Tzantushka

Ultimate DIY guide to replacing 4C front struts

32 posts in this topic

Fellow R enthusiasts,

 

Installing new front struts (shock absorbers) is well within a competent DIY mechanic in the driveway. 

If you have the right tools, take your time, and follow common sense when compressing the suspension spring – this is a very rewarding repair.

 

I highly recommend purchasing all the parts beforehand, including new nuts & bolts.

If your spring seats or strut bearings are doubtful, replace them. 

You’ll want to avoid doing this again to replace a low cost part.

 

 

Part recommendations

Common consensus is to stick to Volvo genuine parts or better. Avoid cheap parts.

Here’s an exploded diagram that will help with purchasing parts and re-assembly.

 

V70R_Suspension_Assy_zps527e3ddb.jpg

 

Shock absorbers

Item #13 - you have two options for the S60R/V70R:

1) purchase the Volvo part which costs about US$500-$600+ ea.

 - P/N 30683703

2) purchase the Monroe part approx. US$290 from RockAuto

 - P/N C2501

Monroe is the OEM supplier for Volvo.

Both parts fit perfectly and have the correct connector lead and include a new top nut. 

Always replace shocks in pairs.

 

Nuts & bolts

Highly recommended that you purchase new nuts & bolt hardware.

The nuts are self-locking which deform on tightening. 

If you look closely at the nut you’ll see the threaded section is slightly oval. 

Plus, they’re only a few bucks each.

#4 - Strut bearing to suspension turret nuts (x6)

 - P/N 985868 (flange lock nut)

#10 - Strut to steering knuckle nuts (x4)

- P/N 982870 (flange screw)

#11 - Strut to steering knuckle bolts (x4)

- P/N 985660 (flange lock nut)

 

Other parts if you need them

#2 – Strut top washer (x2)

 - P/N 30647969

#3 – Cross nut (x2)

 - P/N 31262068 (fitting)

#5 - Strut bearing (x2)

- P/N 30714968 (support plate)

#6 - Spring seat (x2)

(use the ipd HD or Volvo XC90 spring seats)

 - P/N 112831 (ipd)

 - P/N 30683637 (Volvo XC90)

#8 – Bump stop washer (x2)

 - P/N 31201386 (stop washer)

#7 - Bump stop (x2)

 - P/N 30760914 (helper spring)

#9 - Dust boot (x2)

 - P/N 30666850 (protection bellows)

#14 – Plastic ABS sensor lead bracket

 - P/N 8646203 (bracket)

 

 

Planning your work

Seeing as the V70R suspension is similar to the 850 and Gen 1 cars, there are plenty of resources on the web:

 - Guide from Swedespeed with some pics

 -

I followed the instructions in VIDA as they’re proven & work very well.

You can download the PDF at the end of this post.

 

 

Tools you will need

  • Trolley jack & axle stands
  • 13, 18, 19, 21 & 22 mm ring spanners (box wrench) and/or sockets
  • T40 Torx bit
  • T50 Torx bit
  • 10mm socket & extension (1/4” drive is best)
  • Vernier calipers
  • Good quality spring compressor
  • Torque wrench

 

Tools to make life easier:

  • Impact wrench
  • Breaker bar with 18 or 21 mm socket
  • Hammer
  • Punch 6 mm (or 1/4")
  • Punch 2 mm (or old drill bit)
  • Small screw driver
  • String
  • Pliers with wire cutter
  • Old wire coat hanger
  • ‘G’ clamp
  • 3 x 2” block of wood about 17” long

 

Optional specialty tools:

  • Set of Allen keys (hex keys) – metric or imperial, doesn't matter
  • Loctite (always good practice)
  • 18, 21 & 22 mm crow foot wrench (allows correct torqueing of counter held nuts)

 

 

Notes to VIDA instructions

Differences in strut top nuts

Factory fitted struts may use 21 mm SEMS nuts (combined nut & washer).

Monroe OEM struts come with 22 mm lock nuts and separate washers.

Having the right sized crowfoot wrench ensure you can correctly torque the top nut whilst counterholding the shock absorber shaft.

