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    1. #1
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      Air suspension is toast.

      2016 XC90 T5 Inscription here. The vehicle has been a dream to drive but about 2,000 miles after its 50,000 mile mark I started to notice a bit of chatter in the suspension over light roads at low speeds. This seemed to be most apparent when the car was first started and driven, and not so much as the day went on...? There was about a month of this and I'm guessing it's the struts. Searching online it doesn't seem to be too uncommon and I guess I'm lucky they lasted this long.

      Fast forward to today and the entire air suspension system is shot. The air suspension service required warning shows up on the dash as soon as you start moving. The vehicle will not go up or down. It'll try - or at least act like it - but just stay stuck in whatever position it was headed in, so if Off Road is selected the visual indicator stays pointing up, or if Dynamic is selected the indicator gets stuck pointing down. There are no mechanical sounds when this is happening, it just shows the indicator (which won't go away unless the car is restarted) and doesn't move up or down.

      I have no idea what's actually wrong, but since the vehicle is juuust out of warranty the repair cost is mine alone. Awesome.

      So I guess I'm kind of venting and wondering what you would do. Throw down the likely thousands of dollars to have a 50,000+ mile out of warranty XC90 repaired? Sell it to someone who doesn't mind broken air suspension at a severe loss with a lesson learned?

      Happy Holidays.

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    3. #2
      Member lamarguy's Avatar
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      It could be as simple as a fuse, or you may need a new air compressor. Calm down and get a quote to fix it before you assume the worst.
      OSD '18 XC60 T8 Momentum - 22" 10-spoke wheels, lowered air suspension, strut tower bar, Stealth hitch

    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by lamarguy View Post
      Calm down and get a quote to fix it before you assume the worst.
      If anything I'm being realistic as 1) I already mentioned that the struts are physically rattling so the suspension needs to be repaired regardless of the air-specific components and 2) there are several posts which outline the fact that, while the fuse is first to be swapped, the problem inevitably persists and the compressors need to be changed as per Volvo.

      Either way I'll report back on the quote once I make the 2 hour drive over to the nearest dealer.

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    6. #4
      Member lamarguy's Avatar
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      Suspensions are complicated, and any number of components can cause a rattle over bumps. You assume the 4C shocks are the cause.

      Good luck with the diagnosis.
      OSD '18 XC60 T8 Momentum - 22" 10-spoke wheels, lowered air suspension, strut tower bar, Stealth hitch

    7. #5
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      Your options are pretty limited. Either repair with your own pocket and sell it a few years later OR sell it at a lower price and eat the loss. I would of picked the repair at my own expense. Because I knew what would happen if I went with air suspensions. (I didn't get air suspension on mine)

      Someone once told me this if I were to go with air suspensions no matter which vehicle brand:

      1. they will always fail at some point or needs to be repaired at some point.

      2. buy extended warranty and sell it just before warranty expires to avoid paying the fixing cost. (if the warranty applies to air suspensions)

      3. they would be harder to sell unless you sell it very cheap.

      4. if you have extra money to throw away for repairs, love your air suspensions, need to have air suspensions, then go for them.

    8. #6
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      Any suspension needs replacement as a vehicle ages. Selling your XC90 and buying another will cost you a lot more than fixing the suspension. You’ve already taken the depreciation hit so why not just keep it and fix it?
      My bride’s - 2019 XC40 (July 2019 OSD), Momentum Mine - 2013 VW GTI Drivers Edition and 1996 VW GTI VR6 (bought new and still love it) Ours - 2008 Jeep GC Limited with a Hemi.

    9. #7
      Junior Member VolvoXC90Inscription's Avatar
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      I agree - don't panic and please read the other air suspension thread. I had air compressor changed twice, and just came back from a vermont ski trip without any problems.
      2016 XC90 T6 Inscription - Onyx Black - Vision & Convenience Packages - HUD - 4C Air Suspension - Center Booster Cushion - PA2 Upgrade - Intellisafe Support Upgrade
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    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by GTIGuy View Post
      Any suspension needs replacement as a vehicle ages. Selling your XC90 and buying another will cost you a lot more than fixing the suspension. You’ve already taken the depreciation hit so why not just keep it and fix it?
      I've never had to replace the suspension in any vehicle I've owned. I've replaced some shocks before but not because they were failing/bouncing, I just wanted 'better' shocks.
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    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by stick_shift View Post
      I've never had to replace the suspension in any vehicle I've owned. I've replaced some shocks before but not because they were failing/bouncing, I just wanted 'better' shocks.
      Shocks and struts lose their effectiveness anywhere from 50,000 - 100,000 miles. I start checking them around 50,000 miles. I’ve replaced control arms and some bushings on various vehicles over the years. We tend to keep vehicles for at least 10 years so it’s inevitable to replace some items.

