It seems that there are a few threads each week that look an awful lot like this...
"Hey, I'm thinking of buying this R, what should I look for?"
Usually, a few people break out the pitch forks and yell at that person to search. Truth be told, the search function isn't working so great...
There are also some that answer the question, with the responses being accurate, but not always complete.
My goal in this thread is to create an excel sheet with things to look for based on transmission type and year.
I will start a list here and edit this post to add your suggestions.
This thread has an excellent chance of failing so I am counting on YOU to help it out. This way, we can point the poor n00b looking for an R to a helpful sheet instead of firing up the cross.
Here's my start on things... Please post in the format of
What to look for:
What to look for: Torque Limiting
Description: The torque in 1st and 2nd gears was limited to 258 ft-lbs
Transmission: Automatic GT
What to look for: Slave Cylinder
Description: The slave cylinder is particularly prone to failure in these cars. Check service records to see it has been replaced. The problem has been known to crop up ~60k miles
What to look for: Leaky struts
Description: Oil seepage anywhere on the strut
Miles: Mileage is not a factor, road conditions are. Still worth a peek as they are expensive ($300 or more per strut - $1200+ in parts alone for all four corners).
What to look for: Angle Gear Leak
Description: Any signs of oil/fluid on the angle gear which is in the center of the vehicle, right by the oil drain bolt.
Miles: Would inspect at any mileage and check carfax/autocheck, owners receipts for replacement. Re-seals are not permanent fixes.
*Note: Angle gear leak will lead to angle gear failure which turns your beautiful AWD vehicle into an AWD Maxima Turbo
What to look for: Power steering system leaks
Description: Power Steering system was weak in the 04 models. The reservoir itself is prone to leaks and the hoses are prone to bursting.
What to look for: Timing belt walking
Description: Volvo suggests 105K miles before the timing belt. They have been known to start walking a long time before that.
What to look for: Lower control arm bushing wear
Description: cracking/busted bushings on the lower control arm
What to look for: Exhaust Bracket of Death (EBD), actually the absence of it. If present, look for evidence of the rear edge of the resonator rubbing the prop shaft. If evidence of rubbing is present, look/feel for evidence of bent prop shaft (e.g., vibration while driving, particularly higher speeds).
Description: Ridiculous metal stamping located just aft of the resonator. If left in place, it can be bent upward forcing the exhaust resonator to rub against the propeller (drive) shaft and create annoying squealing/rubbing noise. Worse, more expensive damage can occur if said resonator remains permanently in contact with prop shaft, i.e. it can bend the prop shaft which can be very expensive to replace.
What to look for: Atacama interior & manual transmission
Description: Atacama is the rarest of the 3 interior leather options: Atacama, Nordcap (metallic blue), Gobi Sand (tan), and was a $1550 option (for 2006 model). As with any leather interior, look for signs of excessive wear and neglect. Replacing leather seating area is very (almost prohibitively) expensive. Atacama is also less prone to peeling.
A manual transmission is rarer than the automatic (aka Geartronic) transmission, and allows full control of shifting. Geartronic allows control of shift, but routes power through traditional torque converter; it is not a double-clutch gearbox (DSG, PDK, etc.). The manual transmission also includes the unusual space ball shifter instead of a leather boot or gated shifter.
What to look for: Volvo OEM Sport Kit for S60R. This factory option includes the front winglets, side skirts and rear bumper. It's the best factory cosmetic upgrade to the car, transforming it from the average Volvo look to something that would turn heads.
Description: The Volvo factory kit for the R Sedan was an optional package in Europe and in the United States. Both Canada and Australia did not receive this kit. Some dealers opted to pre-install this option on some Rs for showroom purposes. If you were drawn to the R due to the kit, you should start looking for one with it pre-installed rather then getting the car first then adding the kit later.
If your car did not come with the sport kit, finding one for a fair price is indeed difficult, although there are a few Dealer operated sites that you can order it from; VolvoWholesaleParts.com, TascaParts.com. Installation of the kit is fairly simple, and consists mainly of rivets, 3M tape, plastic clips, and a few bolts. Kits range in price between $1000 installed to about $2500 installed depending on where you sourced your kit from and where you got it painted and installed.
Winglets are often damaged or missing from cars that were preinstalled due to the weak construction design of the extensions and reduced front end clearance. Side skirts are interchangeable to all S60s. Since both 2004 and 2005 cars are very similar in design, most think that the 04 rear would work on all years. For years 04, the design of the rear body kit(apron) goes over the existing rear bumper cover, it also had detachable exhaust panels. For 2005 and up, the rear kit was detachable lower valance and requires to remove the stock valance. Unfortunately, Volvo never produced the V70R kit. The due to the extended length of the car (side and bumper) the only thing that's interchangeable between the S60R and the V70R are the Front Winglets.
What to look for: Hand brake operability
Description: The hand brake is horrible on all Volvos. Make sure it engages and you can't budge the car with it up.
What to look for: Wheel bearings
Description: The bearings are known to go prematurely in the Rs
What to look for: All suspension components
Description: Make sure to look at the bushings and all suspension components
What to look for: Shifting smoothness
Description: Make sure that there is no difficulty engaging any gear. If there is even the slightest grind sound or resistance, you either need engine mount bushings, transmission torque mount or both. In the worst case, the synchros gears are going.
What to look for: Detailed service history!
Description: You may be able to get away with buying a camRy without an extensive service history, but these cars need to be taken care of well. Make sure you have all service records I.E. Fluid changes, timing belt, spark plugs, etc...
Come on guys, add what you can.