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Ok, guys and gals. I have made my introduction and I wanted to make a general repairs/upgrade thread of my own to kind of keep track of my progress with this car. Mods, if this is in the wrong spot, feel free to move at your discretion. I apologize if it is.

My ultimate goal with this thread is to help keep me motivated with any repairs/regular maintenance/any upgrades over stock that I feel are warranted and or necessary, and who doesn't like upgrades? Sorry if that sounds a bit rhetorical.

Anyway, a little background first, shall we? For the last five years I have owned a 2004 Subaru WRX/STi. It has been one of my absolute favorite cars out of all the vehicles I have owned over the years. It was a blast to drive, never left me stranded, and was probably the most reliable car I have ever owned. I had spent a lot of money on it, lavished it with nice parts, a full doll up every year, things of that nature. I babied the car. My son loved going for rides in it. It had been on two different vacations with us and was considered a member of the family. I had sworn to never get rid of the car, but things change....I think you see where this is going.

Useless thread is useless w/o pics...


Now to bring you current. Things have changed at my house. We had found ourselves in a bit of a pickle. Money was getting tighter, we need to get some things done to our house, and we have a second child on the way. We need more room, have to spend more money, I think you see why it made sense to sell my toy. It was becoming a bit impractical, was going to need a few more expensive maintenance items, and I felt a little bad for using it as no more than a daily driver. I decided that my time as it's caretaker had come and gone. It needed to go to someone that appreciated it as much as I did. I found the right buyer and made quite a bit of cash on the sale of the car.

I had been searching for months for an '03-'04 Mercury Marauder before I sold my car, but everything I found that was for sale had the piss pounded out of it, or these guys wanted pie in the sky money for a nice example. On to the next idea, which was to maybe try and find a fun '80s turbocharged something or other. I contacted my buddy that has owned numerous Starquests over the years and lo and behold, his Palermo '87 Starion ESi was for sale. Talked with the wife about it, and we came to the conclusion that owning and insuring two cars (because I would need a beater for winter) just wasn't in the cards. At that point I was stuck. I had one week left before the guy that bought my car was going to be up from PA to pick it up. Then I thought "Swedish".

My dad had owned a couple of Volvos when I was growing up, and he always had good luck with them. So, the search was on. I decided to focus on any 850 T5-R that I could find. No luck with anything local to me. I got online again and started to do some research, then jumped on Craigslist. Up popped a '98 S70 T5. The only one anywhere close to me. It was listed at a small, low volume, independent Volvo dealer who only showed cars by appointment. I got on the horn and went out to take a look. I drove it, checked a few things over with the help form a couple of guys on Volvoforums and decided it was a good enough buy.

That brings me to now. I miss my STi dearly, and probably always will, but it was time. I probably get way more attached to cars than I should. I am an enthusiast after all. I can appreciate just about anything. I am learning to appreciate the S70. It's a super comfy car, and it's decently quick. It also makes a neat noise. The exhaust note kind of reminds me of the "blub blub blub" that the STi made, just not as pronounced and smoother sounding.

The S70...




Those are the only pictures worth using I have of it right now. I'll be taking more as time goes on, I'm sure, and they'll be better. I am surprised at how good of condition this car is in. Someone must have done their very best at keeping up with it. It's been undercoated at some point. There aren't very may dings or dents and what's there isn't anything to be concerned about with a 17 year old car. It could use some paint correction though, there's a couple of clear coat issues. I need to replace a LF door speaker and both front door clearance lights and the interior could use a good scrub. It's just dingy though and I do detailing on the side. I've replaced the rear pads, rotors, shoes, and hardware. I replaced both CV shafts as well as the axle seals. Also repalced an A/C accumulator, and a heater core, thrown a set of tires on it, and am in the process of ordering up a timing belt kit. I have diagnosed a power steering leak as needing a rack & pinion, sadly, but the part isn't all that expensive. I got in touch with the gentleman I bought the car from to see if he would be willing to help me with either the cost of the part, or paying the labor to install it and he agreed that my request was reasonable. He has issued me a check and I'm just waiting for that to hit my mailbox. I am super happy with the car though and am looking forward to throwing some nice, well thought out mods at it when I have the money and time to do so.

Thanks for letting me get this out in type. I welcome any questions or comments, as I enjoy talking cars.
 

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Welcome to the Volvo family. I am a recent member as well. Came here from the VW/Audi world. It started with a 96 850 NA GLT. It was a complete beater that I bought on a whim as a commuter. I have been hooked on these cars since. I got rid of the GLT and bought a Yellow T5-R. Which has turned into a bit of a project. So last weekend I went out and bought a 98 V70R. These cars are really a great mix of comfort, durability and performance not found in many other makes. Also the Volvo community is a diverse mix of people and most the time extremely helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you.

