vozproto New Reader
10/7/22 4:26 p.m.

I joined last year after TVR Scott indoctrinated me by gifting me a subscription to the magazine. Since then I have been lurking, scheming over cars and $2000 challenge options and just having another fun car in my life.

My last "fun" car was a 2003 350Z... that was sold when I moved to Denver in 2009. And over the past 20 years I have ridden all sorts of motorcycles from standard street bikes, racing at Summit Point and VIR, and an adventure touring bike that took me to the northern coast of Alaska and back to Denver. Now I just enjoy my 2010 Toyota Tacoma 4dr to get to and from the mountains here in Colorado.

Well my lady and I just got back from a babymoon (first one on the way!) during which we rented a manual diesel Golf and had opportunity to have fun on some of the windy roads in northern Spain and the Basque country. And now I am fiending for a fun standard transmission car. Since then I've been blowing up Scott's texts with any and all sorts of projects and hair-brained schemes. 

I have a full workshop (2 car garage) for all my wood/metal/CNC router doings, but not enough room at this time to fit a full time car project. Far too many "nesting" and prepare for the baby projects for a permanent resident. Any car I get will have to be parked in the street. And until now I figured any fun car option would be a turd that I would never dream of putting a baby seat in... but this looks like a potential baby hauler, fun car, and maybe future $2k challenge option. 


The concern is that tranny.

To anyone familiar with these cars —

Has the guy done irreparable damage? Given my lack of time and space, could I potentially have the tranny swapped professionally without spending "too much"?

Is this something that would be worth using as a $2k challenge entry? And is it even possible to keep the hopes of a $2k challenge candidate alive if I have someone else do the work?

Overall — what sort of things do I need to be wary of for these cars? Are they a pain in the butt to work on? Are they ticking time bombs? 

Thanks all!

MrJoshua UltimaDork
10/7/22 4:33 p.m.

A local Volvo shop tried so hard to convince me it wasn't worth sinking the money into paying them to do a head gasket on the one I bought here on the forum that I didn't. I saw potential for a neat DD for less than most used cars-they said to use that money towards buying a Volvo one generation older or newer.

I would really have liked to have a chance to have that car as a DD for a while. I still kind of wish I had done the repair.  It worried me they were so against it to the point that it felt like a bad idea to force them to do it.

02Pilot UberDork
10/7/22 4:44 p.m.

Well, I just bought one a couple weeks ago, so I don't really have much to offer, but on paper it seems decent. I just hope the responses you receive aren't all quite as concerning as MrJoshua's....


MrJoshua UltimaDork
10/7/22 5:13 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

It was purchased here on the forum. If I had been able to find time to do the headgasket myself it would have likely been an incredible bargain. If the shop hadn't been so grumpy I still would have come out with less in it than buying a decent running one, and mine would have had a fresh head gasket. It was strange how much they didn't want to do it. I sold it to someone else here on the forum. We will see what he does with it. Currently it sits. 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
10/8/22 11:55 a.m.

Man, I don't know about that thing.  Looks like it could easily become a money pit.  And it doesn't really fit your want for a light cheap little sports car.

There's actually another $2000 Volvo rat on craigslist:


That one is at least drivable.  You could put a cool wrap on it to cover the fading paint.

I mean, as long as you're playing Russian-roulette (Swedish roulette?), you may as well have some options!

pointofdeparture UltimaDork
10/8/22 12:27 p.m.

As someone who has had a bunch of Volvos and currently has an 850R, I personally don't think there is anything macro-level wrong with the P1 cars like the V50 (forgivable oddities like sunroof drain issues aside) but I wouldn't mess with that one; if you're looking at a transmission rebuild right off the bat you are definitely jumping into the money pit head first.

The one you really want is a FWD 6-speed, FWIW. The AWD ones aren't bad but have a bunch of NLA parts at this point, and I generally find Haldex to be a pain in the ass anyway.

vozproto New Reader
10/8/22 3:40 p.m.

In reply to TVR Scott :

Yeah. Running is certainly better. But that is with 100k+ miles more on the clock. 

vozproto New Reader
10/8/22 3:41 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

Thats great input. I dont have the time for a tranny rebuild project as I noted. 

I liked the idea of it as I'm a bit partial to a RWD or AWD car to have some fun with. I used to have a FWD Saab 9-3 turbo and as much as I enjoyed that car, I would prefer to have something that is a bit more right-foot steerable. The AWD just gives it more purpose in Colorado. Maybe it is my ignorance about the dynamics of the newer generation FWD cars, but my Saab 9-3 Turbo was a torque steer MONSTER and I certainly enjoyed the 350Z more than the Saab as far as driving dynamics.

pointofdeparture UltimaDork
10/8/22 3:46 p.m.

In reply to vozproto :

The Haldex AWD in the V50 is not going to satisfy you if that's what you're looking for. It's a reactive system with a front-biased 70/30 power split. You can swap the Haldex unit to get more rear bias but it will never be "real" AWD (which I would define as a full-time system with a center differential).

02Pilot UberDork
10/8/22 5:10 p.m.

I haven't driven mine enough to say anything definitive, but even at full throttle I haven't really felt any torque steer at all. No idea if I've gotten the Haldex to start the rear wheels spinning, but I kind of doubt it (dry pavement, straight line acceleration).

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
10/8/22 6:23 p.m.

The Haldex can transmit 100% of the torque to the rear wheels. 

While it is true that the rear wheels can never be made to spin faster than the fronts, speed is independent of torque.  I guarantee that if the front tires were on glare wet ice and the rears were not, the car will be able to accelerate.

The computer control does play with the pressure on the clutches, which prevents the car from driving horribly like it had a real tight center differential.

vozproto New Reader
10/10/22 12:07 p.m.

Thanks for all the input all. I decided for the time being to hold off on the fun car purchase and not touching this volvo. 

The logistics of it (I dont have off-street parking and ZERO parking in my garage/workshop) have prompted me to continue to dial in my shop to make sure that when I have the right car come along, that the shop will be ready for it. 

calteg SuperDork
10/11/22 9:33 a.m.

I just scooped up a 2017 V60 relatively cheap, and I'm now learning about all the Volvo quirks. If you continue looking, avoid the 2015 and 2016 P3 cars, apparently oil consumption issues are rampant

02Pilot UberDork
10/11/22 10:49 a.m.

I've been driving mine a bit and I'm pleasantly surprised by how well it handles and rides. I'd still have preferred the greater interior volume of the V70/XC70, but the examples I drove did not handle as well as the V50.

car39 Dork
10/11/22 11:02 a.m.
calteg said:

I just scooped up a 2017 V60 relatively cheap, and I'm now learning about all the Volvo quirks. If you continue looking, avoid the 2015 and 2016 P3 cars, apparently oil consumption issues are rampant

In an effort to increase fuel mileage by decreasing friction, Volvo opened up the clearances on the rings and piston.  The software also caused some issues with oil consumption, I don't recall the specifics.  It was bad enought where they changed the oil capacity spec on the 6 cylinders by 2 quarts, and issued a different dip stick.

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