The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Video: 10 Frequent Fixes for 850/70 Series

2015-07-15 - ipd staff

As the 850 and 70 series Volvos get older and less expensive to purchase, they are finding themselves in the hands of the more do-it-yourself buyer. Our customer service staff has been getting more and more calls on some of the common failure points on these models, so we decided to make a video on some of the frequent fixes that we’re seeing. Check out the video below as Chris and Ken go over 10 of the most failure prone components and share some resources that make these trouble spots a lot easier to deal with.

Items covered in the video:

Heater Core

One of the most common and complex failures that 850 and 70 series cars suffer from is heater core failure. The plastic and aluminum heater cores in these cars have a limited lifetime. The heater core runs hot all the time, and it's just a matter of whether or not you're running air through it; so there's a high failure rate. We carry both an economy version and the bare OE version that you can install. Our video on heater core replacement will guide you step by step to getting the replacement done. The 850 models have steel pipes, and the steel pipes tend to corrode then leak at the ends where the junctions are. A lot of people will upgrade the steel pipes in an 850 to the aluminum pipes that were from the 70 series.

Upper Spring Seats

If you own an 850 or 70 series car, eventually you're going to come across a clunk or a bump in the front end. More than likely that clunk could be coming from the upper spring seat. There's a little piece of rubber that hosts the upper front strut or spring assembly. Over time these things crack, and that's because Volvo uses a lot of recycled materials in their rubber. The rubber gets hard over time which leads them to break. Especially when hitting a pothole or a bump in the road. We have manufactured these using less recycled material and more silicone. The result is a softer piece with a reinforced sleeve. This upgrade is going to give you confidence over time, and it fits 850 and 70 series cars from 1993-2000. If you're experiencing a harsh clunk in the front of your Volvo, there's a good chance it might be one of your upper spring seats.

Front Endlinks

Since this is a common failure list, we have to talk about it. Front-end links. On 850 and 70 series front-end links are a common failure item even more so if you're in a high corrosion environment. People who live in high salt environments will see a high failure rate on these as often as once a year. Our IPD HD version has a polished ball-and-socket in it, and it has silicone boots for a longer lifespan. An excellent upgrade to keep your car on the road and less time spent working on it. 

PCV System

Another vital piece to look at on your 850 or 70 series Volvo is the Positive Crankcase Ventilation system (PCV). The PCV system components ventilate the crankcase. Now what happens is when these pieces get plugged up or crack they you can create more oil leaks under the hood of your Volvo, and we know you don't want that. So a quick way to combat that is to have your car looked at and inspected to see if it needs a new PCV system or you can upgrade your PCV system. We have various PCV system kits located on our website. Some kits we've gone above and beyond OE and manufactured our own pieces to make kits that will last longer in your car. These commonly fail because they're so susceptible to oil and petrochemicals under the hood. We've upgraded those pieces, so if you're interested or you're looking at improving the PCV system on your car, please check out our website. We've got a ton of people here that can help you install it, it's elementary stuff to do, and it's also going to improve the longevity of your Volvo. 

Timing Belt and Water Pump

One of the most common issues you'll run into when you get an older car like this, and it's not just Volvo's it's all vehicles these days. The interference engines they have are complex timing belt systems. I know a lot of people want to avoid this, but you can't avoid it because if you avoid it for too long and the parts break it will take out the engine, and your car will likely end up totaled. We carry comprehensive timing belt kits for the different years and models that include timing belts, idlers, and tensioners. We also recommend if the timing belt has recently been replaced that you also replace the water pump. A lot of our kits include the water pump. You can check out the website and see the different packages. These are OE grade or better components we recommend this because this not an area where you cut corners. 

ECT and Thermostat

The next part that we're going to talk about is easy for you to replace if it's something that you want to take on or challenge yourself to do a home. We're going to talk about the engine coolant temp sensor and the thermostat. Both of these pieces have the same symptoms you can actually have a high reading on the coolant temp gauge, or it might even throw a check engine light. Another common failure that happens when the ECT sensor goes bad is your fan tends to run all the time even after you turn the ignition off. That's a telltale sign that something's gone wrong. We carry both of these, and they are both OE grade, and they're great products. Something that fails on these cars if you haven't run into it yet we can bet you that you're going to run into it sooner or later.

Upper and Lower Torque Mounts

We are talking about cars that are 15 to 20 years old here, so engine mounts are likely to become a factor at some point. Keep in mind that there are two different kinds of mounts on these cars. One mount that holds the engine up is underneath, and it supports the engine. The other is what's called a torque mount. Torque mounts keep the engine from rolling forward and back under acceleration and deceleration, and they are very high failure items. There's both an upper torque mount and lower torque mount, and we have multiple versions of these. We have them with the brackets and without the brackets. We have a polyurethane upgrade for more stiffness and better performance, and we have them in rubber. You need to enter your car on our website and look and see which versions are available for your vehicle. Everything from stuff that's just like the complete assembly when it was new to our excellent billet polyurethane upgrade pieces. Check them out! 

Overload Coils

1993 - 2000 850 and 70 series front-wheel drive Volvo models were equipped with standard suspension in the rear. When we talk about center suspension, we mean it has a spring that maintains the ride height in a standard rear shock. Some models came with an Evo matte shock which is a self-leveling shock which was an accessory for most 850 and 70 series cars. We manufactured Overload Springs that are a standard replacement spring for the vehicles you might see sagging in the rear end. Your eyes aren't deceiving you when you look at an 850 or 70 series that might be a little lower on the back to the front. These cars are getting a little older, and the factory springs do become weak, and they will eventually sag. We manufactured springs that will replace the factory ride height but also put a little bit more load in the back end.


The smallest member of our countdown but not the least important, the key fob. 1993 through 2000 models had plastic on the key fobs that fell apart. It's amazing how often we have customers come into the front counter here and when they throw their keys up on the counter, and there's just a wad of tape with buttons on it that used to be their key fob. These key fobs are inexpensive, and they're reasonably easy to install, and it'll fix your keyring. It's amazing how much better a car will run with a new key fob. 

Fuel Door Hinge and Latches

Alright, last on our list we're going to cover fuel door hinges and latches. Nothing's more embarrassing than driving around with a fuel door that's not even on your car right. The hinges and latches are made out of plastic, and as they get a little bit older, they break. The fuel door can fall off, it might not shut, or it might not latch especially if the plastic is broken off. The plastic piece is the receptacle that hangs onto the fuel door as you close it. If you're in a state where you can pump your own gas, you might be able to get by with it. However, if you're in a state that pumps gas for you, it's nice to pull up in your vehicle and have it be complete. We have a bunch of these things on the shelf so check them out.

We're always here to help you with your 850 and 70 series what we just covered was IPD shortlists but that doesn't mean that other common problems are out there that might arise with your 850 or 70 series and that's why we are here to help. Make sure to check out our website for more information regarding all 850 and 70 series cars or you can contact our customer service department at 800-444-6473. They'd love to go over any item that you have questions about regarding your Volvo.