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Which ones are good and which are trouble?

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).
Ozark Lee
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Ozark Lee

Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by Ozark Lee » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:24 pm

I looked through the major topics and nothing really directly addressed the whole spectrum of options, particularly pre 2006.

Some clown got liquored up and had a fender bender in front of my wife's office and in the process of making a run from the original accident he managed to hit seven more cars, my wife's V70XC included.

A month later we finally get a call from his insurance carrier and the adjuster meeting is set up for next week. The car will no doubt be a total loss.

In looking for a replacement we have been looking at the XC 90s but I'm not sure which to avoid. The budget is low so I will be looking at something likely 06 or older. I really want to avoid the kind of mess like the early 5 speed automatics had and I guess some of the 6 cylinders and 8 cylinders had some problems. Most of what I see are the 3.2 engines but there are a few T5s. I would guess the T5 is pretty bulletproof but what about the rest of the drivetrain options? AWD is nice but not really an absolute necessity.

Thanks in advance,

...Lee


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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by oragex » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:51 pm

The 2003-2005 T6 biturbo are the ones with the GM transmission. Usually very cheap. You may find one which had the transmission replaced 20000 miles ago, good for another 30000 miles. But most go on sale when the transmission starts acting - a mere $5000+ fix

Other than that, the XC90 is not a cheap car to run. It really depends how much the previous owner has already spent fixing it. If he didn't put much money into it, you are going to do it. The 3.2 engine is fine but has a thermostat that fails and overheats the engine so it can do some damage if the car keeps running hot. It also has the infamous R.E.A.D that's expensive and almost only Volvo can do it. The 8 cylinder adds to the bill when it comes to replace tensioners and normal engine wear items. There's no T5 but there's the 2.5T which is the cheaper to run but also has a little less guts. All AWD up to mid 2007 will fail but many have already been repaired.
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Ozark Lee


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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by RickHaleParker » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:01 pm

Ozark Lee wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:24 pm
In looking for a replacement we have been looking at the XC 90s but I'm not sure which to avoid. The budget is low so I will be looking at something likely 06 or older.
It is the 2003-2005 XC90 T6 Equipped with a six cylinders engine and GM 4T65EV transmission that had the premature transmission failures.

The 2003-2005 XC90 equipped with a five cylinders engine and Aisin 50/51 transmission did not have the premature transmission failures. Often you can pick up a 2003 - 2005 XC90 five cylinder cheap because too many people know the years but not the trim level to avoid.
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Platform: P80 1998 C70, B5234T3, AW50-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4, Special Edition package, Plant: Uddevalla Sweden.

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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by pchalpin » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:51 pm

I have a 2005 XC90 V8 with 140,000 miles, bought it new

1. Eats tires - on my 5th set
2. Eats rear axle bearings- on 3rd set
3. Leaks oil - costs more to fix than car is worth
4. Plastic shifter button breaks so you are stuck in Park until it's replaced
5. Alternator replaced at 70,000 - need to disassemble suspension to get at it
6. Traction control message on for ten years
7. Interior plastic brittle so it all eventually cracks and breaks - replaced most of it - did power set switch holder twice
8. Replaced tie rods at 100,000
9. Replaced both outside mirrors - junk motors
10 Replaced gas filler neck to get rid of CEL
11. And on and on and on

I have 3 Toyotas, 1991, 1994, 2000. All over 100,000 miles. Never had ANY of the issues like that freakin Volvo.

Buy a Toyota. Just my humble opinion.
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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by mrbrian200 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:15 pm

If you're looking to minimize maintenance time and costs stick with the front wheel drive turbo or non turbo variants. And yes, probably avoid the early 'T6' models that used the GM made transmission, which is the XC90 "T6" 2003-2005, and the S80 "T6" 1999-2005. If you're not concerned with performance non-turbo naturally aspirated engines, which are a little less complicated to work on/diagnose issues, can be found as an 'option' most models. However in many cases non-turbo engines in this year range tend to be part of 'base packages' that usually lack many of the niceties you tend to want or expect when you're in the market for a luxury model - such as power or heated seats, heated side mirrors, computer climate control, better sounding audio, nicer looking interiors, parking sensors, electronic rear view mirror, etc.

