Tuner4life's 1998 Saffron V70R

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Story time.. We had 2 Volvos, the Saffron C70 that sees summer weather only, and the 1997 base model 850 sedan which has been my wife's daily for 3 years now with basically no issues. We recently had a child, and space was just too tight in the 850 for 2 adults, a car seat, 2 dogs and anything else we would want to take if the whole family went somewhere. The logical choice was to replace the 850 with a wagon. My only requirements were that it had to at least be a T5 model.  After several months of looking for a nice, good condition 1998 V70T5, We started joking that it might be easier to find a Saffron V70R, than it had been trying to find a basic T5... So we changed our search.  We had a couple possible leads out in California, but the costs were a bit more than we really wanted to spend once we had to pay to get it here.. Plus I hate buying a car sight-unseen.  

Last week, a 1998 Saffron V70R popped up for sale just a few hours away from me. The miles were high, and it was a little riced from what I could tell by the pictures. (black plastidip, smoked tails, etc..), but the price was quite a bit lower than any other I had found, so I decided to go take a look.  

From what I can tell, it was basically stock except for a cobbled together exhaust, and the random parts that the previous owner decided to paint. It needs a bit of work (detailed below), but it did drive decent, A/C worked, and was complete. It will make a great daily once I put in some work, It's cool enough that I don't mind a station wagon, but it's not in such good condition that I will feel bad about it being driven all year in Indiana. So I decided to bring it home. Here are a few pics on the way back home:




Once I got it home, I obviously the first thing I had to do was get some pictures of the matching pair together. Now I am getting really excited about this project!







Now that it's home I was able to give a more thorough looking over. It's going to need a lot of work, I mean a complete stage zero, plus front suspension. and several other things.


Got it in the shop.




Here's the list of good things:

-Body is very good for the age/miles. Some dents and dings, but virtually no rust. Just very slight along the bottom of the pinch welds. should clean up easily.

-Driveshaft is still there. Can't really tell condition, but it's there, and there isn't much of a vibration other than junk tires.

-Interior condition is pretty good, leather and suede will clean up nicely, and I can replace the ricey painted parts easily from the junk yard

-While it needs a lot of maintenance, the engine is in good shape, checked compression and they were 165-170 on my old harbor freight gauge that normally reads low. the cam lobes under the oil cap look great

-It's a freakin Saffron V70R..


Here's what it needs...

- Stage zero, I mean everything!

-Timing belt/water pump/thermostat/front seals/drivebelt

- PCV system

- Complete ignition tune up (found autolite plugs and autozone wires, ugh)

- All rubber hoses

- Bottom of intercooler is cracked where someone put some sort of rigged up drain plug. Need to replace and might as well do the radiator while I'm at it.

- It's got an oil leak on the back of the engine that I still need to diagnose Assuming something going to/from the turbo, or turbo itself. Someone put that stupid angle gear in the way and I can't see crap. 

- I think axle seals are bad too.

- I'll throw the oil pan o-rings in it too for good measure

- ABS module needs the soldier joints retouched.

- CEL for rear O2, Air pump system (will delete that junk), and the P0107 for the stupid baro sensor.

- New Exhaust

- All front suspension (tie rods, control arms, CV axles, links, IPD subframe bushing inserts, etc..) Strut assemblies seem surprisingly ok for now 

- Brakes all around

- E-brake cables broken

- Front right door lock actuator

- Have 2 remotes, even with new batteries, they don't work.. 

- Sunroof assy works sketchy and has caulk on it. I'll find another at the junkyard.

- Various cosmetic doo-dads that I can get from the junk yard


It needs more, but that list should get it on the road and reliable anyways. The goal is to have it up and going by winter because my in-laws want to buy the silver 850 before then.  I've never had an AWD car before, especially a P80, so thanks in advance for help with all of the dumb questions, and expect a lot of them regarding the AWD system.


Here are the rest of the pictures I've taken so far:




The half-arse drain thingy on the intercooler that cracked it:



Here's the oil leak area:



Needs brakes, the wheels are just plastidip, but I'm scared what they look like underneath..



The underside is in relatively decent shape for being a midwestern car:



Here's how it sits for now, for a while probably:




Edited by tuner4life
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Gas station photo shoot. The spoiler really makes the difference on a wagon.  All body parts (spoiler, mud flaps, mirror caps) are painted and installed except for the exhaust trims which won't get in

It's alive!!     I got everything engine wise put back together over the weekend, filled the fluids and fired it up. Started right up, no strange noises, leaks, or suprises, and no check engine light

On Saturday, we took the Saffrons to the last local Cars and Coffee meet of the season. It was kind of gloomy, but we got some decent rolling shots courtesy of my brother.  

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If the oil is dripping off the rear of the pan by the drain, there's a high probability that it's the turbo drain pipe seals.

Take a quick general look up the back of the block, if the wetness starts below the turbo, that's the one.

I just replaced both seals on my Saffron R, I recommend getting a nice ball end 5mm allen key for the job and being double jointed to get around the AG.


