2000 V70 Becomes Test Mule for Parts

Neil has a new Volvo project – 2000 V70 SE NA – 5 Speed auto – Mileage approx. 270,000km… to be used exlusively as a test unit for parts he sells. He’s got the space for it… why not?

This is not only a forum post on turning this car into a tester, it’s also about how Neil found the car. It’s got quite a bit of value merely for its How to Buy a Volvo content.


I have been lucky to be allowed to look this car over fairly thoroughly (although you never find everything).
I’ve been looking for a 98 V70 T-5 auto for about 3 months and no luck, right across Canada. Best that came up either had blown trans, were manual needing new clutches, or head gaskets failed.

I widened my search to any 98-00 V/C/S 70 turbo or non-turbo, manual or auto, mileage ideally under 250,000km. Again nothing! Eventually I put a ‘Wanted’ add on Kijiji here in Calgary, and got a few bites, but again cars had issues.

What I wanted was either a good car, or one needing some work, that I can use as a test bed for all the electrical parts I have from ECC system (fans/resistor packs/temp sensors) to Radios/CD players and amplifiers and cables. I have too many so I’m deciding to downsize the ‘stash’, but don’t want to sell parts unless I know they are good first!

After seeing several cars I was offered, I got close on a 89 V70 T-5 with manual trans, but had some front end panel damage. Owner had replacement panels in correct color. Problem was the car had been standing, was under layer of snow and had a bad battery. Oh, and it was -20C in a storage compound at the other end of the city!

Owner ran a business repairing damaged cars and has a thing for P80’s. Eventually we got the car running and over to my house and he left if for a few days for me to check over. Mechanically the car needing a little work, panels aligned and fitted. Problem was once the car had dried out I found the windshield had not been sealed properly and had rusted out along the whole top edge of the roof above the windshield. He said it could be fixed cheaply, but the added cost took the car value too high.

My plan was to break even on costs and once the parts were tested sell the car on.

In frustration, I got back to a nice lady who had contacted me with a V70 base (she said it was a 99) that had the flashing orange arrow of doom, on the dash and an engine check light. After thinking about it more I told her to bring the car over and I’d run a diagnostic with my Dice unit to see what the problems were. The Dice unit connected up ok, but gave no codes, but also strangely no ID to the trans type. I didn’t think anymore about it as I rejected the car as having a bad trans. It turned out the car was a 2000 MY and has the 5 speed auto.

I decided to do some more checking as the fact the trans warning came on at the same time as the engine check light sounded familiar and good old MVS and all the wonderful helpers here identified a possible cause might be the PNP switch. I tired the ‘rowing’ but no different.
I explained that if the trans was bad, then the car was about $500 CDN as scrap due to cost of replacing the trans outweighed the car value as I can’t do the swap out. She decided to keep the car.

I spoke to my friend the foreman at the local dealer and explained the problem and he said to bring it in and they’d charge an hour diagnostic. I felt the $170 CDN was worth the risk and contacted the owner just before Christmas. She had changed her mind about keeping the car, and said it would be ok for me to take the car to the dealer to have it checked and I could buy it for $500. I agreed that I would pay for the diagnostic and if the trans was good, then I’d buy the car but if bad it went back home.

I arranged to take the car to the dealer and the explained the issue to the mechanic and he found the same issue of a comms issue with the TCU to the trans. He went ahead and pulled the ECU and TCU and found build up on the contacts (dirt and oxidation). He carefully cleaned the contacts with a Wurth product and cotton bud and re-fitted and removed a couple of times. He then got a communication link and pulled all codes and re-set. I had already identified that the trans was un-likely the issue when I drove it to the dealer as it was not in limp mode, and all gears were working which meant the PNP was an un-likely culprit.

Only other codes that were thrown were some ABS codes but no light was on, so possibly un-cleared old codes. Car ran fine on the way home and so far so good.

Drive did show a couple of other issues of strange handling (a strange pivoting from the rear) and brakes that were off at the rear (new front brakes).

I have been through the car from front to rear now and identified the problems and costs of parts and have offered the owner $800 CDN ($600 US). This is maybe a little high but she is a single mother with 2 older boys. She has been trying to keep the car going for the boys to use, but has been ripped off by repair shops. Have to admire a lady that takes her 2 boys to PnP for parts and then fits them herself!
She is delighted that I am buying the car, and I have now discovered it is an SE model with fog-lights, Homelink, tailgate spoiler, winter and summer tires, roof rails and roof box, and leather interior. Car needs love but now with my parts list of parts that have to be replaced and the nice-to-have list also (new rear springs to replace the sagging and rusted but not broken rears, front and rear engine mounts and a few other parts).
My plan is to fix the parts and run it as planned, but if it turns out to be a nice running car I may just keep it and sell the ‘R’ in the summer instead!

VRD: New Project – 2000 V70 SE NA – 5 speed auto

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