850 - best car I ever had

This is partially in response to a earlier post...... it turned into a rant and I decided to post it separately.*************************************************************************
On alt.autos.volvo, someone wrote: (and I quote)
"They have spent considerable time with the 850 in the shop and have decided to never buy another Volvo."
Well it just goes to show, you never know. The '96 year model was the best for the 850. Other earlier years gave many the blues.
<KNOCK ON WOOD><SUPERSTITIOUS ON>
MY '96 850 Turbo, with 123k miles on it, cradles me like a fetus in the womb of a mother. Of course, it has had every maintenance item done on time. The Space Shuttle Columbia was not any better serviced, yet there was the regrettable failure of the Columbia. Of course that was due to unforeseen circumstance. Nevertheless, that does serve to portray the incalculable well, in context. There are individual circumstances, and those, while true to life, are not indicative of the collective experience. I would recommend the '96 850 to anyone, providing the auto has been examined and judged by a person knowledgable, fit.
I just got a K&N air filter for my '96 850... she runs like the wind. I was driving home today and had the misfortune of being behind one of those large tanker trucks... it was making 60mph on a 70mph stretch. I waited till the traffic cleared and pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The 850 exploded with acceleration... by the time I was passing the cab/front of the giant truck I was making 100mph. I had an open stretch ahead, and held the pedal to the floor. The speed climbed surely and softly to 110mph, 115mph, 120, 125, 130... I let off the gas as the trees were going by so fast they were blurring into a collage of green. The car was quiet and easy at those speeds. The car is going on 9 years old and runs smooth like a new car. I love the '96 850.
If you know of a car as good, please recommend it.
Hank </KNOCK ON WOOD></SUPERSTITIOUS ON>
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separately.***************************************************************** ********
for the 850. Other earlier years gave many the blues.

womb of a mother. Of course, it has had every maintenance item done on time. The Space Shuttle Columbia was not any better serviced, yet there was the regrettable failure of the Columbia. Of course that was due to unforeseen circumstance. Nevertheless, that does serve to portray the incalculable well, in context.

indicative of the collective experience.

examined and judged by a person knowledgable, fit.

was driving home today and had the misfortune of being behind one of those large tanker trucks... it was making 60mph on a 70mph stretch. I waited till the traffic cleared and pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The 850 exploded with acceleration... by the time I was passing the cab/front of the giant truck I was making 100mph. I had an open stretch ahead, and held the pedal to the floor. The speed climbed surely and softly to 110mph, 115mph, 120, 125, 130... I let off the gas as the trees were going by so fast they were blurring into a collage of green. The car was quiet and easy at those speeds.

Very Zen like, but I know what you mean. I fantasise daily about getting that kind of response out of my 2 litre auto 740 estate. I miss my old manual 2.3 litre GLT with overdrive. One day................
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Hmmm, I also have a well maintained '96 850, but I'm not impressed with the fact that the ABS controller failed, the heater fan failed, the front ball joints failed, the rear shocks leaked at 30k miles, etc. Then there is the driver's side wiper arm which warps mysteriously and the glove box door which did a bit of bending and let the glove box light stay on, which in turn killed the battery when I was out of town for a week. Then there was the leaking heater core and failed ignition electrical switch. At the moment the HVAC recirculate function doesn't work because the little plastic arm gave up the ghost.Ah yes, and the door panel inside skins which came unglued at two years of age.
All of the above are common faults for this vintage 850 based on reading of various web sources. Luckily I have not yet had the dreaded A/C evaporator failure.
Thus my 850 isn't the worst car I've ever owned, but hardly ranks as the best where reliability and cost of repair are taken into account.
John
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I've got to agree with Hank - my '96 855 TDI has been terrific - fortunately I've had none of the problems you have listed John.
AB
John Horner wrote:

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On Fri, 13 Feb 2004 23:14:31 -0800, John Horner wrote:
"driver's side wiper arm which warps mysteriously"
Hey John, I had that also! (on my 850) And nobody could figure it out including the dealer. Obviously new wipers didn't fix it. The symptom would be the arm would skitter across the windshield, as opposed to sweeping smoothly. So one day I got to drinking some beer. And I was thinking about that crazy wiper arm. And I thought, it's almost as if the armm, on the down sweep, is at the wrong angle. Sort of "biting" the glass. So I had another beer, and kept brooding on it.. I walked out to the car and looked and it seemed like it really was coming across at the wrong angle. I kept studying it and you guessed it, I grabbed another beer. Well, the 3 beers said (or it might have been the Devil) actually they whispered.... "Bend that sucker. Bend the arm so it hits at the right angle and the problem will go away."
I got a soft clothe and wrapped the arm. I gently applied a (if I remember) a counter-clockwise force to it. Then tested, it still did it but was improved! So long story short I kept bending a little and testing an now am happy to report the wiper arm is smooth as it can be.
Hope that helps!
PS Also my ABS controller is bad... the light doesn't come on in cold weather but will if the weather is warm. But all things considered, I really like the car. quad SRS, etc,etc... nice ride.
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I believe it was the latest IPD newsletter which had a blurb on fixing the skipping/dragging wiper problem along these same lines--two open end wrenches with cloth for protection. IPD didn't mention the beer, but that certainly wouldn't hurt.

