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"Olaf" the XC70 - XC Project Thread

2328 Views 59 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  ZZZZZZZ
Since I should have done this when I bought it, and to help keep myself organized on what I've done to this car so far, I'm making a thread for Olaf, my 2004 XC70 that I bought with transmission issues. This is going to be a long first post since I have almost 2 years worth of updating to do, so strap in.

In June of '21, I was on the hunt for a new project. As such, I started looking for a project that I could buy, fix up, and flip for some extra cash and as a fun project. After some looking, I found an '04 XC70 with 188k miles on it that was cosmetically pretty nice, but had transmission issues. According to the previous owner, it was fine for around 20 minutes, and would slowly stop being able to shift. He thought it needed a transmission, so I got it for cheap and had it AAA'd to my house, almost 100 miles away. Here it is the day I picked it up:
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Overall, it was in quite nice shape, and even had 3rd row seats.
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After some research, I found that worn out solenoids was likely my issue. I ordered up the 3 main SLS, SLT, and SLU solenoids off eBay and installed them with the car on jack stands. This was kind of a pain, but this PDF put together by a member on the Volvo XC forums (2002-V70-XC-Valve-Body-Replacement-Notes.pdf (volvoxc.com)), along with VIDA, was super helpful.
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Once that was done, I filled it up with fluid, reset the counters and adaptation, and took it for it's first drive under my ownership. After some rough shifts, it started to figure itself out, and even after the fluid got hot, it was still shifting ok.
It was also during this job that the car got new lower engine mounts, since I missed the step to take the bolts out for them and accidentally blew the mount apart trying to separate the body from the subframe.
Success! (for now. More on that later).

On the way home from the gas station for the first time, I hit the gas pretty hard to see how downshifts felt, and while that part was fine, the muffler fell off the rest of the exhaust and was dangling by the hanger. Whoops. I bought some clamps and a generic muffler and put it all back together as best I could as a temporary fix.
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After a wash, some trim restorer, and putting the roof platform from my dad's XC90 at the time on it, it was starting to look great:
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After my dad drove it for a week or so, he loved the wagon body shape and ease of getting stuff on the roof, so he decided to sell his XC90 and use this car as his daily driver. As such, we went all in with bringing this car back to as close to new as possible.
Next on the list was replacing the won out suspension. Since this car was a little too floaty for either of our likings, we decided to upgrade the rear sway bar with an Elevate unit at the same time. The size difference was huge.
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New front control arms, struts, spring mounts, bearing plates, and bump stops in the front went in well. The rear suspension, on the other hand, was was a total pain and we didn't have the right spring compressor, so I put it back together with the new sway bar and old struts and ended up taking the car to a shop to have the new shocks put in. After all was said and done, a bill over the cost of what I paid for the car itself was shocking, and made me wish that I had bought the correct spring compressor and done it myself. After that, I've never been to a shop for anything other than alignments or tires. This was the moment that solidified for me that doing my own work is the best course of action, even if it means I need to spend more than I'd like on tools and equipment. I also put a new PCV in it around this time, with Genuine Volvo parts for peace of mind (and because I really don't want to do that job again for a long time. What a pain).

With the suspension dialed, we took the car up to the border with Canada in New Hampshire for a camping trip.
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The new suspension and beefy sway bar made for lots of sideways fun on dirt logging roads.

Once we got back, installation began on the last new factory Volvo trailer hitch in the US.
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About a month later, I also replaced all of the coolant hoses, added a Powerflex yellow upper engine mount, IPD strut bar conversion, replaced the other engine mounts (Hutchinson), and replaced the front brake pads and rotors (Zimmerman pads and EBC Redstuff). Also got a set of Falken all terrains for it.

(continued in next post due to picture limit)
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Then, for a good period of time, we just enjoyed and used the car. Hit 200k:
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And took it to Carlisle:
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Then, some more maintenance. The rear brake rotors started to look as if they were delaminating, so I replaced the rear pads and rotors. Also removed the parking brake. I still have yet to replace it, but I have the hardware.
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Next, big one. The timing belt. You can read about the whole saga here, but I put in a new Aisin water pump, new INA tensioner and idler, and Conti belt, and was surprised by how well it went. I also put in a ‘05+ power steering reservoir since mine was leaking as they all do (shout out to The Whiteblock Company for the new res), and replaced the serpentine belt and tensioner. Also cleaned the oil off the top of the valve cover and replaced a leaky oil cap seal.
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Around this time, the transmission slowly started to get worse. Occasional shift flares became constant, hesitation when cold turned into constant hesitation, and delayed drive engagement kept becoming more delayed. After some research and help from members here (thanks!), I decided to pull the trigger on replacing the valve body. You can read about that process and the GM valve body conversion in the original thread I made about it here, but long story short, it worked! It now shifts like it should, and install went well because I performed this job mid radiator replacement for more room.
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With a new radiator and now being able to use the car in all seasons thanks to the now fully functional transmission, it was time to replace the exhaust that I patched together when I got the car. The cheap stop-gap solution I cobbled together didn’t hold up very well to the elements, so it was loud, holey, and had to go.
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Since I got a great deal on both, a Revolv downpipe and IPD catback were what I installed. You can read about it here, but long story short, it went together well, the Revolv cat works well (still no CEL a few thousand miles later), and the IPD exhaust is quite droney, especially with the rear seats folded, despite sound deadening the tailgate and trunk floor. I’ll have to figure out what to do about that. I do have a Japanifold that I will be installing over the summer, so that should help, but I think another resonator may be in my future.
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Much better, and sounds fantastic, if a bit loud.

