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850, 70 And T5 Buyers Guide

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Old Aug 5th, 2010, 22:09   #11

Last Online: Dec 3rd, 2015 16:28
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What about the turbo-diseasals please? (sorry but can't afford the mpg of the petrol turbo unit :s) anything I should look for there? understand its a Mitsubishi engine?
- F reg 1988 740 GL Estate -
- 54 plate V50 2ltr turbo-diesel -
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Old Jan 23rd, 2011, 21:45   #12
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Default 16t turbo

Will a 16t turbo from a s70 1997, will it bolt straight on to a replace a 15t on a 96 t5??
Looking a vadis they look the same!!
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Old May 12th, 2012, 01:22   #13
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Default 850 or 700-900?

I need a diesel or petrol automatic estate and after years of merc ecu problems am returning to Volvo . From reading many pages here I wonder if there is a year/model with strong management components ,or components not requiring main dealer service/repair so I can use local independant. I have seen some great 850's but cannot commit until I understand their brains a little more. Can you advise or direct me to advice or should I look to older models 700-900 with simpler systems. Having enjoyed many 120 series and 240 series I am confident with older Volvos but the economy of newer models or diesel is attractive. Any comments welcome, Thanks
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Old Jul 30th, 2012, 13:05   #14
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Hi there,

Does anyone know where to get a pcv in the uk cheaply for a C70 t5 1999


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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 18:39   #15
Nick Jackson
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I've just signed up to the forum today and wondered what the reference to 854 and 855 means in the buying guide?

I'm on the look out for an 850 estate or V70. I've heard the later V70's after 2000 aren't built to the same level of Volvo durability as the 1997-2000 models. Is that a myth or fact?

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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 18:43   #16
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Originally Posted by Nick Jackson View Post
I've just signed up to the forum today and wondered what the reference to 854 and 855 means in the buying guide?

I'm on the look out for an 850 estate or V70. I've heard the later V70's after 2000 aren't built to the same level of Volvo durability as the 1997-2000 models. Is that a myth or fact?

Hi, welcome to the forum. The 854 is an 850 with foor doors (saloon) and the 855 is an 850 with five doors (estate).

2003 S60R
2003 V70R

VOC Speed Challenge Champion 2007/08/Joint Winner 2009
Motor Sport Challenge Winner 2008/Joint Winner 2009

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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 18:49   #17
Nick Jackson
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Wow - I didn't expect an answer in 4 minutes! So it's back to old system as used on the 140 and 240 series cars then. I should have twigged really but I've never seen it used in the context of the 850 series before.
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Old Apr 26th, 2014, 00:01   #18
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Thank you for a most useful post.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2015, 21:02   #19
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Default Engine Code

Originally Posted by Jod T5 View Post
here is a full buyers guide for t5 models....
Volvo 850 and 70 series T5, T5R, 850R and R (Up until 2002) Buyers Guide
This guide is intended for use as a base reference source only, you should
conduct usual car checks/inspections for general roadworthiness and perform a
HPI to confirm legibility.

850 and 70 series overview
A little bit about how the 854/855 came to be, and later on the updated v/s/c70

Models & Technical Specifications
850 T5 (1993 – 1996)
850 T5-R estate and saloon (circa 1995 - 1996)
850 R estate and saloon (circa 1996 - 1997), only model to feature an LSD
S/V70 T5 (1996 - 2001)
C70 T5 (1997 - 2002)
S70R - FWD only (1997 – 2001)
V70R - which came in FWD and AWD versions (1997 – 2001)

Model, Engine code, Turbo, BHP
850 T5 1994-1995 - B5234T 225hp/B5234T5 240hp - 15G - conic outlet from turbine
850 T5 1996 - B5234T 225hp/B5234T5 240hp - 15G straight outlet from turbine
850R man - B5234T4 - 16T straight outlet from turbine - 250hp
S/V/C70 T5 1997-1998 - B5234T3 - 16T straight outlet from turbine - 240hp
S/V/C70 T5 1999-2000 - B5234T3 - 16T angled outlet from turbine - 240hp
S/V70R man FWD/AWD 1997-1998 - B5234T4 - 18T straight outlet from turbine –
V70R auto AWD 1999 - B5234RT - 18T angled outlet form turbine - 250hp
V70R auto AWD 2000 - B5244RT - 19T angled outlet form turbine - 265hp

Suspension design remained the same on all models except for the rear struts. As
Volvos are renowned as being load luggers, Volvo introduced a ‘Self Leveling’
(Nivomats) system for the rear suspension, which aids in carrying heavy loads
and/or towing. They are most commonly found on estates, but not all estates have
them, they have also been found on saloons, but very rarely. The ‘R’s are lower
than a stock T5 by about 30mm.

There are two disc sizes available for the 850/70 series cars. Up until 1998,
all front discs were 280mm, later models used a 302mm disc, members generally
upgrade to the 302mm disc as it offers better braking performance. The change
from the 280mm you will need larger carriers and longer brake hoses (might as
well go braided), and of course the larger disc. Caliper and pads remain the
same. Of course there are upgraded discs and pads available.

