1998 XC - dealer says needs new engine

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Old 03-27-2012, 01:12 PM
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Default 1998 XC - dealer says needs new engine

I have a 1998 V70XC, which we bought in 2000. Have had major repairs over the years, but love the car so want to keep it as long as possible -- nothing else out there that I really like. Only has 135000+ miles.

Heard some uncharacteristic noise from engine a few months ago, and was told it was low on oil. No leaks, no warning lights. Last week took it in for a 130000m service when service light came on, and asked if they could find out why it was burning oil since I began to hear the noises again. Did a pressure test, and was told most cylinders were functioning poorly -- told I need to get a new/rebuilt engine - estimate $4000 plus, and would need a new breather system for another $1500. I can tell they are not anxious to do the work... they want to sell me a new XC.

Having been part of a car club in the past, I know there are mechanics out there that used to rebuild engines at a fraction of dealer prices...

I can keep it going for a while just making sure oil is ok once a week or so... I imagine the "check engine" light will come on eventually.

Anyone know of a good mechanic who could do the work in Western New York/Buffalo area for a good price? I was also thinking about contacting our local BOCES, who train auto mechanics -- maybe they would be interested in rebuilding the engine as a teaching project. Or are these engines so complicated with the emissions stuff that it doesn't pay.

Thanks for any advice!

1998 V70 XC white
2000 v70 XC maroon (Canadian market car converted for US)
 
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:33 PM
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First, the "emissions" are not what makes these engines complicated, rather it's the modern universal attempt to razzle dazzle the consumer that made the modern engine hard and economically unfeasible to rebuild. I hang on to my Red Blocks for that reason.

If your car indeed does need a new motor (shame, with only 130k miles), there is pretty much no way to do it cheaply--these motors are simply too finicky for old timers or novices without the modern technology to rebuild successfully... You may want to source a used motor as an option.

And, no, your check engine light may never come on, it is pretty much totally emissions driven... Very often major engine failure will not trigger the CEL.
 
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:39 PM
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I would go the route of the used salvage engine. Looks like the 1998 XC70 engine is the same as the 850 (not sure what years) so there are still plenty of them out there. Getting one with low miles might be an issue but it will be very cheap to go this way. Check Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market for salvage yards with an engine in your area. I'm thinking $500 for the labor.
 
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:39 AM
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I appreciate both suggestions, so thank you!

I'm still driving the car... it seems to need 1 quart of oil every month or so. One local volvo repair declined to take the case, but said if it isn't running rough, and I'm driving less than 1000 miles a month, that was pretty good and it should be fine for a long time. We'll see.

I'll begin to check around for another engine. Still have to decide if I love the car so much it's worth the investment (the body is still in fantastic shape), or just bite the bullet and trade in both XCs for two new Suburus.

There's also been an issue with the brakes since 2009 -- they make a kind of groaning sound and there's a shudder -- and the sound decreases in tone as the car slows down. It doesn't happen all the time, and I've not been able to figure out a pattern. I've had it checked 4 or 5 times now , and they always tell me they are fine . I actually demanded that they bleed the lines twice, but no change.

So worst case I'll drive it until it won't run anymore, or something else huge fails. Or, maybe get lucky and find an engine!

Really appreciate this forum!
 
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:27 PM
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Dealership is trying to "rape" you. $4000 for a reman. replacement engine. Ok that is reasonable little high, but not bad. Another $1500 for a PCV system?? the engine would be out the system would take 5 minutes to replace, the PCV system parts cost around $150 if you buy them yourself.

As to the compression test they did. Take it to a different shop and have them do the same test. Don't tell them about the oil consumption when you take it.

Could be the PCV system needs service that will cause the oil consumption you are saying, and the noise (would have to hear the noise to confirm that).

A blown head gasket is possible also.

rebuilding these engines is possible, but not worth your money -- they are VERY common just find a previously enjoyed engine to replace it, IF the engine is toast.

The noise in the brakes is coming from the suspension most likely.
 
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:40 AM
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I Don't think 1 qt per 1,000 is that bad. I'd get the compression numbers and get that PCV system changed. Just stay on top of the oil.
 
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:36 AM
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How many miles on it in 2000 when you bought it? How often have you changed the oil? Where have you had the oil changed (e.g. Jiffy Lube, etc.)? Do you know what kind of oil has been used? What kind of noise are you hearing?
 
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:46 PM
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I think it had about 33,000 when we bought it in 2000. We've been religious about maintenance, gotten every one recommended with regular oil changes at the dealer and I assume they've used whatever Volvo recommends. Never thought to ask... I'm a trusting type :-|

The noise is hard to describe. It's just that you notice the individual sounds of the engine rather than just a hum, especially when the window is open or you're driving past/sitting by a curb or a wall. Like you can faintly hear the rapid motion of the pistons individually... if that makes sense. I just recently wondered if the muffler might have a hole in it... but it isn't quite that loud.

The noise of the engine was the precipitating incident which made me bring it in... that's when they told me the oil was down. I find it strange that the oil light doesn't come on. The only reason they did the compression test was because I asked them why it was burning oil...

I will stay on top of the oil for sure! And will see about getting the PVC system fixed.