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Bill Stehlin) wrote:

I bent mine flat again, then added stiffeners, consisting of lengths of steel welding rod embedded in epoxy in the underside webbing. I oriented them specifically to resist the twisting force, and it's held it's shape for several years now.
BTW: My 94 has had no major problems yet (190K). I may keep it for another 10 years. (Or until I can afford a new Audi S4 Avant)
To reply, please remove one letter from each side of "@" Spammers are VERMIN. Please kill them all.
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My '97 850 Estate has 115K on the clock. It's been dealer serviced all it's life. And while in my hand carefully serviced by a trusted mechanic at roughtly half the dealer-recommned intervals. The exhaust, though properly suspended and gas-tight groans and moans at an annoying high volume and low frequency. So much so it can be detected over the CD player, even at full volume......
I can't open the glove box door. I shut it one day and it just won't open again. No doubt butchery will be necessary to retreive my property when I eventually dispose of the thing. The 'emergency' mode of the ECU results in the car cutting out. Something I recently discovered when the engine coolant sensor failed. The loss of power occured in the midst of a contra-flow on a busy motorway in the dark. It could have been VERY dangerous. The central locking is not dependable, nor is the remote nor the alarm system. the mechanical door locks often jam It's not OBD-II compliant despite having an OBD-II socket (clearly marked as such). So money was wasted on a code reader for it and inconvenience caused.... And I've not got round to fiddling with switches, L.E.D.s and resistors in order to clear the fault light...... (life being "too short to stuff a mushroom")
All in all the car 'feels' wrong. I don't generally like FWD cars, and loaded up (I run a video production Company) I experience frequent loss of grip and instability. The car has of course passed it's UK M.O.T. test and the suspension has been checked and pronounced normal by a Volvo dealer.... In fact there are receipts for new front and rear dampers bought shortly before I got the car... The clutch; also pronounced healthy by Volvo specialists is 'spongy' and squeals slightly on take up. The handbrake siezes if left on for more than about 48 hours. And the dreaded (and apparently common) rough braking from the rear discs is VERY evident.......
Oh yeah! and it goest through thermostats! Every 2500 miles they stick open leaving the car with a poor heater.... Bit of a problem here where it's generally cold, damp and dreich......
I was brought up on Volvo Estate cars. At 42 I can remember , as a toddler, my Uncle Terry's big old sand coloured Volvo estate filled to the roof with goods for his business... I was about 15 when he replaced it with another! Our family had close links with the Chinese catering trade. All our friends family ran take-aways, restaurants and other businesses for years using Volvos as workhorses.... As have I! Al cars have foibles. But in the past I've found Volvos to be about the most robust and reliable vehicles on the road.....
The 850 is a good looking car. Looks well in Company livery and image wise does us no harm. But frankly it's just not good enough as a vehicle. It's a crude as anything Ford Citroen Fiat or Vauxhall could throw at us. Not that they're necessarily 'bad' vehicles; it's just that Volvo has always been and I expect it it be a 'cut above'....That's why they cost that wee bit more.
I'd expected to run this thing for about three years. My gameplan now, after 7 months and 10,000 miles is to release some cash from somewhere and get rid. My saloon car is an old Mercedes 190. And when I say old I mean really quite old ('H' Reg) I did 22,000 miles in that car last year and it had one repair! The water pump began to weep slightly... replacement was quick cheap and easy. It's stood outside in the hail rain and snow of a Scottish winter for up to six weeks at a time. And it starts and runs on the nail without so much as a creak from brakes or clutch that might be justified in siezing after that treatment.... It's warm in three minutes and returns far better fuel figures than the Volvo.....
So, when my 850 goes I won't be buying another. In fact after this experience I'm really put off Volvos altogether. The old RWD models are a bit dated looking (not that good for business) and I'm just not convinced that build quality\design in the newer ones is as good as it once was I thought Mercedes were overpriced. Wondered why so many of my friends and relatives had gone over to them. I just thought they were being 'flash'..... Why is the carpark in the Glasgow Chinatown no longer 'Volvo-City'???? BUT now I'LL be reaching a little deeper into my pocket this time and paying the difference....
And that's a sad end to a lifelong affection and regard for Volvo cars.....

