The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Top 10 Most Common Problems with 1993-2000 850, C70, S70 and V70 Models

2009-08-27 - ipd staff

We’ve put together a list of some of the most common problems you might run into if you own or are considering one of these models. We want to convey that these are good cars and that none of the problems we’ve listed are major issues or flaws.  Just the little annoying things that can drive you nuts trying to resolve if you don’t know the cause and where to begin fixing it.

Upper Engine Mount Failure

Beginning with the 1993 850 Volvo began using an upper engine mount  (also called the upper engine stabilizer) that helped to control engine movement especially during acceleration.  The mount has been a continual sore spot among owners of these models as the mount often fails in as little as 10,000 miles, resulting in an alarming knock when accelerating or shifting gears.  Volvo has superceded  the part to new improved designs (several times) that last a bit longer, but the problem still persists even in models as new as 2008. One tricky aspect of it is that’s it’s difficult to tell if the bushing has failed. Generally the lower contact area where the center rubber bushing attaches to the outer housing will shear and break free from the outer housing, but at first glance it will appear intact. Take a closer look and have someone grab the oil filler cap and rock the engine back and forth and look for signs of separation.  We offer standard replacements as well as HD polyurethane upgraded versions.

Anti Sway Bar End Link Failure

All 1993-2000 850, S70, C70 and V70 models ( as well as most 2001 2008 S60, S80, V70 and XC 90 models) use anti sway bar end links with ball joint connections.  These have proven to be short lived in the Volvo application and routinely wear out and begin knocking and clunking in as little as 10,000 miles of use.  If left unattended, the links can break, disconnecting the anti sway bar from the chassis, resulting in very poor handling response and random clunks and knocks.  Ipd developed a heavy duty version of the endlink and they have quickly become one of our best selling upgrades for these models.  They come with a 2 year warranty and are an easy to install replacement / upgrade.

Front Strut Mount Failure

All 1993-2000 850, S70, C70 and V70 models ( as well as most 2001 2008 S60, S80, V70 and XC 90 models) use a rubber encased upper spring seat / strut mount that suffers from premature failure. Symptoms of a strut mount that has failed or is on the way out are creaking / groaning sounds during low speed turning.  You can also visually inspect the mounts from the engine compartment and looks for signs of the rubber pulling away from the center sleeve or  for sings of cracking. If left unattended, the noise can turn into clunking or worse if it fails completely, the strut shaft can break through the mount and damage / dent the hood of the car. Ipd developed a heavy duty version of the strut mount using a stronger more durable rubber that comes with a 2 year warranty and is considered a must do upgrade any time you have the front struts apart. 

Fuel Door Hinge Failure

All 1993-2000 850, S70, C70 and V70 models (as well as most 2001 2008 S60, S80, V70 and XC 90 models) use a plastic gas cap door hinge that commonly fails at around 60,000 miles or so. Not the end of the world, but it does leave your gas door hanging from the side of your Volvo, which doesn’t look too cool and is not good for the paint job!   We located a source for an upgrade version that uses a stronger plastic material and it costs less than the original Volvo replacement.  Easily installed in a few minutes by most “do-it-yourselfers” using the included instructions and common hand tools.

Automatic Transmission Shift Interlock Failure

The shift interlock is an electronic override that prevents the driver from being able to shift the car from “PARK” into “DRIVE” unless the driver is applying the brakes.  When this part fails (and it does on a regular basis) the car can no longer be driven unless the driver happens to know that there is an emergency override button that can be pressed to allow the shifter to be moved.  Fortunately, the shift interlock micro-switch is fairly easy to replace.

ABS Control Module Failure

Many 1993-2000 850, S70, C70 and V70 models can have issues with the ABS control module that can cause the ABS warning lamp to illuminate. The most common cause is related to an internal failure of the module that causes it to erroneously report an error for a faulty right rear wheel sensor.  You replace the sensor and fins that you still have the problem!  We now offer rebuilt ABS Control Modules that are a  fraction of the price you’d pay at the dealer and we include instructions on how to replace the module as well.

Tailgate Interior Panel Failure

All 1993-97 850 wagon and all 1998-2000 V70 models have a problem of the interior tailgate panel breaking away from the tail gate, leaving the panel hanging loose from the gate and interfering with the function of the tail gate lock / latch.  To replace the panel from your dealer will cost well over $200, our $18.95 kit and about 30 minutes of your time  will have you back in business with a long lasting repair that is stronger than the original part.

Oil Filler Cap Seal Failure

All 1993-2000 850, S70, C70 and V70 models (as well as most 2001 2008 S60, S80, V70 and XC 90 models) use a large rubber washer under the oil filler cap to provide a leak proof seal, which it does well until it ages and becomes rock hard.  Once it has hardened, it no longer seals properly and begins to leak oil that drains back into the top of the cam cover and eventually finds it’s way into the spark plug cavities as well as all over the rest of your engine.   It’s not uncommon to find that one or two of the spark plug cavities have become full of oil and are shorting out under high load conditions due to the oil contamination. Prevent this by replacing the 80 cent oil cap seal at every other oil change.

Odometer / Tripmeter Failure 

On all 1993-1997 850 models a small plastic gear drives the odometer & trip meter functions. These gears are prone to cracking as they age resulting in intermittent or complete loss of odometer/ trip meter function.  Since Volvo does not sell the gear or even the speedometer as a separate part, the repair can easily cost over $1000 at your dealer.  Use our updated gear kit and included DVD install guide and do it yourself for under $50 and 1-2 hours of your time!

Crankcase Ventilation System Failure (PCV/Flame trap)

All 1993-2000 850, S70, C70 and V70 models (as well as most 2001 2007 S60, S80, V70 and XC 90 models) use a complicated crankcase vent system to prevent the build u of pressure inside the engine. Since the mid 70’s Volvo owners have had problems with this system clogging up with oil deposits. Once the system plugs up, crankcase pressure builds high enough to cause oil to be forced past engine seals resulting in oil leaks around the engine.  Another problem with this system is the many small vacuum lines used become brittle and crack, rendering the system inoperable as well as causing idle and drivability issues.  Since the lines are buried under the intake manifold, it’s difficult to diagnose. To keep the system operating properly it’s a good idea to visually inspect the lines every other oil change and completely replace all the associated components every  80-100,000 miles.  We’ve put together handy kits that make it easy to order the correct parts.