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Replace Turbocharger in a P80 Volvo — DIY Tutorial

This is a lengthy post describing how a non-expert amateur mechanic can replace the 850 turbocharger and save $2000 and perhaps save the car as a whole

This covers how to replace the turbo in an 850, S70, XC70 (1997-2000) or V70 (1998-2000) Volvo.

This is a lengthy post describing how a non-expert amateur mechanic can replace the 850 turbocharger and save $2000 and perhaps save the car as a whole. Includes vacuum paths and related hack. Hopefully, this’ll help other avoid the frustration I went through and to suggest IPD or someone makes a hot-mod part to simplify this. Theoretically, this is a logically straightforward job — remove inlet and outlet tubing as prep, swap turbo itself: 5 bolts, 3 clips. It ain’t — my experience was successful but would be waaaay easier if I had to do again, hence this post.


– Symptoms
– Diagnosis
– Obtain Junkyard Turbo
– Replacement
– Result


We’ve had my wife’s 97 850 GLT wagon since new, has way over 150K miles (odometer died 3 years ago) and she loves it.. It’s been maintained by an independent Volvo specialist up until last few years – about $1600 a year on average and is at the “Any day now it’s going to have an expensive problem and I’m going to have buy her a new one which I can’t afford” stage. It’s a go shopping, see-friend’s car. SAS is bad, didn’t feel the need to spend $800 to fix for non-existent Swedish winter conditions in Silicon Valley.

One day it starts shrieking like a jet engine on turbo spool-up. Pedestrians turn and stare, cyclists panic. Starts with an impressive wheeee at 1800 rpm and develops into a shriek like a Harrier in VTO mode by 3500. It does not sound mechanical at all. My neighbor who has 3 concours-class project cars and 2 full-height Craftsman tool carts agrees. It only does it under load (put foot on brake in gear and rev it). Extensive googling suggest a charge tube air leak. I visit the specialist. “I’ve had 2 of these myself, it’s either the turbo output flex hose to the solid S-pipe over the engine or the pre-intercooler pipe at the front which rubs on an edge of the radiator/fan shroud”. Sounds good. Knowing that if it is the turbo it’ll be expensive and perhaps the much-feared “not worth it” problem, I want to believe this.


I remove these hoses and inspect them- fine. I go back to specialist. “It only needs to be a pinhole, you won’t see it. We can pressure test with smoke tracer for $175”. I can replace them for that, so I do. No improvement.

TIP: The turbo output hose clips are hard to get at: Remove the heatshield- it will jiggle out once unbolted and get a 7mm socket and several extensions and the thinnest ratchet head you can find, There’s little “arc” room for a wrench.

Next idea. Remove turbo inlet pipe from MAF and check for bearing play and condition of PTV. I watch the fcp video … F&index=17 on swapping this inlet tube with a high-performance steel one (Snabb). The nice young man calmly reaches in and wiggles off the piping from the PTV in a few seconds. Mine are caked on and will not come off at all. I hear a plastic cracking noise. I abort.

It’s Turbo Time

A week or so goes by. The noise is getting louder and is now just beginning to sound a bit mechanical, there’s a faint rattle like in an old hairdryer underneath the jet engine whine at say a 45 mph foot stomp. Neighbor and I conclude its the turbo. There are no trouble codes/CEL. I visit a local indy shop that have been good with other cars – it’s the turbo itself they say.

The Volvo specialist will only use Volvo parts ,so its a $2200 job. An ebay one is about $750 plus $4-700 labor at the indy, no warranty with 3rd party (ebay) parts. Their part cost is $900. Furthermore, anyone doing this will likely encounter the plastic tubing problem so another $n00 for doing the PCV and those tubes. Expensive to the point of car-will-have-to-go. Wrong answer.


I read several forum posts re the turbo swap and learn that that the Mistubishi turbo can be swapped in place because it splits at a central circular clip. Sounds easy. I decide visiting the junkyard will provide a low-cost option and allow me to find out how hard this job is plus get a few other bits (broken headlight, armrest etc).

This post … bocharger/ shows which turbo types are on which car – invaluable for junkyarding. I find a 98 V70 which conveniently has the cylinder head and exhaust manifold already gone making access much easier. Also someone has cut the entire exhaust off just below the flex connector after the wastegate bend, very handy. For some reason they had cut off the coolant pipe just before it enters the turbo and had cut off the oil drain line at the sump . I don’t know at the time that these things make the job 999% easier.


