19th Mar 2005, 02:25

I'd venture it's better to emphasize the endurance of a late 80's Volvo, rather than speed off the line.

I've got an 89 turbo wagon with almost 200K and so many dings in it that a few months ago I opted to use it as a building material hauler, rather than buy a cheap pick-up truck. I was building a house. Well, after four months of undue abuse, high-speed/heavy-load driving, compressed shocks and a groaning transmission, guess what happened? Nothing. I can't seem to break the thing. Do I have to keep this tank around forever? Too ugly now to sell, but still runs perfectly. What do the Swedes know that GM, and even Toyota, don't? Makes one wonder about the planned- obsolescence/conspiracy theories.

29th Sep 2006, 11:54

I was the original writer of this review and thought I'd add an update. I sold the car in May of '05. No repairs were needed to the car from the time of writing the original review at 186k miles until I sold it with 225k miles. Unfortunately, at that mileage, the head gasket had blown and cracked the head. That's a huge problem.

I figured out a little driving trick to greatly relieve the delayed hard shifts of the transmission. Because the shifts are so harsh and noticeable, you begin to learn the shift pattern of the car. A second or two before you expect the car to upshift, let off the gas pedal just enough so that it causes the upshift, then reapply the normal amount of gas pedal to continue accelerating as normal. It's a quick, easy trick that smooths out the rough shifts a great deal and actually seems to increase the acceleration rate, since the transmission isn't holding each gear excessively long on it's own accord anymore.

27th Apr 2009, 04:13

Thanks for the info about late shifting on this model. I was getting a little worried about mine as I just recently discovered the trick of letting up on the gas a bit to cause the transmission to shift. It works great, but the fact that it did seemed to indicate to me that something was wrong with the transmission. So I googled "late shift 89 volvo" and it brought me here. Good to find out that this is probably normal for this car. Thanks.

27th Jun 2009, 03:32

Maybe they do need their heads examined, but at least they designed a decent gearbox in the first place! Many Lexus RX300 drivers would be so jealous of your car's 276k achievement so far on one gearbox! Well done Volvo!