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RWD - Strut Tube Problems

Volvo RWD 900 Forum

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Strut Tube Problems 900

Hi Folks,

One of my 940 wagons has developed a front end vibration. I took it to a garage I use, and they say the front struts tube structure itself is bent and needs to be replaced.

Has anybody had this issue with a 940 before?

How tough is it to swap in replacement strut tubes and all?

Thanks for any help.





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Strut Tube Problems 900

Dear Mr. Nabisco,

Hope you're well. The strut housing are very sturdy. Absent direct impact from collision or a road-hazard, a strut housing is unlikely to be "bent".

More likely: the strut mounts have failed. Replacing the strut housings, struts, or mounts requires using a spring compressor. That isn't hard, but is dangerous if one does not: (a) use a high-quality spring compressor and (b) follow instructions carefully.

During a highway project, the paving company left a three-inch-tall layer of new paving facing on-coming traffic. The leading edge of the new paving was not "feathered", i.e., tapered to provide a ramp up to the top of the new paving.

In the dark, I could not see this paving "cliff" and so hit this three-inch-tall "cliff" at 65 miles/hour. Happily, there was no tire blow-out. But a tire went flat in my garage. When the tire was removed from the wheel, it was obvious that impact energy had ruptured the tire's sidewall.

Fearing latent damage to front end components - which damage might become obvious years later - I insisted that the paving company's insurer cover the cost of new: (a) strut housings; (b) wheel hubs; (c) struts; (d) strut mounts and bearings; (e) ball joints); (f) tie rods and tie rod ends; (g) wheels; and (h) tires. In short, the entire front suspension was replaced.

When I inspected the hub bearings, I saw marks on the bearing balls, plainly the result of the collision energy that slammed the bearing balls against their retainers. It should be obvious that bearing balls and retainers are made of very hard steel, so enormous force was required to make those marks.

Even so, I doubt that the strut housings were bent. I had them replaced for prudential reasons, i.e., to avoid finding a problem years later and so too late to file a claim for replacement against the paving company's insurer.

One of the strut mounts was so badly damaged, that when the mechanic removed it from the car, strut mount bearing balls (nothing to do with hub bearing balls) fell to the ground. This showed me that the strut mounts had been compromised.

The bottom line: unless your car has been in a violent front-end collision or hit a road hazard (e.g., a paving "cliff" or a deep pothole), the strut housings are likely to be fine. I'd focus on the strut mounts. A front-end collision that bends the strut housings likely means the car is "totaled".

Hope this helps.

Yours faithfully,

Spook





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Strut Tube Problems 900

Thanks for the responses.

As far as what part failed... I'm going by what the mechanic told me. I gave him strut bushings, ball joint and tie rod as possible parts to replace. He said those were not the problem, and either the strut housing is bent or there is an internal problem with the steering rack. ???

Strut mounts? I had new upper strut mounts installed when new struts were installed about 15k miles ago. So the struts themselves and upper mounts should be fine.

I'm going on what the mechanic says. He is not a Volvo expert, but has done good work on the car for me so far.

And I already picked up a set of strut housings. ??? So maybe I'll go the route of diagnosis by parts replacement, and have them put in (plus ball joints). An expensive potential fix, but I need to keep the car alive.





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Strut Tube Problems 900

+1

Check your strut mounts. The mounts often go before the strut itself. If you are feeling a vibration then it could be the mounts. IMHO - if the tube and or mount needs replacing then (since you are going to be in there anyway) I would consider going ahead and replacing the strut insert or complete strut while there.

Quick mount test. Put a large spanner on the large upper strut nut and twist horizontally. It should move a little but if it moves easily with no or little resistance then the mount is toast.
--
Will I buy another Volvo??? We'll see....





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Strut Tube Problems 900

Dear jwalker,

Hope you're well. Because the strut housing is not secured to the mount directly, even a failed mount is unlikely to cause damage to the strut housing.

The strut insert's threaded rod is secured to the strut mount. If the mount fails, the entire strut housing - into which the strut insert is locked by the chrome-plated, fine-thread nut - will shift position as the tire hits bumps, etc.

As MrNabisco reported vibration, it is more likely that the strut mount has just begun to fail, so the housing's movement is limited. Had the strut mount failed completely, MrNabisco would hear "clunks" and 'bangs". Even then, it is unlikely that the housing would have been "bent".

Hope this helps.

Yours faithfully,

Spook





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Strut Tube Problems 900

I suggest you reread my response. I agree with you that the mount is the likely cause of the vibration.

Mr. Nabisco - I also suggest checking your other front end parts as vibration can be caused by something as simple as wheels bring out of balance.
--
Will I buy another Volvo??? We'll see....





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Strut Tube Problems 900

Dear jwalker,

Hope you're well. I understood you agreed as to the strut mount.

I wanted to note that strut mount failure should not usually damage the strut housing, the part MrNabisco's mechanic thought was "bent" and so the source of the vibrations.

Hope this helps.

Yours faithfully,

Spook





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Strut Tube Problems 900

its real easy. Get a goo one from a junker





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Strut Tube Problems 900

Thanks for the response.

Got a line on a set.





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Strut Tube Problems 900

car-parts.com





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Strut Tube Problems 900

Thanks.
Made a connection over on TurboBricks for a set that a guy removed to put in coilovers.





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