S80 FAQ: Check here first before posting a question
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    1. #1
      Junior Member matt5112's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2012

      S80 FAQ: Check here first before posting a question

      So you're either looking into one of these fine automobiles or have already purchased one and are wondering, what now?

      Well I guess the best place to start is figuring out exactly what you have.

      These cars are based on the Volvo P2 platform, and were sold in the model years 1999-2006.

      This means, for the appropriate year, any P2 related solution, problem, or otherwise might be related to your vehicle as well.

      So let's start there, what to look for when looking at one of these vehicles.


      the beginning, at least in North America, you could only get the six cylinder models. This meant you had the GM 4T65E transmission. This transmission is special, it has many common issues. Most of which require a rebuild to fix the issue. You can bandaid the problems, but likely will just be best served by a complete rebuild.

      Here's a link to some common issues for general 4T65E: http://tripleedgeperformance.com/4T6...-Problems.html

      Volvo specific ones: http://tripleedgeperformance.com/Volvo-S80-XC90.html

      The only saving grace here is, these things have been modified by professionals to withstand 4-5-600+ HP cars. Not saying you want to, but I am saying, for your trusty 200-270 HP Volvo, you can make these outlast the car.

      In the mean time, it likely isn't a bad idea to do a pan drop, install a new filter, and synthetic Dex III fluid.

      Want a walk through? With video and SOUND?!

      Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bnjbmUXFVQ

      I hope you like this guy, because I do, and will be linking to more of his videos later.

      VI is thinner than III, ideally you'd want to keep using III in your car. Keep in mind, VI is better because it's a synthetic blend. It is not a full synthetic.
      The gasket does not need to be changed as long as there are no nicks in it. It can only be reused if it is the OE style with metal o rings around the holes for the bolts. Flat rubber must be replaced every time, ideally with another OE style gasket with the metal former inside like the one you see in the video. If the parts store gives you the wrong transmission filter kit, just ask for the filter for a 2002 Chevrolet Impala.
      You also do not have to change the seal. If the new filter fits firmly in the existing seal, then you're fine.

      Also consider a Transgo shift kit: http://www.transgo.com/products.php?...dcountview=Yes
      It's a great little kit that helps speed up the shifts a bit to reduce wear on the transmission. It also helps to have a software update performed by the dealer. The latest software will raise line pressure across the board to also help reduce slip. I will talk more about software later. Installing this kit is only a few more bolts after you have the transmission pan off.

      For more parts and information:



      A fair warning, something small and trivial generally results in a complete rebuild: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...rd-on-me-today
      There is no point in ripping the thing apart, to replace a $10 part, when you could save on labour, and have the entire transmission fixed.

      For those with the five cylinder, you will likely find a five speed automatic, just like a comparable year S60. Aisin AW55-50SN if FWD and AW55-51SN if AWD.
      The early models had valve body issues, and are suggested as an avoid by some, but if the car is clean, and you intend to keep it for ten years, then a rebuild isn't all that costly. For parts and information: http://www.sonnax.com/units/65-55-50SN

      ABS Module

      Likely going to happen if you own a 1999-2001. You'll be driving down the road, and the car tells you you've lost your brakes, pull over and stop immediately. Turn off the car, and back on again, and it might be fine for a while. It might take out your instrument cluster as seen below.

      Symptoms, and replacement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA4SV1h80MY

      I suggest Xemodex for the new module instead of Volvo: http://xemodex.com/
      They're fast, reliable, know what they're doing, improve the product where they can, and offer lifetime warranties.

      ETM Module

      Volvo also decided in their infinite wisdom to switch to an electronic throttle module. Not wanting to get into the pros and cons too much, but in the past, your accelerator pedal was connected to a cable which pulled on the throttle body which let more air into the engine, producing more power. Now, the accelerator pedal is connected to two sensors which measure the position, and the computer now figures out how much to open the throttle blade. The whole contraption was called an Electronic Throttle Module from 1998-2001 and Electronic Throttle Body from then on. The ETM is the one most prone to failure, but they both fail.

