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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 98 V70 base model that we bought in February '11. I have always wanted a Volvo wagon, and really thought this would be my car for at least 5 more years. It has been a series of heart breaks punctuated by blind optimism.

Let me tell you the story.

When we bought the car it had some issues and an unknown history, and 165k miles on the engine. Right off the bat we got the timing belt and water pump changed. Then it had a misfire, needed a bunch of other stuff that a fairly neglected car would need. So everything is good, a month goes by and we have a coolant leak. Fine. Another month and a tire blows, we find out 3 or the 4 tires are not the correct ones for the car. Fine. All summer goes by and there are no problems. We drive to Cape Cod, down to Ocean City - life is good. I am loving being a mom with a Volvo.

Fast forward to February this year. My check engine light comes on and I start having serious problems with the car - turns out it's the MAF. We get it fixed, leave the mechanic and the light comes back on. So I go back, he tells me that I have a leak in my header pipe, no big deal, it can wait. He quotes me $1500. F you. I find another guy who came highly recommended as a Volvo lover and a good guy. He changes my header pipe for $350, installs my new IPD springs and does the rear suspension. When I pick up the car he tells me that I need new brakes (I know), my water pump is going and my engine has a rattle. I ask if everything can wait a month, he tells me yes.

Picked up the car on a Thursday. That Saturday I get home from a longish drive and the engine is making a banshee wail. The kind of sound that lets you know something is wrong. So I decide I will let it sit and call the guy Monday. This next part is my fault. I drove the car again Monday. Turned it on and it was fine. Drove to work, about 5 miles, it was fine. Drove to school, 3 miles, still fine. Turned it on to leave and it sounded like Honey Badger and Richard Simmons were getting it on under the hood. I went two blocks and the timing belt slipped and the engine died.

I cried.

Took it to another guy, he did a new engine (65k) and a bunch of other great maintenance stuff. The car was running like a dream. Two weeks go by and the starter dies. Ok, understandable. So we fix it. Then drive to Georgia. Things are not right. The car shut off when I went from stopped to moving, then was loosing acceleration randomly, but it would come right back. Then everything seemed fine. We got home. This past Saturday, we get in, I start the car and it's rough, but not horrendous. Get to the first stop light and when it turned green and I took my foot off the gas to accelerate, she died. This happened a few more times but we were able to get home. We figure it is the fuel pump which my husband can fix once we get the part.

Here's the thing. I am at a decision point - fix the car (again) and keep it, or fix the car (again) and get rid of it. I am tired of getting in this car and not being sure it will get from point a - point b, but I have put a lot of work (and money and time) into the car and I really love it. Part of me just wants to push it off a cliff, part of me wants to fix everything and keep it, and part of me wants to just say f this and buy a Honda.

So what say you sage advisers?
 

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yeah, don't buy one with over 150,000 miles that has been completely neglected....

I'd dump that one and if you truly like it, you can find much much nicer ones around with full service records. etc.
 

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Yeah looks like one thing after the other. I would say it's time to move on, too many problems.

If you really like Volvos, then as stated above, find one with service records. You'll pay a bit more but save later in repairs.
 

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I don't think I'd get a new car, I think I'd take my car back to the mechanic who installed the engine and see what he would do for you, since it sounds like he installed a bum engine into your car....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So you don't think that with a new engine maybe there could be another 100k? It seems like the additional failing parts are failing because they now have a newer engine to deal with. The starter for example - it was starting a tired old saggy engine, then it had this peppy model and it conked out. Like a new bunny for Heff, you know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think I'd get a new car, I think I'd take my car back to the mechanic who installed the engine and see what he would do for you, since it sounds like he installed a bum engine into your car....
But the engine is fine. It's all the other stuff.

I was trying to get in touch with the guy who put in the water pump and timing belt, since those should not have failed in a year but shock and amaze he will not return my phone calls.
 

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To spend all this money on a very old BASE V70 is nuts, you should have stopped the first time and junked it.
No one should buy any car with over 150K miles without a thorough check out and some service history.
You're just thinking of spending more good money afrter bad on a car that may be worth $1000 (running).
get rid of it and start over.
There are several good Volvos of that generation you can buy for $4000 and a few excellent ones around for $6-$7000
 

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MG, so sorry to read this story. I hope it doesn't sour you on Volvos all together. Some go hundreds of thousands of miles with little trouble. Just like sometimes both Dell and Gateway computers have harddrives that die. It doesn't mean that they are all bad. It does sound like it is time to cut your losses. It could be as simple as a new ETM but it could be much more and even the ETM is at least a $500 affair just for the part. Even if that is not the issue, you still may need one of those. I don't think contacting the person who instaled the timing belt will help. If the belt spun / slipped / broke / whatever and grenaded the valvetrain, what's he going to do about it, buy a new engine, no way. More likely, yes, belts may fail, sorry, have a nice day. Anyway, I'm not trying to diagnose the specific problem but to answer the question, sadly, I would get rid of it.
 

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So you changed the timing belt and water pump and a few months later it slipped? I'm curious - where did you have it done?

I had a really bad experience (I should do a complete write up), but my car was serviced at an official Volvo dealer, I have the receipts - at 70k miles the timing belt, idler, tensioner were changed. Last week I took my car in at 100k to have the timing belt/water pump and all others changed again due to time and a whining noise (which is still there by the way). My Volvo mechanic took the parts off and said that the idler and the tensioner look to be original! It appears that the dealership charged the previous owner for the change but only changed the belt itself.

