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Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

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
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
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Aduzi
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Aduzi

Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by Aduzi » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:34 am

Hello, Our 1996 Volvo 850 GLT has recently developed a wobble in the steering when reaching about 50 MPH, it smooths out when going faster. Took it to an alignment shop and had tires balanced and rotated and front end aligned and that did not fix it :?: . Was told a CV boot was ripped. Several years ago was talked into replacing some cheap aftermarket struts on the front and last year had wheel bearings replaced on front axles. A car mechanic put a new ty rod on it this month. Nothing has helped, it still wobbles. Is it safe to drive? The alignment place and the car mechanic did not say it was unsafe and I am all about not putting something unsafe on the road. Thanks in advance for any help.



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misha
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Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by misha » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:36 pm

Control arms(ball joint and silent blocks)ok?
If so....tyres are deformed or wheels are bent.


'97 850 2.5 20v /fully equipped/ Motronic 4.4 / polar white wagon
'91 Citroen XM 2.0 SI /fully equipped/mandarine red metallic
History of Volvos in the family:
'71 144 S
'73 144 De Luxe
'78 244 DL
'78 244 DL
'79 244 GLE
'85 340 GLS

rguzz
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Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by rguzz » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:10 pm

"Critical speed" wobble strongly suggests tire, rim problem. Should change somewhat with rotation. Check above mentioned items, have a good tire place look. They should be able to demonstrate findings to you.



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tardcart

Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by tardcart » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:12 pm

the first thing is to rotate the tires front to back and check if any difference. spin them while they are up on the rear axel and look for out of round tires and bent rims esp on the inside rim. If that makes no difference its your axel. best to get a junk yard one than aftermarket rebuild. Im sure there is slop in your ball joint too such usually means a new a arm assembly if you can tell which side it is. that has to be checked on the ground with a big guy rocking the wheel or turning it while you watch the bottom ball joint for slop. On the lift you can't tell.



crlande
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crlande

Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by crlande » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:20 pm

Would also check brake rotors.



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Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by cbpitt01 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:17 pm

Why is this in Classifieds?


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Clemens
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Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by Clemens » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:35 am

cbpitt01 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:17 pm
Why is this in Classifieds?
Probably classified information ...


Summer: 1996 855 R
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MoVolvos
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Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by MoVolvos » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:49 pm

rguzz wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:10 pm

"Critical speed" wobble strongly suggests tire, rim problem.

Agree, steering is wobble is usually related to tire or rim. If no one has hit a large pot hole or run up a curb then the rim is not likely but rather a blister in the tire regardless what caused it. Brakes are usually pedal pulsation. Check tire by rotating it slowly and look for a blister on top or side wall. Blisters will create the same symptoms of a out of round tire. It nothing then do a shake down for loose suspension parts.


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Eddystone

Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by Eddystone » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:47 am

"by tardcart » 17 Jun 2019, 19:12
the first thing is to rotate the tires front to back and check if any difference. spin them while they are up on the rear axel and look for out of round tires and bent rims esp on the inside rim. If that makes no difference its your axel. best to get a junk yard one than aftermarket rebuild. Im sure there is slop in your ball joint too such usually means a new a arm assembly if you can tell which side it is. that has to be checked on the ground with a big guy rocking the wheel or turning it while you watch the bottom ball joint for slop. On the lift you can't tell."

I'll upvote what tardcart posted. Here are my own experiences:

1. There is standard wheel balancing, and then there is computerized RoadForce balancing which is both dynamic and REALLY tells you what sort of wheel/rim balance issues you have. A bit more expensive.
2. Control arm issues: I usually know I have a control arm issue if the car darts slightly left or right when the brakes are applied. Control arms in these cars are basically a regular maintenance issue because they do go bad periodically. Get good quality control arms when changing.
3. It is likely that a wheel is bent, and potholes usually damage them on the inside rim where it is not immediately obvious.
4. My 1998 V70 was smooth as silk, but slowly developed a vibration like what you describe. My front tires were getting close to needing replacement, and I replaced them a bit sooner than usual. Vibration completely disappeared at all speeds. So, it wasn't the wheels. It almost certainly was not the balancing because they had been RoadForce balanced previously. I'm sure that one of my tires developed a fault, probably because of some pothole that did not bend the rim.
5. As suggested, put the back tires on the front of the car and see if the car feels different. If so, it's likely a wheel/tire issue - although you may also have a rear wheel/tire that has problems and so have introduced a new variable. But if the car feels different (you now feel it in the seat of your pants rather than the steering wheel, for example) you know it is a wheel/tire issue.
6. Something you have to accept with these cars is that the control arms do wear out faster than many of us think they should, and the tie rod ends (inner and outer) wear out and introduce play. In MY EXPERIENCE dating slightly to one side when applying brakes is control arm (which includes bushings and ball joints), vague steering points to inner and/or outer tie rod ends, vibration is wheel/tire problem, warped rotor is felt in the brake pedal when applying brakes, not when just rolling down the road.
7. People who do their own work often replace the control arms and all tie rods at the same time if there is any play noted when checking things out because you will need to pay someone for a front end alignment if any of these parts are replaced, and the parts themselves are not all that expensive. If you have to pay a shop to do this work, my heart goes out to you because if I were paying a mechanic for the work I've done on my S70 and V70, I'd have no money for food. But once this work is done, an old rattletrap of a car can feel like brand new again and not need attention in that area for a long time.


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tardcart

Re: Wobbling Front End on 1996 850 GLT Wagon - Safe to Drive?

Post by tardcart » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:51 pm

quote Eddystone
"If you have to pay a shop to do this work, my heart goes out to you because if I were paying a mechanic for the work I've done on my S70 and V70, I'd have no money for food. But once this work is done, an old rattletrap of a car can feel like brand new again and not need attention in that area for a long time."
that is so true. these cars are not affordable unless you do the work and order the the parts on-line and wait. so a second car come in handy. The worst thing of all is paying some mechanic to learn on your car. If you must hire out the work it should be a mechanic who does 40% of his work on volvo. If there arn't two Audi, three volvo and one Saab in the lot forget it. These cars were 30 to 40 thousand in 1990 dollars and were expected to maintained by trained dealer mechanics by rich people who wrote the check or under warranty.
they were called executive cars for a reason-deep pockets nice ride cute dames. I feel privileged driving a car only a pilot could afford even if its beat up 23 years later.



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