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Need advice from Volvo guys about used XC 70

Old 12-15-2018, 09:45 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 2
Default Need advice from Volvo guys about used XC 70

I'm new here, looking at getting a used V or XC70 or maybe a V or XC60 for my wife. We've had Saabs for 30+ years and I'm a good wrench, but am not familiar with Volvos. I've been posting on Saabnet for a very long time. I have a good local indy shop for stuff I can't do or won't do, but need real-world owner advice.

We are looking at cars with around 100K miles, and hoping to buy privately so we have a chance at getting a service history (have done this on several Saabs and it has been very successful). SO...

What do we need to be paying attention to on a Volvo? I know we need to know about oil changes, that the timing belt has been done, and that the PVC system is good. I keep hearing bad things about the transmissions. (we've been there on a Ford Explorer and a daughter's Honda Fit is getting a tranny this week (at 71K miles), so tranny's have us paranoid. In general, what should we know, and what kind of things should make us run away?

What else do we need to be looking for? I know we'll need to spend a grand or two on almost any new to us car, and that's OK, but I need to know as much as I can going in.

Thanks in advance.
Old 12-15-2018, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ridgefield, CT
Posts: 4,670

If you are not looking at getting an early XC70 (ie circa 2000-2005) which did have some issues with the bevel gear in the AWD but after that its not a regular problem. There's nothing really special to know other than what you've already noted about 1) the turbo 5s are interference engine and require the timing belt/idler/tensioner every 10 years /120K miles 2) The PCV system should be tested from time to time - it can clog which needs to be replaced and cleaned out or it'll turn the engine into a bleeder 3) the VVT gear is driven by oil pressure and use of synthetic oil tends to keep the system cleaner. 4) axles - check the boots for leaks as this can cause a premature fail on the CV joints. 5) Coil packs - they tend to last about 100K so if you start getting a generic misfire, that's the first place to check. Not sure if the Volvos are as bad about eating coils as VWs :-) Going back to the transmission - no reason not to change fluid from time to time via simple drain fills but I'd look at the dip stick to see if the color is right. If you get a call with 100K, most of this should not be required and its young enough for scheduled maintenance and perhaps a fluid change. I think the key is the maintenance history and how you maintain going forward.
Old 12-16-2018, 12:59 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 2

Thanks, mt.
Some this I knew (been wrenching on VWs and Saabs for 40+ years) but the Volvo info is valuable.
I'm not a total noob to Volvos: Had a '66 Amazon for a while in college, then later a '90 940T (which was truly awful) and had a terrible dealer, which made the 940 worse. An XC70 makes a lot of sense for us now. I'd get another Saab, but would rather buy a car from a company that is still in business! Plus, I do love Swedish cars and am a sucker for seats good for 12 hour drives!

I've done 5,000 mile oil changes with Mobil 1 full synth on our Saabs for years and keep a spare DI Cassette (coil pack in Volvo-speak) in the cars. Am thinking I'll probably do all fluids & filters, plus timing belt and pulleys when I get the car, just to get stuff to a known point, and maybe get a spare coil pack to have in the trunk for trips. I have a good indy shop to use for stuff I can't/won't/don't do. So now I start hunting....
Old 12-18-2018, 10:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ridgefield, CT
Posts: 4,670

If you are comfortable working VWs and Saabs, then Volvos are more of the same (except you can put your triple-squares away and get your torx bits out). Only odd thing I've found is on my 850, Volvo liked using 16 and 18 mm bolts (VW/Audi is typically 15/17/19!). Most Volvo FWD trannys are rock solid Aisins (same as Toyota uses) and it was the early AWDs that had some issues. The early 2000s also have issues with their ETM (electronic throttle mechanism) and some ABS controller board issues (solder cracks may require the boards be rebuilt). The white block 5 cylinders are a gem, pretty bullet proof but occasionally can blow a head gasket - not sure if that's maintenance related or just chance. The emissions and fuel system are pretty much all Bosch parts and readily available. No reason to expect a well maintained car to go 250K+ miles. (We retired our 95 850T at 250K miles when it became the 5th car...)
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