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"Olaf" the XC70 - XC Project Thread

2331 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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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.
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Hopefully someone with more experience and knowledge can reply with some useful advice. All I can add is that our 2013 XC60 T6 had the Oil Consumption issue and after several visits with the Low Oil light on, our dealer successfully petitioned Volvo Corporate to replace the engine. I'd have to examine the records to see if it was a full swap or only the pistons etc.

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