By on August 26, 2015

18 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I promised more 21st-century Junkyard Finds recently, so here’s a high-end Volvo with turbo boost rivaled only by its turbocharged depreciation levels. Yes, it’s the Volvo S80, complete with twin-turbo 286hp tranverse-mount straight-six.
17 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

Looks like an insurance-auction car, and it was a runner.

03 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

Except for the banged-up hood (which may have been the result of junkyard employees prying it open after the inside release failed), the body and interior look to be in nice shape.

13 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I’ve heard possible urban legends stating that this engine — yes, it’s possible to get six cylinders sideways in an engine compartment — will bolt up to the bellhousing in a manual-transmission Volvo 760, which opens the door to all sorts of fun with 240 swaps. The crazy Swedes building a 500-horse Volvo 142 drift car have a couple of these engines stashed in the shop for future projects.

15 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I’m not sure what’s going on with the steel mesh over the grille.

My goodness!

It was a futuristic-looking car, 15 or so years ago.

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65 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2000 Volvo S80 T6...”


  • avatar
    shaker

    I don’t think that a very robust transmission could fit in the small space allotted – were they known for premature failure?

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeMartin

      You hit the nail right on the head. The transmissions coupled to the 2.9 mills were GM 4-speeds, and they were horribly unreliable. I heard that they were simply unable to cope with the torque of the turbocharged six. Whe coupled to the NA 2.9, they seemed to hold up better. My father had an XC90 T6 in which he had to replace the transmission twice during the 120K miles in which he owned it (the engine was, however, downright bulletproof). I guess it was the transmission that put the car in the junkyard. It says that it was drivable when sold but chances are the tranny was either slipping heavily or lost a gear (like my father’s did before locking up, never to move again).

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      My sis has an S80, bought new. It’s on its fourth transmission. Car has less than 100K miles. ‘Nuff said.

    • 0 avatar
      Shortest Circuit

      Actually, looking at it, they did an OK job mechanically. The trans is divorced like an old Toronado TH425, so the flexplate and torque converter are bolted to the flywheel, and they drive the transmission thru a chain (or belt, I did not tear it further apart, some guy took it off of me, broken, for $100) – so the bulk of the trans is parallel to the engine, just behind it. The problem I think was that they stuffed the old 4-speed into a smaller housing, then asked it to handle 50-90% more torque. http://i531.photobucket.com/albums/dd353/axialflow1680/Volvo%20Repair/IMG_0741.jpg (not my photo) look at that puny housing…

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve got a 2010 XC60 with the transverse T6, but it has a newer 6-speed auto. I haven’t heard anything too terrible about that transmission, but it’s going to get more frequent fluid changes (which is any number greater than zero) than what’s recommended. It’s still under the CPO warranty, but I’d rather not go through the pain of transmisison problems even with a warranty.

      The transverse 6 is weird, but is a really good motor as far as smoothness, power, and (from what I read) durability. It hasn’t changed much in many years, which is good for those of us with later models. It seems to be more space-efficient than a V6, too. And I really like the idea of putting one in a 240 or 760 too. That should be a fun ride.

      • 0 avatar
        Tostik

        The T6 on your XC60 is not the same engine that was on the older XC90. The XC90 6 cyl was 2.9L, and your 6 is 3.0L. And your 6 speed tranny is an Aisin (Toyota) transmission, not at all the same as the 4 speed GM on the old XC90. Relax, your 6 speed Aisin is fairly bullet-proof.

    • 0 avatar
      free2571

      Yes they were a festival of failure,GM designed transmissions.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    I am currently in the process of swapping one of these into my old 960 which essentially had the same engine, sans turbos. Mechanically, the T6 engine bolts on to the AW71 automatic of a 960/V90. But I have to agree, to get those six cylinders sideways, they had to commit all sorts of sins… the wiring is a nightmare around the O2 sensors, there is too much brittle plastic emissions parts between the engine and the radiator(s), the FWD 6-speed auto is the same size as the old AW73 4-speed, I got my donor S80 with a blown trans (1st/2nd gone). The easiest to drop the T6 from the S80 was (for me) to drop the whole front subframe unbolt the engine/box combo, then refit the subframe back (need of steering)
    Now that the easy part is done, my next steps: get the T6 ECU working. Bonus for me if I somehow get the cruise control working too. Although I will miss the old 760 cruise control which actually used a vacuum chamber to pull the gas pedal out from under my foot :) (The T6 has electronic throttle.)

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      A T6 960 sounds amazing. Keep up the good work, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Among the other sins they committed to get the six to fit sideways was goodbye to the traditionally tight Volvo turn radius.

      FWIW, a powerful six in the top of the line model was also a Volvo tradition, going back about thirty years. But the FWD Volvos were a big departure from the earlier cars.

