1997 Volvo 850 GLT Coolant Question

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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abscate
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Re: 1997 Volvo 850 GLT Coolant Question

Post by abscate »

Do a compression test , watch the coolant level like a hawk. It will let you know.

AC you have to replace orings because it costs you 20-50 bucks each time you change one, plus labour

The cooling system just sees 1-2 atm pressure max so it’s forgiving, especially if you know where to look for leaks

Fit the oring in thickness and then fill the oring hole without stretching.

You will get a tiny seep at the core if the oring is marginal, the CORNELL Review will soak that up and triple its value to society.
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Post by abscate »

On AC

We can pump it down and then confirm the leak with free vacuum., it’s a bit of a risk that the compressor has seized, but you can actually turn it by hand with the SERP belt off and listen for the thwop thwop thwop of the pistons.

We can scrounge a good used one of people here to test, pay on satisfaction, too, if needed.

The Evap is the thing that corrodes on these cars. It’s the price of a very high performing ACsystem

I usually borescope the Evap through the MOSFET hole in the climate system and see the good bad and ugly...

Last one I did...
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Post by wizechatmgr »

Let me know when you folks get ready to do this. I may be available to assist - depends on which days, etc...
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In order to learn how to fix something, you must first learn how to break it.
1999 V70 XC AWD 2.4 T -- ~193k miles
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Post by 1997volvo850 »

Update:

I picked up the o-ring set from Harbor Freight. They didn't have one that was a close enough size and they seemed lighter weight than originals. I could not bring myself to install the HF o-rings so I washed off the original ones, played with them a bit to see if they'd fall apart, then reinstalled them.

I also realized the hump has a thick foam on it (for sound?) such that I was able to depress the foam to make installation much easier. This was critical.

I topped off with coolant and ran her until she warmed up to normal operating temp. Coolant light came on later but I suspect this was due to trapped air escaping from the system. I could here some gurgling in the radiator. I believe I got the air out now. No water leaking under new heater core and none under car.

I will take her for a few short drives before heading out on a longer trip. I'm confident the repair went well. The head seems to be ok. What are the obvious signs of head failure? smoke? rough engine idling? likely loss of coolant. I'm hoping she lives to last another year. If I don't need to scrap her I may think about fixing AC.

Thanks,
David

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Post by scot850 »

Don't panic (initially) as the cars can 'burp' a few times when first re-filled. My 2000 R took a few fills after the radiator replacement so I carried a jug of coolant mix in the car and checked each time before starting the car up, and topped up as necessary. Be careful if the engine is still hot obviously so you don't get a coolant shower/burn.

Good Luck!

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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Post by 1997volvo850 »

Funny thing is my 850 comes 'standard' with a large green bin in the trunk containing a 5qt jug of oil, funnel, transmission fluid (power steering?), brake fluid, distilled water, mixed coolant, coolant, washer fluid, air guage and pump, jumper cables. This is just in case I run into a stranded motorist along the side of the road. :D That reminds me, I need to add some duct tape.

Cars are just like people. They make funny noises and start leaking when they get up there is years.

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Post by abscate »

I also realized the hump has a thick foam on it (for sound?) such that I was able to depress the foam to make installation much easier. This was critical.
It’s little details like this that are critical for good DIY
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Post by 1997volvo850 »

The little details matter. That's why I usually try to look at a couple tutorials/videos before I try a job. I don't recall seeing anything on depressing the foam but it seemed to give an extra inch. I thought it was a hard insulation covering until I leaned my arm against it during the heater core job.

As is customary after one of these DIY job I sent my wife off on a test drive. When she returned she reported that the car stalled at every stop sign and at every curve during her short 'test' drive. I figured the head was blown and was ready to call the scrap metal recycler.

Then I remembered and asked, in a very loving way of course, if she noticed that the car didn't have any gas in the tank and whether she had filled up on gas during her drive. If you've ever received the stare of death you know the look I got.

Yesterday was a good day for the 850. I fixed the heater core and eliminated a stalling engine problem.

The only issue I notice when driving, with a full tank of gas, is a slight hesitation when I first step on the gas. Once the car is going, after a second, the car feels normal. That doesn't mean there is not a problem. I will check for visible signs of head issues today (oil milkshake/coolant levels). I need to check whether I have a compression test kit.

Only other task remaining is to shampoo the carpets. The coolant traveled along the hump and mainly pooled in the back floor areas.

Thanks for all the help and advice. I will post an update if I discover new information.

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