I get it off in about an hour, and take the inlet tube as well. It is nice and clean inside – good sign and there’s no discernable side-to-side play when you finger-wiggle the turbo inlet turbine. There is a little bit of end-play. Because the exhaust manifold is gone I get the wastgate elbow and subsequent 90 degree exhaust bend including the emission check sensor and mounting tube with the turbo, as a unit. Thus I didn’t have to deal with any exhaust-related bolts at the junkyard. I can split them off at home. I just cut all the vaccum tubes, leavi ng the clips in place. PicknPull price is $95 with wastgate/emission sensor and intake hose. Deal – but is it it a viable turbo?

TIP: Do not go to a junkyard without PB Blaster (fantastic stuff) and heavy duty 1/2 sockets and preferably a cutting tool if you aren’t as lucky in finding a partially stripped engine as I was. You also need Torx 30 and every 17mm tool variant you can think of, several extensions ad universals, a flex drive is a plus. See below.

Extract the turbo mechanism.

The 13G turbo on these is a Mitsubishi with a central circular clamp that holds the turbo itself onto the wastegate.

TIP: It is very handy having a clone part on the bench while yours is in the car, you can see where everything goes and how to get at it so if you are going to do the job, get the replacement first. I would also recommend purchasing/obtaining:

  • the coolant inlet tube and connector rubber hose (cutting the in-car one may be necessary)
  • the inlet tube from after MAF to turbo – the vacuum nozzles near MAF break off and/or the PTV may be impossible to get out without bending tube/pipes where it mounts
  • some 1/2″ ID heater hose (3′) and a variety of vacuum tubing and connectors. Feel free to buy the expensive Volvo or fcpeuro colored ones or get similar for cheap from Pep Boys whatever. See below
  • applicable tube clips. I detest the Volvo oetinger clamps because they are very hard to get off, hard to buy and single-use, not helpful for amateurs.

Turbo Replacement


  1. Remove Inlet tubing from MAF to Turbo
  2. Remove or cut turbo vaccum connections (3)
  3. Remove heatshield and turbo piping
  4. Split turbo and remove
  5. Install/reconnect replacement turbo
  6. Replace inlet and outlet tubing etc


1. Remove Inlet tubing from MAF to Turbo

Remove air cleaner cover
Disconnect MAF sensor and vacuum elbow and the short vaccum tube on underside of inlet near MAF. This is coded blue and goes to central/blue tube on TCV. The MAF is supposed to “pop out” of the inlet tube. Mine wouldn’t so I unscrewed it leaving it on the inlet and got it out on the bench later with lots a wd40 and a hairdryer and screwdriver to pry it.

TIP: I found it impossible to undo/slide ANY of the vacuum connection spring clips without wrecking the tubes, so cut them at the clip. There’s probably some special pliers that compress these spring clips nicely – couldn’t find one. I found that that a 1″ binder clip works pretty well and is very compact.. Get one or develop robust callouses on your fingertips and a strong thumbnail and you can do with fingers, but it hurts. Nobody seems to sell screw clips this small.

Now you “simply reach down and unplug the PTV electrical connector and 2 (not-clipped on) tubes” Hah! Almost any movement of these will cause the plastic tubing inside the foam rubber cover tubes to crack if they are old – ie normal. The fix for this is remove the inlet manifold, service the PCV and replace the tubes. I couldn’t face that – wanted to know if the junkyard turbo was going to work so I hacked a solution them. See Plastic piping hack.

TIP: one other reason these guys break is they are clamped to the end of the block with a very strong clamp thus restricting any flex. So, flex the inlet tube up at the flexy part and bend open those block clamps first. If these tubes are going to break , you kinda need to decide where you want to break to be. My suggestion is to cut them about 6 inches away from where they join the inlet tube – you can patch them with a cheapo vaccum connector and then removing the inlet tube with the stubs attached is easy.

Undo the inlet tube clamp at the turbo – use a 7mm on a long extension and withdraw the inlet tube. When I did this I heard a slight clink, looked inside the turbo inlet and found several small balls of brassy metal sitting in the tube. Obviously turbo was shot. Broken up metal is rarely good.

With the tube out, you can get the PTV off – WD40 and a screwdriver to pry out the gasket and see how the connections go to the plastic tubes (and then take them to the store to find connectors/connector tubing). Clean the PTV out (parts cleaner and a poking stick) – mine was 60% clogged and the inside of the tube itself was caked with goo. The one from the yard was pretty clean inside – a good sign the junker turbo hadn’t been laboring in filth.