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Did some more work on the R tonight, trying to put a list of parts together so I can get them ordered. I was able to get a good look at the back of the engine from underneath and, while I can't confirm that it's the only leak, I can confirm that the turbo drain seals are bad and need to be replaced. The other smoking gun back there is the passenger CV axle seal.


Got all the intake stuff out and some other stuff around the drivers side of the engine bay. Good news, besides being all greasy due to ptc and pcv issues, the turbo still seems to be in good shape. There is very little side to side shaft play, and virtually zero in/out shaft play. Spins very free by hand. Not sure if it's the original turbo or not, but it certainly doesn't show any signs of ever being changed. This is very encouraging considering the car has 214k miles. Besides a handful of terrible repair decisions, it seems like it was in general well taken care of for a large portion of its life.




The exhaust however is the most haggard together thing I've ever seen up to and including a rear 02 sensor delete...  Yep, that would definitely explain why there is a CEL for the rear o2.. It's just gone, and they wire nutted the ends of the wires to cap them off.. Freakin retards. I found this tucked up underneath the airbox..



Does anyone make an exhaust system for the AWD that isn't a million dollars? I've used the OBX on FWD cars before and it does great for the price.. But no such luck for AWD cars. I like the idea of using a 2000 VR setup to get duals, but can't seem to find anything else that's cheap.. I might end up welding something up temporarily, but the section over the rear subframe does not look fun at all!


Anyways, I'll just keep chipping away until it's all fixed. Here is a shot as I'm getting ready to call it a night, I do love this car:


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The 2000 R mufflers have a nice tone compared to the '98-'99 style. If you'd snagged my car you wouldn't have had to touch the exhaust! :P

Glad you found a car you're happy with-having his and hers Saffs is pretty cool.

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Haha, yeah, I kind of broke all my criteria for buying one of these....  

Didn't want Awd - got AWD

Didn't want high miles - Got high miles

Wanted a car that was well maintained - well.... yeah....


Kampman, your car was very nice! We did seriously consider it for quite a while, but eventually we figured that since we were having such a hard time finding a T5 like we wanted, we would just hold out for the holy grail and try to find a saffron..  It needs some work, but in the end, I'll know that it's all done right.

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Ordered a bunch of parts yesterday.. Took more stuff apart last night:


Got the intake manifold off, I'm honestly impressed that the car ran as well as it did. The PCV system (which shows no signs of ever being changed) was clogged and doing absolutely nothing, the plastic hard lines were broken in multiple spots and creating vacuum leaks. So I got all of that removed and cleaned the drain hole from the oil trap so it flows better now.  Also had to drill out the thermostat housing bolts because someone stripped out the torx bolt heads.. Also got the intake tube and the PTC cleaned up (it was clogged with carbon, go figure). This thing should run amazing once it's brought back up to ground zero! 


Also got the wheels off and checked the suspension over, the struts and nivos actually are in very good shape and worked well on the drive back home, although the nivos will probably need replaced kind of soon because the boots are torn..  The tie rods are loose, links are broken, and the ball joints... Lets just say, I'm glad I made it home.. All of that stuff is now on order. Using Lemforder for the tie rod stuff, Meyle HD for the control arms, and IPD HD for the links. Also picked up a set of the subframe bushing inserts, I've used them on all my other P80s and they really do make a difference.

The brakes will also need to be replaced, rear pads are almost gone and the whole thing needs gone through I'm sure.. Plus the E-brake cables are corroded off the backing plates.. I'll deal with that after the car runs good though. Maybe I'll even repaint the calipers something besides orange lol.

Before calling it a night:



I am also looking for an exhaust to replace the janky one on this car. Either stock 1998 exhaust with 2000 dual rear, or something aftermarket it I can find one that doesn't cost more than the car did.. I've built exhaust from scratch before, but it doesn't look fun on this car at all!

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You can replace the nivomat boots. It's even possible with Volvo parts:

P/N # 1387105 (dust boot for Volvo 200, 700 and 900 series) is an ideal replacement part. On FWD nivos replacing the boot is easy, on the AWD a little more difficult because of the shape of the lower mounting point.

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Have you checked the play in the angle drive / spline coupler while its up on jack stands? shouldn't be more than a couple degrees worth of play/backlash felt at the pinion flange (where DS bolts up). Look at & feel for play in the front & rear CV's & carrier bearing deterioration.

No wonder it has oil seepage all over, with a clogged breather system. I would have degreased everything prior to working on it....


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I checked these things last night per your recommendation. The pinion flange off the angle gear has virtually no play at all, there is a little bit of movement in the carrier bearing when I yank on the driveshaft, but not very much, and it's more like rubber deflection than something loose.  The rear axles have a little bit of play, and a couple of the boots are torn.. I'm planning on dropping the rear subframe probably next year sometime and replacing all of the stuff back there. But for now, I'm encouraged by the condition of the AWD system so I'm going to change the fluids and leave it functional.

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