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I am considering buying a used Volvo for my daugter as her first car. The only Volvo I have owned was a 1982 240DL which was a rock solid car. I have been told that newer Volvo's are maintenance hogs requireing a lot of time, attention, and money to keep running. Is this true? I dont want to get a car that I have to wrench on every weekend or have to worry about breaking down on my daughter. I found a 1997 Volvo 850 Sedan 4D with only 65K on it that is in excellent condition that I am considering buying. Is this model and year considered reliable?
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (zon)

Not a bad choice.<br>It WILL have the usual problems such as the A/C evap rusting out. The ABS module quitting (fixable for good for $150).Rear main seals can start to go,<br>sway bar links, other small and not so small items, but they are good, safe and nice cars to drive<br>The most important thing to do is to check the car's service records to see what has and has not been done as 60K is the time for things to need attention<br>JRL
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (JRL)

Here are the recalls and tech papers...<p><A HREF="http://www.alldata.com/TSB/64/97640960.html" TARGET="_blank">http://www.alldata.com/TSB/64/97640960.html</A><p>A Volvo dealer can run the VIN for recall fixes and a CarFax will show major collision, theft, etc.<p><A HREF="http://www.carfax.com/cfm/purchase_options.cfm" TARGET="_blank">http://www.carfax.com/cfm/purchase_options.cfm</A><p>My direction is to find a perfect one-owner 200/700/900 RWD Volvo for cheap, make the needed repairs/maintenance (if any) then drive and enjoy this safe, durable and reliable ride for many years.<p>George Dill<p>
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (JRL)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>zon</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I am considering buying a used Volvo for my daugter as her first car. The only Volvo I have owned was a 1982 240DL which was a rock solid car. I have been told that newer Volvo's are maintenance hogs requireing a lot of time, attention, and money to keep running. Is this true? I dont want to get a car that I have to wrench on every weekend or have to worry about breaking down on my daughter. I found a 1997 Volvo 850 Sedan 4D with only 65K on it that is in excellent condition that I am considering buying. Is this model and year considered reliable?</TD></TR></TABLE><br>I had an 88 240 wagon. Now I have three 850's. No more trouble with them than the 240 -- maybe less.<p><TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">It WILL have the usual problems such as the A/C evap rusting out.</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Haven't seen that one. Maybe because we use the AC less here? I will watch out.<p><TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">The ABS module quitting (fixable for good for $150).</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Newest 850 had this when I was buying it but negotiated some of it out of the price. My shop charges a LOT more than that but use OEM module. Other two, 110K and 160K miles, have had not ABS problems. But I agree this is a common problem.<p><TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Rear main seals can start to go</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Had this on the 88. Saw this on a low mileage (65K) 96 turbo I almost bought last year. In both cases, it was high crankcase pressure. My shop thinks high crankcase pressure, caused by insufficient breather maintenance and resulting in blown engine seals, is one of the worst Volvo problems in many years. They developed their own tool for measuring pressure.<p><TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">The most important thing to do is to check the car's service records to see what has and has not been done as 60K is the time for things to need attention</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Yes! And get a good independent shop to do a prepurchase inspection. DO NOT fall in love * before this inspection. Make sure you tell the selling party you are doing it and may well either reject or make a lower offer based on the results.<p>* Not falling in love too soon with the new car is the hardest part. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/wink.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (airprakken)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>airprakken</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"><p>Haven't seen that one. Maybe because we use the AC less here? I will watch out.<p> </TD></TR></TABLE><br>That's an incredible statement! It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when around here.<br>We don't know of ONE that hasn't needed an evap replacement.<br>I was told it's the R134 Freon that's the culprit. For some reason it's corrosive to early (pre 01) evap units.<br>I'm sure that there are some other factors involved in this too<br>
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (JRL)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">That's an incredible statement! It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when around here.<br>We don't know of ONE that hasn't needed an evap replacement.<br>I was told it's the R134 Freon that's the culprit. For some reason it's corrosive to early (pre 01) evap units.<br>I'm sure that there are some other factors involved in this too</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Wow, the difference is amazing. I purchased all 3 of my 850's used but they were all originally purchased here in Portland, Oregon. Next time I see my mechanic (with this many Volvo's, that happens fairly often), I'll ask him about it.<p>I didn't mention that the AC is really not that great in two of them (maybe third too but that's off in college and I don't see it much). On the few really hot days we have, they don't stay up very well. That happens so seldom here it's not worth fixing if that were even possible.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (zon)