the
the
plastic
of
evaporator
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"LaoFuZhi" <the.real.address . snipped-for-privacy@mattATtfgtvDOTcoDOTyewkay.itsaspam thing.not.too.hard.to.work.out> wrote in message> My '97 850 Estate has 115K on the clock. It's been dealer serviced all it's

properly
low
in
coolant
a
an
reader
with
dealer....
evident.......
open
toddler,
with
friends
past
a
that
and
after
really
one
cheap
winter
so
'flash'.....
BUT
cars.....
Sounds like you're ready for a BMW!
Aleric
'95 Volvo 944t '92 BMW 325iC
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I liked my old 320i.... But I suspect I'll have another one of those motors with the gunsight on the bonnet.... <g>
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For me its strange to read like this ... I have 850, 95, ~ 250 000 km and think its worth every Euro I paid for it. Just yesterday drove by 200 km/h, sitting on the road like glued .. grip is very good also with winter tires
thermostat .. I havent change any, but the engine goes warm in 10 min in -20C (we have such winter here)
of course there are wearing parts .. have to change regular, but its like this with every car. maintenance and repair - I have invested approx. $1500 in every last years and thats all, just drive. If you want I can post the list of changed/repaired parts. (of course our prices here are little bit cheaper than in US)

it's
properly
low
in
coolant
a
an
reader
with
dealer....
evident.......
open
toddler,
with
friends
past
a
that
and
after
really
one
cheap
winter
so
'flash'.....
BUT
cars.....
ball
was
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Where are you located? If prices on parts are are bit cheaper than in hte US, I would like to know where in Europe that is. Here in Denmark where I live nothing is cheap when it comes to cars.
Per Hauge

with
is
door
in
came
reading
the
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... in Estonia
for example timing belt - $78 brake pads - $47 brake saddle - $125 ...
local Volvo dealer prices

know
years
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How about a Mazda Miata. It doesn't have the people or cargo capacity of the Volvo, it doesn't have the "put the peddle to the metal beat the doors off a Mustang" acceleration of the Volvo, but there is nothing like the top down, wind in your hair, sun in your face feeling of driving a Miata.
Gus
P.S. The Miata is also built like a rock. I have over 160,000 miles on mine with not a single major repair.
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< Sounds like you're ready for a BMW! < Aleric < < '95 Volvo 944t < '92 BMW 325iC

What the #%/#&#%
BMW and Mazda!?
I'd put any rattling 850T with a broken AC before those cars! And if you dont agree, you dont get it. And if you dont get it, you just dont belong in this group.
Nuff of this BMW and Mazda talk.
And btw Gus, do you whanna do a full frontal in 70kph with your Miata against my S70? Then we'll se which of the two cars that is "built like a rock"...
/Patrik
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One cannot say that one specific car is best based on such a small sample.
You need the real life experience of thousands of owners in order to provide valuable info.
Both 850 and 900 series are great cars. It's more a matter of personal taste. Some prefer blondes, others, brunettes. I prefer black.

a mother. Of course, it has had every maintenance item done on time. The Space Shuttle Columbia was not any better serviced, yet there was the regrettable failure of the Columbia. Of course that was due to unforeseen circumstance. Nevertheless, that does serve to portray the incalculable well, in context.

driving home today and had the misfortune of being behind one of those large tanker trucks... it was making 60mph on a 70mph stretch. I waited till the traffic cleared and pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The 850 exploded with acceleration... by the time I was passing the cab/front of the giant truck I was making 100mph. I had an open stretch ahead, and held the pedal to the floor. The speed climbed surely and softly to 110mph, 115mph, 120, 125, 130... I let off the gas as the trees were going by so fast they were blurring into a collage of green. The car was quiet and easy at those speeds.

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" held the pedal to the floor. The speed climbed surely and softly to 110mph, 115mph, 120, 125, 130... I let off the gas as the trees were going by so fast they were blurring into a collage of green. The car was quiet and easy at those speeds. The car is going on 9 years old and runs smooth like a new car. I love the '96 850."
sweeettt...sounds like yout 850 is "Dialed in" and in "major payback mode"...ie: rewarding a driver w/good motoring expierences for upkeep & maintenance......in my limited motoring expierence, there is little to compair w/driving a well maintained volvo w/> 100k miles on it...that runs smooth, solid, and may go like STINK if a turbo... a great pair of brakes just adds to the +++ situation...have fun!! enjoy your 850...i wouls likw to get my hands on a 97-99 850r wagon to fix up and cruise in...that one looks sweeettt...not too much $$ now eather, w/100k miles on one...
outtt...richard / colorado

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To me comparing the 850 to 740's and 940's seems to be apples and oranges. It is not really fair for a front wheel drive car to be compared to a rear wheel drive when performance is the primary issue. The handling aspects are totally different and a person that is used to rear wheel drive performance will not be comfortable with how the front wheel drive corners. I admit that my 740 runs out of steam over 120 when compared to my girlfiend's 944 but below speed that all she can see is my taillights. :)
Chris V
Henry wrote:

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[ snipped-for-privacy@cybcon.com] (Tue, 17 Feb 2004 02:35:46 GMT):

don't drive in the middle of the road then :D
--
Svein Tore Slvik
1996 Volvo 850 2,5 20v
  Click to see the full signature.
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The handling aspects

This is normally true however in the case of the 850 versus the 700/900 the 850 has far superior handling and a much better suspension setup for fast driving and cornering - this is a fact that is born out in virtually any road test you care to mention often cited as the 850 being the first good "performance handling" car Volvo had produced.
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