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NickD
NickD Dork
5/21/16 4:20 p.m.

So, my father is searching for a new car for my mother so that she can stop running the wheels off my poor ZJ Grand Cherokee. And he has gotten hooked on the idea of a Forester or another ZJ, but around here in CNY, they are either rusted to death, or the person wants an arm and a leg, or they are rusted to death and want an arm and a leg.

Enter a 2000 V70 XC. While checking out a dud of a Forester at a small used car lot, we spied a super clean, rust-free Volvo V70 XC. Unfortunately, neither me nor him know anything about Volvos.

So, how reliable are they?

We are used to working on GMs and Subarus, and some other Japanese makes, so how unusual/difficult are Volvos (weird fasteners, electrical systems)? We both loathe BMW/VW/Audi so we would like to avoid anything that is similar to work on.

How expensive are parts?

What are problem areas/what should we look for?

What are some other suggestions for vehicles? We would like to stick to vehicles under $4000. No German vehicles or Fords (a Focus wagon has burned us badly). Has to be good in the winter, as my mother drives 50 miles a day on her commute through pretty nasty weather. They have a 15 foot canoe, so it has to be able to carry that on the roof. Reasonably roomy.

NGTD
NGTD UltraDork
5/21/16 4:38 p.m.

Early versions had issues with the angle drive that was used in the AWD system. From what I understand even small leaks from them can result in failure.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
5/21/16 5:41 p.m.
NGTD wrote: Early versions had issues with the angle drive that was used in the AWD system. From what I understand even small leaks from them can result in failure.

Is there a cutoff point that distinguishes early versions from later versions?

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
5/21/16 5:47 p.m.

I wonder if the difference is between 4 speed (4T60) and 5 speed (Aisin-Warner AW55) transmissions.

It amuses me endlessly that Volvo comissioned a whiteblock-pattern 4T60, then they went to AW55s. And newer GM mini-utes have V6-60 pattern AW55s in them.. it's like, if you have a whiteblock or any front drive GM engine, you can choose between a 4T60 or AW55.

NGTD
NGTD UltraDork
5/21/16 8:00 p.m.
Woody wrote:
NGTD wrote: Early versions had issues with the angle drive that was used in the AWD system. From what I understand even small leaks from them can result in failure.
Is there a cutoff point that distinguishes early versions from later versions?

There is but I can't remember what it is. Someone on here must know.

nedc
nedc New Reader
5/21/16 8:11 p.m.

I think 2001 and up is the next gen P2 platform. I have heard that 2003 and up are the ones you want.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
5/21/16 9:12 p.m.

'98-00 are the "old" P80 cars and much more problematic than the "new" '01-up P2 cars in regards to AWD/angle gear failure.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
5/21/16 9:19 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture:

Does the same apply to the V70R?

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
5/22/16 12:01 a.m.

In reply to Woody:

R or not, if it was an AWD Volvo it had the same mechanical system year-by-year. You can go further down the rabbit hole and separate model years of the P80 and P2 by transmission, engine management etc. (something basically changed every single year from 1998 to 2003) but there was a generational change at '01 that is somewhat obvious and changed many, many things including the aforementioned upgrade to an AWD system that isn't completely awful. If you have to have AWD, you want a P2, as the AWD P80s tend to throw power around from front to back in a way that breaks parts more than it generates traction. If you have to have a P80 you want a FWD one and preferably a '98 or an 850.

'98-00 P80

'01+ P2

NickD
NickD Dork
5/22/16 5:38 a.m.

That's a pity that the AWD is troublesome, because they seem like a sweet ride. What about other Volvos in general? My knowledge on Volvos is pretty much non existent.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy PowerDork
5/22/16 7:30 a.m.

The awd system lagged behind the other updates. The body changed in 2000, but they didn't go to the electronically controlled awd til 03.

Here is how to make the awd system live: Make sure the angle drive has oil in it, take it out once every 5 or 10 years and lube the spline drive from the transmission, make sure the diff has oil in it, AND THEN MAKE SURE YOU RUN THE SAME SIZE OF TIRES ALL AROUND, FOR CHRISSAKES!

Follow those simple rules, and the mechanical system will work for the life of the car.

The electronic Haldex will need a diff pressure pump every decade or so.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
5/22/16 7:35 a.m.
Streetwiseguy wrote: AND THEN MAKE SURE YOU RUN THE SAME SIZE OF TIRES ALL AROUND, FOR CHRISSAKES!

This means tires must be within 2-3/32 of each other in tread depth, too. Rotate on a regular basis, and if you destroy one tire while they are half worn, you are buying four tires. (I understand that Tire Rack will shave any tire to a tread depth you specify, though)

This really goes for anything AWD, not just Volvo. The full time Grand Cherokees from 20-odd years age were really good for destroying the transfer case if you had two new and two used tires on them.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
5/22/16 8:36 a.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy:

Really? I always thought Haldex came with the P2 update in '01. If that's not the case then you definitely want an '03 up...I'm not a fan of Haldex personally, but it is extremely hard to find a defender of the earlier mechanical AWD system.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
5/22/16 8:38 a.m.
NickD wrote: That's a pity that the AWD is troublesome, because they seem like a sweet ride. What about other Volvos in general? My knowledge on Volvos is pretty much non existent.

