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Volvo 850 Wagons



  • isaaclisaacl Posts: 7
    Ok, I won the fight with my wife about NOT getting an SUV but we are gonna need third row seating. What does the third seat in the Volvo station wagon handle? Kids up to age 10???? (2) car seats side by side for toddlers???? I'm talking a used 850 here like post 1995 or so. We decided Volvo but can't afford brand new. Also, minivan out of question as we are only mid-20's.
    Thanks all my fellow car enthusiasts!!!!!
  • gangeltgangelt Posts: 11
    Sorry I don't know about the 3rd seat, but our 95 850 wagon has 95,000 trouble free miles. It's been a great car for two kids but I doubt it's much good for more. If you had to always use the 3rd seat not much else would fit in the car.

    Post 95 only leaves the 96 model year 850.

    20 somthing is not two young for a mini van if that's what you really need.
  • me_227me_227 Posts: 1
    I've wanted a Volvo for a long time, but other than general "safety/reputation" knowledge, I know very little about them!
    A Mercedes dealership in town has a 1997 850 GLT Wagon for sale. It has around 68,000 miles and they are asking $14995.
    Any advice? What should I ask the salespeople? There isn't a Volvo dealership around here for 60 difficult is it to find a good mechanic?
    You may have not had time to read back much through the messages. Mostly it seems to have been pre-95's that I've read about.

    Most problems I've read about have mostly been on the earlier turbo versions with things like: early transmission failure, electrical problems with either electrical drain that kills the battery or frequent headlight burn out.

    We have a base/non-GLT 96 and haven't had any of this strange stuff happen to our car. The brakes are alarmingly firm and although I appreciate the stopping ablility the brake pads were replaced when we bought the car @ 3 years old and then 3+ years later we were once again replacing pads and rotors.

    I will not comment specifically upon the pricing for your car because there are too many variables that you have not described, i.e. various upgrades and accessories that your car may or may not have.

    Not having a dealership around is gonna hamper you maybe. Every time we've ever gone to get our Volvo serviced at the dealerships we've been given the use of a loaner car at no additional cost, even when it's only been a day of simple maintenance. Mind you though, Volvos are not cheap and don't believe you're just gonna fork out $15K for some car that you can beat into the ground.

    We like our car, it fits our needs, it's not above our budget, and we enjoy driving it. It's the best handeling firmest wagon I've ever driven or ridden in even when loaded to the gills.

    Best Wishes,

  • kidder1kidder1 Posts: 1
    I have had a '95 Turbo Wagon for two years now and the experience has been quite mixed. I love how the car drives and accelerates, however, it has some real reliability issues.

    As a handling car, it is alright. My '99 VW Passat will out handle it on anything but a straight line. The 850 is heavy and it shows.

    The car currently has 80,000 on it and the repairs from 50-75,000 were quite expensive including:

    1. Turbo ($1500)
    2. Speedometer and Odometer checked out. (Warranty)
    3. Main seal ($600)
    4. Cam Seals ($500)
    5. Trunk latch ($200)
    6. Thermostat ($380)
    7. Ignition Switch ($300)
    8. Rear Shock Mount ($34 plus my labor)
    9. Front and Rear Rotors and Pads ($200 plus my labor)
    10. O2 Sensors ($400)
    11. Four Goodyear Eagle RS Tires ($500)

    The car's "Check Engine" light cry's wolf if any abnormality is sensed. I've had the car scanned at least 6 times and no error was found. This can be very frustrating.

    The car is not as stiff as many believe. It has a good amount of flex and the dash creaks pretty good. Also, I've seen people on this board mention that the brakes on an 850 are "awesome". In my opinion, they're marginal at best compared to other Europeans. My brother's 328i and my 99 Passat are in another league compared to my 850 and I upgraded my rotors and pads with stock-sized Brembos.

    The paint quality of the car is OK. Below standards for other Europeans as far as I'm concerned. The matte black trim has really faded and the front air dam is very low causing it to hit under many conditions.

    The car hums on the freeway great. It has awesome cruise control only bettered by BMW in my opinion. The seats are awesome and everything has a real "tonka", over-engineered feel to it. My only gripe about the interior is the placement of the cup-holders above the power lock and window switches. Its a disaster waiting to happen.

    I'm heading to Road America this weekend for the vintage races. I'm taking the Volvo and running in the road tour. I'm also sleeping in it at night at the campground. It really is a great all-around car and much better choice than an SUV or mini-bucket.
  • 115,000 miles. Have had the evaporator,the motor mounts, and rotors replaced. Yes, was somewhat expensive but it has been a solid highway commuting car through very heavy traffic and some rough roads. Have a simple problem that someone might be able to solve...inexpensively? The left rear rim is slightly bent. I can usually keep it in balance. Would like to find a good replacement rim. Dealer wants almost $300 for a new one. Any suggestions?
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    I'd check some of the wheel refinishers out there, like
  • I am a fairly new owner of an 850 wagon. I am not happy with the ride comfort and would like to know if anyone knows if anything can be done to improve the ride?
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Can you explain what it is about the suspension that you don't like? Is the ride too firm? If so, you may want to check the tires to make sure they're not over inflated. Others passing through here will be more likely to offer feedback with more details.... Okay?

