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Volvo V70 Transmission Problems



  • fedlawman, thanks for the tips on going to Ford for a trans. flush. Volvo told me that they have to make sure the temp is just right when they add the oil back in, or something like that. Giving the impression that its a very specialized process. how to know?

    AAMCO charges $260 (includes ATF), which seems high compared to your Ford dealer. but seems a trans shop should be a good safe bet, right?

    p.s. sorry for posting to the wrong thread - this is all new to me!
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    Mobile makes maybe four or more different ATFs with different formulations . There are two different Mobile products which are spec'd for a Volvo with an Aisin transmission:

    Mobile ATF 3309, which is not fully synthetic, but which seems to be specially formulated to work with the Aisin trannys, and which is going to cost you much less than a synthetic.

    Mobile 1 ATF, which is a full synthetic, and will have a much higher price, maybe about as much as the Volvo ATF which is evidently also a full synthetic.

    In general, synthetic oils have a longer service life than non-synthetic, so if you use Mobile 3309 you might have to replace the fluid sooner than if you used Mobile 1 ATF or Volvo.

    At to going to any tranny shop, you may not be get the exact tranny fluid you specify. Suppose you ask them if they will flush and refill your tranny with "Mobile 3309", and they reply, "Yes, we use 3309 spec'd product for Volvos all the time and have had no complaints." What does that mean? Are they using Mobile 3309 or some substitute for Mobile 3309, which they buy in bulk from some dubious source?

    I don't know if this is actually done by tranny shops, but I've been around long enough to have seen this sort of thing done in the case of other products.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "I'm reading it all. you sent me to an older thread that had the following link to Mobil's website. - - F.aspx

    right on the bottle on their website it says: SYNTHETIC
    so why do you and some others insist that this is NOT synthetic? "

    Mobil 1 ATF is fully synthetic and claims to meet the JWS 3309, but it also claims to meet many other specifications. For example, the product sheet you linked mentions Volvo 97340. This is a multi-purpose oil that also meets Dextron III specifications. Dextron III is not compatible with the JWS 3309 specification (it's the old spec for older 4 speed transmissions from GM).

    So maybe the synthetic oils are OK, and maybe they're not. Is Mobil going to pay for a new transmission if yours fails? Why take a chance with a multi-purpose oil that may or may not create problems down the road? Just get the Mobil 3309 (or other single-purpose 3309 oil) and flush it every 50 or 60K miles. It's the stuff Volvo originally put in your transmission - and you should too.
  • well... I was so excited this afternoon when I called Mobil and talked to both a products rep and a engineer/technical expert... they told me that Mobil 1 is 100%synthetic, which you guys already knew, but... it was reformulated 5 months ago to be more compatable with certain specs, and is labeled NEW FORMULA on the bottle. Vendors still carry the old formula, so you want to make sure it says NEW FORMULA on the bottle. The engineer said that it does meet the SW3309 specs and is compatable with Volvo V70. I was happy to finally "get it" and I called Autozone who has the new formula for $7.90 a quart. So I was going to buy it and take it to AAMCO - they said no problem. So for $170, I could get a complete flush with synthetic fluid, compared to $400 at the Volvo dealer!

    Now you're making me re-think using it. I'm going to call Mobil again on Monday and tell them what you said about the Volvo 97340 spec, and see what they say. My owners manual does say to use Volvo synthetic, and two Volvo dealers said they only use synthetic. Since Mobil ATF 3309 is not synthetic its hard to believe this is the best choice. but of course, Volvo just wants me to spend more $$, no? So if you're interested, stay tuned and I'll let you know what I hear from Mobil on Monday... cheers...
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    My owners manual specifically says, "Automatic Transmission Fluid AW5: Volvo transmission oil only (1161540-8). Do not mix with other oils." There is no mention of Volvo 97340 - presumably because it isn't recommended.

    My maintenance manual says, "Check ATF level only if an external leak is identified. Volvo recommends changing ATF every 52,500 miles, only on vehicles used for towing."

    Where in your owners manual does it say to use Volvo synthetic ATF? For that matter, where does it say to change the ATF at all?

