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Squeaky dash - solution

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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Squeaky dash - solution

Postby yankinwaoz » 28 Nov 2007, 00:55

Greetings all.

My Volvo mechanic gave me an easy solution to my squeaky dashboard problem. I just did it (took about 1 hour), and it seems to have solved the problem. I'll post an update next week to see how long term this is.

This is for a 1999 Volvo V70. I think it should work for other models too.

The problem was a loud and annoying squeak coming from the dash on the passenger side. Sometimes it would go away. But then I would hit a bump and it would come back. I tried removing the glove box... no luck. It sounded like two pieces of plastic rubbing against each other. Similar to how a balloon sounds when you rub it. Very irritating!

He told me to tighten up 4 bolts on the firewall. He said that he would bet that I could get a 1/2 turn on each. These bolts hold the dash frame inside the cabin. I ended up getting 2 whole turns. Here is the procedure.

(1) Remove the wiper arms:
(1.1) Use a Sharpy or something to washable and mark where the wiper arms are. Just run it along the blade. This is so later you can put the arms back exactly where they came from.
(1.2) Remove the caps covering the nut on the wiper arms. There is a small notch on the arm. You can stick a small screwdriver blade in the notch and pop the cap off.
(1.3) Unbolt the wiper arms with a socket wrench.
(1.4) Remove the wiper arms.

(2) Remove the cowl over the wiper assembly:
(2.1) There are 5 torx screws holding the black plastic cowl over the wiper motor system. Remove them.
(2.2) Remove the long rubber trim on the top of the cowl
(2.3) Remove the short rubber trim around the fuse box.
(2.4) Remove the lid of the fuse box. There are 4 torx screws hold this down. You need to remove it to make room to slide the cowl back from the windshield.
(2.5) Unclip the the two rubber water drain hoses from the cowl. There is one on each side of the car.
(2.6) Carefully slide the cowl towards the front of the car. Just a few mm will do it, until it is no longer under the windscreen rail.
(2.7) Lift the cowl out and away.

(3) Unbolt the wiper assembly:
(3.1) At this point you will have access to the bay that contains the wiper system. On the right side there is a black box with a paper filter. That is the cabin air filter.
(3.2) You need to loosen up the wiper assembly in order to get to two of the bolts that need to be tightened. There are two bolts that need to be removed. One is on the edge of the wiper bar and goes into the vertical wall. The other is on a horizontal surface on the center of the car. Remove these bolts.
(3.3) Loosen the wire harness. There is a wire bundle that goes to the fuse box the also goes over the wiper assembly system, right at the center bolt that you removed. You have to open up that clips that hold the bundle down so you can move the wires out of the way.

(4) Tighten up the 4 bolts.
(4.1) At this point you should be able to move the wiper assembly aside enough for a socket wrench to get a clean shot at two of the bolts.
(4.2) Tighten down the 4 bolts with a socket wrench. They are on the vertical wall separating the motor bay and the cabin. They are really easy to spot since they are the only bolts in the area. I was able to get two full turns on all 4 of my bolts.

(5) Clean up the dirt and leaves.
(5.1) While I had that cavity opened up under the cowl, I took the opportunity to clean it out. There was dirt and leaves in there, which I vacuumed out.
(5.2) I took out the paper air filter and washed it. It was filthy. I should replace it, but I don't have a job or money right now. So I sprayed it off real good with a high pressure hose. A lot of dirt came out of it, and leaves and other plant life too.
(5.3) I also hosed off the cowl and cleared out the drain holes. They were caked with dirt and mud.

(6) Then reverse the process to put it all back together.
(6.1) Don't put the wiper arm caps back on until you have closed the hood and made sure the arms are where they are supposed to be. If you marked the angle in step 1.1, then this should be easy.
(6.2) Don't tighten down the bolts until you close the hood.
(6.3) Close the hood and test the wipers to make sure they clear the hood. If they are too low, they will hit the hood.
(6.4) Once you have the the arms at the proper angle, tighten the bolts and put the caps back on.

Well.... this makes me wonder how many other bolts on this 1999 Volvo need to be tightened up?
yankinwaoz
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Postby MadeInJapan » 28 Nov 2007, 01:48

Thanks, yankinwaoz!
Just be careful tightening those...the anchors are plastic (what was Volvo thinking?) and can break. But good write-up none-the-less. I'm pinning it in the repair database section!
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Postby bekko » 28 Nov 2007, 08:07

Is this a great forum, or what? Our '98 has had that squeek for at least seven years. It will make you crazy. You can jam a pencil between the windshield and the dash board to dampen it, but then the squeek moves to the other side.

