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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All – I’ve had a problem getting into reverse in my 5 sp manual transmission. My 2004 v70 (non-turbo) is relatively low mileage (75k) and in good shape. Problem started 2 yrs ago at 59k and developed over a month.

Felt to me like a linkage problem – because once I get it into reverse it stays there and operates fine. But generally very tricky to get in reverse – slips out initially and grinds gears. Has not seemed to get any worse after the initial problem so I haven’t repaired yet.

Took it to my local Volvo dealer twice back when initial problem surfaced – most sr. mechanic tested very carefully and concluded it was not a linkage problem but couldn’t really tell me what the problem was. He talked to Volvo corp also (McKevitt Volvo, San Leandro CA location).

So now I find this irritating – and my wife is driving the car more and finds it even more irritating. I already bought a used transmission (Volvo wanted -$6k+ to put a rebuilt trans in the car). Before I go ahead and replace the trans – just want to check if anyone has had any similar problem and if any ideas of repairs I can do short of replacing trans – or at least diagnosing the problem.

If no ideas – can anyone from San Francisco Bay Area recommend a good shop to replace the trans?

Frustrating – been driving Volvos with manual transmissions for more then 30 years and never had a transmission problem other than worn clutch. At least this didn’t happen to my 2002 T5 with manual trans.

In advance – appreciate any help that can be offered. BTW – also posting this to Ask IPD.

Eric
:(
 

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All the linkage at the transmission end is visible right on top of the transmission if you remove the airbox, which isn't too hard. I'd get a second or third opinion before doing a full tranny swap. If you want to look yourself here's a photo for reference, make sure there is no play in the cable end bushings, and make sure the bracket in the center of the pic has its rubber supports and that the cables are attached firmly. This photo is from an 02 C70, it may not look exactly like your car but the transmission should be identical. Also, on the lever that the cable is connected to in the lower right of my picture (where it goes out of frame at the bottom), there's a roll pin connecting the lever to the shaft coming out of the transmission. Make sure it hasn't slipped or started to come out or something weird like that. Also have someone get in and try putting it in reverse so you can see if one part is moving without the other.



In fact, I'd find a shifter assembly with cables from a junkyard and swap that before swapping the transmission. That would rule out something wrong on the shifter end of the cables. It's only about a 1 hour job for someone experienced, and if it doesn't correct it you should be able to sell it for what you paid.

Everything I've read says these are indeed bulletproof transmissions, never heard of this problem outside of linkage/bracket problems. Some of the S60R guys have had problems with the cable ends slipping out of the retainer, but again that usually means 2 or 3 gears are hard to get to, so it's not exactly the same.

Good luck with the troubleshooting.
 

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Also put the trans into any forward gear first to slow the spinning mainshaft before going into reverse (or first gear)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for advice Lloyd. I'll start by getting it looked at another time. You are right its a big step to jump right to trans replacement without absolutely confirming its not a linkage problem. Also like your suggestion to swap shifter assembly.

The other diagnostic I forgot to mention - back-up light seldom works so some seems tied in.

JRL - I just tried what you suggested - putting into 1st before reverse - didn't seem to make a difference but I'll play around with it more - thanks for suggestion.

Eric
 

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Sounds like the cable is out of adjustment (or broken)
 

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That's an interesting clue - maybe the reverse light switch is broken and jamming the shaft so it can't go in... That's easy to remove and inspect, it's the 2 prong switch right on top of the transmission between the cable bellows in my photo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm pretty sure they pulled the back-up light switch last time it was checked - but I'll double check that. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yep - been pushing the clutch twice, try all kinds of combinations like shifting to neutral again, shifting to 1st then back - nothing works consistently - always requires firmly putting in reverse - but no way found to consistently avoid gear grinding - thanks for suggestion.
 

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Reverse should be synchronized on that transmission, so if it grinds going into gear, then something is definitely broken inside the transmission, or your clutch is not releasing all the way and you'll soon start having the same problem in 1st and between shifts as your synchros wear out.

