Topic: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Another one of my kids is starting to drive. The last one got a '95 Honda Civic that has been a really good car for her. I also have owned a lot of Honda Civics and can basically do anything to them.

I have a 318is Convertible sitting around that I was going to put into service for this kid, but a family member has offered a '97 Volvo 850 wagon (2.5L, 5-cyl, front wheel drive, auto, over 100K miles) that they have sitting around. I'd just have to drive it back from Wisconsin and do any maintenance that it needs. They say it runs well, but needs a battery.

Does anyone have any information on these as DD's? I want something that will be reliable and low-maintenance.

Thanks

Everybody grab your brooms, it's shenanigans!

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

rmcdaniels wrote:

Another one of my kids is starting to drive. The last one got a '95 Honda Civic that has been a really good car for her. I also have owned a lot of Honda Civics and can basically do anything to them.

I have a 318is Convertible sitting around that I was going to put into service for this kid, but a family member has offered a '97 Volvo 850 wagon (2.5L, 5-cyl, front wheel drive, auto, over 100K miles) that they have sitting around. I'd just have to drive it back from Wisconsin and do any maintenance that it needs. They say it runs well, but needs a battery.

Does anyone have any information on these as DD's? I want something that will be reliable and low-maintenance.

Thanks

Kinda in the same boat and starting to look around.  There was a clean, low-mileage one here locally with a blown head gasket for a decent price.  In digging around a bit I'm getting the feeling that 5 cyl is kinda head gasket blowey.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

rmcdaniels wrote:

t a family member has offered a '97 Volvo 850 wagon (2.5L, 5-cyl, front wheel drive, auto, over 100K miles) that they have sitting around. I'd just have to drive it back from Wisconsin and do any maintenance that it needs. They say it runs well, but needs a battery.

Does anyone have any information on these as DD's? I want something that will be reliable and low-maintenance.

I have had a 1996 Volvo 850 turbo wagon since new and love it.   I worry that some idiot will run into me and I'll have to find a replacement.   The 1996 and 1997 models are considered to be the best years.

It has 255,000 miles and is still going strong.  Since I stopped going to the dealer and now take it to an independent shop, the maintenance costs have gone way down, but are still substantial.   The engine and turbo are completely original, but it is using maybe a quart of oil every 1000 miles.   The transmission suddenly lost reverse gear about 18 months ago and had to be replaced.   I'm sure that it could have been repaired, but time was more important than saving money at the time.

If you are concerned about safety, you can't beat it.   Besides all the air bags, the structure is designed for safety.   Before we bought it, we went to the L.A. Auto Show and looked at the naked body on display and talked with a Volvo engineer.   He pointed out all the area that were designed strong, and those that were designed to crush.   He described how the engine and transmission are designed to slide down and under the car in a bad frontal collision.   The showed us the structure under (and including) the seats that protect you in a T-bone.

We then went over to the UAW exhibit, where they had a Ford Taurus body.   After examining it, my wife turned to me and asked, "Where's the beef?"   It was that obvious a difference.   We went to the Volvo dealer, ordered the 850, and took delivery at the factory in Sweden.

Four years later, my wife needed a new car, and we bought a used 1998 Volvo 850 sedan.   Four days later, I was driving it to the dealer to give them the final check.   Traffic on the freeway came to a stop.   I stopped behind a large Dodge van.   I looked in the mirror and said, "OH SHIT!" as the Chevy behind me failed to notice that we had stopped.   The impact collapsed the trunk area and tore loose the shock absorbers.   It was pushed forward into the Dodge's bumper, wiping out all the front bodywork.   The passenger compartment was totally untouched.   I simply opened the door and stepped out.

The Chevy had to be swept up and hauled away on a flatbed.   I drove the Volvo to my insurance agent, and then to the body shop.   State Farm declared it a total loss and gave me a check for slightly more than the full purchase price (I had gotten a good deal on the car).

The day after we got the check, we went back to the same dealer and bought a new 2000 Volvo S70.   My wife still has it, and loves it.

The only problem is that my wife has forbidden me to get an 850/V70/S70 for Lemons racing.   She knows only too well how daily drivers are sometimes cannibalized.   I explained that I only did it twice, and it was just the battery, but she is firm.

Alan

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!"
IOE winner in the Super Snipe -- Buttonwillow 2012
IOE winner in Super Snipe v2.0 -- Buttonwillow 2016
"Every Super Snipe in Lemons has won an IOE!"