zon..............<p>I think I can speak with some level of credibility on this.....although what JRL has said is true...regarding 850's that may not have been well cared for. The AC is an issue if left unattended. The ABS sensor..as noted by JRL..can be corrected. And you may find, over time, that some cracks will appear in the door handles..right at the insert or pull area. Once that crack starts....it will not stop. Again, this is a cosmetic and not a mechanical issue.<br>Overall...the 850 is fairly solid car...very safe and gennerally dependable if properly maintained. <br>My wife drives our 96 GLT daily to work and then the pick up our daughter from school..it will flip 100k this week. I drive a 91 240 with 237,929 miles as my daily driver........so I would say that the older 4 and 5 cyl Volvos are pretty durable <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/wink.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (zon)

AS all the other have said. But I all to well know that even a very reliable in your hands car can be somewhat less so. When in the hands of someone else that you have little or less control over. SO that said, might be a very good car for her. But if things go wrong they go wrong. And sometimes it is not the car, but the OPPSIES you never hear about that lead to them. Out side a sherman tank nothing is for sure or raock solid. NOT even a 91 240 as the poster in Utah has said. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/wink.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (airprakken)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>airprakken</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"><p>I didn't mention that the AC is really not that great in two of them (maybe third too but that's off in college and I don't see it much). On the few really hot days we have, they don't stay up very well. That happens so seldom here it's not worth fixing if that were even possible.</TD></TR></TABLE><p>It is quite easy to charge the system yourself with one of the diy kits available at any autoparts store.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (zon)

I had an early 850 that needed to be tinkered with from time to time. The '97 is the last year it was offered in this country so it should have been pretty well sorted out by then. You may want to also look at a '98 S70 as it was nicely updated from the 850 and would probably only cost a few hundred dollars more at this point.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (airprakken)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>airprakken</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"><p><br>I didn't mention that the AC is really not that great in two of them (maybe third too but that's off in college and I don't see it much). On the few really hot days we have, they don't stay up very well. That happens so seldom here it's not worth fixing if that were even possible.</TD></TR></TABLE><br>Ah ha, the truth. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/rolleyes.gif" BORDER="0"> When operating properly these units blow ICE COLD
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (JRL)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Ah ha, the truth. <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/rolleyes.gif" BORDER="0"> When operating properly these units blow ICE COLD</TD></TR></TABLE><p>Actually, it was always the truth. I have never heard of the problem before.<p>Wouldn't a "rusted out" evap drain all the refrigerant? That clearly has not happened. If not, please explain.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (airprakken)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>airprakken</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"><p>Wouldn't a "rusted out" evap drain all the refrigerant? That clearly has not happened. If not, please explain.</TD></TR></TABLE><br>I shall be happy to.<br>They don't just split immediately, they start rusting and micro pinholes appear. This means you have a VERY slow freon leak. It can hold freon for months in the beginning, requiring a charge say, every 4 months. This can go on for over a year. The 4 months become 2 months to 2 weeks, etc. then it finally splits along the side and it won't hold anyting for more than a day. Naturally with some cars this process is accelerated and this entire process takes a month or so<br>JRL
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (JRL)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>JRL</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"><br>I shall be happy to.<br>They don't just split immediately, they start rusting and micro pinholes appear. This means you have a VERY slow freon leak. It can hold freon for months in the beginning, requiring a charge say, every 4 months. This can go on for over a year. The 4 months become 2 months to 2 weeks, etc. then it finally splits along the side and it won't hold anyting for more than a day. Naturally with some cars this process is accelerated and this entire process takes a month or so<br>JRL</TD></TR></TABLE><p>Thanks. Not sure if that's what is happening but it's possible. I have had the two cars for about 3-4 years each. They have, to the best of my knowledge, been mediocre on AC since I got them. By that I mean they do cool fine until extremely hot days (near 100F) when 1) you really notice the cycling on and off and 2) even when working they are certainly not frigid. Seems like if there were any hole at all, no matter the size, that it would all be gone in a few months. I have never recharged or done any AC work on them.<p>Like I said, I'll talk to my mechanic next time I get a chance. Thanks for the info.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (airprakken)