    Hopefully, you're on to something - I like the idea of using synthetic too, but I won't until it's a sure thing.
  • yeah, my owner's manual says the same thing as yours. nothing about synthetic. Maybe that seed was planted in my head by others writing in, and on the UK Volvo Forum website - there is alot of info there. The manual also says "specifications subject to change w/o notice". I know for certain that one of the Volvo dealers here in Oregon uses synthetic on all Volvo's after 2000. well, I'll still call Mobil again on Monday and I'm going to see if I can contact Volvo. stay tuned....
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    The most important thing is to use an ATF which is formulated to work properly in the Aisin tranny. Evidently any ATF (from a reputable mfgr like Mobile) which meets the JWS 3309 standard will enable the tranny to work properly without an excessive wear rate. Without any other info using a synthetic ATF which meets JWS 3309 would be better than using a standard ATF which meets JWS 3309 because the synthetic would last longer.

    If the Mobile 1 ATF is now formulated to work with the Aisin trannys, and if the Mobile 1 new formula is only twice the price of the Mobile ATF 3309, then Mobile 1 new formula might be the better option. I gather that the cost of the Volvo ATF is several times the cost of non-synthetic Mobile ATF 3309. There is a considerable labor cost in changing the ATF. Concerning the Volvo UK discussion sites, middle class people in the UK are much more careful with their expenditures than Americans. (They were in the past, anyway. My experience with British frugality is 25 years old. Since that time, the Europeans have gotten relatively better off financially than Americans.)

    I checked the fluid in my 2004 V70 base model with 5-spd Aisin auto tranny (not the "geartronic") which we have owned since new (38 kmi on the odo, and driven reasonably carefully 5 years, but in the Dallas TX heat). The fluid is a reddish brown in color and has no off-odor, specifically no burned smell. I'm going to consider the ATF question but I don't think I have to change ATF right now.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I'm looking forward to their response, though for me, I'll stick with the specific oil the transmission was designed for. I personally don't feel comfortable with an oil that meets Dextron III (and multiple other) specs - even if it says it meets JWS 3309 also.

    In the end though, I suppose as long as the oil says it's JWS 3309 compliant, and it's getting changed, that's a heck of a lot better than NEVER changing it at all.
  • sorry for the delayed reply...... I talked to Volvo again and Exxon-Mobil again and got more clarification on this issue...Mobil 3309 conventional fluid was tested and APPROVED by Volvo, thats why the spec sheet for the product lists specific cars: such as Volvo V70. The NEWLY reformulated (just 5 months ago) Mobil 1 ATF synthetic is "recommended" for these same transmissions. but because Volvo has not yet tested it, they can't say it has been "approved". The Mobil tech guy says it takes time for car companies to get around to testing, but he felt very confident that this fluid meets the car's specs. It was designed to. The older formula of Mobil 1 ATF did NOT meet the specs, and thats why it was reformulated. They said Autozone is their primary vendor for it, but it is hard to find. They have mostly the older formula on the shelves still. I called 4 Autozones before finding a store that stocks it. It will say NEW FORMULA on the bottle and the bottle is grey. It is $7.90 a quart. Certainly much less than Volvo's brand. Here's Exxon-Mobil's no. if you want to call yourself: 800-662-4525 option 3.

    the Mobil techy said synthetics are primarily for extreme conditions, and since I live in the mild Pacific Northwest, I don't really need it, so after all this research, I'm going to use Mobil 3309 conventional and save some money.

    good luck to all. :)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    That's great info - thanks for doing the research and posting the results.
  • racalderoracaldero Posts: 2
    Well I have a V70 2005 non turbo with 67k and I change the oil with 5 Qt. of new Mobile AFT Synthetic and my wagon is running great. Volvo of Dallas told me that I need to wait until 105k to change because is synthetic oil but my oil was black and they said it was ok . I recoment Overseas Service Haus in Dallas,Texas They are great and good prices...
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    How did you manage to flush out all the old fluid using only 5 qts? That's a trick I'd like to learn...
  • lotus66lotus66 Posts: 1
    I have 112K miles on my V70. Upon acceleration, the car stalled in neutral when gear was in Drive. After turning the engine off and restarting then shifting from Park to Drive, it worked fine. I had a mechanic check it out and he did a complete transmission flush and refill.

