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Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked?

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
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Year and Model: 850 1996
Location: uk

Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked?

Post by 850t5turbo » Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:52 pm

Hi everyone,

I need some very urgent advice please?

I recently could smell oil burning and when i lifted the hood noticed that smoke was coming out of the dipstick. It was not that heavy or anything like that but something that was not there when i bought the car 4 years ago.

Now a bit about the car - it has done 130k miles and goes like a rocket! It is the standard 225bhp. The oil pressure light goes straight out when the car is first started and any other time that it is started, so no problems there. It does not show any blue smoke or any other colour smoke out of the exhaust. It has just passed its MOT - went straight through and passed on emissions etc etc.

Now what i have been quoted! Been told that the breather box/pipes may be blocked and the garage (Volvo garage) are asking £280 to fix the problem. Is this price about right? Also what sort of job is this - is it a big job?

Someone once told me that a blocked breather would have adverse effects on the performance of the car but the garage said that this would make no difference to performance or to fuel economy. What would happen if i were to leave this problem - would any harm incur? Would i break down eventually or cause any other mechanical probs?

Please, any answers would be much appreciated??? Many thanks for all your time and help..

Kind regards,

Last edited by matthew1 on Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Redundant question marks removed from title.

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Re: Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked????

Post by MNCO1 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:11 pm

Sounds like a PCV cleanout/overhaul and 280 pounds sounds like too good a deal, wonder what they do? Check out " PCV System Repair on a Volvo 5-cylinder"by jablackburn. Its on the 850 main menu. It will give you an idea of what comes apart and gets replaced. I know the breather box as an oil separator. Aside from replacing the oil separator I am sure sure some hoses could be replaced too. A build of gases could lead to rupturing the cam seals and rear main seal. Causing engine oil to leak in varying degrees.. The latter would prove to be very costly to replace.

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Re: Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked????

Post by JRL » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:21 pm

3+ hour job
$175 or so in parts (Volvo retail)
Good deal

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Re: Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked????

Post by pkc303 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:49 pm

Yeah, you got a PCV, or what Volvo calls the Flame trap system, that needs to be replaced. You can find the tutorial on here, but I would allow at least 3 hours of steady work, or a day if you take breaks. We spent two days doing it, because I wasn't sure which parts I would need to replace. I ended up replacing more hoses that normal, due to their cracking as they become more brittle when they age. We've done it on both 850's. It's fun.

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Re: Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked?

Post by charlyW » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:05 pm

You'll find two pipes that connect from the block will be blocked. Not a hard job just time consuming and Volvo clips are fun to remove. That is a good price from a Volvo agent you can get cheaper by a specialist and any good garage can do the job as it's a case of removing the inlet manifold unbolting the oil seperator, removing the pipes and refitting You could do the complete job in an afternoon

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Re: Volvo 850 t5 (1996) breather blocked?

Post by jblackburn » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:15 pm


Or the whole cleaning will be pointless :(

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