This is a link to an outstanding step-by-step tutorial on replacing the head gasket on a Volvo 5-cylinder engine. This is one of the best tutorials on anything Volvo that I’ve seen anywhere.
This tutorial on how to replace the head gasket (and the other components involved in the process) on a Volvo 850 is very detailed. The vehicle depicted is a non-turbo 1996 Volvo 850. On a turbo, there may be some things a little different. But this should still be of use to you and help you in performing this repair (or in deciding whether you want to do it yourself).
The symptoms our car had that told me it was definitely a head gasket included: a small amount of coolant in the oil, loss of coolant in the reservoir with no visible place it was dripping from, burping of exhaust gases into the coolant reservoir, sweet-smelling white smoke from the exhaust (especially during acceleration), and a history of having been overheated a few weeks prior.
I didn’t know how experienced some people doing (or researching) this repair might be, so I tried to show everything in detail. If you’re an experienced gearhead, please don’t be offended by this. If you’re a novice who’s never done more than change the oil, don’t be intimidated by the magnitude of this job. A person who pays attention to detail, keeps track of how and where things go…
I was frustrated that there wasn’t “more” info out there about this job, and figured why not do it myself since I was doing the repair myself.
— Tracy, tutorial author
NOTE: This is the epic HG writeup from Tracy’s True Soaps website, which is gone forever now. I pulled it down before the site went dark, and have permission from the owner to post it. The links above are changed, and correct.