Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro SuperDork
4/2/12 12:54 a.m.

Ok, it looks like it's going to be new car time soon.

My wonderful little '82 TE72 Corolla is just about worn out and my needs have outgrown a sporty 2-door hatch.

I've been diging for decent station wagons as I need 4-doors for the family (my mom lives with us and she's getting older) and room for the dog plus my bikes and hauling parts home from the swap meet.

No minvans, I have an irrational hatred of Camry wagons so they're out. B-body wagons and Fairmonts are hard to find around here.

So, I'm shopping for a Volvo Turbo station wagon and I want it rear drive.

Which is better? 240 or 740 / 760?

My last experience with a Volvo was a 760GLE with that awful V6 so none of those for me thanks.

Is the 850 RWD or FWD?

Thanks guys.

Shawn

EvanB
EvanB UltraDork
4/2/12 1:16 a.m.

The 850 is FWD.

Not sure if the 240 or 740 is better, I prefer the look of older 240s but I ended up with a 91 740 turbo since it popped up for a good price.

For a turbo 740 you want 90+ for better everything. Or a 940 wagon.

11110000
11110000 Reader
4/2/12 5:08 a.m.

The 240 has a little more handling capability if you're going to build it up, but the 740/940 will be a more refined car right out of the box. The 240 Turbo wagon was only made in the first part of the 80's, and had the 2.1L motor w/K-Jet injection - the 7/9 wagons had the 2.3L w/EFI. The 2.1 is unkillable. The post 1990 2.3 is almost as good. The turbo exhaust manifold got better in 1990, and piston oil squirters were added in 1993. The 240 and 740 can be found from the factory with a 5spd manual, while the 940 came on the scene in 1991 and was only available with an automatic.

The 850 is a totally different animal. FWD, Turbo is auto only, more power and comfort stock, maybe not quite as solid feeling as the old bricks. It's still a solid car, it just has it's own quirks.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 SuperDork
4/2/12 6:37 a.m.

I had a 940 Turbo wagon for a while. I loved the car, but didn't want to sink a bunch of money in it, since we were on the road to Mini-van-Ville. The car had a few oil leaks, and at 120k miles, the turbo was oiling the intake plumbing up pretty good.

Gas mileage isn't great. You need to keep your foot out of it, or you'll find yourself around 19 mpg (or lower!) pretty easily. With reasonable care, you can get 24 mpg highway. The 940 auto trans is a 4-speed and works pretty well with the engine. I would probably look for a 740 manual if I was to get another one, but these cars are getting pretty darn old.

tuna55
tuna55 UltraDork
4/2/12 6:50 a.m.

940 wagon here, upgraded turbo, chips, stuff. It was quick. Not fast, but a good point-n-squirt car. Surprised a few V8 Mustangs at the 1/8th mile down the street. Parts are a pain. Square O-ring seal for turbo drain? No go, online only. Turbo flange for exhaust? Still have no idea. Kids loved it, wife hated it. Fun car to drive, not a fun car to rely on as a DD. 9.4 something in the 1/8th if I remember.

Ian F
Ian F UltraDork
4/2/12 7:13 a.m.

We recently got a 850 turbo wagon, auotmatic. It is FWD, but that was intentional (SWMBO won't drive RWD in the winter). We've had some teething issues with it, but it's getting there. Now the transmission has started a strange whine...

Nonetheless, the car has THE most comfortable seats I've ever sat on, including 240's and 740's I've been in. Stunningly comfortable.

The T5 egnine give it adequate power and it doesn't handle badly when pushed, but it's no sports car and efforts to make it into one only make the car less desireable for its primary function (comfortable crusier).

Klayfish
Klayfish Dork
4/2/12 8:05 a.m.
Ian F wrote: We recently got a 850 turbo wagon, auotmatic. It is FWD, but that was intentional (SWMBO won't drive RWD in the winter). We've had some teething issues with it, but it's getting there. Now the transmission has started a strange whine... Nonetheless, the car has THE most comfortable seats I've ever sat on, including 240's and 740's I've been in. Stunningly comfortable. The T5 egnine give it adequate power and it doesn't handle badly when pushed, but it's no sports car and efforts to make it into one only make the car less desireable for its primary function (comfortable crusier).

Exactly. 850 non-turbo wagon as my DD. I agree with everything Ian said. With the NA motor, my car is even slower, but I didn't buy it for speed. I've put 21k miles on it in one year (now at 130k overall) and it's been rock solid. Very comfortable seats, drives great, incredibly versatile. It's been perfect for what I needed. Only reason I'm starting to question it now is because of the fuel mileage. Averaging 23mpg. With the amount of use the car gets, plus the cost of gas, I'd save a fortune with a car that gets 30+.

bastomatic
bastomatic Dork
4/2/12 9:39 a.m.

