1988 Volvo 740 GL 2.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Stylish and nostalgic eighties machine


Nothing serious. However, it is presently sleeping at my friend's house. Yesterday, it would not start, though it is turning over. This is the first time it has broken down. As a preventative measure, after I initially purchased it, I replaced a number of worn and tatty parts with those from the lovely 740 I previously owned.

General Comments:

This is my second 740. My first one was an immaculate looking automatic '86 GLE which unfortunately had gremlins in the electrics. When I decided to get rid of it, this 5 speed '88 model happened to come up. I grabbed it, as these later models have better electrics; also it is VERY unusual to find a manual non-turbo 740 in Australia. While the car drives in a much more spirited and satisfying way than the auto; unfortunately, I have discovered that this car really hasn't been very well looked after. It's interior was very untidy (I replaced it with the gorgeous leather from my other one), which suggests it had had a hard life. And now that I have owned it for three months I have learned more about it. This one rides very rough and there are a few odd mechanical noises coming from beneath the car. So, I will replace the shocks all round and take it from there, I feel this one will be gone soon and that will be the end of my Volvo life. Anyone considering one of these 'simple' 20 year old Volvos, should prepare for the costs of old age. It's time to go Japanese I think.

Update two years on:

I still have this lovely old 740. Sometimes I want to replace it with something cuter and newer, but my love for it seems to be enduring. I have done many things to it over the past couple of years, possibly spending too much money on it in the process, but all in all, it's been a very worthwhile car to own and I don't think she would think of letting me down anymore. Major things repaired have been the heater matrix (now good) and aircon (still bad). I did replace all the shocks too, but it still travels quite harshly, especially compared to my previous 740, although on the highway it is fine. I fitted lovely 205/60 R15 Bridgestone Turanza tyres last year which helped a lot with grip as this manual 740 likes to get up and go!

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

Review Date: 13th May, 2007

16th May 2007, 05:07

Any car that's nearly 20 years old will cost you money, even Japanese.

That said, if you buy one that's well looked after, and you learn to work on it yourself, an old volvo can be a great buy. I bought a 1988 240 2 years ago and it's been the great- I'm waiting for something to go wrong, but it hasn't.

The no start might be a bad fuel pump relay- a common cause of this problem.

18th Mar 2011, 12:49

Replacing the transmission or gearbox mount in the 740 can make all the difference to how smooth the ride is. Check to see if it looks slack and sloppy looking.

1988 Volvo 740 GLE 2.3 CC from North America


Old Volvos never dies Go 700 series!!


At 280000 Miles, fuel problem. Replace Fuel filter, fuel pump, in tank fuel pump.

Low 200000 miles, electrical problem (not as bad as the 760 series)

Sunroof was stuck closed un-evenly. On both 740 and 760.

General Comments:

I love these Volvos! Owned 3 so far. Still have my 740 with B-230F engine non-turbo as well as 760 Turbo!

B-230 F engine are bullet proof. This engine will go and never stop. It is so bullet proof, when I broke my timing belt, it doesn't have any effect on the engine :) The car continued to run again.

Major headache is the electrical.

Kept getting problem with electrical both on 740 or 760.

These are very reliable car and very comfortable..But just beware of the electrical problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th January, 2007

17th Jan 2007, 17:55

The reason the timing belt breaking is because of how the engine is designed, not how tough it is. Timing belt breakage is meant to be non-interfering, so that if it is overlooked during maintenance, it won't cause damage to the engine if it breaks.