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Volvo S70



  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Where'd you find the Torx bit?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    hehe. well, i was a brave soul and used the 6-sided 5/32 socket, as suggested on Victor's website. Luckily, the screws were not tight at all, so it wasn't a problem. Getting to them was a HUGE headache, though. I had to get the 2 lower ones from under the car and completely by feel since I couldn't see the unit from down there. (but this is supposedly an easier task on the non-turbo models.)

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    (but this is supposedly an easier task on the non-turbo models.)

    Hah. I've got a GLT. :(

    Thanks for the heads-up. I looked at Victor's website and it does look a good deal more involved than I thought. 'Tis ok, though: I like a challenge.
  • fchinfchin Posts: 8
    Can anyone tell me what a mechanical and a hydraulic timing belt tensioner looks like in a 1998 S70 GLT sedan? I like to determine which one I have. There are no numbers. Thanks
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    Although I've changed my belt, I really couldn't tell you. But, I'm pretty sure you can call the dealership with your VIN number and they can tell you which one you have ..... maybe. I seem to remember getting mixed opinions on this.

    EDIT: oh, volvospeed has a pic of the hydraulic tensioner here and on page 3 of these instructions:

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • vousavecvousavec Posts: 14
    Hello everyone - I've been browsing the forums for a couple days now. This seems like a wonderful place for finding out things about cars even the dealership or shop won't tell you!

    I used to have an 850 and I loved that car! It saved my life when I was involved in an accident by a drunk driver. I needed a car asap, as I am a student in college and I am working full time this summer. I told my parents that I wouldn't settle for anything less than a Volvo (I used to think they were boxy, but after a very comfortable 16 hour ride to Florida last year combined with the tank-like inside after the accident [someone's spark plugs were on the ground], I completely changed my mind.) We tried to find something as reliable as the 850 within the amount of money I received from the insurance company. I wanted an 850, but we (my 'rents and I) jumped on the chance when we saw an S70 in the paper. We ended up paying $5,100 for it. It has ~113,000 miles (my 850 had almost 116,000.) The engine runs smoothly and the transmission feels good. The only catch was that the engine light was on because it needs a new air pump (the price was thus lowered from $6,000). (The carfax report said it failed emissions and the air pump issue has been confirmed at the dealership were the car was serviced.) My dad is a car guru, so I am lucky about that. I know the air pump is pricey, but I'm more worried about other parts, since it is fairly easy to replace yourself. That and I have a little money left over from the insurance, which leaves me room for repairs. (I apologize this is so long-winded!) I've heard good stories and horror stories about the S70. I'm hoping once the car is 'refreshed', just like the 850 was, I won't have much trouble out it for a long time. (I'm replacing the fuel, air and cabin filter, with an oil change and transmission flush & filter asap. I also wanted to replace the spark plugs, just so it's 'new.') (Timing belt was already replaced.) Here are a few things I have questions on:

    1. The rear door on the driver's side: the door lock will not pop-up when I use the remote, it jumps a little, but doesn't make it all the way - what could this possibly be? Could it be fixed without buying any parts?

    2. The radio/cd player - works fine, but the tiny lights in behind are all out (the lcd lights up though.) Is that possible for ALL of them to be out, or does this signify a bigger underlying electrical problem, which brings me to the most annoying:

    3. The light-out indicator -> My dad and I replaced all the "bad-looking" bulbs in the tail lights (there were a couple). When I would press down on the brake pedal (slowy/softly) the light-out light on the dash would flicker until the pedal was pressed all the way. We changed out the bulbs and this went away...naturally until on my way home, it is flickering again - it's not the front lights or the third brake light. It's the brake lights on the trunk, but they're new! Would a little filing and electrical grease do the trick here? What kind of problem is this (a recall that hasn't been performed perhaps?) If it's a recall, how would I go about taking it to a dealer - would they actually look at it to see if all the recall work was completed on it?

    4. My most worrysome: All I can think of is either too thick of oil or faulty oil pump. When I start the car, sometimes it's rough (and scary) - and the low oil pressure light comes on for about 2 secs, then it goes away and the engine runs fine. Scary.

    I know this model is controversial, and I did not find that out until after I bought it, but I hope it will be my best car yet, it just needs a little lovin'! If anyone has had any problems like this or if you know what a fix is (no smarty coments please!) please let me know! I would like the car to be in tip-top shape, if it means replacing bulbs every couple months or so, I'm willing to make that sacrifice for the safety part! If anyone has any comments or advice about this model, please let me know! :D
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    I'll help with what I can.

