Volvo 4C Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Volvo 4C  Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

The Volvo’s 4C suspension, at the time of its launch, was clearly a technological leap of sorts. The Volvo S and V70R performance models were the first to get this 4C suspension system. The jewel in Volvo’s crown was the 4C system’s shock absorber valves which calculated Damping values at the rate of 500 times per second.

What are the Most common issues in the Volvo 4C Suspension?

The most common issues that occur in the Volvo 4C are:

  • Failed Front Shock Absorber
  • Sensor Dislocation
  • Failed Accelerometer Sensor
  • Chassis Settings Error

driver side front accelerometer sensor as the code.

Volvo 4C Suspension System

The 4C system has 3 possible selection modes: Comfort, Sport, and Advanced. These are selected by the touch of a button on the Active Chassis Settings (ACS) switch, which is located on the center console.

The Four-C system has a sophisticated microprocessor and software that takes signals from the motion sensors, placed at the corners of the car, and then computes the position and movement of the car to adapt the of the damping settings in the shock absorbers to either behave ‘Soft’ or ‘Firm’. The system ensures the best compromise between handling safety and ride comfort, given the driving conditions at every given situation.

Whilst driving, the shock absorbers receive sensor inputs 500 times in each second. The system thus is able to respond both continuously, and instantaneously.

The Volvo 4C first generation, launched in 2004 on the V70 R that was based on the P2 Chassis Platform. The basic suspension set-up was: 

  • Front MacPherson Strut suspension with steel coil springs and Active Solenoid Monroe shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.
  • Rear 5 – link arrangement with coil springs, Active Solenoid Monroe shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.

In later models the 4C Suspension was provided along with a 4 corner Air suspension in models like the XC90 Full-size SUV and other P3 Chassis platform vehicles.

How to Deal With 4C Suspension Issues in a Volvo?

Failed Front Shock Absorber

Symptoms:

  • There shows a Suspension Error Message
  • The Active Suspension is Stuck at ‘Sport’ Mode
  • The front end feels bouncy
  • Front end feels floaty
  • Poor Handling

Troubleshooting Failed Shock Absorbers

  • If your V70 R has crossed 75K miles, then there is every likelihood of the shocks having failed
  • Over time, the internal parts wear out and the Shocks no longer provide damping action
  • The V70 R’s shock absorbers are part of the 4C active suspension system. 
  • The 4C Monroe Shock Absorbers additionally have Solenoid valves that a conventional passive shock absorber would not have. 
  • If the 4C Shock Absorber valve actuation mechanism has failed due to a solenoid failure, this would lead to the Shock malfunction and suspension error message

Sensor Dislocation

Symptoms:

  • Message reads “Active Chassis Service Required”

Troubleshooting Sensor Dislocation

  • The error message must be diagnosed in a tool like Vida
  • If the diagnostic codes read Front/Rear Accelerometer, you can physically check for the accelerometer sensor
  • If this sensor has moved from its original mounted position, the system detects this and throws out an error.
  • The  SUM or Suspension 4C’s central control module called the ‘Suspension Module’ calculates the car body’s movement and acceleration based on the positioning of these sensors. The sensors are calibrated for their mounting positions. So any change in these mounting positions will lead to a sensor malfunction and an error message.
  • If you have performed any suspension work and replaced a control arm, this error could appear

Failed Accelerometer Sensor

Symptoms:

  • Active Suspension Error Message

Troubleshooting Accelerometer Failure

  • One more reason for a Active Suspension error message would be that the sensor might have completely fallen off its mounting
  • Once it has fallen and hit the road, then there is no alternative other than to replace the sensor

Chassis Settings Error

Symptom:

  • “CHASSIS SETTINGS SERVICE REQUIRED” is the message that appears
  • Generally happens when there is part replacement in the suspension

Troubleshooting Chassis Settings Error

  • This error points to a problem with the Calibration of one of the Sensors in the 4C suspension system
  • Using the VIDA (Vehicle Information & Diagnostics for Aftersales) system, the exact error code needs to be identified as to which sensor is creating the error.
  • Once you have identified the sensor, it could be a positioning issue or the sensor simply gone bad
  • Once the position, or sensor is corrected the Suspension Module or SUM needs to be calibrated in order for it to recognize the changes in components. This is also called as ‘SUM Reset’
  • The Equipment needed will be the Volvo Vida DiCE (Diagnostic Communication Equipment) 2014D diagnostic kit
  • This needs to be run using a laptop with Windows 7 Operating System
  • Once the VIDA diagnostic software has been installed on the laptop, you need to connect the Volvo DICE main unit with your car via the OBD II socket
  • The system will take a while to read the vehicle information automatically.
  • Select the ‘Vehicle Communication’ -> ‘SUM module’ -> ‘Advanced’
  • Expand the SUM configuration list and then Select ‘Calibrating the system’ to find a new screen
  • Here, on the new screen, select the  ‘VCT2000’ icon and then check the SUM calibration status
  • Status shows Yellow lights for an un-calibrated suspension
  • To perform the calibration, click START
  • You will hear a mild ‘buzzing’ noise from the headlight adjusters
  • When the lights all turn green it means that the ‘SUM reset’ or calibration process is complete

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Volvo 4C Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

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