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Replacing front struts without being in a rush

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.

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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by oragex » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:23 am

abscate wrote:Ride height is a good diagnostic of sagging springs. Remember to move the bodies out of the trunk (NJ residents) before comparing
:shock: been once in NJ but next time I'll keep driving at speed! :lol:

I have spring compressors, they are Made in China in some obscure shop, to date not yet broken to pieces, but just to give an idea I have been used them a couple of times without problems. I'd however strongly suggest to get some better quality but you still won't need to fork a lot of money out. $30-$40 will get reasonable (read safe) quality. This is not a toy, needs to be used properly and then it will work well. Never use an impact gun on a spring compressor. I've see some compressors with welded hooks, not sure I'd trust those. if one breaks in some point.. .
hand.jpg
hand.jpg (4.46 KiB) Viewed 387 times
In opposition, these have cast hooks: http://www.ebay.com/itm/AUTO-14-COIL-SP ... 82&vxp=mtr

What spring seats and strut mounts have you got?

I would not go with springs form a junk yard. Either keep yours - give them a nice cleaning and spray some 'rust reformer' or get new springs.

Haven't watch yet rspi video, but main points are the upper sway bar end link nut - solidly seized and takes a good quality torx socket to try removing it. Notice I said 'try', reason why most people have a grinder handy and perhaps a new end link nearby as well. The bottom bolts on the strut itself are heavy guys, needs a 1/2" ratchet with an extension bar. I always loosen the axle shaft center bolt/nut to have the shaft moving free so as not to stretch the CV joint, and also hung the axle with a wire. If the spring is to be removed from the strut, I prefer to break loose the top nut with the strut in the car - just break it loose not remove it, of course. Not a bad job but some bolts are tight.

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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by erikv11 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:38 am

Great advice on spring compressors, those springs are to be respected.

Here's a tip on the sway bar endlinks: most have a collar behind the top nut that you can put a wrench on, to hold the threaded stud while you use a socket on the nut itself. Put the wrench in just in front of the rubber boot. At any rate, I've not had much trouble with the end link nuts, top or bottom, usually just take them off. Better yet, if you have an impact wrench use it here - they will just zip right off. Also I've done a couple dozen strut jobs now and I wouldn't mess with the axle nut. Unless you tap the CV out to break it loose from the hub, too, you're not doing anything by just loosening the nut anyway. And then you're just creating extra work, in my opinion.
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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by famfeld » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:44 am

I do all my own volvo work for the last 10 years and I hate working with a spring compressor. Yes it is satisfying and more economical, but I think it might be a good use of like $90 and possibly save time.

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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by abscate » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:25 am

Maybe if I make up a cheap strut set firm this parts car people can borrow it, swap struts, then take their struts apart and return over a couple weekends
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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by E Showell » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:12 am

Not to rain on your business model, but what's the big deal with replacing front struts all at once? Why would anyone want to do that labor twice in a short span? Struts and associated hardware at a steady, not rushed pace is about 3 hrs/ side if I recall. Been a while since I've done it though.

Yes, you have to be careful using spring compressors, but it can be done DIY.
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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by abscate » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:38 am

I would do it in one go, but Ive got 19 Volvos in backup to drive. Oh wait, 18, one is on loan.

For the single car folks, it might be nice for a first timer to know that they can get the car back on the road in 15 minutes bolting on a strut that is serviceable.

No business model there to monetize, just a helping concept.
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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by erikv11 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:42 am

Yeah, dropping the complete strut tower in and out is effortless compared to the rest of the job. This is part of why people throw their good money at bad, cheap quick-struts. A loaner strut tower sounds like a great idea for a first timer, though shipping may be pricey.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 286k
'06 S60 R, 167k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by E Showell » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:05 am

The"business model" comment was not aimed at monetization, just the concept. For me personally, the labor is the biggest hassle. I simply wouldn't want to do the job twice when I could just do it once.
'98 V70 NA FWD 5 spd, silver sand metallic (sold)
'99 V70 NA FWD Auto, dark blue (actively for sale)
'99 S70 NA FWD Auto, black (sold and resurrected -- Don't cry for me Argentina . . . )
'07 S80 3.2 FWD Auto, Barents Blue Metallic
'06 V70 R AWD Auto, Sonic Blue Metallic
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Re: Replacing front struts without being in a rush

Post by WhatAmIDoing » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:18 am

The best tool to have for a strut job is a pipe vice. Clamp the strut between the spring seat and the knuckle bolts, and it makes the job so much easier than using a regular vice, or no vice at all. Hardest part is getting the spring off the old strut. If you have a helper, it takes less than 20 minutes to put the new strut together while working at a leisurely pace.
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