850 T5 - Columba
850 T5-R - Titan
850 R - Volan
C70 T5 - Canisto OR BBS Split Rim OR Comet
S/V70 T5 - Perfo
S/V70R - Comet

850R & T5-R Specs
Rs should have lower suspension, the R lip front splitter, 17inch rims and the
trade mark 1/2 leather 1/2 suede interior. 850Rs (1996-97) have the suede on the
inserts and leather on the bolsters of the seat. There should be electric memory
seats on both driver and front passenger. 850 T5-Rs (1995-96) have it the other
way around - leather inserts and suede bolsters. They should all have climate
control and CD multichangers. There are a few that dont but generally they all
have very high specs.

70 series ‘R’ Specs
The ‘R’ spec is all about the trim, the toys and the styling tweaks (e.g alloys,
internal trim, front splitter). Just as a starting point make sure the car has R
wheels (comets = 5 spoke) an R front bumper which is basically a lip on the
bottom of the bumper. The R seats have a slightly patterned alcantara in the
middle and leather on the sides. The dash has aluminium inserts plus the dials
are blue. It should have both front electric seats along with heated front &
rear seats.

Buyers Guide


This guide shows the key points that you should be aware of when looking over a
T5/R, if any of these points fail in your inspection/test drive, they are a very
good bargaining point, but bare in mind that they could prove to be very
expensive to fix later on in your ownership.

A high mileage Volvo is nothing to worry about, these engines if looked after
and are well maintained can go on for 200k+ miles without any major problems.
The service book should be stamped and up to date and performed every 10k miles
by either a reputable Volvo Specialist or Volvo Dealers. However, do not be put
off with cars that have been personally looked after by their owners, these cars
are often looked after at a higher standard than with the Dealer networks, they
will have folders full of receipts and spreadsheets of the parts that have been

Dash warning lights
Check that all the warning lights that should be on when the ignition is first turned on work. It is not unknown for unscrupulous persons to remove the bulb from warning lights such as the Lambda light to mask an expensive fault. Compare with the user manual - it will tell you what to look for.
Check for ABS/TRACS light coming on when driving. Probably dry joints in the ABS ECU,which can be repaired via a forum member.

Aircon/Climate Control
Ensure that the air conditioning is functioning as it should. If it isn't it could just be it needs re-gassing but there are other more expensive reasons why it may not get as cold as it should. Check the aircon compressor cuts in and stays in. If it short cycles gas is low. Could be a condenser (approx £100) as they are prone to holing. If it is the evaporator it is a full dash out which will cost approx £500.

Heated Seats
There was a recall on the heated seats effecting 1996 models. If appropriate, ask if the Heated Seats recall has been actioned, this is FOC action by Volvo dealer so it should have been. If the owner plays dumb it might be a bargaining point. Remember it won't cost you anything to get it done if it hasn't been actioned.

Checking the oil
When checking the oil via the dipstick, do not be alarmed if you see creamy gunk at the end of it, it is a trait of most T5 engines to have some condensation inside, this can be easily confused with a head gasket failure, they can look very similar. If the car has been used frequently for short journeys then no doubt you will see creamy gunk when you check the oil dipstick. Check the oil
filler cap for signs of ‘baileys’, if you see it here then suspect either a head gasket failure or a split in the radiator/oil cooler. Make sure the oil level is correct.

PCV System
When the PCV system becomes blocked it leads to an increase in crankcase pressure, this can be seen when the engine is running, take the dipstick out, if you see smoke puffing out then this system will need to be replaced, if it isn’t it will eventually lead to a rear main oil seal failure.

RMS, Clutch & Oil Leaks
Rear main oil seal is a weakness due to the PCV system, to check if this seal is leaking get underneath the engine bay and check for oil residues between the engine and gearbox. If it is leaking then unfortunately the gearbox has to come off which has a 6.25hr labour charge. This makes it an ideal time and makes financial sense to also replace the clutch, as the gearbox will only have to come off again later down the road.

If you find an oil leak further up the back of the engine then a common place for oil to leak from is the oil return line from turbo that goes into the back of the engine. Not a big worry and fairly inexpensive to fix, but always a bargaining point.

Cambelts are due every 70-80k miles or 6years, depending on year. Costs for a cambelt change are £100+. Check there aren’t any unusual noises coming from the cambelt side of the engine, also visually check the condition of the serpentine belt. If appropriate, make sure that a Cambelt change has been documented in the
service history.

Auto Gearbox
If it is an auto check the fluid for level and colour. Should be red and clear and not smell burnt. If not walk away as there could be expensive problems ahead. This must be changed regularly and should have been part of the dealer service schedule.

The main weakness of the T5 engine are the rods, these can bend and will make a horrific clanging noise. However, they will only bend if the engine has been running very high peak boost pressures (overboost). The main reasons for this is a failed ‘Boost Control Solenoid’ (BCS) or when someone has incorrectly fitted/adjusted a ‘Bleed Valve/Boost Controller’.

Check the condition and tread depth of the tyres, T5’s are known for rapid front tyre wear, they are a good indication of how the car has previously been driven and looked after.

The only part of the system that will rust is the rear hangers near the back bumper. Easy fix but a good bargaining point.

