740 strut tube disassembly - please help!

Discussion in 'Volvo 740' started by newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    I am working on my 740, a sedan, 1990. I have the strut out, the spring
    off, and want to get the old strut parts out to put in a new insert.

    The so called "nut" on the top of the tube is simply not coming off for me.
    I am following the directions on brickboard,com which have been
    rather helpful so far. I found the slip joint pliers to not work for me.
    I tried the pipe wrench approach and have got no progress. A hammer and a
    punch, not able to move it. Used penitrating oil with no success. I don't
    have oxy-acetlene, but I have tried a propane torch to heat it up some, and
    have not made it work with that either. I looked at the base and do not see
    anything that resembles a snap ring to try to get it out from the bottom as
    directions on brickboard suggest is possible. The tube appears to be a
    press fit in to the casting at the bottom where the caliper, ball joint,
    tie rod all attach, can anyone confirm that it is pressed in place?

    My remaining concern is to not get so physical with the tube to the point
    that it changes shape and becomes not useable. the nut is not exactly in
    it's original shape anymore, since the insert came with a new nut, I only
    care enough about the old nut to get it off. Don't know why it is called a
    nut, it has threads on the outside!

    I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has been there and how you
    did it.
    Thanks so much for any help.

    (naturally I expected this to go a little more smoothly than it has and
    my primary transportaion is a bit tied up right now.)
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
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  2. newtovolvo

    James Sweet Guest

    The only way I've ever been able to get these off is with an impact wrench,
    that makes quick work of it.
    James Sweet, Aug 7, 2005
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  3. newtovolvo

    Randy G. Guest

    First, are you using a big vise? One key it to keep the tube
    stationary otherwise the effort is just going into moving the tube
    about instead of moving the nut.

    As I remember, I used a very large pipe wrench, pulling on it while
    tightening the vise until the nut gave way.

    It could be your efforts have actially compressed the nut enough to
    actually make it toghter. If things get desperate, there is always the
    Dremel and a cut-off wheel. Cut about 2/3 the way through the nut
    (possibly in more than one place) and then use a good, sharp chisel in
    the groove to break it off. You could also gring through the top edge,
    all around the nut, so that the top of it falls off, then remove the
    cartridge and deal with the rest of the nut.

    As you stated, since you have replace nuts, destroying the existing
    nut seems like the way to go.

    __ __
    Randy & \ \/ /alerie's
    '90 245 Estate - '93 965 Estate
    "Shelby" & "Kate"
    Randy G., Aug 7, 2005
  4. newtovolvo

    bert Guest

    I used a mig welder and welded a large nut, 1" to the top of the gland
    nut. Just the heat from welding the nut broke the bead and the nut
    came off easily.

    On another note, I got a strut insert from Volvo dealer and a gland
    nut wasn't included. Anyone know these gland nuts can be found?
    bert, Aug 7, 2005
  5. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    I have a medium size vise , 4" as I recall. It is burried but I will
    unearth it and give it a try. I realized it was difficult for my helper to
    hold it steady while I used 2 pipe wrenches. I have an 18" pipe wrench and
    a tube I can add for a bit of extra lever arm.

    I don't have a high opinion of my skills with a dremel tool, I may get
    experienced if it comes to that.

    Thank you for your reply!
    Open to other suggestions/ideas too
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
  6. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    I wonder what the tool that fits on the impact wrench looks like for this
    "nut"? The nut is about 2" in diameter, and has 4 small notches at 0,
    90,180, & 270 degrees and there is the center pin from the strut sticking
    out of the middle of this "nut" about 4". Is your suggestion refering to a
    nut the fits this description?

    Thank you for your reply also
    Open to other suggestions/ideas too
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
  7. newtovolvo

    Randy G. Guest

    My cousin use to own a Honda car repair shop. The Hondas had sealed
    struts that were one piece- that is, the strut tube WAS the shock, and
    when it needed replacement you had to buy an entire strut. Koni (and
    others, I suppose) came up with a replacement cartridge like you are
    installing, but to use it you had to remove the guts of the old strut.
    Becasue the internals were under spring tension, the way they did it
    was to position a garbage can under a bench grinder. The mechanic
    would aim the strut towards the can while grinding the end of the
    strut off (where your nut is). Eventually enough of the strut end was
    removed that WHAM, the end of the strut popped off and all the guts
    (spring, valves, oil) would be expelled with great force into the
    trash can. It was exciting to watch.