After that, there’s not much to add, aside from replacing the passenger door due to rust from a poor dent repair in the past and broken regulator that led to a broken laminated window.

My dad has been using it a bunch lately and is super happy with it. It will be getting Delrin subframe bushings since the old ones are shot and it self-steers quite a bit around sweeping corners.
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Today I installed Delrin subframe bushings with the subframe still in the car.

Good news for those who don't want to drop their subframe - it only took me about 45 minutes to replace them. I did them one at a time. Pull the bolt, drill out the old plastic bushing shell as demonstrated in this super helpful video (thanks for sharing @UT OLI ):

Then, with the old bushing out, I gave the surface a quick sanding to remove any corrosion, lubed up the new bushings with some Ajax, and then hammered them in with a 3 lb sledge and a block of wood.
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It wasn't too bad, and you could probably do it yourself with enough room under the car. Having a lift and someone to help made it go much quicker though.
Installing each bushing probably took 5-10 minutes.
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Once it's properly seated, I ran a new bolt in until it was snug and then moved on to the next bushing. Once all 4 were in, I tightened down the bolts to spec.

Impressions - holy sh!t, these are fantastic. It totally transforms the car. The steering is more direct, with far more feel so you can actually tell what's going on up front. Braking feels slightly better, acceleration feels better, and they didn't add any extra vibrations. I'm super happy with these, and would highly recommend them. It takes almost all of the play out while not adding any vibration or discomfort. They are amazing, and aren't bad to put in in the car whatsoever
Before (complete with the old IPD inserts):
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Such an improvement. If you don't have these in your P2 or P80 yet, do it!
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Nice work!

Where's the best place to get them for a P80?
P2 and P80 use the same subframe bushing. BNE Dynamics is the shop that makes them (link) but you can also get the exact same thing with a slight upcharge from Viva Performance or Revolv, and maybe some other places. I'd buy straight from the source though. Shipping was fast and it came with a surprisingly nice set of BNE stickers.
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A great project you have there. Love the car.

My wife’s XC-70, from which I wrote the valve body notes, is still on the road at over 290,000 miles. Still has the original transmission.

The valve body surgery over a decade ago was a success.

That’s great to hear! Thanks for that write up. It was immensely helpful when I did that job on mine.
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Washed and reapplied the plastic treatment on the black trim and bumpers. Looks almost like a new car
Edit - forgot to mention it also got new-to-me not-rusty lug bolts from Erie
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the car looks amazing, though your garage and all that varnished knotty pine looks even more amazing. I want to build a garage like this.
Thanks! My dad loves woodworking and has built many houses over the years, and has gotten to the point where he wanted to be able to live in a place that has everything. Thus, the large garage for storing and working on cars and equipment with good overhead lighting, and the lift in the other, smaller barn, where his woodshop also lives. I'll post some pictures if I can find one without a Volvo taking up most of the picture LOL
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This car has started burning a good bit of oil, and leaking oil out of the intake pipes, both around the turbo at the intake side as well as the intercooler connections. As such, I'm thinking the turbo seals have finally started to give up.

What are my options here? Obviously, I could replace it with another 14T, but if we have to spend the money, is there a good upgrade available? I've read that the 16T is a bolt on upgrade that doesn't necessarily require a tune, and allows for plenty of headroom if/when we decide to tune it. How true is this?
I'd PM ScottishBrick. He seems very knowledgeable on the topic of turbos for these engines.

That's the plan. Gonna wait until this summer when I have time to work on it
Had a blue R engine cover for an RN motor that came with my parts '99 V70 XC, so I cleaned it up and threw it on the XC70. It's not perfect, but looks pretty good- not bad for an effectively free upgrade
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It’s Japanifold time!
My dad has gotten sick of the drone from the stock manifold combined with the IPD exhaust, so the Japanifold I ordered for this car but didn’t have time to install when originally doing the exhaust is going in.
Pulled the downpipe, turbo inlet pipe, and over-the-engine pipe off today and soaked all the manifold and turbo bolts in PB blaster. Will be pulling the turbo and manifold off tomorrow. I’ll see when it’s out, but judging by the amount of oil all over everything, a new turbo may be in order as well
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IF you need it asap, I have a 66k 14t on hand thats in perfect condition.
Oh perfect. Was just about to message you asking what the best option is
Good luck. May the Volvo God's smile upon you and all your manifold studs/nuts break free without breaking.

