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Posted: 12/14/2005 2:13:58 PM EDT
The Car & Bike section is slow so I am asking here.

Am looking at 3 different models of older Volvos
1) 240 DL
2) 740 series
3) 850 series

Am looking at vehicles that are in the 70,000 - 120,000 mile range

Never owned a Volvo , but I hear nothing but good , am told that they will go 200,000 + miles with min trouble , parts are fairly easy to find and affordable and they are not bitches to work on.
How true is all this?

Any comments , praise, feedback , gripes , etc ?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:17:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 2:18:26 PM EDT by deej86]

Originally Posted By Para069:
The Car & Bike section is slow so I am asking here.

Am looking at 3 different models of older Volvos
1) 240 DL
2) 740 series
3) 850 series

Am looking at vehicles that are in the 70,000 - 120,000 mile range

Never owned a Volvo , but I hear nothing but good , am told that they will go 200,000 + miles with min trouble , parts are fairly easy to find and affordable and they are not bitches to work on.
How true is all this?

Any comments , praise, feedback , gripes , etc ?

I think I seem to remember a thread where ARin had a 240 DL Volvo that he got 200K out of it IIRC. You might want to shoot him an IM. They are safe, I know. I do not know about parts or fixabillity.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:20:38 PM EDT
Obligatory gratuitous P1800 photo:

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:26:27 PM EDT
I used to own a DL coupe, and friends and relatives have had DL wagons. Air mass meters seem to be a common replacement item. You can go with Bosch parts IIRC and save money over "Volvo factory", which I believe is the same thing put label. The heater fan, if it goes, is a long job, and basically requires tearing the whole dash out. IIRC that was a 8-10 hr job. Floors can rust, pretty bad in fact. One that I'm aware rusted out so bad that one or two seat bolts were all that was holding in the driver's seat. And this car had the floor trays, which do help the floor rust. All in all they are great cars imho. I believe Volvo should have shipped the tooling where there is cheap labor and made them forever. 200k on a Volvo engine is nothing...my relative's wagon easily did 230k+ before the rust issues...
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:19:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 4:21:08 PM EDT by raven]
I hated Volvos until I owned one. Really there is one model you have to look out for, it was their stab at the luxury market in the 80's, I dont know the model name. Steer clear of it, only heard bad things about it from people who owned one.

But the 240's, the wagon? Can't go wrong. Excellent cars, easy to work on, highly recommend them.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:29:20 PM EDT

The 240 series are some of the most reliable, solid cars every built - and where much of the Volvo reputation for reliability comes from. If they are properly maintained, they will last forever.

Of course, the problem with the second-hand market is that if someone has a really reliable (well-maintained) Volvo, why would they sell it? So there's always the risk of buying a used Volvo 240 that's a piece of crap, because the previous owners allowed it to fall apart and never maintained it - and then you get to be the one who pays the price for their negligence.

The Volvo 740 and 850 are not quite as reliable as the 240 series, but are still pretty good. However, especially the 850 is jsut a much more complicated car - thus has far more parts and gizmos that can go wrong. The basic 240 is still a pretty simple car. (If you run across one, avoid the Volvo 760 like the plague - it was a great car when it was new, but the peaugot 6-cylinder engine had a bad repuation when it got some miles on it.)

Also keep in mind that maintenance costs might be a little higher if/when something does break - and older Volvo parts are probably going to be a lot more expensive than odler GM/Ford parts.

Another thing I have noticed in my V70 (which is just an updated 850) is that SMALL THINGS will often need attention. Not anything that really affects the reliability of the car, but still can be annoying. It tends to go through bulbs more than other cars (but at least it warns you if a bulb is out). Also, I've had the occasional little things, like the door panel in the back hatch got a little loose, and the door handle in the passenger door got hinky. Both problems I fixed myself pretty easily - but would have been really annoying to have had to pay a Volvo mechanic by the hour to fix.

However, even with the more complicated V70, which is nowhere as reliable as the 240 - I bought mine used at 27000 miles, and have put an additional 80000 miles on it, without any repairs being necessary. Other than scheduled maintenance, I've not spent any money on the car.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:38:58 PM EDT
I bought a 1985 Volvo DL wagon brand new, and it was the biggest POS I've ever owned. The electrical system was a joke, the A/C was an even bigger joke and the brakes needed replacing every 18K miles.

It was bad enough that even to this day I'd never own another Volvo.

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:39:25 PM EDT
I used to have a 83' 242 Turbo. The car is a brick. I upped the boost and stuck on a Larger IC and the car hauled ass. But it handled like a truck and was downright dangerous in the rain. However, if you were to sort out the suspension issues, put a nice set of tires on the car it will go for longer than you will own it. They are comfy to ride in and the body panels feel strong enough to stop .50 rounds. I picked mine up for $900 and it had around 120K on it. It drove very nice and was a good car. If on a budget, I would get one all over again.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:30:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 5:32:56 PM EDT by Doug_H]
Concerning Volvo safety, this is a picture of my mom's old car. She was driving it at the time, and came away with only minor injuries. The funny thing was, the key broke off in the ignition when the steering column crushed down, and they couldn't get it to stop running until they could pry the hood open. The four concrete walls came off a flat bed semi. The older Volvos will do what you want them to.

