Call for information on Volvo 850 T5-R

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by 240Z, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Well, I'm considering purchasing one of these cars. Does anyone have any useful information?

    For example:
    Problems (what goes wrong with the car)
    AT vs. MT (avaliability and if MT is that much better)
    Insurance (seems pretty cheap for the wagon version)
    Performance (specifics)
    Anything else...?

    Feedback from someone who has owned one of these cars would be great, but any information is welcomed.

    Thanks!
  2. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    Everything. I've got to admit - these (94-97 850 Turbos; same thing basically) were my favorite used cars $5000-$10000 for some time. I recommended them to countless people, and my cousin bought one in September. Since September he's had to pay $4000 in repairs for the thing (he bought it for $6500), and it's failed to start on numerous occaisions. He isn't the only disgruntled owner I've heard from, either - and I've heard a wide range of problems. For this reason I no longer recommend 850 Turbos - which sucks, because on paper they rock - and am praying that the 00-03 Nissan Maxima depreciates rapidly to fill its spot.

    Okay. A little rundown on the 850:

    The 850 was created in 1993. In 1994, the 850 Turbo was created. 1995 was a great model year, because it saw the addition of side airbags (standard on turbocharged models) and a high-performance model, known as the T-5R. The T-5R had 18 more horsepower than 850 Turbo models (240 vs. 222) plus three exterior modifications (front spoiler, rear spoiler, wheels). Additionally, T-5R models only came in yellow and black - though some claim a small portion of green ones came here (I've seen several on eBay, though they could've obviously been repainted). T-5Rs only existed in 1995 - they were renamed 850R for 1996 and continued as the 850R in 1997. When the S70 and V70 debuted in 1998, R models were discontinued on the sedan bodystyle in the US, but a V70R soon debuted as the all-wheel drive version of the V70 T5.

    In case you wanted to know. :D

    To answer your question: no turbocharged 850 model has EVER had a manual transmission in the United States. Automatic was standard on the 94-97 850 Turbo (renamed T5 in 1997), the 1997 850 GLT, the 95 850 T-5R, and the 96-97 850R. Manual is simply unavailable, though I have seen at least one 96 850R with an aftermarket manual transmission.

    Decent, but the insurance companies haven't let this one get by them. Wagons might be cheaper to insure but if you're looking at a T-5R, you're looking at a 1995, meaning it'll rattle a lot. Frankly I'd pay a bit more and get the sedan just so I wouldn't have to listen to it rattle like mad at idle and over bumps.

    0-60 in 7.1sec; 1/4mile in 15.2@93mph.

    Look around more. The car kicks ass but unless you get a deal or can fix it yourself, it's going to become real expensive real quick. Very many people have owned 850s well above 150,000 miles with no major problems but I've heard story after story about major problems with major repair bills.

    Consider these which also perform well and fit into your budget:

    - 93-95 Acura Legend coupe 6-speed (230hp 3.2L V-6)
    - 92-95 Audi S4 (92-94), S6 (95) (227hp 2.3L I-5T, AWD)
    - 93-95 Ford Taurus SHO automatic (220hp 3.2L V6)
    - 98-00 Ford Contour SVT (200hp 2.5L V6)
    - 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited (235hp 5.9L V8 - 0-60 in 7.3)
    - 92-94 Mercedes 500E (92-93), E500 (94) (5.0L V8)
    - 93-97 Saab 9000 Aero (247hp 2.3L I-5T)
  3. Hmm. I've seen "T-5R"s in red (other years, too). So these would be 850 turbos masquerading as T-5Rs? Or are they calling 850Rs T-5Rs?

    What about an 850 turbo that's had a lot of recent replacements? I saw one in Auto Trader that had a lot of work done (don't remember exactly what but it seemed like an absurd amount of stuff). Is this good, or are these cars "house of cards"-type things (i.e. one thing breaks, everything else follows it)?

