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Volvo 850 Wagons



  • I will have an opportunity to ask that question tomarrow since the car is going in for yet another service. The check engine light has been on again the past two weeks. The car has been to the dealer each and every day for the past week. They think they get it done and put me on the road, and the light comes on sometimes before I get out of the dealership's driveway. Tonight I just kept driving and will take in back in the morning. As far as loyalty goes, I have bent over backwards making excuses for this car and giving the dealer the benefit of the doubt that this is rare, but after reading some of these posts and visiting other sites I think Volvo's quality is currently down the tubes. I have been very loyal to Volvo. Each and every repair is made 100% at the dealership and I even buy the $40 windshield wipers that I could get for under $10 at any auto store. But I want the "genuine Volvo accessories" to keep my Volvo in "top working condition". Loyalty has done nothing for me yet. I'd be willing to consider an offer, but I really don't want to own another. The pleasure I get from driving the car two days a week before it is back to the shop isn't worth the cost. I spent more time in the minivan the dealer uses for the shuttle to take customers to and from work. I bought a Volvo, I want to drive a Volvo, not this stupid minivan, although I can catch up on reading when someone else is driving me to work. Sorry for the long winded post and sarcasm, but it is my own defense mechanism for making light of a discustingly ridiculous situation. The world has far more problems than mine. I wish Volvo would do their part and save some trees. There is an entire forest on my desk that makes up my Volvo repair file.
  • To answer your question, no factory warranty is remaining, but I do have a one year parts warranty that covers nearly the entire car, since I've replaced almost everything and built a new Volvo part by part in the last six months. It would seem much more economical to put it all together at once, like in a factory somewhere. Didn't Henry Ford invent an assembly line or something like that?
  • Okay, I have read some alarming post about Volvo mainly the V80? Well whatever 80. Anyway, I am looking at purchasing either a new or 3 year old wagon. I have a 9 month old son so Volvo's safety is a plus. Please give me any advice that you can. I would like to stay somewhere around 30 for New and 24 for used. Of course I will explore the price issue a little further but just so you know, what I was thinking. you can em-ail if you would like at [email protected] thanks for your help.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Of course, even with the horror stories you hear here, there are tons of satisfied customers with Volvos (or any other car) that don't post here. However, given your price range, I'd say you would do well to look at either a Passat or Subaru Legacy, either the Outback or the GT.
  • cjfairmancjfairman Posts: 11
    156 of 158 warning to kandyfreak by cjfairman Mar 01, 2001 (04:34 am)
    do your research carefully and explore extended warranties. My wife and I
    bought our 97 850 wagon, which was at the tail end of the previous style.
    This would lead you to think that all of the kinks were worked out and
    refinements made. Look carefully through these posts for recurring problems.
    I always thought extended warranties were a complete waste of money, after
    all I didn't require one on my Subaru that ran to 130k before being
    rearended and totalled. I didn't need one on our beater car a 94 mercury
    tracer (125K and still going) I didn't need one on my old cavalier I drove
    in college, a honda civic, a mazda get the idea. I have babied
    all of my cars and been rewarded with excellent service and hundreds of
    thousands of miles except for my first true "luxury" purchase an 850 glt
    wagon. I kick myself every day I go to the dealer for not extending the
    warranty. It is fun to drive, roomy, comfortable etc etc. I just wished I
    got to drive it. (The service department knows me by name and my phone # by
    heart.) Take whatever price you plan to pay and inflate it by about
    $3000-$4000 to fix. Those numbers are a conservative estimate, I've paided
    more in the last 6 months. Good luck. Drive Safely---as Volvo would say. I wished they'd just say "Drive" period.
  • spiker2spiker2 Posts: 1
    I echo the grievance over the engine light disease in 850 wagons. Mine, a 1997, came on at 60K, past the warranty, of course, and cost me $400 for a tiny blower.
    So far, no other problems, but without the turbot, it is a slow starter.
    Am thinking about a 2001 or 02, V70, 2.4 turbot; should I, despite concern of high maintenance costs?
  • chp3rilchp3ril Posts: 4
    I have been told that a 1996 850t or a 1998 v70 would be good Volvo's to buy I have a 1988 740gle now with 210,000 on it and it's been a great car. I drive 650 to 800 miles per week so I want one to be as good as my 740 and I don't want to spend alot of money on upkeep.
  • psi1psi1 Posts: 1
    I just bought a '96 850 wagon with TRACS. Trying it out in snow, I found that I can certainly spin the front wheels. Is this supposed to happen? What exactly does TRACS do?
  • losthat1losthat1 Posts: 93
    Look back over all the previous posts. I would venture a guess that you will find many issues with the 850/V70. Seriously, if you have had good luck with your 88 why not just keep driving it? IMHO the Volvos of the past, including those built in 1988 are much more reliable than any of the more recent. I just said goodbye to my 96 850t after 81,000 miles. The last 20,000 were filled with trips to the dealer and mighty expensive repairs. Good Luck!
  • I have about 13,000 to spend on a used 850 do I have a chance? Secondly, is there anyone out there that is happy with their 850
  • lesholesho Posts: 3
    To the person who wants to know if anyone is happy w/ their 850, I am. I bought my 850 GLT wagon two years ago after researching Consumer Reports and Edmunds. CR listed the 850 as a "good buy" and I was attracted by the fact that the cars seem to hold their value for awhile. I did go into the purchase expecting my maintanence bills to be higher than my previous Honda Accord, but I've driven Volkswagons before and felt the tradeoff to Europeon styling, etc. was worth it.

