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Advice please... Should I buy? 1999 V70 XC, tight budget, $3k

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

BLWhoo
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Advice please... Should I buy? 1999 V70 XC, tight budget, $3k

Post by BLWhoo » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:03 am

I am considering purchasing a 1999 V70 XC, it's got 168,000 miles on it. Looks pretty good. Drove it around the block, sounded great no hesitations etc, but it did have the engine light on. Seller told me he had taken it in to have it hooked up and was told it is the O2 sensor (which he said was not much of a big deal). My question is this... I am a single mom with a very tight budget. Would this be a reliable car, and are there any questions I should ask before buying? From what I know, he is the 2nd owner. He's asking $3k for it, but states he's willing to go down a bit on price.

Any advice? Should I avoid it? Or would it be a good idea? Would it be a vehicle I could take a road trip in?

Thank you in advance!! :D :mrgreen:
Last edited by matthew1 on Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: improved title



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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by scot850 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:40 am

An O2 sensor is not too expensive (try Rockauto.com and only buy the correct Bosch), but the first think is do you need AWD? As your post says you are in Colorado, it might be something you need. If not, then I don't recommend one of these AWD. They are expensive to maintain, even if you can do the work yourself. We have a few members in Colorado, and depending where you are there may be a good Volvo specialist. If there is and you really are keen on this car have it inspected carefully. Paying for an inspection will potentially save you hundreds of $$$'s later. At this age I usually estimate $1500 at least in parts + labor to bring these cars up to good reliable condition, even a FWD one. Check service history as it is coming due a timing belt and water pump replacement which are $800-1000 depending on labor rates and parts used.

When these vehicles are good they are really nice to drive, but maintaining is costly. You can't replace one or 2 tires you have to do all 4 or you will destroy the AWD system.

Hopefully one of our local guys will chip in and can maybe help with local support.

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: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by erikv11 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:00 pm

It will be expensive to maintain, and there will be a steady stream of small things to deal with. It would be wonderful for a road trip. The O2 sensor will cost you $100 to DIY or $300 (?) at a shop. Hopefully they are a Volvo specialist shop because if they aren't they may put in the wrong O2 sensor and the light will be back on soon. See Neil's detailed posts for things to ask about, you would want as much service history as possible.

I really enjoy these Volvos but for a single parent on a very tight budget, in your area I would recommend a well maintained Japanese wagon like this, a higher initial price but will probably cost nothing (no $, no headaches) to own for the next 2-3 years: https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/05- ... 79663.html. Not as spacious or comfortable but still a nice road trip car.
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'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by scot850 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:30 pm

The recent thread below covers many of the same questions and issues. Have a read at that for guidance also.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=84403

Erik makes a good recommendation too. Sometimes (unfortunately) spending a little more at the outset can save a lot in the long run. Appreciate money is tight.

Neil.
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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: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by June » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:32 pm

erikv11 wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:00 pm
It will be expensive to maintain, and there will be a steady stream of small things to deal with. It would be wonderful for a road trip. The O2 sensor will cost you $100 to DIY or $300 (?) at a shop. Hopefully they are a Volvo specialist shop because if they aren't they may put in the wrong O2 sensor and the light will be back on soon. See Neil's detailed posts for things to ask about, you would want as much service history as possible.

I really enjoy these Volvos but for a single parent on a very tight budget, in your area I would recommend a well maintained Japanese wagon like this, a higher initial price but will probably cost nothing (no $, no headaches) to own for the next 2-3 years: https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/05- ... 79663.html. Not as spacious or comfortable but still a nice road trip car.
I know people mean well when they tell you how Japanese cars cost nothing to own. Any car that is a 1999 is old and will break. 100K miles is the first wave of expensive maintenance and repaired for any make that is why people dump them around that mileage in droves.

Subaru cars are famous for head gaskets. My sister Heather has driven nothing but Subaru starting with her second car. Mid 90s through currently. She has never been able to keep one out of warranty. After the final engine job in her current Forrester she is actually looking at Toyota.