      Because we keep vehicles so long, air suspension is not something I would buy. When we replace our Jeep with a newer model, we’ll have to stick with a Limited because Overland comes with an air suspension.
      My bride’s - 2019 XC40 (July 2019 OSD), Momentum Mine - 2013 VW GTI Drivers Edition and 1996 VW GTI VR6 (bought new and still love it) Ours - 2008 Jeep GC Limited with a Hemi.

    12. #10
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      You claim the whole suspension is toast without actually knowing what is wrong. At least spend 2 minutes to check the fuse. Great thread.

    13. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by GTIGuy View Post
      Shocks and struts lose their effectiveness anywhere from 50,000 - 100,000 miles. I start checking them around 50,000 miles. I’ve replaced control arms and some bushings on various vehicles over the years. We tend to keep vehicles for at least 10 years so it’s inevitable to replace some items.

      Because we keep vehicles so long, air suspension is not something I would buy. When we replace our Jeep with a newer model, we’ll have to stick with a Limited because Overland comes with an air suspension.
      Hogwash
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    14. #12
      Member inteller's Avatar
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      let us know how much out of warranty cost is, I'm interested in knowing how boned people are gonna be here in a few years.

      mine has been done twice. I'm guessing it was about 2k to Volvo each time.
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    15. #13
      Moderator The Driver's Avatar
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      Have you taken it to reputable Volvo Mechanic? I'd skip the dealership and go to a pro, then you'll know what's really going on.
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    16. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by The Driver View Post
      Have you taken it to reputable Volvo Mechanic? I'd skip the dealership and go to a pro, then you'll know what's really going on.
      Broad brush there
      Last edited by Tech; 12-29-2019 at 03:14 PM.

    17. #15
      Moderator The Driver's Avatar
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      What? I'm lost..
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    18. #16
      Member hfwilkesjr's Avatar
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      Find an independent Volvo mechanic. Good luck and please keep us posted.

      Air suspensions ride better than springs.....at the cost of increased complexity and more components with shorter life spans (a metal spring will usually last longer than a pressurized sheet of rubber under the same load and I’d say the fiberglass leaf spring in the rear will also last longer than the airbags).
      If your looking to keep any vehicle for more than five years and don’t want the added expense of repairing airbags and/or an air compressor, then don’t purchase any vehicle with an air suspension. I know it doesn’t help in this situation but it may be something to keep it in mind for the next one.
      (Hers) Current Ride - 2017 XC60 T6 AWD
      ( His ) Current Ride - 2016 XC90 T6 AWD

      (Hers) Past Rides - 93 244, 05 XC90, 15.5 XC60
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    19. #17
      Member inteller's Avatar
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      very few indys are going to have experience with these.
      2016 Bright Silver Metallic XC90 T8 Inscription, everything
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    20. #18
      Junior Member Dystaxia's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by The Driver View Post
      Have you taken it to reputable Volvo Mechanic? I'd skip the dealership and go to a pro, then you'll know what's really going on.
      I'm fairly confident my Volvo Dealership is a pro at replacing my compressor...

      The first time it took 4 days...

      After the third compressor failed, it now only takes them a day.
      2018 XC60 T8 R-Design | Bursting Blue | Convenience | Vision | Advanced | B&W Premium Sound | Heated | Air Suspension
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    21. #19
      Moderator The Driver's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dystaxia View Post
      I'm fairly confident my Volvo Dealership is a pro at replacing my compressor...

      The first time it took 4 days...