    Thanks- I knew you'd have some interesting information.
  4. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    If you have VIN numbers available to you:

    YV1LS572xR = 1994 Volvo 850 Turbo sedan
    YV1LS572xS = 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo sedan
    YV1LS572xT = 1996 Volvo 850 Turbo sedan
    YV1LS572xU = 1997 Volvo 850 T5 sedan

    YV1LS582xS = 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R sedan
    YV1LS582xT = 1996 Volvo 850R sedan
    YV1LS582xU = 1997 Volvo 850R sedan

    YV1LS554xP = 1993 Volvo 850 sedan
    YV1LS554xR = 1994 Volvo 850 sedan
    YV1LS554xS = 1995 Volvo 850 sedan
    YV1LS554xT = 1996 Volvo 850 sedan
    YV1LS554xU = 1997 Volvo 850 sedan

    YV1LS56xxU = 1997 Volvo 850 GLT sedan

    Wagons are the same with the sole exception that their VIN has a W in the fifth position (YV1LW57 instead of YV1LS57, for instance). I'm fairly sure every one of these vehicles had a wagon, too, so no exceptions.

    But I promise you: 850 T-5R came only in 1995, and the vast, vast majority (and perhaps all) were black or yellow stock. There are a few other ways to tell them apart - the leather front seats in R and T-5R models had some suede inserts in them, while other models had straight leather (or, in base models, cloth).

    Wheels and the front spoiler are other ways, though that front spoiler isn't hard to buy if you've got a non-performance 850, and it's more expensive to replace on a performance 850 if it gets damaged, so many 850 T-5R/R owners go for the stock front air dam if they have a wreck. Wheels are often swapped out. One thing I've noticed up here is that when winter comes, the 850 T-5R/R's stock seventeens go into the garage and are replaced with fifteens and steel wheels, making it rather difficult to tell apart base models and turbos.

    At the end of the day, VIN is the most sure way to tell them apart.

    I just think that on these vehicles, stuff breaks. There's no order to it, it just happens and often. There are some more normal problems, though damned if I know what they are (but there are some on all cars). If you can sacrifice reliability for all the other benefits - features, safety, prices, performance - then go for an 850, but if reliability is important I'd be cautious about buying any 850.
  5. Ok. I can probably get someone to help me check out a car.
    What is the difference between Turbo, T-5 and the GLT?
  6. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    There's no difference between an 850 Turbo and an 850 T5, save for the year of production. 850 Turbos were made between 1994 and 1996, and the 850 T5 was simply renamed for 1997.

    The 850 GLT is a different story. From 1993 to 1996, the 850 GLT was just an uplevel version of the base 850 - simply a trim level, really. This excepts 1994, when Volvo decided it was too good for the GLT trim level and dropped it - only to bring it back the following year.

    The 1997 850 GLT is probably the rarest 850 of all - it was the last year of the 850, but Volvo decided to throw in a new engine anyway, rather than wait until 1998. So 1997 GLTs have a turbocharged version of the 93-96 model's 2.4-liter five-cylinder. They only get 190 horsepower (compared to 168 on base models and 222 on Turbo/T5s) but power comes lower so acceleration's pretty good. I've never driven a 97 850 GLT but I've driven plenty of S70s with the same engine and it's decent - I'd rather get the Turbo or T5 (or T-5R or R) which is much more involving, though.

    To sum up (with engines):

    - Turbo (94-96), T5 (97): 222-horsepower 2.3L 5-cyl turbo
    - GLT (93, 95-96): 168-horsepower 2.4L 5-cyl
    - GLT (97): 190-horsepower 2.4L 5-cyl turbo
  7. T5-R

    Yorkshire (UK)

    Hmm thats not right unless your meaning the standard T5 or maybe an auto. I know T-5Rs are good for 0-60 of well under 7 seconds (A quick search seems to say about 6.6) although I'm not sure whether thats manual or auto & reach a top speed limited to 155mph.

