Volvo Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1970-1989 Repair Guide

Steering Linkage



140 Series, 164 Models and 1800 Series

See Figure 1

Bent or damaged steering rods and tie rods must be replaced, never straightened. All components of the steering linkage, including the Pitman arm and idler arm (on worm and roller steering types), are connected by means of ball joints. Ball joints cannot be disassembled or adjusted, so they must also be replaced when damaged. They should also be replaced if the rubber seal is broken and the joint contaminated.

The ball joints of the steering rods are made in unit with the rods, therefore the entire rod assembly must be replaced when the ball joint becomes unserviceable. Maximum permissible axial (vertical) play is 0.120 in. (3mm). After removing the cotter pins and ball stud nuts, use a ball joint separator and press the balljoint out of its connecting socket.

The ball joints on the tie rod may be replaced individually. After the ball joint is disconnected, the locknut on the tie rod is loosened and the clamp bolt released. The ball joint is then screwed out of the tie rod, taking note of the number of turns. The new ball joint is screwed in exactly the same number of turns, and the clamp bolt and locknut tightened.

After reconditioning the rods and joints, the wheel alignment must be adjusted.

The Pitman arm, relay arm (idler arm) and various other steering links are removed in straightforward manner. Remove the cotter pin and locknut from the appropriate ball joints and separate the joints. In the case of the Pitman arm arm, bend up the lock tab at the nut and remove the nut. The arm may need gentle tapping to come free of the splines on the steering box. Keep the following general rules in mind:

  1. Always use the correct tool to separate ball joints. Improper tools will damage the joint or rip the boot.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Use a proper ball joint separator such as this Volvo tool, No. 2294, shown installed and ready to press out the ball joint

  1. Keep the mating surfaces of rods and joints clean.
  3. If the relay rod was removed, tighten its mounting nut to 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm).
  5. Do not disturb the position of the front wheels when any component is disconnected.
  7. Always have the alignment checked and adjusted after any steering repair.

All 200 and 700 Series

These models are equipped with rack and pinion steering (manual or power). Rack and pinion systems save space and weight, improve steering response and eliminate most of the rods and linkage under the car.

Two different units are used, either ZF manual or power steering or CAM manual or power steering. On all types, the tie rod ends are removed by disconnecting the ball joint at the steering knuckle, loosening the locknut and unscrewing the tie rod end from the tie rod. Count every full turn needed to remove the tie rod end from the tie rod and install the new tie rod end that exact number of turns. Tighten the locknut and attach the ball joint at the steering knuckle. Have the alignment checked and reset if necessary. If close attention was paid to the exact number of turns of each tie rod end, the alignment should not be far off specification.

When servicing the tie rods, check the rubber bellows for cracks or leaks. The bellows can be replaced by removing the tie rod end, loosening the clamps and pulling the bellows off the tie rod. On both manual and power steering CAM gear boxes, the rack is filled with gear oil. On both manual and power steering ZF gear boxes, the rack is packed with special fluid grease.