    I was lucky to find a standard. One local dealer told me that they did not import standrads to the U.S. so I'd have to get a standard. I found the car at a Ford dealership and paid $4000 below book value. The car had upgrades like leather seats, all power seating, and side airbags. The car had one previous owner.

    Since I've owned it I've only done the recommended maintanence and oil changes. I DO NOT take it to the dealer. I found a great auto shop that only works on Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, etc. He stamps my book so I can maintain all service records. I did get some of the previous repairs on the car from the Volvo dealer and was surprised that the entire dash board had been replaced as well as several other major items. I'm hoping that the previous owner was very picky and pushy and got stuff done while the car was still under warranty.

    The only problem I've had with the car is it not starting due to the battery dying. In fact, the car wouldn't start this morning (new Diehard put in three months ago) and my husband was unable to jump it. We had to remove the battery and take it to a shop to see if there's a problem with it. I'm hoping to hear very soon that it's only the battery. Both times it's died it's been cold out and I hadn't used the car for several days.

    That said, I love driving the car. It still looks almost brand new and it's a nice solid car. I don't necessarily agree that it's really comfortable. I rode in the back set once and thought it was a rather stiff and unforgiving ride. My sister has a Mercedes staion wagon that's a year or two newer than my Volvo. I'd take the Volvo any day over the Mercedes. My Volvo is roomier, nicer looking inside (and out I think) and seems to be much more reliable. (The Mercedes is constantly in the shop w/ expensive repairs). Overall, I've been highly pleased with the car. I'll remain that way as long as the reliability continues. I do agree that it's critical with these cars to maintain them religiously.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Couple things-
    One, 850s and S/V70s were sold with manual transmissions here in the states. The dealer you spoke to is wrong. It's hard to find them, especially the wagons, but they're out there. They were available in the non-turbo and high-pressure turbo models, but not the low pressure turbo.

    Two, it sounds as though there might be a small current draw on your battery-- could be something as silly as the glovebox light staying on when the door is closed. If the battery checks out OK, you may want to see if there's any current being drawn when the car is off (of course, there will be a very small amount drawn for things like the clock and radio memory, but your repair shop will know what's appropriate and what's excessive.)

