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Volvo XC90 T6 Transmission



  • Did the 2006 cars have the same transmission? If they did----and I'm not sure if it was fixed by then with a different transmission----then sorry---get rid of it. I already had TWO new transmissions by that point and knew that there would soon be a third transmission coming up. As you can see from hundreds of postings here---this car should have been recalled a long time ago or only been sold with a huge caveat. I loved my XC90 and I had intended to keep it for a long time---but defensively knew I had to dump it before my final extended warranty was about to expire lest I pay for a third transmission--. Good luck.
  • Looking at buying a used XC90. I have been told this problem is mostly with the XC90 T6 and V8 models but not the I5. Should I stay away from all XC90s, just pre-2006 models or just the pre-2006 T6 and V8? Any advice would be appreciated.
  • I think most of the issues occurred with the 2006 and earlier models (mine was the 2006 V8 model, only 60,000 miles with all service requirements completed on time and on schedule ). But I, and it sounds like most people posting on this forum, were treated so poorly by what we thought was a reputable car company that I will NEVER own another Volvo again. They have proven they do not care about their customers, leaving us to take on a costly burden that was due to their negligence. Learn from this and DO NOT BUY A VOLVO, no matter the model, because they do not care about their customers, or doing the right thing.
  • This is just my opinion. Its informed - based only my my own experiences. Others may have different opinions.

    You ask which models to avoid. My opinion is that you should stay away from Volvo full stop.

    The issue isn't that their cars don't last or that their gearboxes fail after about 50,000 miles or even that a new gar box costs more than the value of the car - all cars wear out and some are better than Volvo and some are worse. The issue for me is that they are putting their profit ahead of customer safety and appear to be doing so in plain sight. Its the opposite of what I thought I was buying when I spent £50,000 on my XC90.

    In the US there is a class action suit for this issue. There are customers from the UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada also experiencing the same problems but although its the same vehicle and the same gearbox and the same fault they will not admit that its the same problem even when Volvo drivers are at risk and could cause risk to others.

    In my mind that is simply not good enough. Volvo in Sweden would not even discuss the matter. I bought my Volvo because I thought it was safe and I have a young family. When I approached them after the gearbox fault left us stranded in the path of oncoming traffic Volvo told me that this was the first time they had ever heard of the fault. I called them because the patrol guy had correctly guessed the exact defect in the most minute detail from the side of the road based only on the make and model of the car and its mileage.

    Then when the accident inspection service in the UK asked Volvo to comment Volvo said they had "no knowledge" and the matter is on hold pending further 'incidents'. Someone else has to suffer or get injured or die before the defect is looked into further. Then it transpired that at the very same time they said they had no knowledge, Volvo were in court in the US over the exact same issue.

    This is not about trying to find a decent model Volvo from those available, its about how safe you and your family are in a Volvo. Volvo have chosen not do something about a gearbox defect that can suddenly and completely incapacitate your car as you are driving along even though there is a risk to you, your family and other road users when you come to an unexpected stop. They knew of the defect while the vehicles were under warranty and did actually extend the warranty because of it, but did not warn drivers and did not recall the cars. Instead they have chosen to profit from the repairs to the original gearboxes and the replacements which also fail.

    In my case the "gestures of goodwill" after the event were not enough. Its my opinion that Volvo should have told me or my dealer that they were aware of a problem - before the catastrophe struck. They should have addressed it before the accident and before anyone else was put at risk, but they didn't. Ours came to an abrupt stop at around 56000 miles - just a few hundred miles after a main dealer 96000 mile service. The incident was avoidable and its unforgivable when they knew already that the fault was there.

    The closest they ever came to giving a warning was instructing the dealers to carry out extra work during the service if the vehicle is used for towing caravans, although we have never been asked what we tow with the vehicle.

    It appears that Volvo were already dealing with hundreds of other drivers who had hit the critical mileage and experienced the defect well before we did yet they took no action at all to prevent the same happening to us.

    These and many other forums are full of Volvo customers and victims that have unwittingly bought Volvos only to find themselves stranded, injured or facing repair bills well in excess of the value of the vehicle often very soon after buying the car and its not fair or decent.

    The bottom line? A new gearbox costs around £4000 - £5000 (retail price) and to Volvo that money was more important to them than the safety of my family.


