Sway Bar Endlink Diagnosis
If your front end is clunking and you can’t seem to find the source, sway bar endlinks may be the cause of your frustration.
All the FWD/AWD Volvos on the market use a one-piece endlink with a ball joint socket on each end. One end of the link is attached to the strut housing and the other is attached to the sway bar. As these joints wear out over time they will begin to pop and knock when the suspension moves. From time to time the nuts that hold the endlink in place can back off and simply re-torquing them can alleviate the noise.
For failures that aren't caused by loose fasteners, check the endlinks for play with a pair of large channel-lock type pliers. Squeeze the endlink and look for any signs of play in the joint. If you don’t have large enough pliers to do this, try grabbing the sway bar near the endlink and with heavy force, push and pull the sway bar up and down vertically and feel/listen for play in the endlink joint.
These Volvos also have a propensity to make a similar noise from the upper strut mount so distinguishing between the two is important. Sway bar endlink noise tends to occur when the vehicle is loaded side to side. This means it may not make much noise when the vehicle goes over a bump straight on like a speed bump. Upper strut mounts tend to make noise whenever they travel over bumps or even just uneven road surfaces.
A final sure-fire test is to take the endlinks off of the vehicle. This is not advisable for every day driving since the sway bar will not be functioning but it is good for ‘around the block’ diagnosis. If the noise is gone with the links removed, you can be sure new links will put you back on the road with a smile. Typically, you can expect to get around 60,000 miles service out of our standard replacement endlinks. Maybe more, maybe less depending on the types of road surfaces you frequent.