    For the rough starting, I usually find replacing the plugs cures this. So definitely do your full tune-up first, then see how it is.

    definitely play with those bulb sockets a bit. Clean them up and make sure the bulbs are sitting securely in their seats. There was a TSB on S70s to replace certain light sockets. You could always check with the dealer to see if this was done on your car. But it just might need an adjustment on your part ... i had this same thing on mine when I first got it, but a good cleaning and some slight bending of the sockets to hold the bulbs tighter has resulted in no problems over the past few years.

    I'm not sure about the lights on the stereo. I guess its possible they could have all gone out ... but I don't think its likely. I'm pretty sure this isn't a dedicated fuse for just the radio lights. Are you sure everything else is working. Maybe check the fuses just in case. If nothing else, try replacing a bulb or 2 and see what happens.

    Have no clue on the lock problem.

    good luck.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    1 pwr lock is probably bad.

    2 If the radio button lights are out there isn't anything you can do, except replace the radio. Its not hard, its just plug and play.

    3 Oil is not getting to the valaves and lifters which is what is making the noise.
    Some noise at startup is normal, but a low oil pressure light isn't.
    Look into that.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    2 If the radio button lights are out there isn't anything you can do, except replace the radio. Its not hard, its just plug and play.

    Radio button lights can be replaced. Folks have even replaced with different colored bulbs to change overall lighting scheme in the car.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • I finally convinced my husband that my next car should be an S70. I have driven this car and prefer its styling to newer volvos. I am looking for one with low miles (around 30,000) and wondered if anyone could comment on the following:
    - are they easy to fix yourself? (My husband is pretty handy with our vehicles -an avalon, an infiniti J30, and a taurus)
    -should I consider buying an extended warranty? (I got a quote for 25,000miles or 25 months for 1900 bucks)
    -are certified volvos really worth the extra cost?
    -Is there another more recent model that has similar styling?

    Thanks very much for any information!
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Nope, the S70 and rear-drive S90 were the last of the 'boxy' Volvos. As far as ease of maintenance/repair, if you guys are comfortable tackling the Avalon, J30, and Taurus, I can't think of anything that'd present a special challenge with the S70 (besides possibly finding one with 30,000 miles or less on it...keep in mind the youngest S70 is now 5 years old.) In fact, I don't think it's possible to certify an S70 anymore due to the age of the model.

    I'm leary of extended warranties from third parties. I wouldn't toss $1,900 bucks at a warranty company...just keep that money in a "car repair" savings account instead, if you're worried about possible large expenditures.

    Take a look around here and see what we've been saying about common issues with these vehicles. They DO tend to be a little on the maintenance-intensive side, especially as they age. The payoff, of course, is Volvo safety and a supremely comfortable car for not a lot of money. If you and your husband are comfortable doing repairs yourselves, parts prices aren't really out of line with other makes (I've sometimes found that a part for my S70 can be cheaper than the corresponding part on my '98 Accord.)

    Good luck, and let us know what you find!
  • Thanks so much for the information!!!!!!! I am really looking forward to getting something fun to drive- I loved my J30 but as far as maintenance goes- its was as, if not more expensive to fix than a jag- with the same frequency. In fact, I was really diligent about keeping up with the maintenance schedule, and as a good infiniti car owner, I had my timing belt changed at 60K - it was never the same since. I agree with the idea about the warranty -it seems an awful lot to pay to get the car to 55K miles. I would think a volvo should have absolutely no problems even then, but have you any idea about the timing belt, I am sure its recommended that it be changed at 60 or 70K, but my gut feeling would be to postpone that can of worms until later. Do you have an opinion on that as well?

    Also, any ideas about the tranny in the 2000 s70? Our taurtise (as I refer to it) has been a great car, all except for the tranny- skips constantly and we had it rebuilt, but again- a problem that was a constant with the car.

    Thanks again for the info-looks like you were up late last night!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    Funny you should say that, lancer, I have had MANY discussions with folks about how our Honda Pilot has been more expensive to maintain thus far compared to my S70.

    s70wannabe - Since your hubby has experience with various cars, I'm sure he'll be able to adapt to the S70. If you get a non-turbo model, it would be even easier still. A turbo isn't a big deal or anything, but it makes it a little tougher to do some jobs and does add one common failure in the form of a oil return line seal (but its a pretty easy fix). And if you are looking for something fun (as you mentioned), then I STRONGLY suggest getting the T5, preferrably with the sport suspension option (not required, but just suggested).