    __ __
    Randy & \ \/ /alerie's
    '90 245 Estate - '93 965 Estate
    "Shelby" & "Kate"
    Randy G., Aug 7, 2005
  8. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    wrote in
    You are the second person who has told of the vast benifits of having and
    using a welder to solve this problem!
    I do like your idea of a large conventional nut welded to the existing
    "nut". I could cut down the length the center rod of the strut to make it
    possible for a deep impact socket to grab the added nut and use an electric
    impact that I have to take this odd congomeration of nuts off.

    Regarding the need for a replacement nut, I would sure try the dealer and
    make sure you speak to the most expierenced parts person you can, Maybe
    call more than one dealer. I would expect that they can order them, sure
    hope so. I purchased inserts made by sachs. They are from germany and
    included the nut. They muct know by the time you get the old nut off you
    will not want to, or not be able to put it back on.

    Thank you for your reply as well!
    Open to other suggestions/ideas too
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
  9. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    Funny you bring this up, The first strut I am working on has no pressure
    left, much oil has been forced out, some on my brake caliper and flexible
    lines - which I will do what I can to clean up.

    I am wondering about the other side which has not leaked. Did Volvo in the
    old days put an insert in the strut tube or did they simply build the
    parts right in the tube as you point out that honda did? I ask as I am
    wondering the best way to handle the strut that is pressureized as it will
    be next?

    I would think from a manufacturing and repair point of view the insert
    would be simpler, but may cost a bit more in the begining.

    thanks again
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
  10. newtovolvo

    Randy G. Guest

    There's always the "Moron's Impact Wrench." Lock the tube in the vise.
    Attach a large vice grip to the nut. Hit Vice Grip with large deadblow
    hammer. For holding the tube in a vice- wrap it tightly with a towel,
    and tighten slowly until it is held enough to not turn. You may even
    be able to place the tube so that some stornr protrudence on the tube
    locks it on the bench to keep it from turning, and use an assistant
    with a strap wrench to further hold it from spinning in the vice... Or
    take it to a suspension shop and pay them to remove the nuts....

    __ __
    Randy & \ \/ /alerie's
    '90 245 Estate - '93 965 Estate
    "Shelby" & "Kate"
    Randy G., Aug 7, 2005
  11. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    I am have access to a ride today, sunday, for sure. Monday when shops are
    open, my access to a ride is less certain. I hate to feel like I have given
    up and have a shop do it, but that is something I have considered and
    contine to keep in mind.

    Do you know, on an original from the factory strut, will I find an insert
    on a 90 740?
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
  12. newtovolvo

    m-gineering Guest

    I find the best way to loosen the central nut holding the shockinsert in
    the strut is to loosen it (DON'T remove it before you have compressed
    the spring!) with a large (30-40")pipewrench while the strut is still in
    the car. (suspension at full droop) Loosen the brakehose support, and
    you can swing the complete stut outwards while still attached to the
    lower suspensionarm.
    m-gineering, Aug 7, 2005
  13. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    Thanks for the suggestion, I will attempt that on the second side.

    What I am finding now, on the side that is off the car and is now in a vise
    is that the flange that can be gripped by a pipe wrench is so thin (approx
    2.5mm, 0.1") that it does not stand up to the force that is put on it with
    the pipe wrench, which was happening prior to being in a vise too. What
    this material simply does is yields and changes shape, or breaks a little
    bit off.

    So at this point it is rather distorted. I am off to get the use of a
    welder and some large hex nuts that will fit the over the strut pin and
    still fit the largest socket I have, and buy a new socket if I need to.

    May have to buy a welder some day, have wanted one for ages, maybe now is
    the time.

