A Seven Month Volvo 850 Engine Replacement Saga
Hello, from an 850 owner. I’ve used this site for tips/tricks/advice for years, but have just now come upon something that google and the Volvo forums can’t answer for me, so now I’m a newbie here.
So I’ve got an ’95 850 GLT at around 215K miles the trusty 5 cylinder overheated and became a steam engine on me. Long story short, it’s a paper weight/boat anchor/scrap aluminum. I searched the junkyards “auto recyclers” and found an awesome deal on a 130K mile engine out of a ’94 model.
I knew that the engine I got has some differences, than my original, i.e. air pump, tube coming out of the head on the “new” motor and not on my original.
I’m on an off road forum a lot, and there’s a hand full of Volvo gurus there as well. I’m quite certain that I can just plug the hole in the head and call it good, but that’s only the start of my issues.
I’ve been working pretty steady on the car since this past Friday, in an attempt to have the Volvo up and running for a trip to see the family (3 hrs away) for Christmas, nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh? I don’t want to drive my Jeep that distance, but I’ve pretty much figured out I’m not going to have a choice.
I’ve actually got a lot done for a fella working by himself with minimum tools, already made a trip to Sears, Harbor Freight, and Tractor Supply to remedy the areas I was lacking in as I’ve gone along.”
Seven Months Later…
I had guestimated about what I had “invested” in this project, but never sat down to actually figure it. Since you asked I put together a spread sheet to try and figure it out. I had guessed somewhere between $1300 and $1400, and I wasn’t too far off.
I have a fairly well equipped shop/garage, for mechanic work anyway. Pretty much the only thing I don’t have is a welder, but I do have plans to remedy that. I have a very good air compressor, and associated air tools i.e. impact, air ratchet, etc. I wouldn’t attempt this with out them. I already had an “adequate” cherry picker/engine hoist, it’s not great but it was free. A full tool box of wrenches, ratchets, sockets, extensions, torque wrench, specialty pliers, etc. Even with all of those tools I still had to purchase some Torx sockets, and I bought good ones, all that I had were twisted, broke, or the wrong size. I bought some Allen/Hex sockets too, would have been near impossible with just Allen wrenches. I bought another set of metric combo wrenches, seems a previous roommate may have moved out with a few. There were a few misc. tools like another pair of vice grips, and a power brake bleeder that I bought just for convenience.
There was a big expense in a radiator that was complete human error, though with the age and mileage of the car it was likely a wise choice to replace it anyway. I bought new brake lines, they were old and worn so they need replaced, I could have attempted to reuse them, which wouldn’t have been wise, and they gave me such a fit trying to take them off to drop the engine that I just cut them, so I defiantly needed new ones. I did cheap out on gaskets, and used Permetex on a lot of stuff; I bought new exhaust manifold gaskets though. Further cheapskate antics were buying heater hose at Lowe’s by the foot and cutting it to fit, yes I buy automotive parts at the hardware store.
There were a few other goof ups, Autozone sold me the wrong O-ring/gasket with my thermostat, too big/thick, which caused my thermostat housing to crack when attempting to torque it down. I had to buy 2 coolant reservoir caps, the first one I bought was abducted by aliens or something.
One thing that got expensive quick was fluids. All new fluids at once, add up quick. I bought oil, trans. fluid, brake fluid, coolant, and some additives like Royal Purple’s Purple Ice, Seafoam, and Marvel Mystery Oil. I went through 2 bottles of blue Loctite, there are a lot of fasteners. Miscellaneous stuff was hose clamps, nuts/bolts, etc. Finally the most important cost was the beer and food I used to entice a few friends to help me with some of the tedious stuff, and things you need 3 hands for.
So it all breaks down like this:
Engine——————-$370.00 (This is with ~$90 shipping, a smoking deal)
Radiator—————–$140.00 (Again, I broke it during engine removal)
Timing Belt Kit———-$200.00
Thermostat Housing—-$20.00 (Broke thanks to Autozone’s Counter Monkeys)
Heater Hose————-$10.00 (About 6’ from Lowe’s)
Coolant Res. Cap——–$12.00 (This is the price of 2)
Front Brake Lines——-$20.00
Aux. Trans Cooler——-$37.00 (Was a quick fix to get the car moved with a patch on the radiator, but I decided to keep it)
Food/Beer—————-$40.00 (Shiner Bock For The Win!)
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