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1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

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.

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GreenbergWoods
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1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by GreenbergWoods » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:22 pm

Hey Guys. Im a college student who recently moved up to Santa Cruz. I have a 1999 V70 with about 190,000 miles on it. I have had the car for about 4 years. Back in Los Angeles I had a trusted volvo mechanic and never had any problems with the car.

Recently, the check engine light and and the flashing arrow indicating a transmission issue began. When I took the car into a mechanic "Not one I had been to before" They ran a diagnostic, though a few things seemed iffy.

"I had a full inspection by a trusted volvo mechanic about 5 months ago"

They said that the limp mode kept being reengaged in the car during freeway driving even after they cleared the code.

The transmission fluid, while full was black. They recommended a flush costing between 125 and 180 dollars

While inspecting the transmission, one of the solenoids "Did not sound right." They never said it was shot or definitely broken, but they recommended changing that at a cost of 670 dollars.

They also said a thermostat was only reading to ~155 degrees and should be replaced for 220

They finally told me that it was possible the ETM was dead and would need to be replaced at a cost of 1000 dollars and a 125 dollar diagnostic

The fact that they were not sure anything HAD to be replaced and could not clear the code to disengage limp mode permanently makes me a little worried. Granted, cars are not my thing, but are issues like this to be expected? Should I take it to a better known volvo repair shop?

What would you do in my position? The car still runs, and it cost 3000 dollars about 4 years ago. Should I pay the 500-2200 dollars to fix it? Should I keep driving it till it dies? Should I start looking for a new car?

Thanks for your time.

Ben

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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by scot850 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Tough break moving and not having access to someone you trust to check the car over. When you say the trans fluid is black, I'm assuming the fluid has never been changed in your ownership. In which case it needs changing, and that would be the first thing I would suggest. Do NOT allow them to power flush the transmission or that will be the death of the transmission. The recommended oil change method is to remove the top transmission cooling line to the radiator cooler at the radiator. Then run the engine drain 2 liters and re-fill 2 liters until the fluid turns red. It can take 12-14 liters/quarts to get there. Make sure they use the correct trans fluid also. On MVS the flush method is called the Gibbons method and there is a write up on how to do that in the Repairs section.

Does your temperature gauge read normally? Does it point almost horizontal at the 3 o'clock position when the engine is warm? If not then the chances are the thermostat may have stuck, but they normally cause it to get too hot or very slow to warm up, not run cold unless someone has removed the thermostat.

Leave the ETM for now. It can be re-built by a few companies for a lot less than $1000. Look at Xemodex's web-page. FCP Euro is an agent for them.

Neil.
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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by wizechatmgr » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:19 pm

+1 -- Exactly what Neil said. If you power flush it you'll end up with bigger problems. Solenoids either work or don't and can occasionally stick. It may be that just replacing the fluid as Neil suggests will get you what you need.
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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by wizechatmgr » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:21 pm

I am sure I'll be burned at the stake for suggesting this - but you may be better off having a Volvo dealer take a look. *cringe*
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In order to learn how to fix something, you must first learn how to break it.
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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by GreenbergWoods » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:14 pm

scot850 wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:41 pm
Tough break moving and not having access to someone you trust to check the car over. When you say the trans fluid is black, I'm assuming the fluid has never been changed in your ownership. In which case it needs changing, and that would be the first thing I would suggest. Do NOT allow them to power flush the transmission or that will be the death of the transmission. The recommended oil change method is to remove the top transmission cooling line to the radiator cooler at the radiator. Then run the engine drain 2 liters and re-fill 2 liters until the fluid turns red. It can take 12-14 liters/quarts to get there. Make sure they use the correct trans fluid also. On MVS the flush method is called the Gibbons method and there is a write up on how to do that in the Repairs section.

Does your temperature gauge read normally? Does it point almost horizontal at the 3 o'clock position when the engine is warm? If not then the chances are the thermostat may have stuck, but they normally cause it to get too hot or very slow to warm up, not run cold unless someone has removed the thermostat.

Leave the ETM for now. It can be re-built by a few companies for a lot less than $1000. Look at Xemodex's web-page. FCP Euro is an agent for them.

Neil.

I am not 100% if it was changed. When I brought it to the mechanic I trust for a check up, I asked him to check and replace fluids.

The house I am renting has a very strict "NO AUTO WORK" policy, so should I find a different auto shop? There is a volvo specialized mechanic 35 odd minutes from me.

I have never noticed anything wrong with the temperature gauge. It starts at zero and It goes right to 3 when running. Ive never noticed anything off about it.

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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by June » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:47 pm

wizechatmgr wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:21 pm
I am sure I'll be burned at the stake for suggesting this - but you may be better off having a Volvo dealer take a look. *cringe*
+1 cannot hurt to get a second opinion from Volvo. Also I never heard of a Volvo running a 220° thermostat, how can a solenoid sound wrong? June
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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by abscate » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:46 am

You can change that trans fluid in a parking lot away from home without ever going underneath.

Likewise the thermostat is a 15 minute job and a $50 part from FCP or IPD

Unless you are loaded with cash, you have to tackle jobs like this on a Volvo or it will bleed you to death.

A cheap code reader is about $25 and will also arm you with information about things going wrong. Here, the arrow can be caused by either a transmission or engine problem and you need to know which.
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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by scot850 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:26 am

Volvo only sold 2 thermostats for these cars, and I think they only offer 1 now. It opens at 90C the alternate that some aftermarket companies sell opens at 87C. Talking with the Volvo dealer foreman I know well, they recommend changing the thermostat every 2-3 years depending on mileage. I'm not convinced you have a problem there but it is a job you can do yourself, but your living accommodation rules make that harder when you can't work there.

If there is a specialist 35 mins away, check their reviews and if they seem good, go and plead student poverty and explain what the other garage said and you would like a second opinion.

If you get the same opinion then you have to figure where to go from there, and abscate has said some work can be done fairly easily by the side of the road, but if you have little experience let us give you the heads up on what to do and things to watch out on for each job. First you have to know if what needs fixed.

Neil.
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2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 Limited
2015 Kia Sportage EX-L
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1998 V70 XC - Sold
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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by shaker_chi » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:48 am

If you want to save some cash, go out and buy the transmission fluid yourself and pay an indy mechanic to change the fluid out for you. I would buy at least 12 if not 14 quarts. I'm not sure of the top of my head which fluid would be correct, it's been awhile since I've done it. You can print up the directions online and give them to him if he isn't familiar with Volvos. And to piggy back on what Scot850 said, I wouldn't do anything else until that is done. The transmissions in these cars tend to last very long. I would venture to guess the cooler has a lot to do with that.

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Re: 1999 V70 Check transmission, Not sure I trust the mechanic

Post by jtp » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:00 am

Finding the tools, equipment, and space for a tranny drain and fill for the OP is gonna be a significant pain and might not address what’s wrong, probably wouldn’t address all that’s wrong.

I’m a service writer at a non-Volvo dealer, dealerships get a bad rap, often well-deserved, but in a situation like this the 130 or whatever they charge for a diag might be well worth it.

Tell your service writer up front your a college student and not made of money, not looking to fix every minor issue with the car, you just want the arrow and CEL addressed.

No shop in their right mind would flush that transmission, if anybody says transmission flush they mean drain and fill but charge you for a flush. Just say you only want a drain and fill and think you shouldn’t be charged for a full flush they aren’t going to really perform.

Is the first place you went a Volvo place specifically? If not a local Volvo Indy shop might be as good as a dealer.
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