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Alignment after shocks

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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mrbrian200
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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by mrbrian200 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:27 am

misha wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:32 am
Yes really...change the allignment shop.
I wouldn't go back to them again.
Just because the front camber isn't factory adjustable doesn't mean a good alignment shop can't make it adjustable.
This can be easily accomplished by replacing the bottom strut to knuckle bolt with one of these:
Capture.JPG
MSRP on a set of two of those is $25. Which means cost would be something less than $10. If you only need to adjust one side (use one bolt) cost would be less than $5. I'm thinkin somewhere around $2-3...tops. At that relatively low cost some shops may well just throw it on as part of the basic fee...Because people do not like being told that there's a problem that either can't be fixed or costs extra.

What they like to hear is 'everything lined up, pay at the counter and you're good to go'.

Furthermore-- on these aluminum knuckles, if the amount of camber you need to adjust is around 1 degree or less you can simply widen the hole between 1/32-1/16 either in the knuckle or the strut without compromising the integrity.
The rear suspension is different, because the knuckle doesn't attach to the strut it's not easily modified in this manner, you have to special order/press in eccentric bushings. Which may or may not be available depending on the make/model.

Edit: Did anyone catch the pfft-ing noise out on the west coast? I think the neighbors took cover in the basement.
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WhatAmIDoing
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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by WhatAmIDoing » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:40 am

erikv11 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:59 pm
WhatAmIDoing wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:22 am
misha wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:01 am
These cars have fixed camber and it's not adjustable.
On some cars it's adjustable,but on these cars it's not.
Really? Because every alignment shop I've been to says they adjusted the camber. They also say the rear-end alignment is non-adjustable.
Since the second statement we absolutely know is false and just plain wrong, why would you trust a shop that also said the first one?

Fine a shop that knows how to adjust the rear on a P80, how to do a proper 4 wheel alignment (and there are fewer than you may realize), then ask them what they think about the camber adjustment.
Well, I'm really running out of alignment shops then. At least 5 from recent memory have told me those exact words, and one was a Volvo service tech. It really is impossible to find good service these days.


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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by SuperHerman » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:53 pm

This can be easily accomplished by replacing the bottom strut to knuckle bolt with one of these:

Generally only the top bolt is used, but if camber needs more adjustment a top and bottom approach will yield even more adjustment.

When I had my XC90 aligned the shop told me the same basic story when they showed me the alignment specs. I saw that I could get to where I wanted it by having them look at the 1 degree of play available. I asked if they adjusted this and they said no, I told them to go back and try and after some talk I persuaded them. They returned with the new alignment sheets showing the XC90 now in spec.

Takeaways on this post:

1) Removing struts can cause the camber alignment to be altered and that is why an alignment should be done. Measuring per or marking knuckle/strut line can minimize. Note replacing with a new strut of different dimensions may be an added issue.

2) Sometimes one has to work with the shop they have. Just tell the tech/advisor before hand about adjusting camber via the strut bolts and they should accommodate, if not then go elsewhere.



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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by mrbrian200 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:47 pm

Frankly the eccentric bolts shouldn't really be necessary. If you have die grinder with a carbide rotary burr set, just elongate the holes on the strut in whichever direction you need to adjust. This accomplishes the same thing as the OE provision for camber adjustment on cars that are adjustable only the OE elongates the hole(s) in the steering knuckle instead of the holes on the strut. The position is held by compression force of the strut to knuckle bolts in either case. I would expect any good alignment shop worth a hill of beans would have a die grinder + rotary burrs (or some other way/specialized tool) just for this purpose. It would take all of about 90 seconds to accomplish with the proper tools. If it's more than a degree or two out you need to address/replace something else first-- upper strut mounts, springs, bent LCAs, the entire car, etc.



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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by erikv11 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:48 pm

True, eccentric bolts will allow for camber adjustment so there is fodder for discussion there, but there is no use for them in a stock and reasonably well maintained setup.
WhatAmIDoing wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:40 am
erikv11 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:59 pm
WhatAmIDoing wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:22 am


Really? Because every alignment shop I've been to says they adjusted the camber. They also say the rear-end alignment is non-adjustable.
Since the second statement we absolutely know is false and just plain wrong, why would you trust a shop that also said the first one?

Fine a shop that knows how to adjust the rear on a P80, how to do a proper 4 wheel alignment (and there are fewer than you may realize), then ask them what they think about the camber adjustment.
Well, I'm really running out of alignment shops then. At least 5 from recent memory have told me those exact words, and one was a Volvo service tech. It really is impossible to find good service these days.
I hear ya. A lot of shops refuse just because the rear of a 20 year old Volvo is rusty and inconvenient, I have run into that. But there are many reasons to grouse about ...

One way to possibly get a shop (including the Volvo dealer!) to do a four wheel alignment is to print out and bring to them the Volvo factory service manual pages that explain the procedure and specifications. I know the pdf is hosted somewhere here at MVS but I couldn't find it in my first search try, here is a link to the doc from another forum:

http://www.volvoclub.org.uk/tech/servic ... edures.pdf

A decent 4 wheel alignment is important for thrust angle, given that you have the option you really want it done properly.

You still need a decent tech to follow directions so it is sketchy to leave the car at a shop you have to give instructions to, but this has worked for me. Right now there is nowhere in town I can take the P80 cars for a 4 wheel alignment ...
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'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by wizechatmgr » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:29 pm

I actually got Midas to do mine when replacing all four tires - I am in doubt as to them wanting to do it without the additional sale. When Volvo says ~2.2 hours to do it on my AWD, they aren't kidding. These folks spent every part of the two hours to do it. I wonder if I still have my alignment sheet...


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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by SuperHerman » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:47 pm

Closing this up. Without excessive wear and minimal rust, my alignment shop can do an alignment in under one hour. Once parts are worn and rust is an issue the project gets hairy fast. The front end design of Volvos do not have any parts that make an alignment difficult. Only damage or wear cause problems - the design is pretty stable and robust.

Other point, if the front camber cannot be brought into spec with the amounts designed into the car, I would look for bent or worn parts as mrbrian200 points out.



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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by erikv11 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:07 pm

SuperHerman wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:47 pm
Closing this up. Without excessive wear and minimal rust, my alignment shop can do an alignment in under one hour. Once parts are worn and rust is an issue the project gets hairy fast. The front end design of Volvos do not have any parts that make an alignment difficult. Only damage or wear cause problems - the design is pretty stable and robust.

Other point, if the front camber cannot be brought into spec with the amounts designed into the car, I would look for bent or worn parts as mrbrian200 points out.
Closing this up?? Not sure what that means.

Of course any shop will align the front end, no issue there. Read the posts - the point is that many shops are unable or unwilling to deal with the rear end alignment, there are even shops claiming it is not possible to align the rear.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by SuperHerman » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:19 pm

erikv11 - I agree with you.

Closing up as the OP asked about the need for an alignment after replacing "only" his front shocks.



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Re: Alignment after shocks

Post by woodycaldercloggs » Mon May 21, 2018 2:47 am

Follow-up to changing my shocks with no alignment.
I did that over a month ago and have not noticed any excessive or uneven tyre / tire wear.
The handling is obviously better and there is no left / right pull.



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