1986 Volvo 740 from North America




Did a tune up.

General Comments:

Use it as a second car, easy to work on, nice build quality.

Weak electric parts, great engine. I did not have problems yet, but the engine harness is the weak part, and if the car dies with no reason, check the hall sensor in the distributor.

I own lots of cars - my personal choice is - Chevy/Toyota trucks, Mercedes diesel sedans Volvo 740/760 wagons. I will not buy a new Volvo, only 1986-1990.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th November, 2007

1986 Volvo 740 Turbo 2.3 turbo from North America


Practical, but not exactly exciting.



Heater Core

Heater Fan motor.

General Comments:

I remember when the 740 Turbo first hit the market, all the hype represented the car as a rocket-ship on wheels. In reality the car is moderately fast, but is by no means a potential source of humiliation for the owner of a real sports car. The turbo makes nice sounds, and once it spools up, provides a nice little kick in the pants. Handling is decent for such a heavy car, but don't challenge your buddy's Lotus Elise to a race throught the twisties.

Overall it is a decent, practical vehicle, built like a tank, with similar fuel economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th October, 2007

1986 Volvo 740 GLE 2.4L from North America


I'll be too old to drive before this car is worn out and ready for the junk yard



General Comments:

This was my father-in-law's car that he bought new. Dad was not much on maintenance, other than changing the oil. I bought it from him for $1000 and it had a rotted out exhaust, non-working radio, torn headliner, non-working AC, door panels that had fallen off or were falling off, original brake fluid still in the lines, four mismatched tires, awful alignment & wheel balance, original spare tire - you get the idea.

Given all that, I drove it home and it got 30 mpg at a constant 60 mph on the freeway. Did I mention it's a wagon? I had a local Volvo mechanic do the above long-neglected maintenance, and the car has not missed a beat since. It's a very comfy car with wide seats (butt warmer still works) and floats down the highway. My mechanic said if you keep oil and water in these engines, they'll last longer than you'll want the car. I think he's probably right. This car's engine still has no leaks under it. The leather seats are not torn or ripped, the padding underneath is still in good shape, and it can carry a lot of stuff with the rear seats folded down. The manual sun roof means I don't have to worry about that motor going out, and the power windows still work as well.

I would not hesitate to drive this car anywhere, and even though it doesn't have an airbag, since it's a Volvo and built like a tank, I'm not worried about coming out on the short end of the stick should I be in an accident.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2007

22nd Oct 2009, 18:20

One update. I sold this car last week (to a buddy no less) for $2000 after putting about $3500 into it since I've had it, among other things. Updated the brakes from the crappy Bendix ones and also replaced the entire exhaust. Everything worked except the A/C and it still got 27 mpg on the hwy if I kept the speed down. When I sold it the odometer had 189000 on it. So, I took my $2000 and bought a '90 740 GLE Turbo wagon. Love these cars.

1986 Volvo 740 GLE 2.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Daggy old thing fit for a queen


1) Front brakes overhauled. Discs needed replacing soon after purchase due to slight grab due to warping when pulling up. This problem is common in 740s. Pads replaced at the same time. ($800 all genuine)

2) Some front suspension bushes replaced.

3) A variety of lights illuminated on the dash, but the problem was tricky to source. I thought it was simply the connections behind the dash, but eventually the car just stopped quite suddenly on a motorway! After a tow back to the mechanic, I discovered an electrical wire from the alternator to the battery had worn and was shorting out. I am expecting more wires to go soon as some of the wiring in the hot engine bay is getting brittle with age. Best to replace before they go. ($180 + $150 for the tow)

4) Catalytic converter just gave up. I am replacing the whole exhaust system as it appears to be on the way out. ($700 non-genuine)

5) Engine cross member cracks. This is VERY common to 740s, but must be fixed as it will eventually snap and is a BIG job to get replaced. Look at the curved joins on either side of the oil sump when on a hoist. I am having mine welded up for next to nothing by the muffler man today.

6) The gearbox and engine are both strong. The gear selector moves a little with power on acceleeration and breaking. I had some bushes/mounts replaced, but it made no difference. I'm going to let it be.

7) I changed the standard tape to a Kenwood CD player. This wasn't too hard and with patience, you can cut out the old player from the dash piece in order to fit the new one in neatly. It looks and sounds great. This is worth doing. Who listens to tapes anymore?

8) Idle problems. This is common to older 740s and difficult to trace. I replaced all the likely culprits myself (plugs, leads, air and fuel filters, distributor cap and rotor), then gave it to the mechanic twice. He replaced the air sensor and cleaned the throttle body. It is much better now, but $500 later, it is still not as smooth as previous when cold. I think some of the problem is related to the wiring harness, which has never been replaced; they have a bad reputation in the early models. Mine seems in good condition, but there is evenidence that it is getting brittle. Nevertheless, I wont be replacing it as the job is big. I have heard that post '88 models have a better quality harness, so I would suggest going for one of these if you are considering a 740.

General Comments:

This was a one-owner company car that had been serviced by Volvo to the book. It had been well looked after and garaged so the exterior and tan leather interior look great. I bought it in August 2005, and I still have it now. I do minor services myself, but give it to a non-dealer Volvo specialist when trouble strikes. They have been very good to me. The car is not driven hard and is not used for commuting. It's been driven to Canberra a couple of times and to Byron Bay once with no problems.

It was $2500 when I purchased it, and I have spent about $2000 on it over the last twelve months, which is annoying, but I guess it is to be expected on a 20 year old car. Unfortunately, as petrol prices have sky rocketted the value of these big old cars have recently collapsed in Sydney; they appear almost un-sellable now. You would be silly to pay more than $2000 for a late model 740 in top condition. As for pre '88 models, don't pay more than $1000.

I like the way these big Volvos drive. It's a bit like driving a mattress - comfortable and relaxing. They are definately under-powered by modern standards; however, it makes up for this by providing a gentle and unhurried driving experience. It has an astonishingly good turning circle, which makes it easy to park, despite it's size. It also feels good on the freeway and cruises at 110kmh at around 2600 rpm. It's great for passengers too as the interior is roomy, light and airy. My friends love it. It's very nostalgic. It's a quintessential eighties machine.

I think most people buy old Volvos in the belief that they are safe and reliable, others like myself enjoy the lazy performance, roominess and nostalgic styling. Another plus is my 740 will not be stolen from the from inner city streets of Sydney! A late model 740 in good condition would be a good buy. As for reliability... take a reality check. The cars are 20 years old, so be prepared for maintenance bills to sort out the problems you cannot fix yourself. Even well kept examples are cheap now, but they will give you some grief, so do don't even consider buying one that has not been well looked after.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2005

13th Jul 2009, 23:14

We have a similar car to that of your own, 86 740 GL saloon. We have not had that many problems with her in the 5 years that we've owned her. Last years M.O.T. she failed on a soft brake pedal, this year it was a tyre, front pads & wiper blades. we tow a caravan most weekends, she pulls it with no problems. That's why we've bought a 89 740 GLE estate, as this is a really practical car with having 2 dogs. The furthest we've travelled is from HULL, in YORKSHIRE up to ALNWICK in SCOTLAND. This was completed with relative ease, including the many hills that we had to clime. We agree that these are strong old cars that just keep on going!