ETM post ‘98
In 1998 the 70 series changed from a throttle cable to an ETM (Electronic Throttle Module), the ETM has a high fail rate resulting in a stuttering engine and a low power output By the way if your etm light comes on it's 99% it needs a new module, don't be encourage by a Volvo dealer to fall for the 'we'll try and clean it for it's usually just dirt on the butterefly' they are just wasting money that your going to need for a module and CEM reload. Check by reving the engine to about 4k and watch the needle fall - it should be smooth and steady and so should the idle.

Test Drive
See if the engine is completely cold before starting her up. Expect some slight
condensation/white smoke, this is fine as long as it isn’t excessive. Blue smoke
can occur on start up form cold that is related to valve seals. Idle should be
approx 900 rpm and be steady.

When driving, check in the rear view mirror that there isn’t any smoke coming
from the exhaust when on boost and on the over-run. On a standard tune 850, the
turbo should come in at about 2.5k rpm and reach full boost at 3k rpm, the boost
gauge should get into the white approx 3/4 of the way on full boost, 70 series
do not have a boost gauge as standard. Once you’ve finished all your normal
checks and returned from the drive keep the car running and leave it idle for at
least 5-10mins, keep an eye on engine temperatures and the exhaust again for
blue smoke.

If you see any blue smoke at any time during the test drive then it points at
either a worn turbo, turbo oil seals, valve seals or piston rings.
(courtesy of blackbeast)

Additional V70R-AWD Information

"There were 3 phases of R-AWD produced between 1997 and 2000:-

Phase 1 :- were produced from 1997 till February 1999 (UK P - S reg)and were available with either the B5234T-4 (2319cc) engine (18T turbo 250bhp/350nm)and 5-speed manual gearbox or the B5234T-6 engine (16T turbo 240bhp/310nm) and 4-speed 3 mode automatic gearbox. Both engines used the Motronic 4.4 engine management system. (0-60 7.3/8.1, 152/143mph)

Phase 2 :- were produced from March 1999 (UK S - T reg) and were only available with the B5234T-8 (2319cc) engine (18T turbo 250bhp/310nm) and 4-speed adaptive automatic gearbox. These cars use the ME7 engine management system with fly-by-wire throttle and variable exhaust camshaft valve timing. (0-60 7.8 143mph)

Phase 3 :- were produced from September 1999 till March 2000 (UK V - W reg) and were only available with the larger B5244RT (2435cc) engine (19T turbo 265bhp/350nm) and 5-speed adaptive automatic gearbox. Engine used stronger internal components. These also use the ME7 engine management system, Fly-by-wire and VVT. These cars were fitted with twin tail pipes (first time Volvo fitted twin exhaust system), WHIPS" system and larger side SIPS airbags for head protection and vented rear performance disc's. (0-60 7.3 152mph)

Latest generation of Road Traffic Information Satellite Navigation used on the Phase III’s, this is the same CD based system used by Volvo up until 2003 and on the C70 till 2006.

Roof rails were changed now thicker and more squared off.

Volvo sold 74 Phase III’s in the UK, split by colour:

Black stone 5

Nautic Blue Pearl 10

Dark Olive Pearl 3

Silver Metallic 17

Laser Blue Metallic 33

Venetian Red Pearl 6

Trim and spec levels remained virtually un-changed throughout the 3 phases. Trim was Leather and Alcantara in either Beige or Grey/Black with aluminium trim on the dash and console (dark wood was an option on P1 and P2 cars). On P1 cars the steering wheel was also leather/alcantara, but phase 2 and 3 had a thicker rimmed leather only wheel. Phase II and III had blue engine covers. Phase 3 cars had the option of contrasting grey/beige trim. These cars were virtually "fully-loaded" with very few options available (mainly pro-logic (£600), 6 CD boot mounted changer (£600), RTI-Satellite Navigation(£2500)) as they cost £37,000 when new.

All phases were available with either 16" or 17" wheels in either silver or anthracite with temp spare wheel. 17" Wheels were £100 more expensive.

The colours available were I think as follows :-

Phase 1 :- Saffron, Black Stone, Nautic Blue, Silver, Regency Red

Phase 2 :- Laser Blue, Black Stone, Nautic Blue Pearl, Silver Metallic, Cassis, Venetian Red Pearl, Dark Olive Green

Phase 3 :- Laser Blue, Black Stone, Nautic Blue Pearl, Silver Metallic, Venetian Red Pearl, Dark Olive Green
Courtesy of Muscas
Folks ! i'm interested in 850AWD the car is Reg as 1996 with LPG conversion I have asked the owner for the engine ID number i'm told its b2524t I cant seem to find this code he has also told me:
The 2.3 turbo in the t5 850 is 230 bhp.
Mine is 2.5 turbo 190 bhp standard but has upgraded bosch ecu and 220bhp.i have the standard 190 bhp ecu also
Can you tell me what to lookout for on this model are there pro's & con's ??
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Old Sep 22nd, 2016, 17:24   #20
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Just to note that as far as I know one distinguishing feature of the 850R is that the vanity mirror is on the driver's side not the passenger's side.
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