      When the part is most close to complete failure, the vehicle will enter limp mode, which severely reduces engine power, and let's you know. What I suggest is checking the colour of the label on the module. You can spot them as soon as you open the hood on the bottom of the intake manifold. If it's white, it's junk. If it's yellow, it's still the contact style, but it means it's been replaced at least once with a slightly better unit.

      It is a good idea to take these off now and then to clean them up. Not for an S80, but it's generally the same procedure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obUAQNwQERI
      I suggest Xemodex modules here again, they work them over, replacing bearings, move to a contactless TPS and other things that most do not. I know it may seem like I'm pushing products, but I'm suggesting products that I have tried, and worked.

      There is a test within Volvo VIDA, which is the OE scan tool software, that will test the ETM, and tell you if it needs replacing. This is the most conclusive method to figuring out if you have an issue with this module.

      Suspension noises

      Sadly this one can go on almost forever.

      But let's start here:

      Spring seats and shocks/struts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRjEcMo3oWM

      Videos are so nice. Buy Volvo or IPD HD only. Maybe OE brand. Maybe.

      If you're considering lowering springs, see this for changing the rear springs: http://imgur.com/a/dZmVz

      Shocks go, and the replacement of those is covered in the above video. I suggest Sachs (OE for non active or 4C chassis) or Monroe (OE for 4C or active chassis) for anyone just looking to keep their daily driver safe, and Bilstein for anyone who is looking for a more sporty ride ( HD) , or to lower their car (Sport). There are also KW coilovers, but they're not for the faint of heart, and you would likely be better served by custom Bilstein coilovers anyways. I do not like the Koni product for these cars. The front units are inserts which require hacking the front shocks apart. The Sports are also hopeless because they will never fully get rid of the floaty front end feel over low speed bumps, and can be very easily adjusted to be way too stiff. It is also difficult to match side to side as they have been known to not match out of the box. FSD have been reported to be odd at times with lowering springs. Perhaps fine for stock springs.

      Then there's the sway bar end links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVCNRfC8bEk
      That one just shows the rears, but the fronts are the same idea. They do things, and make noise. Buy good ones, Moog, Volvo, Myle HD, etc.

      Control arm Bushings.
      Two options, buy a new LCA, or buy bushings and change those. If you go the bushing route, take the time to upgrade to poly. They last longer, and will reduce wander going down the road. Keep in mind, new rubber will also feel better than old rubber anyways.

      Removing the arms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnwksNuAPaQ

      Information on Poly Bushings: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...t-Poly-Upgrade

      Engine mounts

      There are possibly too many engine mounts on these cars.

      There are two lower pads that support most of the weight on the front and rear, one on the belt side of the engine, one "torque mount" going from the transmission to the front subframe, and one complicated one up top. They all go, and is recommended to replace with Hutchinson (OE for this part) or Volvo branded parts. The upper can be replaced with poly, as well as the lower torque mounts. Though, you will have vibrations if you do. The six cylinder models aren't as bad as the fives as the six is naturally a number that balances out, five does not. A tuner can raise your idle speed, to eliminate the vibrations. I will talk more on this later under tuning.

      The two big pads are fluid filled, so when it's oozing out, it's time for new ones. The other three mounts separate, causing vibrations, and more slack when suddenly depressing/letting off the accelerator.

      Here's a thread with pictures describing all sorts of engine mounts, and stuff that you will likely have to replace every 7-10 years: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...oise-on-the-T6

      The sunroof

      Turns out the bolts holding the thing down loosen up over time, and it can rattle going over bumps. Tighten up the four bolts holding the frame to the brackets, and it'll be just fine.

      Factory Stereo

      The factory units aren't great. The CD players are known to fail, and the changers fail even more often. They also don't sound great.

      Here are three great links on the topic:

      Electrical Issues

      If other funky things are going on, you'll want VIDA/DICE which is the OE scan tool. Fear not, for China is a great source for these.


      And more notes on how to use it:


      Siren Module


      As it stands, you can unplug them, without harm other than a warning every time you turn on the car that turns itself off after a couple seconds. You can also have the system removed via software from the dealer as well. Anyone going to steal your possessions will not be hindered by the alarm. Smash and grab. Anyone going to steal your car is either going to tow it, or have the key. The siren module will not help.