      After the third compressor failed, it now only takes them a day.
      lol, I'd take it somewhere else. 3x, I'd think it's something else causing it to fail at that point. Never had any major component fail 4x, on any of my Audi, Merc, Bmw or Volvo's.
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    22. #20
      Junior Member Dystaxia's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by The Driver View Post
      lol, I'd take it somewhere else. 3x, I'd think it's something else causing it to fail at that point. Never had any major component fail 4x, on any of my Audi, Merc, Bmw or Volvo's.
      There's actually not a lot to that system, it's just the compressor itself that is dying. They plop a new one in and off I drive.

      This one has been in for 3,000+ miles - so... It's almost time again, ha!!

      I can't get too mad, it's only cost me my time as they always provide a loaner and the work is under warranty.

      And trust me, they had one of their field service reps looking at my car too, because yes, something failing that many time is unusual.
      2018 XC60 T8 R-Design | Bursting Blue | Convenience | Vision | Advanced | B&W Premium Sound | Heated | Air Suspension
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    23. #21
      Moderator The Driver's Avatar
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      Ah! Almost forgot!!!!

      I have had a semi-major component fail 3x, I did some digging with the P/N an it turned out they all were reman's so I made them give me a brand new one (Which i paid for the first time!) and long behold no issues now. Just food for thought.

      Personally I think Reman parts are worse than good condition used. Again just my 2 cents.
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    24. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by The Driver View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Dystaxia View Post
      I'm fairly confident my Volvo Dealership is a pro at replacing my compressor...

      The first time it took 4 days...

      After the third compressor failed, it now only takes them a day. <img src="http://www.vwvortex.com/Anthony/Smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />
      lol, I'd take it somewhere else. 3x, I'd think it's something else causing it to fail at that point. Never had any major component fail 4x, on any of my Audi, Merc, Bmw or Volvo's.
      Proves you have no business saying stuff like "avoid the dealer, take it to a pro".

      As inteller said, not a lot of indy shops will have much experience with the system, since they are just coming out of warranty now.

    25. #23
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      Quote Originally Posted by stick_shift View Post
      Hogwash
      Really? How many miles do you get out of your original shocks and struts?
      My bride’s - 2019 XC40 (July 2019 OSD), Momentum Mine - 2013 VW GTI Drivers Edition and 1996 VW GTI VR6 (bought new and still love it) Ours - 2008 Jeep GC Limited with a Hemi.

    26. #24
      Moderator The Driver's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      Proves you have no business saying stuff like "avoid the dealer, take it to a pro".

      As inteller said, not a lot of indy shops will have much experience with the system, since they are just coming out of warranty now.
      It was an OEM distrubutor.. great job, again.

      Dealers are not Pro's, they are parts replacers that is all.
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    27. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by The Driver View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      Proves you have no business saying stuff like "avoid the dealer, take it to a pro".

      As inteller said, not a lot of indy shops will have much experience with the system, since they are just coming out of warranty now.
      It was an OEM distrubutor.. great job, again.

      Dealers are not Pro's, they are parts replacers that is all.
      Again, broad brush.

    28. #26
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      That's why I bought VIP extended warranty for 100K and I'm getting rid of this car after that. I'm pretty sure the air suspension repair will get my money back.

    29. #27
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      "Hogwash" No, it's really not. 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan in my garage now- Sway bar links replaced, twice. Front struts dying. 65K miles. 2007 Merc C class. Motor mounts replaced, sway bar tie downs replaced, which required major disassembly of front suspension and a bill of over a grand. 4 wheel alignment done at that time, unable to get rear end back to recommended spec, but dealer got close enough that tire wear was not a problem. This happened at under 50K miles. Honda Del Sol, Ford conversion van, 89 Nissan truck, 75 Volvo 240, 69 Ford Cortina- all needed major suspension work at one time or another. Or virtually every vehicle I have ever owned, unless I sold it after only 3 or 4 years. Only exception was a 95 Saturn SL2, which except for brakes and exhaust, was virtually bulletproof.

    30. #28
      Junior Member LukeFlynn's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by The Driver View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      Proves you have no business saying stuff like "avoid the dealer, take it to a pro".

      As inteller said, not a lot of indy shops will have much experience with the system, since they are just coming out of warranty now.
      It was an OEM distrubutor.. great job, again.

      Dealers are not Pro's, they are parts replacers that is all.
      Lol so you think we just replace **** off the cuff without even thinking about it? 9/10 on a SPA car it’s gonna be a part replacement because this stuff is REALLY failing and any diagnosis will confirm this.

