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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys.

I'm in the market for an 04-06 XC90. My budget is around $10k so what I'm finding in that range are mostly 04-05s with around 100k miles on the clock. I'm leaning toward the 2.5T but haven't ruled out the V8.

I'm hoping some of you can help with some tips and pointers when I go look at one.

Is there an easy way to determine which option packages a car has based on visual clues like different steering wheel, center control buttons or others or is there a "VIN decoder" somewhere that can tell me what options are installed?

Are there typical trouble areas I should pay special attention to when driving/looking at the car?

I'm really excited about getting this vehicle. It'll be my first Volvo and first SUV. I hope to find one soon.

Thank you
Jacob
 

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Go with the 2.5. the V8 from 05 had issues, if you are set on the V8 then find one with a serial number greater than 6833 they have a longer life. Otherwise you can look on this board start from the beginning and read to the present, don't get scared but at least once you are done reading you will know what to look for. My philosophy is that the less options the less there is to break. Perhaps a mod can set a sticky on what to look for in an used XC90 so that us newbies don't have to read the all the previous posts. Yes I know there is a search feature...... and yes I use it.
 

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Be certain the maintenance is current or budget to bring deferred work current. My '04 2.5T has been babied its whole life but at 108k miles now it has needed lots of recent attention-- roughly $5k in the last 18 months. Things like timing belt, PCV system, suspension bushings, motor mounts, alternator, wheel bearings. But, I love it- it still feels new, and I certainly wouldn't take $10k for it.



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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you guys.

Adomme, thanks for the tips about those maintenance items. That's a little bit scary. I could end up with a seemingly good deal and it could turn out to need quite a few things fixed/replaced within a relatively short time period. $5k in 18 months is a lot, even for an older car.

I haven't driven one yet but one my only concerns with the car overall is the amount of space that the driver has for the feet and knees. I'm 6'4" and I'm a little worried about feeling cramped since it's a "mid-size" and not a larger SUV (which I don't want). I had a G35x for a few months back in 2010 and it was terrible in that regard.

Jacob
 

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Jacob im a bit tall too and the XC90 is really nice, my wife which is tall to also love it. We found this suv really great for long trips, confortable and the best of all there is a lot of space all around, huge trunk.
I will not worry about parts, there is enough place on the internet that offers amazing prices compared to the dealer, some excample are tasca, fcpeuro.com, etc.

I got mine last year on oct. Its a XC90 2.5T 2005 with about 60k, now has about 80k and believe me, my wife doesnt want to let me drive!!! lol.
 

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2.5t is a very reliable engine. Just watch out for the leaking turbo and PCV\Flame trap problems. Keep up with the timing belt maintenance and it'll treat you well. Other maintenance still applies. Watch out for faulty AWD from a stripped collar, make sure you change transmission fluid often. Change AOC/Haldex fluid, bevel gear fluid, and rear diff fluid, flush brake fluid, and bla bla bla and it will be a reliable car.
 

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We have a 2004 XC90 2.5T, and we absolutely love it! The Volvo currently has 120k on the odometer, and it rides beautifully. Also handles inclement weather well!
 

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I just bought a 2007 3.2 AWD, 122k miles (paid just under $12k). It took a lot of searching and looking and we almost gave up but finally found one in excellent condition. Be prepared to see a lot of beat up and run down vehicles (I was surprised by how poorly most of these are taken care of). Be prepared for a lot of terrible salesmen who will belittle you for wanting to find a clean, well kept car. Be prepared for a lot of time spent going to check out a vehicle that turns out to be a disappointment.

The headlights are often faded/hazy (I think they can be replaced for about $200 per side)
The driver's seat trim is often cracked or broken (easy $20 fix)
Fuel door is often broken (but operates strangely even when it is working, it will not re-latch closed until the vehicle is moving)
The center cupholder cover and arm rest/console cover hinges are often broken.
The sunroof drains (running through the a-pillar) can clog and this will cause water to overvlow into the wiring and/or accumulated under the seats (an expensive DSTC sensor under the passenger seat can get killed this way and many other odd electrical gremlins can occur)
Be sure to check the Carfax and/or maintenance records (we found several where the Carfax indicated recurring trips to the dealer for electrical/software issues)
Ours has an intermittant issue with the steering angle sensor that seems to be exposed when doing low speed parking where you turn the wheel fully left/right.
On your test drive pay attention to the transmission with a slow/easy acceleration (watch for any jerkiness)
Once you think you have found the right car have it checked by a good mechanic who knows Volvos - it is tempting to skip this step to save money but the peace of mind is well worth it, and they can give you an indication on the LCA bushings and wheel bearings (and angle gear if AWD) which are common failures/maintence items.
As previously mentioned, the 2.5 needs a timing belt around 100k or so.


After all that, we are loving our new (to us) XC90! :) I hope it is a good car and lasts a long time. We put about 1000 miles on it the first week we got it and it's been great so far. I've never driven the V8 so I can't compare, but the 3.2 seems fine to us (power and smoothness wise).
 

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I just bought a 2007 3.2 AWD, 122k miles (paid just under $12k). It took a lot of searching and looking and we almost gave up but finally found one in excellent condition. Be prepared to see a lot of beat up and run down vehicles (I was surprised by how poorly most of these are taken care of). Be prepared for a lot of terrible salesmen who will belittle you for wanting to find a clean, well kept car. Be prepared for a lot of time spent going to check out a vehicle that turns out to be a disappointment.

