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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey new friends,
I did allude to, earlier a week or two back in a previous post, the tale of my first V70's demise. I'm going to finally discuss it, because I think I'm ready to begin the healing process and try to move on from the shock I endured. The first step is to come to grips with my loss and testify of my frightening experience, hopefully as an educational tool. I look back on the event as a true test of my strength, trust in others, emotional growth, and openness to accepting help when I needed it. Truth be told, I still have bad memories from that evening, hence why I oft avoid discussing it because it wasn't just a car to me -- it was my first, something I put every dime into, something I had wonderful memories in, something I was proud of. It was also something I depended on. I commute six days a week, what the hell was I going to do? In the blink of an eye, I lost everything, and had to start anew. Volvo indeed saved my life -- what was left of it. The rest was in my hands.

After saving about 4K over the course of a year, I first purchased her back in the summer of 2014 for about 2K from my mother's friends up the road, back before I even had my license. I'd held my permit for a solid year and admittedly was a late bloomer, plus I was a scholar and that took up a lot of my time. I had a fear of driving on top of everything, and my folks weren't exactly patient instructors. Whatever, I got over it. At some point, I was finally confident enough to get a handle on it, using the shiny new-old V70 in my driveway as my source of motivation. I wanted to drive that car. I needed to drive that car. I didn't know a thing about Volvos or what kind of gem they were, to me it was just a pretty station wagon that knew how to haul ass. That was all I cared about.

In November, I was licensed after my second attempt (I was unfortunately too nervous my first time and forgot how to parallel park in my friend's sister's Toyota Yaris, the absolute easiest car to park.........:facepalm:) and, hoo boy, the agony the next day at the RMV to register her and get her on the road. An hour felt like a day (then again, it always does, but this time was especially agonizing) I still remember my maiden voyage with her! I was unsure of everything. It was the first time I had ever driven alone. There was something so magical about the experience. I think it was just a turning point in my life. I knew nothing would be the same afterwards. "This is independence", I thought. "Independence in style".

I had no idea that my boxy station wagon would be so popular! I drove it to my part-time job at a bar in town. As I was mixing vodka and V8 for an older, gray-bearded fellow, they asked, "Who drives that silver Volvo out front?" I responded that I in fact, were the owner, a little nervous to hear the response.
"How much do you want for it?" the man asked. I stood in stunned silence, unsure of how to respond.
"I'm sorry, I need this thing to get around, I'm kinda attached to it now, too." I was tempted to ask how much he was willing to pay, but sentiment had already sunk in.
"Ah, well," he said, "Take care of it. If you do, it'll last you a lifetime. Volvos are the safest cars out there, you know that?" He took a sip of the bloody mary I made, and pushed it back. "A bit more horseradish, kid." As I bashfully opened a new container, he continued. "Oh, you're gonna have a great winter in that thing, too, they can handle even the worst conditions, I'm tellin' ya. Are ya' listening?"
I nodded, a bit flustered from fighting with my container. He mumbled something about Sweden.
Before he left, he taught me how to perfect the bloody mary I made, then he was gone.
I never got his name. I never saw him again. I wish I knew who he was. Now I only use pepper vodka for those like he told me to, they come out excellent. :OT:

The 2015 Winter came, and battered my state. Ah, my first months on the road coincided with my first winter. The worst winter of Massachusetts history. One blizzard per week. I'm grateful for the experience! Snow on the ground doesn't even faze me now. AWD? Snow tires? What, me, worry? Now, I know that AWD has its haters, but man, I'm sorry, it did me well. It was the only way I could get anywhere, when you're walled in your own driveway by a snowbank. It truly performed magnificently, I was proud to show my mother that her Chevrolet Suburban was bested by a station wagon!
Well, until the transmission died. Dropped 2K on a rebuilt one, and it took forever for the repair to actually happen because businesses couldn't operate as usual. Most mechanics were out plowing, as was my guy.


Around the beginning of the season


A pretty good visual description of the mid-term of our winter of discontent


Winter came and went with minimal incident. My folks couldn't believe how my driving skills flourished. Until, one godawful morning on my way to my job at the bar when I backed into an actual front-end loader. :facepalm: yes, that really happened. Amazing how unaware of the world you can be on three hours of sleep. The front end loader was undamaged (I hit the actual plow portion) and the entire back hatch was wrecked. I lucked out -- my pal down the road had one for me, and there was no frame damage. Lesson learned. My father did the repairs himself, I love showing off his work! He's pushing 70 at this point, but in his time was an unbelievable and highly-sought-after body mechanic in Boston. I wish I inherited his skill.


