Replace steering rack on a Volvo 850

Changing the steering rack is a very big job. "My car is 18 years old, and most of the bolts I removed were untouched since new. Furthermore, the lower U joint, where the steering column connects to the rack, is probably corroded together because Volvo put an aluminium U-joint on a steel spine."

Steering Rack4

steering rack

MVS reader Nathan sent me a finely detailed writeup on how to replace  steering rack on an 850… and (probably) all Volvo P80 models:

How to change a power steering rack on your 850

(specifically, a ’97 wagon, p80 chassis S70/V70 should be similar. )

Changing the steering rack is a very big job. Here’s why.

If you live in Canada like me or a similar climate, you’ll know about rust and galvanic corrosion. My car is 18 years old, and most of the bolts I removed were untouched since new. Furthermore, the lower U joint, where the steering column connects to the rack, is probably corroded together because Volvo put an aluminium U-joint on a steel spine.



This means you will need to remove a lot of stuff to get the rack out, far more than the factory manual suggests. Finally, you have to jack the engine up off its side and rear mount and drop the crossmember at the same time because the engine is supported on the steering column and you have to drop the crossmember to wiggle the rack out.


I found an engine support stand and some chains really helped because I could work under the car without a jack or axle stand being in the way. Penetrant and a good impact gun are your friend.

You’ll need a good assortment of tools. Deep and shallow sockets, combination wrenches, 1/2, 3/8 and 1/4 drive ratchets. A breaker bar and an impact gun are highly recommended too. If you need an exact list, you probably shouldn’t do this job.

Obviously, this is how I did the job. If something goes horribly wrong and/or you injure yourself, I will not be held responsible.

steering rack
Continue reading “Replace steering rack on a Volvo 850”

Volvo OEM Amp Install in a 1998 V70

Instructions on installing a Volvo amp part #9452029 in a 1998 V70... description and photos to help you figure out this amplifier install in your V70

1998 Volvo V70 part #9452029 Amplifier Install
As an audiophile, I can tell you that the sonic benefit is well worth the effort.

If that quote isn’t enough to spur you to seek out a part #9452029 amp for your P80 Volvo, I don’t know what will.

This a good post with helpful photos incorporating instructions on installing a Volvo amp in a 1998 V70. The post is by MVS Volvo Forums member nathanso. His post is the most recent in a long, information-dense thread on amps, subwoofers, radios and speakers in Volvo P80 cars, which is an easy way to say 1992-2000 Volvo 850, V70, S70, XC70 and some C70 models.

Some notes on installing the Volvo 9452029 amplifier in a 1998 V70. Easy job once you know about the hidden features and have the right parts. The carpet on the transmission tunnel pulled right out from under the various trim pieces and refit just as easily. As an audiophile, I can tell you that the sonic benefit is well worth the effort. If you have never removed your front seats go on Youtube and learn how to not trigger the side airbag before proceeding!

Amplifier - install photo - part number 9452029
Amplifier – install photo – part number 9452029

Volvo OEM Amp Install in a 1998 V70

If you have questions or thoughts on this install, please share. If you’re not registered for the Volvo forum, it takes about 20 seconds.

Here’s how to register for the forum: Here’s how to register
Here’s where to register for the forum: Here’s where to register

P2 Squeaky Armrest Fix

Simple fix for an annoying problem: if you have a squeaky armrest -- center armrest -- in your P2 Volvo, this is 1.5 minutes of quality time.

P2 Squeaky Armrest Fix

Longtime MVS Contributor Oragex serves up a simple fix for an annoying problem. If you have a squeaky armrest — center armrest — in your P2 Volvo, this is 1.5 minutes of your time that I think you’ll agree is well spent.

P2 Squeaky Armrest Fix

Crank Marks — The EASY Way to Line Them Up for Timing Belt

Posted yesterday: a method to avoid the headache of lining up crank marks when you're replacing a timing belt on a Volvo 5-cylinder engine.

Line Up Crank Marks

Yesterday longtime MVS Contributor and Volvo DIY author cn90 posted a method to avoid the headache of lining up crank marks when you’re replacing a timing belt on a Volvo 5-cylinder engine.

I just did the timing belt, WP, etc. on my 2005 XC90 2.5T with 110K miles.

