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Buying a Used Volvo V70

Help and Advice on Volvo's extremely popular car line, powered by Volvo's nearly indestructible, versatile inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

Buying a Used Volvo V70

Postby veetee » 26 Apr 2008, 15:00

Hi,

I haven't driven for a good number of years but now find myself in need of a car. That "need" is to make my life simpler than it will if I have to use the two or three modes of public transportation necessary to get me to the new location my job has moved to.

I can't say that I love driving, especially in the city, but if I'm going to do it I'd like to set myself up with the best I can afford. Please note "afford" is a key word.

My budget will not permit the purchase of a new car and out of many choices I am strongly inclined to looking for a used Volvo V70. I have come across several on eBay, Craig's List and Edmunds Online. Those in my price range are usually late 1990's to 2000. The mileage is usually in the 90,000 to 130,000 mile range. I am trying to keep the purchase price as low as possible as I have been given a to do list once the car is bought.

A relative who lives several states away has already advised me that once I make a purchase I should have the timing belt changed and also have a complete computerized diagnostic plus maintenance/tune up done. It's my feeling that it will not be a bad thing to have the tires replaced.

I have talked to a Volvo repair shop -- not dealer affiliated -- and timing belt change, diagnostic and maintence will run well over $1,000 if done through him. He has told me that the timing belt change must be done in a certain way as other things have to be adjusted in the process.

My relative feels that this can all be handled just as well at a local Pep Boys franchise. True?

Also, is there major significance regarding fuel consumption in a Volvo with turbo engine and all wheel drive as opposed to those without?

I am interested in the V70 wagon because of style and hope that claimed safety and comfort features might serve me well even in a used model. Any advice will much appreciated.

Thanks,

VeeTee
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Postby MadeInJapan » 26 Apr 2008, 16:07

VeeTee... how mechanically inclined are you? If you are, then you could do the timing belt on your own. Don't assume though that you have to do that immediately after buying a Volvo...'98 and earlier are at 70K mile intervals...'99 and later are at 102,500 Mile intervals... The cars you are looking at, if the TB was done at 70K miles like they were suppose to be done, then you have nothing to worry about until 140K miles, if it is a '98 V70...which is what I would recommend for you. Once you get into '99's, they are much more computer dependent, so you might want to avoid that if you're wanting to save future $$. That said, I would not trust some kid at PepBoys to do my timing belt and tensioner. Remember that on '99 and later, the TB and tensioner have to be changed at every TB change...on the '98 the tensioner is at every other change. The water pump should also be done at the 2nd change for either car. Guess that's about it.

What is your budget for a V70? Turbo (even low pressure) is recommended, in my opinion to help you get the wagon up on the interstate on-ramp quickly...otherwise, the non-turbo's are sluggish. If you don't need AWD avoid them...they are expensive when they go out and you'll get less MPG if you have an AWD.
'98 S70 T5 Emrld Grn Met/Beige Tons of Upgrades Mobil-1
'04 V70 2.5T Red/Taupe Some Upgrades Mobil-1
94 850 Sedan NA Drk Blue/Tan
'00 V40 Purple/Grey Mobil-1
MadeInJapan
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Model and Year: '98 S70 T5

Re: Buying a Used Volvo V70

Postby veetee » 26 Apr 2008, 19:34

Hiya "Made . . ."

Thanks much for the reply and the info about time belt changes/year of manufacture.

I am not at all mechanically inclined when it comes to cars and will have to have a good mechanic go over whatever I buy from stem to stern since I don't want any surprises later on.

All I know is that there are rules that help extend the life of cars, that help ward off problems and that are also potentially money saving in the long run. I also know that I don't know all of them.

With me, the story usually is that the guy at the garage tells me I need something and I pay for it. However, I am a staunch supporter of advised consumerism and the only way I can save my bacon is by asking the most reliable sources of information I can find what to do when I'm not sure about what I should be doing.

The very late 90's V70s I've seen are ranging from $3,000 from private owners to as high as $6,000 or better from dealers. This makes choosing all that much more confusing. Spending six grand as opposed to three does not mean you end up with the better car.

I found a one being sold by an auto brokerage for $5,700 and went so far as to pay a mechanic to go and check it out. There were no plates on the car so it could not be driven off the lot to get an idea as to how the transmission was functioning. End result -- he didn't say yes and he didn't say no. He did highly suggest I try to negotiate a lower price. The brokerage still has the car several weeks later and if a better price is possible I might go for it. BUT -- I've come across a couple of cars from private owners being offered at a much nicer initial price so I'm checking them out as well.

To me owning a car is like adding on an extra mouth to feed because you can't just buy on and forget about it and there are all the additional costs for insurance, ongoing maintenance, gas, etc. That said< I hope to find a priorly well-cared for car that I will not have to put a lot of money into to make road worthy.

