Author Topic: STORY TIME : Volvo 855TM  (Read 1597 times)

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STORY TIME : Volvo 855TM
« on: Dec 05, 15, 15:03 »
This is the story of the car which threw me off track. As always, I feel bad for good orphan cars and feel the need to save them. This Volvo came up at Auction in the summer of 2014 and it looked like a diamond in the rough and I knew that if I didn't buy it, it was going to the bone yard, so ofcourse against better advice, I bought the car.

Whats so special about a FWD Volvo wagon ????

This car is a rare beast, and ive never seen another one before, I know there is one in Victoria, but I havnt seen it. You could buy Volvo 850s with Manual Transmission, but to find a 850 Turbo with a Manual is extremely rare. They were not sold in USA and only a very small batch were sold here, my family used to own a Turbo Manual Sedan in the mid 90s and even then it was a special car.

But in wagon form, they are unicorns. Volvo imported 214 units of the 850 AWD which were all manuals, but these cars used a low pressure turbo and were not as powerful, this car is a FWD with high pressure turbo Wagon, and I assume there were maybe 20 sold in Canada and None in the US, so I had to buy it.

The car arrived at the shop on the tow truck and I had a good look at it, I was pretty happy with what I got, it needed TLC but the bones were good and it shouldn't take much to bring it back.

The car was written off simply for the rear hatch and rear bumper, the damage to the quarter panel and taillight are unrelated and happen prior to the damage that ultimately wrote the car off.

The plan was to repair the hatch and get a new bumper and taillight, so parts wise, it would be low budget. At the time PickNPull was still open and I found a hatch in the same colour for cheap so I just went ahead and grabbed it, it ofcourse has some minor dents in it aswell but not as much work as the original hatch. I also found a used bumper at the yard and purchased the left lower taillight and upper right taillights which had a large crack in it.

First thing I did was restore the taillights, if you know these Volvos, you know that the taillights turn white and pale with age, so I took the used 2 I purchased and the original 2, and brought them back to spec.

I also learned that the rear bumper brackets on these cars turn to dust, amazingly that was the only rust on the car anywhere, but they disintegrated, heres a photo of the old and new rear bumper brackets.


Then after swapping on the new hatch I went ahead and repaired the minor damage the new hatch had, Fixed the dent in the quarter panel and the metal work was finished.

from start to finish the metal work, smoothing and primer were all done in one evening after work with help from friends Steve & Painter Dan.

After that was done it was time for Dan to test out his new home made Spray booth. It turned out very very nice, and ofcourse I cant leave things alone, so I had the front bumper painted aswell due to minor scratches and rock chips. Also we refinished the grey texture.

Most owners of these cars paint the trim black after it fades, im not sure if its because they don't know its supposed to be grey, or if they cant find the proper colour and take the easy way out, but I wanted it right and the colour match to grey was perfect.

Another interesting feature is the car is equipped with front Foglights in the bumper, this option is so rare, that Volvo doesn't even make a foglight specific bumper and you have to cut the hole for the foglight and install a oval rubber bezel to hide your ugly cut lines. One of the foglights I think fell out and the previous owner ran it over because when I got the car it was laying pancaked on the passenger side floor.

I couldn't find a used one anywhere and ended up having to buy one brand new.

With the car back together and in 1 piece I was extremely pleased and the whole project went quick and smooth.
I drove the car for a few days to work out any bugs and to see if it needed any other repairs before I took it to be inspected.

I learned it needed a new upper motor mount, and lots of suspension work, control arms, ball joints, end links, that type of wear and tear stuff that gets neglected with mileage. All that work was handled by Dallas at the AutoHau5, once all the clunks were repaired this car was super tight.

The only thing left to do was to deal with that pesky oil drip, when the car arrived I noticed it has a small oil leak, it was clear and super clean fluid that I thought was probably just a leaky motor gasket and with all the other TLC the car needed I wasn't surprised.

So the car is cleaned, detailed and ready to go. I was driving it to the Autohau5 in Maple Ridge to get the last thing checked off the list ( get the oil leak diagnosed and repaired ), By the way, on a closed test track this car will stay nose to nose with a GTI VR6 up to 170 and then walk....... anyway one driveway before the shop the car suddenly grinds to a halt, and refuses to move, cant drive, cant push, wont move.

We quickly learned the oil leak was transmission fluid, or should I say, lack of transmission fluid. ive never seen transmission fluid that clean before, after getting the car into the shop and up in the air the next day we learned that the Previous Owner must have had the transmission fluid replaced just before the car was written off because the drain plug was loose.

Dallas filled the trans with fresh fluid and ran it through all the gears and all was well, no noise. After a 30km road test it remained quiet and shifted just fine. I took the car back and proceeded to drive it for a few days just to make sure, 2,3 days turned into 4-5 and something just wasn't right, I wasn't sure if I was hearing transmission noise or if I was hearing things that weren't there, it was faint, but something was going on.

The final day I drove the car, I got in it in the morning and headed off to work ( 30km each way ) after driving for a few minutes things took a turn and I quickly realized this car was not going to make it to work that day, so I ditched it at my Inlaws house conveniently where I left my other daily driver and went on with my day.

It was the middle of winter, and I cant remember the details anymore but the car stayed parked there for a couple months. I think I was planning on rebuilding the existing transmission, instead of doing what I was being advised to do which was, purchase a used Non-Turbo transmission and get the car back on the road and sold.

From the time the car was finished late in 2014 to spring 2015, my life had flipped and turned upside down, i had a baby boy on the way, my father passed away, i had sold my house, i was ( am living ) in a temporary place while my ( new to me ) house is undergoing complete renovation among other things, i looked at the car and as much as i hate the idea of not completing the project, i decided to take a hit and just sell the car as is.

I listed the car on craigslist with a couple dozen beautiful pictures that i took just after completing the car that i cannot find right now for $1500 and it sold right away to a very enthusiastic Volvo guy who drove up to squamish and purchased a beat up 850 non turbo sedan 5-speed and on his way back home to abbotsford stopped by my inlaws in new west and purchased the Wagon. His plan was to swap the transmission from the sedan into the wagon to replace his Volvo that his son had just written off.

I took his deposit and was happy the car was going to a good home, if i couldn't finish it atleast it wasn't all for nothing.

A week later he was to come pick up the car, but instead informed he that his son had a medical emergency and he couldn't take the car, he was super apologetic and wouldn't even let me return his deposit.

I went and relisted the car again, This time another enthusiastic buyer came to look at the car. He came in a Taxi, which sat outside and waited for him while he checked out the car, he didn't start it, didn't hear it run, had a quick look, said its SOLD.

He was new in town and didn't have his tools with him or any work space and asked me if i knew anyone or anywhere where he could get the tranny done.

I shouldn't have but i did, i offered to let him use my shop space and i gave him a name and number to someone who could and would do the work in my shop.

This turned out to be a nightmare which took over 3 months to resolve and i Finally FINALLY FINALLLLLLYYYY delivered the car and waved goodbye last week.

You win some you lose 1.
Kiełbasa > Kolbasz


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Re: STORY TIME : Volvo 855TM
« Reply #1 on: Dec 27, 15, 20:06 »
Fun story! Thanks for the read and very sorry to hear about your loss of your dad. Condolences.

As for the wagon...should've just finished it yourself heh?! If it's in your shop and you're making all the arrangements anyways...oh well! Good to see the unicorn off to a new home.

..................__        '81 CADDY RESTO-MOD