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Volvo XC90 T6 Transmission



  • I've read in this thread that the replacement tranny's are no longer the GM trannies-that they are now Japanese. Can we get some verification of that? (Like, what manufacturer is providing the new transmissions? What is the code of the new transmission? Is it now a 5 speed as was used on the 2004 2.5's, instead of the GM 4 speed?) Details on the replacements would be helpful. Thanks.
  • After reading all the posts about Transmissions, I decided to give my story as well, most of it similar to many of your stories, except that I didn’t take it to the dealer, I actually had it rebuilt. I bought the 2004 XC90 T6 used with about 48,000 miles on it, drove like a dream until 62,500 when the infamous "TRANSMISSION SERVICE URGENT" came on, we took it our local Volvo specialist (not the dealer), and they flushed the tranny and reset the light and updated the computer, they didn't find any metal shavings or off color fluid, it took about a week for light to come back when the shop referred me to a local transmission shop (Bradshaw's Transmission/Portland, OR)

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

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

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

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

    So am I crazy for not letting Volvo replace it instead in the first place?
  • At least you found out some information. Thanks for posting this and maybe you won't be having to deal with this again in another few years like those of us who got it replaced at the dealer may have to do. Thank you again for the information; its always frustrating to be blind and trusting others to do the right thing for you.
  • oldjim3oldjim3 Posts: 13
    J -
    I haven't had a problem with my 2004 XC90 yet, but I would like to be prepared. Please send PDF's of manual and bill to

    Thank You

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    If you convert your pdf scans to jpgs or gifs, you can post them on your CarSpace page in an album there and then people won't have to track you down over the next few years trying to review your info.

  • Thanks for posting the information. I live down in Eugene, OR so we both will be writing the same AG. I would be interested in receiving the PDF scans of the manual pages and the mechanical notes on the bill. I own the same make and model of Volvo and purchased it new in 2003. I'm currently on my third transmission with 61,000 miles.
  • pmwripmwri Posts: 3
    Here is an update from my 12/21/2008 initial post:

    Updated the software, cost $238. All lights have been cleared, service tech at dealership says it is ready to go. I picked it up on 12/27/2008.

    Leave dealership and drive to CarMax to determine trade in price. For my 4 year old, $46k+, 62K mile high end XC90 T6 I was offered $9000! If I had a non-turbo it would have been worth more!!! Remember, we paid extra for the T6!!!!!

    On my drive home, the engine started running very rough and the check engine light came on. So I took it back to the dealership and had the service rep ride along with me while my wife talked with the Service Manager.

    Upon my return the service manager asks the service rep if he thinks that it is the "tranny". Rep says that it is slipping and has a grinding noise, most likely a new tranny needed. Don't stop reading because you will NOT believe this!

    Service Mgr says to Rep, "go ahead and cover the entire transmission replacement, parts & labor under the dealership/Volvo good will budget!!!" That is right, then entire costs.

    So here I sit, waiting for them to call and let me know that my SUV is ready, with one bit of advice. Stay calm, don't yell, use postings from this site to help make your case and then just camp out in the Service Managers office until they agree.

    Good Luck everyone!
  • db2814db2814 Posts: 13
    Hi: I own a 2003 XC90 as well and it has 154,000 km on it. I think this works out to 90k in miles. I live in Ottawa, ON Canada and am having some engine issues at this time.
    What were your symptoms with regards to the tranny needing to be replaced for the first time. Did you change your tranny fluid once per year?

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,980
    Its great they are covering it! congrats!

    few comments, though...

    Leave dealership and drive to CarMax to determine trade in price. For my 4 year old, $46k+, 62K mile high end XC90 T6 I was offered $9000! If I had a non-turbo it would have been worth more!!! Remember, we paid extra for the T6!!!!!

    Your vehicle is 5 years old. There was no non-turbo in '04.
    Did you really pay full retail for it? All SUVs have taken a resale bath, unfortunately.

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

  • I bought my 2003 XC-90 new (it was the first one they came out with) and this should have been a first warning. I paid top dollar...NO consideration was given for any sort of discount. I have just over 108,000 miles on it and literally have spent over $20,000.00 on "repairs". I should have turned it in as a lemon but didn't . I bought the extended warranty and did use it several times but it has expired. I have had oil leaks,
    noisy sounds as though the car is falling apart, had to replace the brakes many times, tires for this vehicle are more expensive than they would have been with other cars, bearing, shocks, you name it...this piece of junk has been in and out of the Volvo dealership time and time again (and usually was kept and driven by managers
    for a week or two at a time) to "locate" the problem. They problem at the time would supposedly be "fixed" but would not stay "fixed". Now the transmission needs to be replaces. I have been quoted $4,500.00 and I have no assurance that they would put a good one in. PLUS, the check engine light is on so no telling what else they would "find" that needed attention. I have had the car serviced properly and at this point I probably have close to $70,000.00 invested in this pile of junk. If I pop another $4,500.00 or more in it, what will happen next and how long will I be able to drive it without spending more money? MY RECOMMENDATION WOULD BE TO ANY OF YOU CONSIDERING BUYING A VOLVO XC-90, DON'T DO IT!!! I should have bought a Honda! Kevin
  • OK Everyone, I posted the images to my "Carspace" hopefully they can helpful.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572

    Here's the direct link.