    You've got a real find with that 5-speed wagon; I've been looking at Volvos for months now, and have only seen one 5-speed, and it was a sedan. Happy motoring.
  • the fuel door locks shut intermittently on my 96 850 turbo wagon. I have to take apart the inside right tail light and pull a little lever to get it to open. One mechanic told me the "motor" to the door may be going out, but couldn't be sure unless he saw it while it was inoperable. Another mechanic told me he thought it had something to do with my automatic key....I should "click" it a certain # of times to remedy the problem....any advice??
  • norge003norge003 Posts: 11
    Can anyone tell me why the XC doesn't come with DSTC like the V70 (as an option).....I am looking hard at buying the 2001 XC but was surprised that the option wasn't available. Even with the XC having an AWD (at times), it still seems to me like it should be available. Any help would be appreciated.
    Bought a used 96 850 base model auto two plus years ago and we love the car. We had teething pains at first with little problems that our Volvo dealership immediately took care of under warrenty and provided us with a nice loaner Volvo car each time. We bought the extended 5 year 100K mile warranty before the car got over the 50K mile mark but we've never had to take the car back to the shop since.

    We're only at 57K now an moved to S.F. last year where we drive the car much less than we used to in L.A. but it definitly is our vacation hauler. The Volvo is the car both my wife an I most enjoy taking when the ride is going to be long. I have a lot less fear of how our ownership expereince is going to pan out now because it's been quite a while without any problems and the warrenty gives us peace of mind.

    I am fully aware of all the problems that this forum presents as the norm to the average reader here but I no longer consider them to be inevitable to our own ownership exerience. Battery power drains, squeaky dashes, sticking window switches, failing transmissions, replaced airconditioning pumps, sticking gas door locks, etc. etc. seem to plague the GLT and R owners but that has not been our case. We just plug along in our wimppy little five and are happy we own this car.
  • asfan1asfan1 Posts: 4
    We purchased this car because of its performance and safety features. When the car is in working order, it is hard to beat. The problem is the car has been very expensive to maintain. Our mechanic has told us that the evaporator coil for the air conditioner has to now be replaced to the tune of a thousand bucks. I am not necessarily complaining about the cost(I guess I am a little) but does it make sense to make the repairs on this car and keep the car or should I trade it in. I hate to just keep throwing money away that could be used towards a new car. I know other car manufactures have caught up with volvo as far as safety features. If I do trade it in what do you recommend in the 25-30k range.
  • vovonutvovonut Posts: 1
    My experiences with Volvo's goes all the way back to 1984 when we purchased our first Volvo, a 245 Turbo (oop, that's a 240 series wagon for the non-Volvo speaking) new from the dealer after totalling a Ford. It served us well for 185K miles until it was totalled. I too took the extended warranty and used it well; replacing the Turbo at 100K miles. Lots of other electrical repairs, oil leaks, and the odometer going out at 12K miles were all done under warranty. After the warranty period I found a local independent Volvo shop and have been using him ever since for the last 15 years. He is the main reason I still drive Volvos.

    Our next two Volvo's, a 1985 244GL, and a 764 Turbo were purchased used from non-Volvo dealers with about 35K and 58K miles respectively. Both cars had problems which I attribute to the previous owners giving up on and trading for BMW and Mercedes Benz. My mechanic found about $1000 worth of repairs needing in each. My point here is if you not maintain them, they will cost you later big time! Both cars were sedans but never handled and performed like our first 245 Turbo. Each was totalled in accidents (front end collisions) which I'm very thankful resulted in my wife only being brused in each. This is what makes me such a believer in Volvo safety!!! It also makes me purchase 5 to 8 year old Volvo's for her to crash :>)

    Our current 2 Volvo's are a 1992 965 and a 1996 855 TLA. We have had the 1992 for 15 months now and find it a pleasure to drive. It is much heavier than the 850 but is very responsive with it's 6 cylinder engine. It is my wife's car and she loves the response and turning radius (as compared to the 850's).

