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Volvo 850 Wagons



  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    No offense, but where did you get the idea that the early 850s have transmission issues?
  • J-

    My views have been based on a lot of research over time. I am of course talking about automatic 850's. $3K was about what other people were claiming to have paid to repair their autos at around 70-80K miles. Stick versions of the 850 in the United States are nearly as rare as the infamous Dodo bird. Too bad but true.

    I found my information on the net similar to Lingon. I read a lot and I of course own one of these cars. The final answer is.... look at posting #1.

    I know others here know a heck of a lot more than myself but I will always give a real owners perspective.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Thanks, Frederick. I have to ask, though: Is your '96 850 wagon a 5-speed?
  • It is true.. 1993 volvo 850 had transmission problems. i work at the dealer and volvo did honor the claims on the 850.. it was a recall becuase the sensor in it was bad. I had a 93 850 and got screwed becuase the tranny died after the warentee was done.. But it's not a myth, but fact that the 93 850 had problems. when it came to 94 it was ok...
  • khoonkhoon Posts: 85
    I have a '95 850 GLT the left front strut mount needs replacement - dealer's asking for $325. Also, the Check Engine light is on and the dealer wants $600 to replace 2 oxygen sensors.

    Has anyone had similar issues with their Volvos? Also, I'd greatly appreciate a Volvo mechanic recommendation in the N. Jersey area.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Sorry to hear about your Volvo 850 problems. You may also want to copy/paste your message into our Maintenance & Repair Board, Volvo Problems and/or Volvo Owner's club - Problems & Solutions discussions. Good luck, and please keep us posted on your situation.

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host
    96 850 base w/ auto. No worries man.....75K miles and still quite a ride.

    A current niggle: I get a weird pulsing of what seems like the rear brakes maybe a couple of times a month. Since we moved to S.F. and of course we live on a major hill. This always seems to happen when I am coming down this steep hill and I step on the brake. I hear a deep tone hum from the brakes before I stop. The car stops no problem but it seems a little weird. ABS demon at work? Who knows.....I had a complete rotor and pad replacement on the front maybe 12K miles ago.

    Any ideas?

    U would not believe how many Volvo owners live in this city. Well, maybe U would but it's still cool.

  • 4kids24kids2 Posts: 1
    Am currently interested in 960 GLT wagon had 155k asking $6800. Here's my question. What kind of problems am I supposed to be aware off and is it costly to maintain this a type of car? Planning to buy this for my daughter for her graduation present. I've been avoiding this type of vehicle because of the many horror cost of maintenance. Since this is built like a tank which is one of my reason why am interested. Any opinions greatly appreciated.
    First off U need to realize that the 960 is a six cyl. rear wheel drive wagon. There is a forum all about them right here for U to read. The car is a tank and from what I have read it drives like one too. my knowledge they never made a turbo version on the 960.......anyway make sure your daughter has a decent income because at 144K miles she will pay Euro prices for any repairs she might incure. Great car.....have a friend with one and no real problems.

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Here's a direct link to our Volvo 960 discussion.

    Also, if you plug your vehicle into Edmunds' Maintenance Guide, you can search for TSB's (technical service bulletins) and Manufacturer suggested maintenance schedules plus costs.... Good luck and please keep us posted on your purchase.

    To Frederick- Thanks for your feedback. ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Prob the ABS at work.
    Going down hill the weight shifts to the front wheels, the rear wheels can then lock up easier.
    The pulse is what your feeling with the abs cycling.

    As with any old car, look at the maintenance records.
    Timing belts on those old cars were every 60-80,000 miles depending on model and year.
    Engines are very robust, electronic failures are the most common thing.
    If the car has been well maintained I wouldn't be afraid of it.

    All my fears are gone. Now I just have to pay for the 80K scheduled maintenance.
  • liv2dayliv2day Posts: 1
    Where do you recommend to get parts for this vehicle. My 850 wagon has two cosmetice rubber strips on the roof which are peeling. The car is black and has no roof rack. Anyone have a used or aftermarket connection in the US or via internet?

    I actually installed my Volvo roof rails on my 850. I had to remove and cut those strips to fit the new rails. The rubber strips are probably only available at a certified Volvo parts dealer because they have a steel core and are specifically designed to fit the body panel seem for the 850 wagon. If you want cheap you might be able to get some decent ones at a junk yard. They are rather simple to remove.

