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Front Strut and Spring Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Strut and Spring Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$250

Talent:

****

Tools:

15/18mm wrenches, 5mm/8mm hex drivers, dead blow hammer, penetrant spray, spring compressors, flat head screwdrver

Applicable Models:

Volvo C30 T5 (2008-13)
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design (2008-13)

Parts Required:

Front struts, front strut mounts, front strut bearings,

Hot Tip:

Use caution working with spring compressors

Performance Gain:

Improved handling

Complementary Modification:

Install sport struts

One of the most popular projects to perform is the replacement of the front and rear shocks on the C30. I usually recommend that you replace both the front and the rear at the same time, as they take roughly similar abuse over their lifetime, and the fronts or rears are not likely to be more or less worn than the other ones. As a rule, the shocks should always be replaced in pairs (left and right together).

I recommend that you replace your shocks every 50,000 miles or so, or if they start to show signs of fading or wearing out.  If you push down on a corner of the car, it should spring back with almost no oscillation up and down. If the car bounces up and down, then you probably need new shocks. Different driving patterns may also affect the life of shock absorbers. Cars that are raced or often driven on windy roads may need to have their shocks replaced more often than your standard daily driver. It is also important to remember if you install performance springs into your car that lower it from its stock level, you will need to have the car realigned. Changing the height of the suspension also changes the values of the suspension settings.

Changing the front struts requires jacking up the car and making sure it is firmly supported on jack stands. See our article on Jacking up your C30 for more information. Keep in mind that it is not possible to remove the struts one side at a time because of the preload on the sway bar with the wheels on the ground. This prevents the sway bar drop links from being removed.

Left and right sides of car - Begin by pulling the grommet surrounding the brake lines out of the bracket attached to the strut.
Figure 1

Left and right sides of car - Begin by pulling the grommet surrounding the brake lines out of the bracket attached to the strut.

Left and right sides of car - Remove the ABS sensor harness (green arrow) from the bracket on the rear of the strut assembly.
Figure 2

Left and right sides of car - Remove the ABS sensor harness (green arrow) from the bracket on the rear of the strut assembly. You'll also need to remove the upper sway bar link connection. You'll need to loosen and remove the 15mm nut (yellow arrow) while holding the 5mm hex end (purple arrow) of the sway bar link.

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is an example of how to loosen the 15mm nut from the sway bar link.
Figure 3

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is an example of how to loosen the 15mm nut from the sway bar link. A set of hex drivers and ratcheting wrenches makes this job a bit easier.

Left and right sides of car - Follow the sway bar link down to the lower connection at the sway bar.
Figure 4

Left and right sides of car - Follow the sway bar link down to the lower connection at the sway bar. Use the 5mm hex driver and 15mm wrench to remove the sway bar link from the sway bar. Keep in mind that it will be difficult to remove the sway bar links from the car unless both sides of the car are on jack stands. This is due to the preload on the sway bar with the wheels on the ground.

Left and right sides of car - Loosen and remove the 15mm bolt at the rear of the wheel carrier (green arrow).
Figure 5

Left and right sides of car - Loosen and remove the 15mm bolt at the rear of the wheel carrier (green arrow). This bolt clamps the strut assembly inside the wheel carrier.

Left and right sides of car - At this point, you need to slide the wheel carrier off the strut.
Figure 6

Left and right sides of car - At this point, you need to slide the wheel carrier off the strut. You'll likely need to use a dead blow hammer to get it started. Give the section marked by the green arrow a nice little tap with the dead blow hammer to get it started.

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is the wheel carrier after the strut has been removed.
Figure 7

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is the wheel carrier after the strut has been removed. A bit of penetrant spray around the strut helps to free it up. Carefully position the wheel carrier out of the way. Note the tab on the strut (green arrow). You'll want to make sure that this is lined up with the gap in the wheel carrier (yellow arrow) when reinstalling. You'll need to use a floor jack under the front control arm and jack it up into place on the strut. When lined up, slide the 15mm bolt through both the wheel carrier and the tab.

Left and right sides of car - Now remove the three 15mm bolts Green arrows) holding the strut to the wheel housing inside the engine compartment.
Figure 8

Left and right sides of car - Now remove the three 15mm bolts Green arrows) holding the strut to the wheel housing inside the engine compartment. It is useful to have a helper hold the strut assembly when removing these bolts.

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is the strut assembly removed from the car.
Figure 9

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is the strut assembly removed from the car.