Our 84 yo mother's 1999 Toyota Celica GT convertible had a clutch job costing $3,000.00 at Toyota two weeks ago and ran once since and currently is sitting at Toyota waiting on parts to run. Oh the original engine died years ago, that the second, and that 1999 indestructible Toyota is on it's third dealer new engine. This model's engines seem to be oil burners. This is a car bought new, garage kept dealer serviced (only synthetic oil), elderly woman owned car with low low miles. The only cars I've seen to be nearly indestructible is anything with the GM 3800 V6. Oh and old Volvos like the 240, 740, and 940. That 2.3 engine and rear wheel drive set-up goes millions of miles. Don't believe me, go on YouTube and type in 1 million miles Volvo and see how many 240s hit the mark. They have a party at the dealers for the 1 million miles. June


My Volvo cars owned
1989 740 GLT ordered
1994 850 4door standard shift ordered
1996 960 ordered
1998 S90 ordered totalled after 3 weeks
1998 V70 GT dealer stock car
2002 S80 T6 ordered totalled
2004 S80 T6 dealer stock car and current car owned

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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by erikv11 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:00 pm

Some comments on June's insightful post:

(1) I recommended a mid-2000's car to the OP, not a 90's car.

(2) For about 30 years, I have continuously owned 2 kinds of cars: old Japanese cars (still have a 99 Camry in the fleet) and old Volvos. In that time period, I have spent almost nothing per Japanese car, especially when compared to the Volvos. There is no comparison, it is apples and oranges.

(3) A low mileage, aging, elderly-person-owned and driven, old car is the perfect recipe for engine sludge. The Toyota V6 engines are especially bad, but it is a valid, blanket statement. To OP: don't buy one of those!

(4) June is absolutely right about the Subaru head gaskets. That's one reason I recommended a well maintained, mid-2000's car.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by June » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:42 pm

erikv11 wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:00 pm
Some comments on June's insightful post:

(1) I recommended a mid-2000's car to the OP, not a 90's car.

(2) For about 30 years, I have continuously owned 2 kinds of cars: old Japanese cars (still have a 99 Camry in the fleet) and old Volvos. In that time period, I have spent almost nothing per Japanese car, especially when compared to the Volvos. There is no comparison, it is apples and oranges.

(3) A low mileage, elderly-woman-owned and driven car is the perfect recipe for engine sludge.

(4) June is absolutely right about the Subaru head gaskets. That's why I recommended a well maintained, mid-2000's car.
Thank you for your kind words. Volvo is not affordable for everyone new or used in my opinion. I like to think those who insisted on driving a Volvo have safety at the front of that decision. It's that one crash that the car chosen makes the difference. I personally have lived through two major collisions where Volvo allowed me to step out without a scratch. That keeps me in Volvo no matter what.

I have 3 sisters Heather who has driven Subaru for 20 years is a schoolteacher. Not one Subaru she has owned has kept its engine. Mom's engines all locked up of lack of oil not sludge. Never a leak, always out the tailpipe and that is with oil changes three times a year synthetic at the dealer. The current engine puts out a smokescreen when started cold. She is a old lady and cost is not a issue. The second new dealer installed engine only lasted a couple years and very few miles. The dealer did not stand behind their work BTW. Her Celica is up there in repairs as my Volvo.

Now the youngest Jennifer has the cheapest vehicle maintenance wise I have ever seen. It's a 2005 Ford F150 with the dreaded spark plug engine. Guess what... at 200k the factory plugs are still in there running. She does no maintenance but the barest minimum and yes the engine light has been on as long as I can remember and also the last couple years the engine sounds like a desel when it idles, but it never has broken down and even the factory air still works. Oh and uses NO oil between the yearly changes with conventional oil. The exhaust fumes are horrible! When Ford told her to run it till death rather than change the plugs risking replacement heads, she has done just that.

Sharon the oldest also buys only Toyota. She runs one into the ground about every 2 to 5 years than trades it on deaths door and has done just that since 1983 with the first Turcell. No Toyota has made 5 years in her hands. To go through her gas only attitude is a real testament, though some have only lasted a couple years I might note. Amazingly they always give her a great trade in on her next new one. The poor fool who buys her trades gets bent over good. After all ask any Toyota person and they will love to tell you how they hold value and never break. Indeed you can buy one new and run it gas only for years and get a excellent trade in value. What comes to mind is how many Sharon's used Toyota cars are out there ready to kick the bucket at 5 years old due to lack of maintenance? June


My Volvo cars owned
1989 740 GLT ordered
1994 850 4door standard shift ordered
1996 960 ordered
1998 S90 ordered totalled after 3 weeks
1998 V70 GT dealer stock car
2002 S80 T6 ordered totalled
2004 S80 T6 dealer stock car and current car owned