I just came up with a nice way to line up the crank and want to share with everyone. This easy trick is true for all Volvo 5-cylinder engines, from 850, S70, V70, C70 to S80, S60, XC90 etc.

On the issue of Crank Marks, there are tons of youtube videos, DIYs showing the tiny tiny marks on the crank that are so hard to see unless you have good eyes or you remove the Crank Pulley.

There is a MUCH MUCH EASIER way to line it up, even with the Crank Pulley in place.

1. Method #1: use the index finger and feel both ridges (RED arrows). This photo is shown with the Crank removed, but you can easily feel both ridges even with the Crank Pulley in place.

2. Method #2: This method is much easier!
– Note the Locating Pin is at approx 1 o’clock position.
– Incidentally, one of the Crank Pulley bolts lines up with the bolt on the Engine Mount (assuming your Engine Mount is still good and not collapsed), as shown in the red rectangle at roughly 8 o’clock position.

MVS Contributor Erik:

Method #1 is a winner, those are well known factory marks. It is not for everyone because you are working blind, using feel not vision, but it works. Nice picture and a helpful tip.

Method #2 I would never trust except to get you in the ballpark to then properly use the factory timing marks. “Approximately” is not a word to use in aligning timing marks, and there are way too many possible variables on the engine mount construction (many different models, many different makes on that part, sometimes the mount is broken, etc.).

And then, no matter what method you use, make absolutely certain you look at those tiny, tiny notches and that they are properly lined up. Those must be confirmed. You can always see them without removing the crank pulley, a good strong light source is your friend in that endeavor. On the P80 cars remove the coolant bottle from its mount when you start, and I like to remove the serp tensioner.

VRD: The EASY way to line up Crank mark for Timing Belt

DIY: 1998 Volvo S70 GLT Heater Core, Heater Hoses

It's much better to get rid of the whole thing (O-rings, firewall coupler etc. etc.) and simplified the system by using this approach: Core > Pipes > Hoses

heater core heater hoses - DIY on 1998 Volvo S70

We have several heater core / hoses documented repairs, but this guide by CN90 is so good there’s no sense in not including it. It’s really good. Here’s a few related posts:

In the thread below, songzunhuang discussed replacing the two (2) heater hoses etc., only to realize that it is much better to get rid of the whole thing (O-rings, firewall coupler etc. etc.) and simplified the system by using this approach: Heater Core —> Cut Pipes —> Generic Heater Hoses —> Gutted Coupler —> Re-used the barb fittings —> Generic Heater Hoses —> Engine: … hp?t=67217

Make sure you read through the entire thread above.

Another good thread by rspi … hp?t=58733

  • Anyway, this is my experience with ebay Heater Core ($40 incl. shipping), and used standard heater hoses to simplify this whole convoluted Volvo setup.
  • This is strictly preventive maintenance at 167K. The cabin once in while has this very faint sweet smell. The car consumes two (2) cups of coolant every 5K or so (going from Max to Min). Since others have reported the heater hoses can burst, dumping coolant in a matter of seconds and since the heater hoses are 18 years/167K old, it is time to replace them on a preventive basis. This is one job you do NOT want to do in the middle of nowhere, trust me.

  • Budget 4-6h for this whole project.
  • Heater Core, Heater Hoses Parts:

    • Ebay Heater Core ($40) Do NOT use the two (2) O-rings that come with the ebay heater core: when cold they are OK but when you drive the car, the system is pressurized, they will seep a bit. Best is to buy two (2) Volvo OEM O-ring (PN 3545586), about $3-$4/each.
    • Others mentioned the ebay heater core can smell. So I boiled some water, added some DW detergent, then dipped the HC in there to clean all the grease (I removed the foam for this process, maybe unnecessary step), then rinse with water. You can put the HC in the DW but it takes a long time for the whole 2-3h cycle.
    • Standard 5/8-inch heater hose. I used Gates brand (someone told me Gates is better than Thermoid brand), 6 feet is bare bone minimum. I bought 8 feet just in case, it is about $1.50-$2.00/ft at Napa auto parts. In contrast, if you buy Volvo OEM heater hoses, they are about $60/each!
    • Six (6) clamps for the project: 2 inside the cabin, and 4 at the firewall area.
    • Prestone coolant and distilled water.

