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2003 S80 T6 - Clunking 3rd to 2nd Downshift

Old 11-09-2014, 01:09 AM
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Default 2003 S80 T6 - Clunking 3rd to 2nd Downshift

Hi all, potential new Volvo owner here looking for some advice:

I'm looking at purchasing a 2003 Volvo S80 T6. This is the 2.8 liter twin turbo model, with the 4 speed tiptronic (I think called "Geartronic" gearbox).

The vehicle has traveled 75,000 kms from new, and was sold New Zealand new. It has a full service history at the main Volvo dealer, and had the cambelt etc done around 50,000kms. Bodywork is very good with a few scratches here and there. Interior is nice and good as well.

The car is $8000 NZD (about 6k USD) with a 3 year very comprehensive warranty that covers any mechanical or electrical failure. Used cars cost a bomb here, so to me it represents fairly good value.

It drives beautifully, and I was ready to hand over the cash on the condition of taking it for a second test drive - accompanied by my father who is very knowledgeable on cars and has a good eye for any trouble.

Neither of us could fault it, except for one thing. When driving the car in tiptronic mode there is a clunk when downshifting from 3rd into 2nd. This only occurs on the downshift, and only in tiptronic mode (in drive it's smooth as silk). Basically, when you downshift and hit the gas there is a noticeable clunking noise and the car jolts forward somewhat; as if someone had shunted it slightly from the rear. It almost feels as if the 2nd gear isn't engaging correctly until you give it enough revs. Apart from that, the gearbox feels very fresh and well cared for.

From what I've read the gearboxes are a bit of a low point on Volvos of this vintage, and there seem to be a lot of people who have issues with the aw55-50 gearbox (I think that's what this car has got).

Any resident S80 experts willing to weigh in with an opinion?

From what I have read, it sounds like it could either be a software related glitch and a minor fix ... or it is "curtains" for the gearbox. Obviously I'd be covered by the warranty and it would only cost me the excess to get a new transmission put in, but I'd rather not be buying trouble if at all possible.

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