My initial intent when I got rid of the STi was to get a "beater" of sorts. I just found myself realizing that I wouldn't be able to deal with the usual, boring go-to beater choices. Life's too short to drive boring cars. So, like you, I'm finding out that what I chose is anything but boring.....be that good or bad, lol. Needless to say, I'm hooked as well. This car has a very endearing quality. I find myself wanting to be extremely frustrated (pissed off even) with the small to not so small things that have come up, but I can't. I just kind of shrug my shoulders at the thought of it and continue on. I really like the car and you're right, these cars offer a lot that others don't.

I'm finding that, while not quite as enthusiast oriented as compared to the Subaru world, there is quite a bit of you on here that enjoy modifying your cars. That's cool.
 

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1998 V70 T5 with factory m56h; 18t, Green injectors, 50% e85
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Welcome. I enjoy reading about how people stumble upon these cars and their impressions, especially when coming from something like an sti.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks.

Two completely different worlds, I know. I don't know if you've ever driven/ridden in one, but the STi is a barley legal rally racing homologation and doesn't make for the best DD. It's more everyday comfy than it's rival, but is still a bit of a compromise. Damn was that car fun though. I will miss my winter drift sessions on the way to work in the morning. The S70 is no slouch and is just as quick as the '12 Malibu LTZ 3.6L that we just got rid of and gets better fuel economy. Anyway, as I said, my dad owned a couple of Volvos in the past and I loath the idea of a boring DD. This seemed like an obvious choice after racking my brain for months over what to get. It was a "why didn't I think of this before" moment. I remember reading in Car&Driver about the 850 when it first hit the market in '93 and had always had an interest in the car, so I'm finally scratching an itch. I just wish I hadn't waited so long.

I'm off to go change the oil in the car now, as well as do a quick walk around. My son will be joining me. He likes to help.
 

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Welcome, Yes these cars can really grow on you. I started with one and now I have 4. Curious as to how may miles on the car? Sounds like your well on your way to establishing Stage Zero, which is basically getting all the regular maintenance completed so you have a base line to work from. One pesky thing that happens to these cars over time is you will encounter if not already, a squeaky dash. Sometimes removing the cowl that covers the wiper motor which reveals several bolts that are part of what holds the dash in place can be carefully tightened a bit. Take care as the capture points are plastic. If this doesn't fix it, dash removal and reinforcement of the plastic is needed for a long term fix. If the car doesn't have them already, upgrading to IPD HD swaybars is about the best bang for the buck in handling improvement. I understand your on a budget, the car is capable of swallowing a lot of cash if you allow yourself to get carried away with mods! You will find lots of support on this site. Enjoy!
 

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Welcome to Volvo Land! I never thought I would be here either, but I'm glad this is where I ended up. Is your car automatic or manual? Also what is your wife's tolerance for exhaust sound level? These 5 cylinders really sing when you open up the exhaust a bit. My V70 T5 manual is essentially straight piped 3" from the turbo back and I looove the way it sounds. That Subie sound is unique, but in my opinion can't beat the sound of a 5 cylinder Volvo mill.

I'm slowly modding and maintaining my Volvo on a budget, you can do it too and have almost as much fun as in the STi. Plus you'll stand out more. I get a lot of smiles in my wagon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welcome, Yes these cars can really grow on you. I started with one and now I have 4. Curious as to how may miles on the car? Sounds like your well on your way to establishing Stage Zero, which is basically getting all the regular maintenance completed so you have a base line to work from. One pesky thing that happens to these cars over time is you will encounter if not already, a squeaky dash. Sometimes removing the cowl that covers the wiper motor which reveals several bolts that are part of what holds the dash in place can be carefully tightened a bit. Take care as the capture points are plastic. If this doesn't fix it, dash removal and reinforcement of the plastic is needed for a long term fix. If the car doesn't have them already, upgrading to IPD HD swaybars is about the best bang for the buck in handling improvement. I understand your on a budget, the car is capable of swallowing a lot of cash if you allow yourself to get carried away with mods! You will find lots of support on this site. Enjoy!
Thanks. Car currently has just over 95k on her and yes, I'm trying like hell to get to the end of that "Stage 0" checklist. I have not encountered the dreaded dash squeak as yet, but I will try and take a look to see if I can't snug it down some more without breaking anything. It does have a bit more cowl shake than I'm used to. The struts and shocks are Sachs and I want to upgrade them and the mounts as well as go with some IPD lowering springs and sways eventually. That'll most likely have to wait till after winter, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Welcome to Volvo Land! I never thought I would be here either, but I'm glad this is where I ended up. Is your car automatic or manual? Also what is your wife's tolerance for exhaust sound level? These 5 cylinders really sing when you open up the exhaust a bit. My V70 T5 manual is essentially straight piped 3" from the turbo back and I looove the way it sounds. That Subie sound is unique, but in my opinion can't beat the sound of a 5 cylinder Volvo mill.

