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Thread: 1997 Volvo 850, new old friend

  1. #1
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    Default 1997 Volvo 850, new old friend

    Here it is, the winter beater I sorely needed since my MGM didn't turn out as "good condition and fully functioning" as it was advertised. With a limited budget my choices were tight, since I wanted an autobox and cruise control. It ended up being a Volvo like this or maybe a Neon or Sebring. Quite glad I went with this magnificent piece of swedish agricultural equipment. Even 20 years later, an 850 is still a better car than a Neon...
    I paid 750€ straight cash at an outlet dealer. Came with ok condition summer and studded winter tires. And an unopened timing set in the back.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It ain't perfect, price tells you that of course, but it ain't bad either. Mostly the paint, terribly faded, the plastic bumpers and mirror covers are a bit better off. Interior is in excellent shape, except for a few rattles (pic is missing the passenger knee panel) Overall feels very solid and runs very smooth.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	52791 Here you can see the difference, probably never spent a day out of the sun, or got a vax.

    Some flaws:
    - Odo and tripmeter stopped around a year ago @342000 km, digital trip works and showed 2066kms when I bought it. I'll have to write up readings until I decide to fix it
    - Blower blows only at max, needs a new blower motor resistor module, already ordered the new part
    - Gas pedal is quite stiff, throttle cable was DIY-fixed at some point
    - Rear hatch doesn't stay up, needs new struts
    - Hinge detents have worn away on 2 doors
    - Timing belt is due at some point, can't be exactly sure of it's mileage due to odo stopping

    Other curiosities / features:
    - 2.4l 10v Inline-5, B5252FS, second smallest engine
    - Very comfy grey cloth interior with wood effect (that's definitely better quality than in my MGM)
    - Manual heater, no AC
    - 4 door power windows
    - Heated seats in the front and the back
    - Cruise control
    - Electric mirrors
    - Manual seats
    - Remote central locking and a Volvo OEM auxiliary alarm system
    - Original CD/AM/FM radio with a keycard lock (there's seriously a keycard with a chip that needs to be inserted with an orange tray, to use the radio)

    Although to slightly lesser effect, it has that "safe and sound", familiar feel, like an old friend that can be trusted. Just like my first car, a 2002 Volvo V40 T4. I would've probably kept that car forever, if it weren't totalled by a bishop that failed to yield.
    Only thing that breaks the effect is the slightly ricey backbox that makes the thing sound like it's got twice the HP, which I don't like.
    Makes me feel nostalgic and sad about my first car, but now I definitely understand why there's so many fanatic Volvo owners.
    Best enjoyed when it's dark, raining and you're driving in the city outskirts with CCR or Kansas playing from the radio. It's gonna be fine, I'm safe and sound, everything is gonna be fine eventually... It's what I wanted from my MGM, but it seems I'll have to carb swap and DD it for the next 15 years to feel the same at all, also it should've been more base model.
    Last edited by Arquemann; 10-15-2019 at 01:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Road Warrior Kodachrome Wolf's Avatar
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    For a winter beater, it looks like you got quite a stout car.

    As far as the paint goes, it could pass for a southeastern car over here. Plenty of faded out cars having been left in the sun too long.

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  3. #3
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Nice ride. You can bring a temporary shine back to the car if you put in the effort. I like it.
    ~David~

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    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  4. #4
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    I approve.

    A coworker had a similar wagon, a bit older, but also red.

    We were competing for the last eleven years to see whose would last the longest - my ‘88 or his Volvo. I won this past summer.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, former lawn ornament
    Other: 95 Ranger, 74 F250, 68 Mustang, 94 Mustang
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  5. #5
    Hobbit
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    Nice. I love my V70. I've actually been looking to swap it with 850 wagon but they are getting harder and harder to find around these parts especially optioned how I want. T5 with a stick.

  6. #6
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    Got the blower resistor today, it's just behind the glove box. 9 torx screws and the glove box door limiting straps.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It's this small module, screws to the heater box, has a 4pin plug.
    What actually failed is the thermal fuse that looks like an inline resistor. I checked it by jumping it with wire.
    To change it would require tracking down that fuse, it would need high-temp solder so I just bought the whole part new for 12.

  7. #7
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Might want to try and get some oil on the blower motor bearings if you can. Those fuses usually pop when the motor is overloaded, either from sticky bearings or just being packed with junk that keeps it from spinning properly.

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  8. #8
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    These resistors going bad are supposedly somewhat common in these, can certainly be caused by a worn blower motor. But apparently can break with time aswell, some say that the thermal fuses don't age well.
    If this one blows the fuse soon, then I'll take a look at the blower motor. Don't have the time or willingness to put money into this. Though I should find out if the blower motor is serviceable.

  9. #9
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    Installed new tailgate struts, 50€ for the pair, a bit pricy IMO, but considerably less annoying now, so I guess that's a win.

    Also bought an FM-transmitter to avoid buying a new headunit and keeping cost low. Actually quite nifty and even a dumbass could get it working. Also bluetooth for calls and less wires to get tangled, also has 2 usb ports for charging (2.4A).

    Trying to find new door limit/detent mechanisms, they seem to be better available new there in the States for some reason. I don't know if I dare to go ask the price at the dealer.

  10. #10
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    Apparently this thing does have AC, there's a snowflake -rocker switch on the controls. Only on the automatic climate control models it says "AC on/off"

    Cool. Literally. Not that I'll need it during the next 5-6 months...
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

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