    Some of things you said I don't think are true for the UK but there probably different in the US :)

    Never heard anything about 850 reliability problems here in the UK (Maybe those people got over excited with a turbo? ;) ) although I heard some older 850 estates/wagons had cracks appear at the back & heated seats which catch fire :lol: if left on. My brothers got an 850 2.5 GLT(20v) and it certainly makes a nice noise & is one of the nicest cars I've ever been in (Its got the sports pack which means lower ride height, T5 alloys, spoiler & full leather interior). Apart from the major service at 70,000 miles all he's had to do was get the alternator rebuilt as for some reason it failed (which could happen to any car).
  8. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    I was quoting for the Turbo/T5, sorry. I've quoted T-5R/R 0-60 times at 6.8. Top speed on the T-5R/R is 155, on the Turbo it was about 149 from the factory, though it all depends on tires - factory tires were Z-rated and most Turbo/T5 owners haven't continued using them (though most T-5R/R owners have).
  9. Hebruins

    The Netherlands
    PSN:Volvo-Rsport

    850 T5 and 850 Turbo are the same, only difference is the name and that depends on the country they were sold ;)

    here in holland we got the 850 T5 which is the same car as the 850 Turbo the USA
  10. I own the 850's successor, the S70 (a '98, the first year). It's a T5, auto, loaded with everything but heated seats and traction control.

    Insurance isn't bad. No reliability issues as of yet, and it has 130k miles on it right now, I've had it for about 8k.

    Very quick. especially for an auto. It dusted my friend's mildly-modded Celica GT-S on the highway. Handling is about what you would expect from a larger fwd sedan (i.e. garbage). It's a tank in the snow, too.

    Sorry if it's a little OT, but you can find used S70s for pretty cheap if you look around. Definately get the T5, though!
  11. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    Very true - I tend to recommend 1998 S70s over 1997 850s. The model line was almost exactly the same, and for some reason there's a lot of high-mileage '98 T5s floating around (like yours) for less than most '97 850 T5s, which are all way overpriced. I even recommend the 1998 S70 GLT over the 1997 850 T5 - it's simply the better all-rounder, and 850 T5s are awful deals.
  12. Hm. I'll keep S70 T-5s as an option too. I'm still looking for a manual 740 Turbo or any 240 turbo as well.
  13. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    Those 240 Turbos are trash.

    Have you driven an 850 T5-R yet?
  14. tuff240

    Portland, Oregon

    That's like me saying an e30 M3 is trash. :rolleyes:

    Copy from my post here: http://www.gtplanet.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1406103#post1406103

    "1. 850 is FWD and easily twice the price to both buy and modify.
    2. 740 and 240 share the same drivetrain basically and are both RWD.
    3. Cheap modifications (under $500) on the 2 or 7 Turbos will get you a reasonably fast car. Easily into the 14's. 13's or faster will require more serious modifications (ie: $$).
    4. Fastest 200 and fastest 700 both run 9 second 1/4 miles (that could be street driven). The 700 is actually street driven, but he uses slicks to run 9's. Runs high 10's on street tires.
    5. FWD sucks, unless you LIKE torque steer.
    6. 200/700's rule Volvoland after modifications.

    The Volvo 240 Turbo's accomplishments:
    84 ETCC and STCC wins
    85 ETCC Championship
    85 GTCC Championship
    85 Wellington 500 win
    85 Italian Championship
    85 Mount Fuji and Macau wins
    86 Spanish Championship
    86 Mount Fuji and Macau wins
    86 ATCC Championship
    led 86 Wellington 500 till a hose blew
    87 and 88 SEATCC Championship

    Now what was that you were saying about the 240 Turbo being slow? :rolleyes:

    Still think so? Enjoy 583hp of pure 240 Volvo :sly: : Click here for 5mb .avi movie "
  15. T5-R

    Yorkshire (UK)

    :lol: nice vid.
  16. The S70 seems to be just a bit more refined/upscale as well, if that's important. A friend of mine just got a '96 850 a few weeks ago for a daily driver and I'm not being a jerk but the interior is typical bland volvo. They much have done some major re-hashing in '98 for the s70 because it's a great, classy looking interior.