  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    You may want to try for these parts. In my experience, they're not the cheapest, but they do carry a wide variety of lesser trim and ancilliary bits and pieces for the 850 series cars. I took a look at their site and didn't find the strips, but if you email them, they may be able to source it for you.

    Another source for comprehensive parts is Borton Volvo . Borton Volvo (a dealership) has decent prices, and lots of sales on parts, it seems. I've gotten good deals when I've found something there.
  • sabarysabary Posts: 1
    Hi - my husband has fallen in love with this car, and I'm nervous about the mileage - it has had 3 owners including seller who is employed as a volvo mechanic (local dealership) - he has given us a long list of what he has repaired/replaced and basically it is immaculate and extremely well maintained... it is a 1994. Would you consider this in our boat? We are considering paying 5500, nada is 4900 I think. New tires, brakes, ac recharged... all kinds of things sealed etc (I'm not mechanical at all so I don't know what was on the list but it was thoroughly serviced to bring it up to what would be certified standard if the mileage was low enough).
    How much of a gamble is this?
  • nats58nats58 Posts: 4
    70K miles, am told either cracked head or lesser (but 2.5K to 3.5K to fix) - has this happened to others?
  • nats58nats58 Posts: 4
    beloved 97 850 glt wagon - 69K miles - verdict is that coolant leaking either from cracked head or blown gaskets, or... in all events 2.5K to 3.5K to repair- not sure what to do - is the overheating from cracked head or other been common to 97 glts?
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Well, that's alot of miles on any car. The things to look out for that could cost you alot of money are: tranny ('94s didn't have the strongest and it'll cost you $3k-$4k), a/c evaporator replacement, and abs module replacment. These are the main issues, and something I'd think about when buying the car w/ almost 200k miles on the clock already. Fwiw, the turbo shouldn't pose a big issue. Even if it goes out, you can get a replacement for a few hundred, and a decent home mechanic can replace it. You could pay a few thousand more and find an 850 with half the miles on it, imho.

    Hey if it were my car with that kind of miles on it I say...sure why not, but then I know the true history of my car and it'll probablly be really dead (i.e. 197K) by the time I get rid of it.

    Advice skip this particular car. 94's were very problematic. This one in my opinion probably has some serious repair bills undisclosed with it's sale. If U R shopping for a $5,000 car I would not get and 94 850 turbo.

    Honestly, I think you might be barking up the wrong Volvo Tree. Go out and get a clean early 90's 240 for that kind of money and skip the head ache. The 850 is a really nice car and most every owner loves them to death outside of their sometimes astronomical repair costs.

    We have a 96 non-turbo wagon with 75K on it and have had no major problems with it. 96 seems to be the year things got a little better at Volvo with their quality assurance program. BTW- regular maintenance on an aging 850 ain't gonna be cheap.

    Best Wishes
  • Hello everyone, I have been browsing through the messages here and appreciate hearing about everyone's experiences and expertise. I am financially challenged at present (!) (putting three children through college, etc, on my own) and am looking for a car in the 4000-5000 dollar range. I looked at this 83 850GLT, 2 owner, well maintained but not immaculate, asking price is 4500. It has a new transmission with 15K. Is this anything I should consider?
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I write this as the owner of an older ('89) Volvo 740...I love my car, but it's gotten to the point where age, not mileage, is taking its toll. Maintenance has been heavy, especially over the past six months. It drives nicely and is wonderfully comfortable on longer trips (two trips from Cedar Rapids, IA to the Boston area and counting), but a maintenance-free vehicle an older Volvo is not.

    To give you an example, this is the list of things I've done in the couple years I've owned my car:

    Brakes (rotors and pads) $780.00 (I splurged a little and got Brembo rotors when OEMs were a little less.)
    Exhaust $300.00
    Tuneup $100 (bought the parts and did it myself)
    Thermostat $100
    Repaired exhaust manifold gasket leak $120.00
    Battery $100
    Tires $450

    Stuff that really should be done:

    New steering rack ~$600 (slow leak in the present one)
    Fix faulty A/C $? (I'm afraid what they'll tell me)
    Shocks ~$500

    This is in addition to regular oil changes and routine stuff. A lot of the items on the list are wear items and can be expected to be done to any car, but Volvo parts are not cheap (you can source them yourself for some savings...there are many good websites for this.)
    My point is, although these are really great cars, very safe, etc., they're also progressively more expensive to keep running in top form as they age. This is true of any car, but European cars tend to cost more to maintan than their domestic or Asian counterparts. I'm not trying to dissuade you from buying a Volvo; I'm just giving you fair warning so you know what you're getting into.

