Andy's 2000 V70 R


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On 5/10/2021 at 9:34 AM, andyb5 said:

Kinda. The stock Dolby system isn’t compatible. It hasn’t worked since I got the car, so I wasn’t too worried about that. I’ve debated trying to make the Dolby system work again but I don’t even know if the speakers are functioning so it’d be a total rebuild.

The 4 channels - front left, front right, rear left, rear right- are actually 2 speakers per channel so technically the head unit drives 8 speakers. That’s the same as any other non-Dolby setup in these cars.

Just do what I did and really get the purists panties in a bunch ;)



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  • 3 weeks later...

For a long time I've wanted to swap in a FWD subframe to use 2-bolt control arms.  The drivers side 4-bolt arm is really challenging to access because of the M66 case. Several years ago I parted out a 99 V70 NA, and kept the subframe for this project.  I was finally able to get started on the project this winter.

Using a FWD subframe on an AWD car requires welding the AWD transmission mount bracket onto the subframe.  I made a template to locate the bracket on the FWD subframe, then cut the bracket off from an AWD subframe taken from a XC my friend parted out:

Once I had the bracket in place, I had to notch the bracket to fit around the control arm bracket, then drilled the holes in the subframe to allow for full engagement of the transmission mount bolts:

Then once everything was properly prepped and ready for welding, the bracket and subframe around the bracket were ground clean to remove the factory protective coating and 20 years of road grime.

Then I had a friend weld the bracket in place.  I think he did a fantastic job given the questionable cleanliness of the material he was working with:


I cut off some of the extraneous brackets and cleaned everything up to make it easier to work in/around.

Then I had a friend powdercoat the subframe to keep everything protected and looking good for years to come.  They blasted the subframe clean, then applied a zinc primer, the color powder, and gloss clear powder.

Everything came out looking fantastic.  I picked a grey powder with some metallic flake to it:

After being powdercoated, it was time to install a set of BNE Dynamics (Kaplhenke Racing) delrin subframe bushings.

I made a tool to install the bushings - one 3/4" bolt, a 3/4" nut, a three 3/4" fender washers, a 4" metal octagonal junction box, and two j-box covers.  Punch the knockouts out of the j-box and cover plates, then place the j-box above the bushing with one fender washer, drop the threaded bolt through the bushing, then two fender washers and j-box covers, and the nut.  Tighten the nut to drive the bushing into the subframe.  I used my M12 stubby impact and it made life nice and easy.  The cardboard is used to protect the powdercoat.


And the results - the bushings were seated perfectly, and no marks were left in the powder coat:

And with all four bushings installed, the custom subframe is ready for install:

Then I prepped a set of 93 850 aluminum control arms for install.  I picked up 4 or 6 sets a few years back, sold most of them, and kept a pair for myself.

I got a set of new ball joints, then torqued the bolts to spec (13 ft. lbs, then 120 degrees) and safety mark the orientation to ensure nothing comes loose:

The bushings were in decent shape, so I left them for now.  They'll get replaced with a set of Powerflex polyurethane bushings in the future.

I’ll talk about installing the subframe and some other work in my next post

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Thanks Alex!

Okay, so it's not quite time for the subframe install just yet....  






I was headed to my soccer game on a Tuesday night in May. I  had only made it about 1 mile from my apartment when I went over a large bump at 55-60 mph. I heard/felt an unusually loud sound from the passenger side of the car.  It was kind of like I had a flat tire, but worse.  I quickly got the car slowed down, then pulled over to the shoulder and got out.  This is what I saw: 



Left behind a pretty noticeable skid mark from dragging the tire:


After a quick roadside assessment, it looked like the ball joint came out of the knuckle, then the loss of restraint caused the wheel to snap around, separating the axle at the inner CV.  There wasn't any obvious damage to the caliper, rotor, brake line, tie rod, control arm, knuckle, or coilover.  Besides the axle, everything looked suspiciously okay.  That was enough for me think I could cobble a fix together to limp it back home instead of getting a flatbed tow. 

I got a ride home and grabbed some tools and spare parts.  On the way back to my car, I was able to grab this shot of the skidmark my mangled tire left behind.  You can just make out my car stranded on the side of the road off in the distance.


I quickly jacked the car up, then removed the wheel, removed the damaged fender line, removed the bolt that holds the ball joint into the knuckle (somehow still tight and properly in place), then removed the outer piece of the axle.  Next, I pulled the inner portion of the PS axle, then stabbed in a spare OEM 99 PS axle I picked up from @apeacock a couple years ago.  

The ball joint bolt had been gouged away/worn out and allowed the ball joint to slide out of the knuckle.  Being stuck on the side of the road with the sun setting, I didn't have a spare bolt, so I rotated it 180* to put the worn side away from the ball joint, then tightened it down for the short trip home.