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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by June » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:32 pm

To the OP what I am trying to point out is with any car bought new or used there is a chance it will be bad. With a new one you get health insurance for a few years. (Warranty)

Ie. Jennifer's truck with a notorious bad engine just keeps on going. Ask anyone on here and they will break their fingers banging the keyboard to tell you how bad my S80 T6's transmission is supposed to be, but mine at 14yo 155K still operates like new. I run it hard and always have. At 12 years old and 120K the clean factory fluid was changed. I got a good one! My feeling is my dealer quoted last year $4,500.00 for a new one installed with a lifetime Volvo parts and labor warranty. 3K for a Toyota clutch is nearly that without a lifetime warranty!

Where as the indestructible Toyota Celica engine has been replaced twice in 19 years as well as loads of breakdowns. For years now she uses all the AAA tows allowed each year. She got a bad one that never gets better.

Your best bet being a single mom on a budget. Take any car you are serious about buying and pay the dealer for that brand to do a pre buying inspection. Those mechanics deal with those cars every day and know every weak point to look at whereas a Good Year store, or friend will not know where to look. The dealer gives you a clean bill of health, than buy that one. June

Otherwise buy a really cheap car and replace it when it breaks. This choise is risky with children in my opinion.


My Volvo cars owned
1989 740 GLT ordered
1994 850 4door standard shift ordered
1996 960 ordered
1998 S90 ordered totalled after 3 weeks
1998 V70 GT dealer stock car
2002 S80 T6 ordered totalled
2004 S80 T6 dealer stock car and current car owned

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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by bmdubya1198 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:04 pm

Lots of great points, June!
I've dealt with quite a few cars now, and there is no such thing as a perfect, maintenance-free car. These Volvos are great cars, and if you take care of it, it will take care of you. Read around on this site, there are loads of threads talking about issues you should know about. In my opinion, these Volvos are pretty dependable cars. They're built to last. But, they don't come without occasional headaches.
Have a Volvo shop or dealer look over the car before buying. These are reliable cars when taken care of. If you are on top of maintenance this car will last.
If you end up buying and there is not a record of the timing belt being done, take care of that. I would recommend the front and rear cam seals being done at the same time just to be safe. Then there is the other usual stuff... coolant hoses, any leaks, etc... have it all taken care of. Then of course take care of regular maintenance like oil changes, changing filters, brakes, tires, etc.
I can't come up with a list right now, but as I said, look over this forum for common issues. Also check out RobertDIY on Youtube. Robert is very knowledgeable about these cars and he has some great videos for pre-purchase inspections and whatnot.


2000 V70R Venetian Red/Charcoal M56 Swapped 188k
2001 S60 2.4T Black/Black 230k
2003 S60 2.4T Silver/Black 106k
2007 XC90 V8 AWD Sport Titanium Grey/Black 155k
1998 S90- Silver/Gray 207k
Sold-
1998 V70 GLT Black/Beige 193k
1995 850 GLT Tropic Green... crushed
1988 744 Turbo M46 Beige Metallic/Beige 188k- Never should have sold it

Need used parts? PM me!

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Re: ADVICE PLEASE... Should I buy?

Post by scot850 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:21 pm

If you are a competent person with car repairs, even then these cars can be a challenge financially and technically. I am with June on this. At this age few if any cars have been maintained. They are at the bottom of their value curve, and most are minimally maintained. The sellers are passing the vehicles on usually because there are known but undeclared expensive repairs needed.

We have a lady who is a single mother, with limited budget, and probably time to repair a car even if she wanted to and has the skills (no this is no meant to be a knock to women as I know many can repair their own cars if they wish to). At this age, most can have many hundreds of $$$'s in repairs to bring them back like I said earlier. Even newer cars can similarly be challenged but just cost a lot more. You have to be very careful and selective and have the vehicle inspected as June suggests by someone knowledgeable in the brand to give some confidence. All the brands that used to be know for reliability are now a shadow of their former selves. Volvo 240's, Toyotas of 80's and 90's, Subarus of the 80's and 90's also.

This is a case of finding a low mileage car (if possible) that has a good recent (last 3-4 years) or full service history with a good repair shop. Have it inspected and try for as basic a spec as possible to minimize complex electrical failure (usually expensive).

Neil.
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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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