The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Rear Wheel Drive Suspension Overview

2012-05-09 - ipd staff

Cameron from IPD goes thru the suspension components of rear wheel drive model Volvos and explains the basic setup and identifies the primary parts.

Video translation: 

"All right Cameron from here and today we're going to talk about some of the basics of suspension on a rear-wheel drive Volvo what the main components are where they are and what you should look out for. Here on the lift today we have a Volvo 242 so we'll talk about the main components on the front of it. First a lot of this is very much the same as you'll find on a Volvo 740 or a Volvo 940. As far as the front strut assemblies going and what the basic components are, even though they look a little different in those cars this should still give you a good idea of kind of where everything is and what it does. 

So, let's first look up this way. This is the front strut assembly and control arm assembly for the front of these cars. The main components that we want to look at. We want to talk about things that come up all the time their maintenance pieces are going to be. Things like the ball joint, which is this piece right here. The bolts to the control arm is this piece here, sometimes called an A-arm because of the shape of it kind of shaped. Sometimes called a lower control arm if you're old-school. So, the other pieces on this that if you go above the ball joint is going to be the strut tube assembly. This is what's called a McPherson type strut assembly and that just means that it's the style. This  is where the coil up on the top the spring goes around the strut assembly and the strut is an insert into this tube. So, in these cards when you change the struts and this is the same on all rear-wheel drive Volvos the tube stays the same as you pull the old tube out or the cartridge out, put the new one in. 

Looking also right here what you'll see is this, this is the sway bar end link bolts here to the control arm. This goes up and attach this to the sway bar right here which then goes across. Sway bars up you should be pretty familiar with on your car because it's IPD's flagship product and we've got huge upgrades for these that make the car handle ten times better and make it a whole new car. That's kind about it for the front it's a pretty basic suspension system there's just the control arm, ball joint, strut assembly, sway bar, and end link and the associated small pieces like control arm bushings that are here and here. 

Moving to the rear end of the the car we're going to talk about some of the pieces back here the rear suspension setup on these cars. It is a very simple four-link system with a live axle and I'll show you what that means here real briefly. If you look at the rear end here this is the differential, these are the axle tubes. Now if you hear the term solid rear axle or live axle that just means that the back of it is basically a straight tube where it goes out. If you look here you can kind of see how this comes straight out from the differential and it doesn't have a joint here. More modern cars mostly use an independent rear suspension setup which means that there would be a joint here, so that this can articulate. These cars don't do that, they're a much more simple system. So move and pass it over here this way I'll explain some of the basic pieces of the four-link system. Back here you've got a couple main pieces that make up the suspension on the bottom you've got this which is called your trailing arm, in Volvo language. At the front there's a bushing here at the back there's a big bushing. Back here that's a common problem that we'll talk about in a different video. We've also got our shock right here which is our shock absorber. Up here the upper part of our four links is what we call the torque rod and it connects front to back. Then lastly what we're going to have is the anti-sway bar which just like the front does the same thing back. Here it bolts between the two trailing arms routes under the differential over to this side and onto here which is where the other side of it is on the other side of the rear trailing arm. 

Looking from the other side of the rear end of the car to show you some of the other components. We've just got a couple more pieces that complete the rear suspension system. This one is obviously the coil spring it is mounted on the back of the trailing arm here. If we follow that up we're going to see what is called the Panhard bar what its job basically is to locate the car over the rear axle. If you watch it here it bolts through the chassis of the car follow it down this way and it connects to a bracket on this side on the actual rear end. So, it's what is suspending it left to right and holding the car balancing it left to right over the rear end of the car.

That's about it for the suspension very simple setup on these Volvo 740s and Volvo 940s are a little bit different but the basics are pretty much the same they use the same kind of components and hopefully, this helps you identify what's under your car you know what you're looking at any education is always going to help you maintain your car better.