    Heater Core, Heater Hoses Tools:

    • Torx keys
    • Screwdrivers
    • Pair of pliers
    • Angle Grinder or Dremel tool to remove factory crimp in order to re-use the barb fittings.
      Wear goggles when operating Angle Grinder or Dremel tool!!!
    • Butyl Rope (stuff used seal vapor berrier or older windshield glass, buy it at local auto glass store), this stuff is used to seal the firewall coupler/generic heater hose space. Or you can use your favorite caulking stuff, as long as it can handle engine heat.
    • Latex gloves: there are a lot of sharp edges to deal with!

    VRD: DIY: 1998 Volvo S70 GLT Heater Core, Heater Hoses Rebuild!

    S70 GLT AC Pulley Bearing (also Alternator and PS Pump) Procedure

    MVS Contributor and Volvo DIY wizard CN90 posts another detailed procedure on Volvo P80 maintenance, this one is a DIY for a S70 GLT AC pulley bearing.

    ac pulley bearing diy
    MVS Contributor and Volvo DIY wizard CN90 posts another detailed procedure on Volvo P80 maintenance, this one is a DIY for a S70 GLT AC pulley bearing.

    My 1998 S70 GLT AC Pulley Bearing with 185K miles has been making some faint noise for the last 2 years, I know the AC pulley has been free-wheeling for 2 years. People in the forum say the Zexel compressor should last > 225K miles, this is why I replaced only the pulley bearing and not the whole compressor.

    I did 2 stupid things this weekend: doing a write-up for a 20-year-old-car-with-185K-miles (just kidding) and should have done it differently but it is what it is.

    In retrospect, the AC Pulley bearing would be “a bit” easier if I d/c the oil cooler line and tilt the compressor upward to allow me to use puller etc.

    CN90’s overview notes:

    • The M5 bolt was tightened slowly, but all it did was bending the metal tab on the clutch and the clutch itself did NOT budge. The reason I did it this way (w/o template) is that: a few people in forum said they did not use the template, they simply tighten the M5 bolts and clutch came out. It was not true in my case, the clutch was on so tight that I had to use screwdriver. Maybe I should have used the custom template (holes drilled at radius of 19 mm) as written by “Nathan Bryant” a while back:
    • The custom template (see the pdf above) with holes drilled with radius of 19mm is probably the way to go. Use an old brake pad as mentioned etc. If you don’t want to bend the clutch, then read the pdf above!
    • Initially I did not want to d/c the upper radiator hose, but eventually I had to. It made life so much easier. Just remember to reconnect the rad hose and add coolant later.
    • NA model: easier b/c you don’t have the Oil Cooler hose in the way and you should be able to tilt the AC compressor upward to allow the use of puller. See the posts by burnout8488
    • Anyway, if you want to do my stupid way, read on. Hey, BTW, this DIY is also good for PS Pump and Alternator as it is basically the same procedure.

    VRD: DIY: 1998 S70 GLT AC Pulley Bearing (also Alternator and PS Pump) procedure

    S70 AC pulley DIY

    S70 AC pulley DIY

    S70 AC pulley DIY

    VRD: DIY: 1998 S70 GLT AC Pulley Bearing (also Alternator and PS Pump) procedure

    How to Diagnose White Smoke on a 5-Cylinder Volvo

    Head gasket? Valve guides? Bad turbo? ... when you're seeing white smoke in exhaust. Today we look at how to diagnose white smoke from a 2002 XC70.

    2016-12-26 11.34.28.jpg

    How to diagnose head gasket? Valve guides? Bad turbo? when you’re seeing white smoke in exhaust. Today we look at how to diagnose white smoke when decelerating from a 2002 XC70.

    MVS Volvo Forums member 1bigb1:

    Need some advice ,do I look at my Turbo OR do I look at my Head ?

    I have a Volvo v70xc AWD Auto 2002 ,When Driving normally I do not have Smoke coming from exhaust ,But when I accelerate Hard and then Release / decelerate , my foot from fuel then I see white smoke coming from my exhaust ..


