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1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

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

Jvkeup
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Jvkeup

1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by Jvkeup » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:56 pm

Hey all!

Two days ago, my 1996 Volvo 850 glt wagons transmission seemed to have failed and lost all gears in my driveway. Reverse first, followed by drive and everything else - I didnt get a CEL or anything. So I got it towed to my local Volvo specialist that night and the next day he said it ran fine for him when cold and then once the engine warmed up fully it would fail (he actually had to get pushed back to the shop)
Before this event, We recently replaced s1&s2 solenoids and a flush and fill after dealing with a limp mode issue (codes relayed to those, not pnp). After that the car was driving great and had no problems. Unfortunately a few months later, they discovered a milk shake going on in the transmission fluid and found a leak from the radiator whilst doing routine fluid checks. We then replaced the radiator, hoses and flushed the system and filled it with Volvo OEM coolant, followed up by a full transmission flush and fill with dexcon III. After that the car was a dream, up until two days ago.

My question is: What could have caused such rapid onset of this, especially being as I have no CEL or anything? Could the new radiator be faulty, causing the transmission to overheat? I hear the radiator cooling fan come on, so I know it does work, but I don’t know the exact pattern it should come on and off etc.

I just don’t know where to go from here. My mechanic has sourced a used transmission with only 28k on it and would install it for about $1750. Before I do that I would like to make sure a new transmission is the right route.

Other facts:
•This car has never overheated as well as my coolant level stays pretty steady between max and min regardless of outside weather or driving conditions.
•This all happened after my usual commute home in stop and go downtown highway traffic
•It’s been extremely hot where I live, 95+ with horrible humidity
• reverse went first (very shaky engagement and wouldn’t go) and then drive and so forth.

Any and all info is appreciated fully! Thanks in advance!!



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MoVolvos
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MoVolvos

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by MoVolvos » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:23 pm

Jvkeup wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:56 pm

followed up by a full transmission flush and fill with dexcon III. After that the car was a dream, up until two days ago.
I just check all sorts of websites and everyone shows ATF with Dexron III/Mercon in smaller letters on the label. Dex III has been long gone, how long? Anyways, purchase a Synthetic Multi-Grade ATF and do a drain and fill and if it improves then you know it is the fluid. If you don't mind spending a little more purchase the entire case and do a flush again.

Currently using this.
https://www.amazon.com/HAVOLINE-2265364 ... 175&sr=8-3

Used this on a friends 98 Sienna before discovering the Haveline. Drain and fill reduce the groaning in the bearing. Didn't have trouble with it for quit a few years thereafter till it was totaled by a phone user.
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b/no ... uid&pos=53

The is the magic bullet for troublesome transmissions. Saved quit a few but has been cost prohibitive in the last couple of year in a case of 24 from the local Rep. Will buy again if the Haveline no longer works well to support an older transmission. Try calling a local Porsche Repair Shop and see if they'll sell you 4 quarts in the 20W for a drain and fill.
https://www.paragon-products.com/Swepco ... co-714.htm
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pfn-swe714

Lastly, if you are able to stabilize your transmission get a Transmission Cooler.


Blessings,

BKM

1998 S70 T5 - Donated
2003 S80 T6
2003 GS300
2003 Odyssey
2008 C30 T5
2019 Atlas SE 4 Motion

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erikv11
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erikv11

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by erikv11 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:11 am

I have only used cheap, Supertech DEXIII (they recently started call it simply "ATF" yes it is also Merc compatible) in all of my P80 cars, and never had any transmission problems. I highly doubt the issue is the fluid and see no reason to change that. Much more likely it is the milkshake. Coolant is very bad fort the transaxle.

First losing reverse, then the forward gears, is the classic way for these transmissions to die.


'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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MoVolvos
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MoVolvos

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by MoVolvos » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 am

Jvkeup wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:56 pm

We then replaced the radiator, hoses and flushed the system and filled it with Volvo OEM coolant, followed up by a full transmission flush and fill with dexcon III. After that the car was a dream, up until two days ago.
How long was the dream before 2 days ago? Still thinking it's fluid. Regardless, that would be the cheapest route to go first. The milk could have done some damage but using a quality fluid with a different additive package could prolong the transmission for sometime.

Heat Is The Main Enemy & Yours Is Fine When Cool - A friend sold me an 88 or 89 Mazda 323 sometime early 2000. The trans-fluid was silverish. Did a flush with some generic ATF. Didn't last long and it limp home on a hot summer day. Had to get off the freeway and take local roads. Long story short. After installing a cooler and better Trans-Fluid it ran great.



-
Transmission Fluid Chart.png
Transmission Fluid Chart.png (470.54 KiB) Viewed 90 times


Blessings,

BKM

1998 S70 T5 - Donated
2003 S80 T6
2003 GS300
2003 Odyssey
2008 C30 T5
2019 Atlas SE 4 Motion

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MoVolvos
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MoVolvos

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by MoVolvos » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:14 am

erikv11 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:11 am
I have only used cheap, Supertech DEXIII (they recently started call it simply "ATF" yes it is also Merc compatible) in all of my P80 cars, and never had any transmission problems. I highly doubt the issue is the fluid and see no reason to change that. Much more likely it is the milkshake. Coolant is very bad fort the transaxle.

