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850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

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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Kara503
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850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by Kara503 »

Hello all!

I apologise in advance for the long post. I have done a lot of searching around on the forums and cobbled together much of the info that has gotten me this far, but I'm at the point where I feel like I need to ask for some help. If you have any advice for me at all I would GREATLY appreciate it. :D

I'm new to MVS but have always been a Volvo fanboy- my first car was a Black- on Tan 1996 850 GLT Sedan. Loved it and cared for it until I ran it up the rear end of a CR-V. After some real life and a little bit of searching, I decided to give my dream car another try, and found a 96 850 Platinum Edition wagon with 300k miles and a snapped timing belt. For the same price as I have been quoted to rework the cylinder head alone, I have also picked up a 97 850 T5 sedan (With the same engine code, B5234T) with 140k miles with a bunch of mold that was unloved. I plant to make a keeper to last me until the wheels fall off out of the Platinum by replacing its engine with the one out of the T5.

I have already torn down the platinum engine and found all the exhaust valves bent and all of the pistons scored pretty badly, so that engine is going into my shed to await use for spare parts. Just this Sunday I dropped the engine, transmission, turbo, and front suspension on the subframe of the T5 and have it out of the car. Before all of this, I verified the T5 engine by letting it idle for half an hour- it runs amazingly but does produce a bit of smoke out the tailpipe.

On to why I am here- I need a bit of guidance and advice. Obviously I only want to have to do this once. I want to take care of everything I possibly can while the engine(s) are out. Time is not a limiting factor on this project though I am so excited to drive the thing I can hardly stand it. My current plans for the T5 engine/ Platinum Chassis combo:

- Replace all timing components plus the water pump, full OEM kit from FCP Euro
- Replace all PCV related components and clean out the passages on the block. Research here at MVS and elsewhere points to the PCV system being capable of causing a lot of problems, so I am going to assume the light smoking I saw while idling the engine is caused by this.
-Replace all 4 camshaft seals. The ones at the distributor and cam sensor appear to be leaking.
-Replace the serpentine belt.
-Fully replace or swap front suspension components between the two cars until I have something that is the least worn. I plan to replace the spring seats with the IPD HD variant.
(-Replace all turbo related oil seals, as well as verify all of the intercooler and intake piping is in good condition. plus all other vac and coolant lines attached to the engine
-Install an inline transmission cooler line filter, plus flush the transmission.
-Clean the fuel injectors, plus install a new fuel filter in the platinum chassis
- Inspect the heater core and heater core lines on the platinum (Should I steal the ones from the sedan since they are 'less used'?)

Is there anything in particular I need to pay special attention to, anything I am forgetting, or anything you could suggest for me to hit while the engine is out? A particular weak point for me is the turbo- I have never serviced a turbo before, nor do I know how to tell by looking at it that it is bad in some way. Anything on it I need to check? All components on both cars are working (Minus the engine itself on the platinum) So i have the full ability to swap between the two.

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The Platinum engine components
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Damage to the pistons on the Platinum. Every one of them looks like this or worse.
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Subframe assembly dropped from the T5. I would highly recommend doing any engine work this way if you plan to remove it if you have access to a lift- Much less to disassemble. I even left the whole wiring loom attached to the engine components by separating the harness from the ECU.
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by scot850 »

I wish you the best of luck with the project. You seem to have most of the angles covered and you have clearly done a lot of worthwhile research.

I would suggest you look at the Stage 0 recommendations in the How-to section of MVS. That will help ensure you have covered all the bases.

The oil at the cam seals would indicate the PCV system was overdue an overhaul. Puffing smoke from the rear of the car can be a sign of a pressurized crank case forcing oil past the rings and out the exhaust.

There are 2 other things that can be a cause of oil puffs. One is the exhaust inlet valve seals failing allowing oil to pass into the combustion chamber, with the PCV system needing serviced that will aggravate the situation.

Lastly while you have access and good visibility have a look at the turbo shaft and check for movement or excessive oil residue. They always seem to have some residue in that area so some I consider normal.

Good you have thought about the coolant lines especially the turbo ones which are way easier to do with the engine out.

On the turbo it is worth replacing the CBV diaphragm while it to is accessible.

