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Not a fun trip From Vermont to Arizona with the Volvo 630

Lance A Lott

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Cant get to sleep so I thought I would tell you my tail. The trip start fine for the first 7 or 8 hours all secondary roads everything seemed fine, then we got on the interstate. Thismis the first time I have had this truck on the interstate with a trailer since I bought it 4? Years ago. It is the worst handling vehicle I have ever driven it feels articulated and has a bad shake between 50 and 60 then stops by 65. We are moving and I didn't have much choise so keep going. Even my wife asked me why the truck was all over the road. About 2 hours of white knuckle driving down the interstate and the truck shuts off and a no oil light comes on. I got it to the side of the road and sure enough no oil on the dipstick but my trailer and the underside of the truck is covered with it. It seams to be comming from the crank case vent. I had 1 gallon with me and that got it started and to them next exit.

There was a truck repair shop at the bottom of the exit. Did I mention I am moving, I have 4 horse 2 dogs a parrot and a parakeet in the trailer and its 95 degrees out. The shop was able to fill me up with oil another 4.5 gallons and sell me 4 more but they dont do big stuff, they also knew a stable and she agreed to have me limp there to get the horse about of the heat. 

The next day I took the truck to a recomended shop they decided, withou looking at it,  that in 2 weeks they could do an in frame as they felt it was bad rings. I had clapped a camera under the truck and you could,see the oil pour out the vent every time you worked the engine.  

I am not new to engines or equipment and there "diagnosis" seemed off to me it was a stream of oil not a mist as I would expect from a bad ring also it was running great just going through 2 gallons of oil every 100 miles. So I called the Volvo dealer in Vermont in two minutes  he said it was the spinner. I had to admit ignorance. It's a Volvo D11 by the way. He sId if it's working I should be able to hear it spin just step on the gas and and it off, I heard nothing. I called the nearest Volvo dealer, 35 mile, and they had one $1200. So filled it with oil and drove over picked it up and drove back. The nice aluminium braket didn't want to release the steel screws holding it to the block so I decided to leave that part and just replace the top portion. The old one was solid and the new one spins with just a touch. It's a oil centrifuge run by a jet of oil on a wheel. I never lost a nother drop of oil.

I played with my hitch, tire pressure and load distribution but it still handles horable. It's not tracking the ruts it just feels like the rear end is loose. Passing  is an absolute nightmare. I have picked up a tourqe bar and will be checking spring bushing this winter. I sure wish I had left it tandem now.  

And now I have misplaced the only key for the 08 Smart. I will never move again!

Edited by Lance A Lott
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Are you able to post a photo of the truck and trailer from a side view? Preferably on a very flat surface. Not sure I would see anything, but others might. 

Sorry to hear of your issue. Hope it get's better soon. 



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Hi Lance - Moving, complete with animals, is never straight forward it seems.

I know in the RV world we are not used to particularly good after the sale support from dealer organizations. 

Your centrifuge story is a good reminder why to not necessarily dismiss dealer support for mystery issues with heavy trucks.

Handling troubles - when you get time please reply to these questions - something might come to light you can investigate further:

1. What cold psi tire pressures are you running front and rear? Are the wheels and tires in balance? 

2. You mentioned "left it tandem...". What was the original wheel base - steer axle to center of tandems? What is the finished wheelbase - steer axle to center of rear axle?

When your truck was "singled", were the ackerman arm and driveline angles checked to be within spec and a complete chassis alignment done? 

When you get a chance to uncouple the trailer and test drive on the same road that you last experienced bad handling with the trailer, is the problem still there?

If the problem goes away when you are bob tail, is the trailer alignment correct? 

If the problem(s) are more or less the same bob tail or towing your trailer: 

3. Are all steering linkage components tight within spec? Is there any unusual tire wear pattern?

4. Are all wheel bearings tight end play wise?

5. Are all suspension bushings and mounts tight and within spec? 

6. Are your cab suspension dampers (shock absorbers) in good shape and functioning?

There is a tire coupled testing machine some shops may have commonly called a "shaker". It applies lateral force to the tires and any worn beyond spec parts in 3 to 6 above become readily apparent. 

7. Are your seat mounts and mechanisms reasonably tight? Some air seats have some side to side slop from new. No idea why. Adds to the bobblehead motion/human discomfort when the steer axle ducks around on rutted roads. 

Anyways unless parts are obviously worn out CSI is needed before throwing parts at the issue(s).

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9 hours ago, Lance A Lott said:

 bad shake between 50 and 60 then stops by 65.

Every time I've encountered this, it was wheels out of balance.  Have them balanced and it should go away.  I dont know what brand of the 10 yr old tires that were on 2001 Volvo 660 when I got it, I put a set of used Michelins on and dont remember any wandering with them.  I put a set of Sailums on it and played with the pressures from 80 to 110 psi and it still wanders all over the road.

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I had a bad vibration at 41-45 mph and it was worn tires.  Either out of balance or cheap dealer shocks or both.

On a pickup truck, you can tell if there is play in the front, while sitting still and kicking the tires etc.  Does anyone have a trick for a semi?  Seems like you would at least have to get that tire off the ground.  I’ve never tried it, am I dreaming?

Edited by Sculptor
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  This is some things to check or do that should be fairly easy to check. 


  First thing to check would be the tread wear on the front tires.

  Then jack the passenger front tire off the ground.  Check to see if the wheel will move in and out at the top. If there is movement is it wheel bearings. Or is it king pins.

  With the wheel still jacked up can you wiggle the tire left to right. If so there maybe wear is the tie rod  ends.

  If there is play in the king pins or tie rod ends you could grease them for a temporary fix. May need to grease them a few times on your trip.

 Check the drivers side wheel bearings also. Then grease all fittings on the front end.

 Also look on the edge of the tire next to the rim. There could be a small ridge of rubber standing up. It should be equally spaced all around the rim.  That will show if the tire is centered on the rim. I hit a really bad pothole going through Richmond Va years ago and then the truck started to give problems in the front end. Went to a tire shop and tech looked to see if the line was still the same. It was still the same. Pothole injured the tire. Installed a new set of steer tires. 


  Hope this helps,   Vern 


Edited by Wrknrvr
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  • 5 weeks later...

Sorry I havent gotten back to anyone I have this site on a tablet and I just got internet this past weekend so I charged it up. Many of the suggestions were on my list but some were not so thanks everyone for your input. 

A few I can answer now. It's better bobtailing but not much that may be because I can't go as fast as on the interstate. Tires don't seam to have any odd wear I haven't had anything balanced or aligned. Wheel base is 182 and was 230 ish, it's been 4 years so the memory may be off on that, I just moved the rear axle to the front to single.  At the present I am working around the house so I would not have time for any research, I also live in the sticks, thank goodness,  so it will take some time to learn who to go to in the area.

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A Locksmith will need to be able to laser cut the key. Once it is cut, it will need to be programed to the car. If your locksmith can't do that, find a tech with a good Snap-on scanner.

They can program your key in just a few minutes. I only had one key for our 2015 but ordered 2 new keys from Germany and programed them myself with my scanner.

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