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Old 11-24-2018, 01:38 PM   #1
Jraider
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Default Help Please! Harsh, rough ride 240.

Hello, I've only owned my 1990 240 DL wagon (165k) for about 2 months now, but I just cant get used to how rough the ride is. I've owned lots of VWs, Camaros, Jeep Cherokee with off road tires and lift. The 240 is the roughest ride. I've have had it up on the lift and the struts and springs are all factory (I just changed out the rear shocks). Nothing is loose and I just had an alignment done. On large bumps, you can actually leave your seat. I like the car a lot, except for this harshness. I cannot imagine the car being this harsh new. I've had lots of high mileage cars before and they typically have a squishier ride with more miles. Just put new winter tires on it (no change in ride). What am I missing here? Thanks!
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Old 11-24-2018, 02:02 PM   #2
freevolvos
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When I put gas charged front and rear shocks on my 240 it rode like a 2 ton Truck for a month but it did finally settle down
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Old 11-24-2018, 02:07 PM   #3
Boxcar Man
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Cheap shocks / strut inserts? What is your tire pressure?
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Old 11-24-2018, 03:32 PM   #4
Jraider
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~30-35psi
Rear shocks are KYB gas-A-just
Front are factory volvo
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:46 PM   #5
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That's what I had in the rear and gas filled monroe in the front
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:59 PM   #6
dl242gt
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Well original 165k miles stock front struts are beat. KYB gas adjust in the rear you will continue to have a harsh ride. They suck but are better than nothing. The KYB GR2 shocks ride a bit nicer than the gas adjust.

I would suggest something like the Sachs touring if you want a gas shock that will ride decent. If you want to go cheaper than that you could try the Gabriel struts and shocks. They are gas and should have an aceeptable ride.
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Old 11-27-2018, 10:10 PM   #7
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Car has no body roll. Doesn't dive when braking. Doesn't bounce when push on the front end. I would agree struts are old but don't behave like shot struts. So is the consensus to buy the Sachs touring, install on all 4 corners and it will ride like a 90s 5 series? What car would you compare the factory ride to? I have owned several mkii Jetta (same vintage) with much softer ride. I just can't imagine the elderly people who bought this car new putting up with a wrangler like ride...
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Old 11-27-2018, 10:39 PM   #8
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Are you certain the springs are factory? Oversize rims on it?
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:04 AM   #9
DET17
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With wagon springs at stock ride height (not TB chopped into the weeds) I'd suggest a full set of Bils HD dampers. You'll like how it feels..... got a set in the 90 745T at stock wagon ride height and it rides just fine. Do the stage ZERO, and I'll bet you like it. My son is running the GT front springs in his 245 and it rides quite nicely (with ground clearance) and a 23mm front Turbo sway bar.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:10 AM   #10
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I don't recommend bilstein hds if you live in a pot hole ridden area. You will hate driving the car. Do all the suspension bushings as well and go with sachs or kyb, or anything you can afford. It will be better than what you have now.
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Old 11-29-2018, 01:28 AM   #11
dl242gt
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You could pop your head under the car and take a look at those springs. Put a dial caliper on the springs and see how thick the wire is. Maybe someone put very stiff springs on the car?
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Old 11-29-2018, 02:27 AM   #12
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If your strut inserts are Bilstein's, my experience has been they get stiffer(rather than softer) over time
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:15 AM   #13
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Thanks for all your responses. I did the muffler last night. When I lowered the car to thr ground I pushed down on the front bumper and it just went down without much reflex. Got me thinking the springs are maybe shot. I googled it, and read that a harsh ride is a symptom of worn out springs. Thoughts?

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Old 12-04-2018, 12:20 PM   #14
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It's not the springs that wear out, it is the strut inserts. I have a 240 with new bilstein touring front struts and rear shocks. New volvo brand lower trailing arm bushings, kaplhenke strut mounts, super pro poly torque rod bushings, new inner and outer tie rods, ball joints, poly sway bar mounts, and it still rides like an old Volvo wagon. No clunks, groans, or excessive bounciness, but still, it ain't smooth! Even in the best case with all good bushings and suspension components, it's just never going to be as smooth as a more modern car. It is old technology. YMMV.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:37 PM   #15
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How is the condition of the front strut mounts? Look for cracks in the rubber surrounding the top strut nut. If you decide to replace front strut inserts, I'd recommend replacing the strut mounts and installing some of the strut mount reinforcement plates sold by user "15A" on the board here. (Note: Reinforcement plates will raise the car approximately 1/8" plus whatever the new strut mounts do for ride height.) Also, you're not going to want bilstein HD inserts or rear shocks, they ride quite stiff but I enjoy it. I never considered my HDs to have a "rough" ride even with lowering springs but sounds like you may be a little more particular. Also, check the condition of your ball joints and control arm bushings while you're at it and make sure to read the book to do the control arm pre-torque correctly as to avoid hurting the rubber bushings. Sounds to me like the bushings are worn anyway.. not a difficult task, just don't cheap out and definitely don't go poly if you're looking for ride quality.. It's certainly not uncommon for the rear trailing arm bushings going to the axle tube to be worn out, especially with any amount of mileage on them.

Edit; I would however recommend bilstein HD rear shocks if you plan to carry a lot of weight. They're not stiff at all for a "performance" shock but I found them to be a big step up in rear bounce control when carrying heavy loads. In fact, coupling rear HDs with OEM sachs or Monroe front strut inserts results in a pretty neutral balance. Just make sure your bushings and mounts are up to snuff. Sounds to me like that's where the harshness is coming from. My 240 wagon breezed over speed bumps when I first acquired it (totally stock) but has since got much stiffer with all the suspension modification I've performed.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:29 AM   #16
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So here is my plan of action. The strut mounts appear to be crack free, so my plan is to keep running them based on the bad experience people are having with replacements unless one spends the big $$$ for Kaplhenke's, which I am not at this time. I was able to buy some strut reinforcement plates from 15A and will be installing them in conjunction with a pair of Sachs Super Touring struts. This is kind of experimental at this stage anyway to see if I can isolate the problem. I'm thinking it has to be in the shocks, as so many of you have pointed out. We will see what happens! Thanks again for all the suggestions. I will follow up.
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