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Volvo S60

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  • Hi...I"m an active duty Air Force firefighter returning to the States after four years in Okinawa. I recently bought the S60 2.5T and am picking it up in Tampa before heading out to my new assignment. I test drove a Japanese version over here and loved it!! Just want to say thanks for this awesome message board.....I had questions about breakin time and fuel octane to use and oil to use and you have all answered those questions without me having to ask. Glad to be a new Volvo owner and look forward to years of driving this awesome car!!!
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Volvo made the change for the 2004 model year I believe. It only affects the S60 2.4 and V70 2.4.
    All other Volvo's are 50 state cars. The other Volvo engines are ULEV or LEV depending on the engine.
  • avolvofanavolvofan Posts: 358
    Welcome aboard! The S60 is a really nice car. I hope you have as good an ownership experience as I have had with mine.
  • s60 2.4s60 2.4 Posts: 24
    The time is coming up and I am about to purchase a new 2.4 in four weeks. The S60 is a wonderful car and it sounds like many of you have enjoyed your S60's. My only concern is reliability. I have looked at previous messages and it seems a few have had a lemon. I plan on keeping this car for many years to come. Please advise of any problems or any major concerns surrounding the S60.

    Thank you!!!
  • s60 2.4s60 2.4 Posts: 24
    I will be picking up my 2004 "2.4" this Friday. This forum has been of great help, and I am pleased to say I am now a new Volvo owner.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Congrats on your new Car!
  • r22549r22549 Posts: 42
    Test drove the S60R this weekend...What a blast, except for the turning radius. I live in CT and therefore get my fair share of snow. Do you folks who live in snow country find it necessary to change to different tires in the winter months. If so what do you change to..? Is there a significant handling loss with different tires..Thanx for any help....
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Well, I live in AZ.
    However, the Pirelli's are Summer tires. They do ok for light snow/rain but for the heavy stuff get snow tires.
    There are several brands that work well.
  • kiassuc2kiassuc2 Posts: 2
    dont get a 2001 get a 2003 or 2004 and 60 k millions is no good at 60 thousand miles problems occur
  • apolloc70apolloc70 Posts: 13
    if you could get a 2005 S40 (base model) or a 2004 S60 (base model) for the same price, which would you choose ?
    i like options, but it gets too pricey, is it worth getting the base model of either of these cars , or should i shop elsewhere ?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,893
    well, if it is only a choice between those 2 cars, I'd probably opt for the S40 because I'm assuming it is more fun to drive (i.e., handles better).

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • I had my heart set on an A6 quattro, but after hearing about the reliability nightmares, I started looking at the S60 with the 2.5T. I test drove one last week and was impressed with the ride. It was a FWD, but I like the idea of AWD. In looking at the performance specs, it looks like AWD reduces the highway mileage from 30 to 25. That seems like quite a hit! Is the AWD really worth it? I've never had problems driving in snow with FWD, but I have this perception that AWD would handle better all around. What are your personal experiences with AWD on the S60?

    Thanks.
  • avolvofanavolvofan Posts: 358
    Apart from the traction issues with AWD, there is no torque steer with AWD. In my particular circumstance, I live in an area that gets a lot of evening fog/mist, so in the mornings, the roads can be slippery. With my S60AWD, I have no problems with wheel slip from dead stop. Regarding torque steer, if you punch the go pedal in a T5, you will notice some torque steer. With the S60AWD, torque steer is not present when the go pedal is punched.
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    Whoa, I have all kinds with my T5...with the DSTC turned off. I tend to also get a much better launch too. I don't mind a little bit, it really adds to the excitement.
  • larscalarsca Posts: 60
    IMHO AWD is absolutely worthless. OK, bold statement so I'd better explain. And please bare in mind, I am not a car expert of any kind, this is just my opinion based on what I've figured out on my own, heard from others, or experienced while driving various vehicles. So I might be all wrong (but I think I'm right).