    3 weeks later the check engine light and flashing "up" arrow illuminated and acceleration was not smoothe. This happened during the required smog check for license renewal. The manual states the flashing up arrow represents problem with the gearbox/transmission.

    Any feedback on what to do with this is appreciated!! I would like to get it fixed for the least amount of dollars.
  • same problem as you Susan. What can we do??? In today's economy who has 4,000 to go buy a new transmission???? I hate that this is happening to me now!!! Please let me know what you are thinking of doing!
  • I have just bought a diesel V70 auto. Driving it home it ran ok for the first 20 miles or so, then the gearbox started acting up and a flashing up arrow started. Any Ideas?
  • dastrasdastras Posts: 1
    Dsroberts your post caught my attention.

    I have a 2003 V70 2.4T with 37,000 that I purchased from a Volvo dealer 2 months ago. Soon after, I noticed what can be described as stumble or hesitation between 3rd, 4th and 5th gear. On a moderate acceleration, easing up to a 45 mph speed limit, the transmission will stumble as if it is trying to decide between 4th or 5th. As the throttle comes up and the car goes out of 3rd it tries to settle into 5th only to realize that the car does not have the momentum for the engine to move the car along comfortably so it tries 4th only to find that the preferred efficiency is in 5th and back it goes. (or some variation of this). It does this for no more than a second or two and then it passes. This only occurs under the situation as described at or near the 41 mph mark.

    Of course the overriding concern is that a major problem in imminent. I would like to think that this would be the type of problem that a software upgrade would resolve. It really seems as though the computer can’t make up its mind.

    I did have it back to the dealer be could not replicate the issue on a test drive. I does not happen consistently but it does happen often enough (4-6 times per week) to be described as a real issue

    Has anyone encountered a similar problem and discovered fix? The service department at the Volvo dealership is keeping their mouth shut regarding any known transmission issues and giving me the “you are imagining it” look. I would normally run to an independent shop but and fairly convinced it could be a known problem when they sold the car as they were the original dealer and have the full service history.
  • I have a '99 V70 , no turbo, 5 cyl, 167 Hp original owner
    found it to be a high maintanence car with high expense. most problems seem to be associated with secondary systems, poor engineering and cheap materials, nagging rattles, broken switches, locks, headlights, signals, mud guards and tires (7 of them so far) think the front is too heavy for low profile rims (standard). But the engine and drive train seem to be sound. Relatively lo milage, I just broke 72K, and have that "shake" after highway driving upon slowing. The idle seems to drop below 500 rpm. noticed it dimishes with higher octane fuel usage, but always returns. I was wondering if it is related to the transmission, not releading on time, or vacumn leak. I need to keep this car for another 130K to make it worth the original investment, but I consider the additionals costs, to-date... a lesson learned.
  • Hi Doug

    My 2001 V70 seems to be having the same problem. How did you resolve yours?

  • cdennycdenny Posts: 1
    We have a volvo v70 with 95k miles. It already has a new transmission. We replaced the brake pads/e-brake yesterday because we were told that was causing our acceleration problems($800). We have since found out that fluid leaked from the radiator to the new transmission and has caused them both to fail (another $4K).

    Any advise? Can this be fixed without another new transmission?
  • Owners complaining of the "jerk" of the V70 automatic transmission from a standing start should read their owner's manual. The manual for my '01 V70 T5 clearly states that the transmission is designed to shift to neutral when the car stops - it takes a moment to shift back into gear once the brake is released. Owners who do not adapt their driving style to this momentary pause before the transmission shifts back into gear will indeed experience a jerk if they accelerate too quickly. The result over time will likely be transmission damage. The design is an inconvenience (drivers shouldn't have to adapt their driving style to the car), but you can chalk up resulting transmission damage at least as much to ignorant owners as to Volvo's shift programming. Volvo eventually recognized the potential for damage in their "neutral" shift programming and issued a software update which removes the neutral function. My local Volvo dealer performed the update today on my V70 for $138.66, not exorbitant by any means. The update has only one purpose: it removes the shift to neutral at stops. It doesn't "repair" a damaged transmission. After the software update, my transmission functions from a stop without any programmed pause. With 97k, my aging transmission works as it did before the update, which is to say flawlessly. The only difference is, now there is no shift to neutral at stops.

