I just thought I would update everyone on the gearbox problems. My local garage added some magical compound to the gearbox to rejuvenate the seals and it's now tight as a drum.
I recently drove the car to Italy, a journey of 1250 miles, and I managed it in 16 hours. After 16 hours I had no backache and my only disappointment was that the villa we had rented wasn't further away. The car didn't miss a beat just sat there at 95 mph all the way.
The car was loaded to the gunnels with Mountain bikes and my wife's obligatory 75 Kg of luggage and it still managed 22 mpg.
I love these Volvos. Handsome looks that off set you from the crowd, not to mention exceptional performance and solid engines that will last for uninmaginable miles.
Refuse to believe that these engines will last less than 250000 miles. Volvo is a record holder for the highest mileage car - a P1800 that covered more than 2000000 miles, and did 675000 miles before a rebuild and beforehand, always started. A British car of the same era had trouble exceeding 50000 miles without serious engine problems (piston rings, head gaskets etc).
Volvo engines are renowned for their high durability. I have never come across a high mileage Volvo engine that is smokey.
I would have a Volvo 850 any day and would not buy a Merc or a BMW, even if they were the last cars on earth. Reason being, they just don`t appeal to me. Merc drivers, especially, don't gain much respect on the road, probably due to the stigma of owning such a vehicle.
My base model 1994 850 has 280,000 kms on the clock. I have driven some brutal outback Australian kilometres since I have had it, and it has never let me down. Set it to "sport" mode and it has plenty of zing for city driving, but most of my kilometres are big, long remote area distances, with me sleeping in the back seat when hints of fatigue set in. I often drive for 24 or more hours (with breaks!) at a time, and emerge from this car feeling fit as a fiddle - and with better than 10 litre per 100 km fuel economy (sitting on 110-120 kph).
The bad news is that I'm now a hooked "blo*dy Volvo driver" and will be sticking with Volvos from now on (despite being a motorcyclist in my spare time!).
I bought a 96 850T5 with 142553 on the clock, from a fellow who hadn't maintained it for $4200 (USD). I hit 154000 earlier today, and I've had this car for barely ten months. My only problems with it was that I had a fuel pump fail (unexpected and unpreventable), to the tune of $700. My only other issue with it is that the inner-cover for the Sunroof is sitting off track, and so my sunroof can't open. However, I drive the car hard, and recently managed to travel through over 1 foot of flood water (Snoqualmie, Washington; November '06) for 15 minutes, with no difference in performance upon leaving the water or since. I was the only non-truck/jeep that I passed on the road that day.
Your comment on the trip to Italy has me sold! Don't think my license will last long if I buy one of these! The idea of doing an average speed of 95mph with all my junk on board appeals...
Buy a Saab 9000 Aero; mine has done 250,000. 280 bhp, 30 miles to gallon, and like an Estate, but with the seats down. mike.
My 1985 Volvo 850 2.0 has 150K miles on it and still going well. It just passed the extremely stringent Irish NCT test. All 850s use a lot of oil, but it's not the pistons/rings, it's the valves that weep oil into the cylinder, even so the emissions passed no problem. Happy Volvo motoring!
I am on Volvo #12. I just came across an 850R Nov 1995 build. Obviously one of the first R builds. Flame red 140.000 miles on it. Had a faulty wiring harness under the dash that was being sliced into. After repairing that, got the keyless entry traction control and radio back on line.
I initially traded this for 800 dollars and an old 240 that I had for a while. For a 2.3 it's a beast.
I also just picked up a 1985 740 Turbo stick. First year for them. I think I will keep these two for a while!
Did I mention my 1997 Metallic Green 4 axle Semi that I have to earn the money for my Volvo toys. Once you go Turbo, you don't go back.