The plastic covers for the strut top nuts will fit over the 22 mm nuts, but persuasion with a hammer is required.

 

Levering the Lower Control Arm (LCA)

If you have polyurethane LCA bushings fitted you may find it difficult to re-install the spring strut assembly.

You’ll need to lever the control arm down, whilst attaching the steering knuckle, and re-inserting the bolts at the same time!

 

 

Work instructions

Preparation

Chock the rear wheel, jack-up the front of the vehicle and support the front sub-frame on axle stands.

Remove:

:: the road wheel (19 mm socket)

:: the anti-roll bar link from the spring strut (18 mm ring spanner & T40 Torx)

 

Remove:

:: the ABS sensor wire from the spring strut and move aside

 - be careful not to break the plastic clip, you’ll re-use this later

:: the ABS sensor (10 mm socket)

 - hang up the sensor using a piece of wire

:: the position sensor [accelerometer] from the spring strut

 - undo the bolt (10 mm socket) and move the position sensor aside

 

Measuring camber

Measure the spring strut position in relation to the wheel knuckle [spindle] before removal

Note! The measurements are taken so that the same camber angle can be obtained when installing.

See the illustration in the VIDA instruction PDF

Tip:

You can use the vernier calipers here - or - use a small Allen key to measure the inside gap between the strut and steering knuckle (like a feeler gauge). 

When re-assembling, slip the same size Allen key into gap to set the approximate camber.

 

Removing the spring strut

Remove:

:: both the nuts from the screws in the spring strut

 - (18 & 21 mm ring spanner and/or sockets & breaker bar)

:: the two bolts securing the spring strut to steering knuckle

 - (you’ll need a hammer & punch to tap out the bolt)

Tip:

Place a thick cloth over the CV boot to prevent damage in case the strut drops down onto the CV boot. 

Otherwise cut the bottom off a plastic soda bottle and cut the soda bottle lengthways so you can clip the soda bottle over the axle and CV boot for protection.

 

Secure the wheel spindle with a piece of wire (coat hanger) so that it cannot turn outwards when removed from the spring strut.

Otherwise you may damage the axle CV joints.

 

Disconnect the 4C connector

:: Loosen the 4C connector by the suspension turrets and the lead from the clips.

:: Pull down the connector lead to the wheel housing.

Tip:

LH & RH 4C strut connector location (when facing the engine bay)

 - 3rd connector from the top

 - look for two wires, brown & black

Use a small screwdriver to push in the retaining clip on the 4C connector.

To facilitate re-assembly of the 4C strut wires:

 - tie a piece of string to the strut bar

 - tie the other end of the string to 4C strut connector you just removed

 - when the connector lead is unclipped and falls to the ground untie the string on the connector

 - use the string to pull the new connector lead to the top the engine bay

Removing the strut bar does improve access to the connectors, but removal is not necessary.

 

P3060008_zps4d27348b.jpg

 

Remove:

:: the nuts that hold the shock absorber bearing in the suspension turret x 3 pcs

 - (13 mm socket)

:: the spring strut assembly from the vehicle

Tip:

Loosen, but leave 1 x nut closest to the fender attached to the strut bearing.

This will stop the strut falling down awkwardly.

When you’re ready to remove the strut assembly from the vehicle reach up and remove the last 13 mm nut.

Carefully manoeuvre the strut assembly out of the wheel well, taking care to avoid the CV boot, brake hoses, and sensor wires.

Ensure the steering knuckle doesn't flop around.

 

Spring strut disassembly

:: Pry off the plastic cap from the top of the spring strut assembly

 

Removing the strut bearing

Secure the spring strut in a vise (or lay the spring strut assembly down on a clear & flat surface.

