Swedish automaker Volvo is one of the industry movers able to start the about-face from the blast-and-cast school of sports wagon manufacturing. Making room for passenger comfort in performance vehicles, Volvo cars feature an integrated suspension setting that boasts of a best-in-class drivability. Composed of a number of STRUT tower braces and STRUT links, the Volvo suspension assembly is incorporated to the car chassis, which facilitates even weight transfer along the car suspension. With the Volvo STRUTS all braced up for chassis flex during high-speed turns, the Volvo frame is strengthened and makes the car resistant against body roll.
The Volvo STRUT tower brace unifies the car’s STRUTS and sway bars. Collectively, these bars and towers form a frame within the car frame and absorb chassis flex, sparing the car cabin from excessive roll especially during hard cornering. Newer Volvo models come stock-fitted with a STRUT tower brace. Older Volvos can have their suspension setting unified with a simple drill-and-bolt procedure. Because the front suspension turns left and right during steering, front STRUTS are mounted and require no drilling, while rear struts are drilled on to the car chassis.
Volvo rear and front STRUTS are designed to take the brunt of chassis flex. They are steel braces built for durability and can even be reused. They are mounted on heavy-duty chrome shaft MOUNTS to withstand stress. Front STRUT MOUNTS, however, need to have pivot points to allow the front wheels to steer. STRUT MOUNTS at the head of the Volvo suspension assembly have rubber joints with BUSHINGS and bearings to provide a flexible coupling. Front STRUTS with a rubber coupling are used on compact Volvos that have a McPherson STRUT assembly. This type of STRUTS can also be used on the rear end of the car if it is capable of a four-wheel drive. In most cases, fixed chrome shafts are used on rear STRUTS to make the car better equipped against chassis flex.
When the Volvo hug curves, stress is absorbed by the STRUTS and flows down the mounting points. The chrome shafts of the rear STRUT MOUNTS dampen the stress, while the rubber portion of the front STRUT MOUNTS are susceptible to wear out its BUSHINGS and bearings in the face of chassis flex. While the shaft MOUNTS can accommodate the rerouted chassis flex, the BUSHINGS and bearings can give in and reduce the flexibility of the pivot points. On account of the usual stress that the Volvo front STRUT braces meet, STRUT MOUNT BUSHINGS and bearings are suspension assembly parts that necessitate regular maintenance.
A worn out STRUT MOUNT BUSHING can make steering hard and negate the cabin comfort that the Volvo suspension provides. It results in erratic steering and makes a creaking and popping noise. Even at cruise speed, a busted MOUNT can rear its ugly head in the form of excessive play in the suspension. This can break the rubber portion of the MOUNT and snowball into disproportionate bounce and front STRUT collapse. In most cases, the creaking noise precedes the erratic steering, and is one way to tell if the Volvo STRUT MOUNT BUSHING has gone past its peak performance.