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Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

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lizardheart
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Year and Model: V70 2003 230k
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Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by lizardheart »

2003 Volvo V70 2.4T 249k

I've had this car for almost 10 years, bought it in 2007 with 45k on it for $16k, drove the PISS out of it for all these years (currently 249k), wonderful musician's car (I'm a musician, drrr), then on the way from one gig to another a few months ago, very suddenly it began missing horribly and lost most of it's power, about 10 miles from the gig.....

So I limped it to the gig....afterwards, it was late on a Sunday night and I HAD to get my daughter from the babysitter and get the car home, (roughly 90 miles, separate discussion could be had about the realities of being a working musician in the LA area), so I drove it back and got her home etc....it missing viciously the whole way, no power, I'm sure that helped ABSOLUTELY NOTHING inside the engine, and I own that.

Had it towed to the service place I've been using next day, where they did their diagnosis that several valves were blown, and that there was almost NO compression in most of the cylinders, which they basically said was because the head/valves was/were shot.

They recommended letting the car die a natural death, as replacing the head would mean a good chunk of money, and might not work out. The reasoning was that the new tight head would cause stress in the cylinders, likely causing the rings to wear out, and now you've got a bigger problem. This kinda makes some sense, as I've seen in many ways that new parts will stress older parts and cause a Domino effect, if you don't just go ahead and replace related parts all at once....that can get you chasing round and round the same thing.

So I bought another car, (first new car I've ever bought, great incentives, was actually cheaper than many USED cars at the time). Within 2 months was promptly T-boned HARD, the new car is totaled (1st wreck I've ever had, 56 yo), and BTW that whack will get your attention!

During the drive home in the tow truck after the accident, the driver had had a machine shop in his previous life, before a divorce wiped that out, and he felt strongly the the head could be redone for about $1500, and that there was a way to make sure that the "new" head wouldn't place a bunch of stress on the cylinders/rings, and that I should look at that.

6 weeks later and the insurance companies are still fighting with each other and me, I'm without a car in LA, (kinda like showing up at an orgy with no penis), and I have the best car I've ever owned sitting dead in my driveway....so now I'm starting to look at it again, as the largesse of friends will only take me so far, and not having a car in LA is like......you know....

This IS an old car. Inside it's killer, leather power seats, still clean with no cracks or weird marks etc in the dash and interior areas, everything works in there, great sound system, good glass all around, body straight worth a few LA door dings that I've touched up with original paint. IOW a pretty solid car in most areas, with the exception of the obvious engine issue, AND a tranny that has been getting slowly worse for the last 2-3 years, but has hung in like a champ for the whole time.

Even if the insurance companies figure it all out tomorrow, it has been bothering me that a car that is in THIS great of shape would just be taken to a salvage yard and be worth like $500....that seems absolutely nuts to me with all these parts and the car being basically sound except for this engine issue....but fact is, the economics make fixing it seems like a questionable choice as well cause ....it's OLD, with a ton of miles.

It FEELS like it would be great to put $1500 into it and then keep it for gigs where I need to haul a LOT of gear, (this thing hauls a TON of stuff), for family visits etc, and/or eventually sell it to someone who needs a solid old car. But it ALSO feels like it might be time to let the thing go and cut my losses....after all, it's a thing, much as I like it.

So....sorry for the novel, but yeh, what do you think I should do, go to work on it, or have some salvage yard rape me and come tow it away?
2003 V70 2.4T
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by June »

What about a good used engine? Low miles that you can see the salvage car. I would think lots of years would be the same engine.
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by beigg »

Take it to another indy shop, one that is reputable and can have confidence in their ability for a volo specific repair order and stand behind there work.

I'd repair it and drive it another 100k miles. The saying, "you're only as old as you feel" applies to these era of volvo's... for the most part.
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abscate
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by abscate »

If you have just driving this car and not refurbishing worn parts, drain fill ATF, regular oil changes then it's time has come.

Salvage value is more like $100
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by jonesg »

I bought a 2004 v70 with 174K mies for less than $2k.
Theres plenty on craigslist to choose from.
Never love something that can't love you back.
lizardheart
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 3:17 pm
Year and Model: V70 2003 230k
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by lizardheart »

abscate wrote:If you have just driving this car and not refurbishing worn parts, drain fill ATF, regular oil changes then it's time has come.

Salvage value is more like $100
Ah no, I've been replacing all kinda things on it all along, and I've done the thing where you drain SOME of the ATF and replace just that....as well as VERY regular oil changes, I've taken pretty good care of it, but it has also been hauling a LOT of gear around LA traffic for 200k miles....not easy work....
2003 V70 2.4T
lizardheart
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 3:17 pm
Year and Model: V70 2003 230k
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by lizardheart »

jonesg wrote:I bought a 2004 V70 with 174K mies for less than $2k.
Theres plenty on craigslist to choose from.
Never love something that can't love you back.
Fairly well encrypted.... :D

Does that mean you feel that I should look there and spend the money on one that's running? I'm not sure what you mean....?
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by jonesg »

No, I'm just saying what I did and my outlook on machines in my life, I have no affection for metal.
If I HAD to keep it I'd consider a used engine swap from a low mileage totalled car rather than repairing a high mileage motor.
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by abscate »

The problem here is you don't have a good firm diagnosis. Until the head comes off, about $600 bucks of work, you won't know what is wrong. $1500 for a head rework is way too low, it will be double that. If just the head gasket blew, that number is reasonable.

It's painful to read the " had to get it home stories". A AAA 100 mile tow home saves $3000 here.

on edit
They recommended letting the car die a natural death, as replacing the head would mean a good chunk of money, and might not work out. The reasoning was that the new tight head would cause stress in the cylinders, likely causing the rings to wear out, and now you've got a bigger problem.
There is always a danger with third party communication but that statement really doesn't show much knowledge of engine diagnostics or work. The bottom end of Volvo engines is exceptionally tough and very rarely gives problems.
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Re: Burnt Valves, had to drive it home, DEAD car.

Post by oragex »

Well, I did laugh a few times in the story, now it seems the question was about replacing the engine/transmission or let it die peacefully (or natural death)

It's a bit strange the car would drive with most valves bent/burnt. Perhaps the valves weren't burnt, but bent? Perhaps the timing belt has slightly slipped or the tensioner spring has given up. A head job is a risky choice on this car, the cylinder walls may be damaged as well, upon opening. Another possibility would be an issue with the injectors or the fuel pump, I had an injector dying and for sure it was lacking power and shaking a lot.

Don't get attracted by the tow truck story, these guys are experts on telling stories to customers in distress. You would have spend another $1500 with various if no results.

If you think the rest of the car was fine and can find a truly good garage (local.google.com gives you reviews), I would source a used engine/transmission assembly with less than 180k miles. These must match your car computer, not an easy thing. Even then, the transmissions of that era were somehow problematic just the way you describe yours was doing.

One other option is to keep the Volvo for parts, and find another one used, just keep in mind it's a gambling, not all of them age as well yours did.
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