Seems like a lot of force would be needed for the bolt to deform like that.  I'm still not sure how that happened to be honest....


My tire was toast from being dragged for a couple hundred yards. Holy crap was it loud when I popped that bubble :laugh: 

Pulled the tire from the rear, put the spare tire on the rear, and 45 minutes after starting work, my car and I were home safely.


After taking some time to really think through the night, I realized that despite the damage, I had been extremely fortunate.  I was able to get pulled over in a safe spot, get my car fixed and got home okay, and there weren't any other vehicles involved - things could've been much, much worse.  

Cosmetically, the passenger fender has a couple of issues that would need to be addressed. 


There is a dent at the wheel well lip, and there is a wrinkle further up where the tire pushed it out.  The paint on the bottom of the wheel well lip cracked in a few spots, 



So the fender will either need body and paint work or just outright replacement, and the side skirt had a chunk torn out that will need to be addressed at some point.

The good news is that I had most of what I needed to fix the mechanical side of things already in my possession.  To complement the new subframe, delrin subframe bushings, 93 aluminum control arms with new Meyle HD ball joints, I had planned to install a new TRW steering rack and inner tie rods, new OEM outer tie rods, new OEM engine mounts, new OEM transmission mount, new Lemforder endlinks, and finished off with a new set of 225/45/17 Michelin Pilot Sport All Seasons.

I ordered new OEM bolts for the ball joint to knuckle connection and three jugs of Redline Lightweight Shockproof from FCP to prepare for the subframe install.  I'll go through the installation of everything in my next post (for real this time)

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Jesus man, something like this is exactly why ive gone ahead and ordered all new front suspension for the wagon.  
The rusty shock mounts are sketching me out.

I'm glad you're ok, the car seems to have been fairly saved surprisingly.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/6/2021 at 2:01 PM, bmdubya1198 said:

Extremely fortunate is right! That could have gone way worse.

No other cars around, got stopped safely - yeah, could've gone way worse for sure.

On 7/7/2021 at 3:17 PM, Ol' Dirty Noodle said:

Dude… the fuck???

Right?  Such a weird failure.  I apparently excel at finding strange ways to break my car.

On 7/13/2021 at 9:33 AM, apeacock said:

Fuggin  a bro. At first i'm like, did the new welds break??

The subframe with the new welds hadn't even made it onto the car yet :( 

On 7/13/2021 at 11:35 AM, RobT5M said:

Jesus man, something like this is exactly why ive gone ahead and ordered all new front suspension for the wagon.  
The rusty shock mounts are sketching me out.

I'm glad you're ok, the car seems to have been fairly saved surprisingly.

This definitely upped my paranoia about random failures - I haven't touched the front suspension in a year or so....
And yeah, definitely a good call to get that all replaced on your car, since rusty shock mounts seem like bad news.  

On 7/14/2021 at 12:43 PM, flyfishing3 said:

wow. crazy.


could have been a 1000 times worse.


Glad your OK.

Thanks!  Yeah, sucks it happened but all things considered, the outcome was decent.

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Dang. Indeed, you were fortunate!

The same thing happened to my daughter's 99 V70 AWD about 7-8 years ago - Driver's side balljoint came out of the knuckle - bolt still in place, she took pics of the carnage - and fucked up EVERYTHING. She was also lucky that it happened at low speed. She junked the car though - this was in Orlando & no way  I could get there to fix it for her.

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16 hours ago, Commander Riker said:

I'm just glad you are ok.  It's fixable and I'm glad you didn't meet that guard rail or another car in a bad way.

Apologize if it's known, but what's the lure of switching to the FWD subframe?

Mostly for the 2-bolt control arms, IIRC. I believe they're the same as the AWD subframe, otherwise.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/28/2021 at 5:25 PM, Commander Riker said:

I'm just glad you are ok.  It's fixable and I'm glad you didn't meet that guard rail or another car in a bad way.

Apologize if it's known, but what's the lure of switching to the FWD subframe?

Thanks!  I was lucky to be in the middle lane and have time to control everything before stopping.

On 7/29/2021 at 10:19 AM, bmdubya1198 said:

Mostly for the 2-bolt control arms, IIRC. I believe they're the same as the AWD subframe, otherwise.

Yeah, that's pretty much it.  The only real difference is the 2 bolt vs 4 bolt control arms, otherwise, they basically the same part.  And as anyone who has put an M66 in these cars knows, the driver side rear bolts are tough to get a wrench on without moving the M66 out of the way.  The 2 bolt arms offer a lower cost to replace plus have more aftermarket performance upgrade options available (Powerflex, BNE Dynamics, etc).  