    I just purchased the 1996 855 for 40% of its original cost for myself! Yes it has 73K miles on it but I expect to go to 250K miles with proper maintenance and care. I just spent $700 doing the 75K mile service (a major one on the 850's) which included time belt (a must), spark plugs, all fluids changed, and a new upper motor mount. I really love the performance and handling of this car. (It reminds me of our first 245 Turbo.)

    What I've learned from the previous owner is tires must be rotated EVERY time you do your oil change if you expect them to last long. The previous repair records show them lasting about 20K miles and they were not very faithful on rotations. Brakes were also consumed quickly. With the increase in performance goes increased tire wear and costs (performance tires cost more than touring tires).

    Bottom line is this: I agree with post # 163 that you must maintain these cars. If you're used to hopping into your Honda, turning on the key and driving it until then next oil change, than these are NOT the car's for you. If you're complaining about repair costs than don't go to the dealer!!! Find a good independent shop; you'll save 1/3 the cost on maintenance/repairs! Remember the main reason you purchased the Volvo was for the safety - it don't come cheap! If you want fun factor (Turbo models like T5 or T5R) thrown in also, then it will cost even more. Just remember, it costs even more to own a Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche (I know I owned each also) and I still prefer the Volvo's because of their safety, longevity, and I can purchase a used one for much less than the comparable Mercedes or BMW! It all comes down to trade-offs; ya want performance and safety, or do ya want a little metal box that gets ya from point A to B on 35mpg and you want survive in a nasty crash, or do you want to complain?
  • go_oskigo_oski Posts: 1
    My wife and I just purchased a 96 850 Wagon, and about the only thing wrong with it (so far!) is that the stereo is anemic. I believe its the SC-710 model. Has anyone installed a CD changer in this model? I saw the the discussion for and know that the Alpine kit costs about $300. Any tips on installing one of these without the dealer's help? Thanks!
  • asadorianasadorian Posts: 23
    I solved the fuel door problem by spraying WD-40 on the locking pin. Open the door with the manual release, and lock the doors with the fuel door open. The locking pin will extend and can be lubricated. The lubrication seems to solve the problem.

    We have a 1995 turbo wagon, and the battery is three years old. Last time I had it tested, I had driven about 80 miles the day before, and the charge was too low on the battery to test it. I charged the battery, and then it and the charging circuit tested out fine. I periodically charge the battery as a preventative measure, and we haven't had any problems.

    The car has 112,000 miles and runs great. I just added up the maintenance and repair costs, and it worked out to be about 5.5 cents per mile. Adding the expected cost for new tires and major tune-up and servicing at 120,000 miles, the maintenance cost increases to 6 cents per mile. We used the Volvo dealer up to 90,000 miles and now use several independent shops. This seems pretty reasonable. We use Dunlop W-10 performance tires, and they have lasted 40,000 miles. The brake pads have lasted 55,000 miles. We replaced the rotors at 110,000 miles. We have a top-rated 1999 VW Passat, and the Michelins on it lasted 15,000 miles with frequent rotation.

    The Volvo requires tune-ups every 30,000 miles while many other cars go a lot longer between tune-ups. That the major maintenance inconvenience with the Volvo.
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    I'm not a 855 owner, but an 854T owner, and was just passing thru, looking for good discussions on the 85x series Volvos.

  • Thank you so much - I'll try it!
  • watsowatso Posts: 2
    Does anyone know of a place either mail order or on-line where I may get Volvo part and accessories.
    I am considering beefing up the braking system, does anyone have any favorite braking components?
    I am also interested in finding a metal cargo divide and the cargo cover.
    I wouldn't mind buying these used, if I could find a seller.

    Thanks James
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    I'd say you should checkout these two sites, and for what you're looking for. You could try ebay for the cargo divider, or most good pet supply stores carry this item. Hope that helps.


