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Volvo 850 Wagons



  • Hi there, you can also check Used Car Prices/Reviews to see if that is a good price.
  • I bought similar wagon for $1250 but it had at least another 80k miles. I also knew that I would have to put at least $1200 in it. Am at $650 so far. My plan is to get it to last at least a year and sell it for 1000-1500. Assume that you will spend $2000 within a year. If you are cool with that then you are probably going to be happy. Especially if you don't spend it.
  • hi thanks for the info. I appreciate it!!!
  • I am a newbie, so please bear with me.
    A friend of mine has a 95 850 man.tran. wagon that will go up for sale as she is doing the Volvo tourist pkg. The timing is good for me to turn in my lease vehicle when her old volvo comes available for sale in August. She is a meticulous person and has taken care of this car.

    Another friend (male) says don't buy an old volvo they are too costly to repair. My husband knows I want to try volvo ownership (I have admired the cars forever), but essentially says the same thing. I love volvo's unconventional but durable reputation. What do my male friend and husband know that I don't know? Will I really have to put this car in the shop on an every other month basis? Will it bleed me dry in repairs? I have a hope to keep this car for another 8 years and teach my son to drive it in three years and for it to be his "wheels" in high school. Am I dreaming?

    Please advise. :confuse:
  • enginoneenginone Posts: 20
    It depends -- what has the repair history been for this particular car? Everything wears out over time, so routine maintenance is to be expected. What you don't want is a car with "gremlins." If the previous owner has a good record of the service history, that should help determine the reliability to date. Volvo did have some problems with electronics in the late 80s/early 90s -- that may be what the guys are concerned about and rightfully so. The records will tell the story of whether you should go forward or not. You can always take it to a garage you trust for a pre-purchase inspection too. Well worth the hour or so of labor for peace of mind, and to know what a good mechanic thinks it needs.

    Everyone has personal tastes and experiences that can bias their decisions. Ours have been favorable with Volvos, but I have had friends who were less fortunate. I have a 2006 XC90, and we bought a 96 850 for my son specifically because we knew they were durable, safe, and have had positive experience with an 82 and 87 240 in the past.

    Regarding repairs, they all seem to cost about the same now between parts and shop rates. Again, it comes down to the overall reliability of the car you're interested in. Much of the maintenance and basic repairs can be done by the owner if you buy a Chilton's or Haynes manual and you're relatively handy.

    Finally, they can't be beat as cars for teen drivers. Not very glamorous, but they do a wonderful job of protecting their cargo. My wife and son have both had accidents in Volvos -- a rear ender on the 82 and low speed head-on in the 850. Both Volvos fared (much!) better than the competition, and were still drivable afterwards, though needing repairs. We trust them, but it's still important to find one with a good history.

    Hope that helps.
  • rick83rick83 Posts: 1
    Another Volvo Wagon!!!
  • momonlymomonly Posts: 1
    Silly question but here are the details. My daughter is looking for a car for about $2000 which is what she has saved up. Our choices at this point are a Volvo 850 wagon, 1994, 203,000 miles which a friend will sell her for $1500. It has a new transmission, brake pads and calipers. Her other option is a 1986 Plymouth Horizon with only 40,000 miles for $2000.
    Any advice out there? The volvo is obviously a much safer car but how many more miles can we expect to get out of it? She is moving to Fargo, ND in August.
  • brucebinbrucebin Posts: 1
    Why don't you check your 850? Maybe theres a problem with your power steering pump, power steering hose, or probably the Rack And Pinions
  • It may be a longshot, but the noise you have described is similar to one that I have had on a BMW 523i. It came from a small stone trapped in the front brakes. It sounds horrendous, but apparently does little damage. Easiest way to remove it is to go between reverse and forward a few times to dislodge it and hope it pops out of where it has stuck. I have had the problem a number of times - always after driving over road surfaces with loose blue metal.
    Good luck.
  • 96850glt96850glt Posts: 20
    I looked back to the first post for an answer, and I didn't see this before. Maybe I was in an altered state from staring at the screen for so long. If so, I'm sorry. I've got a '96 850GLT with 126K. Occasionally, throughout the operating envelope, the car will shudder, rpm drops, black smoke comes out of the exhaust, and at it's worst the engine dies. Sometimes, the car will not start/re-start right away, but it will eventually start. Again, lots of black smoke, and the smell of an over-rich engine. I get an OBD II code of P0103-MAF/VAF high input. I tested the MAF sensor and got a signal ground circuit:ground resistance of .008 ohms (should be 0 ohms), a battery voltage of 11.89V (.02V below actual batt voltage), and a backprobe of the signal ground:signal return wires of .15V (should be 0.1-0.2V). Any ideas before I bite the bullet for a 3-figures MAF sensor?