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Revka's right, can you drop some more info? Is your 855 a turbo, an 'R model? What wheel/tire package does it have? You could have 15, 16 or 17 inch rims on the car, which would make a world of difference on the ride. Does your wagon have the auto-leveling suspension?


  • cap99cap99 Posts: 4
    I have lost the little black clips from the inside back hatch that keep the black plastic horizontal piece atached to the rear hatch (It is the cover for the rear lights, etc. midway up the back hatch). Without them the plastic piece vibrates and makes an awful noise everytime you shut the back hatch. The Volvo dealership said they only sell a kit to replace these that costs over $100. Does anyone know where I can get these 5 or so little plastic black clips?
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Well, I've had good luck at the following vendors in obtaining odd parts:

    Borton Volvo - Great service. Email them w/Qs.

    Erie Volvo - Good recycler, great guys. Cheap parts.

    Volvo World - they're not cheap tho

    Hope that helps out.


  • I know well of the problem of which you speak. This is a common problem with the 850 wagons. Mine came loose but I only lost one of them. $100 seems rediculous for a bunch of plastic so please anyone who's solved this problem help the rest of us out.


  • I have an 850 turbo wagon with the 16 inch alloy rims. My complaint is the ride is too firm and bumpy. The tire pressure is to the manufacturers spec for the vehicle.

    I do not know if it has the auto leveling suspension. How would I determine that information?
  • Anyone have any experience with using 3 car seats in a V70 or 850?? We are considering looking for a 1997 or 1998 to replace our 1989 740, and will need to use 3 car seats soon (#3 due in 4 weeks). I checked our car and 3 car seats seemed to fit ok. Wondered if either of the models we were considering would also work. Also wondered if any experienced parents had any general words of advice on fitting 3 kids into a wagon. Should we just bite the bullet and get an SUV? We really like wagons, though. Budget restraints limit us to a Volvo at least 4 or 5 years old. Any comments welcome. Thanks.
  • Skip the SUV and no I do not have kids. Honestly, go out and drive a few.

    Best of Luck,


    P.S..: Don't know about third seats except that I have the option.
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    I've had two car seats in my 850 with my 7yo in between w/o a carseat. That's doable, but I think that 3 carseats would be a squeeze. The 70Series cars would be the same. Having a third row option in the wagon would work well. I agree w/Fredrick: avoid the SUV route. You will have less overall space (seriously), not to mention the multitude of other issues...which are left for another forum. :)

    What about a not-so-expensive minivan? Seating for seven, better fuel economy than an SUV, and cheaper than a new SUV to boot.
  • I'm not positive on this, but I'm pretty sure the 850 never had auto-levelling suspension as an option like the older 760/940/960 series did. I'd say you can do two things to modify your ride: get a set of 15" alloys from the non-turbo 850 (yes, they'll fit just fine) or find a set of softer springs and shocks. Either way, you're looking at a few hundred dollars; you'll also be compromising the handling of the car.

    Good luck.

    re: Seating.

    I think I must disagree with my esteemed fellow Volvophile Javadoc in regards to the third seat issue. I'm not crazy about the idea of putting my kid (or someone else's) in a rear-facing "tail-gunner" seat. I've never liked them, even in Volvos. If I needed third seat capability, I'd look no further than a Honda Odyssey. I will agree with him (and others) about avoiding SUVs, though. Please do so! :-)
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    You're right Lancer, the third row isn't great, but an option, imho. However, it doesn't provide stellar protection in a rear-ender type crash, for certain.

    Some 850s came with the auto-leveling rear suspension. IIRC, all 850R wagons 'could' have it (as an option I believe), and some of the Turbo/T5 wagons, but not the sedans that I know of. I'll have to do some digging to provide years that it was available.
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    Okay, after some research... the 855R cars, aka 850R Wagons, came with the Nivomat automatic load leveling rear suspension, standard equipment. Possibly, but I'm not sure, the Platinum version did as well.

    Lancer's correct that a way to improve ride is to go to 15" rims. I noticed that the ride improved on my T5 sedan when I replaced the OEM shocks to Bilsteins, although they're much firmer. Also, you can check your control arm bushings. Depending on mileage, they could be worn, and this will contribute to a harsh ride.

