17th Mar 2016, 22:59
Adding another update some 5000 miles later, hoping it may help others to diagnose similar issues.
I had an issue with the air conditioning freezing after about 10 minutes operation; still cold but the air flow gets weaker and weaker, and the piping near the engine gets covered in 'snow' like (looks frozen, like the movie). It seems the issue is with a small sensor called evaporator temperature sensor, that's located inside the cabin, under the dash. Easy to access on the S60, much harder to access on the V70 (but people simply drill a hole in the airbox, reroute the wires and place a new sensor without removing the old one). To replace the sensor on the V70 at the Volvo dealer, it costs over $500 because they remove the whole dash.
The air conditioning compressor pulley is making some noise; the pulley bearing can be replaced with some work, typically around 120K miles.
I had an issue with the intake camshaft actuator, which gets stuck if the engine is never driven over 4000RPM (which happens to many drivers). Replacing this actuator is not a hard job and the part is not too expensive.
One widespread issue with the non turbo engines is the intake air thermostat failure. This is a thermostat (not the same as in the engine cooling system) located just before the engine air filter box, that causes either hot or cold air to get to the engine. This thermostat typically fails after 10 years, causing the engine to suck in only warm air, which is detrimental to mileage. Unfortunately, the thermostat alone is not available, but owners usually block the flap near the thermostat so as to get only cold air from the bumper grille.
The exhaust pipe is usually very durable, I'm still on the original one. However, typically the two rear hangers that keep the pipe to the car will rust and fail (probably they are made of cheap metal). Replacement hanger parts are available off eBay for not much. I also had two connecting bolts rust and fail, between the catalyst and the first muffler.
The radiator fan controller failed, another common issue. The fan assembly is rather expensive at the Volvo dealer, but can be purchased used off eBay.
The car has an alarm siren module, which gives the siren sound in case the alarm goes off. This module has a small battery inside which starts leaking after about 7 years and destroys the module. Module replacement is expensive at the main dealer, and not really necessary for an old car. After disconnecting the module, all electronics will work fine; it just won't have the alarm sound if a door is opened. Most cars will show an 'alarm module check' message, unless the module has been replaced.
The cabin fan blower may rust and start squealing/seize; after market units are available and the replacement job is not that hard.
All other components still work fine on the vehicle. As you can see, after 100K miles there will be repairs here and there. Volvo fans will say this car will run forever, and it's perhaps true. But it does need repairs and the main idea is that having this car repaired at the main Volvo dealer is out of the question for most budgets. Still, after all this time the electric seat works fine, all electrics inside the cabin work, the steering, fuel delivery, braking, ignition, computer systems, moon roof, electric windows and door locks, all work as they should and needed no repairs.
14th Dec 2017, 15:51
Yet another update, the car has now reached 125000 miles or about 200000 km. I had to replace the flexible exhaust downpipe as it got noisy and I would smell fumes inside the cabin. This is a difficult repair because the flex pipe is welded to the catalytic converter. Buying the flex pipe with a new converter from Volvo is out of question (perhaps around $1500) while my catalytic converter still works properly. I had to purchase a flexible pipe in aftermarket (I recommend Vibrant Performance with interlock, about $70 USD). It is difficult because the original exhaust has a non standard size and standard aftermarket flexible pipes don't fit properly. I did in the end fit a 10" long overall with a 2.5" inner diameter flexible, but I had to add some 2.5 outer diameter couplings. This is for non turbo engines; for turbo engines it may be different. This flexible has to be welded to the catalytic converter. Plus, it is impossible to get the flexible in the correct position when it's out of the car. The new flexible must be positioned and tack welded while installed on the car, then taken out and fully welded. The flange between the catalytic converter and the first muffler (front muffler) also gets damaged and leaks: it must be repaired/replaced.
Other than that I had no problems. The cabin heat is not very hot in cold winters because the heater core is constantly trapping air in this car and it's very difficult to completely bleed the air (the system is supposedly bleeding the air by itself but this doesn't work well). I had to drive the car on a road with tight bends to get the air moving out of the heater core and get hot air by the vents.
Solid car, starts vert well in winter, and no electrical issues given it has a good battery.
The most important thing with this car, is the replacement parts used. By all means one must only buy Sachs, Lemforder or original Volvo parts for this vehicle. Some also say Ipd HD (notice the HD version) also may be durable enough. But all other brand names the parts are a disaster: they don't last at all and by that I'm not talking about several years, I'm talking about months.
Be very, very aware that the water pump should not be replaced at 100000 miles on this car. Many cheap garages will think they should replace it just like in any other car brands (Honda, Chevrolet, BMW, etc) but this is not true. Never let a cheap garage replace the water pump at 100000: they will install a cheap part and it will fail in 20000 miles and will destroy the engine. Always replace the water pump either with Aisin or Volvo part, and only at the 200000 (with the second timing belt). Call a Volvo dealer if you don't believe this, they will confirm you this.