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Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

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BlackBart
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Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by BlackBart » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:37 am

We have a tentative trip planned in the middle of winter to Boise ID. From here a 1200 mile round trip, mostly freeway, next weekend. I could take my D-I-L's newish Soobie Outback, but I'd like to take Betty the Volvo and begin to rely on this car. (130,000 miles)

Seems like pretty basic questions (and mostly me worrying), but what all would you look at doing before this trip? (I'm ALWAYS fixing things at the last minute before a trip, which adds considerable stress!)

I have never flushed any transmission fluid, although the records I have show it was done twice by the PO. I have a box of the Toyota OEM fluid and a warmish garage now.

Oil is fairly fresh - check and top off. Check all fluids. I could flush and bleed the brakes. Needs new fog lamp bulbs, I have those.

She has been running fine, in town. Makes heat right away! So nice.

I replaced a cam / TB / tensioner recently.

Fuel tank float makes the gauge stop at half tank and stay there. I could calc an 18 gallon (correct?) tank and poor mileage for a safety factor, say 20 mpg in a blizzard....so an easy 350 miles per tank? Not the best time of year to be taking the pump out in the outdoors.

I have a serious clunk in the front lower control arms. I have new control arms and ball joint ready to install. Is that a reasonable weekend accomplishment?

Other quirks are easily livable, like the dash clock spinning full speed for several minutes until it stops randomly. Every start-up.

Thanks -
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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by drmegadan » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:18 pm

I did a 1600 mile trip to NC and back (from Wisconsin) this summer in our 05 V70 with ~115k miles. I checked all the key suspension components, checked coolant and other fluids, packed a full size spare, topped up tires and that was about it. The car performed flawlessly, but I always bring my 'Doctor Bag' just in case. Its a soft sided Craftsman tool bag that holds everything I need to do nearly any repair aside from an engine removal. I keep long pliers, screwdrivers, extensions, a small socket set covering all sizes, inspection mirror, spare plugs, zip ties, etc etc etc. It's saved my butt a few times. Highly recommended.

Control arms and ball joints can definitely be done in a weekend as long as you are a competent garage mechanic. I plan on doing struts, control arms, and ball joints on an upcoming Saturday; but I'd consider myself advanced. Control arms are straight forward and pretty easy even without a helper. The ball joints are incredibly frustrating; they're tedious to remove, but getting them to reinstall was a major pain. Next ball joint install for me will involve me grinding down the OD of the splines ever so slightly to make install easier. I'd make sure your end links are good too, as they're a common 'clunk' cause.

350 miles sounds appropriate for the winter, especially if its all highway. That would probably still leave you with a 30-50 mile safety net. I'd suggest changing the trans fluid. It's pretty easy and you'll notice a pretty big difference in shift quality afterwards.

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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by BlackBart » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:00 pm

drmegadan wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:18 pm
...but I always bring my 'Doctor Bag' just in case. Its a soft sided Craftsman tool bag that holds everything I need...
I have that very bag, and do the same! The good thing is if you do that, it never even gets unzipped (except that one time when I had every tool and my Audi spun the rod bearings.....).

The cold is one concern, if something should quit on me.

I just looked at the FCP video of the control arms, and it's all so easy-peasy, but they conveniently leave out some difficult steps, and they use a special tool to seat the ball joint.



I've read here several times of people fighting the ball joint and the hub-to-strut bolt alignment. Can't find the main thread just yet.
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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by crlande » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:30 pm

Just racked up 1000 miles round trip to hike up Mt Washington, NH. The '98 S70. Checked fluids, checked pressures on snow tires, checked the spare ( people forget that thing) and off we went. No issues.

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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by Rattnalle » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:38 pm

crlande wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:30 pm
Just racked up 1000 miles round trip to hike up Mt Washington, NH. The '98 S70. Checked fluids, checked pressures on snow tires, checked the spare ( people forget that thing) and off we went. No issues.
That sounds like my strategy too.

I'll be away from home for eight weeks this summer and do somewhere in the region of 3-4000 miles during that time and that's all the prep I'll be doing. Apart from regular maintenance and fixing stuff that breaks but that I do regardless.