If in the end you decide to up the budget into a somewhat newer model year, beware of the balance shaft issue on the "V8" engines where the shaft bearings rust if the engine is exposed to water (such as when cleaning the engine bay) and the engine has to be half torn apart to fix it. If this service has ever been peformed on a specific vehicle, I believe the replacement parts/procedure either uses more resiliant bearings and/or seals out the water from causing the issue again - so if looking at a model with the "V8" engine, service history is particularly useful in regard to this issue.
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Ozark Lee
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Ozark Lee

Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by Ozark Lee » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:46 pm

Thanks guys, exactly what I needed to know!

...Lee


'94 850 N/A 5 speed
'96 Platinum Edition Turbo
'99 V70XC - Nautic Blue
Previous:
1999 V70XC - RIP - Wrecked Parts Car.
1998 S70 T5
1996 850 N/A
1989 740 GLT
1986 740 GLT
1972 142 Grand Luxe

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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by matthew1 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:34 pm



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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by cn90 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:37 pm

- Bought my 2005 XC90 2.5T AWD with 82K miles back in 2014 (it was 9 years old at that time) for $11,000.
Now it has 120K and is bullet-proof.

- The angle gear sleeve is gone now, so it is basically a FWD car.

- If I were you, I would find a 2005 or 2006 XC90 FWD with 2.5T with around 80K-90K. It is now about $5K-$6K range. Good value for the car.

- The name of the game is being patient, this car will show up.

- OTOH, a 2004-2006 BMW 3.0i engine with 80K-100K is also a good choice. I have a 2006 X5 3.0i 6spMT car and it is a great car.

PS: I stayed away from the 3.2 Ford engine simply b/c of the R.E.A.D. issue. Plus the 3.2 is not as powerful as the 2.5T.


2004 V70 2.5T 100K+
2005 XC90 2.5T 110K+

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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by wanderdüne » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:09 am

Here's my take,

2003-2006 2.5T = All good, 2006 is best. Plenty of power unless you like to hammer down a lot. If you don't need AWD, then you don't need it. Slightly better fuel economy, lighter vehicle and less to go wrong. Hands down most reliable and easiest to work on.

2003-2006 T6 = Good engine, too much power for the GM transmission with the Volvo modifications. So yes, suspect transmissions, most, but not all will fail at some point. Triple Edge transmission rebuild kit is the supposed gold standard here. Much like the 2001-2002 V/XC70 transmission debacle.

2005-2006 V8 = Great great engine, but it's shoe-horned in there and to me that's a non-starter in terms of repair-ability. Also, the balance shaft issue from 2005-mid? 2006 with the bearing water corrosion problem is not great. There is a engine # cutoff where they began drilling a drain hole to alleviate the problem. Verify what that # is online in the forums. By far the best performance, but at the cost of service-ability and I suspect increased replacement of all the consumables: tires, brakes, front end, etc.

2007-up 3.2 and V8 = Don't know much beyond the 2007 3.2 is alleged to have transmission issues.

I have an '03 T6 and an '04 2.5T. Like them both; but the 2.5T gives a lot more peace of mind. XC90's require replacement of all front (and rear) suspension, brakes, tires etc. at a higher rate than other Volvo models, but have immense crash safety. If you don't already have it, get a VIDA/Dice unit. Do not purchase without a complete inspection by an expert level Volvo Mechanic if possible. If not possible, scan the car yourself with VIDA/Dice and get a mechanical inspection as best you can. Obtain as many service records as you can; service history is important.

I would recommend any 2003-2006 2.5T, but especially the 2006 2.5T FWD or AWD as the best possible choice. Best trim level. Fly across the country if you have to- in my opinion.



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Re: Which ones are good and which are trouble?

Post by RickHaleParker » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:55 am

wanderdüne wrote: ↑
Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:09 am
2003-2006 T6 = Good engine, too much power for the GM transmission with the Volvo modifications.
The same drive train was used in the S80 AWD. The difference between the S80 AWD and the XC90 T6 ... 1000 pounds. The weight and the drag of the XC90 overworks the GM transmission. The difference between the way people use cars vs trucks is a likely factor also. Trucks are for hauling.


Platform: P80 1998 C70, B5234T3, AW50-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4, Special Edition package, Plant: Uddevalla Sweden.

Platform: X40 (Nedcar) 2003 S40, B4204T3, AW55-50/51SN, Siemens EMS 2000. Plant: Born Netherlands.
----------------------------------------------------------------
1997 S90, B6304S, AW30-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4 - Sold

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