Remove:

 - the nut for the shock absorber bearing (21 mm ring spanner & T50 Torx)

 - the washer

 - the strut bearing

 

Removing the spring

 - Attach your spring compressors

Tip:

Only use good quality spring compressors

Make sure the spring compressors are spaced at 180 degrees from each other

Ensure the spring compressor thread is well lubricated

Tighten the spring compressors evenly

Having an impact wrench saves time, but a ratchet will do the job

You have compressed the spring enough when:

 - you can move the spring seat

 - the spring has lifted off the shock absorber

 

Remove:

 - the cross shaped fixing nut on the shock absorber (T50 Torx as a counter hold and hammer will undo the cross nut)

 - the rubber spring seat

 - the spring

 - the rubber bump stop and dust boot (gaiter)

 

Check that the strut bearing plate, the spring seat, the rubber bump stop with boot are undamaged. Replace if necessary.

 

Spring strut re-assembly

Remove the ABS sensor cable clip from the old shock absorber.

 - note the ABS sensor cable clip is secured by 2 x expanding plastic rivets

 

DSCF4066.JPG

(image from Howards Volvo site)

 

 - carefully punch out the plastic center pins using the 2 mm punch

 - retain both plastic center pins

 - remove the cable clip from the old shock absorber and transfer to the new one

 - insert the plastic center pins and tap in until they are flush

Tip:

If you break the expanding plastic rivets, you can use pop rivets to fix the cable clip to the new strut

 

Installing the spring

Compress the new spring to a length of approx. 260 mm

(if you've compressed the spring sufficiently for disassembly – you should be OK)

Install:

- the bump stop with the boot

- the spring

- the upper spring seat

 - the fixing nut [cross nut]

 - tighten the cross nut to 70 Nm (52 ft.lbs)

Tip:

Make sure the spring is seated correctly in the shock absorber and upper spring seat

If you don’t have the special cross nut socket (e.g. ipd version)

 - apply Loctite to the cross nut

 - use the Torx T50 as a counter hold

 - tighten the nut securely using either; a small ring spanner, channel locks pipe wrench or even a few ‘love taps’ with a hammer

If you have installed spring seat correctly and torqued the cross nut properly you won’t have to re-tighten the cross nut later on

 

Installing the shock absorber bearing

Install:

- the strut bearing [support plate]

 - the washer

 - the top nut and tighten to 70 Nm (52 ft.lbs)

Tip:

To ensure the right torque, use a 22 mm crowfoot spanner on your torque wrench and Torx T50 as a counter hold

Otherwise tighten with a 22 mm ring spanner and Torx T50

 

Re-installing the spring strut

 - Fit the spring strut in the suspension turret with new nuts x 3 pcs

 - Tighten to 25 Nm (19 ft.lbs)

 - Pull up the shock absorber’s connector lead in the engine compartment and plug in the connector by the suspension turret. (this is where the string comes in handy)

Fit the 4C connector lead in the clips

Install the spring strut on the stub axle. Use new bolts and new nuts.

Tip:

When re-installing the strut assembly, it’s easier to install, but don’t fully tighten, the 3 x nuts in the suspension turret – as this allows some wriggle room when installing the steering knuckle bolts.

If you have polyurethane LCA bushings fitted (especially the rear LCA bushings) you may require extra force to lever the control arm down to make room for the strut.

This can be challenging with one person.

To make life easier:

 - Protect the CV boot with a thick cloth or plastic soda bottle

 - Using the G clamp, fix the piece of wood to the control arm as shown below

 - You can then use your foot to force the control arm down whilst connecting the steering knuckle to the strut

 - Jiggle the control arm and strut whilst inserting the bolts

 

e8ad485f-8851-47fb-b9e3-097b42f6985e_zps

 

Adjust the spring strut and stub axle to the measured value.

Note! Ensure that measurement is performed at same points as when removing.

Tip:

Tighten the strut bolts snugly, but do not fully tighten

Use vernier callipers to check the measurement, or use the Allen key method

 

Tighten the screws to 105 Nm (75 ft.lbs) and further angle tighten 60 degrees

 

Final re-installation

Install:

:: the position sensor

 - the bolt for the position sensor (10mm socket)

 - tighten to 24 Nm (18 ft.lbs)

 

:: the anti-roll bar link to the spring strut

 - re-install the nut (18mm ring spanner & T40 Torx)

  - tighten to 50 Nm (37 ft.lbs)

 

:: the ABS sensor

 - re-install the bolt (10mm socket)

  - tighten the ABS sensor bolt to 24 Nm (18 ft.lbs)

Note! Ensure that the ABS sensor seat in the stub axle is absolutely clean.