    What size tires do you have on the car? If you have 205/55-R16 tires, then it will ride a bit better than 205/50-R16, but they'll rub slightly on full lock... this only if you have a Turbo. If you have an R, you should have 17" rims, and switching just to 16" rims will improve your ride. Hmmm, I know where you could get 16" rims. ;)
  • Javadoc or others-

    I finally need a new set. We've got Michilins on the wagon now and they seem pretty deccent. This is not a race car and we don't drive in snow or a lot of wet weather. Just get more of the same or do any of U have a different idea and why?


  • I like a firm ride BTW- I want the car to handle well when it's fully loaded.
  • ...but I've heard good things about the Bridgestone RE950.
  • I'm sure everyone here has had the precise problems they indicate.

    However... market research has shown that if someone has a BAD experience with a product, they will tell 20+ people, vs the ones who have a good experience telling 1.5 or so.

    This was done before the power of the internet made telling 100,000 people so simple.

    Thanks for the listen.
  • This is an interesting choice only becuase it is Japanese and they have a direct connection to to Firestone, infact they are the same comapany. All this time I thought I was driving on Michelins but they were Firestone Firehawks.................oh K thank U Jesus.

    I'm just kidding but I will consider the Bridgestone choice. My wife is a fanatic about tires now so she'll have her own oppinion. And no....we never owned or drove an Explorer. My wife did a project of the whole mess and came away knowing more than anyone would ever want to know about tires. I however being the man of the house would never confir to her supperior mechanical and technical knowledge on such an I have to ask all of U first. LOL-


  • So here's the dilemma. I have $10k to spend on a mid-90s wagon, and I want the 850. I've been focusing my efforts on the 850GLT, and found one. It's a one-owner '95 GLT model with 88k miles, is immaculate, and the service records bear out that it's been babied for 7 years, at the dealer. It has about 80% left on the tires, new timing belt and brakes, and everything seems to be in order. They won't budge below $9800.

    I also just found a '94 Turbo with 88k, from a second owner who has no records. This one, also with new tires and very clean, has some perks the other doesn't--top-of-line trim package, CD changer in the trunk, hands-free phone set, and drives like a bat out of hell. It has some minor damage to the front spoiler and some door dings. The owner says it was the 'sport package' for '94, but I can't find any documentation that says there even *was* a sport package. (?) He's asking $9500, and I suspect will go to $9k or just below.

    My dilemma is that I've heard so many times to NOT BUY A TURBO. Everyone keeps warning me about the woeful horror of the turbo, but I have to say, it is extremely fun to drive. I'd certainly like any knowledge people have on turbo vs. non-turbo, and '94 vs. '95. Also, I've heard that the '94s had flakey electrical systems. I ran a Recall check on Edmunds, and there's a list a mile long for the '94, but virtually nothing for the '95. Any input anyone? Help!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Definitely avoid the Turbo models at all costs; I mean all of them from the regular to the T-5R. The maintenance costs won't be forgiving to you in the long run. I have a '93 GLT sedan that I just love to drive, but I'm going to attest to the fact that many '93-'95 850s had questionable electrical systems. I know, because I've had a few problems with mine. If you want all-around reliability, definitely try to look for a '96 base model wagon without any frills.
  • javadocjavadoc Posts: 1,167
    What is wrong w/ a turbo model? The days of costly turbo repairs is long gone. If a turbo actually fails, you can pick up one from a junkyard for about $100, but I've seen 850 turbos w/250k on the original blower. Trannies and electrics were not as good thru '95, but mostly bulletproof for '96/7. My '96 T5 has been the most reliable car I've ever owned aside from the wife's MPV van... at 80k miles, and I drive it 'spiritedly' to say the least.

    Personally, I'd shop for a 96/7 model for reliability-sake, and a turbo model for good power.
  • Lingon-

    I agree with your research on earlier 90's 850 Turbos. In years past I've read much of the same sort of posting you've discovered on the problematic issues with the early 850 turbos but they also seemed to be a general malaise of Volvos built in those years. 96-98's seemed to be the better years from my own research. I bought a base 96' because I'm a simple sorta guy.

    These days when I drive freeways it's more for the long haul so the base 850 is good enough for my needs. We've had little problem with the car and we're happy with our purchase. We did however purchase a long-term warranty before the 50K mile mark just in case, $1000 is an extra peace of mind. Transmissions have been a major problem with all of the 850s. $3,000+ is the usual repair cost.

    My final comment is that you need to be ready to spend serious $'s for regular and general upkeep of your Volvo. The 850 is not a Swedish version of the old American family beater wagon you remember from your childhood. I of course would take our 850 over any of those pieces of ........ any day.


  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    How do you know that it costs $3,000+ just to rebuild or replace a transmission? And are you talking about the automatic versions?
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