-steve

-steve
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Postby hausmeister » 29 Nov 2007, 18:05

I did this 2 times already, but it's not a permanent fix, at least not for me :roll:
Noises come back after some time...
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No squeeks on 8 hour trip

Postby yankinwaoz » 30 Nov 2007, 15:54

I drove the V70 from Santa Barbara to Tucson yesterday. 8 hours, and no squeak.

However, there is some creaking from the dash on roads that are bad. I suspect the creaking has been there all along.

I wonder if I should glue the bolts down?
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Postby hausmeister » 30 Nov 2007, 20:43

don't think so. The screws go in the lower dash afaik.
This summer I removed the upper dash in order to find what causes the noises, but couldn't really find anything. Made sure everything was tightend up.
Think the dash deforms over time...

I think the only thing that would really help is to fill the dash up with this http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauschaum (sorry, don't know what it's called in englisch)
But I'm not that desperate (yet) ;)
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Postby sixdown » 30 Nov 2007, 22:10

hausmeister wrote:don't think so. The screws go in the lower dash afaik.
This summer I removed the upper dash in order to find what causes the noises, but couldn't really find anything. Made sure everything was tightend up.
Think the dash deforms over time...

I think the only thing that would really help is to fill the dash up with this http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauschaum (sorry, don't know what it's called in englisch)
But I'm not that desperate (yet) ;)


Bauschaum literally translate to building foam, which I assume means expanding foam which you can get in any hardware store. I wouldn't use it myself because it can break up and cause more annoying rattles. Not only that, it's messy when you have to remove the dash in the future.
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Postby MadeInJapan » 30 Nov 2007, 23:38

I agree. Felt strips is a much better/safer idea and I've read where people have used it successfully.
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Postby dobriduh » 29 Dec 2007, 01:19

Thanks for the post

However, it took me forever just to read that :) I used some double-sided sticky tape to solve this problem. I located where the squek is coming from and put the tape in there. The awkard noise is gone but it does not look very aesthetic seeing the tape on the dash (its not that horrible) but thats a compromise I decided to make.
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Postby hausmeister » 25 Mar 2008, 20:44

Hi guys.

some time ago my dash started rattling again - really annoying. I could see the dash bouncing around a bit.
This time I looked into the Haynes how it is mounted. I found there are 2 screws on each side near the doors, where the bottom of the dash is secured. They are hidden beneath a plastic guard.
I loosend the right side one and pushed the whole dash down as far as possible and re-tightend it.
Today I went for a drive, and it hasn't made a sound yet :shock:
I really hope this is kind of a permanent fix; anyways, if you have similar problems you might want to try that.
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Postby MadeInJapan » 25 Mar 2008, 21:24

A picture or two of the location of the screws would be a great addition! TIA
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Postby hausmeister » 25 Mar 2008, 21:34

ok, that's the best i can do for now:

Image

i marked the plastic panel which hides the screw... same location on the other side
Its a typical torx, rather small.
Last edited by hausmeister on 25 Mar 2008, 21:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MadeInJapan » 25 Mar 2008, 21:37

Thank you very much! Glad this is in the repair database! :D
'98 S70 T5 Emrld Grn Met/Beige Tons of Upgrades Mobil-1
'04 V70 2.5T Red/Taupe Some Upgrades Mobil-1
94 850 Sedan NA Drk Blue/Tan
'00 V40 Purple/Grey Mobil-1
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Postby larryh » 26 Mar 2008, 15:53

DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE FIREWALL BOLTS! I don't know the torque specs, but to be safe, don't use a 3/8 ratchet...use a nut driver! These things are super fragile!

I just finished replacing the dash assembly in my 2000 v70r. After a year of trying every trick in the book to stop the squeaks, I decided to dive in and see if the mounts were cracked or broken. I was hoping they might be ok because the dash didn't move much. But when I got it out, sure enough, all four of the tabs were broken into a million pieces. This mounting system is rediculously weak.

The dash in my 850 was the same story only it LOOKED like it was ready to fall off. Two volvos= two dash replacements.

Nothing I know of will stick to plastic well enough to permanently repair the tabs, so instead of wasting a bunch of time with funky temporary fixes, you might as well just find another dash assembly. I found them used for $150-$375 shipped, But they aren't easy to find, I rejected two (broken) before I found one that was in good enough shape to use. The "disassembler" at volvo-saab dismanters said most of them are broken.

My conclusion is that most dashes are broken from over tightening the bolts. If your dash moves and the bolts don't, then the bolts aren't loose.... the tabs are broken. If you have already tightened the firewall bolts, the tabs are broken. If the plastic near the windshield is cracked, the tabs are probably broken. If you've had the ac evap done, the tabs are probably broken.

I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow of the job because it's already been done. Just do a search on dash replacement or AC evap. and you'll find something.

Funny... I had to switch the radio trim from the old dash to the new one and there are more bolts holding that little piece of trim on then there are holding the entire dash to the car!
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