Sleep is important, kids!


Don't worry, Daddy will fix it!
(Not bad for a 65 year old man, eh?)



So, here I am, dodging bullets left and right. A year goes by, and I'm learning how much maintenance these things need. Needed to replace the air intake and about 10 other things since the previous caretakers weren't the most attentive people to the damn thing.

Fast forward: Early April, 2016. Saturday night. Against my better judgment, I went to see a show with some friends after a really emotionally taxing week. I needed to get out of the house and take a breather. What's better than thrash metal? Speaking of which, I need to get back to my battle vest. :OT:

Well, a whopping seven hours later, it's 1AM, the temperature has dropped. I haven't noticed, I'm pretty warm from the show.
Alls well.
"What do you wanna eat when we get home?", I ask, as I'm trying to get on the highway from Canton when,
something's not right -- it all happens so quickly, I can't even remember what I felt. Sheer horror.
WHAT IS GOING ON, WHY AM I NOT TURNING? HOW THE HELL AM I FISHTAILING? It was like a supernatural force was taking me somewhere. I lost control. I actually lost control of my vehicle.

My friend screams, I'm headed for a tree. The e-brake fails.
I can still hear his scream in my head to this day.

We stopped, finally, with a bang, mere inches from a tree on the shoulder of the highway entrance. Still not totally sure what stopped us, the consensus was a massive boulder in the ground. I didn't even realize the airbags had deployed until I realized I had a fat lip and a bloody nose, and my friend searched for his glasses on the floor. I remember being grateful he was alert -- I had feared he was seriously hurt. We emerged a few minutes later and I tried to turn the car off, had difficulty turning the key and I just felt pure disgust. "My life is over", I muttered. "Why did this happen?" I was so shocked I couldn't even count my blessings -- My friend was fine and suffered no injury, we were safe, whatever, but...
Jesus Christ, I didn't want to even look at what I'd done.

I'd say we were pretty lucky, as moments later, a car full of UMass students pulled over to help us, and even called the police for us. I was in such shock I didn't even call 911 or AAA or anything, I was sitting down telling my friend I was sorry for doing this, sorry for stranding us, sorry sorry sorry. If it weren't for those boys we probably would have been out there alone for a while. I never got their names, but they were wonderful people. They stayed with us the whole time until an officer arrived, checked my license and gave me a hug. I needed that hug. They didn't write a report, as there was no property damage (since I simply ran aground and hit a boulder taking out my left wheel, door and god knows what else) and it wasn't counted as an accident. Just a disabled vehicle. As he walked back to his vehicle, he slipped and fell. I didn't even realize how icy this turn was. I was only going 20.
As my friend helped him up, he said "That's a Volvo, isn't it?" I didn't even hear the rest of what he said. Just something about how he was glad we weren't in a Honda.

The morning after was something of a ****show. I completely forgot I had AAA, so the V70 was towed to some garage. AAA towed it back to my driveway. I cried all night :facepalm: so I wasn't really in the mood to do anything else beside figure out how I was going to recover from this. I had to figure out how I was getting to work the next morning, and furthermore, see if I could fix this. My friend down the road had just junked his parter-outer, so that wasn't going to help. He was unable to assess the damage and suggested finding a second opinion. I met a member of the forum this way, actually, so I guess this was the best thing to come out of this event. Hi Jared, thanks for everything.

Long story short, I didn't have the capabilities, money, time or manpower to fix the damage. I just realized, I don't even know where I put the pictures from that event, they're somewhere on my external, and I'll have to go ahead and edit this post at some point to show what had happened.

I had been chasing some guy around for his 2000 V70 in Bridgewater. It was listed on Craigslist, and the guy had been avoiding me for a while. I just assumed it was a no-go, and was incredibly let down as we had been negotiating for weeks, to no avail. I gave up, laid on my bedroom floor, and sighed deeply. I was screwed. It was two whole weeks later, I was nowhere near where I needed to be, and I was running out of time. I had just about ran out that weekend. Finding ways to work were running slim, I was growing tired of the drama, and I just wanted to live again.

