97 850 common things to look out for

Discussion in 'Volvo 850' started by jacktheboy, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. jacktheboy

    jacktheboy Guest

    I'm looking to purchase a 97 850 and was wondering what to look out
    for, when checking it out.
     
    jacktheboy, Mar 1, 2007
    #1
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  2. jacktheboy

    mjc13 Guest

    The late 850s/early S70s have problems with electrical gremlins,
    especially in the lights and flasher, and noisy brakes that wear out
    rather quickly. FWIW, I know a woman who bought a '96 GLT a few years
    back because of Volvo's reputation, and she now regrets it even though
    there have been no major failures. If you want a 'driver's car' and
    don't mind higher upkeep, a nice 850/S70 can be fun. If you want true
    reliability and excellent gas mileage, consider a Camry or Accord. Come
    to think of it, I'm not sure exactly what advantage an 850 has over an
    Accord EX, unless it has a high-pressure turbo...
     
    mjc13, Mar 1, 2007
    #2
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  3. jacktheboy

    kmy Guest

    : jacktheboy wrote:
    :> I'm looking to purchase a 97 850 and was wondering what to look out
    :> for, when checking it out.
    :>

    : The late 850s/early S70s have problems with electrical gremlins,
    : especially in the lights and flasher, and noisy brakes that wear out
    : rather quickly. FWIW, I know a woman who bought a '96 GLT a few years
    : back because of Volvo's reputation, and she now regrets it even though
    : there have been no major failures. If you want a 'driver's car' and
    : don't mind higher upkeep, a nice 850/S70 can be fun. If you want true
    : reliability and excellent gas mileage, consider a Camry or Accord. Come
    : to think of it, I'm not sure exactly what advantage an 850 has over an
    : Accord EX, unless it has a high-pressure turbo...

    a/c evaporator, expensive/hard to replace.
     
    kmy, Mar 1, 2007
    #3
  4. jacktheboy

    Roadie Guest

    A 1997 car will likely have somewhere around 150,000 to 200,000 miles
    so my first concern would be that the previous owner had kept the
    routine maintenance up for the past decade. There should be evidence
    of regular changes of all fluids - oil, coolant, power steering fluid,
    brakes.

    Make sure all controls and components work - try everything. How
    does the car shift under a variety of conditions. To be honest there
    is a long list of things to be looked at. I would recommend having
    an experienced Volvo mechanics give the car a prepurchase inspection.
    The eyes and ears of someone who has seen hundreds of cars in for
    repair is invaluable.
     
    Roadie, Mar 1, 2007
    #4
  5. VOLVO 850 '95 - '97 are 3 of Volvo's best years. Good luck.

    Make sure you get a service history and check to see if the timing belt
    service is current. If you need to know recommended service check the
    books at:

    <http://www.volvocars.us/tools/OwnersInfo/>

    Owners Manual:
    <http://new.volvocars.com/ownersdocs/1995/1995_850/95850_1.html>

    Maintenance Chart:
    <http://new.volvocars.com/ownersdocs/1995/1995_maintenance/1995_800_maint
    enance.html>
     
    Stephen Henning, Mar 1, 2007
    #5
  6. jacktheboy

    Henry Guest

    What do you mean by 'regular' changes? In the case of power steering and
    brakes at least there is no schedule and I would be very leery of
    dicking around with closed systems 'regularly'.

    cheers,

    Henry
     
    Henry, Mar 2, 2007
    #6
  7. jacktheboy

    mjc13 Guest


    Power steering fluid should be replaced at the ten year mark or so,
    if not sooner. It's true there isn't a schedule for it, at least with
    Volvo; I *tried* to get a dealer to change the P/S fluid in our 240, and
    they refused. Two years later, the steering rack failed. The Toyota
    dealer actually suggested it for our Camry, though, and it's a good
    idea. As for brakes, if the front ones haven't been changed in the last
    50k miles, and/or the rear brakes in 75k miles, you can expect to
    replace them.
     
    mjc13, Mar 2, 2007
    #7
  8. jacktheboy

    Henry Guest

    Somebody is misunderstanding here, whether you or I. I read 'Roadie' as
    saying that all fluids -- including brake fluid -- should be changed
    regularly. That's obviously not the same as replacing the brakes (i.e.,
    pads, calipers, rotors, etc).

    cheers,

    Henry
     
    Henry, Mar 2, 2007
    #8
  9. jacktheboy

    Mike F Guest

    Brake fluid should be replaced regularly - it's even in the owner's
    manual.
    My '98 says:
    Replace: Every second year or 30,000 miles (48,000 km). The fluid
    should be replaced once a year or every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) when
    driving under extremely hard conditions (mountain driving , etc.)

    --
    Mike F.
    Thornhill (near Toronto), Ont.

    Replace tt with t (twice!) and remove parentheses to email me directly.
    (But I check the newsgroup more often than this email address.)
     
    Mike F, Mar 2, 2007
    #9
  10. jacktheboy

    Henry Guest

    OK, I stand (erm ... sit) corrected.

    cheers,

    Henry
     
    Henry, Mar 2, 2007
    #10
  11. jacktheboy

    Roadie Guest

    Well Henry, most Volvo owners who want their transmissions, brakes,
    cooling systems and power steering units to last do flush them
    periodically. There is a schedule for brakes - check your owners
    manual. I think it is clear that brake fluid, coolant and oil would
    not be changed at the same time but it should be changed on a regular
    basis. If the owner had never flushed the transmission, power
    steering or brake system on a car with 150k miles I would walk - no
    run away.
     