Away from the engine check the anti-sway bar bushes for the front bar. The bushes are vulcanised to the bar and tend to fail with age and cause clunking. Much easier to replace while the sub-frame is out as it has to be dropped to remove it.

Steering it is worth checking the seals on the steering rack as well as the pressure pipes and end links for movement.

I would not use IPD top front spring mounts but use the updated Volvo OE ones for an XC90.

Depending on how far you want to go you may also want to look at the front sub-frame bushes and replace those while they are easy to access.

Neil.
2000 V70 R - still being an endless PITA
2006 XC70
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 Limited
2015 Kia Sportage EX-L
1993 850 GLT -Sold
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1997 Volvo 850 SE NA - Went to niece in California - Sold
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by kahl »

Between you and Neil you have pretty much nailed the usual suspects. My only two cents is to drop the oil pan and replace the "O" rings in the pick up pipe. FCP has a kit for this job. Also get the Volvo sealant between the pan and block. The is also a check valve that prevents theam oil draining into the sump that is asscessed when the pan is ioff.

The CBV diaphragm in the turbo is so easy to do with the turbo off. IPD Has a upgrade kit that has three stages. Good value. Keep us posted of your progress.
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by scot850 »

Good catch kahl! I should have got that one on the 'O' rings in the pan. Is the tube you mention the return tube from the PCV to the oil pan?

Neil.
2000 V70 R - still being an endless PITA
2006 XC70
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 Limited
2015 Kia Sportage EX-L
1993 850 GLT -Sold
1998 V70 XC - Sold
1997 Volvo 850 SE NA - Went to niece in California - Sold
2000 V70 SE NA - New project and test bed - Sold
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by Kara503 »

Kahl, Neil, thank you so much for your replies. This is the kind of info I need to make sure this car lasts. I will absolutely post updates as I move along! Thank you for your suggestions to replace the CBV. I think I will go with the IPD upgraded version and hold onto the stronger springs should I decide to try and get more performance out of this once the Stage 0 project is complete. Is cleaning the inside of the turbine or compressor a bad idea? What should I use for cleaning if I should clean it?

If you have the time-

-With one vehicle being a sedan and the other being a wagon, is there anything in particular I should NOT swap over? As I understand there is a body control module and an engine control module in the computer box. I will not swap the body control modules. Should interchanging the ECUs, or the base plate of the ECU box, cause a problem with anything? As I stated earlier, I separated the two halves of the ECU box base plate in order to pull the whole wiring loom with the engine on the T5.

-Thank you for bringing up the sway bar bushings! Mine are absolutely mutilated. It appears from doing some searching that even though my 97 is not designed to have the bushings on the main bar replaced, I can still do so. Can you recommend a specific brand/ location where I should buy these from? If you think spending $100-200 on a full new bar is justifiable, which would you recommend?

-On the subframe bushings. Mine are slightly cracked on the lower outer surface but look to be mainly intact, and I did not plan on replacing them. I am considering buying the IPD inserts, though. Do you have an opinion on those? I do intend to go as far as possible on this. I am on a budget but, unfortunately for my wallet I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my cars so if there is anything clunking or not performing correctly it will drive me bonkers. I understand the inserts will increase throttle response or some other. I am more interested in a smooth, clunk-less ride than increased vibration for better throttle response.

-Oil pan reseal- I assume this is the kit you are talking about?
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/volvo- ... -reinz-kit
Is the Volvo sealant a must, or will another high temp, aluminum compatible gasket maker do? It looks like the sealant alone is $40. I have also seen paper gaskets available on other sites, though I don't think I would use one of those. I also saw a square 'oil pan thermostat' gasket. is this worth replacing? I haven't dropped the oil pan on either engine yet so I guess I will see what i run into down there. I will do this part once the engine is back in the car and the oil pan isn't blocked by my method of setting the subframe assembly on a table.

-I plan on pulling and cleaning all engine sensors, and replacing their seals as well. Are there any I shouldn't touch? Are there any I should replace due to them being 20 years old? At 150k miles I wouldn't assume any are bad, but I may as well ask.

Also, on a simpler note, do you have suggestions for spark plugs? I see mixed suggestions all over the place, from absolutely nothing but OEM Volvo, to Bosch copper, to Bosch platinum, with both types of Bosch claiming to be OEM equipment in different placed. There also appear to be OEM Volvo copper and platinum based on the pricing. I would prefer to not go with Volvo brand platinum plugs at nearly $50 for the set unless you believe it is absolutely justified.

