The right way to check the ball joints of the rods is to get big pliers and grab the joint; if they're ok it isn't possible to press the bolt in. I must admit the first time I checked them I did it with my bare hands, no brainwave, no pliers.. stupid me....
I checked the ball joints of the rods again and there was a ridiculous amount of play. No need for pliers this time, the weight of an ant was enough to show the play...
When I checked them the first time they were probably filled with rust and old grease giving the same feel as a new one.
Exessive play, most obvious around 54 seconds
Time for new rods!
I started with the Steering rod . I used a ball joint splitter to get the track rod ends out of the arms. Then I measured the overall length so the toe in would stay the same (well...I hoped it would stay the same..).
|Left steering track rod end Volvo 122S|
|Steering rod Volvo Amazon|
|Steering rod removed Volvo 122S|
The steering track rod ends are different on each side. On the left hand side (seen from sitting in the car) the thread is opposite of what you are used to. The right one has a normal thread. This will give you the possibility to turn the steering rod and thus in- or decrease the toe-in. Turning the steering rod in the same direction as the wheels when driving forward will increase the toe-in, turning the steering rod the other way will decrease the toe in.
|Different threads left and right steering track rod ends|
After replacing the steering rod ends I started disconnecting the left tie rod. Again using the ball joint splitter.
This replacement is pretty straight forward and won't take long. I protected the new rims with some rags while splitting the joint.
|Splitting the tie rod joints|
|Protecting the GT rims while splitting the tie rod joint|
With the tie rods you also have a left (L) and a right (R) side one.
|Left (L) and (R) tie rod Volvo 122S|
As can be seen in the previous pics, the castle nuts with split pen were replaced with nyloc nuts. When I tried to tighten the nuts the "bolt" from the joint started to turn, making it impossible to tighten the nut. So I put a jack underneath the joint and pushed it a bit (not too pressure!) so I could tighten the nyloc nuts with a 37 Newton meter torque.
|Pushing the rod in the arm|
After all the new steering parts were fitted I drove the Volvo to a tyre centre to get a wheel alignment. It's best to do this straight away, otherwise you need new tyres within a couple of thousand miles.
At a wheel alignment they will check and adjust the Camber, Caster and Toe-in.
Camber is angle between the vertical axis of the wheels used for steering and the vertical axis of the car when viewed from front.
Caster is the angle created by the steering pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the line is angled forward, and negative if backward.
Toe represents the angle derived from pointing the tires inward or outward from a top-down view – much like looking down at your toes and angling them inward or outward.
In the Volvo Greenbooks and Haynes you can find the following specifications:
Camber: 0.5 degrees positive
Caster: 0 - 0.5 degrees
Toe in: 0 -0.4 mm
However to get a better grip I choose for the following specs:
Camber: 0.4 degrees negative
Caster: 1.0 degrees
Toe in: 0.35 mm
|Camber and Caster adjusted with shims|
|Toe-in adjusted by turning steering rod|