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Volvo 850 Wagons



  • dwinerdwiner Posts: 13
    My 96 855T also has the ABS/Tracs failure intermittently. I believe that Tracs uses ABS so if ABS fails, Tracs is shut off hence the lights often are lit together.
    The ABS control module seems to be a known problem area. I pulled the ABS sensors and cleaned them to no avail. This model has the ABS module mounted under the ABS pump, not on the firewall. I've been able to get the top two screws out in order to replace it, but can't get at the bottom two. Any hints from some who have replaced it successfully? Is the module repairable, or only replaceable?
  • klarckklarck Posts: 8

    As you probably know to remove the ABS Module you will need a E5 Torx Wrench Socket (This is the female version of a standard Torx wrench). If you do not have one it should be easy enough to get from you local machine tool supply.

    The module IS reparable. Go to Vic Rocha’s site. I have used his service and highly recommend him. In addition to having a better than stock module, the cost is less than 1/3 of a new unit. His web site is:

    As for hints to replace the unit. Make sure you have the right tool. I used a ¼” drive. Fit the socket onto the screw, and then put the drive on. Do Not over-tighten the screws when replacing. As for more detail, Vic’s site has excellent instructions.

    Good Luck
  • fitzy2fitzy2 Posts: 11
    I am getting ready to sell my '95. 850 wagon. I have had a good experience and just wanted to wish all you Volvo people the best of wishes and happy driving.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Sorry to see you leave the Volvo discussions...glad to see you in the Subaru ones though!
  • zakezake Posts: 2
    I am thinking of purchasing a 1995 850 turbo wagon. I don't know much about Volvo's, I have always owed VW' s. Can anyone please give advice at what to look for and how strong are the turbo on this year. Mileage is 112,000
  • awd2003awd2003 Posts: 54
    My non-turbo wagon has 100,000 miles. Whenever I hit bumps in the road the driver's seat moves by itself. Since it is a power seat, could it be the switch?
    How difficult or expensive is it to replace the rear seal on the engine? I have an oil leak. The last question is about the transmission. How many miles will I get from the auto tranny? I still get 25MPG.
  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    A good friend of mine has a 1997 850 GLT that just went over the 200,000 mile mark. Still has the original engine, automatic transmission and turbo
    (he uses Mobil 1 synthetic and periodically treats the engine with Slick 50). I've ridden in it recently and it is still going strong. I don't think he had the rear seal replaced yet, but I'll ask him anyway.

    He gets around 28 mpg on the highway, and around 22-25 around town.
  • gavingavin Posts: 2
    Hello Volvo Fans,

    I am interested in purchasing a '95 Volvo Turbo Wagon that has 114K miles on it. I drove, and it seems to drive fine, no noises, very firm solid driving car. I enjoyed it from the start. Guy wants $6500, probably can get down to $5500-6000. The mileage is obviously my concern, but I think it has a bunch more miles in it. What do you guys think? Any serious concerns? I would be purchasing it from a private seller, and will be taking it to my mechanic prior to purchasing it. Let me know what you think. Thanks
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    check his maintenance records.
    If the car was well maintained then it has alot of miles left in it.
    If memory serves the timing belt interval on those cars was every 60k, so have your mechanic check it out.
    overall the 940's were pretty bulletproof.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    I agree with volvomax. So long as the maintenance records look good, this is a fine car. I have a 1991 940 SE turbo with over 150,000 miles on it. We have kept up on the maintenance and still love the car. We could have sold it a few times and bought new, but chose to keep it. I shudder at the thought of getting rid of it. It really is a great car.
  • gavingavin Posts: 2
    The car I am looking at is a '95 850 Turbo Wagon, not the 940 SE. Does this change your opinion? Also any thoughts on cost for replacing the turbo, my mechanic said that may be necessary soon. Thanks
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    My sister-in-law has the 850 - loves it. I'll be honest, I've never heard of the turbo having to be replaced. I would check with another mechanic and get a second opinion. Replacing the turbo is not cheap.

    We had a similar experience with Toyota Supra Turbo...mechanic said it would need to be replaced ($3000) and another mechanic said in all the years he had worked on them he had never had to replace one. We ended up with the second mechanic, did not replace the turbo and the car lasted another year before we sold it for a more family-friendly (read 2 car seats) vehicle.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    what reason did he give for replacing the turbo???

