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Ball joint/control arm play? Poly control arm bushings?

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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Ball joint/control arm play? Poly control arm bushings?

Postby zhenya » 26 Apr 2010, 01:46

In my quest to maximize the handling of my T5 while still retaining a near stock ride quality (yeah yeah, it wasn't that good stock, either) I was inspecting my control arms and ball joints today. Everything visually checks out ok - no tears in the boots and the control arm bushings have a few small age cracks in them but nothing major. They are OEM Volvo arms of unknown age. Anyhow, with one wheel jacked up and the other on the ground, I get a small amount of play with hands at 9 and 3, and no discernible play at 12 and 6. There is very slightly more play on the passenger side than the drivers. What is considered normal in this test? Is any play acceptable?

If I do go about replacing the control arms, I am considering the Powerflex poly control arm bushings. Does anyone have any experience with these? Comments on the change in handling or ride quality?

Thanks!
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Re: Ball joint/control arm play? Poly control arm bushings?

Postby lienmarine » 26 Apr 2010, 02:16

Not sure about the bushings, I just replaced mine with stock. As far as the play at 9 and 3, there should be none. If you've got any kind of play, it's time for replacements. While you're in there you might as well replace the sway bar end links since they're probably about due if they haven't been replaced. If you get the HD ones, you'll notice that the steering will tighten up quite a bit.
1996 850 N/A 5 Speed 167k SOLD
1998 V70XC 153k
-Full Stage 0, HD End Links, K&N, IPD HD TCV, Forge DP BOV, shortened wastegate actuator, IPD boost gauge, Mobil 1 oil and bevel gear, 8000k HIDs, PIAA fogs.
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Re: Ball joint/control arm play? Poly control arm bushings?

Postby zhenya » 26 Apr 2010, 02:29

Thanks. Most of the front end was done about a year ago - Koni FSD's, eibach springs, all strut mounts, and associated parts, IPD sways and HD end links. I think control arms and tie rod ends are the last things up there that I can take care of. There is nothing particularly noticeable in the way the car drives, but if no play is what I'm after, I'll be replacing these sooner than later.
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Re: Ball joint/control arm play? Poly control arm bushings?

Postby JRL » 26 Apr 2010, 03:10

Use OEM VOLVO control arms (and nothing else)!
2000 V70R Black, 122,000 miles (Wife's).
2006 XC70 White only 61,000 miles. New daily driver.
2000 V70R Silver, 36,200 miles!!! SOLD (I will regret this)!

Contact info for purchases: jrl1194 (at) aol (dot) com
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Re: Ball joint/control arm play? Poly control arm bushings?

Postby zhenya » 26 Apr 2010, 03:34

Will do! No plans on cheaping out now!
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