    The rest of the process has been manageable for me as a first timer doing
    struts. I have removed all the other parts in the past around the strut
    base, like the caliper, rotor, ball joints, and tie rod ends. Boy I do like
    those tie rod end pullers!! Position it, snug it, and within a turn the tie
    rod leaps out, simply wonderful. Sure wish that this silly strut nut
    newtovolvo, Aug 7, 2005
  14. newtovolvo

    jch Guest

    For a good review of procedures have a look at :
    <http://www.swedishbricks.net/700900FAQ/FrontSuspension1.html#Strut Replacement>

    1) The strut insert is a replaceable item.
    2) I know of five methods to remove the top retaining collar.
    All of these methods require that the strut tube be clamped
    securely in at least a 4" bench vice (using mild steel
    protectors on jaws):
    a) Use Volvo tool with the four notches that engage in
    the collar.
    b) Use 12" to 16" pipe wrench (with extension pipe if
    needed). You will have applied top quality penetrating
    oil for _a_few_days_ beforehand.
    c) Heating the collar area with a torch. A propane torch
    is acceptable, it just takes a long time. Let cool
    to room temperature and repeat three times. Now do b).
    d) Use a pneumatic cold chisel on several of the notches in
    the collar. This is what the Volvo service manager used
    many years ago on my 1975 Volvo 240 strut. The vibration
    helps break the rust bond.
    e) Weld a large nut on the collar as mentioned already. This
    basically provides for a better grip on the collar,
    and the heat will also aid in breaking the rust bond.

    If none of the above methods do the trick, then a workshop will most
    likely not be able to remove the collar. In that case, you will need to
    buy a good, used strut, and transfer the bearings, rotor and caliper
    from the old one.

    The collar will be destroyed in the removal process. That is why you
    always have to install a new one, assuming that the inside threads at
    the top of the strut are not damaged by rust or mechanical deformation.
    I find it amazing that your dealer did not supply a new collar. I buy
    parts on-line from FCP, and the inserts i have received always came with
    a new nut for the top of the insert stem, and a new collar for the strut

    I have used methods b) and c) successfully on a number of occasions. I
    reinstall the collar with anti-seize compound, and torque it with a 14"
    pipe wrench with the strut in the vice. There is little chance of
    damaging the strut tube as it is made from a very high grade steel.
    While the strut is out on the bench, clean it up, apply Zero-Rust paint,
    and spray paint it black with a good quality paint. Also, check the
    water drain hole(s) in the lower spring dish, and clean out if plugged.
    To minimize the chances of the collar rusting into place, it is
    essential to keep the bellows that cover that area in good condition.

    / John
    jch, Aug 7, 2005
  15. newtovolvo

    Randy G. Guest

    I agree up to that point...
    If the above procedures do not work, it is still very possible to cut
    the collar off. A Dremel is indespensible for that. Use the Cut-off
    Wheels (these are thin, red, cutting wheels- about one mm thick or
    so). At high speed I have used these to cut locks, drill bits, and
    once cut a stripped wheel nut off a karman Ghia 's front wheel
    spindle. it may take three or four of teh wheels until you get the
    hang of it, but the wheels come in little tubs of 25 I think. FULL
    FACE PROTECTION is a must when using these for you as well as anyone
    in the vacinity (within 20 feet or more!). They al;so throw a lot of
    sparks, so fire protection and precautions am also recommended.

    I would cut the perimeter of the collar near the top like opening a
    tin can of peas to get the cartridge out, then cut a number of slots
    down the sides of the nut until it can be removed with a chisel. Take
    care not to cut the tube. Clean the threads with a power wire brush
    and repaint with a thin coat of a good rust preventative paint.
    __ __
    Randy & \ \/ /alerie's
    '90 245 Estate - '93 965 Estate
    "Shelby" & "Kate"
    Randy G., Aug 8, 2005
  16. newtovolvo

    Randy G. Guest

    Dude! A decent wire welder will cost a $300-400 or more. A Dremel will
    cost around $70:

    __ __
    Randy & \ \/ /alerie's
    '90 245 Estate - '93 965 Estate
    "Shelby" & "Kate"
    Randy G., Aug 8, 2005
  17. Just removed my wifes struts, replaced the insert by belting the nut with
    the u part of an open ended spanner a very solid spanner , replaced with
    same method .Butchery yes but it worked .They do rust a little on the thread
    by the way so pre spray it with wd40 and clean well before replacement of
    locking nut .