    The only issue w/ the turbo's are the oil return seals. These tend to crack as they age and oil seeps from the turbo and drips on your garage floor.
    No big deal, replace the seals.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Generally, the only reason to replace an entire turbocharger is excessive coking that borders on seizure. That is usually caused by shutting the engine off too quickly when the turbo is still hot and/or revving the engine as you turn the key to off. I had to break my dad of this habit with his turbo (88 Tbird Turbo Coupe), and he has occasionally done it with my 96 Ram (Cummins turbo diesel).

    Smart Shopper and Wagons Message Boards
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    True, although this was a major issue on turbo cars w/out water cooling for the impeller unit.
    The 850's turbo is water cooled. If the 850 in questions turbo is that far gone I'd pass on the whole car.
  • zakezake Posts: 2
    I just saw this about the 850 and realized you all are talking about my Volvo wagon. I did take it to Gavin's Mech. he said it had a bad turbo so I decided to take it to my Mech. which is Paul's Volvo of Richmond VA. and he told me the TURBO is in perfect condition. This ia after he tested it and drove the vehicle. I have all maintence record and the timing belt was changed at 80k. It has four brand new tires. This is probaly the cleanist Volvo Wagon in Virginia. Please call me if anyone would like to purchase this 1995 Volvo wagon. Joe 804-467-4192 the person who wrote (get a second opion) was absolutely correct his mech. has no clue of how to work on volvo's
  • dwinerdwiner Posts: 13
    Does anyone know what the OEM is for the standard white Volvo oil filter used up till 2000 or so? I'm guessing it is either Mann or Bosch, (maybe both). Anyone with positive experience using either Mann or Bosch instead of the Volvo brand?
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I'm fairly certain it's a Mann filter. The '98 S/V70 used the 850 style filter; the switch to the cartridge filter came with the '99s.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    The cartridge style filters apply to the P2 cars, the S80, S60, new V70 etc.
    The S70, old V70, C70 retained the old style filters.
  • katy123katy123 Posts: 1
    I found an 850 sedan for sale. I'm unsure about the true mechanical history but my brother is a mechanic so I think I'll have him check out the engine. The car is a 94 and has 113,000 miles on it and it's an automatic. Help with any suggestions as to what we should look for when checking out the engine and such, even though my brother's a mech. I know he's never worked on a Volvo. They're asking $3,000 but the car need's front brakes badly and also new front tires.... any suggestions as to what i should do? or bid? Thanks.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Run. Run away.

    The owner can't produce service records, and it needs tires and brakes badly...that points to a poorly maintained car, which means I'm willing to bet that the timing belt's never been replaced. In these cars, a timing belt failure means catastrophic engine failure (the cost of which would exceed the purchase price of the car.)

    850s can be great cars...if they've been maintaned. There's certainly no shortage of 850s out there, so wait and find a good one that you won't immediately have to sink money into.

    I say look elsewhere in this case, but a properly maintaned 850 can be a great car for not a lot of money.
  • Hello all. I'm getting my license in a couple of months, and my parents have... bittersweet feelings about my new independence. Of course, my own means of transportation, but the worries that come along with it. For now, I practice on my dad's '00 Solara SLEV6. I was looking at the 850 wagon for my first car because they seem to be highly regarded as safe vehicles (something my parents are definitely looking for). Plus, alot of upperclassmen at my highschool have them, and they kinda have this retro (coolness) aura about them. I just wanted some feedback on this car. Would a used '94-'97 make a good first car for a safe driver (or I'd like to think) :p like myself? What are the pricing that should be expected? (Leaning towards $11.5k or less) PLEASE post replies! Thanks.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    See my above post. 850s are great cars...if they've been maintained. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to buy one for my kids (driving is a LONG way off for them, though...) and $11.5k could move you well into S/V70 territory. It'll certainly be more than enough to find a fine example of an 850...keep in mind that the sedans go for a good bit less, if you want to save money (and what teenager doesn't, unless it's their parents'...)