      The last thing we want is for it to come back on our shoulders again
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    31. #29
      Junior Member rudsaki's Avatar
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      If you were to sell yours and buy a new one that would be a $30k hit, so $2k air suspension fix is a bargain. Especially since you said it has been a dream to drive before this happened. This means you were able to get one with no NVH and vibration issues!
      According to these people the air suspension is a must because of the standard harsh ride;
      https://www.cars.com/articles/is-the...1420688761906/

      Agree with you though that nothing should fail at just 50k miles. I have a 2004 S60 with 170k abused miles and a pampered 2005 S60 San Jose life car with just 115k miles and they both ride like they have concrete tires and rattles everywhere. Replaced so many parts on the '04 chasing vibration issues and never fixed it.
      Wife has a 2009 Ford Escape V6 4WD that she drives the crap out of up and down from our mountain house for 210k miles now. No suspension component or CV axle has needed any attention. I have only recently replaced the upper fluid motor mount. Car is smooth on the highway. Has one rattle which is the tailgate latch I have to grease twice a year.

      I owned only Volvo's all my young to middle age life and loved them, but they shouldn't get some special pass for failing CV axles, suspension parts, bearings, rubber bushings, AWD collar/angle gears, PCV, etc, etc.
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    32. #30
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      Quote Originally Posted by rudsaki View Post
      Agree with you though that nothing should fail at just 50k miles.
      I've only had one car past 50,000 miles that didn't need suspension parts replaced - a Civic VX. The V70, Odyssey, Subaru wagon and Starlet all needed shocks/struts replaced between 50,000 and 70,000 miles and in each case it made a notable improvement in ride/control.

    33. #31
      Member inteller's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Catfiend View Post
      I've only had one car past 50,000 miles that didn't need suspension parts replaced - a Civic VX. The V70, Odyssey, Subaru wagon and Starlet all needed shocks/struts replaced between 50,000 and 70,000 miles and in each case it made a notable improvement in ride/control.
      You must live in a 3rd world country because V70s are solid, I've seen them over 150k with good suspension.

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    34. #32
      Junior Member bunnny's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by stick_shift View Post
      I've never had to replace the suspension in any vehicle I've owned. I've replaced some shocks before but not because they were failing/bouncing, I just wanted 'better' shocks.
      Care to share the “better” options, please? I’m considering some “refreshments” and just being curious about the preferred brands/models. Thanks.

    35. #33
      Junior Member Catfiend's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by inteller View Post
      You must live in a 3rd world country because V70s are solid, I've seen them over 150k with good suspension.
      Washington and Wisconsin, all in town. I'm not saying that we couldn't have driven it with those shocks but it definitely felt better after replacing them. It was starting to wallow on on ramps at about 65k miles. Same issue with the Subaru.

    36. #34
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      My air suspension needed repair last winter. It seized up as the OP described during a cold snap. Then the dealership repaired it with new compressors and it worked fine again until it got really cold again and seized up the same way. Then they did something else which they wouldn't explain fully and then it worked again. Although it hasn't gotten that cold again since - except for a few days this winter when I kept worrying about getting in and hearing it seize up again. It didn't (but the back door locks froze up - another thread). So maybe it really was repaired. Or maybe when it gets cold again for enough days after some more use, there will be more problems.

      I was wondering if the compressor fails more often in the cold. Or if the compressor is working harder in the cold because the parts being impacted by the air change are stiffer in the cold. I'm still within warranty so I'm keeping a close eye/ear on my air suspension and any issues, it'll go right in to the dealer for service. And given that the air suspension is a likely failure point for this car, and that it will be expensive/tricky to repair, seems wise to make sure you get whatever warranty service you can while you can.

    37. #35
      Junior Member Catfiend's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ktbos View Post
      My air suspension needed repair last winter. It seized up as the OP described during a cold snap. Then the dealership repaired it with new compressors and it worked fine again until it got really cold again and seized up the same way.
      Just curious, what sorts of temps are you thinking of when you say "really cold"? I'm pretty sure there are plenty of people who would think we have some serious cold spells where I live (along Puget Sound) but nothing we see would be worse than a mild chill compared to what they get in Wisconsin for weeks/months at a time.

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