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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I'm a prospective first time Volvo owner having just ordered my XC90.
To those of you who own or owned Volvos or other cars with boosted engines, how robust are they? is there any significant maintenance requirements after you hit certain mileage?

i know theoretical reliability of boosted engines is not as good as those without, simply because of the complexity, more parts, etc..., but what about real life reliability.

anyone had bad experience having their turbocharged/supercharged engine fixed?

thank you all for inputs.
 

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Assuming they are well designed, I don't think forced induction engines are any less reliable than naturally aspirated ones.
 

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I'm not an engineer but I was a mechanic for many years so take it for what it's worth. A boosted engine was used to replace larger/higher cylinder count engines, so a turbo 4 would be used to replace a normally aspirated 6.

A normally aspirated 6 cylinder has 4 more moving parts that a normally aspirated 4 cylinder in that it has 2 more pistons and 2 more rods.
A turbo 4 has essentially 1 more moving part than a normally aspirated 4 in the turbo shaft, which is much easier to replace if it were to fail than a rod or piston.

Volvo has been making reliable boosted engine since the 1970's.

The engine in the XC90 also has a supercharger attached adding I believe 1 additional moving part, another spinning shaft (some have 2 shafts, I'm not sure about the one in our vehicle). This is still less internal moving parts than the normally aspirated 6.

Other reasons to use the boosted 4 over the normally aspirated 6 is lighter weight, better packaging, better fuel economy and ease of maintenance.

Congratulations on your purchase!
 

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I'm not an engineer but I was a mechanic for many years so take it for what it's worth. A boosted engine was used to replace larger/higher cylinder count engines, so a turbo 4 would be used to replace a normally aspirated 6.

A normally aspirated 6 cylinder has 4 more moving parts that a normally aspirated 4 cylinder in that it has 2 more pistons and 2 more rods.
A turbo 4 has essentially 1 more moving part than a normally aspirated 4 in the turbo shaft, which is much easier to replace if it were to fail than a rod or piston.

Volvo has been making reliable boosted engine since the 1970's.

The engine in the XC90 also has a supercharger attached adding I believe 1 additional moving part, another spinning shaft (some have 2 shafts, I'm not sure about the one in our vehicle). This is still less internal moving parts than the normally aspirated 6.

Other reasons to use the boosted 4 over the normally aspirated 6 is lighter weight, better packaging, better fuel economy and ease of maintenance.

Congratulations on your purchase!
Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

I'm surprised though at your comment about ease of maintenance though. Are turbos/superchargers actually that much easier to maintain than an normally aspirated V6 or I6?
 

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I am no mechanic or auto engineer. However, I did some research on howstuffworks.com a while back and found that the turbo engines need to be made MUCH stronger than regular ones because of which they last much longer. My wife has a few colleagues that own a Volvo XC90 older model for several years with 250K + miles with very few to no issues. It helped a lot in our decision.
 

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I am no mechanic or auto engineer. However, I did some research on howstuffworks.com a while back and found that the turbo engines need to be made MUCH stronger than regular ones because of which they last much longer. My wife has a few colleagues that own a Volvo XC90 older model for several years with 250K + miles with very few to no issues. It helped a lot in our decision.
Weren't the old XC90s normally aspirated?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not an engineer but I was a mechanic for many years so take it for what it's worth. A boosted engine was used to replace larger/higher cylinder count engines, so a turbo 4 would be used to replace a normally aspirated 6.

A normally aspirated 6 cylinder has 4 more moving parts that a normally aspirated 4 cylinder in that it has 2 more pistons and 2 more rods.
A turbo 4 has essentially 1 more moving part than a normally aspirated 4 in the turbo shaft, which is much easier to replace if it were to fail than a rod or piston.

Volvo has been making reliable boosted engine since the 1970's.

The engine in the XC90 also has a supercharger attached adding I believe 1 additional moving part, another spinning shaft (some have 2 shafts, I'm not sure about the one in our vehicle). This is still less internal moving parts than the normally aspirated 6.

Other reasons to use the boosted 4 over the normally aspirated 6 is lighter weight, better packaging, better fuel economy and ease of maintenance.

Congratulations on your purchase!
Very valid point indeed, i didn't look at it that way. i never owned a volvo before but know folks who drove them for many, many miles. Knowing that Volvo and turbo are pretty much synonymous helped with the decision to order one. thanks for sharing.
 

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Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

I'm surprised though at your comment about ease of maintenance though. Are turbos/superchargers actually that much easier to maintain than an normally aspirated V6 or I6?
This is a great discussion and perspective. I guess in theory they are for the reason above, but I think part of it is, if a turbo fails you can pretty much slap a new one on. If you have an internal problem you're tearing into the whole engine.

As far as these engines being made stranger than n/a ones not sure- I think the t4 is probably this exact engine without turbo or super. Maybe in the past plus there's been a ton of turbo diesels which wear well anyway.
 

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Hello,
I'm a prospective first time Volvo owner having just ordered my XC90.
To those of you who own or owned Volvos or other cars with boosted engines, how robust are they? is there any significant maintenance requirements after you hit certain mileage?

i know theoretical reliability of boosted engines is not as good as those without, simply because of the complexity, more parts, etc..., but what about real life reliability.

anyone had bad experience having their turbocharged/supercharged engine fixed?

thank you all for inputs.
Take a look at my signature. My V70 is 14.5 years old (bought it new), 156,000 miles on the odo, modified since it had about 10,000 miles meaning it has been running higher than stock boost ever since it was a "baby", I have tracked it a few times as well, been through rough winters for most of its life (it is enjoying its golden years now in the mild weather of Southern California) and it has been one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned.