    Good luck.
  • Love my 97 850glt wagon. While not happy about last year's "fluke" (quote from Volvo NA) cracked cylinder head at 75K miles, bit the bullet and repaired. Not so happy about today's "broken" manifold intake hose (labeled as "rare" by Volvo). Has anyone else had either of these problems? NSH
  • And now (see manifold note) am told cv boots are going/gone - and that 550 is what it takes to repair them. I never thought a Volvo would turn out to be such a money pit - it was a great first 5 years though before it became a sinkhole.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    I spray the CV boots once a year with silicone so that they stay soft and flexible. None have cracked yet, I have had to replace CV joints when they started clicking at 150,000 for passenger side and 200,000 miles for driver side.
  • I don't have brake problem,accept it makes squeaking noise when applied.My pads look good.I change new rotors and apply untisqueak.Any suggesting to make my brakes quite?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Hose off the calipers once a week.

    Gets rid of the dust that accumulates.
  • What if i install (ceramic or kevlar) brake pads like "EBC GREENSTUFF".Are they produce less dust and could be a good replacement?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Well, that depends.

    Cost of the pads then becomes an issue.

    Also, how well do the pads perform?

    Volvo brake rotors are thinner than most, if the brake pads don't disipate heat effectively they will warp the rotors.
  • I have just started shopping for a 95-97 850 wagon, and went to look at a couple today. One of the things that struck me is the apparent lack of a retractable cargo cover for the rear as I have in my Yukon and my wife has in her Liberty. Have the cars I've looked at just been missing the cover, or does such an animal not exist?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    If memory serves, the cover was optional.

    YOu should be able to get one through your dealerships parts dept.
  • How essential to change brake fluid?Manual sad:to change every 2 years.
  • Thanks very much. I have since looked at three more, and two of them had the cover and the other did not. I just have to get lucky and find 'The Car' and hope that it has one (or spend $250 and buy one....)
  • I've determined that the 850 has the best combination of safety and price for my daughter's first car. Had decided on on 1997 until I found that it required premium gas.... now looking at 1995s.
    Does anyone out there use regular gas in their 1996-1997? Any problems?
    After reading as much as I can find on problems and repair costs for this car, I'm not so sure I've made the correct choice.
    Would appreciate all advice!
  • Last night I was driving back from VT in my 97 850R Wagon...on the mountain it just died. Let it sit for 10 minutes, started right up and died three miles later. Almost got killed waiting for police and wrecker (never thought I'd see the day this was getting towed). I had an 85 RX Turbo (subaru) and had a similar experience, in that case the turbo overheated.
    Is the any experiences out there that sound like mine? Could it be the fuel (93octane) or a sending unit perhaps? I am stuck.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Volvo recommends premium for all 850's.
    You can use lesser fuel, but you will get less performance and worse mileage.
    Its up to you.
  • rcrearcrea Posts: 1
    Most any scrap yard will have a cd/fm radio in thier lot. This is a plug and play replacement. A unit from a 96 and up will work. Make sure you obtain the set code for the unit otherwise it is useless. A respected volvo deal will decode the serial number and give you a code
  • strobelstrobel Posts: 1
    I'm 23 years old and for Four Long Years I have been saving for a Volvo 850, and Driving my Volvo 240 Wagon, with well over 450 thousand miles on it. Which starts at any temp outside.

    Its a 1995 850 MT Base Model. I bought in Florda, and on way north to Minnesota, this past week as the outside temps are only aound 30-50 in the early am hours it will not start. But when I break for lunch during school around Noon-1pm its 60+ outside it will start. But if its Raining or below 60 or so it will crank and fire then die right away.

    I bought it to the Volvo Dealership, when the check engine light came on and, Payed 375.90 to run the codes and do a tune up. The check engine light has gone out after that, then at 3:30 am when I leave for school the next day no start, and the check engine light came back on, back to square one.

    Thank goodness I live only 70 miles from a Huge Volvo Salvage yard, so I have replaced the following hoping to cure the problem: New OEM Cap, rotor, plug wires, spark plugs, battery, Mass Air Flow Sensor, Cam Postion Sensor, RPM Sensor, ECU. I'm about broke with the parts and the many trips to differnt repair shops.

    I need help with the Car! Like I said it will not start in the am around the time I go to school, but when I come home for lunch at noon or so and it 60+ outside cranks ups great and loves to be driven.

