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DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on Volvo XC90s. The XC90 proved to be very popular, and very good for Volvo's sales numbers, since its introduction in model year 2003 (North America).
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DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Post by cn90 »

DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

- The usual symptoms: car drives “like a boat” with vague feeling.
- Inspection showed bad shock absorber, coil spring all rusted.

- This DIY on a V50 have some useful info on how to use floor jack to compress the coil spring.
Interestingly, the youtuber said “using floor jack to compress the spring is dangerous”.
I personally think it is much safer to compress the spring with the floor jack. More tricks on how to use floor jack later. Here is the video:

- Wrenches/Sockets: 8-mm, 10-mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17-mm, 18mm, 19mm.
- Wheel lugs: 19mm socket.

- Breaker Bar, the 1/2-inch type.
- Torx 40 for counterhold; If using Meyle endlinks: 16-mm thin bicycle wrench.

- Propane Torch ($15 at hardware store) is a MUST, this allows you to remove the seized bolts/nuts with much less effort.

- The key thing: heat the nut for 30 sec (the rubber boot of the end link may smoke a bit!), then spray some PB Blaster and allows it to be sucked inside the threads as the nut cools down.

- From FCPEuro dot com.
- Bilstein B4 Shock Absorber (Germany)…US $87/each.
- REAR Coil Springs: Lesjofors (Sweden)… US $38/each.

- Coil Insulator: Volvo
- Shock Mount: Volvo. In theory, you can re-use this at 120K. It is just a piece of steel sleeve surrounded by solid rubber. Replace this at the next time, around 240K or so.

- The donut ring on top: replacing this is difficult bc one has to cut through the plastic cover to remove it. You can re-use this part. It lasts the life of the car.
- End links: Meyle (Turkey)…US $16/each.

- Bump Stops…US $31/each. I did not get this ahead of time. It broke on its own! No big deal, will replace them later.



- Cleanliness is the key, wash the car the day before...
- Do one side at a time and use the other side as a reference. This has proved to be essential for me!

- Loctite on nuts/bolts as you wish.
- Heat all nuts/bolts before removing them. This reduces the force to remove the nuts/bolts.

- Loosen all nuts and bolts, but do NOT remove any of them. This allows you to tighten/remove other nuts/bolts with breaker bar while the knuckle etc. is still attached. The same is true for installation, hand-tighten the nuts/bolts, and torque them all at the very end. NOTE: once all done, all nuts/bolts should be torque in pre-loaded condition (as if you drive the car), so either:
- Torque all the nuts/bolts at the end when the wheel is attached and car is on the ground…or
- Jack below control arm until car is gently lifted off the jack stand by 1-2mm (safety first!), then tighten these nuts/bolts.

- Protect/watch all rubber boots at all time. These include CV Boots, end link boots etc.
- A piece of 2 x 10 wood is very useful…

- Torque values are taken from "internet", so please verify the torque values yourself. I could not find a good source, so what I include here is from different sources. Feel free to chime in re torque values.
- General rules in Nm:
M8: 24 Nm; M10: 50 Nm; M12: 80 Nm, M14: 130Nm.

Remember this is for dry bolt, very often these bolts are coated in salt/corrosion, so clean the bolt first.
Google “thread file”, about $10. Thread file is a very good tool to clean the threads.

- AT 100K-120K, I guess it is safe to re-use the bolts, which the dealers do anyway. At 200K + miles, I think it is a good idea to get all new nuts/bolts, but that is later for me…

1. Safety first:
- Chock FRONT wheels.
- Lift the rear end, remove ONLY 1 rear wheel and support with jack stands.

- For EACH side, I used 2 jack stands: one 4-leg jack stand and one jack screw stand.
The nice thing about the jack screw stand is that it allows you to adjust up and down infinitely (the 4-leg stand only goes by increment). This allows the load to be spread out evenly among these 2 jacks.

- Anyway, I set my 4-leg stand as low as possible bc I don't like to use extended position (unstable), plus I don't trust the elliptical eyelet in the 4-leg jack stand that much.
- Tire + wood under the car.


2. The Shock Absorber:

- Remove floor cover, cut the carpet with utility knife as shown. Remove the 8-mm bolt and 10-mm screw as shown to lift the Styrofoam side rail up a bit. Open the plastic cap to expose the shock absorber top nut. Spray the nut with some PB Blaster and let it sit.

- Factory top nut is 18-mm, Bilstein is 19-mm.The Bilstein came with a washer, which sits directly underneath the nut.