  • jmwatjmwat Posts: 5
    I've got a '98 V70 w/ 53K miles. Lately I've been hearing a "whining" noise from the engine compartment, usually shortly after starting the engine. The noise lasts for anywhere from 5-30 seconds, but it seems to be getting progressively longer. The dealer says it may be the air pump. The fix would be to replace it at about $700.00. Have you heard anything about problems w/ air pumps? Any advice?
  • goonargoonar Posts: 2
    I realize that the following is not necessarily a question about Volvos, but...does anyone know the name of and/or the performer of the great song Volvo used in their ad campaing for the new Volvo V70 station wagon? The commercial shows how a father travels back and forth from his son's swin meet to his daughter's soccer game. The lyrics are something like, "Keep movin' boy..."

    Again, I realize I may be violating some canon of Edmond's by asking such a question, but this is my last hope and am relying upon the kindness of strangers who, I would think, would be able to lend a hand considering Volvo drivers tend to be polite and helpful (shameless groveling...sorry).

    Thanks a bunch.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    "...does anyone know the name of and/or the performer of the great song Volvo used in their ad campaing for the new Volvo V70 station wagon?"

    If you don't get a response here soon, you should also try asking (copy/paste) your question in one of these New & Views discussions: Best Car Songs and Car commercials- the good, the bad, and the annoying. Good luck with your search. ;-)



    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards

  • garo2garo2 Posts: 1
    We own a 1992 Volvo 745 Wagon. We have loved the car (although its handling in the snow is more than a little scary), and our dog is especially fond of the large trunk.

    We're getting ready to get a newer Volvo wagon to replace it, and have noticed that the cargo area in the current models is substantially smaller than our 1992. Does anybody know what year was the most recent model of Volvo wagon with the larger cargo area? Does any other wago have a similarly large rear storage?
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Well, the 855 and V70 (mk1) cargo bays are still pretty big...but the new V70 is really roomy...but it'll set you back something uncomfortably close to $40k...more for the XC version.

    The V40 is a smaller car, competing more directly with the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 series wagon offerings, is that what you're thinking of in the smaller category?

    We had possibly a similar problem with a brief whining sound occuring under the hood. The sound seemed worse in the morning but would quickly go away after driving just a block or two. As it turned out for us the sound was from a worn alternator bearing. Our problem was solved by our dealer under the normal 50K mile warrenty with about 48K on the odometer. One thing that I was very adiment about was that since it only seemed to occur when the car was started completely cold I insisted the dealer keep the car over night and check it in the morning. Notice very carefully where and when this noise is occuring. I was able to locate the general area the noise was coming from but not the exact culpret.

    The problem I'd have with you dealers "may be the air pump approach" is that unless they agree to find and replace the exact part causing the problem God knows how many different things they might replace before they find out what the problem is.

    Best Wishes
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 331
    The V70 has 34.5 cubic feet (ft3), the Mercedes E320 37.0 ft3, the Saab 9-5 wagon 35.0 ft3, the VW Passat 38.5 ft3, Subaru Legacy Outback 33.5 ft3, Volvo V40 28.0 ft3, Saturn LW2 33.5 ft3, Audi A6 Avant 32.5 ft3, BMW 5-series wagon 33.5 ft3.

    These vehicles are from a wide range of price points, and some require premium fuel. This depends on the particular engine, so it's best to check for the particular car you're looking at. The sources are Consumer Reports August 1999, March 2000. A generally good source of hard data, although I usually write up their reviews with little notes to myself (e.g. test drive and decide for yourself) on areas where they get subjective. e.g. "...the ride was busy, even on the freeway..." I can determine that in a test drive.
    Our base 96 850 hit 60K recently so we took it into our old So. Cal. dealership while we happened to be down south on a vacation. It was basically a lot of "we will inspect and look at that" kind of service but of course they found something that they wanted to replace.