By the way, I found listing for a '98 V70 with turbo and all-wheel drive at for $3,000. Is that that why the price is so low? If you have an idea, can you say what's the usual cost of transmission replacements for front- and all-wheel drive V70s?. Also, what should I be looking for in a used V70 if I'm planning on long trips. Or is that just the luck of the draw?

Thanks again for your advice.

VeeTee
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Postby MadeInJapan » 26 Apr 2008, 20:10

I would trust a smooth running Volvo to carry me from one coast to the other on any given day...that said, certainly the AWD could have issues and therefore the lower price. I don't really feel that 3 grand is low however...really depends on the miles and condition. For the transmission, it should shift smoothly and cause no check engine light....there should not be a shift upward arrow on the dash either. The fluid should be pink to red and not brown, or worse, black, and there shouldn't be any burnt smell to the fluid. If you encounter this, you might question if the transmission is going to last....cared for correctly- a transmission flush before this condition and then routinely every 30-40K miles will be exactly as you said, good maintenance to see that the car drives well into the 200k's. A transmission replacement on these cars can run you well into the high teens and possibly even 2grand, so check it out carefully. Also, the engine is important, but pretty sturdy on these unless the timing belt has snapped, or has jumped a tooth or so (you'll notice a rough idle and possibly missing) or the head gasket was compromised when the car lost coolant and over-heated. Check for signs of this...white exhaust and green fluid under the car. Otherwise, the engines and the turbo's are very stout. Another issues revolve around an uncared for PCV system which creates positive pressure in the crankcase causing the rear main engine seal to leak...this is expensive to repair as the engine has to be dropped out of the car with the transmission, the two split in half and the new seal installed....a grand or more. Finally, the weak link in the 850 and first 70 series cars is the A/C evaporator...when it leaks, you don't have cold air at all..you can add gas but very soon it leaks out again. The only solution is to take the entire dash out of the car and replace the evaporator and other components. At the dealer, this carries a $1600 price tag. So, I've listed the main things...the things that would keep you from driving the car on a long trip...and things you should be careful of. Suspension, tires, brakes, etc. are general maintenance items and certainly should be checked out but aren't that difficult for any mechanic to do and shouldn't cost you an arm or a leg.
'98 S70 T5 Emrld Grn Met/Beige Tons of Upgrades Mobil-1
'04 V70 2.5T Red/Taupe Some Upgrades Mobil-1
94 850 Sedan NA Drk Blue/Tan
'00 V40 Purple/Grey Mobil-1
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Model and Year: '98 S70 T5

Postby MadeInJapan » 26 Apr 2008, 20:17

Btw, since you're posting about the early V70's, I'm moving this over to the '93-'00 section.
Regards,
MIJ
'98 S70 T5 Emrld Grn Met/Beige Tons of Upgrades Mobil-1
'04 V70 2.5T Red/Taupe Some Upgrades Mobil-1
94 850 Sedan NA Drk Blue/Tan
'00 V40 Purple/Grey Mobil-1
MadeInJapan
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Model and Year: '98 S70 T5

Postby instarx » 27 Apr 2008, 19:15

veetee, if low operating expense is as big an issue as you imply, be aware that Volvos are expensive to repair when they break. They are borderline luxury cars and just like Mercedes, BMW, etc. it is simply more expensive to have them worked on. For example, micro-sized lightbulbs for dash lights cost $9 at a Volvo dealer while the exact same bulb at a Honda dealer is $2.60. That's a trivial example but you get the idea. Since you can't do your own work you will always be paying premium prices for replacement parts.

I have owned many different cars and although I love my current Volvo I do not expect it to be the most trouble-free car I have ever owned. It may be heresy on this Volvo board, but for reliability and trouble-free use, you may want to look at a used Honda or Toyota. I had a Honda Accord that went 87,000 miles without one single thing going wrong with it - not one thing! I doubt many Volvo owners can say the same.

Also be aware that if you get a Volvo with a turbo you should probably use premium fuel - a significant added expense with regular fuel approaching $4/gallon.
2000 V70XC SE - 161k miles
Total repairs over past 6 years: $1,015 ($170/year)
28-30 mpg highway; 16-20 mpg city - accurately measured
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Postby JRL » 27 Apr 2008, 19:58

If you are anywhere remotely near the Northeast of the USA, contact me.
These, (98-00 Volvos), are what I specialize in and you will not be disappointed buying a car from me, I guarantee that
2000 V70R Black, 121,000 miles (Wife's).
2006 XC70 White only 59,000 miles. New daily driver.
2000 V70R Silver, 36,200 miles!!! SOLD (I will regret this)!

Contact info for purchases: jrl1194 (at) aol (dot) com
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Postby scarywoody » 28 Apr 2008, 23:45

If it has not already been stated I would recommend having the car inspected before you purchase. Volvos tend to run rather well with worn or damaged parts that you won't notice when you go for a test drive.
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92 740

94 850
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