    Could it be the Fuel Pump or Filter?
  • techcoordtechcoord Posts: 2
    I am the guy whose 850R broke down on Easter turned out to be a bad fuel pump. $379.00 for the part, $75.00 for the tow and $50.00 to put it in. Car runs awesome now.
    This is a safe and reliable vehicle. I wish there were a better indicator of a failing fuel pump but overall this car is worth every penny (I mean dollar) I dump into it. Keep the faith.
  • Hello everyone, brand new owner of a 1995 Volvo 850 GLT. This one has the SC-710 radio in it. My question is... if I upgrade to the SC-815 or SC-816 can I hook a subwoofer up to it? I'd like to stick with factory volvo equipment, especially for the overall look of the dashboard. Is it possible? Thanks.
  • gfm2gfm2 Posts: 1
    I am going to look at a 97 850glt wagon tomorrow for possible purchase. It was a trade in at a Acura dealer. It has 78k miles. I have been a vw guy for many years...and have had enough. Can anyone recommend certain things to check for while inspecting the car above and beyond standard things like oil filler cap/color smell of automatic trans oil..etc. I do not think any service records are available...
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Check the timing belt and the turbo return seals, if you can.
  • vlauvlau Posts: 1
    Hello Jackie

    I have the exact same problem. After much searching, I believe the culprit is a faulty ignition swtich. Apparently the contacts wear out, and when it does it prevents the items that you have listed from functioning. The good news is that your ABS module has not given out (yet), and the fix is relatively affordable. A quick search shows a new ignition switch could be purchased for under $100 and the install seems pretty simple.

    Good luck!

  • brian18brian18 Posts: 1
    I recently purchased this vehicle. I love the car and the sporty ride it provides. I do have a problem with a very musty odor that appears after the car sits in the heat and humidity closed up. I feel like it may be related to the air conditioning. It disappears quickly once we are on the road. Does anyone have any ideas of how to approach the problem?
  • koankoan Posts: 1
    Hi - I think I may know what this is. check the seal in the back roof area of the hatch - it may have to be re-glued - solved my musty odor issue
  • maxillomaxillo Posts: 12
    Hello folks,

    I've been lurking on this forum for a couple of days b/c I am considering getting an 850 Turbo. I'm going to take a look at a '96 wagon with 100K on Friday.

    I know about the ABS module issue, the reports of tranny problems, and fluid leaks.

    Are there any signs and symptoms I should look for to diagnose these problems? the car is being sold by a reputable used car dealer, with a clean CarFax report (3 owners), and is cosmetically is very good shape.

    I obviously like these cars and can afford to put $1-2K into repairs, but would prefer to avoid that. Also, I will only need this car to get me through the next 18 months / 15K miles or so before I move out of state and likely have to sell it.


    Any advice is appreciated.

  • My sister has offered her '96 850 turbo wagon to me. She says it needs @ $3000 worth of work so it is NOT really free, ha ha.

    The most costly (@ $1500) and most mandatory fix is the replacement of the turbo. She says it burns oil and that a shop said she needed a new turbo. Does this sound right?

    Other issues are: sunroof "issues", rear hatch struts, controls on electric seats, radio, cv boot.

    I am willing to put this amount of cash into this car as it only has @ 130k on the clock and is in otherwise decent condition.

    Any comments are welcome. Is this a /emo_lemon.gif

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Sounds like your sis cooked the turbo.

    Sorry, but ANY car w/ 130k cannot be a lemon. that term refers to new cars that develop issues that cannot be resolved.
    Hatch struts and cv boots are wear items.
    Personally, I'd pass on the car. Cooking a turbo on an 850 takes work, most of the time it stems from not changing the oil often enough or racing the engine and not letting the turbo cool.
  • Hi - I just purchased a '95 850 GLT with 107k miles. I am "downsizing" from a mini van. Love the car - it almost drives itself. Please could you answer a few questions as I am not familiar with these vehicles (our other car is a suburban). When it shifts into first you can almost hear it go clunk. It is very subtle, but a noticible shift. Higher gears are fine. It seems louder than my other cars, but not like it needs a new muffler. It smells a little like gasoline, not strong, but could this indicate a problem? And.. how much $$ to replace rear hatch struts? The hatch has a hard time staying up on its own. THANKS!!! Oh, and I'm Swedish and my grandfather worked for volvo way back when! About time I bought one.

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