    The brake pads and rotors needed replacing. Now they did the pads and probably resurfaced the rotors back at 34K so I was slightly surprised except that I've read around a lot amoung these forums enough to know that those very very grippy Volvo brakes do not come without a cost.

    My wife was a little torqued at a $1,000 "Well look at that" and replace the rotor and brake pads kind of bill. The funniest thing to me was that what torqued her the most was that the dealership did not clean and detail the car before returning it to her. She was seriously looking forward to finally having a clean car more than the service that they were suppose to perform.

    Now I am a little surpirsed that the dealership slipped up on this concept but I'm gonna call the sales manager to let him know how much this kind of service means to my wife and probably a whole lot of other female Volvo drivers. Hey we can live with a $1,000 60K service as long as you give us back our baby totally spotless. She did of course once again receive free use of a Volvo day rental from the dealership so I kind of had to giggle. They did what they had to do and gave here a car to go see her old friends with but when she came back and they could not find her car and had not even cleaned it really torqued her.

    Well guys we do drive Volvos, we do expect more. Oh yeah they'll charge us for everything we expect, but God forbid that Volvo does not deliver. I will make my phone calls because I actually believe it'll make a difference at least the next time we go back there. This really is where we all expect a Toyota, Honda, Ford, or another plebian automotive choice to differ with our Volvos.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    If it makes you feel any better, my "plebian" Honda dealer always gives my apparently proletariat Accord back in spotless condition after any service larger than an oil change... :-)
    That is exactly why we do not own one. Good car but plebian as well as the very obvious fact that they no longer sell a wagon in the States! Now go figure that marketing strategy. I'll get my 10 year old nephew to wash the car for a couple of dollars and stick with the Volvo. Even he thinks to Volvo is cool, what does he think about a Honda, I don't know!

    Hey, I never said I bought the car because it was a Honda.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Yeah, I noticed that. Don't tell me the comment wasn't deserved, though.
  • umnercumnerc Posts: 1
    We recently bought a 1997 Wagon 850 GLT. Unfortunately there is an annoying squeak caused by the metal latch which locks the rear seat in the upright position. Does anyone know of any tricks for eliminating this minor annoyance?
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 331
    Well, generally when I have a squeak like that, I try to reproduce it so I can see which parts are rubbing or bending to cause the noise. You might be able to see this by getting in the back of the car, and rocking the seatback back and forth.

    You could then try lubricating the parts that are rubbing together, and causing the squeaking with a lube containing Teflon or a heavier conventional lubricant - like reel grease spray.

    My 2 cents.
  • jav1120jav1120 Posts: 8
    I have a 98 V70 since Aug 99, I bought it as a demo with 6K miles. The only problems I had were
    the blinker's contact going, one washer jet and a check engine light. This was all corrected in one visit and they even fixed my broken cup holder under warranty, (we broke it). My wife loves the car.

    I bought a used 96 850 sedan with 35K miles and I had 3 check engine lights and a major oil leak.
    The leak was the main engine seal between the trans and engine. Good thing the car was certified or else it would have been at least $1,600 for all this work. When the warranty ran out I sold it. When I drove it it ran fine.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    This discussion has just been moved back from our Archived Folder and is now open for discussion. In addition the information here, be sure to check out the Helpful Links box on the left side of this page. You'll find direct links to other related Volvo features, articles, and discussions. Hope this is helpful. Happy Motoring!

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • We bought our 850 wagon,w/3rd seat, 5spd manual trans, in Feb 2001. We loved it. The operative word is loved. On Jan 1, 2002 while my family was loading up, I was sitting in the driver's seat(seat heater on), engine running, when I smelled and saw smoke coming from underneath the driver's seat. I told everyone to get out of the car, and checked underneath the driver's seat and saw the underside of the drivers seat on fire. With no fire extingusher all I could do was get the family out and away, call 911 and watch the Volvo go up in flames in about 6 minutes. Since none of us are smokers,and the seats were manually adjusted, I can only conclude that the seat heater overheated and caused the fire. Fortunately no one was injured, but this event scared us and our children. Does anyone else know of a similiar experience with Volvo seat heaters?
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    I am so happy that you and your family weren't harmed! I've not heard of this happening before in a Volvo. The owner's manual states that you shouldn't use the seat heaters w/o someone sitting in them, but I don't think that would matter.

