The Truth About Cars » springs The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:51:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » springs Piston Slap: Butt Draggin’ Bushings? Wed, 29 Aug 2012 11:40:24 +0000


Craig writes:

My daily driver for a while has been a 1988 Volvo 240 sedan with about 100K miles. I do have some nagging maintenance issues I need to address when the weather warms up.

The main one is the suspension bushing, specifically the trailing arms. The car sits a little ass-low, and it gets worse if I put a lot of weight in the trunk. I have read that this is from the bushings, not the springs and also that they are a bitch to change. It this a doable repair for a home mechanic? In the last few years I’ve replaced the master cylinder, water pump, and my proudest moment took my broken wiper motor, another broken one from the junkyard and McGuivered the two together into a functional motor.

Thanks, Craig.

(the 240 is the Swedish Panther)

Sajeev answers:

The 240 (or 940, according to the B&B’s Volvo experts) is indeed the Swedish Panther!  Who-hoo, thanks for making that connection for all of us!

I was surprised to see a control arm bushing causing the sag you described but–according to Google–it is possible! At the ripe old age of 24, do a visual on all of your bushings. Consider replacing ‘em all.  This is certainly labor intensive compared to your previous projects, but this website looks like a great big help.

With the age and low mileage in mind, quite honestly, it’s time for new shocks, springs and a lot of new rubber bushings.  They are all toast: go do ‘em all. Also consider replacing entire control arm assemblies to get new bushings in the process with less labor involved. I suspect the aftermarket for 240s can make that happen easily, and it might be worth it to you. So consider it, cost-benefit analysis style.

For what its worth, I have my independent mechanic do jobs like this.  It’s too much time for me, and my shop is worth every penny in labor cost. And I’ll do it all over again, 15-20 years from now, if needed!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

]]> 24 Celebrates Spring Equinox Sat, 20 Mar 2010 18:18:35 +0000

March 20, 2010.  Spring Equinox. Spring has sprung. How could celebrate the first day of spring 2010 better than with a concise pictorial history of springs?

Apart from tires and seats (which typically have their own springs, the seats, not the tires) the car’s suspension is what protects your (personal) rear end and spine from the rigors of the road. Apart from shock absorbers (which we’ll celebrate the minute we’ll find an appropriate season for shock absorbers), springs are an essential ingredient of your suspension. Springs come in three basic flavors.

The common leaf spring has been in use in cars and trucks into the mid eighties. From then on, they became an object of derision, except on heavy duty trucks, which use them to this day. The leaf spring was also called “carriage spring,” because it is as old as the horse-drawn carriage. Hence its humorous effect.

To the untrained, a coil spring seems to be the most logical choice. It’s inbred: Most of us have been created with some type of coil spring involved. (See picture left.) To remove or to install a coil spring, you need to be able to operate a coil spring compressor tool. If you don’t know how to operate it, this can have similar effects as a coiled snake. The coil spring is sometimes used in combination with the leaf spring. Or with a shock absorber inside. We’ll get to that later. There are many other coil springs in your car, from valve springs to the spring that pulls your accelerator back – or not.

Then there’s the torsion spring, that strange contraption I learned to hate when I was a young copywriter and they threw me on the Volkswagen account. Die Drehstabfeder or Der Torsionsstab is (so it has been drummed into me) basically a rod that twists along its length. It was popular in the VW Beetle, in the Porsche 356, in the early Barockengel BMW 501/502, in early Porsche 911s, and several Chrysler and GM cars. To this day, I don’t understand why one would twist a poor old rod if there are springs. To this day, they use torsion bars.

From here on, we get into more complex matters, such as coil-over-oil, (or possibly coil-over-gas, but it doesn’t rhyme). It is a combination of a shock absorber and a spring, also known as a McPherson strut. When I was a young copywriter in 1973, this was a big deal. Later, they confused me completely by combining a McPherson strut with a double wishbone suspension. At that point, I turned into a Creative Director and was above such minutiae.

This concludes our TTACesque celebration of the Spring Equinox. May the sun shine bright on you, don’t forget to change the winter tires, and  give your car a good rinse to get the salt out.

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