On 7/28/2021 at 11:33 PM, lookforjoe said:

Dang. Indeed, you were fortunate!

The same thing happened to my daughter's 99 V70 AWD about 7-8 years ago - Driver's side balljoint came out of the knuckle - bolt still in place, she took pics of the carnage - and fucked up EVERYTHING. She was also lucky that it happened at low speed. She junked the car though - this was in Orlando & no way  I could get there to fix it for her.

Oh man that's never a good situation, glad to hear your daughter was alright though!  


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Okay, now it's actually time for the subframe installation and repairs to the damage caused by the control arm coming out.

I drove to my buddy's house to do the work in his driveway.  On Saturday morning, I got my car up on jack stands, then got the HF engine bar in place, and started disassembly to remove the subframe, the control arms, the steering rack + tie rods, and the motor/transmission mounts.  The front swaybar (stock 20mm with Energy Suspension poly bushings) would come out and get transferred over to the new subframe.


By Saturday evening, I had the old parts removed and the new subframe assembly nearly ready to install.


To get the AWD-style front engine mount to bolt onto the FWD subframe, there is a small nub on the bottom that contacts the control arm bushing bracket.  It quickly gets trimmed off, and problem solved: 



Starting again on Sunday morning, the new subframe had everything installed, and ready to get installed.

Here's the list of new parts for anyone who is interested: 
Custom powder-coated FWD subframe w/ AWD transmission mount bracket and BNE Dynamics Delrin subframe bushings, OEM engine mounts, OEM 99 AWD transmission mount, TRW remanufactured FWD steering rack with inner tie rods, TRW outer tie rods, Lemforder end links, 93 850 aluminum control arms, new Meyle HD ball joints, new OEM ball joint bolts, and new hardware for everything else.


Here is where things started to go sideways...

With the subframe lined up and close to installed, I realized the rear engine mount on the FWD steering rack was hitting the downpipe and preventing the rack from moving upwards into position:



Knowing that I would have to remove the whole assembly, that was enough to stop my progress for the weekend.  

Here's how it sat for a week until I could get back to work on it


Now, in the process of removing the power steering feed line from the rack a 2nd time in the weekend, the o-ring that seals the line into the the rack was damaged.  So I looked up the part number, called the local dealership and ordered a couple of o-rings. 

I got the o-rings picked up and the next weekend, I started work on my car again.  Once the rack/subframe assembly was out of the car, I cut the rear engine mount bracket off the steering rack:


Shot it with some black paint to make the cut blend in and soothe my OCD after hacking up a brand new steering rack:


When I went to install the new o-ring on the power steering feed line, it was too small and didn't fit.  Turns out, I gave them the wrong part number :sad:.  I had to re-order the right o-rings, so that stopped my progress on re-assembling the subframe for the weekend.

When the control arm came out and the wheel got ripped backwards, the fender was yanked outwards as well.  I posted some photos of the cosmetic damage in my earlier post.  What also happened was that the lower fender bolt bracket got yanked out of the chassis and the captive nut was broken. You can see that at the bottom of the fender here:


I was able to find a "license plate nut" at Advance Auto Parts that fit properly and allowed me to bolt the fender back in place.


The fender still needs to be replaced, but this kept the lower portion from flapping around as badly as it did before.

I also took the opportunity to drain my ~2 year old OEM transmission fluid and replace with Redline Lightweight Shockproof.  This calibrated syringe from FCP makes providing the proper 2.1 L of fluid incredibly easy and was a great purchase.


I had also noticed that the top mount of the passenger side coilover had gotten a small bend in the accident.  Given that my CX Racing coils had been installed for a while and were starting to get rusty, so I decided to replace both front coilovers to be safe.  As an unplanned purchase, I couldn't justify JRZs, or even BCs, so I decided to give the Maxspeedingrods non-dampening adjustable coilovers a chance.  At $270 shipped, it was worth the gamble.

The shipped super quickly, which really was a pleasant surprise for free shipping. They looked alright so I got them installed on the car - I'll share some more detailed thoughts if anyone is interested.


I HATE the way the orange powdercoating looks on the car compared to the black CX coils, but it's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.


Then, on the THIRD weekend of this project, I had the correct PS o-ring and was able to get everything reassembled.  

Safe to say, it made a tremendous improvement to how the car rides and handles.  Between the delrin subframe bushings, fresh control arms, new steering rack / tie rods, the front end feel of the car is totally transformed for the better.  My dash mounts are pretty destroyed, and this nearly eliminated all the squeaking over rough roads.

Next post I'll talk about alignment / new tires / unexpected issues portion of the subframe install saga...

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