As for the problem with the brakes... can you explain about the suspension being the source. When I press on the brake pedal, it stops well, but as the I hold the pedal down I can hear a kind of groaning start and then feel this shudder in the front end. Just in the last 2 weeks I've also noticed a squeal when I apply the brakes, which is new. It feels like what used to happen with my Cortina (now that takes me back!), when the pads would wear and then grind into the rotor - not quite the same grunching sound, but similar. Dealer checked the pads and said they were ok.
 
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:04 PM
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sounds to me like the exhaust manifold is leaking from what you describe.

Im thinking the dealership made up the compression test numbers and maybe the oil level being low was too. is not the first time I have heard of a dealership trying to scam people.

you need to go to some place other than a dealership, like a independent "family owned" (NOT a big chain) place and offer the car to them "blind" just go and ask them to thoroughly inspect, and or diagnose the engine.

im deffiently thinking exhaust manifold leak, or PCV system needs immediate service.
 
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pmrose View Post
I think it had about 33,000 when we bought it in 2000. We've been religious about maintenance, gotten every one recommended with regular oil changes at the dealer and I assume they've used whatever Volvo recommends. Never thought to ask... I'm a trusting type :-|
If they're like every other dealer then your car's been getting bulk recycled oil - the cheapest of the cheap.

I agree with Lifesgoodhere. Take it to a good independent. Also, try an Auto-Rx treatment or at a minimum run Pennzoil Ultra for a couple of oil changes - see if this decokes your ring packs and reduces your oil consumption.
 

Last edited by migbro; 05-22-2012 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:50 AM
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well migbro, you don't know if the compression numbers are true or not, putting something in an engine to fix a -- what might be non existent problem is like shooting a bat in the dark.

Pennzoil ultra? run some Castrol and a bottle of Lucus oil stabilizer it will be cheaper, and do the same thing effectively.
 
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:40 AM
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I'm still waiting on compression numbers. We're doing all the talking and none of the knowing.
 
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:06 AM
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Oh, I forgot to add that these cars do NOT have a low oil light, just a low oil pressure light. That oil pressure light will not come on unless the pressure drops to a dangerous level, likely when the level is more than 2 quarts low.
 
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Lifesgoodhere View Post
well migbro, you don't know if the compression numbers are true or not, putting something in an engine to fix a -- what might be non existent problem is like shooting a bat in the dark.

Pennzoil ultra? run some Castrol and a bottle of Lucus oil stabilizer it will be cheaper, and do the same thing effectively.
Everybody has their own favorite snake oil.

Lucas Oil Stabilizer is a high viscosity oil plus "tackifiers." All it does is increase the viscosity of your engine oil. I wouldn't use it. If you want thicker engine oil just buy a different grade.

Auto-Rx is a blend of natural esters that dissolves sludge and softens carbon deposits. It will clean up coked ring packs and increase compression and fuel economy. There's no downside to using it.

Pennzoil Ultra is a high quality synthetic oil that's formulated to clean up sludge and carbon deposits. If you don't like using oil additives this is the way to go. Also, 5 quarts of Pennzoil Ultra costs about the same as 12 oz. of Auto-Rx. Pennzoil Platinum is pretty good too.
 
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:40 PM
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go to each oil brand's website and dig into the technical specifications of each brand and compare. It is 90% the same across the board, with the exception of additives like zinc and so forth.

Castrol is actually a buying company they put bids out every year and who ever had the lowest bed there oil is re-labled and used. Same thing with parts stores "house oil". I use that types of oil if i am just running 500 miles or so and going to drain anyway.

Mobil 1 and Amsoil brands are the best out there because they got all the bells and whistles in the oil formulas.

Pennzoil is alright, never used there synthetic (ultra), so I might try it for a spin next time I change the oil in my car.

BG products has a "snake oil" called MOA and it is the best oil additive out there. Makes cheap oil as good as synthetic, and synthetic even better than it already is.

Oil pressure light comes on at 3 PSI or lower. When oil pressure is that low the engine is ok to drive as long as you keep the RPMs as low as possible. Most of the time the light comes on when you are low on oil, or when the oil filter collapses, which in that case there is the bypass valve, and every thing is just hunky dory as long as you don't push it and change the oil ASAP.

------------

this is getting off topic. Waiting on compression numbers....
 

Last edited by rspi; 05-23-2012 at 08:52 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:40 PM
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Thanks for everyone's advice. I wondered about an engine additive... will look into that.

the compression numbers on my receipt are as follows:

#1 - 45% #2 - 50% #3 - 80% #4 - 77% #5 0% leakage. It says: "vehicle will continue to burn oil - needs engine replacement. Also PCV system plugged from engine compression leakage, PCV system would require replacement after engine."
 
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:47 PM
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that is a leak down test, NOT a compression test. however based on those numbers I would say head gasket, and or valve train problem, NOT an engine. BUT take it to another shop to double check -- just to make sure the dealership isn't lying to you.
 

Last edited by Lifesgoodhere; 05-25-2012 at 05:32 AM. Reason: typo, correction
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for posting those numbers.

I'm with Life's Good, go to another garage and have them to a compression test. Tell them that your "car has been burning oil and a friend told you that you should have a compression test done." That's all you need to say. If you know how to change spark plugs, you can do one yourself. Just go get the gauge for about $40 and use these instructions:
Compression Test - Volvo S70 GLT, 1998

I'd use some Lucas fuel injector cleaner in an attempt to clean your valves to help them seat better. If your car is not missing, the compression can't be to bad.
 
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