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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,
I thought I'd share a recent (and stressful) story about my wife's 2006 XC90 V8. I'm curious if anyone has had similar challenges or issues. I'm really hoping that the V8 transmissions aren't going the way of the T6...

Here are the details:
- At about 63,000 miles, the tranny started having rough downshifts on the highway (when needing power to pass).
- I took it to the dealer and they indicated that I needed a new transmission, and there were metal flakes in the tranny fluid.

Here's where it gets interesting:
- The dealer offered to pay for all parts if I would pay for the labor, due to "premature failure." While I was really upset about such a premature failure, the dealer stepped up and did the right thing. I've owned several Volvos in the past, and they've all been really reliable with no major failures such as this.

After the repair (which cost a fraction of the typical $7,000), everything seems ok. I called my indy mechanic to discuss this with him. He stated that he's done several new transmissions on V8s recently.
I should also add that the replacement tranny is new with the updated valve body.

It's my wife's car and I liked it so much that I thought about getting one myself. Now I'm paranoid that all XC90s are not very well made. What vehicle has a tranny failure at 64k miles?

Does anyone know what's going on here? Is this a trend or a fluke? I certainly hope it's the latter.
 

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2021 Volvo S60 T5 AWD
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Early 6 speed GT's seem to be somewhat problematic. I had a 2008 V8 and put 52k on it in 20 months with no issues.
 

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94,000 miles, no problems, touch wood. What production date/VIN constitutes "early production". I love my moose but emanate CB bearing AND tranny failure may be too much.
 

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2021 Volvo S60 T5 AWD
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Seems to be the luck of the draw. I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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Seems to be the luck of the draw. I wouldn't worry about it.
I read that and I hear Clint Eastwood asking me "do you feel lucky, punk?"
 

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Lol.

It's not as prevalent as V8 CB shafts and T6 transmissions.

Considering how many AW 6 speeds Volvo has installed, with how many failures that I know of, the statistics lean towards it being fine.

I know of it failing on R's more than any other model, with XC90 V8's after that. Only know of two failures on EUCD platform cars.
 

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A few years ago I cautioned about buying the first generation V8 XC90 simply due to the fact that any car is going to go through a shakedown in the hands of the general public, and the first generation buyers are guinea pigs in that regards. No offense intended toward guinea pigs by the way.

I always thought the V8 was an afterthought with this vehicle, and that "someone" insisted on putting a V8 in that model even if they had to design a new one from scratch that would fit. Thus the compact 60 degree motor, which is about as poor for vibration as the old 90-degree V6, and the only V8 I can ever recall that actually needed a vibration balance shaft. Instead of solving the problem by AVOIDING the problem in the first place (called make a motor with inherent smooth running characteristics to begin with), Volvo built a V8 that has inherent vibration built-into the rotating mass, and then they have to induce more stress in the block to counteract it.

This has been done with other cars with good success, but there sure is a lot of internal stress within those blocks that is being counteracted back and forth.

So there were failures with the balance shaft design, due to water intrusion and bearing failure, just chalk it up to the shakedown learning curve for a bran new model. Now the transmissions are showing a weakness in similar fashion just in time for the development curve for the V8 model to go out of production. Having a vehicle with a Volvo badge known for motor and transmission issues is not what Volvo or any manufacturer needs, probably one reason the motor was dropped.

Of all the XC90 models out there today, the 2.5 is THE ONE that is tried and true, with a motor and drivetrain that was already sorted out before it was ever put into a XC90, and therefore the shakedown for that model was darn smooth. The 5-cylinder motors were fully tested in the 850 cars long before the XC90 was a gleam in anyones eye, and these motors have gone through the development curve and have proven themselves very well. The XC90 with the twin-turbo inline six cylinder hooked to a 4-speed was a disaster (too), if you call a horrible reputation and lots of recalls a disaster.

So out of three XC90 models there are two with problems and one that stands out as being the "gold standard" for Volvo.

I am very hopeful that the 3.2 inline normally aspirated DOHC chain driven six cylinder motor is able to live as long a healthy life as the 2.5 has, and since it does not have the abrupt torque deliver characteristics we all like (but take a toll on machinery) perhaps the transmissions will last longer too.

Hopefully Volvo will have two XC90 models that are generally "without problems".

My advice would be now as it was then, don't buy a new model of anything that has not been on the road a few years. Personally I would buy anything with the 2.5 turbo, these are tough motors befitting of the volvo badge, complete with vibration, noise, and all those things we learned to love about a Volvo.


Regards,
P
 

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..... complete with vibration, noise, and all those things we learned to love about a Volvo......
Ahah! These are the reasons!

But the list is not complete ... don't forget poor paint quality and poor interiors. My 2000 S80 has the most faded paint and worn interior of any similar vintage vehicle in the neighborhood.

...but, yes, I do love it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sounds like I need a 2.5t...

A few years ago I cautioned about buying the first generation V8 XC90 simply due to the fact that any car is going to go through a shakedown in the hands of the general public, and the first generation buyers are guinea pigs in that regards. No offense intended toward guinea pigs by the way.

I always thought the V8 was an afterthought with this vehicle, and that "someone" insisted on putting a V8 in that model even if they had to design a new one from scratch that would fit. Thus the compact 60 degree motor, which is about as poor for vibration as the old 90-degree V6, and the only V8 I can ever recall that actually needed a vibration balance shaft. Instead of solving the problem by AVOIDING the problem in the first place (called make a motor with inherent smooth running characteristics to begin with), Volvo built a V8 that has inherent vibration built-into the rotating mass, and then they have to induce more stress in the block to counteract it.

This has been done with other cars with good success, but there sure is a lot of internal stress within those blocks that is being counteracted back and forth.

So there were failures with the balance shaft design, due to water intrusion and bearing failure, just chalk it up to the shakedown learning curve for a bran new model. Now the transmissions are showing a weakness in similar fashion just in time for the development curve for the V8 model to go out of production. Having a vehicle with a Volvo badge known for motor and transmission issues is not what Volvo or any manufacturer needs, probably one reason the motor was dropped.

Of all the XC90 models out there today, the 2.5 is THE ONE that is tried and true, with a motor and drivetrain that was already sorted out before it was ever put into a XC90, and therefore the shakedown for that model was darn smooth. The 5-cylinder motors were fully tested in the 850 cars long before the XC90 was a gleam in anyones eye, and these motors have gone through the development curve and have proven themselves very well. The XC90 with the twin-turbo inline six cylinder hooked to a 4-speed was a disaster (too), if you call a horrible reputation and lots of recalls a disaster.

So out of three XC90 models there are two with problems and one that stands out as being the "gold standard" for Volvo.

I am very hopeful that the 3.2 inline normally aspirated DOHC chain driven six cylinder motor is able to live as long a healthy life as the 2.5 has, and since it does not have the abrupt torque deliver characteristics we all like (but take a toll on machinery) perhaps the transmissions will last longer too.

Hopefully Volvo will have two XC90 models that are generally "without problems".

My advice would be now as it was then, don't buy a new model of anything that has not been on the road a few years. Personally I would buy anything with the 2.5 turbo, these are tough motors befitting of the volvo badge, complete with vibration, noise, and all those things we learned to love about a Volvo.


Regards,
P
 

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Don't agree with the OP view in the slightest. The Yamaha designed V8 in the XC90 is a peach of an engine and well thought of. Vibration is not an issue and a narrow angle has been used with success in other European designed vehicles, notably VW and the VR6.

The T6 and 2.5 are equally stoic.

The issue for Volvo was the GM sourced 4 speed tranny, which is well documented.

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