First losing reverse, then the forward gears, is the classic way for these transmissions to die.
Transmission fluid like motor oil are not created equal. I think if the transmission had never been stressed it would probably be fine with the Supertech. I agree the milkshake may have done irreparable damage but I think a drain and fill or flush would still be a cheap diagnostic method. If it improves or is a dream again then immediately install the trans-cooler.


Blessings,

BKM

1998 S70 T5 - Donated
2003 S80 T6
2003 GS300
2003 Odyssey
2008 C30 T5
2019 Atlas SE 4 Motion

Jvkeup
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Jvkeup

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by Jvkeup » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:54 am

MoVolvos wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:23 pm
Jvkeup wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:56 pm

followed up by a full transmission flush and fill with dexcon III. After that the car was a dream, up until two days ago.
I just check all sorts of websites and everyone shows ATF with Dexron III/Mercon in smaller letters on the label. Dex III has been long gone, how long? Anyways, purchase a Synthetic Multi-Grade ATF and do a drain and fill and if it improves then you know it is the fluid. If you don't mind spending a little more purchase the entire case and do a flush again.

Currently using this.
https://www.amazon.com/HAVOLINE-2265364 ... 175&sr=8-3

Used this on a friends 98 Sienna before discovering the Haveline. Drain and fill reduce the groaning in the bearing. Didn't have trouble with it for quit a few years thereafter till it was totaled by a phone user.
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b/no ... uid&pos=53

The is the magic bullet for troublesome transmissions. Saved quit a few but has been cost prohibitive in the last couple of year in a case of 24 from the local Rep. Will buy again if the Haveline no longer works well to support an older transmission. Try calling a local Porsche Repair Shop and see if they'll sell you 4 quarts in the 20W for a drain and fill.
https://www.paragon-products.com/Swepco ... co-714.htm
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pfn-swe714

Lastly, if you are able to stabilize your transmission get a Transmission Cooler.

Thanks for the reply, I’m just going by what the work order says was done and that’s where it says dex III. I guess the main question is could this new radiator be faulty? I just don’t want to put a new transmission if it could just be the radiator. Although Before the car was towed I check Trans fluid and it wasn’t milkshake like.



Jvkeup
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Jvkeup

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by Jvkeup » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:57 am

erikv11 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:11 am
I have only used cheap, Supertech DEXIII (they recently started call it simply "ATF" yes it is also Merc compatible) in all of my P80 cars, and never had any transmission problems. I highly doubt the issue is the fluid and see no reason to change that. Much more likely it is the milkshake. Coolant is very bad fort the transaxle.

First losing reverse, then the forward gears, is the classic way for these transmissions to die.
That’s what I’ve been reading, that reverse is the first sign followed up by the others. The main question is, do you think this new radiator could be faulty? I don’t see any milk shake in this fluid before it got towed



Jvkeup
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Jvkeup

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by Jvkeup » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:00 am

MoVolvos wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:05 am
Jvkeup wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:56 pm

We then replaced the radiator, hoses and flushed the system and filled it with Volvo OEM coolant, followed up by a full transmission flush and fill with dexcon III. After that the car was a dream, up until two days ago.
How long was the dream before 2 days ago? Still thinking it's fluid. Regardless, that would be the cheapest route to go first. The milk could have done some damage but using a quality fluid with a different additive package could prolong the transmission for sometime.

Heat Is The Main Enemy & Yours Is Fine When Cool - A friend sold me an 88 or 89 Mazda 323 sometime early 2000. The trans-fluid was silverish. Did a flush with some generic ATF. Didn't last long and it limp home on a hot summer day. Had to get off the freeway and take local roads. Long story short. After installing a cooler and better Trans-Fluid it ran great.



-
Transmission Fluid Chart.png
Haha it was a dream for a couple months after all the transmission work. The real concern of mine is that this radiator could be faulty. I’d hate to put a new transmission in and it really be another leaky radiator.



Jvkeup
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Jvkeup

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by Jvkeup » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:02 am

MoVolvos wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:14 am
erikv11 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:11 am
I have only used cheap, Supertech DEXIII (they recently started call it simply "ATF" yes it is also Merc compatible) in all of my P80 cars, and never had any transmission problems. I highly doubt the issue is the fluid and see no reason to change that. Much more likely it is the milkshake. Coolant is very bad fort the transaxle.

First losing reverse, then the forward gears, is the classic way for these transmissions to die.
Transmission fluid like motor oil are not created equal. I think if the transmission had never been stressed it would probably be fine with the Supertech. I agree the milkshake may have done irreparable damage but I think a drain and fill or flush would still be a cheap diagnostic method. If it improves or is a dream again then immediately install the trans-cooler.

I guess the really question can the radiator being faulty (not engaging) or leaky cause this
Issue?



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erikv11
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erikv11

Re: 1996 850 glt wagon new radiator + transmission issue?

Post by erikv11 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:40 am

If the fluid has no evidence of coolant then I doubt the radiator is breached (broken). I suppose it could be an aftermarket radiator of very poor design or quality that does not cool well, hence the trouble when it heats up? Do you know what brand the radiator is? I'd ask the shop that.

Even though I doubt it is the fluid, I will agree with MoVolvos that changing the fluid is a lot cheaper than a new transmission, so maybe worth it as a relatively cheap test.


'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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