My phone rang. It was my mother.
"Roxanne, quit moping for God's sake, already, we're going to Westwood!"
"Why?"
"Don't argue with me."
"I wasn't arguing--"
"Get in the truck, I don't have time for this!"
About 20 minutes later, I'm in the Suburban with my father, her ex-husband. Whatever this was, it had to be big. Why would she call him to come along? Oh yeah, to assess, I forgot. "Roxanne! You're going to love this!"

...And for $1600, I brought home my '02 that night. And the rest is history.


Knight in shining armor.

Coming soon: Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! I promise!
 

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Agree on the great survival story and fantastic grammar. Glad you're back in a Volvo and safe!!
 

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Nice story, thanks for sharing, like your new ride...and start saving for a new transmission ;)
Mr. BuzzKill
 

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Roxie- each of us have a story like that, if we are really honest. Maybe not so dramatic, but one where we've been in those shoes and have been faced with tough situations. Glad yours worked out, even if you had to shell out. Jared is probably the nicest person and Volvo enthusiast you could meet, so it looks like that black cloud had a silver lining.
Mr buzzkill isn't wrong on an 02, but if yours is shifting ok, and you treat it well, it should prove nice for a long while. If you're keeping it for a while you should look for part outs and keep a small stash of stuff if you have the room.
Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is awesome. Great story! And damn good grammar, you whippersnapper.
Agree on the great survival story and fantastic grammar. Glad you're back in a Volvo and safe!!
Nice story, thanks for sharing, like your new ride...and start saving for a new transmission ;)
Mr. BuzzKill
Roxie- each of us have a story like that, if we are really honest. Maybe not so dramatic, but one where we've been in those shoes and have been faced with tough situations. Glad yours worked out, even if you had to shell out. Jared is probably the nicest person and Volvo enthusiast you could meet, so it looks like that black cloud had a silver lining.
Mr buzzkill isn't wrong on an 02, but if yours is shifting ok, and you treat it well, it should prove nice for a long while. If you're keeping it for a while you should look for part outs and keep a small stash of stuff if you have the room.
Cheers!
Thanks gentlemen, I'm glad you were able to scroll through that wall of text, I should have done a tl;dr but I figured telling a backstory would be fun.

As for the '02, I guess there's no sense in keeping parts around since I'm not skilled enough to put them in myself and I don't know any people who I could pay to do the work for me if such an occasion rises. I certainly can't replace a tranny :( I figure I'll eat the 3K when it happens, whatever. Should I get a flush or nah?
 

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If it ain't broke don't fix it. Love it as you do, you paid 1600. If the thing is shifting well enough, keep its fluid filled and check the smell of it from time to time. If it smells burnt, then you've got a forecast result. Underhood, down low and behind radiator and right of motor you'll see a small yellow cap and it has a metal catch. Pull that while holding the catch and make sure when you put it back it snaps in and is held. You would be amazed at the simplicity of replacing some parts,as long as you have access to some decent tools. Other more mechanical BIG stuff, yeah- I'm with you 100%. Do the glove test, make sure timing belt is newish and get it up on a lift to have someone see how the underside looks and whether or not it's dry and bushings are good. A quick 30-45 minute check on the right spots can tell what you're faced with in the near or not too distant future.
Thanks gentlemen, I'm glad you were able to scroll through that wall of text, I should have done a tl;dr but I figured telling a backstory would be fun.

As for the '02, I guess there's no sense in keeping parts around since I'm not skilled enough to put them in myself and I don't know any people who I could pay to do the work for me if such an occasion rises. I certainly can't replace a tranny :( I figure I'll eat the 3K when it happens, whatever. Should I get a flush or nah?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If it ain't broke don't fix it. Love it as you do, you paid 1600. If the thing is shifting well enough, keep its fluid filled and check the smell of it from time to time. If it smells burnt, then you've got a forecast result. Underhood, down low and behind radiator and right of motor you'll see a small yellow cap and it has a metal catch. Pull that while holding the catch and make sure when you put it back it snaps in and is held. You would be amazed at the simplicity of replacing some parts,as long as you have access to some decent tools. Other more mechanical BIG stuff, yeah- I'm with you 100%. Do the glove test, make sure timing belt is newish and get it up on a lift to have someone see how the underside looks and whether or not it's dry and bushings are good. A quick 30-45 minute check on the right spots can tell what you're faced with in the near or not too distant future.
Thanks! I'm a bit nervous to try this stuff myself, I never know what to look at. :( There's a few things that need my attention, namely the left axle, but nobody ever says anything about the transmission. I'm just incredibly paranoid. Could I just go somewhere and have someone check out whether it could use servicing or if it needs to be serviced? I obviously want to extend the life of this thing.
 