    I'm all ears! On my previous '98 V70, I got a similar shudder, but it was very infrequent, and it never persisted to engine shutdown. Portland (ME) Volvo said it was probably the MAF sensor($350 + labor), so I'm leaning toward that in this case. I'd like to make sure before I dump more money into this car. I have recently replaced plugs, rotor, dist. cap, and ignition module/coil. Mayday, mayday, mayday!
  • 96850glt96850glt Posts: 20
    I thoroughly cleaned the PCV valve and associated hoses, but it still ran poorly. I broke down and paid Volvo $225 for a new MAF sensor, which I installed in their parking lot. The car runs like new.

    I did learn that Volvo had a TSB which called for removing the PCV Flame trap (mine was missing), but it had been superceded by a newer TSB which called for re-installing the flame trap. It's good to ask questions at the dealership.
  • ralph18ralph18 Posts: 1
    I recently removed my ABS module. I used a 4 mm socket with 1/4" drive ratchet. Its quite difficult to maneuver your hands into the space to get to the bottom screws but its possible if you are dexterous and patient - don't drop the driver. A small ignition wrench might work (Sears sells). I didn't use the Torx socket as I didn't have one; standard socket worked okay.
    I sent the module to Victor Rocha (website below) after reading a testimonial and also checking another similar website. He tested, repaired, and returned the unit in about a week - very professional. I have been driving the 855 for about 2 weeks and all seems "good". Cost about $140 and 1 hour to remove/reinstall.
  • hi i own a 1995 volvo 850 estate,ive got a couple of problems with the lights, my sidelights dont work,even though the main beam and full beam are ok,ive checked bulbs and fuses and all is ok,also my dash lights flicker on and off for about 2 mins then cease to work altogether,any advice from a volvo mechanic or someone with sound knowledge would be much appreciated,im a panel beater to trade so im not totally clueless with the workings of the car but im just a little lost as where to start with the electrics on this one!!!!
  • I'd check this Volvo 850/70 engine stalling thread or look in the Volvo repair database .

    That site has the most 850/70 info I've seen on the web. Sharp people.
  • Over the weekend my car developed a very noticeable tapping sound that appears to be internal to the engine. I can't tell if it's coming from the top or bottom of the engine... The problem occurred while accelerating to enter the interstate while the turbo was producing about 15PSI. The tapping sound is consistent with increase and decrease in RPM's. Other than the tapping sound, the engine appears to be operating as normal - no misfiring , hesitation, knocking etc.

    The car has 96,000 original miles on it and has been maintained very well. The current oil is Penzoil full synthetic 10W30.

    Can anybody offer suggestion as to where to begin? Is this a known problem with this engine? Any info will be greatly appreciated.

  • In the used market there are many Volvos with 250,000 miles or more that are still commanding 'big bucks'. For that to happen, two things have to be present: the cars have durable drivetrains, and the have to be cosmetically acceptable eg no rust. The Horizon was not a good car when new and likely only worth more than scape metal pound rate because it 'only' has 40,000 miles on it. Eather car will likely get another 50,000 miles out of them which is more than you will drive them before getting a different car, so the desision is what is left of mid-size luxury for a couple of years or econobox junk when new for $500 more.
  • I have owned a 97 Volvo 850 Wagon for over 5 years without ever having an interior water leak. Recently I have had 2 inches of water on the passenger side but the drivers side was dry and then just the opposite water on the drivers side and not the passenger side. Both sides are dry now even after a heavy rain but my wife made this comment to me; "while you were gone last we had a heavy rain and when I was driving the car I thought I heard water sloshing around" The last time I had work done on the car was last summer when I had the AC repaired and the evaporator replaced. Could there be any correlation between replacing the AC and my current leak problem?
  • ocfj40ocfj40 Posts: 3
    i am working on my neighbors 850 wagon she said it wont start. i went to her house on new years day to look at it went to fuel pump it works,air filter it was claen, wires still read 94 volvo on them. i told her to tow it to my house ii wanted to look at inside of dist cap.pulled it in garage cap and rotor were built up with corosion,replaced cap,rotor,wires,plugs still no spark.took my ohm's tester to coil and igniter they test good. i am looking for some help on what else to look for to test or replace,can anyone help? thank you john ">
  • tedgmctedgmc Posts: 1
    On my 850 the reflector that carries the bulb has dropped. I will have to remove the front lens to access the reflector assembly. how do I remove the Lens. I know I have to remove the wiper assy. but from there on I'm lost. Thanks for any advice . Ted
  • 850850 Posts: 2
    I have an 850 turbo that cranks, but won;t start. when i turn the key i don;t hear the usual ticking noise.. Vehicle has a new starter and i checked power to the starter, alt and to the ignition. I'm at a loss and can't seem to find any issues. I've ripped through the wiring looking for bad grounds and cut wires. So far i can;t find anything wrong. Any ideas on wear to go from here? i tried accessing codes from under the hood with side "A" pin six and the socket is dead. all other sockets will retrieve codes though. i have a newer cam sensor and rpm sensor. any help would be grateful thanks mark.
  • ocfj40ocfj40 Posts: 3
    a cam sensor fixed the one i was working on, however i was told that the temp sensor would also have a no spark as well. good luck
  • 850850 Posts: 2
    I just replaced the cam sensor about a month and a half ago. The car had a crank no start like it does now. The wierd part about it all is that i ohm'd out the new and old cam sensor and they were the same reading. I still went ahead and installed the new cam sensor and the vehicle fired up. I"m puzzled and feel like i'm chasing a ghost. I hate to bring it to a shop, but my manual is pretty basic. Well thank you for your insight. Mark
  • my 850 wagon reversing lights have suddenly ceased to operate. Where is the reversing light switch in these cars. I suspect it is in the gear box which will be a real hassle to replace. THere are not bulb warning lights on the dash so I suspect the switch.
  • romant1romant1 Posts: 1
    Does anyone know how to replace the Turbo Oil Return Seal? I took it to a dealer to get checked out for codes, and when I got it back I had a great oil leak from the return line of the turbo. Part is $3.90 and Labor is $95.00 at the dealer.
  • donaldfdonaldf Posts: 2
    I have a 97 850 wagon that has recently developed a strange problem. Occasionaly, when the car is started, there are no h/lites, no turn signals, no speedo ,the electric shift release does not work. Is there a relay that affects these areas or a possible loose connection? This is my wifes car and I have to fix it NOW. And all the married men said amen. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. Donald in louisiana
  • casper10casper10 Posts: 1
    150,000 miles, car cranks okay, but after last crank, hear a drag like hitting fan in back of radiator. Do you all have any suggestions as to what is happening?? Thanks, Jim (Virginia)