    If anyone has trouble viewing the small text, save the photo to your computer (usually right click, save as) and then open it in a viewer that lets you expand the size. Or try enlarging the font in your browser (Tools > View > Zoom)
  • would you mind sending pdf scans to The transmission check message just came on this week and thanks for sharing your story.
  • Click the link in message 134 and they are all there for you.
  • kag1kag1 Posts: 1
    The light came on this past Monday evening. The car was not shifting correctly in auto or manual, but I made it home (85,000 mi). Thank goodness I found this website before I called the dealer. Brought the car in on Tues. They recommended just a fluid flush because it was low and dirty. I asked them if that was going to fix the slipping and they said it might. I told them to go ahead with it thinking that it might buy me a little bit of time to figure out how to get a new transmission paid for. While I was waiting I went up to the counter to discuss new transmissions. They told me they would replace it with a brand new one, same kind, with a warranty of 12 months. A total cost of $6700.00 plus tax, includes radiator,cooling lines, trans cooler. I asked them if the dealer or Volvo was going to cover any or all of the costs--they said this is what they do--I pay the full amount and then they send all the paperwork to Volvo. They said Volvo is usually pretty good about it. I know I may have only a few days or a few months before the transmission goes, but I don't think I want to pay all that money up front and then wait and see. I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, advice,....thanks
  • My transmission has gone out twice in the last 13 months. First in Dec. 2007 at 48K, then in Aug. 2008 at 56K. My warranty expired only 3 months before the transmission went out the first time and Volvo paid for the parts only. I paid $1400 for the labor. The second time the transmission went it was under the 12 month warranty. My car is driving without slippage for the last 3 months. I am hoping that this time it will last. Some place on this website I read that they are now replacing the transmission with a Japanese one which would obvisously be much better than the GM transmission. It would not hurt to ask what kind of transmission they will be using. I hope this helped some. Good luck.
  • RyanMNRyanMN Posts: 1
    I would be interested in receiving you PDF scans of the manual pages and bill. My 2004 XC90 T6 has 76,000k and just went in with a transmission problem for the second time.

    It is much appreciated.

  • lchaselchase Posts: 2
    I have 62k and tonight on my way home from a 14 hour shift in the ER, the infamous transmission light went on. I am so angry about this especially after reading and realizing this is a common problem. I like the one guys idea of threatening to write the attorney general. I would like the files too. I am taking it in tomorrow and am bringing notes. This is a joke when you consider how much these vehicles cost.

  • lchaselchase Posts: 2
    Can you please send me the files as well. I am sure I will hear bad news tomorrow when I take mine in. I am very angry. I like your idea of threatening to contact the AG's office.

  • Could you please e-mail me the 5 pages from the manual as well as the copies of the bill? I tried copying and enlarging the pdf scans, but they are too blurry to read.

    Thanks so much!!!!

    I'm on my second transmission and I want to be ready for my third replacement.
  • Can you do me a favor and send me the pictures via email, the pics on this website are not good. Would like to print them ASAP. I am going to transmission shop with info. I just purchased this vehicle 4 days ago and got the infamous message last night, check vehicle this morning and noticed metal shavings on dip stick. (Was not aware of this flaw prior to purchase, if I did, I wouldn't purchase this vehicle) Needed a dependable SUV for my wife due to my deployments in the military. This vehicle has 65,000 miles, I guess to good to be true. Here is my email THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Here's my two cents, If your car isn't covered by the warranty or isn't being paid for by the dealer, then it would probably be better to take it to a "recommended" independent repair shop that can and will determine the source of the problem and repair it. It seems the Volvo dealership is simply putting in the same factory rebuild and hoping your warranty runs out the next time the transmission fails. My service receipt doesn't state the cause of my transmission failure, only the repairs made and parts replaced. So Volvo is accepting no blame on the design flaw.

    I think if more people took their cars to independent shops and all those (non-dealership) mechanics came to similar conclusions for the transmission failure, then that documentation could be valuable, since Volvo is claiming they cannot recall the vehicles since they do not know the source causing the transmission failure.

    Or I thought of writing the following on my back window and driving around town:

    Brakes & Rotors every year: $500
    New Tires every 2 years: $700-900
    Tie Rod: $2000
    2nd Transmission: $5400
    Paying $50K for a Lemon = PRICELESS!!!!!!! :lemon:
  • That is crazy, I wish I would have checked this out before I bought my 2005 XC90 T6 with 65k. I bought this vehicle on 1/14/09 and had the Transmission message on 1/23/09. I took it to the dealer who happens to be a Ford dealer in Sumner, WA. so I could con them out of a loaner and they told me they needed to have it looked at by the Volvo dealer and let me know. I wonder now if I should have just suffered through and have my independant shop take a look. I filed a complaint with Volvo, and was curious about how to get started filing with the AG in my state in case there is a problem with the warrantee I bought. and even then it will go out again by the time my warrantee is up. I want to have it actually fixed and send the bill to Volvo, but would love to have the AG threat ready to go when I do that...