 

:: the road wheel

 - re-install the lug nuts (19 mm socket)

 - tighten to 140 Nm (103 ft.lbs)

 

Lower the car to the ground and perform a SUM calibration.

Also get a wheel alignment after SUM calibration.

That’s it!

 

If I can do it, so can you.

Cheers,

 

 

Trent

 

Front Strut.pdf

Edited by Tzantushka
Corrected part number for flange screw

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Thanks for the detailed writeup! I have the new struts and this will take the guesswork out of the install.

 

Thanks again!



What type of stands did you use under the subframe? The ones I have are 15 tall at their lowest setting. How does that compare to the ones you used?

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Just did mine this weekend, including a wheel bearing. Pass side, yesterday - the strut was completely shot. D side was actually pretty good. Got the driver side done this morning.

 

I reused all nuts and bolts. But wish I had the strut nuts at least. I beat them up with the impact going off. And torquing those puppies up I didn`t go the full 60 deg, I just went to 110 n-m and then some. Brake bolts are also a high torque setting I was afraid I`d snap or round them off. 

 

I got a new spring compressor for $85 came with locking pins, worked awesome.

 

SPRING SEATS from Rock Auto DID NOT FIT out of the box!! Exact part but I had to hone the inside diameter about 0.02` in order for them to drop over the strut shaft. Used  some grease there too because unfin metal = rust.`I could have reused mine they were in great shape (120K miles 2006 MY)

 

Had to reuse the bump stops the ones from Rock were wrong. The 2501 struts, washers, bearing, bellows were good.

 

I used the witness marks, eyeballed the camber. Pretty close might be a shade too negative on the one side. 

 

Still have my dull rattling over jiggly bumps so that must be something else loose in the front end. I does feel a lot like our LR3 did but that was an issue with the steering racké bushings. WIth the V70R doesn`t feel like a rack issue but could be.



Also I did not have to do anything too freaky to get the strut back out and in. Just used my knee I think,&  maybe one hand to push down the control arm the other to work the strut in place. Then put a screwdriver in there, but one side I went right to the bolts.

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What type of stands did you use under the subframe? The ones I have are 15 tall at their lowest setting. How does that compare to the ones you used?

 

Your axle stands measure up similar to mine.

11" retracted & 18" extended.

 

In reality how high the car is lifted is constrained by the floor jack.

My 2 ton floor jack doesn't have the lift compared to the axle stands.

I only used half the reach of the axle stands and access was fine.

 

 

Shark,

 

That's a bugger the parts didn't fit from Rock Auto.

But glad everything went back together.

With your dull rattle - have you checked the end-links and lower control arm bushes & ball joints?

Edited by DownundeR

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Again, thanks for the information. I haven't started mine yet because when I read your writeup and saw the torque values for the strut bolts I realized they were TTY bolts and I needed to get new ones. They are currently on order from IPD, along with new strut mounts/bearings (yet another might-as-well-as-long-as-I'm-in-there).

 

I reused all nuts and bolts. But wish I had the strut nuts at least. I beat them up with the impact going off. And torquing those puppies up I didn`t go the full 60 deg, I just went to 110 n-m and then some.

 

As I said above, I decided to get new ones. They are torque-to-yield bolts, as signified by the additional turn amount after the torque value is reached.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

Torque to yield fasteners are mounting hardware which is torqued beyond the state of elasticity and therefore undergoes plastic transformation, causing it to become permanently elongated.

 

Torque to yield (TTY) bolts are often used on cylinder heads in modern combustion engines for the sake of saving weight and to obtain a more precise clamping load. Compared to normally tightened hardware, a smaller sized TTY bolt/screw may be used while still maintaining the same clamping force. A drawback with TTY hardware is that it normally has to be replaced when loosened, for example when the cylinder head is removed.

 

Since you didn't go wild when tightening them back they may be OK. It seems as though most of the load would be 90º to the bolt axis and not much, if any, along its axis (as there would be with a head bolt clamping the head to the block).