    Other than the original transmission neutral-at-stops feature, the other big owner-related issue re transmission problems or failure on these cars is failure to change the transmission fluid. Part of it is probably Volvo's fault, as the owner's manual specifies 105k miles as the first transmission fluid change. That's entirely too many miles, even for synthetic fluid. It's not unusual for high-mileage transmissions which have been fully flushed for the first time w. synthetic fluid to experience high failure rates afterwards, because the detergent action of the fresh synthetic fluid acts to free up accumulated goop & junk inside the transmission. Although my local Volvo dealer recommends the full flush, my independent Volvo mechanic strongly advises doing only a drain & refill, not a full flush. The latter is a safer choice for high mileage transmissions, especially if you're not sure when your fluid was last changed (or if it's ever been changed).
  • vsafevsafe Posts: 1
    I have an xc70 also and experience similar bumps ... mostly in heavy traffic...... but we should all be real concerned about the following::::: ely/
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The government has no authority to make Ford do anything. And even if they did, why should they?

    I don't understand your post - what exactly is the problem? What has Ford messed up? :confuse:
  • spoken like a true ford rep.why would u ask what ford has to do with the problem when ford sells the product and was aware of the problem beforehand?are there any lead paint toys around your house?
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "why would u ask what ford has to do with the problem"

    What the heck are you talking about? I never said anything about Ford. Did you even read my post?

    I asked what the problem is, because all the OP mentioned was something about his Volvo jerking in heavy traffic. And if his Volvo jerks in traffic, what does that have to do with the government?

    So I'll ask again. What's the problem? Is it some condensation/water in the gas tank? Is it a failing fuel pump? A clogged fuel filter? A bad O2 sensor? A failing ignition coil? A bad spark plug? A clogged fuel injector? A faulty computer chip? A defective transmission? A bumpy stretch of highway? Did he spill hot coffee in his lap during his morning commute? :confuse:
  • ohbkkohbkk Posts: 1
    Hi. Sorry if I'm breaking in on a thread, but you folks all apparently have experience with the automatic transmission in V70s. I'm working (for free) on one of my Boy Scouts moms car - 1198 V70xc. turbo, 150K miles. She had a relatively minor accident in a parking lot. Air bags didn't go off, but it needs a hood, fender, grille. But mostly I need to be able to shift it out of Drive. I can put it in low, but can't hit Park or Reverse. All the related fuses I can find are okay. Any ideas? Thanks. I'd really like to get this kid (and his mom) back on the road!
    thanks in advance.
  • Wow!...possibly the rest of the story. Help me out kimberlyrt I just put a deposit on a 2001 white Volvo V70 AWD with saddle bag brown leather cross stiched and it has plates from the Volvo dealership in Alpharetta, GA, Northpoint Volvo that you mentioned. Did you have the tranny work done on this or is this dealership still passing the pain...any replay would be greatly apprciated. I'm was trying to gert a dependable first family car for my soon to marry son. formerbugman :)
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    Wondered if anyone posting here has a late-model V70 that has developed these problems? Or has Volvo worked out the issue by now?
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    What problems?

    My 2004 V70 (I bought it new 6 years ago) has 105,000 miles and I've never had a significant problem with it.
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918
    I am also considering buying a new V70, and all these transmission stories have me worried. Is anyone posting here the owner of a V70 from about 2007 until now? Any particular problems?

    Is there anything in particular I should look out for when doing a test-drive? So far I've driven just one, and liked it fine. That particular car did not have the various packages that I wanted on it, however.
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