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Project: 850 Wagon Tailgate Struts Replacement Tutorial

MVS Forum member, Bullshark shares this tutorial for a Volvo 850 wagon.

bullshark writes: 

The first real symptom I noted was last winter. On really cold days (50 F here in Fort Lauderdale 8) ), the tailgate would not stay up on it’s own.


The good news: Replacing the tailgate struts is a piece of cake. Th whole job took less than 15 minutes.

Tailgate Struts tools

The only tools you need are:

  • a large flat blade screwdriver
  • a small flat blade screwdriver,
  • a T-25 Torx

If you don’t have Torx bits, here is the best deal I know of for all the Torx bits you need: Lisle 12 pc. set from Sears

I hate and fear dealing with interior trim. There’s always some snafu or hidden clasp that’s invisible until you break it. Not so with job, its so easy that it seems almost like the Volvo engineers made it easy on purpose (seriously tongue in cheek).

Once again I followed the helpful advice of Rich Kelley found here at

First is removing the screw by the coat hanger tab.

Next is removing the speaker grills. You can see two slots where you slide in a tool and gently pry them open. They have fixed tabs on the window edge that actlike hinges. They open like doors. Here is a picture of the cover (I’m holding it upside dowm to show the tabs)

Here’s how it fits:


Here is how it snaps shut. Note the two friction snaps; they are right in line with the visible slots for prying open.

Getting the headliner side panels off is the only tricky bit and it’s not really very hard. The part that you want to pry loose first is closest to the window. Once again there are user friendly friction buttons that will come loose for you with just a little pressure. Put your hands in the speaker hole and gently pull them free. Be careful to just get them loose. There are unfriendly breakable guide pins on the edge near the tailgate opening. There are three of them anchored here, like this (the black tabs along the window):

Now you have to get the panel loose at the opening. With the above already loose, gently work the panel inward to free the three black anchors you can see here. Take care not to break the guide pin.

Now you can take the panel down just the way Rich says in Bay 13. It is held up by three sets of three friction tabs. Just be patient and gentle and everything should come down easily.

When you disconnect the tailgate strut, the tailgate will fall, so be ready.

The struts just pry off with a screwdriver and snap back on. They are held in place by captive spring clips and look like this:

Putting the new strut back on requires no more than finger pressure to snap it on.

Now that I’ve done it, I’m sorry I waited so long. I forgot the fingertip ease that lifted the tailgate when the car was new and it’s probably five years overdue. Tailgate Struts

Tailgate Strut replacement notes ’97 850 GLT

1 Comment

Great article. One tip – when installing the new struts, install the forward end first, let it hang down while you install the clips. Then rotate it up and pop the aft end onto the hinge pin.

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