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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
new here, i have had my share of volvos in the past. 87 245, 94 850 sedan and 97 850 turbo wagon (rest in pieces) I stumbled across something i just can't leave behind. i work part time at a salvage yard. last weekend i was walking the yard and looked in the new arrival area. that is where i saw a v70, but it caught my eye on the way past with extra attention. went to check it out on the way back. yep big ole R.
car is in fair condition, 2 owners 230k. it has brand new brakes all around so new the rotors haven't even rusted yet. at least 2 new tires. and i see some hoses and stuff new under the hood. it came it with an "engine problem" after starting it (which it did just fine) and driving it out of the yard (also just fine no noises etc) and tinkering for a while it started blowing steam out the coolant tank. so i am going with a popped headgasket. the car didn't overheat although it ticked up some and the light was on. crankcase oil is clean and full! looks to be leaking into the cooling system :/ so long ramble short. i can back into this thing for basically no money. always wanted an R and have tried to buy multiple over the years. it fell in my lap and i feel with some TLC can be a nice ride again. my main question is what to look for with this headgasket issue. is it a straight forward thing or is there the potential for some underlying problems. my sedan blew the gasket at about 250k and i would up just driving it on 4 cylinders for a few weeks and parting it out so i never really dug into one. any other things on this car to look for as i have never owned an R or an AWD volvo. thanks!




 

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My guess is a coolant hose burst and it overheated. The previous owner had some hoses replaced and became discouraged when the blown head gasket became obvious.

The car looks clean! How's the interior? The driver's seat skin is replaceable. Is the propshaft (driveshaft) still in place?

There are writeups and videos on replacing the headgasket. If you're able and inclined I'd say you just got lucky.
 

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If you have to pay more than $300 for it, forget it
 

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Is that black wood dash trim or does it look like marble? The marble is super rare.

That looks like a very saveable car, go nuts man. What year is it? If it's a 2000 the transmission is rare and expensive to replace. Also check to see if it has a driveshaft, because lots of people remove it when it goes bad instead of fixing it. The retail price of the driveshaft alone is over $900 but colorado driveshaft has cheaper options and it's not hard to put back in.

The only risk with the head gasket is that the head might be warped and need machine work. If you want to keep the car, I'd buy a reman head and just plan on swapping it right from the start so there's no mystery.
 

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Grab it!
..... coming from a fellow 98 black V70R owner!
 

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Is that black wood dash trim or does it look like marble? The marble is super rare.

That looks like a very savable car, go nuts man. What year is it? If it's a 2000 the transmission is rare and expensive to replace.
What does the title say?
1998
That's just plain old wood trim, nothing special.
He may will need a radiator as that too is probably contaminated.
Not worth the work for an R with so many miles
 

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Where are you located? If you're nearby purchase mine! Cosmetically it is in way better condition but it has issues. It is drive-able however and it is a rare Saffron Metallic. :)
 

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While it looks totally save-able to me, you have to question if it's really worth the effort. It's going to cost a lot of money to rebuild no matter what, and generally, the P80 cars are at about the bottom of their price curve right now. Even R's are cheap. There was a good one listed here for months with a lot fewer miles than this one, clean, with a lot of maintenance work done, that wasn't selling at like $3500. You couldn't get this one close to that condition for $3500, even if you got it for free.
 

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Yeah it's not really worth it. Even if you get it for free and do all the work yourself, you're still gunna spend an easy $1,500 (probably more) between head stuff and radiator, PCV, timing components, seals, all that jazz. And then it's just running, still have other maintenance that a 230k VR needs, like suspension and AWD stuff. Rear shocks alone are $300 a pop. I would buy a decent sorted one that you can get under $5,000 and you'll be way ahead of it. Don't worry if a project is what you want, even a well sorted one needs work all the time. I have had mine for over 3 years and over 15k later I'm still working on it every other week.
 

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Or it could be just worn out radiator cap. At least put a known good radiator cap (green) one and see it if blow out more smokes first.

AWD system is weak, people often take driveshaft out and make it FWD only.
 

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If you can buy it cheap enough, part it. People go nuts for the R bits. If you sell things at a reasonable price you could have everything sold in a week. Bumper, interior, floor mats, gauge cluster, wheels, turbo, ecu, door cards, etc.
 

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Looks like a lot of work but if you go in with a clear head you might be able to get it back on the road without spending too much on it. All of these cars need work by now and spending more isn't a guarantee that one will be sorted out. I spent nearly $4K on my '00 R and it's required constant attention since I bought it, despite its history (JRL car, etc.).

If you're looking for a quick, profitable flip then this isn't your car but if you plan to drive it for a while you'll get some value out of the money you put into it.
 

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If you can buy it cheap enough, part it. People go nuts for the R bits. If you sell things at a reasonable price you could have everything sold in a week. Bumper, interior, floor mats, gauge cluster, wheels, turbo, ecu, door cards, etc.
That being said, I'll take the dash top and amp!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the responses! So to clarify a few things I've seen. My plan would be to fix it and drive it at as a 2nd car and with AWD winter car to keep miles off my new car and pick at it over time. It would be replacing a 96 grand Cherokee for this duty. I slowly pick at cars. I've had the jeep about 4 years and practically rebuilt the thing out of stubbornness mainly. My main thoughts/advantages here are 1. I can do most of the work myself and I have a friend to help if needed. 2. I can get factory new parts at cost through my job to cut some costs and 3 I can pick used parts (crossovers from other 70 cars) from the yard. I'm not trying to make it a show car or anything but a presentable driver I can play with. It seems all there otherwise tbelt at 190k the brakes tires etc as stated. And worst case if the thing blows up in my face and as said I could part it out. Done a few volvos including my 850 sedan when it went. I just feel like it has some life left in it.
 

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You're the perfect owner for the car: you do the work yourself, you have access to reasonably priced parts and you have a second car which takes the pressure off the unrealistic expectation that this car always be ready to roll. Repairs will be part of owning what is a great car to drive.

Good luck!
 

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Check to see if the propshaft is still in place. If it's running in fwd only that can be another expensive ball of wax (bad angle gear or viscous coupling), unless you don't mind driving fwd.

It's so much better awd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Poked my head under it last night.. Has new factory rear suspension parts with the stickers still on them BUT driveshaft is gone :(
 

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With no rear driveshaft and with a head gasket issue, I'm in the "grab it - part it - crush it" camp if you can acquire it for a few hundred $$ and have the space / resources to do the part-out.
 

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I think that a lot of you are missing something important here.
There are a lot of pros to consider with a '98 P80. Fun driver,
great in all kinds of weather, KILLER visibility and some of the
most comfortable seats around.

Look around at newer cars and consider how much more complex
the control and networking systems have become. And consider
over all quality of build. Thinner steel, cheaper components and
more fashion over substance. P80 wagons are worth saving.

And what's a couple grand next to buying and maintaining a
new car? A drop in the bucket, AND lower insurance to boot.

Just remember, they aren't making these any more.
If the body and interior are still solid, I say save it!
 
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