    Could there have possibly been anything under the seat, some tissue paper or something, that could have ignited from the heating elements? Those heating elements can get really hot and I can easily imagine some thin, highly flamable item like Kleenex going up in flames quickly.

    Wow. Hopefully the host won't delete my post, but you should also post this on, a highly regarded Volvo enthusiast site where you could get alot of help on your problem.

    Again, I'm very happy you and your family are okay.

  • kkcymrukkcymru Posts: 48
    Any suggestions on replacing the radio/cassete player in 94 850. The current one, an SC-710, quit accepting the anti-theft code, and dealer says only option is to send it back for a refurbished one at a cost of about $300, or roughly twice what you'd pay for a brand new non-Volvo receiver of similar specs. I also went through three refurbished models under warranty before the dealer installed one that actually worked.

    I've checked Crutchfield for aftermarket cassete or CD receivers, and nothing fits, except with modification, and they don't make a installation kit. I've also found a source for an SC-816, which adds a CD player, but the cost is $830.

    I like the looks of the Volvo radios compared with most of the garish aftermarket models and the sound is acceptable, but the Volvo prices are ridiculous. I also don't want some hideous "make it fit" installation and overly complicated design to ruin the generally nice looking dash of the 850. [That would be like building a great minivan and ruining it with a wimpy 2.5L Duratec engine, right Javadoc?]

    Any suggestions or places to look.

  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    lol on the MPV comment... I remember you from earlier last fall. Did you end up w/ an MPV? We're seriously considering a 2002 ES, trading/selling our 2000 LX.

    Re: your stereo question, if you're willing to spend $300, I'd spend some time searching the classifieds at, and also ebay (my favorite car-parts shopping grounds). A friend of mine bought a slightly used SC-816 on ebay for just under $300. It sounds great, has radio/cassette/cd function and cd changer control. The search may take weeks. I found a replacement SC-815 on, last year, by posting some queries in their "aftermarket" thread and was inundated with assistance. One other source that I use is, which is a Volvo recycler. They're based in NY state and seem to have a good inventory an okay pricing...and the fact that they have an extremily helpful staff does help.

    Other than the OEM route, many bricksters have put in single-din (std size) cd players and sourced a single-din cubby/pocket to fill the space. I did this with my Saab 9000Turbo, and it looked great (same double-din type of radio). I just was reading about that on the bb this week, but can't recall if it was in the 850 or aftermarket board.

    You'll find a great solution, just give it some time. A quick look on ebay (searched using "volvo radio") found an SC-816 for $440, and what looks like an SC-811 (AM/FM/Cassette/Changer control) also, and that's at $25 with a day to go. Changers (Alpine-made) cost $200-300 and are everywhere for these radios, btw.

    Best of luck,

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Hi kkcymru- Glad to see you're getting some helpful advice here from Javadoc. For more feedback, you may also want to copy/paste your message into our Accessories and Aftermarket Audio system upgrades discussion. Good luck.

    Hi Javadoc- Thanks for your helpful feedback! You participation on this board is very much appreciated.... Happy motoring! ;-)

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards
  • kkcymrukkcymru Posts: 48
    I have not yet got my MPV. I'm hoping my 87 Golf keeps running until the new ones are available (transmission is starting to act a little odd. I'd like to wait until late spring/early summer to get the MPV. I'm hoping by then the supply catches up with pent up demand and prices are reasonable. I'm leaning more towards an LX now, as some of the EX additions are things I don't really want (like power sliding doors), but I'll have to do a full comparison.