Thank you both again.

If anyone else has more helpful information or even just small suggestions I am open to anything :)
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by tryingbe »

Use only VOLVO or Corteco cam/crank seals.
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by scot850 »

So many questions, but I wil answer as many as I can and give you some of my opinions.

Firstly the CBV diaphragm from IPD. The stock engine does not boost over 12psi so putting in a higher value makes no sense unless you plan to increase boost significantly. If you do you will have to change out the TCV to handle higher boost values and then the CBV higher spring rate makes sense.

I will leave others that have done the job on the oil pan the say on what sealant to use. I think I recall someone mentioning a brand other than Volvo but not sure if it was successful. Yes at $40 it s pricey but you know for sure it will work. Not a job you want to do twice over especially with the engine back in!

There are 2 oil coolers used and in your 96/97 (850) the cars that have engine oil coolers have a thermostat under the crank pulley. Do not damage it as the are no longer available!!! It uses a rubber type square gasket between the thermostat housing and the block.

99- cars have the cooler integrated into the back of the oil pan at the back closest to the firewall, the older cars oil cooler is in the RHS of the radiator with 2 pipes going to the oil thermostat on the engine. Replace the 'O' rings on the 2 oil pipes at the thermostat and make sure the little plate that holds them in place is not bent. If it is they can leak. Either straighten the plate or reverse it when re-installing the pipes. Check the 'O' ring faces in the thermostat for the cooler pipes is clean. When they start to leak they can build up a hard carbon residue that will tear the 'O' rings when re-fitting.

I only use Volvo plugs and in particular on turbo engines. Others may recommend other brands but many have used others and some work ok others don't. Again I will let others make their opinions known.

Can't answer you on the ECU and TCU although I don't think they are complex units so don't think you need to swap any of that over. In 99- cars they have a more complex management system and security system with chipped keys. There you can't swap parts over as they only recognise that car without re-programming. So if the engines and transmissions are the same you shouldn't need to swap anything over.

Adding stiffeners to a worn bush will accelerate the failure of the parts as they cannot flex. Also if you wan a bunch of extra vibrations through the car, add a load of polybushes in the engine mounts. They very quickly get tiresome with the spike in vibrations in the steering wheel and the rest of the car. Again, maybe you do that if you plan to track the car on a circuit.

Are you planning to separate the engine and transmissions? If so I would recommend replacing the rear main crank seal and the front transmission seal. At this age they have done their duty. For these I recommend Volvo OE only. PO on one of my cars used aftermarket and they leaked again within 6 months and I had to have them re-done.

Only sensor I can think of to replace is the ECT (water temperature) sensor below the thermostat. Again only recommend Volvo brand. You can test the ECT for resistance values at various temperatures, but also check the wiring particularly both sides of the connector by the steering pump.

Neil.
2000 V70 R - still being an endless PITA
2006 XC70
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 Limited
2015 Kia Sportage EX-L
1993 850 GLT -Sold
1998 V70 XC - Sold
1997 Volvo 850 SE NA - Went to niece in California - Sold
2000 V70 SE NA - New project and test bed - Sold
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by abscate »

For turbos use Bosch Copper plugs at $2 each, and replace every 30k You can regap them at 30k and get another 30k if you are really a cheapskate.

No three prong belch fire plugs for turbos
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by Kara503 »

Awesome suggestions, I'll look at spark plugs once the engine is running but make sure I stick to copper. Thanks abscate.

I don't plan on separating the engine and trans. Talking to the owner of the T5, he actually had the transmission replaced (Plus new RMS and torque converter seal on the used tranny) just a few years ago so I feel okay about that. There is also no obvious signs of oil anywhere at the seam of the engine and trans. Thanks for the advice on the subframe inserts, I will make sure to not go with those. I think mine are in good enough condition to be left alone.

For camshaft/dist seals, is Reinz considered OEM?
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Re: 850 Platinum Edition Wagon engine swap/ rebuild

Post by kahl »

Reinz is not OEM. I would use only the Volvo brand cam seals. Tryingbe also recommended Corteco.
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