ETA: She is still in the car in this picture.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:48:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 5:54:04 PM EDT by torstin]
if you are looking at the 240 dl, check out the 240 gl as well. leather, power windows, sunroof. imo, very worthwhile features. in general, the 240 is a great car as others have said. sluggish though. the turbo option makes for much better driving, but maintenace costs could be higher. if you are buying high milage, make sure you know what maintenace was done. timing belt is good to change around 60,000 but many people never do it. could be something you have to do right after buying, might allow you to negotiate a lower price too.

ipd volvo is good source for aftermarket parts and accessories. www.ipdusa.com

parts are easy to find and not expensive. very simple mechanically as well. if you can find a rust free car that hasnt been abused, you should easily get 200,000+ out of it. my first one went to 218 before it rusted out from under me. mechanically, it was still solid. no oil leaks, started easily, and drove with none of the squeaks and rattles you typically find in older high milage cars.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:51:34 PM EDT
I know someone who had a 740 turbo with just under 200K when it was sold.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 8:23:22 PM EDT
The 240 was quite possibly the most successful car model from any mfr. First introduced in 1974, they remained relatively unchanged all the way until about '92, I think. They outlasted their supposed replacement, the 740/760 by about a year....

They're not sexy. they're not powerful. they handle like trucks. But they'll get you from point A to point B without falling apart.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 2:46:04 AM EDT
I had a 240 wagon that the Ex-wife gave sold at 230,000 miles. It was begining to rust. The engine still didn't leak nor burn any oil. All that was in the engine bay was dust. We had a fuel pump go out on it after it was in storage the year I was in Korea. The speedo went out on it.

I then had a 240 sedan, with a 4 spd manual w/OD. I replaced the original clutch at 170,000 miles. The tranny seal had started leaking and oil was getting on the clutch plate. Went through another clutch pretty fast before I figured out what was causing it. I had to replace the engine wiring harness. It seems that's common on many Volvos over ten years old, and it's not that cheap. If the car cranks and cranks, and just doesn't want to start, or takes forever to start, it's the harness and they run like $700. I sold it with 193,000 miles.

I then had a 760 turbo. These were 4 cyl turbo charged, mine had an auto. Stay away from Pre-87 700 series automatics. The tranny in them sucks. 87 and later are strong boxes. If you put the car in Neutral and it creeps forward, the tranny is going. I had to do the wiring harness on this one as well. I drove the dogshit out of this car. I mean the living dogshit. I had actually no problems for nearly 300,000 miles. I donated it to the American Heart Assoc when the coil went out because I was ready for something different. I did fix alot of stuff, but nothing that you could say was due to anything by just getting worn out by use. The speedometer went out at 200,000. My rear suspension was an auto-self-levelling (nivimat) one, and that eventually broke at a quarter million miles or so. I swaped it for the rear spring set up of a 740. I had to replace the front struts about the same time. They were bowed out and rubbing on the inside of the tires. Remember this was at a quater million miles, and my struts would be bowed out too, so things like shocks, tires, etc you just have to replace if you drive a car 300,000 miles. Eventually small things started going bad. My A/C compresser seized up, my power seat stopped adjusting, my heater valve stopped working, etc. All stuff that basically wore out from use. The power windows and power sunroof never had any problems and the sunroof never leaked. The car really hauled ass because of the turbo, handled quite well, and got great gas mileage. It was probably the best car I've ever owned. Until the coil went out, the car started first turn of the key EVERY time.

The early turbos in the 240s sucked. They weren't intercooled and were similar to many early turbos in getting coked up and burned out. The 240's are rock solid because the engines don't really make any power, so there's never any problem with the engine running forever. If you get a 240, get a normal, non-turbo one.

The 740 and 760 turbo are really the same car. The 760T is just leather, etc. The 760 6 cyl is junk. In fact the 260 is even worse junk (which is why you never see them). They spun cams all the time. In fact Volvo had a repair kit that included a hole saw and a plug so you could cut through the firewall and replace the shaft without taking the engine out.

I liked the 940's though I never owned one, so I couldn't tell you what the problems were, same for the 850's.

I never had one problem with my engine nor the turbo in 300,000 miles. It was indeed leaking some oil by then, but it still wasn't burning any. I'd go with the turbo in the later cars. Mine was intercooled and the turbo itself was also water cooled, so it was far and away better technology than the 240s. The turbo is worth it for the performance difference.

They're well built cars, but like any car they need to be maintained properly to get those high miles out of them. Most Volvo owners are the type that take care of the routine manitenance, and when you do that, you can get alot of life out of almost any car. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Volvo, but I'd damn sure have my Volvo mechaninc check it out first so I knew what I was dealing with.

I wouldn't bat an eye at buying one with the mileage you're talking about.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 3:03:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2005 5:24:51 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 4:15:14 AM EDT
Thank everyone for all the good info
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 4:21:38 AM EDT
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