It is burning barely 1/4 of a quart of synthetic oil every 7,500 miles.

You take care of the required maintenance, you will not have any mechanical issues with these engines. As others have mentioned, Volvo has been manufacturing turbocharged engines for many decades and they do that very well.
 

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In the letters section of the December Car and Driver a reader wrote in questioning the long term viability of the XC90 engine. From the letter "That they are extracting 316 horsepower from a block that is smaller than my '64 Triumph TR4's gives me great pause. One stressed little engine; $60,000, $10/quart Mobil 1, 20.3 psi. It doesn't add up."

If the psi number is correct though that does seem to me to be a lot of boost for a physically small 4cyl block.

Not trying to be negative, I love the XC90 and am no mechanical engineer, so am mostly posting this as fyi and for others to comment. Once I finish my house remodel and have more funds available I'm looking to order a T8 R design, hopefully by then I can get the R with the beige interior and not just the black..
 

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I am a Volvo dealer technician and Volvo owner as well.

Between the cars I have personally had my hands on and the cars come through the shops where I have worked, they would number in the thousands. I have only seen a few engine failures and fewer turbo failures. Almost all of those were the result of neglecting to keep up with the normal service intervals (oil changes) or external causes (ingesting water, for example).

True, the Drive-e engines are completely new but Volvo has been boosting engines for decades. I am confident they will prove to be just as durable.
 

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I own two boosted Fords, both with the same engine in transverse and longitudinal configurations. F-150 EcoBoost and our Taurus SHO.

The F-150 has towed a 8,000 lb travel trailer across the United States, twice. No issues. The Taurus SHO is currently with me in Korea and has spent quite a bit of time at triple digit speeds for sustained periods of time. No issues. Something tells me that Ford learned quite a bit from Volvo's forced induction past and applied it to its EcoBoost motors because those engines are absolute solid. Aside from sounding like a vacuum cleaner, the Ecoboost V6 is a gem of a motor.

Boosted engines have come quite a long way over the years. This isn't the 80s. Additionally, I have a hard time believing that Volvo would shoot themselves in the foot by spending $11B and developing a bad engine. Furthermore, I'd rather have a turbo/supercharged 4 cylinder than a twin turbo 4 cylinder.
 

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What is wrong with a twin turbo 4 cylinder? Volvo uses in the XC90 D5 drive-e diesel engine.
Better throttle response. No lag at low rpm, though, not that today's highly efficient twin-scroll turbos have much lag anyways...
 

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Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

I'm surprised though at your comment about ease of maintenance though. Are turbos/superchargers actually that much easier to maintain than an normally aspirated V6 or I6?
Most vehicles are made to take different size engines. The engine compartment size stays the same. So if you put a larger engine in place, you now have less room to work on it. An examples are Camrys and Accords that offer a choice of 4 or 6 cylinder engines, the latter having less room to access the engine when necessary, making it more difficult for the mechanic=more time=more cost.

I really like Nissan engines because they're usually built stronger than most, for example; some of their engines uses a cradle style main cap instead of the separate caps to support the crank which is the largest rotating component of any engine. The problem is they put really large engines into small engine bays making them difficult to work on.

Older Volvos (240's and 740's) usually had 4 cylinders but many have swapped 8 cylinders into them proving that they had a lot of room in the engine bay making them very easy to get your hands in there as a mechanic working on the stock engine.

The Volvos from the mid 90's to the mid 2000's didn't have as much room but they really weren't that bad.

The current generation Volvos with the 6 cylinder seem a little tight but I haven't taken off any of the engine cladding (I believe that's the plastic panels surrounding the engine and components.)

The 2016 XC90 seems to have a lot of room in the engine bay when you look past the engine cladding. As you can see, it's something I look for. ;)

Take a look under the hood. The more room, usually means it's easier for the mechanic and therefore less expensive for general maintenance. There are things like European parts that may cost more although Volvo parts seem to be on par with many Japanese brands. Also, higher cylinder count usually means more spark plugs and spark plug cables or coils.

Sorry for running on, I hope it helps.
 

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The current generation Volvos with the 6 cylinder seem a little tight but I haven't taken off any of the engine cladding (I believe that's the plastic panels surrounding the engine and components.)
The SI6 isn't all that bad to work on. They're a little intimidating because all of the accessories are on the "wrong" end of the engine driven by a power take off that's geared to the flywheel. You have to remove a lot of other stuff (intake, battery box, etc.) to get in there but they made it relatively straight-forward to pull what you need to. In some respects it's actually easier than trying to get to things which are wedged between the engine and the right-hand wheel well. Once you clear the way it's all right in front of you.

All that said, I won't really miss the 3.2 and the small displacement + turbocharging is near the bottom of the list of things that I wonder about in terms of Drive-E longevity. I'm much more interested in the direct injection system and associated concerns like carbon buildup. Those are questions I'd ask about any new DI engine from any manufacturer. I'm encouraged that nobody has reported anything like that (AFAIK) but it'll take a few years to get enough miles on the fleet to declare them good.
 

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Any modern car can last well into the 100ks easy. The material engineering design and development have gotten really advanced. Unless you are punishing your drivetrain to severe duty and not keeping up with maintenance, they should last a long time. Now what we understand to be the Achilles heel here is the electronic modules that control the engine. And this is not a european only concern, as its the fact of that a car is not a ideal environment for electronics. Vibration, temperature etc are going to take it toll. Yes they are engineered for the environment, but like anything they have a set lifespan.


TL : DR
Turbo/Supercharged engine will probably outlast the electronics in the vehicle
Will the electronics outlast the engine? Curious and Dubious
 
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