    The '96 reminded me very much of my roomate's old '93 240 (he's a volvo nut, I bought this car from him when he went to Iraq).

    So I guess what I'm trying to say, if you're looking for something a little more stylish and refined the S70 is respectfully leaps and bounds above the 850s, at least on the interior. If you don't care about that stuff, then who cares what I just said, right? ;)

    Here is a shot of my interior:

    [​IMG]

    More/Larger pics, if anyone is interested.

    To compare, my roomate has been keeping a eagle's eye on T5 S70s around the county, all 5spds. The last one he found was black, leather, sunroof, all that crap with 75k on the clock and the price was $6995! I paid $9500 for mine and that was a deal in itself, the tradein value was around $10.3k.

    If you look hard enough you can find smoking deals!
  17. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    See other thread. Where you posted the very same thing. :odd:

    :p

    I agree, which is why I recommend the 1998 S70 GLT over the 1997 850 T5. You lose some power but the GLT is usually a bit cheaper and its interior is significantly better. They didn't do much on the exterior in 1998 (I think they did, but most motor magazines of the time claim all they did was rename the thing - note the rounded corners!!!) but they did a lot to the interior. It's a much more up-to-date car.
  18. Meh, the attractiveness of the interior doesn't really matter to me. See 1970-73 Datsun 240Z for an example!
    I'm now looking at the 850 Turbos. Red with black wheels, anyone?
  19. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    Black wheels? Doesn't sound stock!
  20. Well, of course it's not stock, but it's damn cool looking.
  21. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    I would change them out for 17-inch R wheels.
  22. tuff240

    Portland, Oregon

    Or better yet... 18" Pegasus (S60R wheels). :mischievous:
  23. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    Indeed - though they're costly and the ride begins to get a bit questionable above seventeen. Obviously they do look great though.
  24. tuff240

    Portland, Oregon

    Costly? For an OEM wheel, I think they are very reasonably priced at around $250 a wheel. If you know someone that can get you you the wholesale price, you can knock about $25 per wheel off that as well.

    Ride has little to do with wheel diameter if comparing a 17" to an 18" wheel. For instance a 225/40-18 size tire will ride better than a 215/40-17 (factory size on an 850R) tire of the same brand/model. Why? Because the 18" tire has a larger sidewall to cushion the holes and bumps better. Both will easily fit under an 850R.

    Compare a 215/45-17 to a 225/40-18 (a more even comparison) and the difference is probably in favor of the 17. Above I was simply trying to show that a larger wheel doesn't necessarily mean a rougher ride.
  25. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    I've ridden very recently in 850s equipped with both wheels and the 17-inch-equipped model is notably worse! I can't even imagine eighteens; the ride's not exactly paradise with the sixteens. $1000 is an absurd price to pay for aftermarket wheels, especially considering how stupid aftermarket wheels are. I've bought used cars and paid to get aftermarket wheels removed several times.
  26. tuff240

    Portland, Oregon

    DUH! Factory 16's have nearly twice the sidewall as factory 17's. :rolleyes:

    They are NOT aftermarket wheels. They are OEM Volvo wheels. They come as optional on the new S60R. They look nearly identical to the 95 850 T5R wheels.
  27. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    They'd be aftermarket for the 850...
  28. skip0110

    United States Worcester, MA
    PSN:skip0110

    If they are produced on an assembly line production car, you can't call them aftermarket!
  29. 1X83Z

    Premium
    United States usa

    I do - anything that isn't stock on a car, to me, is aftermarket. Those wheels are not aftermarket for the S60R but they are indeed aftermarket for all vehicles but the S60R (including the V70R, where they aren't available, just like you can't get a manual V50 T5 AWD - they're going to lose two or three sales to Audi there!).
  30. tuff240

    Portland, Oregon

    I give up.