Left and right sides of car - You'll need to now compress the spring in order to remove it from the strut assembly.
Figure 10

Left and right sides of car - You'll need to now compress the spring in order to remove it from the strut assembly. You want to have them exactly opposite of each other to apply equal pressure to either side of the spring. This takes the load off the spring and allows you to remove the top nut. Use caution here. The springs are under pressure with the top nut in place. Follow the directions on your particular set to the letter.

Left and right sides of car - Use a flathead screwdriver to pop the protective cap (green arrow) off the top of the strut mount.
Figure 11

Left and right sides of car - Use a flathead screwdriver to pop the protective cap (green arrow) off the top of the strut mount.

Left and right sides of car - Now use a 5mm hex driver to hold the strut shaft in place while you loosen and remove the 18mm nut holding the mount in place.
Figure 12

Left and right sides of car - Now use a 5mm hex driver to hold the strut shaft in place while you loosen and remove the 18mm nut holding the mount in place. Once again, make sure that you have compressed the springs enough so that the nut can be removed easily. If it is difficult to remove the nut, STOP. Go back and re-check the tension.

Left and right sides of car - You'll need to carefully pull the edge of the strut boot (green arrow) from the lip (yellow arrow) at the lower spring perch.
Figure 13

Left and right sides of car - You'll need to carefully pull the edge of the strut boot (green arrow) from the lip (yellow arrow) at the lower spring perch. Once free, remove the strut mount/dust boot from the strut. You can now remove the spring.

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is the strut mount/dust boot assembly.
Figure 14

Left and right sides of car - Shown here is the strut mount/dust boot assembly. You'll want to check a few things before installing them on the new strut.

Left and right sides of car - Here is the strut with the spring and mount removed.
Figure 15

Left and right sides of car - Here is the strut with the spring and mount removed. When you get new struts for your car, they will arrive in this condition.

Left and right sides of car - Use a flathead screwdriver to pull the dust boot (yellow arrow) over the strut bearing/upper spring perch (green arrow).
Figure 16

Left and right sides of car - Use a flathead screwdriver to pull the dust boot (yellow arrow) over the strut bearing/upper spring perch (green arrow). Once released, pull the dust boot off and inspect it for cracks. If cracked, replace the dust boot.

Left and right sides of car - Under the boot is the bump stop.
Figure 17

Left and right sides of car - Under the boot is the bump stop. Like before inspect for any cracks or damage. Replace if needed. The edge of the bump stop (green arrow) fits into the edge of the strut bearing/spring perch (yellow arrow).

Left and right sides of car - You'll also want to pull the strut mount (yellow arrow) out of the strut bearing/spring perch (yellow arrow) Check the strut mount for crack and/or rips.
Figure 18

Left and right sides of car - You'll also want to pull the strut mount (yellow arrow) out of the strut bearing/spring perch (green arrow) Check the strut mount for crack and/or rips. You'll also want to check the strut bearing operation. Turn the bearing back and forth. If it makes excessive noise or does not turn smoothly, replace it.

Left and right sides of car - When fitting the spring to the new strut, make sure that the end of the spring coil (green arrow) butts up against the indentation on the lower spring perch (yellow arrow).
Figure 19

Left and right sides of car - When fitting the spring to the new strut, make sure that the end of the spring coil (green arrow) butts up against the indentation on the lower spring perch (yellow arrow).

Left and right sides of car - Now slide in the strut mount/dust boot assembly over the strut rod and through the mount.
Figure 20

Left and right sides of car - Now slide in the strut mount/dust boot assembly over the strut rod and through the mount. Use the new locking nut supplied with the shock and tighten it down until it bottoms out. At this point you can remove the spring compressors and the strut assembly is ready to be installed in the car.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Volvo S70 Comments: great instructions again, thanks Pelican. i wanted to point out that there is a typo in figure 18, on the instructions you refer to both parts as Yellow Arrow, whereas it's Yellow and Green Arrow.

Thanks
February 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for catching that. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Adam Comments: Awesome article! I didn't have to remove the lower sway bar end link connection. And instead of a dead blower hammer I put a bottle jack in between the wheel carrier and bottom strut seat.
June 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Doug Comments: Great write-up. l'm about to do this.
BTW, I think you have the pictures swapped around for 14&15
May 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good catch. I will have it fixed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Craig1606 Comments: Excellent writeup.
it gives me the confidence to replace the top shock mount / bearing that's faulty on my car.
May 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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