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?
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.
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.