    Than kyou all for the posts I think it is ridiculous that Volvo isn't owning up to this problem!
  • Hi There!
    I am having the same problem with my 05 XC90...
    I use to think this was a great ride until I got the same message and experienced what everyone else is posting about.. Anyway, can you please send me the PDF so that I can show the mechanics at Herzog Meier? I am tempted to take it to Bradshaw's transmission as well (I'm located in Beaverton). Did you ever file a complaint with AG for this particular situation you had? Was the issue resolved quickly as well?
    Thank you for your post. I found it to be the most helpful. This should help others resolve their issues faster.
  • I sent a complaint to Volvo before the car arrived at the dealer..

    "I purchased this vehicle from Riverside Ford in Sumner, WA on 1/14/09 and have always been impressed with Volvo. On 1/23/09 @ 6pm, the vehicle warning light in the dash came on with a warning message that said "Transmission Service Urgent" I contacted Riverside Ford, and had them bring it in for warrantee service, and they are bringing it to Volvo of Fife, WA for diagnosis. meanwhile after searching the internet for possible answers I discovered this is a common problem and that a design flaw has been identified throu ATRA (Founded in 1954, the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association ATRA is an international trade association for the professional automatic transmission repair industry.) and that this is a reocurring problem in the 4T65E transmission of the 04 - 05 models. I assume this is something Volvo is aware of, and I need to know wwhat steps I can take to ensure the update '06 4T65E transmission gets placed in my vehicle. As well as what Volvo is prepared to do to cover and ensure this happens at no cost to the consumer (me). is this not something that needs to be officially recalled? I plan on organizing all past and current owners of this vehicle to look into filing a Class Action Lawsuit as soon as possible, and would like to have the cooperation of Volvo in issuing an official Recall of this product, before futher action needs to be taken. Thank you "

    And got this response:

    "Thank you for contacting Volvo. We are sorry to learn of the difficulty you have experienced
    with your 2005 XC90.

    We are currently looking into this issue with our colleagues at Volvo of Tacoma. We will be
    back in touch with you as soon as our research is completed.


    Volvo Cars of North America"

    Today I contacted Volvo in Tacoma, they verified that the thing needs a new transmission, and are "Waiting for word from Volvo."

    I also purchased an extended warrantee, I assume if Volvo isnt going to do anything about it that the warrantee will cover it, my concern is how long will it last?

  • I am game we need to organize and get this done, however the threat threw at Volvo seems to be getting me somewhere. I just contacted Customer Service on line..
  • I have a 2003 T6 turbo and the transmission just went. People talk about the problems with these cars and they are right. We bought ours used with 54k miles and we have spend over $5,000 in repairs and now the tranny and the CB joints went, a total of about $6,500 in repairs.

    I want to burn the thing but I still owe on it and according to Edmunds, I am upside down on it.

    We bought the XC90 because of the Volvo "For Life" recommendation, but this is my first and last experience with Volvo. As soon as I fix the thing it is sold, even at a loss.
    Don't buy XC90s.
  • YES!! i have an 05 that makes the exact same noise! my local swedish shop claims that it is in the driveshaft. 3 days after having that diagnosed i now have the cursed failed tranny also!! local volvo quoted me $6700 for the transmission and 2k for the driveshaft...somebody help me
  • Thanks for the detailed feedback. My posts to this site were back in April 08 when my transmission went out at 53,897 miles. The "signs" of problems started happening again about a week ago. Supposedly the transmission is still under warranty, so I may try to push the issue at the dealership. Needless to say, I am shopping for a new car this weekend and I'll be contacting the Virgina State Attorney General next week.
    Back when this happened the first time, the service rep told me with out being real direct about it that the only way anything would get done about this wide-spead problem, which I call a "design flaw", is for the NHTSA to get involved because it can be identified as a SAFETY problem. So I filed the complaint on 10 May 08 and haven't heard anything yet. I'm thinkin' that my car loosing power on I-95 at 65mph could be called a SAFETY issue. That's all for now until I go back into the fray with Volvo. But bottom line is, I'm getting rid of this money trap and going back to Japanese like I should have done in the first place. I got this car when returning from an overseas military assignment thinking this was a good deal..ha!
    Signed- "Overseas Military Foreign Car Sales Sucker" :lemon:
  • Hi what kind of noise did you have??? I just had a new tranny put in and after that the car does not feel the same. I have been to the dealership and they tell me there is nothing wrong with the car but if feels weird in hte steering wheel and after about 20 minutes there is a thumping when driving.. I am going nuts and dont know what it is and they treat me as though I am making all this up!!! :confuse:
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