The Truth About Cars » project $1500 volvo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:58:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » project $1500 volvo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Project $1500 Volvo Leaves Me Stranded http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/project-1500-volvo-leaves-me-stranded/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/project-1500-volvo-leaves-me-stranded/#comments Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:19:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=449100

This is now the second time Project Volvo has tried to kill me. The first time, I was turning left into a Scion dealership to go peek at an FR-S. All of a sudden, the steering locked up, and I looked down to see the dashboard lit up like Malmo synagogue. A few hundred yards down the road, an F-Series was bearing down on me. Luckily, the Volvo started up, and I drove off without having to test the brand’s legendary safety systems.

The next day, I picked up a 2012 MX-5 press car and forgot all about the stalling issues for the next week. It dawned on me that getting a CAA Membership might be a good idea too. Not that I followed through with it or anything. That would make too much sense. Of course, it came back to bite me in the ass right after I returned the MX-5 to Mazda Canada.

The car stalled at the very first traffic light, with the idle fluctuating like Charlie Sheen’s  moods before sputtering and then dying. While coasting, the car ran smoothly, until I entered the on-ramp to the busy 401 freeway, where Project Volvo promptly died and wouldn’t re-start. The steering was locked up, but somehow I made it on to the shoulder without being sodomized by an 18-wheeler.

A $247 tow later, and I was at the mechanic. Right after the tow truck put the car in the ground, he jumped in and the car fired up promptly. The idle was still fluctuating, and turning the A/C on only exacerbated the problem. It turned out that in addition to the dirty throttle body, something was amiss with the A/C. My mechanic theorizes that one of the seals may need replacing, and that is causing the compressor to activate frequently, putting a fair amount of strain on the engine. So far, his estimate is roughly a couple hundred bucks, either for a new seal or a re-charge, and the throttle body cleaning. We’ll see later on this afternoon what the real issue is.

At least the smell is gone.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/project-1500-volvo-leaves-me-stranded/feed/ 114
Project $1500 Volvo: A Big Thanks To The B&B As I Seek Your Counsel Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/project-1500-volvo-a-big-thanks-to-the-bb-as-i-seek-your-counsel-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/project-1500-volvo-a-big-thanks-to-the-bb-as-i-seek-your-counsel-again/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 14:20:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=446998

Between the comments, private messages and emails, you, the readers, sent over 100 comments on how to get the smoke smell out of Project Volvo. Thank you for providing me one of the rare opportunities to harness “crowdsourcing” in a way that isn’t some nebulous social-media pie-in-the-sky frivolity. I’ve made great strides with shampoo and vinegar/water solutions, and will be moving on to coffee grounds and other tactics. In the mean time, something else has caught my attention.

“Are those alloy wheels corroding?” That was the question, asked incredulously, by my father. I let him drive Project Volvo so he could compare the old dog with his shiny new XC60 (he liked the seats a lot). After giving it a once over, he flicked some paint flakes off the rim, and I noticed that after giving the car a good power wash, all four wheels were in a bad state.

The paint is flaking and bubbling, which means I need to do something or risk having them turn to utter crap by January. I don’t want to throw any money into buying new rims, so sanding and painting looks to be the way to go. The question is, should I keep them silver, or do something different. My initial thought was gunmetal, to look slightly more aggressive and to hide the brake dust. If you have a better idea (for re-finishing or for a different color) then let me know in the comments.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/project-1500-volvo-a-big-thanks-to-the-bb-as-i-seek-your-counsel-again/feed/ 69
Project $1500 Volvo: What you REALLY Get For $1500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/project-1500-volvo-what-you-really-get-for-1500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/project-1500-volvo-what-you-really-get-for-1500/#comments Tue, 29 May 2012 20:31:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=446695

Now that the Hyundai Genesis Coupe has gone back and our track day video is complete, Project $1500 Volvo is back in my sights. As promised, the purpose of this series will be to document what you can get as far as a cheap car goes, and like Project Debt Free over at Edmunds, we’re going to document the experience. This week sees us catch up on the various expenses that have cropped up since purchase – and there’s been a few bills to pay. Still, it doesn’t look bad after a thorough wash, does it?

When I bought Project Volvo, I knew it needed a few things to pass our inspection process, but the damage turned out to be relatively light. A new outer tie-rod, new parking brake shoes and a cable as well as rear brake rotors as pads. Total price for parts, labor, tax and the safety certificate ($75 alone) was $423. No, I couldn’t have done a cheaper or better job myself.

The car was officially road worthy according to the Ontario government, but a few issues remained. First, the front tires, while within spec for the inspection, were about one millimeter away from disintegration. The rears were a bit better, but I decided to bite the bullet and replace all four. My local tire shop had Kumho KU25 high-performance all-seasons for $113 per tire mounted and balanced. With sales tax, it came out to $512. I could have found something cheaper on The Tire Rack, but ordering to Canada is a pain, and I’d still have to get them installed. I also didn’t want to wait any longer if my younger brother was going to be driving the car and riding on nearly shot tires.

The final issue is one I’m still grappling with; cigarette smoke. I knew when I bought the car that the previous owner was a cigar smoker, and initially thought it wouldn’t bother me. I was wrong. When my younger brother came home reeking of tobacco (he’s a fitness nut and doesn’t smoke) simply from driving the car for half an hour, I knew I had to take action. Getting a detailing crew to steam clean it seemed like the most obvious idea, but I decided to take the Steve Lang route and try a “frugal” DIY solution.