The headlights are often faded/hazy (I think they can be replaced for about $200 per side)
The driver's seat trim is often cracked or broken (easy $20 fix)
Fuel door is often broken (but operates strangely even when it is working, it will not re-latch closed until the vehicle is moving)
The center cupholder cover and arm rest/console cover hinges are often broken.
The sunroof drains (running through the a-pillar) can clog and this will cause water to overvlow into the wiring and/or accumulated under the seats (an expensive DSTC sensor under the passenger seat can get killed this way and many other odd electrical gremlins can occur)
Be sure to check the Carfax and/or maintenance records (we found several where the Carfax indicated recurring trips to the dealer for electrical/software issues)
Ours has an intermittant issue with the steering angle sensor that seems to be exposed when doing low speed parking where you turn the wheel fully left/right.
On your test drive pay attention to the transmission with a slow/easy acceleration (watch for any jerkiness)
Once you think you have found the right car have it checked by a good mechanic who knows Volvos - it is tempting to skip this step to save money but the peace of mind is well worth it, and they can give you an indication on the LCA bushings and wheel bearings (and angle gear if AWD) which are common failures/maintence items.
As previously mentioned, the 2.5 needs a timing belt around 100k or so.


After all that, we are loving our new (to us) XC90! :) I hope it is a good car and lasts a long time. We put about 1000 miles on it the first week we got it and it's been great so far. I've never driven the V8 so I can't compare, but the 3.2 seems fine to us (power and smoothness wise).
I had a different experience when looking for mine, perhaps because I was looking at newer cars for the most part, but most were in pretty good shape. I went to see and poke around about 20 cars after sorting through a hundred or so on the internet and only one was at all ratty (like those described above), though the vast majority had early cracking wear of the driver's seat leather and some B-pillar fabric piling where the seat belts had rubbed. Again I focused on cars between 25k and 60k miles and only two that I looked at closely had over 60k. Bought a 2008 3.2AWD CPO and paid a smidgen over $23k about 8 months ago. During initial research I did notice that there were modal lumps in the distribution of available cars in the 3yr off lease CPO ($25k-$30k) and the 8-9yr 100k+ miles ($7k-$10k) categories and a less availability in between, potentially signifying that people tend to keep them until they get beat-up as described above.
 

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I had a different experience when looking for mine, perhaps because I was looking at newer cars for the most part, but most were in pretty good shape. I went to see and poke around about 20 cars after sorting through a hundred or so on the internet and only one was at all ratty (like those described above), though the vast majority had early cracking wear of the driver's seat leather and some B-pillar fabric piling where the seat belts had rubbed. Again I focused on cars between 25k and 60k miles and only two that I looked at closely had over 60k. Bought a 2008 3.2AWD CPO and paid a smidgen over $23k about 8 months ago. During initial research I did notice that there were modal lumps in the distribution of available cars in the 3yr off lease CPO ($25k-$30k) and the 8-9yr 100k+ miles ($7k-$10k) categories and a less availability in between, potentially signifying that people tend to keep them until they get beat-up as described above.
And that is the difference between getting a car that has been thoroughly inspected and passed tough factory standards and one that is just a run of the mill from wherever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you to everyone for all the helpful info posted so far. I haven't found the right one yet. I've been reminded of why I hate looking for cars - shady car salesman tactics and bait & switch by dealers etc but I have also been in contact with legitimate sellers so I'm hopeful I can find the right XC90 for us. I'll print this thread and bring it with me when I go look at candidates, that's for sure.
 

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And that is the difference between getting a car that has been thoroughly inspected and passed tough factory standards and one that is just a run of the mill from wherever.
That's true, and my experience with the Volvo CPO program left me with a very positive impression about the products and the company itself, but I do want to point out that of the 20 or so at which I looked more closely, 6 were not CPO cars and only 1 of those was ratty.
 

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Jacob,

Going against every single piece of advice you will get from this forum and every other xc90 forum, is a 03 T6 with high mileage LOL.
 

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Jacob,

Going against every single piece of advice you will get from this forum and every other xc90 forum, is a 03 T6 with high mileage LOL.
Might be not be such a bad idea, if transmission was replaced not long ago...can give several years of inexpensive use...and can be dirty cheap...

Otherwise...forget a conventional wisdom and get a new 3.2 AWD via OSD...the XC90 is a good deal comparative to the XC60 today - more car (hence older one) for the same money...
 

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Might be not be such a bad idea, if transmission was replaced not long ago...can give several years of inexpensive use...and can be dirty cheap...

Otherwise...forget a conventional wisdom and get a new 3.2 AWD via OSD...the XC90 is a good deal comparative to the XC60 today - more car (hence older one) for the same money...
bingo on the transmission, plus if it is an updated one to boot. Drove my xc90 today because we going to hit almost 100 degrees today, and the xc90 has the coldest a/c out of all the volvo's i have ever owned...rear a/c helps too :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
burg's 03 is very nice. I love the color, the upgrades/updates, the service records, the fact it's 7 passenger, AWD and has rear DVD. Everything I want - except for the miles and the engine/transmission combo. As recent as the maintenance was done, it still scares me a little. Then again, any used car without warranty is a problem waiting to happen - the only question is when it'll happen and how much it'll cost to fix. Appreciate the heads up on the car and I'm sure it'll find a good home soon.
 
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