1986 Volvo 740 GLE 2.4 litre from Australia and New Zealand


Can't kill it with an axe, prepare for electrical glitches.


Where do I start? Strangely, I still like the car despite the following...

Rear door handle bracket broke $28.75.

Substantial front passenger floor water leaks required re-sealing of windscreen & removal of planium chamber, lifted carpet & pad & exposed a rusted floor panel $420.00.

Water still leaked, returned for further fender removal and re-seal $175.00. Car still leaks to this day if left parked in a downpour. I gave up and just live with it.

Indicators failure - electrical fault $66.00.

Partial exhaust system @ 191,000 km $265.00.

Strut bar and replace front end bushes $182.50.

Boot/trunk lock failed (containing a week's worth of freshly bought groceries - managed to pull out the ice-cream through the ski sleeve) $95.00.

Car broken into, RH rear 1/4 glass $162.60 (used glass!)

Wiring harness work (car could have potentially caught fire under the dash according to car electrician who showed me a bundle of half melted wires) $don't ask.

Radiator & cooling system work, steering rack ends & boots (clunking sound in front end since purchase, although this hasn't fully fixed the noise), intermittent dramatic loss of power, replace speedo, replace blown in-dash lighting & regular service $1249.00 @ 210,000km.

Alternator blew although car still drove for a day before it failed!

Continual rear lightbulb and day running lamp replacements.

Only one battery in 5 years, due to infrequent use of car at 208,000km.

Power antenna only goes up 1/2 way, however this doesn't worry me.

Front passenger power window weird - use the passenger door switch for down, the driver's control for up.

Headlining was replaced by previous owner.

Sun visors stay up with adhesive velcro dots.

Never a problem with parts despite being on the other side of the world, and then some, from Sweden.

General Comments:

Car still looks better outside than in. Many brittle plastic fittings have broken off and dashboard cracked in harsh sun of Australian climate despite always being garaged.

Great seats, turning circle and visibility.

Reliable engine and starting despite above dramas.

Fuel economy bad in city with aircon on. Exceptional economy on highway with aircon off in cooler weather. Aircon always frosty even when 38 degrees (aprox 100 F) & 85% humidity outside.

Braked heavily once to avoid an accident at aprox 50km/h and the car floated off to the left as if on a cushion of air, barely missing a shop front and terrified shoppers.

Have spent a lot maintaining, however considering modest purchase price and the fact it is almost 20yrs old, still cheaper than paying off & maintaining a fully computerised $50,000.00 car. I have spent so much on it now, I am reluctant to sell it as it is now running fine. I moved from a tropical climate to a cold climate and the car generally runs better. No cup holders resulting in some thermal mug disasters on passenger seat.

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

Review Date: 29th April, 2005

9th May 2005, 16:25

I feel the same way! I have only had mine for less than a year (9mths roughly) and I don't ever want to part with it. and even TODAY, as I type this, my car is in the shop getting fixed, hopefully. I am a couple thousand miles shy of the 300,000 mark and it was doing good for a while. Then all the trouble started with the fuses blowing and the timing getting thrown off for whatever reason. but I couldn't complain since I had gotten it for such a descent price. Now I stress about paying for the work to get done because I am an unemployed, full-time college student who has too much pride to beg others for help. So now I am looking to learn how to fix my own car. I refuse to let this one go! I wanna keep it forever... Even after I get a new car, I want to be able to restore this car and pass it on to my children because its safe and reliable (when functional). I have said my piece, and I'm out. Enjoy your Volvos, people, appreciate it and it will not let you down (on purpose, anyway).

11th Feb 2009, 15:25

About the leak of rainwater.

I have had the same problem with my 1988 740.

At last I found the problem; it's the shutter for fresh air besides your feet.

Good luck, Chris.

10th Jan 2011, 11:57

Just bought a 1986 Volvo 740 GLE.

It's now 2011, she has 162,000 kms, no problems and runs like a dream. The only thing I had to replace was the headliner. It still has the original windshield and paint which has absolutely no rust. The timing belt was replaced 8000 kms ago in 2007!

So take care of your car and she will take care of you! Whoever owned this baby before me, thank you for well maintaining her!

1986 Volvo 740 GLE 4 cylinder from North America




Had to replace new catalytic converter at 160,000 miles.

New exhaust at 110,000 miles.

Radiator was replaced at 130,000 miles.

Air conditioning went out at 175,000 miles.

Windshield wiper motor broke at 160,000 miles.

General Comments:

I loved this car which my family owned for 17 years, 6 of which I was the primary driver.

With the exception of a 1-2 year period when several items were replaced, this car was a great car.

The seats were comfortable, it got good gas mileage and everything on it was power.

The only downfalls was that the A/C went out due to a blown compressor and the back hatchback broke and wouldn't stay up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th September, 2004