- To remove, spray PB Blaster to top nut (rusted), clean the inside of T40 recess if you use T40 socket. I used air gun + Vise-Grips on the shaft (use a utility knife to cut the plastic sheath to expose the shaft). You do NOT want to round this top nut, so air gun is a must! If you don’t have an air gun, drive to a shop and ask them to loosen the nut for you for a few turns (do not remove it at the shop!). Or get a socket with a hex on the outside so you can use a wrench to turn the socket…
- Make sure the shock mount matches the oval hole. I placed the shock absorber on top of the floor jack and slowly jack it up while watching inside the car to be sure the shock mount come up properly. If you have a 2nd person to watch, then it is faster…

- The Bilstein shock absorber: installation is tricky bc you must line up the bolt hole perfectly. It will be trial and error. Clean the bolt. If necessary, use “thread file” ($10 online) to clean the threads so the bolt goes in easily. It is 1.75 mm thread pitch. If you cannot thread it in, insert the bolt from the other side to clean up any gunk and try again. Video on how to use thread file:


3. The Control Arm:
- Initially, I made the mistake of removing the C.A. completely. Later, I learned that all you have to do is removing the OUTER nut/bolt and loosen (but do NOT remove) the INNER bolt. This allows the control arm to drop to the ground without twisting the bushing! Note: before removing OUTER nut/bolt, I supported the C.A. with 1 floor jack and 1 scissor jack.
- In order to remove OUTER nut/bolt on the C.A., the stay arm must be removed. Note the eccentric washer on the stay arm, the groove on the bolt faces down at 6 o’clock from factory.

- If you remove the end links first, it will make things easier…
- Swaybar end links: Factory is T40 Torx for counterhold. The new Meyle has 16-mm on the back side for counter-hold. Only thin bicycle wrench works here if you use Meyle…


4. The Coil Spring:

- NOTE the end of the coil spring must be lined up properly with the Control Arm from factory.
- When lowering the control arm using floor jack, do it slowly. Once the C.A. is dropped down, the spring can be easily removed.

- Installation note: Volvo has a very expensive tool to compress the spring bc the car is on the lift. Alternative choices are T & E brand or Wilmar as shown in the photo. I just don’t like the idea of the entire spring being compressed by a single bolt as seen in the T & E and Wilmar tool (I understand it is safe but I don’t like it). The nice thing about home garage is the car is on the floor, thus one can use floor jack to compress the spring.
I prefer using the floor jack bc I personally think it is safer if done correctly. To be safe, I used a floor jack + a scissor jack, and compressed the coil spring by raising both jacks together in a slow manner.
Remember you are compressing > 1000 lbs using floor jack, so correct placement of the jack is essential. I used the shock absorber mounting point as a place to jack.

- Don’t forget the coil insulator.
- Again, torque all nuts/bolts at the end as mentioned. As you raise the floor jack to “pre-load” the suspension, there will be a point when the car is lifted off the jack stand by 2-3 mm and that is good enough to preload. Alternatively, you can do that with wheel installed and car on the ground: the XC90 has enough ground clearance for this approach (tire on the ground).

- This is also a good time to tighten the shock absorber top nut bc the spring is being compressed to push the shock upward. Note: the air gun was good for removal but during install, it just spun the shaft around: try to avoid this as spinning the shaft too much can damage the shock absorber. So, for shock install, use the T40 and open wrench as shown until it is tight (don’t strip the nut).

That is all boys/girls. Not too difficult if you follow this guide...

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Re: DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Post by cn90 »

Safety note...

- In my other DIY FRONT suspension, I recommended using 3-4 compressor sticks, much safer than using 2 compressor sticks.

- In this particular DIY REAR suspension, I think it is much safer to use floor jacks x2 to compress the REAR spring.

- As mentioned above, internal spring compressor is probably fine but being a single thread design, things can go wrong any time. Below is a youtube video showing a Mercedes spring DIY went wrong when the internal spring compressor decided to let go. Luckily no injury or death to the "Saturday Mechanics".

- Now you can see the danger of internal spring compressor.

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Re: DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Post by abscate »

cn90 wrote: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:31 pm Safety note...

- Now you can see the danger of internal spring compressor.

Start at 10:20 to see the MAIN EVENT - he had his fingers in the spring too, YIKES!

:shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Post by cn90 »

On the issue of Internal Spring Compressor with the whole force sitting on one big threaded rod, this is a good DIY...

http://sdbhost.com/testsites/VolvoS60/S ... rings.html

I took these photos from the above DIY just to show everyone the danger of Internal Spring Compressor, which
is probably safe 99.9% of the time, but it is that 0.1% that might injure or kill the mechanic.

Anyway, here is the photo.
Personally, I will continue to use the floor jacks to compress the spring bc I think it is much safer, almost bullet-proof,
to use floor jacks to compress the spring using the car's weight.
In fact, youtube some many videos using this trick (floor jacks to compress spring) for many different vehicles.

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Re: DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Post by cn90 »

Below is another video using floor jack to compress a VW Golf REAR Spring...

You can see that it is safe to use floor jack...
As mentioned above, I feel safe with 2 jacks. Most people have only one floor jack for home use.
So use a separate scissor jack in tandem to be safe.
Notice that the youtuber used a rag between floor jack and the rear control arm, but I think it is better to use a piece of rubber between floor jack and the rear control arm to prevent slip.

Pieces of rubber can be had for free at tire shops, just ask them to cut a piece of old tire sidewall for you.

Skip to time 18:00 to see floor jack compressing the spring...

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Re: DIY: REAR Suspension Rebuild (2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 120K)

Post by matthew1 »

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