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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
TL;DR version, is a manual S70 going to feel significantly faster and torquier than an auto? Is there a big difference from 98 to 99 T5's?


Some of you may recognize me from the thread about pimping my mom's T5. I currently own it, and it's a wonderful car. I of course, have been lusting over the somewhat fleeting idea of a P80 turbo with a manual.... Sigh. I thought for sure I would never experience what it would be like to drive my car in stick form.....

Until Today.



more pictures: http://www.rsrautosport.ca/1999-volvo-s70-t5.html

This is a 1999 S70 T5 M!! I thought I would never see one, and yet it showed up for sale from one of those questionable dealer places on the rough side of town. I "test" drove it this morning, as in I was slamming through the gears and having a blast. Here's the thing.. Why does this one feel SO MUCH FASTER than my car? Top end feels the same, but the torque in 1st and 2nd gear feels soooo much better. In my car it feels like I'm a slug of the line. I've only read a little about the differences in model years and turbos, is there a better/bigger turbo in the '99? Is it something to do with tuning.... These were questions running through my head as I drove the car I have literally been daydreaming of.

The performance differences lead me down two thought processes. Since I have not driven many other X70 T5's, I'm curious if perhaps mine needs repair? Thinking vacuum leaks, maybe my turbo isn't performing, could it be the ECU differences? I did notice that the manual S70 does not hold revs like the Auto does. When I rev my car, it holds them for a while before they go back down. Is that a transmission characteristic (torque converter?), or an ECU thing? I definitely dig the way the revs feel in the T5M. They go up quicker and go back down quicker, sounds sportier. I noticed too that the fuel consumption gauge was making readings that were soooo much better than my car. Cruising in 3rd at 60k I was getting 4-6L/100k. In my car... I'm lucky to get a reading below 10 if I'm having any fun. Also engine braking amazed me, going downhill, downshift to 2nd and the revs came up, but the fuel consumption reads 2!? Less than 2?? What's going on here?


On the other hand, is this really just a difference in transmission causing the difference? I understand with the 5 speed manual, 1st gear can have a much larger(correct me if I have that backwards) gear ratio than the 4 speed Auto that I have. Is it that the T5M ECU makes the revs behave differently to get you into gear properly? Leading me to the ultimate question, if I put a 5 speed in my car am I going to have the same thrilling experience??

Please, Volvo gurus, enlighten this conflicted & confused man.

Additionally: Asking price for the car was 3995. Exterior: great. Wheels are perfect. New tires. Suspension feels unabused. No squeaks or anything in the interior, no blown speakers. The front seats are in half-decent shape, apparently recently had evap and 02 engine codes. Guy said he didn't fix the 02 code, it just went away... Also has been in 2 accidents under 1100 in damage, but that is a big question mark for me. Have yet to get the Carfax so we will see, I don't think I'm buying it though, it's not the car I grew up in...


 

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Tranny is a BIG difference especially 1st and 2nd where you have essentially 2 gears instead of 1. Then there is the parasitic loss in an automatic vs none in a manual.
Next, 99s with their totally different ME7 operating systems vs the old 4.4 Motronics are faster off the line in 1st gear, auto or manual 99 and newer over a 98.
My last 99 T5M was very quick (stock), none of the 98s I owned could have got close to it (stock for stock).

 

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I currently am driving both a 98t5m and a 99 t5m and both are stock except both have IPD springs. The 99 is quicker and handles better than the 98. Between the ETM and the dual mass clutch that the 99 has it makes for a more comfortable ride. Also I have been told the steering rack on the 99+ was improved which would explain some of the handling improvements.

note that these are opinions before some 98 t5m owner decides his car has been disrespected.
 

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99 is a more advanced car. The etm system and upgraded engine management make for a better driving experience imho.

ME7 is torque demand. And actually senses boost. Its a brilliant engine management system really.

The potential to extract safe horsepower out of the block is better in the 99. There are a number of improvements with turbo exit, intake, variable exhaust valve timing.

That price is a bit high for that car. For $3000 it would probably be worth it, any more is subjective.

Now that youve seen the light (aka driving improvements of 99), keep an eye out, they do exist. Even if this isnt the one its a great platform to start with. Even totally stock the car loves to please.
 

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I loved my ME7 99 S70t5m... I believe the head also is improved over the 98 head. Note that when you're comparing two used cars there are more factors (maintenance) that can influence performance outside of the factory specs the car came with. If the 99 runs well, grab it!
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If the 99 runs well, grab it!
Dan
Here's the thing Guys: my moms T5 (my car) has been in my family since I was a youngin.. I rode in a car seat in that thing! Many trips with mom to the grocery store, driven to school, road trips.. The list goes on. When I sat in the '99 it was very weird. I'm so familiar with this car but when I sat in a different one it was almost trippy, because everything is almost exactly the same. Problem is... It's not exactly the same. In fact because of how similar it is, but not being MY car makes it almost more heartbreaking than if I was to get a different car altogether.


Also.. I hate silver.
 

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If you hate the color then don't buy it


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Manual > automatic. No matter what year or car. You should definitely find a way to make a T5M a part of your daily routine. It's like driving a completely different type of car. I highly recommend it.

I can see both sides to the sentimental "keep it in the family" deal. How you get your manual-ness will have to be something you decide and can feel good about. I won't tell you to make the "logical choice" because there are none in the car hobby game. The "logical choice" would be to buy a Toyota Camry.