    First of all, there is a distinct difference between AWD and 4x4. The 4x4 means you have constant power to all four wheels. This will enable you to brake later when attacking a corner, and step on the gas a little bit earlier when exiting. However, once you're in the corner 4x4 or FWD doesn't matter - it's all about G forces and tire grip.

    AWD (when we're talking about Volvo) is normally FWD and only disperses power to all four wheels when needed, i.e. when traction is a problem. This is done by electronic sensors and micro chips and usually involves cutting power to the engine as well.

    BBC's Top Gear once compared a RWD, FWD and AWD vehicle driving through corners. The results were that the RWD went through them faster since when you step on the gas, the rear of the car will push it through the corner and "help" you line it up straight faster, thus giving you a quicker exit time. Of course, the problem with RWD cars are that if you put too much power down they'll spin out and you'll hit whatever obstacle that's out there either sideways or rear first - both of which from a safety standpoint are bad.

    The AWD and FWD vehicles (both Audi A4s) behaved exactly the same. They were both "chugging" over the front tires, starting to go off the track. As they were saying, for racing purposes this is not what you want, but from a safety standpoint you'll be hitting something head on, giving you a large deformation zone and an engine to shield you from the impact.

    The reason they stated the FWD and AWD cars behaved so similar, was that the AWD is heavier (so it's cornering time was actually slightly slower than the FWD car) and once you're in the corner there's only so much you can do.

    Here's my reason for thinking AWD is overrated. It adds weight to your car, hence gas milage is lowered. There's more electronics and sensors and mechanical stuff involved, all of which could add expense if you need to repair it. And AWD is only there when you loose traction, and if you're doing 60MPH at that time it's not about AWD or not if you'll manage to keep control over your vehicle - it's about stabilization systems and your own capabilities as a driver (plus a whole lot of luck!).

    Unless you live where it snows a lot and/or you have a lot of ice on the roads, so that you could use the added traction of AWD for getting up steep hills or the likes, then what's the point?

    I live in SoCal where the sun shines 340 days a year. When it rains it can get pretty horrid, but there's still no need for four wheel traction. I have a lot of friends who keep talking about AWD this, AWD that, and they are convinced an AWD vehicle is more stable than anything else. That is absolutely not true, and it's my opinion that this type of thinking will create a false sense of security with the driver. (Last time we had heavy rain and I happened to be on the freeway, I can't tell you how many cars with really wide high performance tires I saw passing me at speeds that even I in my "normal" car couldn't do. I passed two of these cars about ten minutes later as they had spun off the road...)

    Growing up I watched a lot of British touring car racing. This is what I learned from watching Audi do battle with BMW and Volvo (yes, Volvo were in it and quite successful at that). The Audis could brake later before a corner, and thus gain the advantage. Going through the corner they were going at the same speed as the others. Exiting they could step on the power a little bit earlier, and again gain an advantage. But, with their added weight from the AWD system, the others caught up during acceleration. And these cars were racing cars, tuned every way imagineable, and yet they still performed very similar to the other cars on the grid. The consumer versions, even the high end ones, are not tuned this way.

    I don't know if I made a point here or not, but if you read all of this, you are a very patient person.
  • matsmats Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 S60 and I'm dissatisfied with the factory stereo and sound quality. Has anyone upgraded after sale to the Dolby Pro Logic SC901? If so, can you provide me an estimate on the cost to do this? Any other alternatives, suggestions, comments re improving the sound quality would be greatly appreciated.
  • avolvofanavolvofan Posts: 358
    You are certainly welcome to your opinion (AWD being worthless).