I'd recommend all new hardware on the reinstall.
Yep, all new hardware ready to go. Really hoping it comes out well and without a fight.

Also, since I’ve now realized the angle gear has to come out for enough clearance to remove the turbo, I’m going to reseal my leaking angle gear and replace the collar sleeve, since it probably doesn’t look too great with 210k miles on it
I've done this several times without removing the Angle Gear. Not ideal, but it's do able. Need an imagination and a sense of humor... and beer and pain killers.
Sounds like fun haha. Did you come out the top or bottom?
Anyone have experience with driveshaft flanges that are stuck/rusted to the angle gear output? Been tapping on the flange (lightly) on this thing for like 20 mins with no luck. The one on my ‘98 came right off by hand. I’ve soaked in in PB but unsure of how to go from here since I don’t want to harm the angle gear bearings or the CV joint in the shaft
Anyone have experience with driveshaft flanges that are stuck/rusted to the angle gear output? Been tapping on the flange (lightly) on this thing for like 20 mins with no luck. The one on my ‘98 came right off by hand. I’ve soaked in in PB but unsure of how to go from here since I don’t want to harm the angle gear bearings or the CV joint in the shaft
Well this isn’t going well at all. On day 2 now of beating the crap out of this connection, heating it, and trying everything in the book to try to get this driveshaft off. Soaked it overnight in ATF/acetone, still nothing. How the hell do I get this apart?
There is a hole (not threaded) on the driveshaft, use allen key (or L shape metal) to put in the hole & use hammer to punch it out.

Good luck!
I’ll give it a try, thanks. Not a whole lot of room to get a hammer in there, but I’ll see what I can do. Would be nice if they were threaded, but I have no hope of getting a tap in there with the angle gear casing where it is
Still no luck at all. Starting to think I’m going to have to do the turbo and manifold from the top. Hopefully beating on the driveshaft flange didn’t mess up the angle gear. I ordered the collar sleeve and all the seals and was hoping to do that since it leaks pretty badly and it’s at the mileage where I want to do the collar sleeve, but not sure how I can do that if I can’t get the driveshaft to come loose. Really bummed about this
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Yeah, I don't know. I've had a hell of a time removing mine the first time. In a junk yard I just chop the drive shaft off with a Sawzall.

Not that you want to go shopping for a new drive shaft or anything, but if you can drop the rear end and carrier maybe you can pull on it?

You can purchase and replace the front CV joint separately if it gets damaged.
Back bolts look far rustier than the front, so I doubt it will come out of that end either. Don't want to have to get a new driveshaft if I can avoid it.
Good to know about the front CV. Maybe there's enough compression in the rear joint that I can pull the carrier off and yank on the shaft slide hammer style and try to pop it out that way?
Soaked it in penetrating oil after giving it all I had for upwards of 3 and a half hours today. Going to give it another go tomorrow.
My Indy went from the bottom and pulled the shaft. All the videos I’d seen were puzzle piecing from the top. Best of luck!
Thanks! I'll need it LOL.
Yeah VIDA says to go through the bottom, and I'd really like to resleeve my angle gear (assuming I haven't harmed it from all the hammering). Going through the top seems like a pain.
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Air hammer with whatever tool give some kind of purchase in the appropriate spot whether a chisel style or blunt tip.

Tried that, but there’s not really enough room to get a good angle on it unfortunately
You put a DS bolt in from the front and use a long pry bar against the AG to pop it out. It will help to semi loosen the center carrier bearing support bolts to create more freedom. Is not a casual fit, requires some force to unseat.
Ok thanks. I’ll give it a try.
This was a 130k collar, replaced last week:

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You absolutely want to get in there.
Wow that’s no good. Seeing that definitely gives me some more motivation to get the shaft off and get the angle gear out. At 210k, it’s probably about ready to strip out.
I'm excited to get this and install it. Not Elevate, but new OEM R on the XC. How tough was it to do?
I've heard a partial lowering of the exhaust, dropping the ebrake cable and then loosening a strut? There are zero videos from anyone I found doing the rear on an AWD P2.
Super cool to know you got the last Volvo hitch, but it's a sad that our cars are at the end of NOS on many items. :(
Yeah that’s about spot on. One strut has to come out, ebrake cable comes off, exhaust comes down a little. Not the easiest thing to do - my V50 was far easier. It’s very much worth it though - that’s one of the most transformative things I’ve done to this car so far. Follow VIDA closely and you should be good - that’s what I did.

Yeah it’s really a shame. At least there’s somewhat plentiful aftermarket support. Finding some parts for my ‘98, on the other hand, has been almost impossible (or stupid expensive).
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