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Step-by-step Tutorial Replacing Head Gasket: Volvo 5-cyl

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

Head Gasket: Volvo 5-cyl

Excellent head gasket replacement tutorial

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.


Where did all the pictures go? They stop after the fuel injectors now.

Trying to find the best tutorial to fix a blown head gasket on a 2002 Volvo c70. I have replaced a head gasket on a 94 Honda accord. Never worked on a Volvo. Scale of 1- 10 how hard?

Trying to read the step by step on how to change the head gasket on a 98 v70 and know it wont let me bring it up?

Just perused your self made repair guide for a new head gasket, I am impressed! My wife has a 2006 xc 90 with a 2,5 without turbo. I need to install a reman head. Would these Instructions work for that? If so, do you have any advice on how to time the motor since it is a completely new head? Any advice would be helpful as you seem knowledgable in these volvos! Thanks.

Step-by-step Tutorial Replacing Head Gasket: Volvo 5-cyl

I just got a 1997 70V will this tutorial work for me?

I got my Volvo (2004) from my wealthy (school teacher) daughter, and after paying almost $600 for a trailer hitch, and now facing a new head gasket, this retired rf/microwave tech realises that he had better go buy a chevy… Good article tho….

James Zampathas says:

Thanks, very helpful]

Vuyelwa Matanga says:

My volvo s60 2.4T 2002 model tiptronic is mixing water and oil only on the radiator. The oil cap and the dip stick is clean I suspect that the head gasket is blown. do I have to skeem my top to replace a head gasket 0739539397 is my sms line I need to prepare my self so that I can take it to panel beaters

Well, I will definitely be donating to your cause. I haven’t started my son’s 95′ 850 GLT na; just gathering information and parts. My question to you Sir is; what were your oil change intervals? Now with the passing of time, what would you have done different if anything?
In closing,give there is no question the head bolts are stretch bolts, (one time use); are you sure your replacement head bolts,( shown in your tutorial) were from the same manufacturer, as I have seen Febi’s and Reinz with different flange thicknesses new out of the box.
Aloha and Mahalo,


It was pretty clean before install and I beleive it passed the straight edge test

exhaust leaks
Motor runs great but I have a nasty exhaust leak, before I pull the manifold off I’ll was wondering if you replaced your exhaust studs and nuts? At 25 Nm I have a lot of air blowing out the bottom of two and three.

I am very glad that this tutorial has helped so many people. That is exactly why I did it, and it feels very rewarding to know it may have helped others save a lot of money like I did.

zheka_e30 says:

Hallo! Will it work for C70 T5?

Hello, I was wondering if this would also work for a 1998 Volvo S70 T5?

GOOOD job you made it possible for a truck driver to get-r-done. Not only am I interested in tutorial but would like to know more about your soap. I’d be interested in your next Volvo project too. Thanks again Jim

HELP. How do I time my 5t motor in my 1998 volvo v70 awd turbo?

thank you for taking the time to share this information with everyone. for it seems like the volvo people wants us to buy their cars but don;t want us to know how to work on them. my wifes s70 has a blown head gasket the shops are asking from 1200 to 1500 hundred bucks to fix it and install new timing belt. but thanks to your information and me having experence of working on american cars im going to fix our volvo and save some money. if you have any more instructions comments or ideals please add me to the list to recieve them thanks again.jerry

colin neal says:

i am a novice this is the best i have ever read i am half way through doing this entire job .i have found it easy with this guide . very much appeciated thank you.

Fantastic Work Tracey! It helped me to feel comfortable buying a car with a blown head gasket. It will be my first “real” engine tear-down. The ones in shop don’t really count.

would it b possible 2 get same procedures 4 replacing head gasket on a 2004 s40?

KEvin Hoover says:

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!Thanks so much for the 850 head gasket exchange instructions. I would like to be on email list for any other volvo ideas you may have. I have volvos all the way back to the 140 series. Thanks again KEvin

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