Input Regarding Buying a Pair of Volvos: 940 and 960

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on all Volvo's "mid era" rear wheel drive Volvos.

1975 - 1993 240
1983 - 1992 740
1982 - 1991 760
1986 - 1991 780
1990 - 1998 940
1990 - 1998 960
1997 - 1998 V90/S90

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Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:21 am
Year and Model: 1988 Volvo 244
Location: Lincoln, ND

Input Regarding Buying a Pair of Volvos: 940 and 960

Post by mphilleo »

Hey everyone, it's been a while since I logged in last. A couple years ago I had to sell my 244 to a great new owner due to life circumstances. I'm finally at a point again where I can consider getting back on the Volvo for life bandwagon. I'm not sure if many of you are familiar with North Dakota, but it's a bit of a desert for decent Volvos. The 244 I got previously was only available due to the passing of the gentleman who owned it. That's the same case now in what I'm about to ask. Not to make light of it, but I guess Volvos really are something you only can pry from a person's cold, dead hands.

So, yesterday I got in touch with the brother of a gentleman who recently passed away and is holding an estate sale. Two of his cars, a 1991 940 Turbo SE and a 960, are being sold for what I think are reasonably prices. Here's the quick rundown on each.

The 1991 940 Turbo sedan used to be his commuter to a coal plant about 40 miles one way, each day. As a result, it has a shade over 300,000 on the clock. He left it on a battery tender and rarely used it after he got a Mercedes AMG. The interior is probably a 7.5-8/10 and so is the exterior. Pretty good considering. Allegedly, he parked it since the fuel pump (presumably the high pressure fuel pump) was either out or going out. For a lark, we tried to see if we could start it and wouldn't you know it, the thing started on the second attempt (I probably stopped cranking too early the first time). The idle was low, about 500-600RPM and was shuddering, so I assume it has some issue wither with fuel deliver or air fuel mixture. Cool.

The other vehicle is a 1994 960 sedan. He apparently took turns using this when he wasn't using his AMG, but it had fairly low miles at a little over 116K. The back story on this was that he bought it from a dealer and the previous owner didn't change the timing belt on time. A couple of the valves kissed the pistons on this white block and he took it upon himself and a mechanic friend to do the fix. They replaced the timing belt, replaced the head, the valves and the pistons were fine, so they were left as is (this is what I was told). The main thing I noticed was that there was some oil dripping from the engine drain plug, while the transmission looked fine in that regard. The anti-skid plate had some darker oil pooled in it, but I'm not sure if they didn't take that off while doing the head job or if there's some sort of seal leakage.

It drove pretty well during the drive. The only real disconcerting thing that popped up was that while accelerating from a start, first or second gear, what I could only describe as a turbine-like whirring would escalate in speed along with my acceleration. It was made even more obvious when I had the rear wheels on some icier spots. Some preliminary searching suggest it could be anything from a clogged a bad accessory bearing to a clogged PCV or a clogged ATF filter. I'm still not 100% on this yet, though. To it's credit, it idled smoothly and I couldn't hear a lot of valve train noise to speak of. Before I took it for a spin, though, I noticed that the rear wheel wells were dangerously close to the tires. The brother of the deceased man said it always looked that way to him. By the time I came back, I noticed the rear end level was more where it should be, which led me to believe this 960 has the Nivomat shocks. At least this suggests they work.

Now, to the fun part. He's selling the 960 for $2,250 and the 940 for $1,000 if they were purchased separately. He said if I buy the pair, he'd let them go for $2,750. I'm inclined to think this is a pretty good deal. If I did this, I would swap the good tires from the 960 wheels to the 940, as well as any good interior or exterior bits and sell the 960 to subsidize the 940. Even though I didn't really get to take the 940 anywhere, I'm more comfortable with the B230FT than the white block six (especially given this example's history). Plus, it has more of that Volvo character - the 960 seems to have had the character bred out of it. If, for some reason, saving the 940 ends up being a bad idea, I'd just keep the 960 and figure out what to do with the 940. Worst case scenario, I might just buy the 940 for the "non-discounted" price. As a bonus, my wife not only gave me the go ahead, but also said I can park them both in our garage while I get them sorted, which helps a lot.

So that's the situation as it stands. The wife gave me her blessing regardless of what I decide, but I'm still on the fence. Does anyone have any suggestions or input? Thanks in advance!

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Post by lummert »

The 1991 940 SE is in reality a 1991 960 Turbo. So the best choice would be the 940 SE.
1988 Volvo 760 Turbo Wagon

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Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:05 pm
Year and Model: 940, 855, S70, V70
Location: Northern New Jersey

Post by harryhendo »

They are both great rear wheel drive Volvos, some of the best cars Volvo ever made.

Personally, I'd check the safety features of both. I don't know if the 1991 had an airbag yet or ABS brakes, but the 1994 should have them. Something to consider.
'92 940
'94 855 (manual!)
'00 S70 (manual, the $500 experiment)
'02 V70

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Post by lummert »

The 1991 940 SE had all the safety equipent of the 1990 760. ABS, and driver side air bag.
1988 Volvo 760 Turbo Wagon

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Post by mydamnvolvo »

I purchased a 97 960 from my sister-in-law for $500 with 155k miles on it. However it did need a few minor thing that ran me about $200. Things in these Volvos were easy to fix as far as I'm concerned. My brother-in-law has a 2001 V70 and that is ridiculous. The amount of work needed to get even a headlight bulb in nearly took me an hour. For convenience I'd pick the 960. My wagon is top trim and has heated seats, premium sound with a cd player and cassette deck. But if you want that old 'I'm driving a tank disguised as a work car' Volvo go with the 940.
00 V70 (Daily)
01 V70 (Trips)
94 300zx (High School Present)
01 V70 (Hub)
08 GranCher (Daught)
01 740iL
09 C40 (Son)
93 BMW 525i-Daugh's-Seized
02 Chrysler T & C-Kid Hauler-Fire
72 Buick GSX-Dad's-Corroded
76 Golf GTI-Mom's-Died
97 960-1st-Timing

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