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95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

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

Euro_Hobbs
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Volvo Repair Database 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by Euro_Hobbs » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:23 pm

Hey guys, I need some opinions so here's my story...

I've always lusted after 850s and have been casually searching for one over the past couple of years that isn't completely beat to death, on it's last leg, or rusted out. They are nearly impossible to find in my neck of the woods but this weekend I happened to stumble across a beautiful example, but theres a few issues. It's a 95 Turbo (WITH FACTORY ROOF RACKS!!! Ok, calm down), 199k miles, two owner, at a dealer, full service records (so the guy says), two sets of wheels/tires, not a spec of rust, near perfect interior. They want $3k for it. :o

I set up an appointment to take a look at the vehicle, show up and visually it's as good as it looked in pictures, no scratches, dents, paint blemishes, everything seems pristine. Non-auction car that the PO traded in on a new MKC.

Test drive: As far as the car drove it was beautiful (better than any P2 I've driven), engine strong, turbo seemed to spool nicely with no issue, trans was smooth, no overt noises except for a glove box door squeak, everything seemed worked from the A/C to antenna mast. I was in love.

Now for the issues. Before I drove it, I noticed the valve cover was a little slimy with oil and some of the small hoses were hard as a rock but I went with it to get it off the lot and to let it warm up so I could give it a good look over by myself. Once warmed up I pulled the dipstick and it was definitely puffing some steam (I still don't know whether or not to trust that as a good judge) so I assume the PCV is toast and needs replacing ASAP, the big issue was when I crawled underneath. From what I could see, there is definitely some oil leakage between the bell housing and engine which I'm probably guessing is the RMS although I have seen some people talk about the cam seals? Now the car did not seem to have any puddles underneath it from where it was parked (but I don't know how long it was parked there.) Those are really the only two issues I noticed with the entire vehicle, and unfortunately both of them can be time consuming and expensive. I could easily do something like the PCV myself but think the RMS is a little too time/space consuming for what I can do right now.

Took the car back, and started talking to the internet sales manager about getting a PPI done (I know BMWs very well, still learning the ways of Volvos) to which he said he'd only let me take the vehicle if we agreed on a purchase and price "if everything checks out" which I know it won't. He then proceeded to tell me that there is no negotiating on the price, it is what it is no matter what. I told him that wasn't happening so he is supposed to let me know tomorrow if his boss (used car manager?) will agree to my terms for inspection.


I guess I'm wondering if I should just run now and not bother getting an inspection due to the severity of the potential repair or should I try to get a reasonable price and have them fix it (reputable dealership network) or low ball them and have it fixed elsewhere by me/an indy. I know the price is too high and I wouldn't plan to offer anything near that for the vehicle but I keep seeing these threads saying good examples are going for "$8-900 all day long" which I can personally say I've never seen unless it's non running or a near total loss. Just looking for any opinions/insight.

Thanks guys, sorry for writing a book!

Edit: here's the listing/pics I got of the valve cover/underneath

http://lincolnofcolumbus.com/Columbus/For-Sale/Used/?MakeId=45&Make=Volvo

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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by tryingbe » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:32 pm

I wouldn't say $3k is too much for a car you described.

PCV will need to be done for sure.

The oil doesn't look like it's from the rear main seal, more like somewhere on the top of the transmission... which will point to the PCV system.


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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by polskamafia mjl » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:47 pm

Euro_Hobbs wrote: Once warmed up I pulled the dipstick and it was definitely puffing some steam (I still don't know whether or not to trust that as a good judge)...
Smoke from the dipstick on a warm engine is a very reliable way of diagnosing the health of the PCV system. A clogged PCV will also lead to oil on the spark plug cover. Furthermore, an old oil cap will also cause this so I wouldn't be too concerned about the oil on the cover. If everything else is in great condition then that seems like a fair price to me. If there are any oil leaks present many of them may calm down quite a bit once the PCV system has been addressed.


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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by rspi » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:17 pm

For a clean 850T, I don't think $3,000 is to much, however, if it needs work or maintenance, that starts the price tumbling.

Let's take the price up to $3,700 which would likely be top dollar for a clean 850T. Since it's a '95, you can check the computer for the real miles. You knock $900 off for a RMS job, then $600 for the PCV and your down to $2,250.


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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by rspi » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:20 pm

I know a guy that has a '96 850 R that has new tires, brakes and rotors, PCV, timing belt, etc for $2,000. It has 158,000 or something like that on the clock.


'95 855 T-5R M, Panther - 22/28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT, Lil' Red 25/32 mpg
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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by abscate » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:27 am

Took the car back, and started talking to the internet sales manager about getting a PPI done (I know BMWs very well, still learning the ways of Volvos) to which he said he'd only let me take the vehicle if we agreed on a purchase and price "if everything checks out" which I know it won't. He then proceeded to tell me that there is no negotiating on the price, it is what it is no matter what. I told him that wasn't happening so he is supposed to let me know tomorrow if his boss (used car
manager?) will agree to my terms for inspection.
You are letting the negotiation be the thing, instead of the car. People who fire off ultimatums in negotiations are easily led by the nose.

Agree to the price and terms, get the PPI and come back with 1000 bucks of work, and get the car for 2500. You can even sign a purchase order contingent on the PPI.

Btw, what is the status of the timing belt? There's another 1000 USd job. Water pump is due, too.


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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by erikv11 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:02 am

Exhaust pipe is very clean, no rust. For where you live (apparently Columbus, OH), that means either not driven in winter, or replaced, or the car spent most of its life somewhere else.

$3k is too much, even at a dealer, but $2.5k isn't bad if you can do the work yourself. If it also needs timing parts then $2.2k. Trouble is, they will probably eventually sell it for close to $3k, to someone less knowledgeable.

The "I'll have to talk to my manager" line is a classic car salesman game, a red flag in my opinion. They are just trying to jerk you around and frustrate and derail you, there is no other reason for that tactic. Trust what you can find out about the car for yourself, but take whatever info they give you with a grain of salt. Checking the true mileage on the underhood box is a good idea.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by erikv11 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:16 am

This one is in MUCH better maintenance condition and I bet you could get it for $3.5k. If the timing parts have been done recently, then set aside some time for a dash repair and you are done with.

http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/topic/16 ... intenance/


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by mecheng » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:25 am

That is high mileage. The turbo could need rebuilding at that mileage, and who knows how much damage to the seals was caused by Pcv. I would look at S70s, they don't have such high mileage typically, and basically the same car with updated looks.


1998 Volvo S70 T5 - SE - 240km - Sold July 2018
1997 Volvo 850 GLT - 190km
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Re: 95 850 Turbo...Am I crazy?!

Post by Euro_Hobbs » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:16 am

Thanks for the responses guys! From what the dealer told me the second set of wheels is a snow set but the car honestly doesn't look like it spent anytime on a salt covered road here. As far as the maintenance issues, the timing belt has been done (the dated sticker is present in the engine bay) but I'm not sure if the water pump has been, I'm waiting to hear back from the dealer on the records. I probably came across that I was a royal pain with the dealer about the PPI, I don't think I was, I had asked about the inspection before even mentioning the price or a deal, just as the next step I guess since I was interested, which he responded that they don't usually allow it unless there's an agreed price to which I said I was not comfortable with doing, he then said he would see what he could do. I personally had about $2300 in my head as my out the door price if everything checked out otherwise.

I know there are some lower mileage S70s out there but there's just something about the look and design of an 850 that I like, even though I know they're essentially the same vehicle.


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