    As I said, thats just my experience and just my opinion.
  • We ordered our 2004 XC90 new from the Massachusetts dealer in late 2003 and had the dealer do all of the service for the first 90000 miles. Since then we've been using a very trustworthy independent Volvo mechanic. Volvo's are not cheap to keep … having owned at least 1 for the last 31 years … and the XC90 is no exception. However, the day that we feared would come arrived three days ago when our transmission died. I suppose that I should feel fortunate that we got 170,000 miles out of the original transmission given the experience of many other owners who are on their 3rd or 4th transmission with fewer miles. Our dealer has offered to replace the dead unit with a new transmission to the tune of $7500 … less a 10% discount on parts and labor. They'll also give us a 2 year warranty. My wife loves this car we are considering the new transmission in the hope that we can get another 50000 miles out of it. But I am having 2nd thoughts about this given all of the negative experience that's been shared on this site. I think I've read every post and I don't recall one single post saying "we replaced the transmission and everything was fine after that".

  • jbs05jbs05 Posts: 13

    I received a goodwill notice from Volvo the day before Christmas that they are launching a service campaign. They are upgrading, for free, the TCM software installed on our xc90. I already had it completed. Back history... We only have 80k miles on it currently and the original transmission did not go out but started to slip at 32k. Volvo replaced that one free and have not had any problems since.

  • xc90t6_kenxc90t6_ken Posts: 2

    @jacostello said: After reading all the posts about Transmissions, I decided to give my story as well, most of it similar to many of your stories, except that I didn’t take it to the dealer, I actually had it rebuilt. I bought the 2004 XC90 T6 used with about 48,000 miles on it, drove like a dream until 62,500 when the infamous "TRANSMISSION SERVICE URGENT" came on, we took it our local Volvo specialist (not the dealer), and they flushed the tranny and reset the light and updated the computer, they didn't find any metal shavings or off color fluid, it took about a week for light to come back when the shop referred me to a local transmission shop (Bradshaw's Transmission/Portland, OR)

    We had an aftermarket warranty who wouldn’t even review the claim until the transmission was out and broken apart to assess the situation. After the report, the warranty company declined to pay for anything, and it was $1,300.00 to take out the tranny and break it down, since I was already that much in, I decided to keep it there and not take it to the dealership, which quoted me $5,500.00. Since many of you took it to the dealership, I assume you never got to actually know what went wrong with the transmission, I got to find out every detail since they took it apart. I am in no way a mechanic, my experience ends outside my 1974 VW Super Beetle, so I’m taking a lot of this straight from the report and bill for the rebuild and from my conversations with the gentlemen who rebuilt it. So they found the “transmission fluid smelled burnt and was slipping under load, the second gear clutch pack was burnt and the second gear apply piston and the drum was damaged causing metal particles to contaminate the entire transmission and shift solenoids.” That came straight from the report. They were able to provide me with copies of their ATRA (Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association) manual from the 2005 and 2006 year. The 2005 manual stated that the 2nd and 4th clutches are prone to burning and to inspect them when in for service. The 2006 Manual identified the problem as being improper machining of the accumulator housing, the chamfer angle was changed from 15 degrees to 10 and the depth was shorted from 2.7mm to 1.8mm.

    So they rebuilt it with the new specifications, and at first the light would come back on every 6 weeks or so, after taking it in a few times, they eventually found out that their computer wasn’t updating the new specs to the transmission and it was still programmed for the old worn transmission, once that got updated properly, it’s been handling like a dream ever since, it actually drives smoother.

    I can’t say with any certainty that this is what happened to everyone else's transmission, but it sure seems likely. I wonder if Volvo is just replacing the transmissions and discarding the old ones so no one investigates the root problem, this is only speculation. I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA, and I’m writing a letter to Volvo demanding payment for my transmission, which by the way was $4,512.00 in the end, that’s not including the $500.00 tranny flush I did a week prior to having it rebuilt. I’m also advising them that if I don’t receive at least a reply within 30 days that I’ll be filing a complaint with my state’s Attorney General, I’ve filed with them before with an other company on another issue and the issue was resolved pretty quickly, apparently companies don’t like to be flagged by any AG, so I urge you all to complain to your state AG, the more they get, the more likely they are to give in to us!

    I’m more then happy to provide anyone with PDF scans of the manual pages and even my bill with all the mechanic notes (my name and personal info redacted) if you’d like them to file complaints.

    So am I crazy for not letting Volvo replace it instead in the first place?

  • xc90t6_kenxc90t6_ken Posts: 2

    Hi, just read your post after bying my CX90 T6 - could you provide me with PDF scans of the manual pages and even my bill with all the mechanic notes. I do not have the same problem with the car yet but would like to be prepared :)

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