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Replacing linear solenoids (shift solenoids)

Volvo V50 A sports wagon that is affordable, sporty and best of all, useful for almost anything.

Replacing linear solenoids (shift solenoids)

  #1  
Old 09-28-2018, 03:56 PM
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Default Replacing linear solenoids (shift solenoids)

Hi, all...

Here's a link to a short (11 minute) video I did detailing the replacement of the three linear solenoids in my 2005 V50 (same as an S40, C30 or C70). Really not a difficult job... I spent a good bit of time getting the top center bolt out of the valve body cover, but I know I could have pulled the radiator hose that was in the way and made it a lot easier - just didn't want to drain my cooling system. ;-) The three solenoids cost about $71 for a set of the three Rostra linear solenoids (actually a bit less with an eBay discount I had), and the whole job, including test "training" drive probably took a couple hours at a leisurely pace, and (of course) included a transmission fluid change (forth one in the last 500 miles, which has my fluid looking nearly new). Thanks to Tony for some good advice on diagnosing the shifting issue I was having, and for the tip about using four quarts to refill a drained tranny (rather than trying to measure the fluid level with Volvo's thoroughly inaccessible dipstick).

2005 Volvo V50 Shift Solenoid Replacement Video
 
  #2  
Old 09-30-2018, 10:12 AM
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I appreciate the feedback.

It is much easier to lower the subframe and hold the engine up so that you can reach the transmission pan. For the life of me I don't know how you did it with the cooling system in place.

To all of those who have paid for a transmission replacement in the past, I tried to tell you that this will fix it. But, what do I know?
 
  #3  
Old 09-30-2018, 07:34 PM
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Tony, it was pretty fiddly getting that top center bolt out, but I figure in the end it was quicker than draining the cooling system and running to the auto store to get more coolant. I used an articulated 3/8" drive that let me work around the hose (or really, the hard plastic piece in the middle of a hose - why did Volvo do it that way???).

I couldn't agree more about most transmissions being repairable. Normally, as long as you don't have obvious slipping while IN gear, the problem is a "control problem" which is solenoids, valve bodies or both, often due to poor maintenance (read "dirty fluid").

FWIW, the tranny is shifting like a new one, and I was happily surprised to see that the manual shifting has much improved as well. It's not "Ferrari quick" or anything, but is certainly smooth and solid.

Next trick will be the LCAs, struts, strut mounts and axles. Probably won't need to make a video of that - I would guess there are already plenty.
 
  #4  
Old 10-06-2018, 07:28 AM
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We used to have some nay-sayers here, some of which were banned for being idiots. I tried to explain the process but the former Mr. Elmer Idiot explained to everyone that I didn't know what I was talking about and said that the entire transmission needed replaced.

After several thousand Volvos, what do I know, right?
 
  #5  
Old 10-06-2018, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tony1963 View Post
It is much easier to lower the subframe and hold the engine up so that you can reach the transmission pan.
Originally Posted by tony1963 View Post
After several thousand Volvos, what do I know, right?
​​​​​​

Apparently not the difference between a P2 and a P1.

I don't know who you argued with about replacing solenoids vs. the transmission, but the reason some shops might recommend the transmission is to be 100% sure of a fix.

I can price solenoids or a valve body, but I warn the customer (especially with high miles) that if I do this and there are still problems, it will need a trans. Some opt to try it. Some opt to leave it alone until it gets worse.

Obviously if you are doing it yourself, labor is free so it's definitely worth replacing the solenoid first.
 

Last edited by ES6T; 10-06-2018 at 09:21 AM.
  #6  
Old 10-06-2018, 01:25 PM
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All of my work on transmission solenoids has been with the P2 chassis. To date, after a couple of dozen solenoid changes, we have yet to have one that didn't fix the problem. Admittedly, I wouldn't put solenoids in one that had a transmission that either wouldn't go into gear properly or slipped.

We have fixed all of the abrupt shifts by doing the solenoids. Highest mileage unit fixed was right at 180k miles.

The former Mr. Elmer Idiot is no longer in the forum. He was either tossed out on his gazoo or left voluntarily.
 
  #7  
Old 10-06-2018, 02:11 PM
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FWIW, I retrieved some service history from the local Volvo dealer (they cut off the customer info). They were willing to do this for me, since I'd been a previous (mainly parts) customer.

I see where the PO had my V50 in for service, and got a $10k estimate for what the car needed. That included struts (did those) LCAs (ditto), gearshift gate (also did that) and axles (them too). The kicker was the $6700 for the transmission replacement (that's before labor). Of course, I spent about $650 all-up on all of those fixes ($0 for labor, of course), and the car drives, handles and shifts like a new one.

IMHO and experience, I've never seen a transmission with a "control problem" (bad / clunky shifting / flares, etc.) that didn't have a true "slip" (when in gear) that wasn't fixable with some combination of shift solenoids, new fluid, pressure switches (Hondas), etc. I'm sure there ARE some out there that need to be replaced, but holy moly, Batman... I can't imagine anyone ever dropping well over $7k into a 13 year old Volvo. OTOH, that makes a Volvo with a transmission problem a smokin' good deal for those of us who don't mind bathing in tranny fluid. ;-)
 
  #8  
Old 10-06-2018, 04:03 PM
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Going to the dealer with an older car is not cost effective and often the only thing that the person wants is a diagnosis. The dealer does basic service work and adjustments on newer vehicles.

It is akin to hiring a lawyer to write up a shopping list.
 
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