    The timing belt change interval varies by year .... I BELIEVE the '00 model is a 90K interval (my '98 is a 70K interval). HOWEVER, a site I strongly suggest your hubby become familiar with is If you go there and click on the maintenance section, he can read up on all the common maintenance and other issues. On that site, they suggest, regardless of miles, to not let the timing belt go past 5 years. So it sounds like you should change the belt no matter what since you'll be buying a car that is almost 6 years old. And this really isn't something you should be lax about changing. A timing belt failure is quite catastrophic in these cars.

    One problem you are pretty much guarateed to face at some point is the failure of the ABS controller. And if you scroll up a few posts, you can read our recent discussion on this.

    Oh, and the transmission - I started experiencing problems with mine at around 50K miles. The dealer could not tell me what the problem was and even refused to believe there was a problem at all (i would get vibrations/slipping when the tranny would shift into high gear). After some research and reading, I decided to have the dealership flush and fill the tranny. After that, even the tech admitted "jeez, i thought i was fine before, but now that i see how it SHOULD feel, i see you were right and there was a problem. it feels GREAT now." And he was right. It was a whole new car. ANYWAY, moral of the story is that I now change the tranny fluid every 30K miles without fail.

    Good luck. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Mine is now almost 8 years old and I wouldn't trade it for anything (i recently thought about trading and drove a bunch of much more expensive cars and NOTHING enticed me to trade the volvo in - that says alot to me).

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    one more thing I forgot to mention .... the '99 and up S70s went with a few more electronics. I'm trying to remember exactly what that was off the top of my head... but I believe it has something to do with an electonic throttle. Anyway, it is commonly claimed that this causes one more common failure that is not present on the '98s. I'm thinking something like ...

    ah, did a search and found it. Its the throttle controle module. I can't post a link, since its on another forum... but here is the most descriptive post from there (i've edited it a little for clarity and brevity):

    The ETS light is a warning indicator on your dash light cluster that warns of problems in the Electronic Throttle System. The 99+ have electronic throttles vs. the manual "wire" system in older cars. The core of the ETS system is the Throttle Module and this is usally the culprit when the light comes on. The module is either damaged or dirty and fuel is not being fed into the engine as required. (Thus various performance issues - hard starts, stalling, acceleration problems and performance issues at all, just the light comes on.)

    The dealers seem to alway say "REPLACE" the module whenever there's a problem..Cost is about 1000-1200 depending on dealer. The part is about 600 and the labor about the same. However, I had the problem and my mechanic simply cleaned the module and it's run fine ever since (about a year ago). Seems others are learning to at least try to clean the module first rather than spend 1200 on replacement. If you replace a dealer must do it. There is software involved and only someone with a VADIS system can download.

    The module is hard to get to. It took my mechanic who has about 30 years experience with Volvos 2 hours to do the cleaning. It's not a job I'd try myself but there are a lot of very savy guys on this board that could do it themselves. The cleaning isn't the problem. It's getting to the module in the first place and reinstalling it that takes time.

    This is a very common problem on first gen S/V70s 99-00 (as the 98 didn't have the Electronic Throttle) and most here would view it as a defect that Volvo should have repaired as such issuing a recall to replace the modules which all tend to have this issue at some time or another.

    Bottom line is try to get it cleaned before you replace. Risk is that it won't work and you'll be out the cost of cleaning PLUS the need to replace at 1200. Hope this helps.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Yup. The '99 and '00 S70 had a first-generation "throttle by wire" system that proved problematic. The '98s are basically a rebodied 850.

    Edit to my previous: My Accord's a '94, not a '98.
  • vousavecvousavec Posts: 14
    Thanks everyone!

    About the radio lights: I asked the dealership and (naturally) they said I would have to replace the entire radio to fix that. (Go figure - it' a dealership) I've taken off the front plate and KNOW that the lights come out. So, does anyone know where can I find replacements? Especially if people change the colors, etc. I love music and I'm happy with the sound in the car / I don't want to fool around with putting a new radio in, because I've seen how much trouble my cousin went through when his radio ended up being too long to fit in the radio "bay" properly. That and a new "Volvo" radio costs a little over $400... a hefty price tag to a college student that just wants 5 light bulbs. Thanks again everyone for your input!
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I'm not sure what the part number for the lamps is, but I DO know they're available. Perhaps check a local Radio Shack or similar store? Additionally, I've seen the stock cd/cassette unit on eBay (new) for $200...don't go paying dealer prices for that!