I assume on those very hot 100 days it is as well in Oregon somewhat humid/damp? If so then yes you will not get major cooling of the A/C unless the system automaticly or you recirc the cabin air to get rid of the moisture and help the system keep it cooler. If you or the system does not use the recirc mode then you are jsut letting in outside humid air to be cooled and not useing the sustem the correct way for those type of days. Even when the system does recirc or you do use it manually it is not really totally closed off to outside air. It is like 5% outside air getting in, so it should not freeze up, which is the standard defence for why someone tells anyone they do not use it like that. A corretly maintanined and fully charged and used system should cool well during those hot days. My 965 with its auto temp is very prone to the heater coolent blend valve going bad. And the recirc door not closing if the vac/mech arm does not work right. And even on super hot summer days or not, if it is letting in HOT coolent to teh heater core the A/C will be fighting a looseing battle. I would guess the 850 and most other newer volvos are somewhat prone to jsut that as well. My 744 has the same problems as well, and it is totally manual/vac assist controlled.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (zon)

I had a 1996 850 Turbo Sedan and it was one of the best cars I owned. I had over 175,000 miles on it and never had any complaints. I did have the ABS sensor problem though, but my dealership worked me a deal to save me some money since I was out of warranty. I didn't have the AC problem though. After 6 years all I did was give it a charge and I didn't have any problems after that? Maybe it was present, but I didn't notice. Good luck with your choice!
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (doubleb26)

Hey,<p>I bought my '97 850 almost a year ago now...I bought it with 94,000 and have added about 12,000 so far....the car still feels new. <p>Mine had already had the "usual stuff" go wrong with it...the ABS module, AC evap. done under warranty at 44,000 miles. The rear main seal is still a concern I have.<p>With 65K that car should be a beauty...*see if the timing belt has been changed...* the reccomended interval for them is 70,000 miles...<p>good luck
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (nobbe3728)

I enjoy looking through forums as much as anyone. Especially for details of what can go wrong and how bad it is.<p>But forums aren't the most precise source of reliability info. I start collecting reliability data on cars when I have 25 signed up. <p>Mostly 2005s and 2006s so far, but I hope to work my way back to older cars. Differences will be larger among them than among newer cars.
 

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Re: 850 a reliable car?? (JRL)

Talked to my mechanic about some of the points discussed above:<p>AC evap failures: This is common but not common enough for my mechanic to stock the part. He would definitely stock it if this happened to virtually every 850. He suggested that drain plugging is very common and that might be the cause. We undoubtedly get a lot less condensation here due to much lower humidity so plugged drains would have less effect. We also use the AC less here because the temps are not all that high.<p>Rear main seals: Generally this is a symptom of the real problem -- signficant positive crankcase pressure caused by insufficient breather maintenance. That is not always the cause but that's the most normal one. My mechanic made his own manometer (<A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manometer" TARGET="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manometer</A>) to check for positive crankcase pressure. They refuse to repair rear main seals unless they also fix the crankcase pressure because they provide an 18 month warranty on all work. I have experience on used 850's which I considered purchasing. I would not purchase one unless the crankcase pressure was measured during the pre-purchase inspection.
 
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