    I did a test today if I Accelerate 50% of throttle and then decelerate the amount of smoke from the exhaust is allot ,But if I accelerate 100 % and then decelerate the amount of smoke is much less …any more ideas ?

    MVS Contributor Botbasher:

    Hey BigB….

    Could be either one. You didn’t mention how many miles on the car?

    Smoke on decel is usually from valve guides in a non-turbo car (Accel smoke is rings, decel smoke is guides) The vacuum in the manifold pulls oil past the guides and burns it.

    When you have a turbo, you also have the turbo bearings that can leak oil into the intake track under similar conditions. A little is somewhat normal, but enough to smoke is not.

    You may be able to differentiate between them by opening up the intake just before the inter-cooler and see how much oil is there. Mine, an 03 with 60k on the motor, has a slick of oil in the pipes, but nothing that will drip and easily wiped off the inside of the pipe.

    If you find it relatively clean in there, then the guides would be suspect, but not a sure thing. To dig deeper if needed, I would drop the exhaust down-pipe before hanging any one criminal. 3 nuts and you’ll be able to manipulate the shaft with your fingers. Move it side to side and in and out. You should have some side to side and next to nothing for in/out.

    This would be my suspect… oil on the back side of the compressor wheel, being atomized in the intake track after a hard accel (high oil pressure). A slightly thicker oil next change can help tell you if it’s simple wear (bearings or guides) or a bigger failure pending but it’s only a mask for the inevitable failure.

    VRD: White Smoke when Decelerating ?

    Decrease your chances of CEM or DIM failure with a FAN

    Prevent temporary freakouts of the CEM and DIM modules in P2 Volvos. A brilliant modification that can't hurt and will certainly help your Volvo. 

    cem or dim fan

    mrbrian200 had a goal: extend the life of and/or prevent temporary freakouts of the CEM and DIM modules in P2 Volvos. It’s a simple yet brilliant modification that can’t hurt, and will almost certainly help, the longevity of your Volvo.

    I’ve come across several reports by owners who state when their CEM or DIM freaks out/acts up they discover a pool of superheated air trapped up behind the dash where these modules are. When things cool off normal functionality often returns.

    I’m not having problems with the CEM or DIM on mine (MYO6 S60), this would be considered a ‘preemptive strike’.

    I decided to lessen my chances of having problems down the road with a simple fan to keep this pool of super heated air from collecting back there in the first place. The CEM is considered a low power design probably less than 40w of total thermal load to dissipate. The DIM would be in the same neighborhood considering it’s filled with incandescent bulbs. They don’t need a dedicated fan pushing air directly into their housings like a high performance PC/laptop. They just need a modest flow of fresh air in their general area.

    Decrease your chances of CEM or DIM failure with a fan

    Volvo 5-cylinder Cars With VVT… Exhaust Cam Gear

    V40 and S40 (2004+) owners - advice is here for working on your Volvo's timing belt. Applicable to 2000s Volvo 5-cyl. cars with VVT - variable valve timing.

    V40 and S40 (2004+) owners rejoice! Help and advice is here for you while you’re working on your Volvo’s timing belt.

    This is also applicable to 2000s Volvo 5-cylinder cars with VVT… variable valve timing.

    drivers side cam ends with timing slots

    MVS member Bruce:

    The timing mark on the cam gear is really not important once you pull the gear/hub off the cam. From then on out you’ll make your own mark on the exhaust cam gear for the next timing checks, here’s why: the gear and the hub with the VVT mechanism mount onto the cam with a center bolt, and can spin forever until you torque that center bolt real tight (80NM) but the point is- there is no reference (like a key or flat) between the cam and the hub, and if you do the job the way Volvo designed it to be done, it doesn’t matter. The crux is- you have to lock the cams in their indexed or timed position (preferably after turning crank to set it at TDC, and before you remove the timing belt), and thereafter- it doesn’t matter what position you install the gear in, you can make a new timing mark for your use later- when installing the new belt and checking it after a couple rotations.

