Advice on buying an older Volvo

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Crap Master, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. Crap Master

    Crap Master Guest

    Wow! Everybody's opinions are really helpful and appreciated and
    confusing at the same time!

    Personally, I really haven't found that the Japanese cars have gotten
    cheaper. Between 1991 and 1996, for less than $700 each, I bought an
    83 sentra, a 72 toyota corona, an 80 something nissan pulsar, an 83
    subaru gl, and an 83 accord. Except for the accord, which had 150K,
    the others all had less than 100K when I bought them. It seems that
    right now, you can't get anything japanese that you can even drive
    home for that price. I just saw an ad for the very same 83 subaru
    that I bought for $500 in 93 - 280K, needs a clutch - $600. firm.

    A pickup would be nice, but wouldn't really work with the newspapers
    and the baby too. Wilson is right that I don't really know how to fix
    anything (but not right about me being a guy!) I'm open to learning
    stuff, and I was so proud of myself when I replaced a piece of heater
    hose in my Subaru, - I even had to move the alternator to get to it.
    But it's frustrating because my only power tool is a black and decker
    screwdriver with 2 AA batteries! Also, it's hard to try and fix a car
    and watch a 2 year old at the same time. Anyway, I'm pretty good at
    finding nice people who like fixing cars. Last winter a really
    wonderful guy replaced the rack and pinion on my tercel and the clutch
    on the subaru for only $400. But the sub no longer runs and the
    tercel is making horrifying noises and I'm afraid it wants to kill
    me...and I've spent way too much money trying to fix both of these
    cars (which have 255K and 225K)

    So Wilson is also right that money is a huge issue for me. Me and my
    baby are living on about $1,000/month in Seattle. Cash flow is always
    an issue and I'm completely dependent on my car for work. My contract
    even requires me to have a back up car, so they could technically fire
    me if I ever couldn't work because of a car problem. I really need

    I found it really interesting that many of the volvo classifieds that
    I've seen mention that the car "never breaks down" and "won't die",
    and I've seen lots of them with 300-400K. Not exactly what I'm in the
    market for, but it sure does leave a good impression of the car's

    I still talk too much, and I need a nap....
    Crap Master, Jun 29, 2003
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  2. Crap Master

    Alex Zepeda Guest

    I'm going down this road with a friend of mine. She just bought a cherry
    245 and I'm showing her how to fix some stuff for minimal financial
    compensation (a few tools here and there, the occasional ride, etc). Up
    next, valve cover gasket and timing belt. The mechanic she talked to
    wanted $150 for the valve cover gasket and about $400 for the timing belt
    and seals... all in all he came up with $1700 worth of *MINOR* repairs.

    She's taken such an interest in the car, that she's browsed through the
    Bentley, and can identify where the various parts are that she's going to

    The topic of a good starter set of tools came up. A decent set of 1/4"
    drive metric sockets, ratchet, and extension will set you back about $20
    at Sears. Yeah, you really have trouble applying a lot of force with
    those tools, but they're cheap, and they fit nearly everywhere you'd want
    them to. All in all, something I'd highly recommend if you want to tinker
    with a Volvo. I just think there are enough small areas that you can't
    get 3/8" drive tools in.

    An old Volvo is a great car to fix up, and it probably won't leave you
    stranded (they don't tend to die without prior warning). But I question
    whether or not any Volvo will be as reliable as most Japanese cars. I
    love my two non running cars.. but certainly if I had sunk that kind of
    money into a Japanese car, I probably wouldn't be having these problems :)

    - alex
    Alex Zepeda, Jun 29, 2003
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  3. Crap Master

    Alex Zepeda Guest

    Yup. Why do you think I'm going to be doing the work and/or showing her
    how to?

    Altho in all fairness, the valve cover gasket is about $15 from a non
    discounted dealer. :)

    - alex
    Alex Zepeda, Jun 30, 2003
  4. Don't even get me started on the belt - $400??? Ouch - the dealer charges
    that much.
    Joseph Oberlander, Jun 30, 2003
  5. Crap Master

    hgawluk Guest

    Sure you pay for the parts. But when they last 2-300K you don't have to
    worry about that particular part for probably as long as you're going to own
    the car. Or you buy domestic, jobber or whatever and replace the parts every
    50 or 60K. You do the math.
    hgawluk, Jul 1, 2003
  6. Crap Master

    Number1169 Guest

    That volvo had a full engine rebuild at 680K :)
    That may be true in theory, but no other car has managed to come anywhere near
    Irv Gordon's car.
    You have to give a lot of credit to the robust design of the Volvo mechanicals.

    Number1169, Jul 1, 2003
  7. Actually, his car was in second place for a decade until the owner of that
    Mercedes got too old to continue driving it. :)

    Something like 1.1 million miles on a Mercedes - quite impressive as well.
    Joseph Oberlander, Jul 2, 2003
  8. Crap Master

    Number1169 Guest

    Yes, Mercedes engines are also legendary for their longevity, especially the
    There was also a guy from California with an old Volkswagen Beetle who held the
    high-mileage record for a while. Many say he cheated because he went through
    something like a dozen engines and transmissions to do it!

    Number1169, Jul 3, 2003
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