XC90 Ball Joint Replacement and Non-OE Parts Observation
Username
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    Results 1 to 4 of 4
    1. #1
      Member ggleavitt's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2005
      Location
      Seattle
      Posts
      2,617

      XC90 Ball Joint Replacement and Non-OE Parts Observation

      Did ball joints on the '05 yesterday (171k). Put in Meyle HD in a few years back as part of an overall suspension refresh at 120k, been chasing a low thunk and creak when loading and unloading suspension (since October), worse when turning at the same time. The suspension refresh at 120k included HD spring seats, LCA and all other hardware (shocks too) and thought it was feeling reasonably tight. Everything that went in on the refresh was OE except spring seats and ball joints. New rack and tie rod ends around 6 months ago (separate post) and bushings all good with some wear but no tears. I replaced end links a few months back (had a set around) thinking this was the cause of the sounds, made an improvement but not a lot. So really was a perplexing problem, at the end affecting steering (did not feel as solid going around curves although I'm pretty picky about how this car drives).

      Could feel a little “bump” with one wheel down and one up with moving tires left/right but nothing really dramatic. Was about ready to button everything up and call it a lost cause when I thought to try moving the wheel a few more times left/right with my hand all around the suspension components. That’s when I “thought” I could feel it more at the base of the steering knuckle. So back apart everything went and the ball joints got replaced and for a good reason. They were super loose in/out of the socket. Now car drives like new (tightened seat cross nut and top strut nuts jut to cover my bases) and, since I have a lifetime alignment on the car, will seal the deal tomorrow and call it good until the next thing loosens up.

      Couple to things I re-learned;
      *Cheaper is not always better. This is around 50k after the refresh, OE ball joints were fine when I pulled them at 120k. OE is in now, we’ll go back to basics.
      *If you’re serious about doing ball joints on your XC90, invest in this tool (sage advice courtesy of my friend who is als0 a certified Volvo tech): https://www.germanspecialtytools.com...-joint-remover (image only, this site has a good price but you’ll want to check around yourself). I can attest that the last time I did ball joints, I flailed around for nearly half a day trying to get the ball joint stub out of the LCA and eventually had to remove the LCA plus ball joint (pried it out of steering knuckle) and pounded on the LCA until the stub came out. With this tool, I had the stub out of the LCA in about two minutes (90 seconds of that was setup). Wear safety classes when you do this, an incredible amount of pressure is required to get the stub to release from the arm, it’ll “pop” when it goes.


      As far as the job, did it in on jackstands with everything still attached, strap from LCA to LCA to get them bent down (this per VIDA), compressors on the springs to get the shock up around 1 to 2 inches (allow the ball joint stub to come out of the LCA). Use the tool to get the joint separated from the LCA, remove bolts and pound down on the ball joint flange “lip” at the steering knuckle to get the joint off. Clean the steering knuckle socket well, use some grease on socket and ball joint, put new ball joints back in (make sure the attaching bolt holes line up perfectly) and you can use any thin walled 2 inch ID pipe (go gently in and around the ball joint rubber, don’t tear it) plus a wood block and a hammer to finish getting them seated in the socket. I did indeed put my ball joints in the freezer this time before doing the install, cannot say it made too much difference but to me it seem to go into the knuckle easier than the last time I did it.

      First side from tire off to back on with new ball joint took around an hour, second side took maybe 40 minutes. Buttoned everything back up, went for a drive and enjoyed the silence. Car seems much more solid as well.

      Ball joints were in pretty bad shape, lots of play in and out plus a bit side to side (but mostly in/out). https://goo.gl/photos/KaGo5g9sWcYy99nCA shows what they looked like inside. One on the right was much looser than the one on the left (and it really did sound like the issue was coming from the right side).

      These parts were put in per instruction, so no damage on installation at the time. They just wore out by 50k and I don’t off-road the car, mostly city driving with some potholes. Go figure...

      **Disclaimer, having been messing with this problem for some time (always sorta seemed to happen when the suspension got unloaded), I bought ball joints and spring seats (another set of IPD HD, very happy with them) last month so was part so my "plan" to do balljoints at some point regardless. Spring seats looked nearly new in the car after 50k and I did the '08 front end last summer so these will sit for spare...**
      Last edited by ggleavitt; 12-25-2016 at 05:15 PM. Reason: typo, add disclaimer
      2005 XC90 B5254T2 019 200k
      2008 XC90 B8444S Sport 452 130k

    2. Remove Advertisements

      Advertisements
       

    3. #2
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Jul 2015
      Location
      Lehigh Valley, PA
      Posts
      776
      Nice write up!

      I have never been impressed with Meyle parts in the 30+ years that I have owned and worked on BMW's ... never.
      2009 XC90 V8 R-Design

    4. #3
      Member oneofakind's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2015
      Location
      West Yellowstone, MT
      Posts
      1,504
      I've found that in the key components (engine, tranny, suspension, steering), nothing beats OE. Lemforder does a good job, Meyle is decent, Denso is good just to name a couple that come close, but I believe that if an engineer specifies a manufacturer to build a product and pays them big bucks, they expect the best. Not so much with non-OE. Having said that, for non-stressed parts (interior cosmetics, plastics, other "looks" items), aftermarket works just fine, probably because they're simpler to replicate and those companies didn't have to put the money into R&D.

      Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
      2007 XC90 V8 Sport (R-Design), Passion Red, Large Iron Mark Grille, Satin Black Metallic Powder Coated Rims, 2013 Smoked Tail Lights, Lighted Upper Tail Lights, Chrome Executive Inlets, 32" Light Bar, Full Roof Rack w/ 36" Tri-Row Bar, 20" Light Bar, 4 7" Side Light Bars, 2 6" Back Up Light Bars, Full Sized Shovel, Full Sized Axe, Hi-Lift. S60R Brembo Brakes Front+Rear, 25mm Spacers, EBC Rotors+Pads.

    5. #4
      Member ggleavitt's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2005
      Location
      Seattle
      Posts
      2,617
      Maybe we can get something put together over time about direct OE alternatives versus quality aftermarket parts manufacturers.

      Bosch, ATE, ZF Systems, and Denso are all OE product manufacturers and have direct fitment across Volvo and other carmaker lines.

      I have heard in the past that OE suspension parts are Lemforder, good if someone could validate (or not). Would also like to know who's doing bushings and rubber if anyone is aware.

      A review of my posts will note that generally speaking I'm "blue box" (OE) all the way. I'm was cool with making an exception with spring seats, and at one point in time I guess I was cool with aftermarket tie rod ends and balls joints, but not any more. The amount of labor I would have had to pay someone to do this job twice in 100k would have covered any increase by using OE parts in the first place.

      If others are aware of who's producing what for Volvo direct OE fitment (with direct OE level quality), please add your 2 cents. Maybe we can finally put some guidance together for others to benefit from.

      Thanks
      Last edited by ggleavitt; 10-04-2017 at 09:41 AM. Reason: typo, remove spring seat reference
      2005 XC90 B5254T2 019 200k
      2008 XC90 B8444S Sport 452 130k

    6. Remove Advertisements

      Advertisements