    First look at the opposite end of the cams (the drivers side in US) after removing the rubber coated plug on the intake, and on the exhaust- removing the cam position sensor cover and the cup inside, and notice both cams have a machined slot cut across the end of the cam, offset from center, one offset above the middle of the cam center, the other below, (because it is a 4cycle engine). These slots should be aligned or following the horizontal seam in the camshaft cover. You should lock each cam in position with a special tool so you keep the cams in proper timing, and back at the front of the engine (passenger side) look down at the crank timing-belt cog and you’ll see the timing marks (2 grooves stamped into the top of 2 adjacent teeth on the inboard corner or edge of the teeth that needs to be aligned so they straddle the mark on the crankcase.

    Those 3 alignment actions- locking the intake cam, locking the exhaust cam and aligning the crank to TDC mark, make for a successfully timed engine. There’s a couple steps to take care of when installing the tensioner and belt, rotating the engine a couple turns to be sure no slack existed between gears/cogs to throw off timing, this is when you want to have your new timing marks on the cam gear already re-established, and the intake cam gear bolts set at mid slot.

    Further there is a tool in my ebay-purchased Volvo timing tool kit but I don’t use it, a stubby bolt of sorts, that you push through a port in the crankcase at the left / driver (US) side- that fits into a notch in the flywheel locking the crank at TDC. It’s a pain to get to, requires removing starter, etc. so BEFORE I remove the timing belt — I just make sure the crank and cams are turned to the exact position so that the cam locking tool fits right into place, and if you don’t mess with the crank- (unlike the cams the crank doesn’t tend to turn on its own) then everything will remain in factory timed position, with marks on the crank timing belt cog and crankcase lining up.

    Lastly — some people insist on pulling the harmonic damper off, I do not, I just remove the last section of plastic timing belt “compartment” cover that lies under the crank cog and behind the damper, with that out of the way I have no trouble to get the new timing belt in there.

    Exhaust cam gear attachment to vvt


    Some P80s Are Exempt from Emissions Testing

    Volvo and another carmaker got exemptions. Sort of the opposite of the VW deal. These didn't have defeat devices they had hard-assed enforcement software.

    Did you know?

    Volvo’s emission standards were too high on the P80 Volvos. Yes, too high.

    SonicAdventure: I have a 98 non turbo V70. Build date is 5/97. When I called the local Volvo dealer they said that my VIN made my car exempt from emission testing in Pennsylvania.

    Let’s let Jimmy57 explain:

    They will not pass with CEL on and may still be checked for emissions readiness but will pass with more indicators not in full ready mode.

    The Bosch engine management system had too tight parameters for some of the readiness indicators and would only complete those to full readiness state by a VERY strict test drive followed to the letter. A person leaving a/c compressor on full time (as is the best plan for cleared windows and more alert driver) would never pass it as the stringent drive routine required some operation at drive and idle with no a/c compressor.

    Volvo and another carmaker got exemptions. Sort of the opposite of the VW deal. These ECM’s didn’t have defeat devices they had hard-assed enforcement software.

    Of course whether your 1992-2000 850, V70-XC, V70 or S70 (P80 Volvos) is exempt from emissions or partly exempt depends on your state.

    850 LPT:

    As far as I know this varies by state. Your dealer is most likely right because they encounter this with a lot of consumers coming in for emission testing. You may just want to confirm and call your local DMV.

    Here where I live all 97′ and 98’s are exempt from emission testing for quite a few years now. The last time I passed my XC with 5 monitors not showing ready mode. If I have a CEL on I could simply clear all codes, drive down to the testing station, and pass.

    VRD: What P80s are actually exempt from emissions testing?

    V70 transmission cooler upgrade

    Heat is the sworn enemy of a automatic trans, so anything we can do to cool it will help. V70 transmission cooler upgrade helps cool the transmission.

    V70 trans cooler

    MVS Contributor Botbasher cranks out a wonderful DIY on how to do a Volvo 2001-2007 V70 transmission cooler upgrade.

    Want more transmission-related info? See our Volvo transmissions problems and fixes category. Want more Volvo V70 2001-2007 problems and fixes info?

    V70 transmission cooler upgrade overview

    I was able to get one of my big ticket projects checked off the list this weekend and thought I’d share it with you so that those in need or similar situation might benefit. It was really simple and required no special tools. This may work for other models, but I have not compared them… I can only speak to the P2 V70s.

