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V50 T5 with transmission problems -- Good buy?

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V50 T5 with transmission problems -- Good buy?

Old 08-13-2018, 01:54 PM
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 2
Default V50 T5 with transmission problems -- Good buy?

I'm looking at a very nice V50 T5 for $650 that apparently "will not shift" after driving for a mile. He claims that his friend told him it just needs a transmission flush, which seems a bit too good to be true. I would be willing to tow it, but I'm worried that it may need an entirely new transmission, which I'm not equipped to do. I'm not very knowledgeable about Volvos, is this a fairly common problem that can be fixed with a fluid flush/new solenoids, or should I avoid it like the plague?
Car is in excellent condition otherwise, both inside and out.

Ad says:

2005 Volvo V50
leather seats
original wheels
good tires
all automatic
t5 Turbo
149 k miles
rack in the top for extra storage
power windows
power mirrows
clean title on my name and hands
engine runs strong (only problem transmission stared to have problems, not sure after a mile of running it will not shift) my friend told me that it may need a transmission fluid flush , i don't have time to fix it.
$650 cash

Last edited by ArcFlash2; 08-13-2018 at 02:24 PM.
Old 08-13-2018, 03:28 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 1,502

I don't know that "the plague" is appropriate here. They are selling the vehicle for salvage price on an inoperative model. The idea here is that the rest of it is good enough to salvage. That only works out if you can do the repairs yourself.

Unless you can rebuild a transmission yourself or know how to diagnose transmission problems, this is not a car for you.
Old 08-13-2018, 03:31 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 430

It would be helpful to know if the transmission is throwing any codes. It IS possible that new fluid will make things better. I've seen that work, and I've seen that fail - it's a calculated risk. If it was me, and I was going to take that risk, I'd do a few drain-and-fills on it to get the fluid to almost new status, then I'd add 12 ounces of LubeGard Platinum. Normally, I'm not big on snake oil products, but I've seen new fluid and LubeGard fix some pretty bad transmission behavior.

That said, there's also a good chance that you'll have to replace a shift solenoid or two. Not a huge deal, and certainly not enough to scare me away from a sub $1K V50 if it's otherwise nice enough. I bought a 2001 V70 T5 for chump change because of a similar problem 5 years ago - ended up being a missed modification to the transmission, and a fluid change - after which it shifted like new.

Tony's going to chime in here shortly and suggest that you'll have to change solenoids, and he's very likely right. I'm just cheap, and in no hurry on fixing my own cars. ;-) FWIW, the 2005 V50 I just bought had a couple tranny issues when I bought it - some shift flares (kind of like going into neutral between shifts occasionally), and a clunky downshift from 2nd to 1st, plus it just "got lost" sometimes and didn't know what gear it should go into and would choose the wrong one. One fluid drain-and-fill had it 80% better, but still downshifting badly occasionally. Another drain-and-fill reduced the frequency of those clunky downshifts by a lot, and only when the tranny is fully warmed up. I plan one more d-n-f and some LubeGard, and have a sneaking suspicion that it'll shift just fine afterward. If not, I tip my hat to Tony and ask him to suggest which shift solenoid I need to replace. ;-)
Old 08-13-2018, 05:25 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 1,502

I'm not opposed to a drain and fill which I do anyway on a solenoid replacement. However, multiple drain and fills at $7.00 per quart for Mobil 3309 can get you spending a lot of money. In my experience, I always attack this problem with new Rostra solenoids and a transmission pan gasket rather than the chemical gasket. The whole solenoid kit is down to about $120 plus an $8 gasket.

With the impression that I am getting from the poster, I don't want to encourage him to buy a car that won't shift. Now, if it were me, that's a different story.
Old 08-31-2018, 08:31 PM
lev is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3,245

Pretty good bet the tranny is bad. Fluid changes may work in some milder cases of tranny issues but once they don't shift, they are done for. If it's nice car you can have a used transmission put in, they are cheap and plentiful for that car: $1,500 should do it...
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