    I saw the SC-816 on E-bay, with what seemed to be an unreasonably high first bid of $440. This one is refurbished, and based on past experience I don't trust Volvo's electronic refurbishing. Of the four replacements I got, one had no left channel, the second had intermittent channel outages, and one just plain didn't come on, period - a subtle flaw that escaped the dealer when they installed it. The fourth worked well for about a year.

    The SC-811 sounds good if the price stays reasonable. I did check brickboard after posting, but spent most of might time learning to navigate around it. There was some useful information on installing a standard DIN receiver I'll follow up on.

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    There was obviously a very serious defect in your 850 wagon, as evidenced by the faulty heated seat. My father bought our '93 850 sedan in the fall of '97. Any problems to date? None whatsoever, and I mean none. It replaced a problem-plagued and dreaded '87 Celebrity sedan. By the way, what year was that 5-speed 850 wagon of yours? If I was going to get another 850, I'd probably go for a '96 or '97 for maximum reliability. Otherwise, I'd buy a cheap used Caprice.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    A journalist with a major magazine is looking for consumers who recently purchased 3-5 year old vehicles. If you are interested in participating, please respond by Wednesday, March 6 at [email protected] It is always helpful if you provide your phone number, type of vehicle purchased, and city/state of residence.

    Thanks much!

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • srfrgirlsrfrgirl Posts: 3
    Looking at an 850T Wagon. Mechanic noted that compression was 180 on 3 of cylinders and 150 on the other two.

    Is that bad? and what kind of problems could this lead too?

  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    A good general rule of thumb to go by is the "75 percent" rule. The lowest compression number should be no lower than 75 percent of the high number. For your car, you pulled down a 180 on three cylinders. So, 75% of that would be 135, basically telling you that there is nothing to be alarmed about. Of course, uniformity is best but as time passes and miles are accumulated, the cylinders will move away from being identical w/regards to compression. A 150-180psi range should be fine, really.

    Another type of test is a leak-down test, which a mechanic would most likely have to do for you, so it'd be more expensive. There's a specific machine for this that tests leakage in your cylinders. It's a great tool to use to see the condition of your engine.

    A neat test to do on those two low cylinders, but really only if they were below say 120psi, is to put a tablespoon of oil into the cyl. through the spark plug holes then retest the compression. If the compression rises after this, that means the rings are worn (not so good). If it drops more, then the valves aren't seating properly and you need a valve job, or the head gasket could be blown However, I think the numbers you got were nothing to really worry about, as they're still w/in specs.

    Sorry for the longish post... just a few items I picked up along the way. Can you get service records for this car? Those are extremily helpful when making a decision so you can see how (if at all) a car has been maintained.

  • srfrgirlsrfrgirl Posts: 3
    Thanks javadoc. So we took it in for the leakdown test and the results were 8 to 10% leakage for the 3 cylinders, 22% for one, and 28% from the weakest. The mechanic said that 30% would be considered a pretty bad/high level and would be a high risk engine: he thought we had a 50% chance of no real problems and a 50% chance of problems ranging from a dirty engine to an engine replacement over the next several years.

    Other than this the car seems to be in excellent shape and runs really well. The seller isn't in a position to drop the price to make up for the possible risk.

    We have also heard from another mechanic that sometimes the volvo 850 just has erratic compression/leakdown test results and that this shouldn't really be an issue. So one mechanic says use a lot of caution the other says don't think twice.

  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    I called my trusted inde-Volvo mechanic... always nice to shoot the breeze with him. I've been going to him for, gawd, 14 years now. Anyway, we discussed this, and he says, "Pass on it. There's lots of other ones out there." He also thought the test results were marginal, but why take any chances, right? How many miles on this car anyway?

    Personally, your leakdown results could be from a dirty/crusty valves even. But I think he's right, there are lots of others out there... unless you're looking at a RARE pale yellow 'R' wagon, I'd keep looking. My $0.02.

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