    As far as an aftermarket radio fitting properly, don't worry; the opening is standard DIN depth (DIN is the standard aftermarket radio size...the Volvo has a double DIN opening, which means an installation kit would be needed to fit an aftermarket stereo.) It's plenty deep enough, though. Let me guess...your cousin has a GM or a Chrysler.
  • I really appreciate your research and site info. Although it is a bit surprise about the timing belt and tranny. Despite the potential issues with either, I have still got my heart set on the s70- I love cars, and it just seems like everything on the market (in my price range) with the exception of this model, looks like each other. Even my avalon- great vehicle, and totally reliable, but still a bit stodgy for me at my age.

    I will be sure to post what kind of deal I evenutally strike- I am trying to find something in my area (Rochester NY) and its difficult. But I cant wait till I can get one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks again!!!!!!!!!! SO INCREDIBLY HELPFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Well, the timing belt isn't really a problem per se, just a normal maintenance item. Generally the water pump is replaced at the same time as the timing belt for good measure, simply because it's an inexpensive part and it's easily accessible while the timing belt is off. Volvos aren't the only cars to use timing belts, by a longshot.

    As far as transmissions go, I haven't heard of high failure rates with these, either...just keep them serviced as qbrozen has mentioned.

    There are some components on S70s that seem to have a high failure rate, but the basic drivetrain is a very solid, proven design that essentially dates back to 1993's 850 model.
  • vousavecvousavec Posts: 14
    Awesome! I'm going to Radio Shack tonight! Yes, dealer prices are outrageous, but I wasn't expecting an answer of $400+ (For $250 you can buy something really nice with bells and whistles at Best Buy!!)

    My cousin's car is a 99 Oldsmobile Alero. He hates it ('cause it's an Oldsmobile), but he's here as an exchange student for the summer, so that's all he could find for the amount of money he had (He wanted a BMW, but for $2500, it was difficult to find one that didn't need repairs or that was a newer year. The Alero's nice, though, just has high miles - 107K and some minor body work.) Anyways, I should ask him what he ended up doing with the radio... hmmm. That's nice to know that Volvo's DIN depth is for real people! (Just makes me love the car even more!) Heh, I probably should tell my cousin to further sway his opinion towards owning a Volvo!!

    Thanks again lancerfixer!!! This place is awesome!

    p.s. - I almost forgot -> I need opinions. Parts place at the dealership said that Volvo's only do well with "Volvo" spark plugs. This is difficult for me to believe. What is everyone's take on this? (A good Bosch set from Autozone ought to be good, even if not better?) Thanks again, everyone!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    Yes, radio shack. That's the place to go. Just remember to take a bulb with you to match up. :)

    Oh, as far as the colors ... i don't have the info handy ... but I do remember, for instance, one person used permanent marker to change the color on his. Haha. He went with red, by the way.

    For plugs... well, I'm almost inclined to believe it. I went ahead and bought expensive plugs a couple of changes ago (ummm... what are they? titanium or something I think ... i knew when i was shopping, but forget at the moment.) Anyway, those didn't last NEARLY as long as the OEM plugs. I found I had the rough starting again after about 15K miles. So then I just went with good ole platinum plugs from Napa (can't remember brand), and now, after about 20K miles, I'm thinking they need to be replaced again soon. SO, I will be getting OEM plugs, personally. I have seen them time and again on Ebay. Not cheap, but cheaper than buying at the dealer.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • girishcgirishc Posts: 2
    This has only happened twice so I dont know the exact conditions when its caused. But both the times, I was driving slowly, about 20-30mph, and I suddenly lost all drive, the battery and oil light came on. The power steering also turns off so it is hell to steer the car. I had to stop the car, put it to park, turn off the ignition and turn it on again. The car started perfectly and gave no problems. Both times I had air conditioning and stereo on.

    At my last checkup in the shop the mechanic had told me that my car battery needed replacement as it was giving out slightly lower voltage (12.5v i think) than required.

    But do you think this is a battery problem? I always thought your car wouldnt start if your battery was low, but once it started the battery shouldnt matter.

    Anybody else facing this problem?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    you are right that the battery will not cause the car to stall once driving.