      Where do we go from here? Well general maintenance would be a good start I guess.

      The start is the oil change you'd think, but it's not.

      When's the last time you checked your engine oil level? Transmission fluid? Power steering? Washerfluid? Brake fluid?

      Aside from things like that which you should be checking anyways, read the owners manual, if you don't have a copy, go here: http://www.volvocars.com/us/top/your.../Pages/om.aspx

      Things you shouldn't gawk at are checking fluid levels, and timing belt changes. Some argue the Volvo timing belt interval of 10 years or 105 000 miles is too long. It's one of those things, if you just bought the car, and want to keep it for 5-10 years, might as well pony up now instead of waiting until it snaps, and takes out the engine. Next thing you know, your $500 bill will turn into a $3500 bill. Labour on a six cylinder engine can be as high as 20 hours to remove and replace. Used engines aren't cheap either. $1000-1500 in Ontario, Canada. Consider yourself warned.

      When doing the timing belt, some suggest changing the water pump every second timing belt, not every timing belt. As the vehicles climb up in age, this might become more risky.

      Now that you know just how important it is to change that timing belt ASAP, it's time to talk about oil changes.

      Volvo was pretty relaxed about what oil you should use. However, they also suggested a very long oil change interval. If you drive a turbocharged model, you should be using synthetic oil exclusively. Also take the Volvo oil change interval with a grain of salt. It is arguably too long. Other than that, I have no real suggestions. Too many opinions, not enough fact.

      The oil filter on these engines is a cartridge style located on the bottom of the engine. So no, you can't use a Mityvac and do the entire change in the driveway without lifting your car. Ideally, you'd want to purchase an oil filter cup that you can find from any of the main Volvo vendors. Be sure to change the o-ring on the filter housing each oil change, as well as the drain plug gasket. 18 mm ID flat aluminum gasket.

      Here's a walkthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaU8NIFFOUU

      Changing the cabin air filter is another one that's slightly interesting.


      More on OCI and a bit on spark plugs: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...4-S80-T6-s-OCI

      Oil leaks and the PCV system (Flame trap)

      Here's a fun topic, and is sort of a running joke. It isn't a Volvo unless the engine is covered in oil.

      Part of the problem is the PCV system. It's complicated with it's own oil trap, sometimes called a flame trap. The system has two seals on the box connecting it to the engine block which are known to leak oil. They are relatively cheap from Volvo, and can be a very cheap fix, to what seems like a nightmarish problem.

      The general test to see if the PCV system is clogged, is to put a glove on the oil filler cap hole, or watch for puffs coming out of the oil dip stick tube with the dipstick removed. Either way, it is highly recommended to clean this system, say every time belt interval, perhaps a bit sooner. If you don't, pressure builds up, and blows out the seals. Namely the cam seals and crank seals.

      Now you have to register for the photos on this one, but its worth your time: http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/for...p?f=11&t=45415

      MVS is a good site, and this particular thread contains pictures, PDFs and general advice on the task.

      More on the PCV and general maintenacenenenencenene: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...-2-9-T6-Models

      Radiator hoses and General Cooling System

      They're pretty important in general, but here, in Volvo land, the engine head and block are made of aluminum. What this means is the engine is not very tolerant of being overheated. If you have a T6 model, I'm sorry, but there are so many hoses back there. If they're starting to sweat, warp away from the pipe, develop hard or soft spots etc, you will want to replace them soon.

      Here's a short guide on the upper and lower hoses, as well as a drain and fill:

      The radiators leak from time to time. They also don't come out the top either. They go out the bottom along with the intercooler (if you have one) and the ac condenser.


      They're on your car, and heres stuff about the parking brakes:

      There are two sizes of front rotors, you have to measure to be sure you get the correct ones. Other than that, nothing new here.

      But where do I get Volvo parts?

      Online or the dealer. You might get lucky if you're doing brakes, or an oil change, but other than that, consider everything as a must order part unless you are fine paying dealer prices.


