1987 Volvo 740 2.3 turbo from North America


Would not hesitate to buy another


Spark plug cracked, resulting in V.W. van impersonation. Replaced rear brakes and had rotors machined.

General Comments:

Very comfortable seating and headroom sufficient for 6ft. 7in. driver. Reasonable handling for such a heavy car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2006

1987 Volvo 740 GLE Wagon 2.3L non-turbo from North America


Reliable and capable "stuff mover"


Heater core dead at 225K (prior owner's time), replaced at 242K.

Clutch pack abruptly damaged, 240K

Replaced with new clutch and related components, 264K.

Replacement components out of adjustment range. Suspect defective pressure plate.

Headlight relay overheated, melted socket while on highway near midnight, 255K. Retrofitted new connectors and wires from parts bin and relayed headlights to take the load from this item (all headlight current passes through it!)

Rough shifts on occasion, suspect worn synchros. 245-264K, starting to recur with higher clutch wear, but far sooner than it should be.

Blower motor bearings seizing, 265K. Sprayed lithium grease into assembly, fixed for winter.

Passenger seat track seized, 260K. Disassembled, repaired.

Shift knob detaches on a far too regular basis. Along with it goes the overdrive toggle, a critical piece for highway driving. Relocated overdrive button by seat heater switches.

Severe idle problems and very apparent vacuum leaks, 263K Problems still persist. Likely a simple cracked gasket.

Throttle plate/throttle cable interconnect mysteriously unscrewed itself while driving on the highway. Both clips remained firmly attached to their connectors. How it did it is a mystery to me and a physical impossibility due to its design. Likely a freak accident.

Headliner fell apart at 240K. Removed from car.

Tailgate wiper motor loose in gate. Long-term problem.

Tie-rods (inner and outer) and ball joints suffering from severe wear at 263K. Replaced.

Shock and struts replaced all-around, 259K. Used chance to install overload springs in rear.

Alternator bearings seized at 262K. Caused belt to shred.

Oil cap developed leak at 269K. replaced with older style metal cap with higher tension. problem solved.

Rear driver door handle requiring high force to operate on occasion.

General Comments:

While my list of problems might seem large, consider the fact that they are almost completely trivial and/or wear and tear and you get a picture of a car that's been a joy to own. Since acquiring it, I've spent roughly $1700 on various bits of maintenance (excluding tires) to keep it on top, with most of these being replacements for components having over 250,000 miles on them. I suspect they will have quite a bit left in the long-run.

As a college student, this is a nearly perfect car for me. I regularly use it to carry my family, friends, and cargo to and from home/school/assorted other places, and have yet to find a problem.

One of the biggest observations made is the vast amount of rear legroom (far more than most other currently available wagons) and high ceiling, usually followed by a remark about its lacking headliner. Supposedly, this is a relatively easy, but time consuming fix.

The biggest problem for me has been the manual transmission. It's an old, heavily worn gearbox that has handled incredible loads, including regular maximum-capacity trailer loads over a number of 800 mile round trips. I would like to add, though, that if trailer towing is in your plan... reconsider this car. While it is quite capable of handling loads, you would be much better considering a turbo or six-cylinder variant to do so. The normally aspirated four-cylinder fails to provide enough power to do anything, but sustain cruise at higher speeds.

Back on the transmission, it's hit-or-miss. It does not always "feel" like going into a gear and may, if it feels like it, grind like there's no tomorrow. The clutch in the 740's are cable-pulled and while easily adjusted, are less satisfying and need more attention (in terms of adjustment, not reliability) than the hydraulic version found in the 760's.

The cargo capacity of this vehicle is unbelievable. I cannot even begin to explain the variety or quantity of items I've hauled with it or been able to shove into the trunk with the seats up or down. the 60/40 folding split rear offers a good deal of possibilities.

Visibility while driving is amazing. I can see all of my surroundings with nary an ubstruction to be found.

The turning radius is unbelievable. For a car this large, it beats almost every other vehicle on the road! 30-ish feet.

Ease of working on any components. It's a joy to do repairs when they need to be done, as with few exceptions, everything is very accessible. I, thankfully, have needed to do little outside of regular maintenance.

My biggest complaints on this car are: Inadequate front turn signals (not enough light seen from the sides and fragile assemblies), the ability to get pushed around by gusts on the highway (in Rochester, it can get somewhat gusty, and the tall roof and steep sides promote highway shoving), and the "feel" of shifting the transmission (truly awful by most standards).

Would I buy another? Well, I just did, and there are plans to purchase a later-model turbo intercooler variant.

I know I'm severely uncool for it... but I love my car. I truly do. It's perfect for a college lifestyle, and if it had more powered, it'd be perfect for everything around and after.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd February, 2006