    I think your problem could be so many things. Really, my only thought after reading the description thus far is that its some sort of loose connection. If it always runs fine and starts fine, then I have to assume something is loosing connection at random times and killing the car's juice. And, really, that could be any NUMBER of connections and it could be electrical, a sensor, or a vacuum line.

    first thing I would do is start the car and leave it idling while you pop the hood and start jiggling things around (gently). Make sure all the wires are good and secure and none of the insulation on the wires is worn away. Jiggle as many vacuum lines as you can, etc, etc.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I don't know this for sure, but I think this was one of the classis symptoms of the electronic throttle going out. You may want to check into that.
  • vousavecvousavec Posts: 14
    Ok, so now I'm up to the part of changing out light bulbs. I need to get to the instrument panel so I can change out one of the bulbs (actually, I'll change all of them, just in case) behind the speedometer. BUT I feel like I have looked everywhere and I cannot find any tips (besides don't break the snaps) or hints how to get back there. My dad and I took off the air vent covers off and the glove box (i know the passenger airbag will have to be detached) and unscrewed all the screws, but still, the dash is still catching on something (perhaps the snaps, which we are a little worried about breaking.) We did this before in the 850 without as much trouble. If anyone knows anything about this or a website that has directions posted, please let me know!

    As for the radio lights, I went to radio shack, but either the bulbs/leds they had were too small or big. And the colors were off (that guy who painted his bulbs with permanent marker should've visited the Radio Shack I went to!) So that leaves me to ask another question! (Sorry, guys/gals!) Please correct me if I'm wrong - the size of the radio LEDs is 4mm?? And also I was wondering if anyone out there knew a part number or perhaps a website that had these (or at least a gigantic selection.) Another tid bit of curiosity - the leds I found seemed to have the connectors too big to fit in the black "socket" that goes into the back of the radio...or do I buy the led already in the socket since the way the conectors are wrapped around it seems a bit complicated? I'm out of ideas. I won't die without radio lights, but it would look so nice! :cry:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    ok, here is my complimentary one search for the day on brickboard. haha. ;)
    Its on the S90 listings, but says its for the SC-816 radio, so it should work for you.

    Yes you have a couple of bulbs burnt out. To change here is what it takes. Remove your radio by pushing the little tabs on each side,a dime will get them pushed back enough to make them releace. Un plug the unit from the back side
    Oh Yea make sure you have your radio code handy when replacing the system or she won't come on, you will at that time enter you code # then hit auto and she will start working.
    After taking the unit out remove the screws on the sides that hold the face on, the knobs on the front of unit will pry off and then a few snap connects around the unit will let the front cover off. now you should be looking at the circut board holding the bulbs, there are three or four little metal tabs spaced out around the board that are bent sideways holding this board to the units frame. Take needle nose and straighten these tabs up and the circut board will release. Now you can get to the back of the board and give the bulb holders a 1/4 turn and they will release. Now the fun starts
    I had to get my good reading glasses out for this,you take the bulbs out of the holders by unwinding the wire on the holders then reversing this procedure when installing the new bulbs back. You will also have to cut the ends of these bulbs on reinstalling the new parts. Bulbs came from Radio Shack
    Part # 272-1092 micro lamp 12 volt. Good luck about an hour and a half.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • girishcgirishc Posts: 2
    I looked up this issue on other websites and seems to me that this is a known problem with ETM module in the 99-01 models.
    Here is a class action lawsuit against Volvo with more information of the warranty coverage of this problem :

    I will contact my dealer and see what he says. Will keep this thread updated.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,964
    I was under the impression that the module would throw a check engine light, though. But I certainly could be wrong.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • s70owners70owner Posts: 7
    Joined this forum today after looking for possible reasons for ETS lights, poor performance and check engine. My 99 S70 started this problem this week. First, the ETS light comes on, then sometimes, but not always, the car will suffer performance problems such as rough idling, RPM variation, no power, etc. followed by the check engine light. I shut the car off and restart it until the problem goes away, sometimes 2-3 attempts. Will be following up with local mechanic and possibly Volvo dealer this week and let you know what happens. This forum has been of great help to me when trying to understand what was happening.
    Regarding the timing belt mentioned in earlier messages, the one in my vehicle was changed at 75000 miles due to cracks and wear in the belt. From what I saw, trying to get to the Volvo recommended change frequency of 115000 miles would have been a risk.
  • lweisslweiss Posts: 342
    Have a 98 S-70 with about 95K on it- has been running OK, then over the weekend, the power steering fluid leaks out, and then manual steering all the way (builds muscles, right?). Is this a common problem- or the real question- is it an expensive one? Input welcomed.
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