If you wanted to replace them you could do them one at a time and not alter your camber.

 

 

 



You should be able to get Grade 8 (or better) bolts from the hardware store - they aren't anything special, they just need to be the correct length and diameter.

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That's right.

Torque to yield fasteners are single use only.

BUT it's common for many shops to re-use them.

 

That's where the loctite comes in handy.

Personally, i wouldn't re-use these types of fasterners more than twice.

Edited by DownundeR

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The strut to steering knuckle is a compression fitting, at least for camber retention.  The camber may move on you (me) in a high enough impact. So what's the procedure when you go for an alignment?? New nuts and bolts every time according to spec.?

 

I am going to replace while the fasteners while they are still "fresh" because I am concerned about the nuts they are a bit rolled off due to the impact. Those suckers were on tight!

 

 

PS I've got a TT convertible that our engineers toot around in and the camber was way off , one wheel pass side, probably what happened to that car - improper torque or impact moving the strut.

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 So what's the procedure when you go for an alignment?? New nuts and bolts every time according to spec.?

That's a good question. I don't know the answer, but it sure has me wondering.

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I believe I will be using this write up in the near future.  Below are the sypmtoms that I am experiencing, can someone let me know what I should be replacing?

 

1.  Rattle in the front end when going over bumps

2.  With the hood open and putting weight down on the front end, the boot on top of the nut (#22 in the above skematic) moves up and down.  This leads me to believe the spring seat is shot

3.  Car is not nearly as "tight" as it used to be.  Cornering leads to a lot of sway in the car and needs to be taken at a slower speed then before.

4.  Most likely not connected to this issue, but there is a lot of power steering noise recently.  Belts are tight, fluid is at recommended level

 

Car is a 2004 6 speed Manual.  91,000 miles.

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Sure sounds like the spring seat has failed based on your #2 above. I have the same rattling noise when going over rough pavement, too.

 

I can easily spin the big washer (#2 in the diagram) by hand on my car, which was how I diagnosed the problem based oninput from Trent and JRL (thanks again, guys).

 

You're looking at new spring seats at minimum. I chose to get new seats, struts, strut mount/bearings, bump stops, and bolts based on recommendations from the group, plus I plan on keeping the car for a long time. I didn't realize the strut mounts actually had a bearing in them (and therefore is a wear item) so I didn't order them along with the other parts. They just arrived today, so I don't have an excuse to put off tackling the job any longer.

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They're called BEARING plates by Volvo

 

Er... yes.

In the trade often referred to as 'bearing plates' or 'strut/shock absorber bearings'...

 

But in the Volvo parts catalogue and they are called 'support plate'.

Just watch out for that...

 

 

I believe I will be using this write up in the near future.  Below are the sypmtoms that I am experiencing, can someone let me know what I should be replacing?

 

1.  Rattle in the front end when going over bumps

2.  With the hood open and putting weight down on the front end, the boot on top of the nut (#22 in the above skematic) moves up and down.  This leads me to believe the spring seat is shot

3.  Car is not nearly as "tight" as it used to be.  Cornering leads to a lot of sway in the car and needs to be taken at a slower speed then before.

4.  Most likely not connected to this issue, but there is a lot of power steering noise recently.  Belts are tight, fluid is at recommended level

 

Car is a 2004 6 speed Manual.  91,000 miles.

 

 

 

Okey dokey... 

Could be a number of things.

 

#1 on the suspect list are upper spring seats!

These things are virtually 'consumeables' for this car :)

 

Also check your lower control arms.

They often exhibit a very deep rattling/rumbling sound.

More info - here

 

Sway bar end links typically exhibit a higher pitch rattling sound over bumps.

Other areas to look at are your ball joints and inner/outer tie rod ends.

 

Good luck with the diagnostics

 

Trent

Edited by DownundeR

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My 2006 120K miles spring seats were fine, totally reusable. Maybe the early models were worse. the XC90 ones I got were Identical to what I took out save the ID of the bushing.

 

From the top of the assembly you have the nut, the washer plate, the bearing plate (w/3 nuts), the spring seat jams into the bearing plate., the spring and the strut through the spring.

