. I did not drop the entire subframe. I used the iPd instructions. I had a 2x6 under the engine. I also used a cheater bar, which might be needed if you don't drop the subframe, so you can leverage/flex the subframe down for clearance.
6. If you do drop the subframe, like was already mentioned, change all the rubber you can. The subframe bushings and engine mounts.

Good Luck!
Ok, I'm going out with the PB Blaster tonight! Broken subframe bolts is right up there with broken manifold bolts in terms of terrible things that can happen during a DIY.
 

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It was this one, so it looks like it's 59" wide. It actually went from one corner of the bay to the other corner, so no problems there. I'm willing to be the engine bay dimensions of that wagon aren't different than the 90 in that respect.

If you end up getting the support bar from HF, don't forget to bring one of those "20% off any one item" coupons with you.

The tension on the control arms is because their bushings are solid and don't swivel. So, unburdened, the control arms will want to stick straight out from the subframe. You can manipulate them up and down but it requires a fair amount of leverage. When you lift the car, the struts extend to full length, pushing the control arms down quite a bit. You want to disconnect them from the struts so as to relieve that tension and leave them unburdened. The straps OP used in the other thread were simply to keep the steering rack properly supported.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was this one, so it looks like it's 59" wide. It actually went from one corner of the bay to the other corner, so no problems there. I'm willing to be the engine bay dimensions of that wagon aren't different than the 90 in that respect.

If you end up getting the support bar from HF, don't forget to bring one of those "20% off any one item" coupons with you.

The tension on the control arms is because their bushings are solid and don't swivel. So, unburdened, the control arms will want to stick straight out from the subframe. You can manipulate them up and down but it requires a fair amount of leverage. When you lift the car, the struts extend to full length, pushing the control arms down quite a bit. You want to disconnect them from the struts so as to relieve that tension and leave them unburdened. The straps OP used in the other thread were simply to keep the steering rack properly supported.
Perfect. Engine bar ordered and with a 20% discount. Thanks for the tip!

Re the control arms and struts, if I do nothing it will just push down on the control arm which in turn will put downward force on the subframe? Presumably making it harder to work with?
 

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Correct. If you don't do anything with the control arms the subframe would basically be spring-loaded and would pop off as soon as you unbolt it. Considering how much it weighs and how much tension is behind it...yeesh. You also run the risk of stripping out the last few threads as the bolts are removed. And I'd consider the task of reinstallation while fighting the spring tension nigh impossible without precision machinery or jigs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Correct. If you don't do anything with the control arms the subframe would basically be spring-loaded and would pop off as soon as you unbolt it. Considering how much it weighs and how much tension is behind it...yeesh. You also run the risk of stripping out the last few threads as the bolts are removed. And I'd consider the task of reinstallation while fighting the spring tension nigh impossible without precision machinery or jigs.
Ok, I'm with you now! Yeah I don't like the idea of a spring-loaded subframe.

I wonder what StealthyS60R did, I didn't see any mention of it in the write-up. I wonder if my floor jack is sufficient to keep it all from springing out. Also I don't intend to disconnect all the motor mounts and subframe bolts at once. So maybe that's enough to keep things in place.

One final question, is it worth replacing the motor mount near the crank pulley? I always knew the front and rear ones were wear items, but wasn't sure about the one on the side.
 

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When I lower the subframe to replace a rack (or sway bar, but I think I've only had to replace one sway bar vs many racks), I support the engine from below with a screw jack and wood block. Obviously, using a lift makes that possible and much easier. The safe way is to use a support brace from above.

When you are ready to lower the subframe, support the front with a Jack and loosen the front bolts almost all the way. Then let the jack down and move it to the rear. Remove the rear bolts all the way and slowly let the jack down.

As mentioned, before doing anything I would make sure the front bolts are able to come out. The driver front one loves to seize in there.
 

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It is worthwhile to replace that side engine mount, but if money is a concern you can skip it for now. It's not at all difficult to replace later. Come to think of it, the front mount could possibly be skipped as well since access isn't horrifying, but I'll let you scope it out and make that call for yourself.
 

