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S/V/C70 Dash rattle making us crazy

2003 V 40 pampered and unmolested 103K miles. recently developed a harsh rattle and clank coming from behind the glove box enclosure where the airbag lives. I have separately removed the radio, a/c control panel, speaker grill etc and probed around in there with my hand but can't get around all the stuff back there to locate the culprit. Can anyone suggest a workaround that does not include removing the dash which is beyond my skills and abilities, or have a suggestion as to exactly where this might be located? With the dash out, I can't drive the car to locate the rattle anyway. Catch 22.


  • Ex850RSnoopy (@Ex850R) Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    A bodgy solution is pump a can of "no more gaps" into there.
    But really, dash out. Or take lower cover off and get into footwell looking up.
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    These are a very easy car to remove the dash from. Usual airbag de-powering precautions and then just work methodically and patiently.

    If you have removed the radio/heater controls, then you are about 1/3rd of the way there already.

    A harsh clank suggests to me that the airbag itself is loose. Most other things are plastic and incapable of making more than thuds or squeaks.
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    Have you levered up the speaker grille? IIRC, the speaker is riveted to the plastic dash body (and therefore unlikely to be the source of your rattle), but the steel speaker body is one possible source of rattles if it has come loose.
  • I have had the grill and speaker all the way out and had my hand down into the opening without result. I'm curious; is the airbag encased in a metal or plastic container, and how is it retained in there, and what would be happening if it is loose?
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    edited December 2018
    If it is loose, then it will rattle and drive you mental...
    I've looked at a lot of BMW airbags since I last looked at an x40 one, so I am not 100% sure that my memory is correct, but...
    I am pretty certain the Volvo passenger airbag is in a roughly cylindrical metal case and is screwed to the underside of the dash using torx self-tapper screws into the plastic.

    Your use of the word "Clang" leads me to infer that it is a significant weight that's probably metal, rather than a light piece of plastic or something.
    The only heavy things under there are the (very large, mostly plastic) heater/AC box and the airbag.
  • After more information being offered, I'm being told that a bad strut bearing on the passenger side could be the problem also. Is this a more viable possibility than a loose airbag in your opinion?
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    Yes, but not sure if you'd confuse the two.
  • Spac,
    Many thanks for the input. It was any or all of the following: a bad strut bearing, strut, sway bar bushing, sway bar link. We replaced them all, both sides. $1300 usd later no more rattle.
    At least it wasn't the airbag...
  • Spac,
    Many thanks for the input. It was any or all of the following: a bad strut bearing, strut, sway bar bushing, sway bar link. We replaced them all, both sides. $1300 usd later no more rattle.
    At least it wasn't the airbag...

    Sway bar bushing is one of the common ones if it's a clunk
    Sway bar end links are more of a click
    Strut mounts make all sorts of clangs and clunks
    Struts are not that common but everything else you replaced is a wear item on these cars
  • Thanks Bear. Any other wear items I should be aware of? We have done the timing belt, plugs, filters, brakes, tires, battery, etc. What about the transmission, cv joints, axels, and rear suspension components? And how long is the radiator and water pump good for? And the turbo?
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    Water pump should be done at the same time as timing belt.

    Turbo and CVs are both items that will give plenty of warning before leaving you stranded.
    Even considering the number of thoroughly neglected ones that I drag home, I am yet to encounter a bad CV on one.
    Turbos seem to last pretty well. A car that's had normal maintenance seems to need a turbo somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000km.

    Radiators mostly fail by the plastic hose fittings crumbling. The t-piece in the top hose on turbo models is usually the failure point. I would replace it now, unless you have reason to believe that it is new(ish).
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