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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have begun searching for a Volvo and have hit a bit of a roadblock on how to research which models offer the best reliabilty. I have tried looking in these forums for older posts /responses so I don't ask a question that has been comprehensively answered elsewhere.

My interest is in a FWD N/A s70 and v70. (non-turbo for simplicity and longevity). I have found a 98
s70 with a 5spd and 73k at a small independent dealer here in Mass, and a private sale 99 V70 auto with about 100k. Both have new timing belts.

I am usually leery of 1st year models but it seems that this was a largely cosmetic change from the solid 850's. I have read elsewhere that the ECM is better in the 98. Other than that item, is there any advice you might have about these types of cars. Both are well under $5000 and are claimed to have been well maintained.

I can't bring myself to buy an older Avalon/Camry, even if it means paying a higher price in more frequent repairs with a Volvo. But I wouldn't be able to afford a money pit, so I have to shop this thoroughly.

Thankful for any feedback.
 

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As far as 98-00 S/V70s go, the 98s are the more reliable due the a change in the engine management system on the 99+ cars. 98s use Bosch M4.4 with a conventional cable-driven throttle, and 99+ use the newer Bosch ME7, which uses an electronic throttle module (ETM) that will fail, to the tune of $600 for a replacement. That is only 1 example, but is the major issue as far as you'd be concerned while shopping for an NA.

The 98s are mechanically a bit simpler, and have a greater availability in parts simply due to the fact that they are mechanically identical to the 850s.

Shameless plug--check the link in my sig. My parents are selling their 1 owner 98 NA with all service records.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks b5. that's a nice looking wagon. amazing condition for New England.

having not had the opportunity to drive one, is the N/A engines power sufficient, or are you always reminded of its 168hp as you drive?
 

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Thanks, I appreciate you taking a look!

The NA is fine, especially around town. Honestly, on the highway personally I'd want more sometimes for merging or passing up a hill, but its not like it can't get out of its own way. It has no problem getting you from point A to point B. Honestly, the car pulls harder than any 4 cylinder Camrys or Accords that I've driven.

I'm a 21 year old who likes "spirited" driving, so I ultimately upgraded to my 99 R, but thats a different story :D
 

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Let your butt-dyno make the call. Let the test drives begin.
I would suggest driving both before plunking down any cash.
The turbo doesn't add that many service issues. Totally Worth It!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On my way down to the dealer tomorrow. I will be trying the 5spd N/A. His turbo models are all auto's and I haven't seen many S70 or 850's with so few miles. He replaces the timing belt on nearly every car he sells and this one is no different. I asked if the water pump was done at the same time and it wasn't. I would love the turbo and am glad to hear that they represent a huge increase in maintenance, but in addition to rarity at low mileage is the fact the Massachusetts keeps tickets on your record for 7 years! Having just stepped off a VMAX and a VFR I need to curb my power appetite for a while.

Are there any specific things I should look for or ask about when visiting the dealer tomorrow? I am trying to create a list of all the little things that i tend to miss on these test visits. but i also don't know the warning signs of a bad PCV, failing headlight wipers, ect. If anyone has a suggestions for me to look at I'd appreciate them.

Hopefully the car is great and I can change my sign-in name to a more worthy Arrested Development reference.
 

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1998 V70 T5 with factory m56h; 18t, Green injectors, 50% e85
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There are others with more expertise than I've got, but I'd be looking for signs of leakage from the rear main seal. If the dipstick tube smokes (with dipstick removed) at idle, that's indicative of need for PCV system replacement. Suspension usually is needed at this point unless done already. Heater core would be nice to have been replaced, but it's not a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks washdup, i test drove the car before reading your tips. so i didn't look for those warning signs. i told the dealer i'd buy the car if every thing is taken care of that came up in the inspection. before signing over the check i will try the PCV and ask him to put it up on the lift. the shock weren't loud and the car didn't ride poorly, but a good suspension kit from IPD will probably be my first big job unless something goes wrong with the car first. i know the dealer is at the bottom with his price so i'll have to come up with that myself.

he seemed honest enough. there were a bunch of warning light on the test drive ( literal not figurative ) and the gauges were all dead. he said it was an ignition switch issue and he would take care of that immediately. does that sound right ?

thanks again everyone.
greg
 

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That indeed could be the issue but just make sure he doesn't just remove the light bulbs from the gauge cluster! Have the car's OBD-II system plugged into and get the codes read. Autozone offers this for free but surely if you get an inspection done they should do this.

There are also several Volvo Dealers that offer great online pricing where Genuine Volvo parts are often competitive in price with the aftermarket stuff. Just something to look into.
 
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