Cigar(ette) smoke is actually a physical residue; steam cleaning the car would result in gross looking brown gunk being released from the cabin, but it would probably cost well into the three-figures. Having owned old cars before, I know that they all have their smell, so minimizing it as much as possible would be acceptable. I left the car with the windows down for a week – the smell was so strong that I could smell it from six feet away) and hoped that fresh air and sunlight would take their course. A good car wash, combined with periodic Febreeze spraying (the plastics and vents get wiped down, while the carpets get saturated with the stuff) has helped quite a bit. I’ll give it another week and see how things turn out. Overall, the interior is in good shape for 162,000 miles over 14 years.

Next up is the body work. This is the major flaw of Project Volvo. The car is in great shape mechanically and the body and frame are largely free of rust – but stone chips and scrapes have ravaged the front end and rear bumper, ruining the whole “wouldn’t be embarrassed to drive it” element. A cheap re-spray job is inevitable, but not right now.

So far we have:

Car: $1500

Taxes/Fees: $195

Tires: $512

Repairs/Safety Inspection: $423

Febreeze: $5

Total (as of 5/29/2012): $2635

Still a good deal behind Edmunds and their Lexus. A ball-park quote for the re-spray came to $400. A tune-up isn’t needed (according to my mechanic) and the timing belt has another 50,000 miles to go before a change. Considering I am lucky to drive 5,000 miles a year on my own car, I should be in for a pretty painless experience. I’ll likely do the front rotors and pads, and I suspect the shocks and strut mounts may need a change at some point. For now, all appears to be going well.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/project-1500-volvo-what-you-really-get-for-1500/feed/ 89
TTAC Project $1500 Volvo Is Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/ttac-project-1500-volvo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/ttac-project-1500-volvo/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445849

With the my Miata now gone (sold to a friend who has given me the right of first refusal when it comes time for him to sell it), I needed a new car with a bit more practicality, and a low price tag. A quick call to my friend Vasco, who functions as Toronto’s version of our own Steve Lang, led me to the car you see above. Did I mention it’s a manual?

Originally, my plan was to sell the Miata and pick up a friend’s high mileage but well cared-for E36 BMW 328i. I’d already sold the Miata (for a sum that was impossible to refuse) and was looking forward to getting behind the wheel. The car drove well and was in great shape overall, save for one minor detail – during the government safety inspection, a portion of the frame near the jacking point was discovered to have rotted out. It was a double blow for me, since it wouldn’t be worth fixing, and I suddenly felt a wave of regret over selling my beloved first car, despite my now healthy bank balance.

A quick message to Vasco asking for “anything decent and cheap”, came up with the Volvo. It was his brother’s car, and Vasco had bought it at auction, using it briefly as his own car before handing it off to his older brother. For the last year, it had carried his brother, sister-in-law, their three kids and a large Rhodesian Ridgeback. It was a1998  non-turbo 2.4L with 162,800 miles on the clock, but it had a 5-speed manual and Vasco only wanted $1500 for it.

I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes (and looked at a couple S70 T5s – V70 turbos were all automatic, save for one V70 AWD that was questionable enough to make me walk away) but ultimately decided to take a chance with it. The Carfax came back clean, and although there were a number of scratches and stone chips, there was no rust on the rockers, quarter panels or frame rails. To pass inspection, it would need a further $325 for new rear brakes, parking brake shoes and a tie rod, plus $75 for the inspection and $30 for an emissions test. Another $200 or so for taxes, fees and licensing and it now sits in my driveway.

For now, the V70 will be a great shuttle to take me to Mosport for my bi-monthly karting series, as well as a bit of a beater to leave in parking lots while I have press cars. With the Miata, I always worried about leaving it sitting in outdoor lots for weeks at a time – it was in beautiful shape, but a few steps away from looking like crap. The Volvo is liberating in the sense that it’s totally anonymous, and any cosmetic damage is frankly inconsequential.

Although it’s not the most thrilling to drive, the V70 is enjoyable in its own right. As a manual wagon, it has its own novelty, and even with all those miles on the odometer, the engine is strong, the clutch feels like there’s lots of life left, and the interior is far better than the one in my Miata. The Volvo is also much better equipped (heated seats are going to make the frigid winters infinitely better), will fare far better in a crash and has some decent highway manners. With that said, I will likely have another Miata sooner than later (or something faster. who knows). The Volvo will go to my brother as a reward for his eventual graduation from a very demanding business school (and entry into law school, if he so chooses) – and also because his roommate has the exact same car, down to the wheels and missing roof rack.

Over at Edmunds, the team has started “Project Debt Free”, to prove that one can buy a decent car for a relatively modest sum of cash. They managed to come away with a $3800 1996 Lexus ES300 with fewer miles. Personally, I think our car is more interesting, but it may not have the clockwork reliability of the Lexus. In the spirit of that project, I’ll also keep everyone updated on any maintenance, issues and positive experiences. So far, the car will need some body work (14 years of stone chips has necessitated a re-spray of the front end), not to mention a good wash and a tune-up. But the V70, as boring as it may be, it’s not something I’d be embarrassed to drive, and is just interesting enough to make me look forward to driving it.

By the way, Project G-Body and Project Rallycross are still on. The Grand National is still in the shop awaiting some new old stock interior bits. Once that’s on the road, the hunt for a suitable Rallycross Project will begin.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/ttac-project-1500-volvo/feed/ 46