Does the clutch engage immediately as you lift the pedal off the floor? If you idle in 1st with the brake off, does the car creep forward?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Lloyd

Clutch is fine - mid petal engagement as always. No problems noticed with forward gears. I've put 17,000 miles on the car over 2 years with this problem. Problem was pretty stable. Seems to be deteriorating a bit for the 1st time I've noticed - just a little bit harder to get into reverse, a little bit harder to keep it there. But I can still sometimes get it into reverse without grinding.

I went back and looked up Volvo dealer diagnosis when I 1st brought the car to them with this problem - about a month after I started having problems. Most sr mechanic worked on assessing the problem - notes include:

"Adjust shift cables and retest problem still present. Spoke with Volvo hotline - verify reverse and recheck operation. Trans completely in reverse and still pops out."

Dealer recommendation was a new trans (rebuilt) - I think they quoted $7k to purchase and install. I decided to live with problem and see what happens. Now I'm 2 years down the road... Still a very good car other than trans. When this all happened - expecting I would need to swap out the trans soon - I bought a used 5 sp with 50k on it from a Volvo only wrecking yard.

Question for me now is confirming if anything could be wrong with linkage or whether this is internal trans problem and requires a replacement. My next step planned is to find a good quality Volvo experienced shop and get linkage assessed again. What's your assessment from everything I've told you? And again - thanks for your advice.

Eric
 

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I'm leaning more towards an internal trans problem, because if either cable had a problem then that problem would show up when trying to shift into 2nd 4th or 5th. 2nd and 4th use the same motion as reverse on the right cable, and 5th uses the same motion as reverse on the left cable. The stiff detent that keeps you from accidentally selecting reverse is inside the transmission.
 

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One more thing, definitely don't scrap the whole transmission if you end up changing it, it's quite possible that there's just a cracked piece or a loose roll pin or something that is easily repairable once you have it out. You can either try and repair it yourself and recoup some cost by selling the transmission, or sell it as-is for a discount to someone willing to gamble. I would be willing except shipping would make it a little cost prohibitive.

And definitely unscrew the reverse light switch and test it just as a last thing before you take the big plunge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi Lloyd

You are reaching the same conclusion the volvo dealer mechanic did. Maybe I should be happy I got 17,000 miles and 2 years before noticing any further degrading.

I will have it checked another time before replace the trans. Also check the back-up switch. Just to be sure.

Good point about keeping the trans. I'm curious to know what the problem is - so if I replace the trans I may have it pulled apart and see if it is obvious what is wrong and what the cost of repair would be - definitely won't junk.

May take a while to get all this done - will update the post when I do to close the loop for any interested.
 

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Please do update when you know whats going on!
 

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All – I’ve had a problem getting into reverse in my 5 sp manual transmission. My 2004 v70 (non-turbo) is relatively low mileage (75k) and in good shape. Problem started 2 yrs ago at 59k and developed over a month.

Felt to me like a linkage problem – because once I get it into reverse it stays there and operates fine. But generally very tricky to get in reverse – slips out initially and grinds gears. Has not seemed to get any worse after the initial problem so I haven’t repaired yet.

Took it to my local Volvo dealer twice back when initial problem surfaced – most sr. mechanic tested very carefully and concluded it was not a linkage problem but couldn’t really tell me what the problem was. He talked to Volvo corp also (McKevitt Volvo, San Leandro CA location).

So now I find this irritating – and my wife is driving the car more and finds it even more irritating. I already bought a used transmission (Volvo wanted -$6k+ to put a rebuilt trans in the car). Before I go ahead and replace the trans – just want to check if anyone has had any similar problem and if any ideas of repairs I can do short of replacing trans – or at least diagnosing the problem.

If no ideas – can anyone from San Francisco Bay Area recommend a good shop to replace the trans?

Frustrating – been driving Volvos with manual transmissions for more then 30 years and never had a transmission problem other than worn clutch. At least this didn’t happen to my 2002 T5 with manual trans.

In advance – appreciate any help that can be offered. BTW – also posting this to Ask IPD.

Eric
:(
Hi Eric,
I know it's been years since you posted this but did you find out what the problem was and how did you get it fixed? I have a 2004 V70 (non-turbo) with 85k on the clock which developed the same problem a couple of years ago and it's now started to worsen.
Many thanks
:)
 
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