2: Remove Turbo Vacuum connections

Color-code the hoses if not already and color-code the turbo you’re going to put in. There are 3, 2 go to the TCV attached to the aircleaner body and one goes to the front, This diagram … php?t=6941 is nice but on my car the one coldored green goes to a red-dot on the TCV and has a Volvo red-color band on it. So my color scheme, consistent with Volvo hose color banding and dots is shown below (at #4)

  • Blue – short: nipple on underside of top of Inlet tube near MAF to blue/center connection on TCV
  • Yellow: TCV yellow-dot to wastegate control valve ( the upper one on turbo)
  • Red: TCV red dot to lower connection next to inlet (note this connection point is larger, has a larger clip and a brass screwed-in nipple)
  • White: goes from front of engine (throttle body I think) to the vertical tube on side of turbo adjacent to block. Don’t confuse this with the white-banded pull-off one on the nipple at bottom curve of inlet hose next to PTV that goes back to the PCV under the inlet manifold.
  • See pic below

The clips are a pain and my hoses were very deteriorated. Also I discovered on removal that the red one had a 120 degree hardened kink in it due to how it had been routed and must have not worked very well. I replaced with one from the junker. I have no idea if there is anything special re these tubes from Volvo. ipd have nice color-coded ones. . Pep Boys have apparently similar bore vacuum or fuel injection tubing.

3. Remove Turbo piping

Remove heatshield – remove strap, remove heatshield bolts, jiggle it out.
PB Blast the top nut on the emission check valve sensor tube pipe where it leaves the exhaust – its the second/top nut on the tube leaving the exhaust. Wait a bit and repeat.
Exhaust Remove turbo-to-intercooler tubing. Remove S-tube clamp. Undo top clamp of S-tube at front, upper clamp at rear, jiggle/wiggle S tube and then remove lower clamp and short hose at turbo.

TIP: Get that nut undone (22mm) and remove the tube. It may be hard but worth it. Leave the rubber tube with special Volvo oetinger clamp attached and wire it up out of the way. (ex. To the S-tube clamp on top of the engine). Getting this out of the way makes life A LOT easier – other write ups don’t mention this – its heat-effect stuck on tight and PB Blaster really works. You will spend some time kneeling on the engine or radiator to reach this and apply force so get a cushion. I had to use a solid open-end 22mm wrench and metal pipe extension to crack it. Maybe heating it helps.


The clips are a pain and my hoses were very deteriorated. Also I discovered on removal that the red one had a 120 degree hardened kink in it due to how it had been routed and must have not worked very well. I replaced with one from the junker. I have no idea if there is anything special re these tubes from Volvo. ipd have nice color-coded ones. . Pep Boys have apparently similar bore vacuum or fuel injection tubing.

Drain coolant. No need to drain oil.
Release the coolant connector tube from the flat heat shield at the left rear where it is bolted with a spring-loaded bolt to the back of the exhaust manifold. Do the PB thing, also heat-stuck tight.

TIP: Cut the 3″ rubber connector at the left hand side to the tube you just unbolted. You can’t pull it out of the tube with it still bolted to the turbo and freeing this tube so you can bend as necessary to get tools on the banjo bolts on the turbo itself really helps.


Warning, Comment and Suggestion:
The Japanese designed the turbo so that every one of its few parts get in each other’s way and Volvo helped by adding an insane inlet coolant tube routing and un-helpful tube path to the emission check valve. The coolant tube has an angled u-bend right above all the turbo connections cleverly blocking any tool handle arc or access. This limits the arc for the central clamp bolt to about 15 degrees. Nice. Had this bend been over to the left in the EMPTY SPACE left of the turbo, access would have been easier and you could disconnect it without cutting the rubber connector. Maybe ipd or someone would like to make one of these in a more helpful shape.

The banjo bolts on the turbo are ingeniously positioned so that you cannot get (most) ratchet wrenches on them (too close to housing of turbo chamber) OR get a decent socket on because there’s only an inch or so before you hit the swell of the wastegate flange. A 17mm socket with a 3/8 drive adapter plug allows a ratchet wrench to fit or you can try a 17mm tilt socket – there’s no depth so only depth-saving stuff works. I also used a deep offset box wrench to get it started, once it is out a bit you can get a ratchet wrench on kinda. Mine were in very tight. PB and WD40. You can bend the coolant tube somewhat (now that the end is free from the above steps). If you regard it as throwaway you can probably save 30 mins and much frustration.