I'm slowly modding and maintaining my Volvo on a budget, you can do it too and have almost as much fun as in the STi. Plus you'll stand out more. I get a lot of smiles in my wagon.
Thank you! Car is an autotragic, unfortunately. She doesn't like loud and neither do I, but I do want to get an exhaust for this thing. I can handle a bit more volume, it's the resonance that kills me. I'm thinking if the car sounds as good as it does now, I can't wait to enhance it's voice. That Subaru burble that sounds so unique to the car is actually the sound of inefficiency. While it sounds good, it can actually lead to too high EGTs. The sound comes from the unequal length manifold/header that all Subaru's turbo cars use. I really like the sound of this car in comparison. It sounds cleaner. If that makes any sense.....
 

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Oh yes, I know all about the unequal length header/ manifold thing on the Subarus. I thought about getting a WRX before the Volvo and always thought it would be cool to do a custom exhaust that doesn't include a round fart cannon hanging out the back and that got rid of the unequal length manifold sound. I've never seen or heard a WRX or STi with an exhaust like that.

Yeah, the drone in my car at highway speeds is nauseating. But around town, it's wonderful. I'm thinking about an electric cutout that stays open most of the time, but that I can switch to muffled for the highway or rolling through neighborhoods.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A friend of mine that still has his '04 STi had custom full stainless Catback made that mated up with an Invidia High Flow catted Downpipe. It used a Magnaflow muffler and he installed an equal length header. It's raspy as all get out, but despite not having a resonator is pretty livable. It still has a hint of that unequal length manifold noise, but nowhere near as much.

Seeing as we're on the subject of exhaust, I've narrowed my choice down to the Mototec/EuroSport tuning touring catback. I'd like to find one slightly used if I can. My second choice would probably be the OBX because of the price, but it sounds like I would want to modify the tip so as to not have it stick out as far as people say it does. For me it all comes down to what I can bolt on. I don't want to mess around with a custom set up.
 

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Nothing major to report. Had a CEL pop up on me due to a bad MAF a couple of weeks ago. After swapping it out, I had a performance issue because I used a cheap replacement Dorman MAF from RockAuto. Turns out these cars are pretty sensitive to cheap engine management/ignition parts....lesson learned. I came to this conclusion after borrowing an OTC scan tool from one of the techs at work and watching live data/PIDS. Fuel trims, TPS voltage all looked good, O2 sensors were switching and even all my readiness monitors were set. Nothing else made sense and it was the only other thing I messed with. It ran great before the MAF **** the bed, so I bought a Bosch MAF from RockAuto and finally got the chance to swap it out Thursday evening. Problem solved. Car is back to 100% and ready for the winter. I also replaced a cracked degas bottle cap. I now have the winter to decide which mods to dig into first come Spring....barring any unforeseen issues that could pop up.
 

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I like your marshmallow! As others have said, there's alot you can do to make them run quicker. I just got my dd s70t5m tuned and it brought my mods to life! And with a family, that Volvo is a tank of protection. My kids drive Volvos and my old 855r saved my 20yr old daughters life last winter. Welcome to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I like it more myself, every day. Thank you.

It's going to be a long winter due to the fact that I can't wait to throw some suspension mods at it and it needs an exhaust. The rear hanger is rotted off and I see I can get a repair strap/hanger from IPD to repair it, but it needs moar noisy!
 

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One piece of advice to keep in your pocket; if you ever need to replace coolant hoses go with OEM! Never use URO hoses, they will fail / leak prematurely.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks. I'll keep that with me. I am just a bit nervous with the comments/concerns I have now seen with URO parts. The heater core I bought is a URO piece from RockAuto. Do I have to worry about replacing it again in the near future because it's a POS?
 

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Even the oem ones can fail catastrophically, creating a huge smelly mess and rapid overheating. There is a very inexpensive unit available on eBay with an upgraded design that has been discussed extensively on Volvospeed.

Discussion:

http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/topic/155521-anyone-tried-the-ebay-improved-alvo-brand-heater-cores/page-2?hl=%20heater%20%20core%20%20ebay

I think this is the core:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-VOLVO-HEATER-CORE-HVAC-UPDATED-850-S70-V70-C70-94-95-96-97-98-99-00-9144221-/271196392879?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3f24908daf&vxp=mtr
 
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