    John Robertson, Aug 10, 2005
  18. same here one strut had the nut the other didnt just ask the dealer for
    another nut
    John Robertson, Aug 10, 2005
  19. newtovolvo

    newtovolvo Guest

    Now reporting back to the group on my progress. I continue to work
    on this during the week but am not able to do so full time like a weekend.
    I did get one side done. I went with the welder approach. Yes, it does cost
    more than a dremel tool. I now have a list of things to repair/make now
    that I have a welder (justification/rationalization?). So for me, I think
    it was the best choice. Out the door price with a welder can be a bit
    costly so I am not suggesting that everyone get a welder. Lucky me, I
    learned to weld ~20 years ago and found that I could make welds that are
    strong and considering it is the first time in many years that I have
    welded, don't look horrible either. I did 2 short practice welds for a
    total of 1 or 2 minutes on some scrap to get the hang of this wire feed
    welder. I had never used a welder of this type before, I do like it.

    I ended up welding a large hex nut, (it was a 1.0" diameter thread & 1.5"
    across the flats), on to the "gland nut". Then used a portable grinder to
    cut through the center pin of the strut so that I could put the socket that
    I could get over the hex nut. I could not find a socket deep enough to go
    over the pin as it was, so I cut the pin. It appeard to be very high end
    steel and I will try making the cut off piece in to a punch. It may not
    have all the right qualities for it, but why not try it. Wear your safety
    glasses till replacement eyes become available in your size and color!

    With the strut in a vise and I let the electric impact tool have it's way
    with this new hex nut welded to the strut nut. I first tried the pipe
    wrench on the big hex nut with the strut in a vise and even with a hammer
    on the pipe wrench, it was not a happening thing for me. In just a 10-20
    short seconds the electric impact tool had it apart. If I was not going to
    be working with a big spring and spring compressors that would have been
    the moment to celebrate! Out came the old insert and in went the new!
    some anti seize compound on the new nut, tighten, and it was on it's way
    back in the car.

    While doing this work I also did replace the tie rod end and the ball joint
    on that side and will do so on the other side too. To anyone doing the ball
    joint or tie rod end thing, do yourself a big, big favor, and
    rent/borrow/purchase a puller. These are often available under the general
    name of a pitman puller (which I used for the ball joint) and a tie rod end
    puller for the tie rod end. With these pullers, once the nut is off, within
    seconds, these parts are off, literally leaping out of their tapered
    mounting points, at least they did for me. My wife was shocked how quick it
    was compared to the last time when I used the pickle fork. The puller is
    far superior in effort (or lack of it) and time.

    I did carefully disassemble the bearing in the top of the strut (very easy
    to do) and repacked it with bearing grease. It had grease but was clearly
    dry. I know it does not move much, but grease is the least expensive thing
    on the list so I packed it.

    I will severely limit the driving I do until I get the other strut done
    this week or weekend, and the front end aligned as soon as I am done. I put
    old snows on the front that I was "running through" this summer as they are
    too worn for winter use, but still have legal tread. If they get ruined now
    it is no loss at all to me. The snows will be replaced with new ones soon.

    With one side done the drive is vastly improved. I certainly had a learning
    curve on this strut procedure ( i am sure the second one will go much
    faster) and am very, very grateful to all who replied with all your kind
    suggestions and helpful advise and encouragement. The people who populate
    this group put it at the top of usenet. I can not think of a better group.
    Thank you all for your willingness to help a total stranger. I hope I can
    do the same for others on subjects that I know a bit about. And thank you
    all for helping me to keep my rear wheel drive Volvo on the road for what I
    hope will be many years to come.
    newtovolvo, Aug 10, 2005
  20. You might have to file a new edge to work on mine came of easy yet one had
    a little rust on the tread which too a bit of force .Just make sure you
    clean the tread and grease it before you reinstall as the possiblity of
    cross treading would be bad news .Its really not hard I did my wifes struts
    after 9 days of heart trouble so be sure its easy .
    John Robertson, Aug 15, 2005
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