    This is the best auto I have ever owned, think I will be buried in it. ha
  • rafterduderafterdude Posts: 1
    Hi Donald,
    We have a 94 850 wagon and the same thing happened...... quite by accident my son discovered that if you rotate the ignition key back slightly all the electric that was disabled will work again. This leads me to believe that we need a new ignition switch but we choose to just live with the quirk. Good luck, Andy
  • ptg0ptg0 Posts: 4
    Buy a new headlight assy off of e-bay if you havent already.
  • donaldfdonaldf Posts: 2
    Has anyone ever modified the pcv system on an 850 to simplify it like on older american cars? A pcv valve and a hose to intake.
  • jr714jr714 Posts: 24
    I have an 850 Turbo with 150K which I have owned for about 1 year. Other than front end work and a check engine light that wont go off, it has been fine until recently when checking the oil I noticed brownish-white sludge inside the dipstick. A few people told me it is a bad head gasket and maybe worse.

    Now being in this forum, I know I will be understood. I love this car, I searched for 10 years for a good example with no apparent problems for a low price, and this car was it. I am not about to give up on it so fast. I can't afford to pay $2,000 to fix it (which is what I paid for the car). Plus I have been told that once I fix the head gasket, I will probably have to do work on the heads, and/or the rest of the engine could go too, since it is almost impossible to get out all of the coolant once it has seeped in.

    SO I need to know:

    1) Are all of these things true?

    2) Is there any way for me to know for sure how bad the damage is?

    3) Is there any other solution other than replacing the engine?

    4) Is it worth doing a compression test?

    5) Has anyone here repaired this by themselves? Is it realistically possible for a home mechanic to do it?

    Please help!
  • Dear jr714,
    I have a 97 850 Turbo with about 98k and noticed the same thing. Thinking I had a bad head gasket, I had it towed to the dealer (I trust my dealer). The mechanic did all the testing and informed me there was nothing wrong with the motor. He did suggest that I replace the dip stick. I thought this was too easy, but did recall quite a bit of wet weather preceding the sludge on the stick.
    I was going to replace the o-rings only, but went for the new factory dipstick.
    Problem went away. 6 months later, no sludge.
    I did change the oil after replacing the dipstick as a precaution.
    Good luck, hope yours is as good as mine.
  • My rear bumper mounting brackets are totally rusted and crumbling. My bumper is sagging. I have bought two new brackets to install. Are there any "gotcha's" I need to look out for? One thing I'm not sure about is how to disconnect the bumper cover from the frame at the sides. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • jr714jr714 Posts: 24

    Sorry for the delayed response. After reading your post I allowed myself to believe that my car would be the same as yours - and it was!

    The delay was cleaning out my garage so I could set up a shop for myself. I fully intended to do whatever was necessary to fix the problem. I started by doing the oil change, checking very carefully for any coolant or more sludge in the oil. There was none. I added the new oil, and - voila! No more sludge. Problem gone! Now 3 months later, still clean as a whistle. I just told my mechanic (who I also trust) about it and he was speechless. He has been in the business 40 years, has worked on thousands of Volvos, and has never heard of it.

