Piston Slap: Volvo's Getting Shafted?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Rob writes:

I am a regular reader, and now I need some advice. I have a 2000 Volvo S40 Turbo, with 106,000 miles. Recently when I’m on the highway and go to increase speed the car vibrates really bad. It will cruise with no problem, but the moment you try to pick up speed the vibration starts and continues till you let off the accelerator.

Another thing, I am living in Western KY [ED: sounds painful] and I have not even seen a Volvo dealer ship in this area. So if anybody knows of an independent mechanic I would appreciate it.

Sajeev replies:

That sounds like a bad CV joint. Which should be easy for any mechanic to spot on a lift. Remember, because of labor rates, sometimes it’s cheaper to replace the CV axle assembly versus an individual boot and joint.

As per usual, anything Volvo related gets Piston Slapped by TTAC’s Alex Dykes for the priceless advice of a model-specific enthusiast.

Alex Dykes replies:

Well, Rob, it looks like your S40 is just barely broken in with 106,000 miles. While Volvo was founded on the reputation for rock solid reliability and “run-foreverness,” modern cars are modern cars and stuff breaks from time to time. Although not a common failure with the S40, it sounds to me like one of your inner CV joints is going. You can get the car up on ramps and see if there is excessive play in the inner CV joint. The parts aren’t cheap, it’ll run you $350 to $380 for just the half shaft, but the good news is if you are mechanically inclined you can do the replacement yourself in a few hours.

I know you’re in Kentucky, but Darrell Waltrip Volvo in Franklin, TN, has excellent pricing on parts for the DIY inclined. Since you seem to be having troubles finding a Volvo service location near you, I would suggest getting a yearly subscription to a service like alldatadiy.com, they have online shop manuals for most cars which the serious backyard mechanic would prefer over something like a Haynes manual.

[Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Anonymous Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009

    Cut your losses, ROb, sell the 10 yr old POS. Volvos hav e become very unreiable the last few years.

  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Sep 23, 2009

    Autosavant wrote: Cut your losses, ROb, sell the 10 yr old POS. Volvos hav e become very unreiable the last few years. Yes, because a CV joint on a 9-year old car is like totally unacceptable. Sheesh! I had to replace both CV joints on my Mom's car last year ... and both rear wheel bearings. It was the same age as the poster's S40 ... but it's a Honda Accord. Should we sell that POS too? Oh the horror! PS: I will third the Rock Auto advice. They saved me a ton of cash on a Tacoma Air Mass Meter recently.

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