Adventure Time! - Buying Blind on the Internet

Alright, I thought I’d share my adventure with what could possibly be a big dumb mistake… Or one of the most beautiful marriages of man and machine!

So the back story is… Well, I’ve got a Volvo 360… Or 3. All well and good you say. Which would be true if they didn’t all need work done to them. Original plan was to have one on the road, one as a project car and one for spares… Or further down the track… A race car. And the problem being I don’t have the time to do all that I have planned. So a few weeks ago, I concluded (came to senses), that I needed to do away with all those and just get a sensible, reliable, fast and well handling car (Yes, you can get those). So it was set. Come around Oct/Nov, reorganise my home loan a bit, save a bit and plonk around $20-30k on something decent and do away with the 360s.

But a few weeks ago, I found a Volvo 850 R Estate on Gumtree for $6k. SIX FREAKING THOUSAND? It is unheard of. They usually go for anywhere between 8 and 12k. And in a manual? Few and far between. But 6k… Should I? Shouldn’t I? It’s 1,500km away. Alright. No deal. And that was that…

Well. It wasn’t that. On Thursday, scrawling through Gumtree yet again, come back across the 850R. Still there. And now $5k. I thought to myself… I think I might give the guy a call. So I did. It was listed by a dealer. A dealer who sells other peoples cars, which I thought was odd. Asked my dad about it, who in a past life used to sell cars (he failed as a car salesman - too honest :stuck_out_tongue: ) - some do it like that since they don’t have the capital to buy and sell their own cars. Which is fair enough.

Other than that, it looked pretty good. Listed as a few problems. No dramas. Paint on the roof peeling and front and rear bumpers a bit beat up. I can fix that, done it before. Glovebox and a few other things need sorting out. Mechanically it’s fine… Apart from the TRACS and ABS lights do not go out. ‘Could be a fuse or something simple’ I was told by the dealer. I thought, I could fix that too. No dramas. I’ve had an old Mondeo in the past with similar problems… And all I had to do was resolder a board or two, since they do crack and stuff up over time. I actually did a bit of research into the problem, and it is similar to my Mondeo of old. A module just needs resoldering. I thought to myself sweet.

So I offered $4,700 plus delivery. Apparently he had an offer for $4,500 that day and could sell it wholesale for $4,000. All well and good, and I know I can repair the problems, so no dramas. ‘There is one other thing…’ ‘And what would that be?’ ‘There is a dent in the rear tailgate…’. So I got some pictures of the damage, didn’t look that bad but I knew I’ll have to replace the whole thing… And finding one will be hard… But what the hell. ‘Alright, I’ll have to check with the owner and give you a call back’. So 5 minutes later I get a call back. AND I’VE GOT THE CAR! I was actually very excited. Being as rare as they are. And sensible. I know I can make some good of it. So down went the deposit and payment was finalised yesterday. Delivery will be a week or two…

So I’ve purchase a 1996 Volvo 850R Estate for around $5.5k delivered. With a few problems. And so starts my adventure. Pics and details of all the dramas and problems to come and should be a fun little thread. And fingers crossed, ends up all good. Hell, it’s a 1400kg wagon with 184kw and 350Nm of torque on tap, it better be good.


Body damage

  • Roof peeled
  • Front bumper bit damaged
  • Rear bumper/tailgate damaged due to a revering accident
  • Rear wing missing ***Noticed in the pics after purchase :confused: ***


  • Warning lights stuck on (TRACS and ABS)
  • Rest is apparently good


  • Glove box does not open


ALL THE ABOVE WILL BE FIXED! And any other problems that I find along the way. And will keep you guys posted of course.
Full service including changing of all belts, fluids all replaced, etc.
Checking over other consumables (CV boots et all), and replacing what needs replacing

[size=150]And so it begins![/size]

Oh, and I’ve found a tailgate for $50 (WIN!) on Gumtree and it’s 200km away. So there will be a road trip with it to make sure everything mechanically is fine before I do park it in my shed for a week or two.

Watching this thread excitedly :slight_smile:

Ahh, back in the 90s my father had a (banana yellow) 850R as well, really good and fast (family-) car. And it was fun to make bullies on the Autobahn look stupid by keeping up while driving a fully loaded car @ 240 km/h xD looking forward to seeing some pics. :slight_smile:

Just watch out for trees on the side of some straight road.

And you’re going to need some wrist surgery after some years of owning it. Or perhaps if you’re lucky you’ll have arms like weightlifter.

Yeah, I do love the whole sleeper image. This one is metallic olive green. I was thinking I would of liked a bright red one or a yellow one, but the understated dark green with the dark trim and alloys should hit the sleeper look right on the mark.

[quote=“conan_murder”]Just watch out for trees on the side of some straight road.

And you’re going to need some wrist surgery after some years of owning it. Or perhaps if you’re lucky you’ll have arms like weightlifter.[/quote]

Lucky I live in Tassie where there is no such thing as a straight road :unamused: That, and I’m half way to Olympic weight lifting gold! My Volvo 360 has no power steering, and often enough I’m not the only one in the car. A car with shot bushes and cheap tires >_>

Apparently the (Volvo 850 R manual) came with an LSD upfront to help alleviate the torque steer. I’m keen to try it out!

LSD have always failed to cure torque-steer.

I love Volvo 850R because of that reason though, It’s bonkers.

Well, at least it sounds like it’d match my personality :mrgreen:

Got word today when I’ll get it, now coming direct to my door and not the main port in the North of the state, so saved me a few hours drive to get it. 4th of September! All I have to do is be patient… And not waste to much time researching all the mods that can be done to the engine…

Alright, so I got my new play toy this afternoon!