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I'll be surprised if the HF engine support bar works with the XC90. I have one, and they are awesome, but they just *barely* reach side to side on a Volvo 740 or 940, which are much narrower than the XC90.

I would love to be incorrect! :)

-Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When I lower the subframe to replace a rack (or sway bar, but I think I've only had to replace one sway bar vs many racks), I support the engine from below with a screw jack and wood block. Obviously, using a lift makes that possible and much easier. The safe way is to use a support brace from above.

When you are ready to lower the subframe, support the front with a Jack and loosen the front bolts almost all the way. Then let the jack down and move it to the rear. Remove the rear bolts all the way and slowly let the jack down.

As mentioned, before doing anything I would make sure the front bolts are able to come out. The driver front one loves to seize in there.
Ok so it’s Sunday evening and I’ve got every thing back together except the head of the drivers front subframe bolt sheared off. I’ve got no extractors and the hardware store is close. Also I disc-located my thumb when putting the motor mount in.

Anyone got any ideas?


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Ok so it’s Sunday evening and I’ve got every thing back together except the head of the drivers front subframe bolt sheared off. I’ve got no extractors and the hardware store is close. Also I disc-located my thumb when putting the motor mount in.

Anyone got any ideas?


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Sorry to hear that. Get as much together with just 3 subframe bolts and limp it to a shop who can get a commercial quality extractor (like from Snap-on) and use an oxy-acetylene torch. This is not for the faint of heart and they might need to drop the subframe again to get to the broken bolt. It will cost you.

The warnings were there and this is why I never suggest to remove those forward bolts unless you are committed to doing the iPd swaybars. Not worth the time or money to just do a mild upgrade.

Hopefully, your thumb will be okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, so you're saying I screwed the pooch here.

The thumb is on ice. Check.

So is it not worth trying to use a hardware store level extractor? If I take it to a shop, are they going to have to destroy the subframe bushing, in which case I should make sure its a Volvo shop that has spare bushings?

I didn't remove the forward bolts, just loosened theme a couple of turns to create a large gap in the rear. The driver's one sheared off upon re-tightening. Arg. AS for the sway bar, it was very much needed. The bar was sliding from side to side with weight shift. So you would get the normal clunk plus as clank as it slid.
 

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If the head was going to break with a few turns, it would have broken off in a shop. It probably wasn't loosened, just the bolt twisted. Those are really big bolts and if it is fused so much as to where the head breaks off, then it will take both a stronger extractor and a lot of heat. If they drop the subframe, then the bushings will be clear from the torch. They might need to drop it to get the torch directed at the right spots.

This is a time where it is a necessary evil to go to the shop and there wasn't anything else you could have done to prevent it. The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself more where it costs more in medical costs and personal mobility. This is coming from someone who severed a hand tendon working on a vehicle 13 years ago. Two surgeries and months of occupational therapy later, I tell everyone I know to be safe. Wear the nitril style gloves all the time and add the shop/mechanic gloves when there is a risk of cutting oneself or brute force is needed.

If a shop does the work by dropping the subframe, get subframe bushings ready for them. Also, they can put just a little anti-seize on new forward bolts. They will not loosen once tightened, but it should help if the bolts need to be loosened or removed at a later date. At this time it just might be a good idea to drop the subframe and replace all bolts. Who knows if the passenger side forward bolt is a little twisted too.

If anyone reads this in the future and is thinking about loosening those forward subframe bolts, over soak the threads with PB blaster for over a week. Also, if possible, use heat, like a plumbers torch or a shop's oxy-acetylene torch.

Be safe and sorry for your dilemma.
 

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And use new bolts. Don't loosen or remove a subframe bolt unless you're ready to replace it for exactly this reason. These are torque to yield bolts and as such they stretch. They're only designed to stretch once. Buy them from FCP and you'll only have to buy them once ;)

Sorry to hear about the pickle you're in and your thumb! Sounds like a good story if/when you're ready to tell it. No pictures, though :p
 
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