Remove the rear top banjo. You will need a stubby 17mm ratchet wrench, a tilt socket and universals can work. I used a 17mm socket and straight bar to free it but there’s no arc. It is kinda accessible from underneath, your choice.

Jack the car
From underneath, remove the 2 T30 bolts that hold the oil drain pipe. One of these is obscured by the bend in the tube which precluded my T30 socket from fitting – if the tube bend were ¼” different you’d be fine. Helpful. I used a flex drive with a 1/4″ screwdriver T30 bit attachment .


You are now ready to split the turbo.

4: SPLIT THE TURBO and Remove

Undo the central circular clamp adjacent to the wastgate. Hard to use a tool on. Its a special nut- segmented anti-loosen tabs- and does not thread off with fingers. The clamp may need a light tap to loosen and fall off to the floor, no problem. Once removed you will see shiny brass edges with perhaps a slight gap.
I resisted the temptation to drive a wedge in the gap and got a short 4-6″ wooden stick, lodged it against the turbo outlet tube and gave a few light taps with a rubber mallet. The gap widened. Tap gently, you don’t’ want the turbo to fall and/or damage the exhaust-side turbine when it frees up and moves right . If you intend to reuse the turbo I’d suggest shoving a bunch of towels or something under it and trying to hold the body whilst jiggling and/or malleting to protect the turbine . Anyway, it separated pretty easily , could be jiggled out of the car to the right through the ex-inlet tube area. This does risk banging/bending those fragile plastic tubes again of course, so be careful. It’s fairly heavy, but one-hand-able.
The Damage
On inspection the inlet turbine had chunks missing from the blades with loose little balls of metal floating around.


Good news, this was obviously the cause of the noise. As to the cause – bearing wear caused it to start scraping the housing and tear up? Otherwise something got into the intake somehow and hit it? Given the PTV state and consistent forum advice that primary cause of turbo failure is poor oil maintenance I’m going with that.

TIP: Change your oil often and clean the PTV sometimes.

TIP: It does strike me that it is disturbingly easy to drop something into the intake tube and straight to the turbo when you have the air filter out so in future I will always rag-block the tube or air cleaner body whenever filter is out even if for a second. The mesh at the MAF is very coarse- a 10mm nut would go thru it.

5. Install replacement turbo and connections

Pretty straightforward “reversal of the above procedure” except the order matters, access is horrid and the clips are a pain. Get some string.

TIP- Vacuum: It might be easier to connect at least the TCV connection tubes (red, yellow) to the turbo first and connect them to the TCV when in the car. Otherwise, generously WD40 the outside of the tubes so that the clips slide better and put a drop on the inside so they slide on to the mounting tube. I found I could slide the clips on by pinching the single part of the clip under thumbnail and pressing the other two tabs with fingers, and/or use the binder clip, it hurts but gloves don’t work.

My first attempt put the turbo in place, locked the surround clip, added all the top banjos. Very slow due to access issues but going well I thought. I then went underneath to do the drain pipe – wont go on, OMFG – had to remove everything and redo just to rotate the clamp 10 degrees. Not happy. Yelled at wife.

MAJOR TIP: Better approach is: Get the turbo unit inserted into the wastgate, get the clip slid around it and tie the clip together with string. This stops the clip falling down – you’ll drop it at least twice and allows you to rotate the turbo in place a bit to get at stuff. You cant hold the turbo in place, hold the clip and get the bolt in and nut on in one go, hence strings. Almost any tightening of the clip with its bolt locks turbo and clip in place. Unless the clip is in exactly the right rotational position, the bottom (join part) of the clip blocks the oil drain tube which a normal person would expect to bolt on last. So once you have the clip on, go underneath and do the drain pipe. You will discover that the clip join is obscuring the oil drain flange. So go out again, get a screwdriver and light hammer and go back underneath .With screwdriver on clip join, light tap the clip around so that bolt part at the top is moving toward the block. When looked at from the top (I realize you’re underneath at this point) the bolt center is about 25% degrees forward towards the block from vertical. This seems to be the only position that works. You’ll love that string at this point. (Its string because you can insert the bolt with string in place, probably can’t do that with wire). Attach the oil drain pipe – there’s a gasket, add some goop. Start the banjo at the rear of the turbo (coolant ) – you have better access from top to tighten it. Come out and start working from the top.

Put the bolt in and fasten the circular clip.

Add the oil banjo to rear. FYI there’s a non-retained washer that goes underneath the banjos.

TIP: All the banjo (oil and water) threads were fairly crudded up – clean them well before re-assembly or replace. 6pt sockets are best on these. My cheapo 17mm 12pt sockets rounded one, neighbor’s Craftsman 6pts didn’t.

