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Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on Volvo XC90s. The XC90 proved to be very popular, and very good for Volvo's sales numbers, since its introduction in model year 2003 (North America).
scot850
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scot850

Volvo Repair Database Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by scot850 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:26 pm

I am considering buying an XC90. Previously I had said I would never buy one, but we may need a bigger vehicle as our new puppy looks like she will be a pony!

I know the best ones are supposed to be 2009-, but the newer ones have the crap gutless 3.2 engine or the V8. I am therefore limited to the 2004-2006 I5T engine. It may take some time to find a lower mileage one, but what are the major points I should look out for?

I have heard they have issues with wheel bearings and prop-shafts to name a couple. Anything else to watch out for?

Thanks,

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

scot850
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scot850

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by scot850 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:56 pm

So no advice on purchasing an XC90? They are all perfect with no issues? If they are anything like any other Volvo I have owned in the last 20 years (let alone the last 40+ years) there will be issues. Front suspension (recalls on the ball joint failure), do they suffer from upper spring seat issues, front control arm bushes prematurely wearing out, fragile interiors, I am familiar with the 5 cylinder engines (had 5 P80's and a P2), are transmissions weak like the early 2000's 5 speed autos, how are the AWD systems (post 2004 Haldex systems are they prone to pump failure, control board failures)?

Thanks,

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

cuhfs
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cuhfs

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by cuhfs » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:10 pm

Sorry for the delayed response. I am a new 2006 xc90 owner... so not a lot to add but for sure the transmission IS a very common problem. if it has a tow hitch on the one you are looking at... run. Test drive a good amount and make sure the trans fluid heats up to determine if it has the flare problem which usually shows up when the trans is warm.


95 850 Sedan Auto Trans
98 V70 Manual Trans
01 C70 Manual Trans
03 XC70 Auto
04 C70 Auto
06 XC90 Auto (ORE)
96 850 Wagon Manual Trans (parts car)

cuhfs
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cuhfs

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by cuhfs » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:25 am

Another FYI since I know you are very familiar with the repairs on the other cars... The XC90 seems to have more parts to remove on every repair I do. In other words, for aesthetic appearance improvements Volvo added extra plastic covers in engine compartment which trap heat, and other repairs also have had to remove added parts too. Once you peel back the onion it begins to look familiar. Perhaps all car brands are like that since at some point a car is car, is a car and they function relatively the same (gas, spark and compression etc...).


95 850 Sedan Auto Trans
98 V70 Manual Trans
01 C70 Manual Trans
03 XC70 Auto
04 C70 Auto
06 XC90 Auto (ORE)
96 850 Wagon Manual Trans (parts car)

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ggleavitt
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ggleavitt

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by ggleavitt » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:50 pm



2005 2.5T AWD-195k
2008 V8 AWD Sport-125k

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ogatrulle
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ogatrulle

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by ogatrulle » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:52 am

scot850 wrote:the newer ones have the crap gutless 3.2 engine
I have an 08 3.2 FWD. Sure, it isn't a rocket like my 96 Deville, but I have found the power to be quite adequate (for instance, merging uphill onto a 65mph freeway). I avoided the AWD because I equated that with more failure points, lower available power, and I don't have to deal with snow.

I bought it at 35kmi and now have 93kmi on it. This is only a sample size of 1, but my issues have been:

- some water in the driver's footwell. I'd rather not have a sun roof, but it is standard. I took off the A-pillar covers, snipped off the + shaped ends of the drains, and added some silicone glue to where the bottom of the drain hose mates with the end. No water in the footwells since.

- Front control arm bushings bad at 85kmi, This seems to be the typical service lifetime. There is plenty of info at this site and other volvo sites about the replacement procedure. The hardest part about the job was getting the various heavy duty cinch straps set up properly to pull down the new arms to get the ball joint studs into the holes. I replaced the ball joints as well. The volvo ball joint tool made it very easy (I used a less-expensive equivalent version of the tool from ebay)

- My rear springs started making a kind of pinging noise when I went over bumps. It was still under warranty, and dealer techs could not figure out the issue at first. Eventually they found a TSB and installed a sound insulator on each rear spring. It looks like a rubber or plastic sleeve that was pushed on to the top 3/4 turn of the spring spiral preventing direct contact between the top of the spring metal and the top spring seat.

- A/C condenser leaked at 70kmi

- drive shafts. There seem to be two variants, I think one with straight splines and one with slightly spiral splines. The straight-spline variant exhibits vibration under heavy acceleration; the spiral-spline variant sometimes "clicks" when you let off the brake after a stop. Pick your poison. After a few back-and-forth swaps under warranty, I stayed with the original vibrating variant because the clicking bugged me more.

- The Volvo brake pads seem to be good at stopping but wear quickly (with concomitant dust on the wheels). I installed ceramic pads which seem to work fine.

- I think the rear parking light bulb sockets are flaky. I sometimes get intermittent warning messages indicating that these bulbs are out, but later in the day they work fine. It hasn't bothered me enough to go at them with electrical contact cleaner yet.

- The sun visors have been a source of irritation because their forward-most position is too low, blocking my view. I am 5'11" and the driver's seat is positioned low. Maybe the guy responsible for designing the sun visors was only 5 feet tall. I haven't found a fix for this issue yet.

- The front seat belt buckles hit the fabric on the upper part of the B-pillar if you let them go when taking off your seat belt, leaving numerous small divots. I consider this to be a stupid design flaw because they could have extended the plastic B-pillar cover another few inches upward to prevent the problem.

Overall, I'm happy with the car. I don't feel unduly burdened by the maintenance requirements so far.


2006 v70 2.5T; 2008 xc90 3.2

scot850
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scot850

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by scot850 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:04 am

Sorry for the delay in getting back and thanking you for your input. Very helpful. You learn something new here all the time. We didn't get a FWD option to my knowledge up here in Canada. I'd prefer AWD because of the winters here, but know there are down-sides to that option.

All Volvo models seem to have the 'quirks'. Still not sure about the 3.2 non-turbo engine. 2.5T seems to have better get up from what I can see and is also tuneable to give more power than the 3.2 and more urgency. Biggest issue is they stopped that option in 2006 so most are high mileage and hard to find a good one. May just have to go and try a 3.2 to see if I can live with it as it gives more newer options available. 2009- are supposed to be the best for reliability. I am laid up with a sprained ankle for a few weeks (has to be the right!).

Thanks again for the help.

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

scot850
Posts: 5498
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:46 pm
Year and Model: 2000 V70 R
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 135 times
Canada
scot850

Re: Buying a XC90 - What should I look out for?

Post by scot850 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:08 am

Thanks also to ggleavitt for the write-ups which are also excellent. Many thanks for doing those, they are very insightful.

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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