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Best year for an 850

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo 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

polskamafia mjl
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by polskamafia mjl »

Yes indeed. :D
'All my money is gone and I have an old Volvo.' - Bamse's Turbo Underpants

Current: 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R Manual - Bringing it back from the brink of death
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by confused_al »

polskamafia mjl wrote:...or t5r.
Thats the one I want, almost got my hands on a 95 yellow t5-r...but... :cry:
96 850 Platinum Wagon
98 MB ML320
06 V70
95 850 GLT(RIP)
polskamafia mjl
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by polskamafia mjl »

lol tell me about it. When I bought my GLT I had no idea what I was doing. If only I had done a little more research...but such is life. Don't get me wrong though, I wouldn't trade my GLT for anything. :D
'All my money is gone and I have an old Volvo.' - Bamse's Turbo Underpants

Current: 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R Manual - Bringing it back from the brink of death
Previous: 1996 Volvo 850 GLT - Totaled
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by Volgrrr »

wheelsup wrote:The 98 70 series was an 850 redesigned on the outside for the most part. That would be my vote. Next after that would be a 95 because it's got the OBDI computer up front and OBDII port in the interior. Best of both worlds - you can check and clear codes without any special equipment.

Also the 93's and 94's had a slightly more blocky look to them (haha) I think with 95 and up you can't go wrong and just look for something with relatively low miles that has documentation on the problem areas. You want evidence of PCV changes/Timing Belt/Transmission flushes at least IMO and oil changes would be nice but you can do a compression test to see if the engine is still healthy.

Sometimes you can find good deals on them around 140k because people don't want to pay the cost to do the timing belt replacement with a 15 year old car, so they sell it. Careful because they will price them @ retail cost and try to pull a fast one.
I agree with what you write here.
I was interested in one that wouldn't start w/ 120k on it and the guy wanted $2500 for it....yeah right buddy! He said it had a rebuilt tranny and when you looked at pics it was a towing car (had a hitch). No wonder it was rebuilt. No thanks!
Well how about that. Mine also has a towbar and towball fitted and has never towed a thing in it's life. I had the towbar fitted "just in case" and there are probably plenty of other Volvo owners who have had towbars fitted and, in all reality, their vehicles have done precious little or no towing at all.
There are only two types of car owners - those who own Volvos and those who wish they did.
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Re: Best year for an 850


I know mine was used to tow a 16 foot boat, and based on the scratches on the roof had a big roof rack or perhaps kayak on top ;)
1998 S70 T5 SE 290,000 KM sideswiped total loss(Sweet ride!)
2007 S60 2.5T loaded 63,000 KM SOLD!
2006 XC70 350,000 KM, 2" BadSwede lift kit, steel skidplate, Hilton Stage 1 tune, big burly tires :D
2008 S80 V8 245,000 KM SOLD!
2015 V60 T5 Premier+ 98,000KM
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by Free2drive! »

I'd go for another 95 model any day! You can read codes and it looks prettier than the early 93 my. The s/v70 don't look as good, in my opinion, both inside and out but looks are personal.

95 models didn't have the abs/tracs ecu problems either, but these are easily fixed. Ultimate models seem to be the R with its bigger turbo and the T5-R with its better ecu mapping.

I think I'd avoid the awd and the base 2.0 10v.
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Year and Model: 94,97 850
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by mdempst_79 »

I can speak for a few years here also..

My 94.5 850 T-5 (Made in Belgium) car is the most bulletproof of the lot. Similar for the 97 850 N/A I drive now (Made in Sweden). My 98 V70 is made in Sweden also. All of my cars are auto.

The difference I found from the 850 to the S/V70 cars is this

93-94 850s had the hardest suspension of them all and best sway bars. The 95-on suspension was a little softer for the American market.

The 850 auto transmissions have a better shift feel, the 70 series cars are more American feeling. As a result, my V70 has already had a tranny changed out (soft shift=more wear) whereas my 850s both still have the original hard shift trannys and more KM!

The interior in the S/V70 cars is taurus/american like and the switches fade and all of the plastics are cheesy (door pads, shift console & cluster mainly), and they also lack a OEM turbo boost gauge.

I noticed a minor difference between the two driver info centers also... on my 850 when something like the low fuel light, or the ice warning comes on.. it automatically switches over to the "Warning value" for distance to empty or temperature, whereas my V70 doesn't. I really like that feature.

The window controls on the 850 last forever because they are mounted in the middle of the car where they don't get wet, where the S/V70 cars have them on the doors where they get wet and eventually fail. The 850 windows also don't go through as complex of a computer, so there is less to worry about there.

The Climate control on the 850 seems to hold up better, and also controls the heat/cold better because the sensors are mounted near your head, where on the S/V70 cars they are on the dash (and fail quicker).

850 ABS module is robust, only problem that I found was the pedal sensor going flaky, but its an easy fix. All the S/V70 cars the actual module goes bad and has to be removed / repaired, which is slightly more difficult (I have already repaired mine).

Turbos all seem to last the same length of time, but the 850 turbos seem to spool up quicker whereas the S/V70 cars come on a little less aggressively.

I would have to say that if you are more of a hands-on enthusiast you would buy an 850 (93-94.5) and save some coin by repairing yourself (you will love the diagnostic plug under the hood!), and if you are more of a daily driver (no so hands on) type.. then the S/V70 cars dont seem to need as much tinkering and love to keep them happy, but you need the special computer scanner to access all of the modules (door locks, seats, engine, HVAC etc..).

Bottom line: The 850 is a tougher car (boxes are right?) where the S/V70 cars are more rounded and slightly more powerful (850T5=222HP, S70T5=236HP).

2007 XC90 V8 Sport 265,000km
1994 850 Turbo Auto 365,000km (R.I.P - 2005-2017)
2006 Ford F350 Super Duty 4x4 Diesel
1999 Landrover Discovery II 259,000km
1992 Range Rover Classic 3.9 250,000km (In restoration)
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by matthew1 »

Window switch placement on 850s is both a boon and a curse -- it's great because there's only one (in the front of the car). Half as many things to go wrong.

The curse is that they placed it right under the drink holder. Hmm.

Similarly, the remote mirror buttons are in the same panel in 850s as the window switch, and I've never driven a car with better placement than this. In other cars I find myself scouting around for a hidden control somewhere, which is usually found in a dark area hidden by the steering wheel.

When I get in my 850 my hand falls right to the R/L switches (two! not one with a L/R switch!) and my mirrors are set in no time, without thinking about it.

I can't comment on mirror controls on 70s.
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1997 850 T5, MSD ignition coil, Hallman manual boost controller, injectors, R bumper, OMP strut brace [gone]
2004 V70 R [gone]

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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by wheelsup »

My 850 doesn't have cupholders!!! What am I missing?!? I didn't even know it was an option, I've cursed them sense taking possession of my car. How can I rectify the situation?

It's IMO the only negative to the 850. OK not the only one, let's be honest it's not a Honda! :)
1995 850 GLT Wagon w/ 185,000 miles
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Re: Best year for an 850

Post by jblackburn »

Mine pull out of the armrest, but they're a flimsy piece of junk and I've already broken one.
'98 S70 T5
2016 Chevy Cruze Premier

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