Also, it is tough for me to talk about certain cars being better than other cars, especially in stock configurations. Why even talk about "stock" cars when modifications exist to make them better?! "My Camaro is faster than your Volvo." "Maybe stock, but no it's not if I crank the boost up a bit!" as an example. Any given car is only as awesome as you make it. Are there 98s that are faster and better handling than 99s? Of course there are, and vice versa. But it all depends on what modifications have been done to the cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Manual > automatic. No matter what year or car. You should definitely find a way to make a T5M a part of your daily routine. It's like driving a completely different type of car. I highly recommend it.

I can see both sides to the sentimental "keep it in the family" deal. How you get your manual-ness will have to be something you decide and can feel good about. I won't tell you to make the "logical choice" because there are none in the car hobby game. The "logical choice" would be to buy a Toyota Camry.

Also, it is tough for me to talk about certain cars being better than other cars, especially in stock configurations. Why even talk about "stock" cars when modifications exist to make them better?! "My Camaro is faster than your Volvo." "Maybe stock, but no it's not if I crank the boost up a bit!" as an example. Any given car is only as awesome as you make it. Are there 98s that are faster and better handling than 99s? Of course there are, and vice versa. But it all depends on what modifications have been done to the cars.
Valuable words, Bob. Every day I think a little more about the possibilities... Since I don't want to **** anything up, and I'm only getting started in working on my car, I think I'd want someone else to do the tranny work. Theres a guy in town who said he'd do the tranny swap for under $2K, which is a lot, considering I'd still have to get one. But, if it keeps me from buying a new car for a few more years yet, maybe it would be worth it?
 

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Thanks.

Let me ask you this: How in love, or how committed are you to this particular car? Because if you're on the fence, I'd say just move on. Well, move on in one of 3 ways: 1. Don't mod the car, just own it and maintain it for awhile. 2. Sell it and find a manual x70. or 3. Sell it and just buy something else entirely. But if you are all in, take your time and maintain and modify your car in the right way and have fun. It will cost some money but you'll own with a car that is unique, fun to drive, easy to maintain and reliable for years and years. These things run a long time. My car has 207,000 miles and still going strong.

I bring all this up because over almost 3 years into my relationship with my wagon, I've spent a good bit of money. I mean, enough money that I could have taken a more common performance car platform to really fun levels. Say I started with an older M3 or a Camaro, etc. I could have had a pretty swingin' car by now. A car much faster and better handling than what my wagon is. However, in the most anti-materialistic way I really do love my Volvo. How many performance Volvos do you see driving around? BMWs, Camaros, etc. are a dime a dozen. That's not my style. My 5 cylinder turbo Volvo station wagon is different. It makes me smile every day I drive it.

In order to make my spending choices on my car easier to swallow I have resolved to keeping the car forever. I will never sell it because I know I would regret it. (Doesn't mean I won't acquire other fun cars as well. I will.) If I keep it forever I can more easily justify the dollars I spend. The longer I keep the car the lower my average yearly cost of ownership will be. Because eventually I'll get this car's performance where I want it, and then I'll just maintain it.

Sorry, I'm babbling on now. Back to your car. Even in automatic form, these cars are fun. I know there is going to be a lot you can do to your car to freshen it up, get it boosting better and pulling harder, and get it handling better. There is plenty of Stage 0 work just waiting to be done. These cars run even when things need work. Then when you do the work and the car gets running healthy again it makes a big difference! It doesn't take much to get a taste of that satisfaction and it will push you to keep going. If you keep the car and you're still having fun in a year or two, then manual swap it!

If you don't mind me asking where are you in life? Are you still in school? Or do you have a job with disposable income? Because me in high school and college would go about car ownership, maintenance, and modification in a much different way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am not on the fence, I assure you. I struggle to find any car that I like the feel of more than this car, and by feel I mean what it feels like to be on the inside. The interior is one of those things that Volvo just amazes with, despite the age. I have no intention of swapping for another Volvo, unless I was upgrading to a newer manual wagon. Otherwise, I think my next car will be a Subie wagon with a stick, but even then I can't see it for another 2 years or more.

To your question Bob, I'm 20 in two weeks. I inherited this car for free so I'm lucky to be only a bit of money in. I am a student currently, I'm fortunate to have support from my folks with Education costs. I work as a server in the summers off, very decent income. I work also as a photographer year round, and that helps too. Right now I'm halfway through a BBA, might move to Vancouver next year. I could sufficiently see keeping my S70 for 2 years ish? Maybe 3? Not sure. If I move to the city however, maybe I won't want a 5 speed swap.. But maybe I will. Who knows. My costs of owning this car are very attractive, so I think i'd be money ahead to keep it as long as I can, and use a fraction of what money I would have perhaps spent on a new vehicle sooner on making this one satisfy me for a longer period of time. Ya feel? Am I making sense?
 

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Yeah, I see where you're coming from. That sounds like a solid plan. I think you'll be able to get a good couple years out of it that way, saving some money overall, but still having a decent car.

Have you decided what things you'll be working on next?

Hopefully you're thinking of a Subie with a turbo attached, right? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have you decided what things you'll be working on next?

Hopefully you're thinking of a Subie with a turbo attached, right? :)
Everything is feeling pretty good right now. I get in the car and it feels good every day. And yes, the theoretical Subaru would have a turbo:D
 

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This is a great thread, really good advise and thoughts on the T5M. It makes me feel reassured I'm doing the right thing flying to San Diego tomorrow and driving 1,255 miles home over the weekend in a White '98 V70 T5M, hopefully with no issues... - thank you ScotishBrick and Nick.
 
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