    Here is a dissenting opinion. Your discussion of 4x4 is a bit off. There are different types of 4x4 systems. One type (e.g. non-permanent) requires an engagement of the 4x4 drive (either electronically or by the operator manually engaging 4x4); this is what you will find on the Ford Expedition. The other general type of 4x4 is known as permanent 4x4, where the vehicle is always in 4x4 mode; permanent 4x4 is what the Hummer H1 is equipped with. With the non-permanent 4x4, all axles are locked when 4x4 is engaged. When you attempt to turn the vehicle (either right or left), drivetrain binding is experienced due to the wheels on the outside of the turn having to cover more distance than the wheels on the inside of the turn. For this reason (binding), non-permanent 4x4 is a low-speed off-road traction assist and has no bearing on high speed on-road traction/driveability. Permanent 4x4, by its internal design and mechanical components, does not suffer from the binding that occurs when the vehicle is turned right or left. In really bad traction conditions, permanent 4x4 can also have the front and rear axles locked to provide further low speed traction; however, the problems with binding of the driveline are present when the axles are locked. 4x4 systems have both a high and low gear range, where the high gear range is used for normal driving and the low range is used for low speed, low traction driving where engine torque is used to get the vehicle out of traction-challeged situations. To net out the above discussion, 4x4 systems are chiefly designed for low speed off-road low traction conditions.

    AWD systems are designed to provide traction to all wheels all the time, and are meant as a traction assist to on-road driving where traction needs are typically present at higher vehicle speeds. The example you gave of Audis is relevent. And, yes AWD systems really do provide traction to all of the wheels all of the time. The Volvo Haldex system provides 5% traction to the rear wheels at all times; when there is slippage (if memory serves, 1/7th of a wheel revolution is the metric) between the front and rear wheels, traction is increased to the rear wheels until the slippage is eliminated. The advantages of AWD are that you get a faster launch and turns can be negotiated faster and there is no drivetrain binding. Weight penalty of the Haldex AWD system is on the order of about 180 lbs. I have noticed about a 1 mpg penalty with my S60AWD.

    If you frequently have slippery road traction conditions, AWD is a definite advantage. I live in an area where summer evenings are foggy and mist mixes with road oil for a very slippery driving surface. I can't count the number of times where non-AWD cars have been stopped at a traffic light with me. The light changes to green, the non-AWD car's driver presses the accelerator and the tires (front or back) spin on the slippery road surface. My S60AWD just moves forward with no fuss and the other car is in my rear view mirror. A further advantage of AWD on Volvos is that the AWD system cancels out the effects of torque steer on hard acceleration. Personally, the additional 180 lbs. and 1 mpg penalty is a small price to pay for the additional traction (and safety) advantages of the AWD option.

    A further safety system that works on high-speed rain-slicked roads is DSTC (Dynamic Stability Traction Control). (DSTC also works on ice conditions.) The cars you describe that had spun while driving on rain-slicked roads may not have spun had they been equipped with DSTC. However, no safety system can re-write the laws of physics; operator stupidity can still result in a spin.

    Hope this response did not bore you.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Is the C70's sound system. Its not compatible w/ the S60.
    The HU803 is the Dolby upgrade for the S60.
    Its rather costly to do it after the fact. You have to replace all the speakers, add the 2 center speakers, add an amp and replace tthe head unit. Plus download a bunch of software from Volvo. If memory serves, it's about twice as expensive as getting it from the factory.
  • larscalarsca Posts: 60
    Your response didn't bore me at all. Very technical though, you obviously know a lot more about how these things work than I do.

    To me, DSTC should be standard on Volvos (and the equivalent systems should be standard on every other car sold in this county.) Just like ABS and airbags should be standard on EVERY car built today. I can't believe there are still cars sold where ABS is optional! Or that you have to pay extra for airbags!

    I guess AWD isn't a bad thing. Not on Volvos anyway. Audi however...
  • The less sophisticated, but still very effective STC (Stability Traction control) system is standard on all Volvos. Works very well on the slippery surfaces, and is comparable to any of the similar systems from major car manufacturers.

    The DSTC, in turn, is superior to most of the systems from other brands.

    And DSTC is standard on all Volvo SUV's - XC90.
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