2004 Volvo S60 R Steering Shaft Replacement
Updated: Mar 1
For the last year or so my 2004 Volvo S60R has had a "hard spot" when turning the steering wheel. After doing a bit of research I found that it was most likely part #13 on this diagram:
I determined that because, with the help of a buddy, spraying PB-Blaster towards the rear of the engine bay on part #13 the steering got much more easier to turn and the hard spot would go away... for a few months then come back. So was time to replace it. I ordered the steering shaft from FCP for about $80 and the bolt to go with it.
Here are the tools I ended up using:
-Dewalt 20v Impact Driver (one of my better all around tool investments!)
-3/8" socket extensions and socket wrench
-Small pry bar
-PB Blaster (something everyone should have in the garage
First thing to do is to remove the bolt from steering shaft (10 or 12mm I believe). The steering shaft is located to the driver side of the turbo and slightly lower (below brake booster) and is visible from above the engine. Use the steering wheel to make the bolt face outward from the firewall and then using the long extensions remove the bolt. I would highly suggest coating it with PB Blaster before attempting to remove it.
I have my intake off already, if you dont them I would suggest removing it or attempting to access the bolt from below, which is possible if the driver side wheel is off and you have a small 1/4" socket. Once the bolt is loose I reached from below the vehicle and was able to remove it.
Next step is to go underneath the driver side instrument panel and disconnect #13 from #9 by removing #11/#12. Visible here:
After that you can slide #13 back towards the steering wheel without issue. Next remove the circular spring that is holding the rubber boot to the vehicle. It has an inner and outer boot and you may have to fold back the outer boot to remove the spring.
Once the spring is loosed you can just pull the boot off. There is a bearing there that is just set into the boot. Mine was fairly clean, but if yours is not I would suggest the PB Blaster to loosen it up. Once out I would clean the boot and bearing. I like grease or brake lube to coat the bearing for re-install.
Next step is to remove the steering shaft (#13) from the rack/pinion (#2). I was able to just pull up and use the small pry bar. I would again coat it with PB Blaster to help out. Using the pry bar did cause the metal to bend around the opening, which was easily bent back with the vice grips. If you want to avoid that I would suggest prying from under the vehicle or from on top if you have the right pry bars.
Once remove just reinstall the new one. You really cant mess up the alignment by replacing this part as it is not a splined connection, but a rectangular end that can only go in one way. Keep in mind though that the steering wheel will move freely when detached from this part so I would suggest bungee strapping it or using the ignition to lock it. You only need to keep it close to where you removed it from the rack, not exact. You will know if you install it wrong as the steering wheel will be significantly off.
Once tightened down on both sides just reinstall the boot with metal spring, make sure the bearing lines up with the thick part of the steering shaft and you are good to go!
Cycle the steering a few times to make sure its good. Keep in mine also that where #9 and #13 connect there is only one possible way as there is a slit where the bolt will go through.
This was a much easier job that I had imagined. If anyone is contemplating putting up with the rough steering or replacing this part I would say go for the replacement. It was easy enough and pretty inexpensive to do.