Any 2WD Volvo* will run forever if you keep a fresh timing belt/tensioner and PCV system on it and keep up with auto trans fluid changes. They are built quite well, it just took half a decade for them to get the AWD working right.

*S80 excepted, those things are a bitch to work on and devour transmissions like nobody's business.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
5/22/16 8:45 a.m.

Brother in law had a cross country wagon. After week after week in the dealer trying to fix various faults. He sold it for a Toyota minivan which I still have today with 190k on it.

jsquared
jsquared HalfDork
5/22/16 12:29 p.m.

Side note: every time I see a picture of a P2 V70R, I am less sure of the Legacy/Outback 2.5GT being the best choice of wife-mobile

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
5/22/16 5:03 p.m.

I had a beat up 850 sedan with the 5 speed.. every bit the "tank" Volvos are known for being. But it was also FWD and a non-turbo, so there as little to go wrong with it mechanically

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UltraDork
5/22/16 7:09 p.m.

The CV joint on the front of the driveshaft gets a lot of heat from the nearby catalytic converter and will cause driveline noise/vibration. The plus side is, the driveshaft is completely removable with no ill effects (although, uneducated mechanics will make up weird stuff like "oh that puts too much weight on your front driveshafts and causes them to fail earlier" etc) so you can pull the shaft and re-pack it with grease in about 2 hours.

The driveshaft itself is easy enough to remove, and you can get a new CV joint for it for about $80.

Another common fault is with some VVT solenoid that will give a check engine light for "cam timing over advanced". Cleaning that solenoid sometimes works for resetting the light, or it could be a bad cam position sensor.

I just went through a lot of this with my neighbor's car so I'm a bit jaded at the moment but I'd almost say "pass" unless you found a well maintained one. I do like the car but the hoses were brittle enough that one was breaking every month, the above mentioned driveline issues, things were starting to squeak and rattle, and the fact that it was coming up on its second timing belt change soon (every 120k miles?). yeah.... It might just be a bit more "nickel and dime" than what I'd be willing to put my stamp of approval on for my mom

akylekoz
akylekoz Reader
5/23/16 5:31 a.m.

I have one that I will give you for very cheap. I have fixed 90% of the problem issues...that came up. I really like the V70 but I always feel like the next problem is coming any minute.

Run very far and fast from a 2000, even when you think nothing else can possibly go wrong you learn that every system on that thing is flawed and old.

Other than that I love hooning it in the snow, no idea how it manages to slide the back end out like a rear driver. It has been super handy for hauling kids and car parts. At almost 200,000 miles on mine it runs like a champ, when it's not in limp home mode.

NickD
NickD Dork
5/23/16 7:20 a.m.
Hungary Bill said: It might just be a bit more "nickel and dime" than what I'd be willing to put my stamp of approval on for my mom

Well, she's currently driving the world's rustiest ZJ with 3 blown shocks, a leaky radiator, leaky front and rear diffs and one upper control arm that filed for divorce from the body, so honestly that'd be an improvement. But yes, I get what you're saying. We'll keep looking for something else

slefain
slefain UberDork
5/23/16 11:39 a.m.

My friend had a 2001 XC70 that the transmission crapped out on. Something about how it was programmed to go into neutral whenever it was stopped. Ended up selling the car for scrap because the replacement transmission was so pricey.

sirrichardpumpaloaf
sirrichardpumpaloaf HalfDork
11/18/16 12:29 a.m.

Just "inherited" a 1999 V70 awd from my parents with 227k on it. Have had zero problems with the awd system to date. I speak so in writing is to insure it will E36 M3 out on me within weeks.

The reason for resurrecting this thread is this: The headlights are literally dangerous. Changed bulbs. No help. If I don't upgrade to something else, I'm going to kill myself or, worse, someone else. Time to let loose of some cash...

akylekoz
akylekoz Reader
11/18/16 5:11 a.m.

A 99 should be the best of the old body style. I believe 2000 was the first year of drive by wire system that had its problems. Also the first few years of the five speed auto can have issues. So if you have a throttle cable and four gears enjoy. The buckets of money can go towards other things.

Keep a fuel pump relay jumper in the glove box.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
11/18/16 7:29 a.m.
sirrichardpumpaloaf wrote: Just "inherited" a 1999 V70 awd from my parents with 227k on it. Have had zero problems with the awd system to date. I speak so in writing is to insure it will E36 M3 out on me within weeks. The reason for resurrecting this thread is this: The headlights are literally dangerous. Changed bulbs. No help. If I don't upgrade to something else, I'm going to kill myself or, worse, someone else. Time to let loose of some cash...

Check to see if you have extension harnesses between the headlight bulbs and body harness on each side. If you do, remove them. They were added as a service campaign on some P80 cars because the headlights were TOO bright. Also try new bulbs and you could potentially upgrade to E-code lenses too.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory UltraDork
11/18/16 8:24 a.m.

Not to disregard the Volvo part of the OP but this makes me wonder how many people have actually driven a car, any car, with four good snow tires?

I can't imagine having any trouble (generally) with a decent fwd car, maybe a Volvo in this case, in snow with a set of decent snow tires. Anyone who doubts this is likely to have never actually done it.

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