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Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

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

wrybread
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Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by wrybread » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:11 am

I spent the day tearing apart my new-to-me 2000 S70, and a good part of that was spent cursing at the build quality of some of the components. For example it seems pretty close to impossible to remove any panel without breaking a bracket or the panel itself, and those flimsy brackets are used bizarrely often, even to hold the speakers in. Is it even possible to remove those orange screw type brackets that hold in the front door speakers without mangling them?

And the "leather" on my door panels seems designed to fail eventually.

And I haven't figured out how to remove a switch from the dashboard without breaking it, but that's probably just because I don't know how to yet. But they're so so fragile. Flimsy. And those are just a couple of examples.

The only other Volvo I have experience with is the 240, which seems designed to last forever compared to the S70.

Granted I'm talking about really superficial things, and (knock on keyboard) I haven't had any mechanical issue at all, and of course that's what really counts. And I still super love my S70, especially once it's on the freeway.

But I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on the longevity of the vehicle? Do you think it's built to last?

And to be clear, I'm not saying it isn't built to last, I'm just curious to hear what other people think about this, largely to ease my fears.

Incidentally on the subject of the 240, if you haven't seen this review, it gets my vote for best bit of automotive journalism of all time (although I wish it were possible for me to edit out that ending, ha):




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erikv11
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erikv11

Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by erikv11 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:33 am

For the switches, pull a panel here or there or pull the radio etc, then reach over/up and pop them out from the back.


'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: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by Sommerfeldt » Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:20 am

It seemed to me that the S70 T5 I had for a while was indeed a little less sturdy than the 850s. Probably a subjective opinion, but that was my impression.

As for taking them apart, you do need to have the right tools and a lengthy Google/YouTube search history to be able to avoid breaking things. Unlike in the 850s, you do need the interior trim removal tools (the "forks" and stuff) to avoid breaking brackets and fasteners. Switches, like erikv says, has to be taken out from the back - that's the same with 850s as well - if you want to avoid breaking switches, wires and connectors. Remember that even the "blanks" usually have connectors fastened to them on the back, for whatever option you don't have on your trim level.

The leather will cook if the car is left uncovered in the sun, and so will the glue here and there. Not a big issue up here in the north, where these cars were conceived and more often than not built, but in climates where the sun bakes and summer lasts more than a week, it's going to be an issue.

We do have to keep in mind that your S70 is coming up on 20 years old. My 850 is 23 years old, and these cars were not bought as "collectibles". Granted they were "luxury" level cars, but they've often been used and abused by multiple owners, cooking the leather, slamming doors, kicking dashboards and not cleaning interiors for years on end... I guess your switches are testaments to that... :P They've not been considered "classics" or something to particularly care for up until now, so... yeah.

Best advice is to stop if something doesn't come off or go on as expected, and search, read, search. Mainly here on MVS. :D Don't ever buy parts on FCPEuro, and get yourself those interior trim tools. ;)

- S


'96 855 T5, R bumper and spoiler, Koni Yellows & blue H&R springs all 'round.

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abscate
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abscate

Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by abscate » Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:24 am

If you live in a place with heat, ozone, or sun plastic stuff will age and crack on any car.

Releasing trim and switches requires research , if you just wing it you will break stuff.


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Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by callahanoffroad » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:40 am

I think longevity is the wrong word. I learned working with Land Rovers and Land Cruisers that longevity is a subjective concept. Everyone perceives that Toyotas are unbelievably reliable and that Land Rovers are not, especially the ones with the old Rover v8. Well it's a hell of a lot easier to take parts of a Rover v8 that's had regular maintenance than a Toyota that's never had regular maintenance bc they're "indestructible." All parts have a rated time under different environmental circumstances that they are rated for. Plastic kept in a sealed bunker lasts much longer than plastic in the Sonora desert. The thing about s70's is that they were a transition from Volvo making "premium" level cars to "luxury" level cars. The 850 is a premium car, s70 is luxury. As such luxury cars have materials that are nicer to look at but don't last as long (typically). Look at the door panels from a '99 civic. They're made of carpet and plastic. You door panels are curved, molded and made of a variety of materials. Guess which one was more difficult to make? And as such it will be more difficult to maintain. Really the question on longevity is how long are you willing to maintain certain things? Are you willing to rebuild your interior by hand? Or pay someone? Source parts from junkyards every weekend?

The beauty of the p80 Volvo's is that as long as you're willing to keep putting time parts and money into them they will go forever. They very rarely ever rust out so the platform itself is usually never the issue. My biggest issue right now with my 850 is an obnoxiously broken dashboard.

So my advice would be to just take it slow. Don't jump into projects and do tons of reading before you tackle anything. Oh and never ever ask what kind of oil or gas people prefer....
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wrybread
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Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by wrybread » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:11 am

Thanks, great tips. Any advice on what trim tools specifically to get?

I came close to modding my front doors so they didn't use the bracket system they came with, but my friend talked me out of it, and I guess I have to thank him for that.



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Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by ZionXIX » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:16 am

Sommerfeldt wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:20 am
Mainly here on MVS. :D Don't ever buy parts on FCPEuro

- S
Agreed, unless they want to undo what they have done.
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GlennG2759
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GlennG2759

Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by GlennG2759 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:20 am

Harbor freight sells a good hard plastic
4 pc. Interior trim removal kit for $7.99.



wrybread
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Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by wrybread » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:22 am

Any thoughts on which of these would work best for this car?

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=trim+removal ... _sb_noss_2



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LOB

Re: Thoughts on the longevity of the S70?

Post by LOB » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:46 am

As a swede I have to try to defend Volvo here and make clear that the problem with fragile plastic is foremost a (southern?) US problem. Although I've only got first hand experience with 850 and 960 I've never heard that the plastic is a major problem in a nordic climate (not very comforting as it's also supposed to be a quality vehicle in Texas and Australia....). Volvo had a desert test center in the US (Nevada?) but apparently they didn't choose the right plastic for a hot climate.
When it comes to buying used interior parts maybe it's wise to buy thing from junk yards in Canada and the northern States !?



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