I have experience with the 240 wagon only, but from friends I know the 700 series and 900 series are pretty similar to each other - the 900 only came equipped with an auto. V90 is the same car. The 240 reminds me of a good old tractor. Very basic and has its own quirks, but there's a sort of spartan beauty in something you have complete mechanical trust in. The 700 series is the much "nicer" car, more refined and comfortable.

If looking at 240 wagons you would be best served by looking at 1987 and newer, the older ones had wire harnesses that have begun to seriously return to the earth. Our 1986 was an endless series of hunting down bad grounds and wires.

The NA motor is slow, but incredibly durable, and the turbo only slightly less so. Both 4-speed with electronic OD (M46) and 5-speed (M47) transmissions are pretty stout, but the electronic overdrive has been known to act up at times. Our 86 M46 wagon got between 20-25 mpg with any kind of driving.

The 240 has by far the tightest turning radius of any car I've driven, and it's unstoppable in the snow.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy HalfDork
4/2/12 11:09 a.m.

When you test drive it... you want to begin with a COLD engine. The 8 valve 2.3 engines can and do crack heads. It is most often caused by a failed, or failing cooling system. Symptoms of a cracked head are stumbling when started/running cold.

The 8 valve 2.3 heads are also pretty lousy as far as flow, there is absolutely no inner radius on the exhaust valve port, and nearly no inner radius on the intake port....

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/2/12 11:47 a.m.

I will put in a shout for the Mercedes Benz W123 wagon. I just bought on for $200.

EvanB
EvanB UltraDork
4/2/12 12:01 p.m.

Maintenance on a Volvo wagon is much cheaper than the Merc W123.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro SuperDork
4/8/12 8:02 p.m.

Well, I've bust my FWD cherry:

I love it, fast, comfy, lots of room.

The turbo 850 hauls quite well, even with the automatic.

$1500.00, no rust and 161,000 miles.

Thanks guys!

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Reader
4/8/12 8:48 p.m.

Looks good,check when the timing belt was last done as its an interference engine.Also on the list of likely need to do will be the PCV system,look for signs of oil leakage out the bottom of the timing cover.Pull the dipstick while running and look for white smoke under pressure,just did my pcv system and there's still a little smoke but not under the pressure it was before. My oil pressure light came on a little while ago as well,if that happens the most likely cause is bad o rings in the sump-the only one on mine that seemed suspect was the one on the suction side of the pickup tube.No problem with pressure now. I bought mine for 2k last year,I now have nearly 3k in new parts in it which sucks but it should now be pretty maintaince free as I've fixed damn near every one of the common problems with these things.

jrw1621
jrw1621 PowerDork
4/8/12 8:50 p.m.

Be sure to have a set of Torx bits. Everything on an 850 requires a Torx bit. I really liked my '95 Volvo 850.

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog Dork
4/8/12 8:51 p.m.

There are 850/S60/V70 5 and 6 speed turbos. Most are "R"s but you could also get the high pressure turbo as an option. They take some searching but they do exist.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy SuperDork
4/8/12 9:04 p.m.

Turbo Volvos are one of those cars that work better with an auto, barring track work, anyway. That thing has an Aisan Warner trans, which isn't indestructible, but sure is a good unit.

Other people have mentioned the timing belt- true. Don't worry about doing the seals, unless they leak- and they seldom leak. It adds a lot to the job because you have to lock the cams from the back end. If it seems like you have an oil leak, first thing to change is the oil filler cap rubber.

The end of the intake manifold, kind of below the thermostat housing, has an elbow for the crankcase breather. Stick a finger down there and see if its rotted off. If so, order the tubes from Volvo or somebody and pull the intake manifold. Clean out the flame trap while its apart.

They are really good cars. Like any euro car, they have their trouble points, but with proper maintainance, they go for a very long way. Highest mileage among my customers was about 635,000 km when it caught fire and burned to the ground. I'm not sure why it caught, and I don't see them burnt to a crisp on the side of the road very often, so I assume it was random.

Edit: I hope your wife isn't one of those people who parks right up to the parking pillow- the rad hangs a bit low, and you will break the mounting tabs off the first time you scrub it on a sidewalk.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro SuperDork
4/8/12 9:07 p.m.

Torx is no problem, the car has 260,000km on it and the belt was done at 200,000km so it should be ok.

I'm going to put it up on the rack at work and give it a good going over. I think a full fluid change is first on my list.

I think the A/C system may need a top up.

Shawn

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy SuperDork
4/8/12 9:08 p.m.

In reply to Trans_Maro:

The A/C receiver drier sits in a rubber seal, and they will sometimes rust out there...

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