    Thanks so much for saving my wallet and my car! :)
  • Hello-
    I am considering buying this car with 210k. It's loaded so not sure if it's a GLT or not. Definitely not a turbo. It had its 150k service and timing belt. I know that they recommend the belts be changed every 75k. My question is: will the belt breaking during operation wreck the valves on this model? Also, I've heard that the tranny's on these could be problematic, as well as the headgaskets. It appears that these are still original but working fine. Should I worry about these two issues also?
    Thanks for writing back-
  • my 850 turbo 96 volvo yesterday completely stopped functioning when i put it into reverse. It happened once b4 about 1yr ago what could b the problem? it was fine until i went down a 1 way street and had 2 turn around so i put in reverse and my baby completely stopped, she would not move at all as if something were locking her tires from moving, after about 15 min. of tinkering i played with it in 3rd and she made some movement and we slowly made it home.. ive reaseached that volvos r subject 2 bad transmissions and faulty electrical wiring, my engine lights r always on and my hazards dont work, ive been 2 dealer and they say i need a new hazard switch which i havent replaced bc the mech. on duty whispered 2 me that usually doesnt solve the problem nor does the computer diagnosis of my type car usually confirm the problem. so what can i do, im on my way 2 a mech rite now 2 get some advice... help & thanx 2 all yusigusi 11/20/08
  • jr714jr714 Posts: 24
    I have the same prob. with the hazards, but with me its also the blinkers. The hazard fuse (I think its 13) was blown, but the new one blew again right away, so my mechanic told me to check the headlight and taillight wires for shorts, which I plan to do this weekend. My radio also was working intermittently but now failed altogether. Though the power goes on and all functions work, you can't hear any sound. These cars are awesome but as they age they need a lot of TLC :D
  • jr714jr714 Posts: 24

    Sad to say my problem with the sludge has returned. Still, no signs of damage to the engine - no clicking from the engine or white smoke, no leaks, no loss of coolant or heat, but the whole dipstick tube is full of the sludge. When you said you replaced the dipstick, did you mean just the actual stick, or the dipstick tube as well?

    Thanks for the help.
  • hazards dont work, turn signals, and all that connect to hazzrd switch seem 2 have permanent short and cant afford 2 get car rewired so what can i do? help.. :sick:
  • jr714jr714 Posts: 24
    I have the same problem. I was told the hazard switch has a relay for the turn signals. I just got a new switch off ebay and I will be putting it in any day. I will post the results.
  • I just bought a 95' 850 wagon and the heat doesn't work, I replaced the thermostat and still nothing. I have read every post on here from #1 and I have seen all of the problems that I may encounter, this one wasn't mentioned once. I thought perhaps the heater core, but the hoses are not even getting warm. So perhaps a clogged heater hose? Does anybody have any ideas?
  • 1995 Volvo 850T wagon. The door to the gas tank will not open. does it have a manual lever somewhere?
  • When your car is locked either from the inside or outside alarmed, so is the gas access lid. Try with everything open.
  • Thank You, I found the manual release,(a pull wire) which is located behind the inside corner panel on the same side as the gas tank in the wagon part of the car. There is a little knob on the bottom of the corner panel, turn it the panel comes right out. Faulty celluloid ?
  • Concerning a 1995 turbo wagon 850 when try to start the doors all lock and dash lights come on, car does not start. Will start with jump but problem continues to recur intermittently. Any suggestions?
  • The problem could be either in the ignition safe switch button by the gear shift handle or in the clutch assembly unit. (you have to push the clutch in to start)
  • Thanks, I'll check it out.
  • Dear jr714,
    Sorry for the late response...
    I only replaced the dipstick.
    Prior to that, the mechanic did a check (compression?) and he informed me that the head gasket was OK and was not the cause of the sludge.

    Best of luck.
  • ousous Posts: 6
    I am inheriting a 1995 850 Turbo Wagon with 188,000 well maintained miles. I have never owned a Volvo or a turbo. From my internet study of this model, I feel that my benefactor must have thought well of me to offer this treasure. I plan to keep her memory alive by keeping the wagon in daily drive condition.

    Other than the obvious maintanence requirements, is there anything I need to keep in mind that might be unique to a Volvo?

    Thanks for kind responses,
  • You may want to check and see if you have a sercurity code for the radio. If you disconnect the battery (to replace it or charge it) your radio will not work unless you have the code. Most Volvo had one with the new owners. If not it is expense to change it. The ignition protection switch button by the gear shift can malfunction and will keep the car from starting. Know where the Manuel release wire is for the Gas tank door. It's in the inside back corner behind the panel on the gas door side. Parts are expensive when you repair Volvo's
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