    Oh, and you should be able to get that '93 850 (I'm assuming it's a sedan; there was no '93 850 wagon) for about $4,000.

    Good luck.
    No way would I shop for a 150K used 850 on a budget.

    Mind you, I have just spent $500 on a new set of not over the top tires, a third set of brakes brakes etc. know very well what a really nice older 850 can cost. I love the car and probable would do exactly as Lancerfixer has for his 940. However I have to agree that one should never own a modern Volvo on a budget. (BTW-a 93 850 is included as modern although barely)

    After the trans has been replaced then you'll need a new airconditioning unit......which then after replacing that there always seems to be incessant rattles in the dash.....etc., etc., etc.

    Do not buy a modern Volvo on a budget, they are seriously a luxury car with a low brow snob appeal. Believe it or not I bet we'd buy another one when our 96 850 is dead. Now how is that for a mixed review? Most modern Volvo oweners could have chosen and afforded a BMW or Mercedes but they simply liked the Swede better. Don't think you are buying some sort of modern European Chevy Caprice when you go for a Volvo these days.

    2 cent from a low brow-



    Now.... post that on your Volvo's bumper and people will believe you mean it.
  • phillyguy3phillyguy3 Posts: 88
    JAVADOC & FREDERICK: You seem to know these cars. My semi-retired father is looking at a sedan with 150K, Owned by a Volvo Master Mechanic for the past 3 years. A friend purchased another Volvo from him last year (760 Sedan) with same mileage and only had to replace the rotors.
    Price is $5,000 with new Turbo, Ac evaporator.
    He's also willing to repair anything up to 1 year for parts cost and he lives 1 mile from me.
    Yea or Nay???
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    A '95? I don't know... $5k isn't a huge risk is it? I like that it has a new evap. Those will set you back some bones when (not if) they go out. What about the abs module? Is it functioning properly?

    How's the rest of the car? I can't imagine w/ 150k it's pristine, but has it been in a major accident? How does the transmission operate? What about the suspension? It'll ride stiff (turbo, and 850s in general do), but shouldn't have rattling suspension pieces.

    However, $5k isn't a ton of money, right? But, that's just my opinion.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    The new evap is great, the 850's always had to have those replaced.
    What worries me is the new Turbo. The turbos in the 850's were pretty reliable, it should not have needed to be replaced.
    I'd take a long hard look at hte rest of the mechanicals.

    I like the idea of the way you found this car and the verbal agreement that this seller is willing to stand by and fix the probalems at no labor charge. Does he own the shop?

    The 850 is the "new" Volvo platform from which most current Volvo's are derived. The old rear wheel drive platform are completely different machines. They were more Chevy Caprice in their nature and Swedish road going tanks. The new Volvo's are quite buttoned down and sportier in nature.

    Do not relate your friend's 760 experience to what you might expect with an 850.

    Javadoc- maybe you can jump in here but it is my understanding that the 850 engine was a totally new power plant. Along with the fact that it is a front wheel drive car it was a nearly ground up new design from the Volvo's we'd known before.

    My final concern is that you have documented proof of the work that is claimed to have been done on this car. An automatic transmission replacement on 93-95 850's has been a common complaint and it alone could cost $2,500-3,000, of course a lot of that is probably labor.

    I own a 96 850 auto wagon with 82,000 on the odom. I have seen none of these problems with my car that you are reading about. If Dad is not a big mileage guy and the tranny is good, you probably are not too far off for $5,000.

    Best Wishes,

  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Yes, from what I know, the engine in the 850s was a new design, being an aluminum block/head design as well. I know of no issues w/the motor itself. I think I've heard it referred to as the 'white' motor, and the old iron block motors being referred to as 'red' motors... I assume that this is b/c of the aluminum (white) and/or iron (red) block materials.
  • cap99cap99 Posts: 4
    FREDERICK: I also experience an occasional deep hum.shudder to the brakes. It seems to happen after I've driven for more than 20 minutes and at longer distances/higher speeds. When it does happen, it's when I apply the brakes halfway and come to a rolling stop. The car almost feels like the bottoms dropping out. I have also had a pad replacement weeks ago. Anyone else with ideas on this?
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Warped rotors, would be my guess. Did you have the rotors turned/resurfaced when you replaced the pad?

    I had all kinds of warpage issues w/the stock rotors, until I installed some quality slotted units. Haven't had the problem since.

    my .02
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