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Okay, I've stumped everyone I've talked to so far... any of you folks have any ideas what this might be?

For the past six months, when I get my '93 850 up to about 70 MPH, I would get a steady vibration and my steering wheel would start shimmying back and forth. When I stepped on the brakes, I felt a pulsing, almost as if the ABS system had kicked in. I would take it back up to 70, then mysteriously it would disappear, only to re-occur a few more miles down the road. Now it does it at almost all speeds, and the pulsing is more pronounced.

I just checked the alignment, balance (twice), and had the brakes checked out (and replaced one of the rotors). All fine. Any thing else anyone can think of? My mechanic is stumped.

The only other things I can think of might be:
Bad tire
Bad bearing
Bad brake calipers or ABS system
A gear not connecting properly somewhere between the transmission and the wheel
 

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Darn, I think I may have had the same thing. Right after I bought the R, it was still under warranty and I had a Volvo dealer fix it. Can't remember exactly what it was, but I'll give them a call and see if they can pull out my file. It may have been a bearing, but that's not jogging my memory.
 

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I had a similar problem with my '94 850 Turbo. I can't say that I noticed it a s shimmy in the steering wheel, but then again, my problem related to the rear wheel brake calipers, so it might not have affected the steering at all.

Basically, it was the result of a "dragging" brake caliper. Initially, it would only cause a weird harmonic vibration / noise at highway speeds, for me, around 55-65mph. Then it started doing it more and more often, as the caliper failed completely. By the time it was replaced, the caliber was completely seized.

I had the car in the shop several times before it completely seized, and they weren't able to find the problem.

I think it was affected by how hot the brakes were as well. Cold brakes were worse, which may explain why your problem goes away if you tap the brakes for a bit.

- Mark B.
 

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Have you looked into making sure the rims were not warped?
My father-in-law had the same problem, turns out it was the rims. The dealer tried to machine them but could not get it back to normal, so they ended up giving him new rims.
 
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