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Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

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

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callahanoffroad
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Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by callahanoffroad » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:30 pm

I was working on Herman (link in Signature) this last week, and found that the #5 cylinder's exhaust valve stem seal is leaking. Just looking at my options here. I'm sure there are things I haven't considered.

Herman is a '95 base (non turbo) manual with 245,000 miles. I've rebuilt or replaced almost every other wear and tear component on the car already. I use him for delivery and drive about 30,000 miles a year in him. So this is purely a business decision. Also a business deduction :lol: but I like to keep him well maintained. He's like a beloved draft horse. He's not fast and he eats too much but he feeds my family.

I have a garage to work in and plenty of tools, but may need some specific tools depending on the job.

Here are the options as I see them, and I would love to hear some opinions.

1: Pull the cam cover, replace all 20 valve stem seals and the cam seals. ~$100 including tools, maybe 8 hours of labor. This seems pretty easy to me and also the most affordable short term solution.

2: Pull the head and rebuild the entire cylinder head myself. $250 in parts $250 in tools and $100 in machine shop labor. ~$600 plus 2-3 days of labor. Plus waiting for the machine shop, renting a car etc. This seems like the most prudent, but also most intensive solution.

3: buy a rebuilt head and swap it in myself. ~$700 in parts, $100/tools about a day's worth of labor. This seems like a nice compromise between one and two.

4: buy a low mileage used engine. Around ~$400-700 parts, $100 in misc fluids, $140 for engine hoist. Would probably take me about a day, maybe two. I like the idea of an engine with less wear, plus I can change the timing belt and water pump, etc before it goes into the car. I've swapped engines before and it's pretty easy.

5: buy another 850 and swap all the new bits of Herman and into another car. ~$1000 this is the most expensive option, but may be the easiest and best use of funds. My concern is that no one sells Volvo's that run well. At least that's my experience. You're buying everything that person decided not to fix (which is why they're selling!)

I invite your thoughts.
Author, Chef, and Shade Tree Mechanic

1995 Volvo 850, Non-Turbo, VVIS, LH FI, Green, 215,000 miles. B5254FS engine. Herman. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=84393

1996 Volvo 850, died at 280,000

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alschnertz
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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by alschnertz » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:37 pm

Option # 1.
But I think your cost and time estimates are low.
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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by WhatAmIDoing » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:41 pm

Have you already tried a bottle of ATP AT-205? Didn't stop all my oil leaks, but dramatically lowered oil consumption.
'98 S70 T5M - 276,000+mi - forever a project
'99 S70 "AWD" - 220,000+mi - wrecked :cry:
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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by crlande » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:50 pm

Yup was thinking the same thing. ATP 205 helps my '94 850 with over 300,000 stop puffing some blue smoke. $10.00 Amazon

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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by callahanoffroad » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:16 pm

image000000_03.jpg
Atp is already in the oil. 8) There was a large build-up of oil in the exhaust port. Only noticed it because I had to remove the exhaust manifold and get it repaired. :D
Author, Chef, and Shade Tree Mechanic

1995 Volvo 850, Non-Turbo, VVIS, LH FI, Green, 215,000 miles. B5254FS engine. Herman. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=84393

1996 Volvo 850, died at 280,000

Founder of: CookingForChemo.Org

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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by erikv11 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:22 pm

I like #1 and #4, in that order. #4 if compression is sketchy on your current engine.

My recommendations on pulling the head is never do it unless you have to. There are times when it is warranted but I try to stay away from them. They never go back together as well as when they left the factory, and done properly it is a much more consuming process than a no-brainer like an engine swap.

Or buy that 97 T5 manual in Wichita that Rick posted last week, that thing is sweet.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 165k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by abscate » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:41 pm

You want to source a new engine with good history and get it sorted out while you still use Herman for income, then plan a 2 day break to install the new engine.

Plan should to get 3 more years/ 100,000k out of the new engine
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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by erikv11 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:57 pm

^^ good plan
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 165k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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callahanoffroad

Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by callahanoffroad » Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:19 am

Thanks for the input everyone!

Any tips on sourcing a low mileage engine? I tried using car-parts.com but so many of those parts listings don't have mileage numbers listed online. I know Greg850r has a NA motor just hanging out. I'll have to call him and get the story.

Right now I'm leaning towards replacing the valve stem seals without removing the head. I would also do all the other upper engine seals at the same time using the Victor Reinz kit #02-33440-02 (~$75) and of course I would also need that fancy anerobic sealant (~$25).

I've done very little research on the valve stem seals but it looks like Reinz is the OEM for the seals? FCP Euro has it listed as Reinz as well. VOLVO branded seals are $7/pop ($140 total) the Reinz seals are $0.34/each ($6.80 total). I've also been reading that the Volvo seals are better? Or maybe it's a superstition. I don't know. But that hasn't been the case in other parts. Aisin water pump has Volvo grinded off. Lemforded control arms are identical. Etc etc.

Thoughts on that?

Thanks again everyone.
Author, Chef, and Shade Tree Mechanic

1995 Volvo 850, Non-Turbo, VVIS, LH FI, Green, 215,000 miles. B5254FS engine. Herman. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=84393

1996 Volvo 850, died at 280,000

Founder of: CookingForChemo.Org

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abscate
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Re: Leaking Valve Stem Seals, Need Help Making A Decision. '95 Base Manual

Post by abscate » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:24 am

You can buy the Volvo seals as a set for about half that.

There are threads that the cheap seals don't last.

The one flaw in the replacement engine approach is sourcing, which is going to get more and more difficult

Permatex 51813 is under 10 bucks at your FLAPS/Amazon/online retailer. - Thats another $15 saved!
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