 

The top washers lift off the bearing plate when the suspension is laden. I have no difference with that gap from what I removed to new what I put in. Still about 0.2" of float there. That is from the strut shaft bottoming "up" onto the spring seat, which engages the damping action of the strut. From this position it is all spring and strut compression or decompress under damping, unless you unweight the wheel then it will contact that washer up top.

 

A spring seat shouldn't cause knocking. The spring has 900 lbs force on it driving into the tower. A failed strut is undamped spring action and under movement is unstable - resulting in dangerous high freq bouncing and oscillation.

 

Downunder is correct the only culprits for knock are

1. the links ( I guess this knock sounds like  it is coming from the firewall like mine does - |I have new links on order)

.2. Tie rods or inners - this knock should be sensed in the steering wheel

3. the ball joint would be a deeper knock at much lower freq since they are under much more load.

 

No more joints to knock 



I should clarify (lol) that the 0.2"float disappears when you unweight the wheel

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Exceptional guide!  On behalf of the many R enthusiasts, Thank you!   

 

Can you offer any suggestions on help purchasing parts and how to replace of the 4C rear struts?  

 

 

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Exceptional guide!  On behalf of the many R enthusiasts, Thank you!   

 

Can you offer any suggestions on help purchasing parts and how to replace of the 4C rear struts?  

 

Should be able to source the rears from RockAuto, FCP & your dealers...

Will dig up some info on the rears.

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Installed new front struts, lowered the car and finished by installing the nut cap on the end of the strut but it didn't fit the new nut.

I proceded and used my air impact to remove the new and replace with the old one so the cap would fit. In tightening the old nut, with the air impact wrench, the strut shaft spun, so I finished with an allen wrench and box wrench.

Now the strut is kluncking and feels loose. Is this strut now damaged???

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Sorry to hear that...

 

Are you talking about the plastic cap that covers the nut?

If yes, I mention that in the original post = Notes to VIDA instructions

The plastic cap requires some persuasion, but it does fit on the larger top nut. 

 

With your current situation, could be two things:

 

1) upper strut hardware may be loose or not seated

Such as the strut bearing, washer, cross nut etc.

Check everything is seated and re-torque correctly with counter-hold

 

2) strut shaft or upper spring seat is kaput-ski

Depends how much rotation the shaft went through...

You will need to remove and inspect the strut to make sure.

Edited by Tzantushka
Tidy-up formatting

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One question, is this part number correct? Can't find this nut anywhere. IF not, what is the size/thread?

 

#10 - Strut to steering knuckle nuts (x4)

- P/N 982780 (flange screw)

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Will check for you in the morning.

Ipd sells them - see: http://www.ipdusa.com/products/9074/120406-front-strut-lower-lock-nut-p2-s60-s80-v70-xc70?crumbs=P0,P9075

 

Edit: You are right.

 

Oops. 

Looks like I had the incorrect part number.

Have updated the first post.

 

Should be:

#10 - Strut to steering knuckle nuts (x4)

- P/N 982870 (flange screw)

Edited by Tzantushka

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I just got my Struts done in a local shop, I supplied the parts XC90 mounts.  The ride over rough pavement sounds like someone hand drumming on a table top. Told the shop about it.

 

Now this weekend opened the hood to check oil and my eyeballs popped. The have about 1" of thread exposed at the top of the strut. ie If the plastic cover caps were installed they would look like a joke. 

 

Did these guys absolutely crank the nuts to achieve this?? The spring must be really compressed correct? I didn't think it was possible to do something like that without eliminating a washer or other part. 

 

I seriously looked at my hood liner wondering if this poked a hole in it.

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I do have a good pix - had to upload to our webserver.  Now the problem with this is the spring is more compressed, ride height is probably a bit lower, spring "pre-load" is increased so the ride is stiffer (which it is). With no chassis calibration, the previous calibration is more "off" than if the dimensions/spec were closer. Just drums over rough pavement and I'm getting some oversteer particularly in the wet which isn't too good!

 

 

V70Rstrutthreadsm.jpg

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