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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an S60 right now, and have the chance to pick up an 850R wagon locally. I'd like to get an idea from the experts on the forum on whether it's worth doing.

The car is advertized for $2800 obo and I was thinking of offering $2000 if it checks out OK. I have not yet seen it in person (tomorrow).

It has an estimated 180k. The odometer stopped working at 158k. The current owner has had the car for 3 years. It has a clear title and was smoked 2 months ago.

The head gasket was replaced about 2 years ago, and the head was machined at that time. Compression tests are good. The owner has spent about $5k on maintenance in the last 3 years. This includes Bilstein struts and racing springs.

It needs new tires and new rear pads
The AC works but is not cold
It has a small amount of oil "seepage" ("1 drop per week) from what the owner thinks is the oil pan.
The paint is in good shape with a small "wrinkle" on the front bumper
The owner replaced the front pads, which has caused the ABS sensor light to come on

It is a genuine R (wheels and interior check out, but no rear spoiler)

Thanks for all the help!
 

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To answer a few of your questions.

$2800 if it checks out okay is an extremely fair price for an R model just so you know. I would be offended if you offered me $2k. I bought a '95 850 turbo (non R) two years ago with 130k miles for $2,200 and I got a good deal. That being said, never a bad idea to try and get the price down anyway, just be reasonable. One of our forum members (Robert) just sold a creme yellow sedan R model for over $5k, mind you it was excellent condition.

I advise you check the actual mileage using the OBDI under the hood. It will tell you close to exact mileage with a series of flashes of an LED light. Just look it up on youtube how to do so but this is a must to make sure he isn't lying out his ass.

In regards to AC works but is not cold, most likely has a small leak and needs a can of R134A at the beginning of each summer. Not terribly unusual on old cars and not a big deal. But it could be a major leak and you really wouldn't know this until you own it for a while.

Small wrinkle in paint in my opinion is "excellent" condition for a car of this age. I waited and waited on craigslist until I found an 850 that the paint wasn't destroyed. My car has "good" paint but there are minor blemishes throughout.

Last but not least, the oil seepage is almost certainly a leaking RMS (rear main seal). It only takes neglecting the PCV service once to cause it to begin leaking. If it's a small leak, don't worry about it just stay on top of PCV service. BTW, do you know about when the last pcv service and timing belt was done? Very important when buying a used 850.

Owner may have damaged front ABS sensor when replacing pads. However, an ABS light can mean many other things including a failed ABS module that needs to be pulled out and reman'd. Hopefully he is being honest when he says it came on after changing the front brake pads but it could be a well orchestrated lie too.

Rear spoilers are not expensive to add, I got mine for $100 (brand new) on eBay. I think R spoilers go for double that cost though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
All great points, thanks. I watched the OBDI video you suggested, and will certainly be trying that technique tomorrow.

I also watched Robert's pre-purchase inspection video and 850 review video which are very informative.

It seems like the car may have a couple of "big ticket" items - the rear main seal leak and the faulty AC - which I can live with, but at some point will need fixing. That plus needing new tires are going to be my bargaining chips on the price.
 

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You are also shopping at the bottom of the 850R market - an R wagon for 2-3k is going to need some maintenance. Good ones that are fully caught up and have no mechanical issues sell for around $5k. If the seller has done some research they may not be as flexible on price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I checked out the 850R today. The owner was a really nice guy and very cooperative....

It drove well, looked pretty good, but needed a lot of work. Mainly small things I think, but which included new tyres and pads needed, non functioning AC, moonroof that works intermittently (I could hear it clicking but it wasn't moving), ABS and TRAC warning lights (apparently these came on when he changed the front pads), airbag warning light, loose rear hatch fascia, non working odometer, scraped front and rear bumpers, blown fog lamp and tail light bulbs.

In addition all 4 wheels were badly kerbed, and the owners assessment of 180k miles looks like it might be off by 40k. It did have a lot of repair and maintenance receipts, but the owner has essentially done nothing in the last 3 years. He spent about $4k in 2013 fixing the blown head gasket and a ton of of engine related things, and that was the last work done to the car.

Finally there was an oil leak under the engine. I took a pic and will post it later as I'm not sure what I was looking at.

So my gut feeling is to pass. Even if I could get it for $2k vs the $2.9k asking price. The owner paid $1.5k for it in non running condition with the blown head.

Any comments?
 

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If you don't love it, I'd pass. There are lots of 850R wagons out there and this one sounds like it has had below-average maintenance and care.
 

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It's really no wonder now why he had it listed so low. While honestly that's still a pretty fair price since none of that will prevent the car from operating, I personally wouldn't want to get into all of that. I'd rather find a good condition one and spend the extra money.

His estimate was off by 40k miles? To me that's a red flag. Not many people are aware of the OBDI trick and he was trying to take advantage of that. There's a big difference between under 200k miles and over and he knows that which is why he "estimated" at 180k miles. That's an inexcusable amount of error in his judgement.

Depending on where you live, I disagree with fivealive, around here the wagons are extremely hard to find. I have been faithfully searching craigslist for three years just because and in those three years I have seen 4 R sedans and 0 R wagons. Maybe there are more on the coast.

And airbag warning light could mean a faulted or non-existent airbag that needs to be replaced which would be very expensive and the light has to be reset at a Volvo service center. You would feel real bad if you just let it go, ignored it, then something happened. While I am very cheap in some of my repairs, I would have to drop the money and get something like that done by professionals.

I would pass. BTW, do you have a link to an online ad so we can see this thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There were 2 850Rs on the SF Bay Area Craiglist I remember seeing in the last month including the one I looked at. There are more 850 T5s and V70 T5s, which I am no thinking about.
 

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Lol, so much wrong info in this thread.
 

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Couple things....a T-5R is not an 850R. 850Rs have OBDII. T-5Rs are weird...they are OBDI. That being said, majority of them have limited OBDII as well. The laaaaate production T-5Rs have full OBDII; the vast majority have an almost complete OBDII and some have ONLY OBDI.
 

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Not to mention that the 1996 cars have OBD II that doesn't work half the time.

Always takes me forever to get through emissions testing, after they give up on the OBD II and just put a sensor in the tailpipe.
 
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