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Thanks! I'm a bit nervous to try this stuff myself, I never know what to look at. :( There's a few things that need my attention, namely the left axle, but nobody ever says anything about the transmission. I'm just incredibly paranoid. Could I just go somewhere and have someone check out whether it could use servicing or if it needs to be serviced? I obviously want to extend the life of this thing.
Ben McNally at Rolling Motors, LLC, in Watertown, CT
OR
RE-VOLV in Oxford

Those are the only really, really good shops I know of in the area. Both run by fellow enthusiasts who aren't trying to rip you off at every available opportunity. Not another WCS or where some moron says "yeah I love the 240, Volvo should have just quit there." Ben just did some work on SonicBlueR's 2000 Laser Blue V70R to see how much they could extend the life of his AW55-50SN before the inevitable failure and subsequent M58 swap.

Are you seeing any signs of trouble yet? Hard shifts in and out of any gears (including reverse)? Shift flare (not necessarily a sign of impending doom but it can be)? The problem that makes '01 and '02 so much worse than other years for the AW55-50SN is that the computer is programmed to shift the transmission into neutral after you've been sitting for more than a few seconds. Then it goes back into gear after you hit the gas, so it's kind of like if you had a manual and were dumping the clutch setting off from every red light or stop sign. Really hard on the transmission. There is a software update for these early cars that I believe is supposed to fix this issue. The guys at RE-VOLV would probably know more about what exactly it does. You might be able to update it yourself with VIDA but I'm not sure if you need an actual legal copy of it that will connect to the Volvo servers to actually get the update; if you do, you're probably better off having someone else do it than going to the expense of buying a legal DiCE/VIDA setup.


You would be amazed at the simplicity of replacing some parts,as long as you have access to some decent tools.
^^^^^Thiiiiiisssss. It's literally just unbolting stuff and then bolting it back together. Everything is super easy on these cars once you know what's wrong. Cost of ownership of these cars drops by about 75% when you aren't paying other people to do the work for you. I've never paid anyone to do anything on any of my cars except alignments and mounting/balancing tires. If I had to pay other people to do work for me, I'd probably be one of those millennials who says "F this, I'm moving to town and buying a Zone 1A* monthly pass."

*Zone 1A includes the MBTA subway and local buses for those of you who aren't locals


Hi Jared, thanks for everything.
Jared is probably the nicest person and Volvo enthusiast you could meet, so it looks like that black cloud had a silver lining.
Wow, thanks for the compliments guys. Not sure I'm worthy but I guess I'll take it :D.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ben McNally at Rolling Motors, LLC, in Watertown, CT
OR
RE-VOLV in Oxford

Those are the only really, really good shops I know of in the area. Both run by fellow enthusiasts who aren't trying to rip you off at every available opportunity. Not another WCS or where some moron says "yeah I love the 240, Volvo should have just quit there." Ben just did some work on SonicBlueR's 2000 Laser Blue V70R to see how much they could extend the life of his AW55-50SN before the inevitable failure and subsequent M58 swap.
I'll have to take a trip out to central MA at some point, I'll take a personal day or two. I've heard Re-volv before. I'd like to take my vehicle to people who know what they're looking at -- the dealership screws me every time and WCS I haven't bothered with since the drama with the air intake. They're so uninterested and I just don't want to give them my money.

Are you seeing any signs of trouble yet? Hard shifts in and out of any gears (including reverse)? Shift flare (not necessarily a sign of impending doom but it can be)? The problem that makes '01 and '02 so much worse than other years for the AW55-50SN is that the computer is programmed to shift the transmission into neutral after you've been sitting for more than a few seconds. Then it goes back into gear after you hit the gas, so it's kind of like if you had a manual and were dumping the clutch setting off from every red light or stop sign. Really hard on the transmission. There is a software update for these early cars that I believe is supposed to fix this issue. The guys at RE-VOLV would probably know more about what exactly it does. You might be able to update it yourself with VIDA but I'm not sure if you need an actual legal copy of it that will connect to the Volvo servers to actually get the update; if you do, you're probably better off having someone else do it than going to the expense of buying a legal DiCE/VIDA setup.
See, this is where I think I would need someone else to make the call, someone more familiar with the behaviors of a failing transmission. I have concerns, not sure if they're unfounded. Some days I feel like I'm having some some shift flare or a hiccup or two, but I was told several times by different Volvo owners/mechanics who've taken it for a 20 mile test drive and insist that it's nothing to be concerned over and that my transmission is doing alright -- someone said I "drive like an old lady" and that's why I get an occasional lag, but I don't buy it. I just don't want to go through the same drama I did with the '99, that was a nightmare because it was undetected for the most part too. That went without warning one afternoon and I couldn't back out of a parking space (had to literally call AAA to tow me out :facepalm: so now I watch out for everything and I've become seriously neurotic over every little mishap. I don't trust myself to make the call either.
I should just stop driving automatics and buck up and get a manual. I learned on a manual so I should just concede.
You know, if you have time soon this month and you feel like hanging out though, J, I'll let you take the '02 for a spin and you can confirm my suspicions? I just need to clean the interior before I let you back in there, it's horrible, I'm buying a kit soon. I haven't cleaned it since the summer and I was embarrassed to have you see it in that condition last week. :( I look like I live in it.