Now you have to add the front coolant pipe and banjo – it’s just a major pain. If you attach it to turbo first, you wont get the end into the rubber connector at block far left. My method involved a lot of lubing and some bending but I think the pipe had been bent on removal from both my car and the junker one. So: lube the rubber pipe and metal end a lot, insert into rubber tube – do not fasten tube clip or mount flange heatshield bolt. Twist and cajole pipe into position to insert banjo. Access is awkward – worst part of job other than the clip/oil drain issue. Remember to tighten the clip at block left and reattached heatshield spring bolt through pipe’s attachment flange.

Sidebar: It’s stuff like this that just makes you wonder. Must have been an ice-hole bathing & aquavit day for the Volvo design staff.


Now reattach EMISSION CHECK VALVE sensor tube to exhaust (it has been hanging around wired up out of the way). 22mm open wrench.

Reattach wastgate control arm and clip. I didn’t adjust anything, seemed to go on as had come off. There’s videos on how to adjust if necessary. I expect I’m wasting x% of top boost, do another day. I want to know if I have a viable car – in dread that junkyard turbo was bad also.

Add the output (charge) piping back to the intercooler. Easy. Turbo is re-installed.!! Now for the vacuum connections and intake tube.


Turbo vaccum tube connect -If you added them beforehand, reconnect to TCV and add the white one, otherwise hook them up.

6. Intake re-install.

Logically easy – reconnect PTV tube and the 2 others, tighten clip at turbo. I my case the plastic tubing both thick and thin had broken at the retaining strap in middle of the end of the block slightly to right of distributor. I did not want to pull the inlet manifold, do the PCV and replace all the tubing just to find out I had another bad turbo (plus I hadn’t ordered the parts), so I hacked it.

Plastic Piping hack : Not sure this is recommended but it’s what I did – easy, cheap and worked.

Thick tube: 1/2″ ID heater hose from PEP fits with screw clamps. This doesn’t bend much in a short span and if you have stiff rubber tube that you try to push onto fragile plastic pipe at an angle you’ll break it again. Also this heater hose doesn’t directly fit on the PTV valve nipple. So I lubed the inside, pushed and clipped it straight onto the broken pipe at block-end and wait for it, I looped it in a big circle so that the end aligned “naturally” with the broken stub at the PTV elbow and used a screw clip. Extremely fancy. Quite possibly the extra length of travel is having some marginal impact but seeing that the whole purpose of this is to allow Volvo to preheat the oil vapor at the PTV (for what climate or cold-running condition ?????) I don’t care.


Thin tube. There’s flexible vaccum tube that kinda matches this or ridged “hard emission tubing” that closely matches the Volvo type. The first would have been easiest – flexible. I used the hard stuff as it seemed the most similar. This doesn’t bend tightly either (it was kinda locked into a loop from the packaging), hair dryer heating didn’t seem to help much – try boiling it, so I did the big-loop . Simple well-lubed push on vaccum connectors seemed to work. I couldn’t find clips anywhere that fit – and anyway the connections at the inlet tube don’t have clips so what the heck. This tubing is extremely fragile when old. Take a breather before you start this and proceed very gently. Get in a comfortable position. Hum a classic. I broke the small tube again rushing to get finished.


You have recovered from broken plastic tubing and can proceed to turbo testing any minute now.


Started first time. Let idle for a while. No leaks!. Rev’d it a bit until thermostat opened – no leaks. Stopped it and checked for any Codes – (expected emissions or related ‘cos of all the vacuum hacking). Clear!

Load test: Put in gear foot on brake, revved to 2500 – no nasty noises. Checked for codes again, good. Test drove fine – I think the mid-range turbo effect may be lightly off (ex. acceleration at say 50 mph), but lower end pickup seems normal. Been a few days now and seems all fine. I’ll leave it a bit, have a solid speedy freeway run and see how things go. Maybe check the wastegate setting.

One brain half says do the PCV and replace all the plastic tubing – research a viable flexible tube replacement. Other half says I’ve saved a bunch of $$, feel clever, wife has car back, seems to run generally fine, so keep on eye out for oily vapor/deposits (indicating tubing leaks) and/or PTV-related codes and chill.
Now for the cupholder!

Some of the pics got cropped. Don’t know why. They are all here and look right if you click on ’em

Replace Turbo in an 850, S70, XC70 (1997-2000) or V70 (1998-2000) Volvo

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