My 2004 Volvo XC90 was getting a little crunchy in the front end. Speed bumps, driveways and potholes all made my front end sing a grovly song of worn spring seats, struts and Xc90 strut mounts. And, in case you didn’t know, the roads in Canada can be literal crap. Like, I’d almost prefer driving on actual crap than Canadian roads most days. But what’s the point of owning an XC90 if you’re not driving it, right?
Fortunately I saw the writing on the wall long before I heard and felt it in my Volvo’s front-end. I was smart enough to pick up the parts I needed from FCP Euro sometime last year in anticipation of either a) doing the repair myself, or b) taking it to my favorite independent Volvo mechanic in the area. As usual, the parts were competitively priced – and they come with a lifetime warranty. Here’s to hoping I get to do this repair again…but not anytime soon.
Here’s what I ended up with in terms of parts from FCP Euro each part links to the site from where I purchased:
- Sachs Strut SACHS KIT-P2XC90STRTKT2P2
- Spring Seat Genuine Volvo 30683637
- Strut Mount Lemfoerder 30714968
- Bump Stop Genuine Volvo 31277953
- Strut Bellow Genuine Volvo 9140068
- Sway Bar Links Meyle HD KIT-P2SBLKF3P2
The only thing I needed was someone who could replace the XC90 struts for me. I decided I’ve got the tools and the knowledge (I had done the same front Volvo strut replacement job on my previous XC70). The only thing I didn’t have was the time. Enter Scott Cunningham at DSC Auto – an independent Volvo mechanic in Ayr, Ontario. I’ve been taking my XC90 to Scott for over two years now. Never had a bad experience. Never.
If you’re in the area, try him.
After a couple of hours, and a little heat to the bolts that hold the shock to the spindle, the old bolts came out and everything on the struts was swapped – except for the spring. The spring was in pretty good condition for being on a 13-year-old SUV.
A few things to note: On the factory strut (circa 2004), there is practically no rubber between the metal spring and the lower metal “seat” of the XC90 strut. Volvo tried to make life a bit more comfortable by putting a rubber tube over the bottom of the spring at the factory, but it didn’t really do much aside from preventing metal-on-metal contact. The new Sachs struts have a beefy rubber piece that is supposed to cut down on vibrations in the 60hz area, making your ride way better than it likely was. You can see it between the bottom of the spring and the strut here:
My spring seats were still in-tact, but they were starting to come apart a little. The XC90 strut mount’s bearing was a little crunchy – as if there wasn’t much grease in there, and as if there was some grit and dirt in it. You can see both here:
It’s been just under a week (and about 500 miles) since I had the XC90 struts changed and all I can say is that it was worth every penny. The ride is…smooth. And, considering the condition of the roads where I live, that’s saying a lot.
I had a chance to see the old Sachs struts after they were removed. They were just shot. There wasn’t any life left in them at all. If you’re looking for a way to refresh your ride and handling, new front struts on your XC90 are a good place to start. I’m sure the sway bar links didn’t hurt either.