    So now I have a mostly OEM Trans Cooler. It wasn’t quite a bolt on, but there was nothing that needed extensive fabrication. Heat is the sworn enemy of a automatic trans, so anything we can do to cool it down will help. I am looking forward to seeing how it effects the issues I have with my 03!

    Hopefully this helps some with similar issues or those that want to push the cars and need some extra capacity!

    Parts and unique tools required

    • S60 Transmission Cooler
    • 3/8″ Hot Oil Rated Hose – about 3 ft
    • Transmission Cooling Hose Retainer 9485149 – 1
    • Transmission Cooling Hose O-Ring 988840 – 2
    • 3/4″ Hose Clamps – 6
    • 7/8 Open End Wrenches – 2 (preferably thin type)
    • Dremel or Angle Grinder with Cut Off Wheel
    • 1″x6″x12ga Stainless Strip (any strip will do in a pinch, but this will get abused and rust!)
    • 3/4″ 1/4-28 Stainless hardware set (Bolt, 2 washers and Nylok Nut (or split washer and regular nut)
    • Various Hand Tools to work with hoses, clamps and removing the Swage Fittings on the hoses
    • Drill with 1/8″ and 3/8″ bit for removing aluminum rivets and drilling SS Strip
    • OPTIONAL – Hose Cutter for nice clean hose cuts

    For those following my adventures with Sven here you know that I have been having some shifting issues I attributed to heat building up in the trans. I believe that I either have a VB shuttle or bore that binds or leaks when the trans gets warm. I see the issue after something like a drive through or in cue to pick up after school. After a bit of air passing over the radiator, the shifts would be buttery smooth again, until the next stop & go session. I had to find a fix!

    V70 transmission cooler installed

    I have tried all the basic stuff, from Fluid Changes to Adaptation Runs. I rebuilt the Linear Solenoids yet nothing seemed to work to completely eliminate the harsh shifts after a bit of heat. Heat was the basis for the issue, so what is the best way to remove the heat? An Aux Cooler, right? Now getting an Aux Tran Cooler is no biggie, right? $80 online and you got it, but you’ll have to mount it and then figure out how to plumb it into the system. I took a little more OEM approach.

    While searching for Trans Coolers on-line, I happened across Roberts (RSPI on the Forum) DIY for this cooler on a P80 platform. Hmmmmm It’s Volvo. It’s going to fit OEM or damn close. The fittings are all there making plumbing a snap. Yeah… SOLD!!! Once it got to me in the mail I cleaned it out thoroughly (no sense in putting someone else’s gunk into my trans!!) and started planning!!

    Now removing the front bumper is well documented in other DIYs and I will not rework the same DIYs that I used, so do a quick search on “P2 Front Bumper Removal” and you’ll be done in no time. It took me longer to jack up the car than to remove the bumper!

    So once you have the car in the air and safe to work under… Get ready to install your “new” Trans Cooler!!

    VRD: V70 Trans DIY Cooler Upgrade – OEMish

    P80 Ignition Switch, Root Failure Analysis


    MVS Moderator and Volvo DIY fan Abscate looks closely at what fails on P80 ignition switches. If you’re having trouble starting your P80 Volvo, this shows you what is broken and what you can do to fix it.

    Most of us have had to replace the electrical part of our ignition switch on high mileage P80s – I dove into my replacement from 2013 and this is what I found,comments on pictures

    Executive summary – these switches can probably be put back into service by opening them up and cleaning the points inside the gray cover.

    Here’s CN90’s fantastic DIY writeup for replacing the ignition switch in a 1998 V70 (a P80).

    In the 5th, you can see there are white plastic eccentric cams – these open and close points which connect the various terminals based on switch position. There are two radii of points and two plastic cams that open/close them by the way.

    In the 7th, you can see the ball bearing and groove that limits the rotation of the switch – Im guessing this wears out and the ball pops out, relieving tension and giving the ‘loose spinning key’ scenario

    Worn cams will allow spinning, and perhaps are root cause of the points not fully closing, creating electrical chaos.

    OF course, points can pit and grunge, like mine were, so Im guessing thats more likely how they fail.

    Oh, important safety note. Some of the points are all normally closed, so don’t put this back into car to test it without the cam in place – that could cause all sorts of havoc.

    P80 Ignition Switch, Root Failure Analysis