If I had to pay other people to do work for me, I'd probably be one of those millennials who says "F this, I'm moving to town and buying a Zone 1A* monthly pass."
Honestly, if only my job were on the bus line, it wouldn't be such a bad idea!

Wow, thanks for the compliments guys. Not sure I'm worthy but I guess I'll take it :D.
You're a gem, dude.
 

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The surprising part is that you had a problem with the AW50-42LE in your '99. Those are about as durable as it gets for an automatic. I'm not an AW55-50SN expert by any stretch but, if you want, we can see how it does compared to the one in my mom's '04. Not sure that's really going to tell you anything useful, though. I'd say keep the fluid fresh, drive it till it fails and then figure out if you want to manual swap or get into a different car. An 850 AWD (factory manual!) from Canada might be a better fit for you long term.
 

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The surprising part is that you had a problem with the AW50-42LE in your '99. Those are about as durable as it gets for an automatic. I'm not an AW55-50SN expert by any stretch but, if you want, we can see how it does compared to the one in my mom's '04. Not sure that's really going to tell you anything useful, though. I'd say keep the fluid fresh, drive it till it fails and then figure out if you want to manual swap or get into a different car. An 850 AWD (factory manual!) from Canada might be a better fit for you long term.
Yeah, I mean, I figure as long as I keep up with the maintenance and just drive the darn thing -- but it IS my commuter vehicle, so it's going to need a lot more love than usual. More parts to break even still being an AWD. If you ever have a moment I'd love to let you feel it out! You have my number still btw? After my S6 died it failed to back up a good 75% of my contacts/messages :facepalm:, I'm fairly certain I lost yours so shoot me a message whenever!

I don't necessarily NEED an AWD, but I do love the extra boost in a tight spot. I can live without it and spring for an 850 if the opportunity ever lands in my lap, AWD or otherwise... Tires matter more, after all.
 

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A T5m would probably be even better if you can forego the AWD. Or, if you got one and made the XC a dedicated winter car, you probably wouldn't put enough miles on it to kill the trans in the foreseeable future.
 

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A T5m would probably be even better if you can forego the AWD. Or, if you got one and made the XC a dedicated winter car, you probably wouldn't put enough miles on it to kill the trans in the foreseeable future.
I wonder how many manuals are floating around? If one were to pop up locally you bet I'd jump on it.
 

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I wonder how many manuals are floating around? If one were to pop up locally you bet I'd jump on it.
V70 T5M

1999: 101

For (Imports from mid 1998 to mid 1999) We built 15,610 V70's.
Of these 517 were T5, of that 101 were T5 with Manual Trans.

Color Break out of the T5 w/ manual trans:

019 Black Paint 16
189 White Paint 15
412 Blue-Green Mt 7
417 Nautic Blue Mt 19
419 Pewter Slvr Mt 7
421 Emer Green Met 11
426 Mystic Slvr Mt 14
427 Graph Grey Mt 0
440 Desert Wind Mt 4
441 Laser Blue Met 7
601 Red Paint 1


They exist but are quite rare. The highest concentrations of them originally would be New England and the PNW, lucky for us.
 

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A T5m would probably be even better if you can forego the AWD. Or, if you got one and made the XC a dedicated winter car, you probably wouldn't put enough miles on it to kill the trans in the foreseeable future.
Maybe one like this?

 

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That was a brilliant read. A minute's silence for the V70 Cross Country .
I read the entire post due to your care with spelling, punctuation and grammar.
 
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