Pictures will come tomorrow when there is a bit more sun.

When it rocked up, initial impressions is that it wasn’t as bad as I imagined from the images from the dealer. Sure, the roof is still peeling, but it is only down to the colour and not the metal. Rear tail gate damage isn’t as deep as it did look in the images either. Few scratches and bits and pieces over the body, but nothing to major apart from the aforementioned.

First drive was just a boot scoot down the main road and out on some country roads. And I must say, I was very impressed and very happy with my purchase. Performance brings a big smile to my face. Initially, I thought their was a boost problem with the engine… But just I wasn’t putting my foot flat to the floor and was getting caught on the RHS >_>

So hooray! And worked pretty well at the time. So, tonight had a bit more of a drive in it. And ran into a slight problem. Being leaking coolant. And may have ran out of coolant :frowning: So limped it home and had a look to see where it was leaking, and could not find it. Mind you, it was dark and couldn’t see much. So tomorrow! I get fixing.

Had a bit of a look on the trusty ol’ Googre and the coolant leak seems to point to the heater core, being stinks out the cabin when the heater is on. So I will get investigating tomorrow.

Other problems is… It is 7,000km over due for a service. Slight knock when doing tight turns, so I shall investigate that.

So tomorrow, my plans for it are:

  • Get pics for you guys, first, of course
  • Fix Coolant leak
  • Oil and filter change
  • Check over EVERYTHING
  • Fix ABS and TRACS issue
  • Investigate fuel gauge not working

Pretty much my day done >_< In preparation for a fathers day trip Sunday. So I better get cracking tomorrow and get things done!


And progress update - Waiting for parts (Hooray!). Being coolant hoses and whole PCV system (decided to replace that too since it looks like it has never been changed. Ever. >_< )

Had the option of buying parts locally… And waiting two weeks. Or buying from the States… And waiting 2 weeks. Oh, and saving myself about 50% from the States too… Aussie parts prices are a bit of a joke. Unless you drive a Falcon or Commodore of course.


And progress update - Waiting for parts (Hooray!). Being coolant hoses and whole PCV system (decided to replace that too since it looks like it has never been changed. Ever. >_< )

Had the option of buying parts locally… And waiting two weeks. Or buying from the States… And waiting 2 weeks. Oh, and saving myself about 50% from the States too… Aussie parts prices are a bit of a joke. Unless you drive a Falcon or Commodore of course.

90PSI boost or speedo in Km/h? :smiley:

That’s a nice looking brick! I want one …

I am officially “Jelly”

This car is a very weird thing, Designer probably spend 5 minutes designed the Exterior, It’s not really totally reliable, It doesn’t handle very well, It’s also not that fast that it was mind boggling (Although with some modification, it can be). But it’s so much likable that all of us want one!

From my experience, no car is totally reliable. And I think it is pretty quick myself, but I’ve never driven a supercar mind you. 0-100 in around 6 seconds and with 184kw and 350Nm on tap… It is an absolute hoot to drive. Handling isn’t that great and doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback, but you kind of forget all that and the fact it’s a brick when you’re just cruising along, decide drop it back a cog or two and unleash all matter of torque steer and turbo whoosh :smiley:

I should invest in a GoPro and have a jab at some of those ‘action’ videos… :mrgreen:

I think I need to do up a formula for buying shit blind off the internet.

So… if the value is half or less than market value.
And if you have the time to do things.
And are comfortable doing things…
By all means… It is worth it. And can save yourself some money in the long run. If you get lucky…

Next time though, if I am ever going to buy a car interstate… I am flying up to check it out first. I’m making the time to get it fixed though (helps now I have a nice shed to work on things in the evening - beats a damp driveway).

It has had a full service and a few engine issues fixed. Actually had 2 coolant leaks from old hoses, all vacuum lines replaced (2 crumbled in my hands when I took them off :-/ ) and from what I can see, hasn’t had a hard life at all. Serviced with full synthetic oil and now runs beautifully. PCV and the rest all changed for new and pulls strong with no issues what so ever.

As for the rest of the car, more and more problems are rearing their heads. Whilst the above there is no engine leaks, thats not to say everything is fixed. Looking like I am needing engine mounts all around. There is also a front fender issue where it doesn’t appear to be attached all that well. Body wise, I can see no sign of accident damage, just a case of 16 year old car parts wearing down. And front strut supports are on the way out too. So that’ll need replacing along with quite possibly the lower suspension arm bushes too. Need to free up a weekend or two down the track :confused:

Actually fixed the fuel gauge tonight. Was a case of a ripped, yes ripped wire near the fuel tank. No idea how it ended up like that, but it did. Also, looks like the previous owner liked Red Rooster and all you can eat steak or something. Since I found some goodies under the rear seat while doing all this. And I think there was a BBQ chip too. No idea, I wasn’t going to try it.

ABS/TRACS light still does flick on at times. Looks like I’ll be needing an OBDII reader to get to the bottom of it, since it is looking more and more like a sensor now, not the module. I must say though, the TRACS system is pretty ace when it is working properly. With it on, all you hear is a slight squeal under full power. Pretty much max power to the wheels without them spinning freely. With it off on the other hand… :smiling_imp:

I demand videos! :smiley:

Let the mods… BEGIN!

Yeah, yeah. Actually got a Sony Actioncam for Xmas… And have videos! And I will aim to upload them in like… 30 minutes or so ;-D

Wow! This is just MAAAAD! I love the T5R’s. Make sure the engine stays in condition, not a cheap one to buy replacement.