      But I want to go fast

      No. You might build a quick one, but never fast. Still interested? Well let's go for it.
      Is your car a turbo model? If not, talk to a tuner first to see if they can tune that, if they can't, get a different car.

      Is your car a six or five cylinder? Sixes are much more limited, but start out with more power.

      Fives are just like any P2 whiteblock five cylinder. Turbos are available, downpipes, charge air tubes, turbo intake tubes, exhaust manifolds, etc.

      Sixes are much more limited and pretty much just have a catback at this point as far as hard parts go.

      For both engines, drop in intercoolers that fit S60 five cylinders are an option. If you plan on pushing your car at all, I would suggest upgrading the intercooler right away when considering a tune.

      More on intercoolers: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...-Loss-of-Power

      Fitting the Snabb intercooler: http://imgur.com/a/d9Hwp

      The only way to really increase power is via a tune or turbo change. Boost level is controlled by the ECU, and any attempts to circumvent it, result in limp mode. A good tuner is hard to come by in this very small aftermarket world.

      Currently there exists:
      Hilton Tuning
      Shark Performance

      Do your homework, don't accept anything less than the best, and do not modify a broken vehicle. Bring it back into working condition first.

      More on tunes:
      More on modifying a six cylinder car: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...28Curiosity%29

      Things people have done to S80s: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...your-S80-today
      Last edited by matt5112; 09-04-2015 at 02:07 AM.

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    3. #2
      Junior Member matt5112's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2012
      Wheel Bearing and Axle Replacement


      I'd like to add more detail, and continue to organize this better as time goes on. Time is a little short at the moment.

      -- insert more about how amazingly bad the electronics are

      They really are bad. The CEM is known to fail, ETM, ABS modules as well. CMM, AUM, siren module, REM, UEM, ECM, TCM. Basically if it’s a module in the car, it can fail. The worst offenders are the ETM and ABS. DIM and CEM are the next two more popular ones. Everything else after that, doesn’t seem to have as high a failure rate. I would really appreciate if xemodex could shed some statistics on the situation, just to help us be more aware of what modules we should be paying more attention to.

      -- how finicky the car is with the condition of the battery

      If the battery is on it’s way out, then the vehicle can start to misbehave throwing all sorts of codes for various systems in the vehicle. It is highly recommended to test your battery every year or so, particularly if you’re having odd codes pop up. Some shops are starting to check batteries with every oil change in the hopes of you having them install one with them. Take advantage of this.

      -- how these things don't like aftermarket parts

      Some of the aftermarket parts just aren’t worth your time. If you want to flip the car, and just get it back on the road, sure go for it. Otherwise, you want the highest quality parts you can find to save you repeated downtime and aggravation.
      -- the TSB for the subframe bushing o rings

      There was an issue with a subframe knocking noise. The solution was large o rings that go around the subframe bushings between the subframe and the body of the car. The dealer still sells them. $10 a piece or so. Might help if you have unexplained knocking from the front end. Be sure everything else is in order first though.

      -- the TSB for the updated alternator voltage regulator

      There is a TSB for the original voltage regulator on the older cars, with an updated part number for a newer style part that is apparently better.

      -- j hose for the evap canister, and how terrible it is dropping 10-15 year old exhaust.

      So this one is fun, the most common spot for the evap system to leak is the J hose. It goes from one side of the charcoal canister to the other. It is located on top of the rear subframe. You have to drop the exhaust and the heat shield for the exhaust to get to it.

      --Fuel pump recall is for the southern united states only. What happens is the plastic the pump canister is made of, cracks, and fuel vapours leak out. This causes a fuel smell, with no visible leak. Solution is a new canister.
      Robert is a cool guy who does Volvo repair videos. Now most of his stuff is biased towards the P80 platform as that is what he owns, some of it is relevant. https://www.youtube.com/user/RSpi007

      For a bigger list of things I’ve heard that can go wrong: http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/for...291859#p291751
      Last edited by matt5112; 04-27-2015 at 11:30 AM.

    4. #3
      Junior Member matt5112's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2012

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