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Oh, one other thing.   A little plastic gear in the odometer goes out at about 120,000 miles.   You can buy an after-market set for about $50 and replace it in a couple of hours of easy work.

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!"
IOE winner in the Super Snipe -- Buttonwillow 2012
IOE winner in Super Snipe v2.0 -- Buttonwillow 2016
"Every Super Snipe in Lemons has won an IOE!"

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Volvo dude for 22 years.

850 NA is the best of the FWD volvos for reliability and DIY.  Still sucks compared to the red blocks but very DIY friendly.

1997 will have the occasional solenoid issue in the tranny, needs the PCV system maintined and likely will need the "bread tie fix" on the compressor pulley for the AC at some point.

Vac leaks are common and a pain.

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

I would pick a Civic over an 850 for ease of trouble-free ops, easily. But for a teen driver, I'd want them to have the clear safety advantage of a Volvo. And if it were for my own use, I'd go with the BMW.

Not much in the way of useful input there, I realize.

#888-Hong Kong Cavaliers Benz S500: formerly known as OMG Racing #140...
Judges Choice and Regional Award winner! Chuckwalla '12, Buttonwillow '13, BFE GP '15, Miller '14 & '15, Sonoma '13,'14,'15,'17, '18. Inde '16,'17,'18. Other foolishness: Finisher of the inaugural Lemons Rally, in the black Jag.... and IOE in the Super Snipe back in '12.

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Yeah, If I had a spare Civic laying around that was close to usable, then I'd fix it up. I just scrapped two gutted ones, and my remaining Civic is track-car grade. I'd thought about buying a cheap EG with a bad head gasket and fixing it up, but if the Volvo is just sitting there............

Everybody grab your brooms, it's shenanigans!

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

So much YES for an 850 if you can get one cheap. Make sure the automatic transmission (if equipped) has been changed regularly and if so it should be bullet proof. I just talked my niece into buying one for ~$2500.

Captain of McDads/A Fart Racing - 1977 Lancia Scorpion - (aka the Sisyphean struggle)
Captain of 42 Hours of MeLons (2013-14) - Vattenmelon Vagn 1984 Volvo 240, B-Class Winner: Arse-Freeze 2014

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

zanzabar88 wrote:

So much YES for an 850 if you can get one cheap. Make sure the automatic transmission (if equipped) has been changed regularly and if so it should be bullet proof. I just talked my niece into buying one for ~$2500.

I hope you forgot the word "fluid" in there...

Owning any vehicle that requires regularly changing the automatic transmission seems like a PITA...

smile

(Isn't that what a 90s Chrysler is, anyway?)

#888-Hong Kong Cavaliers Benz S500: formerly known as OMG Racing #140...
Judges Choice and Regional Award winner! Chuckwalla '12, Buttonwillow '13, BFE GP '15, Miller '14 & '15, Sonoma '13,'14,'15,'17, '18. Inde '16,'17,'18. Other foolishness: Finisher of the inaugural Lemons Rally, in the black Jag.... and IOE in the Super Snipe back in '12.

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Great cars, I took mine to about 160k miles without any major bother, only sold because it ate tyres (but was the 855R model with mucho horsepower and I drove it like Rickard Rydell).

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

I'm fixing up a neglected '98 V70 XC (same P80 platform). It's my first car of that platform, I just got into the 700 series as my intro to Volvo a few years ago. I drove the V70 last winter and even with as beat as this car is, I liked it. It sat all summer because it only had snow tires and I transferred it's plates to my Opel, but I recently resurrected it to prep for winter abuse duties.

They're reasonably DIY friendly and well documented. People say they are reliable. Just keep up (catch up) on the maintenance.

1971 Opel Kadett Caravan for Lemons Rally
1998 Volvo V90 with Explorer 5.0 Swap for Fun
1998 Volvo V70 XC AWD Beater with a Heater
2003 Land Rover Discovery for Reliability?

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Red0ktober wrote:

I'm fixing up a neglected '98 V70 XC (same P80 platform). It's my first car of that platform, I just got into the 700 series as my intro to Volvo a few years ago. I drove the V70 last winter and even with as beat as this car is, I liked it. It sat all summer because it only had snow tires and I transferred it's plates to my Opel, but I recently resurrected it to prep for winter abuse duties.

They're reasonably DIY friendly and well documented. People say they are reliable. Just keep up (catch up) on the maintenance.

