A surprisingly large part of keeping 850/S70/V70/XC70 and C70 models on the road is… axles. Yes, axles. They’re good for generally (just an educated guess) 120k miles, coming out of the factory. After that, it’s entirely dependent on what kind of rebuilder they went to. Fortunately, replacing axles is pretty simple to do. The biggest pitfall/trap in replacing axles is buying the wrong rebuilt axle. I’ve done this.
I also believe that replacing axles (or “half-shafts”) with the dealer part (“blue box”) is extremely uncommon. Of course the biggest reason for this is cost. Dealer axles are $400+ each, if memory serves.
You’ll know when you need new ones when you hear a clicking from the front of your Volvo when you turn it. It’s probably the easiest diagnosis of any problem on cars, period. If you’re lucky you can catch it very early and simply repack (with grease) the CV joints, and put new CV boots on. Bad axles don’t set codes.
The reason for this post is to re-post MVS Contributor rguzz’ findings on the current state of one of the key players in the axle rebuilding business, Raxles:
According to Marty @ Raxles he will rebuild non turbo axles if you provide the core. Center bearing has to be intact and usable if you are rebuilding the right side axle. He no longer does turbo axles in view of the prohibitive cost of the CVJ’s. He says he has lots of NA components available and will therefore rebuild those if you supply a core. I didn’t ask him anything about models there than 850. So, no more 850t rebuilds! He did say however that the NA axles are fine to use though theoretically less robust, so it looks like NA axle on 850t will be the only option through him. Otherwise, whatever else is out there.
Raxles has been the de facto go-to place for P80 axles since… well, since I started this site well over a decade ago. Raxles is quality, as are a couple other players. After that, it’s entirely a crapshoot finding good ones. 3rd-party parts stores can stock rebuilt axles from WorldPac and a dozen other sources… these can be good or bad.