2010 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD: Suspension Walkaround
January 26, 2010
Another Car of the Week, another Suspension Walkaround -- that's how it's supposed to go, anyway. But I've caught up to a point where many of the recent CoTW selectees have already undergone the procedure. Not so the 2010 Volvo XC60. Let's see what's going on under there.
Looks like your basic coil-over strut suspension. But the fuzzy inner fender liner is screening a lot of the parts from view. Time to break out some tools.
That's better. But it's still a simple coil-over MacPherson strut (yellow) and a simple L-shaped lower control arm (white).
Here's a close-up of that lower control arm and its pivot axis. The ball joint is riveted-on in three places (yellow), a design that's serviced by drilling out the rivets and replacing them with three bolts that'll be packaged with the new ball joint. It can actually be a DIY project if your garage includes a drill press.
Like we've seen on plenty of other AWD and FWD vehicles, the Volvo's steering rack (yellow) acts behind the rear axle centerline. The stabilizer bar loops overtop and connects to a long slender link (white) that connects directly to the strut housing; pretty standard stuff.
Front braking duties are carried out by sliding calipers and ventilated rotors. So far we've not seen anything unique. Let's move to the rear.
Now we're getting somewhere. Volvo's Ford past connection can be seen in the form of a control blade rear suspension. The tall-but-skinny blade (yellow) is a trailing link that defines the longitudinal position of the wheel but tries not to interfere with the work of the three lateral links by being slightly bendy in the lateral direction.
There's that blade again (black), but the pivot is obscured behind another fuzzy fender liner that I decided not to remove this time. But we can also see two of the three links: the upper camber link (white) and the shadowy toe link (yellow).
Here's a better view of the toe link (yellow). And we get our first glimpse of the main lower link (black), the one that carries the bulk of the lateral loads and shoulders the weight of the body via the coil spring that sprouts from it.
The angle of the toe link suggests that it might toe the rear wheel out when compressed, an undesirable trait in a family car because it amounts to roll oversteer. But the suspension is at full "droop" here. With the tire back on and the car on the ground, these links will get much closer to parallel, and then the shorter length of the toe link will begin to pull the outside tire in at the front as this link goes past center as the wheel compresses further, creating roll understeer. Still, the geometry looks like it might produce less of that trait than some other cars we've seen. Hard to know without blueprints and 3D models.
Meanwhile, the smaller turquoise arrows show us just how thin the control blade really is.
Here the main lower link (black) reveals itself to be a lightweight aluminum casting. We can also see the rear stabilizer bar (yellow) and the direct-acting lower mount of the shock absorber (white). No arrow points to the large urethane bump stopper that resides inside the coils of the spring.
Finally we come to the XC60's ventilated rear brake rotors, as evidenced by all of those cooling fins. They're hydraulically pinched by single-piston sliding calipers (black) in the usual way when you step on the pedal, but an electric actuator (yellow) does this job when you press a button inside to set the parking brake.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Test @ 10,861 miles