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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by xHeart » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:56 pm

If you haven't already with your 120K service, please tune up. Check cooling and charging systems.
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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by BlackBart » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:10 pm

Thank you, I'll look that up in the book. Battery is new, charging is good. Coolant I'll check.

Spare! Everyone forgets the spare!

Also, end links are newish.

This is a decent control arm & ball joint video. She's a little slower and calmer than the FCP guy with his air wrenches. I read some threads just now with ideas like a chain or strap loop around the control arm and a long 2x4 to pry down on from the subframe - clever.

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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by oragex » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:17 pm

Haven't read all comments above, but I can only share my 'short trip' experience. Usually I turn around the city with rare 3-4h round trips in more distant locations. On one such trip, my battery light came on all of a sudden (it's not even easy to see in full sunlight), my voltage meter displayed a 12.5V with the engine running: no bueno. Alternator regulator kaput all of a sudden. The car was still running on battery alone, but for no more than 20-30 miles or so. Called the tow truck (kind of lucky to get one in that remote place), guy pulled the well known line "I have a bud with a garage nearby if you want" - yeah, probably would have ripped me off plus I would had to way 1-2 days for the part (so lodging, etc). So had the car towed back to my place - $400 tow (wasn't that far away after all). That's my story, my car had the same miles as yours, I would pull the alternator check the bearings and pulley - should still be fine-ish, and replace at least the regulator - usually a $50 or so. Also, grab 1-2 ignition coils with a 10mm wrench and T25 sockets (keep them inside the trunk);

I don't think your ball joints are bad - mines are still fine, no play, a little easier to turn but definitely not needing replaced at 130k miles and I drive inside the city a lot (aka poor roads). These Lemforder bj are very robust unless one tears their dust boot. The ca will be a little worn given you are in Montana, can check quickly by lifting a wheel, turn it to lock - this clearly shows how much tear is in the ca bushing near the tie rods. The job is not that easy especially placing them back - I like to undo the two lower strut bolts (1/2" drive, 21mm socket (?), extension bar, camber angle, etc), insert the ball joint stud in the ca, then push down on the wheel hub with the whole body weight to align the strut bolts and lock them on the lower hole with a long screw driver www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxC9Ek9HhGI . I tried the 2x4 long wood trick to make a lever - nope, didn't work at all, no place to place it on the ca.

I would rather suspect your knock is either the sway bar to subframe bushings or the spring seats if originals

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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by BlackBart » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:31 pm

Thank you.

Yes, a lonely nowhere stretch of Idaho is my concern. And odd lights coming on.

The PO used cheap aftermarket control arms and they are already moving around quite a bit - you can feel the steering angle wander under side load. Clunking on gutters and bumps, etc. I pried on them once and could see the rubber moving. Struts are new, seats / top mounts are new.
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Re: Long trip prep? ('04 XC)

Post by - Pete - » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:14 pm

I was gonna say if your steering doesn’t wander/bump steer (or side load affect steering) leave the control arms alone til the next time you have the struts out. Since you said steering is affected I’d go ahead & replace them. Not a bad job, easily doable in a weekend, hopefully you don’t have young kids running around. Passenger side farstners will give you more guff than the drivers side, but not bad. Air tools hasten the progress. I recently did new 4C shocks, top bearing plates, spring seats, lower spring isolators, Meyle HD control arms & ball joints, tie rod ends, new sway bar end links & bushings recently (all at the same time) & I would have to say that replacing the control arms without your struts in the way is definitely the easiest.

Ball joints do not need any special alignment tool for installation. Don’t grind down the splines on your ball joints. They are designed to be press-fit, the bolts are a vital security measure. You will need a good sized ratchet strap or come-along to “scissor” your existing control arms towards the garage floor.

Aside from that, yes to ATF full flush, but also verify your AWD is working as it should. Might wanna dump Haldex & refill with fresh AOC fluid (maybe do filter too if it hasn’t been done yet, or ever). Haldex would be my last concern though.
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