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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 12:04 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.

    My Cars:
    -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
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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~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    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
    Sold: 1982 LTD and 1987 Crown Vic

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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.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  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
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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

  11. #11
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    Really bad misfire when cold, barely any throttle response. No CEL, haven't checked codes though.

    Decided to check the basics, I don't know much of this cars maintenance apart from the big things.
    Changed plugs, rotor and cap. Plugs were just old, rotor and cap had some crud on them, nothing too bad.

    Distributor is in a really crappy spot in these, sideways in between the cyl head and airbox. I removed the airbox lid to ease things, the intake hose just crumpled and broke in half...
    Removed the rest of it and took a look down in there...
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yum!

    So I'll get some generic silicon hose piece to replace the original one, since the original can only be bought with the throttle body collar thing for 60-70€.
    Before that I'll remove and clean the throttle body and collar.

    The damn plastic cover for the spark plug valley is attached with 6(!) torx 30 bolts, the four left were absurdly tight. The last two were snapped of in the cylinder head by a previous owner...
    Also the damn cap is installed with 3 8mm bolts, one of which is below the distributor and reaally hard to get to, even with the airbox removed.
    Distributor rotor is in with 3 allen bolts.
    Last edited by Arquemann; 12-26-2019 at 09:03 AM.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

  12. #12
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    Went hunting for a new throttle body gasket (I haven't taken off the TB yet).
    Not available from any general parts stores... Went to a Volvo dealer, could've ordered the small paper gasket for 9€. Estimated arrival on 2nd week of Jan. Yeah no thanks.
    Also the intake pipe was available for order, for 60€ (for a short piece of plastic pipe, no bungs or anything) No thanks to that either...
    So I picked up a can of throttle body cleaner and I'll use gasket maker instead. I'll figure out a fitting silicon pipe or just duct tape the original back together.

    Funny thing is those damn tb gaskets are readily available on fcpeuro and ipdusa, and for like $1.43.
    Also I found the door detent mechanisms on an US-site.
    For some damn reason obscure parts on non-obscure Volvos are better available there over the great pond rather than here, the neigbouring country of Sweden.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

  13. #13
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Worldwide logistics... go figure.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
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  14. #14
    I post a lot...
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    Why am I not surprised?

  15. #15
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Sometimes stupid things are just way too expensive. Needed new hoses to connect from turbo to crossover pipe and then from the pipe to the intake on my diesel. Each hose is about 3" long. It would have been over $100 for those two short pieces of rubber hose from BMW. I bought generic bits of silicon hose intended for ricer tuner crap on ebay with nice new clamps for under $20.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  16. #16
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    The throttle body and 90 pipe with PCV connectors were just caked with crap, the throttle blade was just completely black.
    After a full can of tb cleaner, the end result:
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    Here's how the intake looks behind the TB:
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    The PCV hose in the pic is full of crud and sludge and this car might have some sort of issue with the PCV. Eh, not today.

    Also the intake pipe has different diameter ends so I "fixed" it, since getting a silicon ricerpipe would require more fiddling.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tightening the hoseclamps, I dropped my ratchet into the engine bay and since it was dark, I'll continue tomorrow. I'll check codes too, my dad has a codereader.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

  17. #17
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    Pipe is now back in, ratchet retrieved from the depths of the ancient swedish machine.

    Fired up nice, so atleast I got the plug wires the right way. I had it idle for a while, no misfiring. Didn't sound like there was any intake leaks so my classy duct tape fix probably works, hopefully for some time too. The problem might be reoccuring, but atleast didn't happen this time.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

  18. #18
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    New year, new warning lights! Nvm, it's still 1,5h till 2020...

    Went out, for about 5 kilometers everything was normal, then the trans arrow light started blinking, trans went into limp mode and Malfunction Indicator Light came on (little lambda symbol, basically the check the engine light). Idle was also a little wavy.

    Drove back home, read the codes, a generic TPS faulty code, erased it and it didn't return.
    Everything seems to work normally again. Trans light went away, idles fine. Except the CEL light is still on, but there's no codes, I even checked again later.

    So my car got problems, I basically said no and erased code, now works fine? Except that damn light...
    Man, this car...
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

  19. #19
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    random dead spot in the TPS might be the issue.

    if it doesn't give codes for un-metered air source, your tape fix works.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  20. #20
    Member Arquemann's Avatar
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    From what I read, the CEL just might be "left" on, someone mentioned on the interwebs, so I removed the battery, we'll see if the light goes out.

    Also from reading: These 10v engines apparently don't have a MAF sensor, instead, a intake temp sensor in the same hole.
    1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS
    1997 Volvo 850 GLE Estate

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