    Roadie, Mar 2, 2007
    #11
  12. jacktheboy

    John Horner Guest

    Failed or failing A/C evaporator which is very expensive to replace.
    Can be hidden by recharging the system if the leak is slow.

    Failed ABS controller, very common.

    Failed HVAC recirculate arm.

    Failed hose at the top of the fuel tank causing evap. check engine
    light. Might be masked by resetting the light.

    Overage water pump and/or poorly maintained cooling system. If the
    water pump siezes it breaks the timing belt which in turn can grenade
    the valves.

    Leaking heater cores are common, but not too hard to replace.

    Oddball electrical malfunctions can be caused by a failing ignition switch.

    Automatic transmissions sometimes have issues. Regular fluid changes
    WITH CORRECT FLUIDS are very important.

    Those are just the problems I can recall off the top of my head :).
     
    John Horner, Mar 6, 2007
    #12
  13. jacktheboy

    John Horner Guest

    I'm not sure exactly what advantage an 850 has over an

    Hmmm, I replaced my '96 850 with an '03 Accord EX V6 w/Navigation. The
    replacement Accord cost me less than my base model 850 had in '96.
    Today's S60 is even less competitive because of the midget sized rear
    seating.

    John
     
    John Horner, Mar 6, 2007
    #13
  14. jacktheboy

    John Horner Guest

    I believe Volvo specifies a once per two years change interval on brake
    fluid. They don't spec any change on steering or transmission fluids,
    but doing so once every 5 years or so can add life to those parts.

    John
     
    John Horner, Mar 6, 2007
    #14
  15. You are correct. What Volvo recommends is:

    BRAKE FLUID: REPLACE - at interval or every two years-

    OIL FILTER & ENGINE OIL: REPLACE - every 10,000 miles or 6 months
    Turbo Models: Replace oil and filter every 5,000 miles.

    AIR FILTER CARTRIDGE: REPLACE- every 30,000 miles

    SPARK PLUGS: REPLACE - every 30,000 miles

    DRIVE BELT: REPLACE - every 60,000 miles

    PCV - REPLACE FLAME GUARD: CLEAN NIPPLE AND HOSES - at 60,000 mile and
    also at 100,000 miles

    TIMING BELT: REPLACE - every 70,000 miles

    I never change coolant, transmission or steering fluid and never have
    any problems in 180,000 miles. I follow Volvos recommended service and
    have no problems.

    It is cheap to replace if it makes you feel better.

    This is from
    <http://new.volvocars.com/ownersdocs/1997/1997_maintenance/1997_800_maint
    enance.html>
     
    Stephen Henning, Mar 6, 2007
    #15
  16. jacktheboy

    mjc13 Guest

    Stephen Henning wrote:

    (...)
    Two caveats: just because you haven't had a transmission or steering
    failure doesn't mean that not changing the fluids doesn't increase the
    risk of the failures occurring, and I hope that you don't want the car
    to go past 200k miles, because you'll probably need a transmission and
    brakes by then. Probably a radiator as well.

    Part of the reason the early ('93 and '94) 850 had a high failure
    rate in the automatic transmissions was that Volvo decided the
    transmission didn't need to be serviced before 100k miles.



    (...)
     
    mjc13, Mar 7, 2007
    #16
  17. jacktheboy

    Roadie Guest

    That is good advice that applies to all cars, not just Volvo's. I
    have always taken the recommended servvice intervals to be the
    absolute minimum needed to get 200,000 miles from a car. My goal is
    to have cars run for at least 300,000 miles, so I shorten maintenance
    intervals and take those extra steps. It works.
     
    Roadie, Mar 7, 2007
    #17
  18. have any data??? These problems don't show up in surveys of owners.
    In fact the '95 - '97 850 are among the most reliable cars ever made.
    My '95 is still going strong with just dealer service at recommended
    intervals.
    They why did they fail before 100k miles. It had a couple weak internal
    parts and didn't fail with the same service interval after they fixed
    the design of these parts. When my '93 AT failed, the fluid was still
    in excellent condition. They didn't wear out, they broke.
     
    Stephen Henning, Mar 8, 2007
    #18
  19. So does using dealer service at recommended intervals. I have never
    seen any data to show otherwise.

    On my garden equipment engines, the one thing that really helps keep the
    insides of the engine clean is when changing the oil, to flush the
    crankcase. I do this with kerosene followed by motor oil. You wouldn't
    believe all the crap that this removes. My garden tractor which mows 2
    acres in the summer and plows snow in the winter is over 30 years old
    and runs like new. That is about 70 hours per year or 2,000 hours, the
    equivalent of 120,000 miles in a car. I also use air-cooled motorcycle
    oil. It maintains its viscosity. Standard motor oil gets like molasses.
     
    Stephen Henning, Mar 8, 2007
    #19
  20. jacktheboy

    mjc13 Guest

    Cars that fail at 200k miles can still be rated "very reliable." And
    there aren't enough people keeping the cars that long for there to be
    strong survey data. But hey, feel free to disbelieve me, and to think
    that those fluids are Immortal. ;-)

    They apparently did both. The transmissions that weren't defective
    tended to fail at or above 100k miles because they were still running
    the original fluid. IIRC, Volvo didn't even have a usable filler hole
    for it on the early ones...
     
    mjc13, Mar 9, 2007
    #20
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