I wonder if something like this could have happened to you as well.
 

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So you changed the timing belt and water pump and a few months later it slipped? I'm curious - where did you have it done?

I had a really bad experience (I should do a complete write up), but my car was serviced at an official Volvo dealer, I have the receipts - at 70k miles the timing belt, idler, tensioner were changed. Last week I took my car in at 100k to have the timing belt/water pump and all others changed again due to time and a whining noise (which is still there by the way). My Volvo mechanic took the parts off and said that the idler and the tensioner look to be original! It appears that the dealership charged the previous owner for the change but only changed the belt itself.

I wonder if something like this could have happened to you as well.
That's why when ever I have to have someone other than myself work on my cars, I request the old parts back. Things always go smoother when they know your going to look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I bought the car in Feb 2011, had the timing belt and water pump changed immediately by a local shop who have a great reputation. I guess I can't really tell you if they really did the work, other than to tell you that they have a great BBB rating and lots of happy customers. It went out in March of 2012, right after coming back from a different shop. So it's been to 4 different shops over the year and a half I have owned it.

This will not kill my lust of Volvos, but it does make me want to wait until I can afford something with a better history and have the space to do more work at home.
 

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Hmmmm.....well here's a story that is similar to yours, but different. And I'll name shops, since we're both in Baltimore ;-)

I bought a 1998 V70R from a mechanic and Volvo lover in Dec 2010. It had been somewhat neglected previously, but he had brought it up to what we'd call a nice stage 0. It had 153k on it and I paid $5000, including winter tires on the stock wheels and summer tires on a set of 17" Pegasus wheels.

We too drove it to Cape Cod, and we too drove it to Ocean City (which is weird, by the way :cool: )with no problems. But there have been problems. It also needed brakes this year, which I upgraded to 302mm and added SS lines. Shortly after that it let go of its passenger side drive shaft, and needed the driver side CV boot replaced. The former owner performed all this work at dramatically lower rates than the local awesome-but-expensive shop... Oh, I mean, K&S.

That trip to Cape Cod also did a number on the summer tires, which I replaced last month. Then there were also bad things happening to the car's driveability which turned out to be a bad control arm...thank you, Baltimore City streets. Todd did that work too. THEN the tie rod and tie rod ends went bad, as did the stut tops...thanks again, Baltimore. Todd was too busy though so it went to K&S. The work was top notch but I paid dearly for it.

SOOO the moral of the story: even a well maintained car of this vintage will still require care and feeding. Am I happy? Yes, I am. I would have spent $5k on a down-payment so that's a wash, and the $2500 I've put into it over the last 18 months is still a lot less than a monthly payment would have been. Plus I've got something unique, stylish, reasonably fast, and not an SUV.

I agree with JRL, if you love your Volvo (who wouldn't?) sell this one for $1000 and find something in better shape. I don't know what Todd's schedule is right now, but I'm sure he's be willing to inspect a car for a modest fee. Alternatively you can have K&S do the same thing, although it could cost a couple hundred. Worth it though, if the car is a potential nightmare.






I bought the car in Feb 2011, had the timing belt and water pump changed immediately by a local shop who have a great reputation. I guess I can't really tell you if they really did the work, other than to tell you that they have a great BBB rating and lots of happy customers. It went out in March of 2012, right after coming back from a different shop. So it's been to 4 different shops over the year and a half I have owned it.

This will not kill my lust of Volvos, but it does make me want to wait until I can afford something with a better history and have the space to do more work at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Interesting!

We will not go back to K&S. I took it there last time because we live less than a mile away and with the failing MAF I could not be sure how far the car would go. (We have tow coverage, don't remember now why I didn't use it). We also have a 89 Jetta and they striped bolts and did not tell us, then said they could not install coil-overs because they did not know how, but when we said we would take it somewhere else they were suddenly able to do it. I always feel like I am getting shafted but in a really polite way.

We took it to Autohaus and Han's as well.

I think what I will do is fix the fuel pump and just keep it moving. We are not in a position right now to get a new car and really, I love her. Just look -

 

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I've been ok with k and s so far, but I have also heard stories like yours. And by the way, your wagon looks great!
 

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It looks as if you've kept it very nice and this is a shame.
If you want to bring it to me (in the Phila area) and you can leave it with me for a few days,
(and obviously more if it needs an engine or another head) I think I can get you straightened out or at least tell you the truth as to what's going on with it.
If it's just a pump and you may want to bring it here, bring it as empty as possible
Jim
 

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Hey ModestGirl,
I think you should consider Jim's (JRL) offer. I think his evaluation of the vehicle would be the best place to start, before throwing more $$$'s at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the offer, I do appreciate it. Philly is kinda far at this point, but if we fix the fuel pump and something else goes wrong I will give you a call. These all seem to be the sort of things that would start to go on a 14 year old car.
 

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Oooh, it does look nice. The rim color and blue body look great together and it has a nice stance.

In reference to:
"This past Saturday, we get in, I start the car and it's rough, but not horrendous. Get to the first stop light and when it turned green and I took my foot off the gas to accelerate, she died. This happened a few more times but we were able to get home."

After you take care of the fuel pump, if the stalling still occurs, the next possibility is the coil. I once had a car where the coil played mystery problem with me (stutter, cut out, engine shut down on the freeway... uh... turnpike, highway) for about a week.
 
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