Just do the bevel gear inspection and re-lube if required...please.  and yes, pre 2001 are reliable but you have a weird year engine-wise so always use your VIN for any engine internal parts including head gaskets and timing sets.

13 (edited by Red0ktober 2017-09-14 04:13 PM)

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

OnkelUdo wrote:

Just do the bevel gear inspection and re-lube if required...please.  and yes, pre 2001 are reliable but you have a weird year engine-wise so always use your VIN for any engine internal parts including head gaskets and timing sets.

How is this?

[edit:] got it. http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticle … cement.htm

1971 Opel Kadett Caravan for Lemons Rally
1998 Volvo V90 with Explorer 5.0 Swap for Fun
1998 Volvo V70 XC AWD Beater with a Heater
2003 Land Rover Discovery for Reliability?

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Red0ktober wrote:
OnkelUdo wrote:

Just do the bevel gear inspection and re-lube if required...please.  and yes, pre 2001 are reliable but you have a weird year engine-wise so always use your VIN for any engine internal parts including head gaskets and timing sets.

How is this?

[edit:] got it. http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticle … cement.htm

Yeah...it ain't lifetime unless lifetime is 100K miles (technically the legal description of lifetime for emissions related hardware).

15 (edited by fiasco 2017-09-15 06:10 PM)

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

My daily is a '97 850 GLT. It was my mother-in-law's before bleeping cancer got her, and the original owner was a tax client of my father-in-law who bought a new one every two years. So the MIL got it with less than 20k miles, and never drove it in the winter. She got sick and it had about 90k miles on it...it sat in the garage for more than two years.

I went through the suspension and brakes when I got it. The big issue my in-laws had was there was a cold-air fan for emissions that threw a Check Engine Light if you looked at it wrong. Some inter web sleuthing found that replacing a relay or two and putting a resistor between two terminals on the ECU would eliminate the Check Engine light.

The ODO crapped out on the way to a funeral a couple years ago; FCP Euro has an inexpensive kit to get the numbers spinning for not too much.

I had a disappearing coolant problem, even after replacing the heater core (pretty easy job). I dumped in 2/3 a bottle of Instant Head Gasket Repair, and the coolant loss stopped, although I do occasionally get a whiff of antifreeze smell.

Spent $400 and went through the motor mounts this summer (use eEuroparts.com whenever I can since they helped us buy fuel for the Merkur before they started to get serious with their SAAB stories). It clunks less when shifting at full throttle. Used a polyurethane bushing for the top one, everything else was Febi or Hutchinson rubber.

Autotragic transmission gets a "dump and fill" every 10k miles with whatever Dex/Merc/InStock trans fluid I have (usually about a gallon per change...I think it takes 8-10 quarts).

I have an oil drip on the turbo exit line. I change the oil every 5k with either 10W30 or 15W40 dino truck oil depending on season. Sometimes it needs a quart between changes.

I'm at 141-142k miles now. I know it's old enough to switch to alcohol fuel legally. Looking at car-part.com, I can re-power or re-trans the car for under $500 plus my labor, which is :notbadobama:

In short: infinitely more interesting than a beige Camry, more maintenance intensive, probably safer than anything else on the road unless another Volvo or brand spanking new. Yeah, I'd rather have a 245 or 745 turbo in some ways, but this 850 does the job pretty damn well, and is wonderful for what I have into it.

I forgot about the ABS/TRACS issue. If the ABS/TRACS lights are on, spend the $110 and have the midwest ABS person send you a rehabbed controller box. Apparently the solder joints were from the lowest bidder and cause the box to malfunction. After several years I got sick of intermittent function...oh yeah, it finally took down the speedo function...that's what made me spend the money to get it fixed. Got a couple thousand on the rebuilt box. Seems to be money well spent.

RichardDIY and a few other YouTube channels can get you through many of the repairs.

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

Volvo's are a gift from the scandanavian gods. treat them right with basic maintenance and they will outlast most of the diesel trucks on the road

Re: '97 Volvo 850 as DD?

My '98 V70 XC has been excellent after I caught it up on maintenance. I have more invested than it's worth, so I'm likely to hang on to it for a little while longer. I would like to sell it so that I could move on to stupider projects though.

1971 Opel Kadett Caravan for Lemons Rally
1998 Volvo V90 with Explorer 5.0 Swap for Fun
1998 Volvo V70 XC AWD Beater with a Heater
2003 Land Rover Discovery for Reliability?