      I seem to remember the front suspension lower ball joints on these were weak. That had me scratching my head how Volvo could have gooned up the engineering on those…

      • 0 avatar
        Perc

        Most European cars from the turn of the millennium eat front suspension parts. The VAG double wishbone design that premiered in the first Audi A4 is perhaps the worst example. 8 separate control arms that have to be replaced in their entirety when the bushing or ball joint wears out.

        The turning radius is atrocious in these Volvos, especially in the more powerful versions which came with wider tires as standard. There are actually replaceable steering stoppers on the lower control arms. I think Volvo makes 3 different sizes.

        The T6 is the only one with the horrible transmission though. The 5-cylinder models all got fairly trouble-free 5 or 6 speed units from Aisin Warner. The 5 speed suffers from a sloppy 2-3 shift but it’s actually a cheap and easy repair, through the wheel well.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyngofpop

          Whats with the sloppy 2-3 shift? I haven’t noticed it in my 04 2.5t but maybe ive been oblivious. The shifts are seemless and I haven’t changed the tranny fluid in 130k smh. Also what’s the easy fix you mention?

  • avatar

    Are these the last good looking, spacious sedans of the 20th century? I think Volvo did a nice job of this car inside and out and they still look fresh. I hate to see them as junk.

    • 0 avatar
      Shortest Circuit

      You don’t want to see the inside close up. Volvo interiors age in dog years.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Haha too true, the interior in my gf’s old 2004 S60 2.4i was looking only so-so when I flipped it on Craigslist last summer. Mind you the car overall cleaned up very nicely, but the rubberized coating on some of the interior panels was coming off in chunks, the front seat leather was shot, center console cubby doors were broken and rattling around. Mechanically, her 2004 thankfully avoided the transmission programming woes that lead to the deaths of many earlier Aisin units. So the drivetrain was still rock solid, but with just 120k miles the front end had already needed work (tie rod ends, ball joints), and the spring perches were rattling when I sold it. There was a seemingly incurable SRS airbag code and the driver info panel on the dash seemed to be in a constant state of epilepsy. Front window regulator crapped out (small plastic piece that serves as a mechanical fuse broke), I was able to get the new part off ebay for about $5 and replace it in an hour or so. On the exterior the body and paint held up great, zero rust anywhere on the underside of the car. But the weatherstripping around the windows was crumbling and the black plastic trim had faded something fierce (I brought it back to a decent enough state before the sale with peanut butter and some spray wax). So not a horror story, but enough annoyances, some tied to needing Volvo’s specific diagnostic equipment to clear codes and re-set auto-up window motor calibration that would make me steer clear of these as a used car purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Yes. I had a 96 850R and the paint and even underside were good, except the black plastic which turned grey like on gt’s car. The tan interior aged poorly though. The alacantra pilled, the wood applaque was peeling off on the console and the leather on the gearshift and console lid was cracked to hell. And it smelled like a 1960s car inside. And that’s With deeply tinted windows.

        • 0 avatar
          Lightspeed

          Just bought my wife a 97 850GLT wagon, she wanted FWD or AWD for winter, and the wagon body was a bonus. Low-ish miles (175,000KM)and the body, engine and trans seem tight and strong. But, the interior, complete junk, creaking seat, wonky gauges, dash bulbs out, hopeless HVAC – and, the smell of decay is strong. I had thought it was a musty A/C core, but no, it’s decay. I know it’s an old used car, but likely my last European car, just don’t trust it.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Volvo kinda gave up on durable interiors once they canned the 240, I’ve seen GM stuff hold up better than some of their later cars.

        And dont make me start on their notoriously buggy guages, broken odometers, etc etc.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          240s certainly never had durable interiors, they crumble into dust even here up in the Northeast. Dark colored 7X0 interiors are OK (other than being rattlely as they clip together), as are gray 940 interiors except for 1995 (door panel puckers), and the late 940s even have headliners that last more than a decade.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yeah the interior shapes and materials don’t hold up to the tests of time, nor style.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I really liked these when they came out. But, one day around the year 2000 when I was at the car wash waiting for my car to come out, a dark blue S80 was coming out of the tunnel before my vehicle, and I said to its owner, a 50-ish, stockbroker-looking type, “I really like your car, very nice…”, and he replied, “Thanks, but it’s the worst piece of s–t I’ve ever owned. I hate it”. I just stood there in stunned silence. Was it really that bad?

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    These are such nice cars. I was a teenager working at the local Volvo dealer when the very first S80T6 in my region arrived. The boss took me, the little fanboy, outside and asked me to start it. I did, and then I asked: “Does it run?”. It was so calm. God to drive it properly later, and what power it had! A shame about the predictable transmission issues.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    That blurry first S80 commercial started to give me a headache in eight seconds, as my eyes continually tried to bring it into focus. Ow.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ll be that guy: Technically the 21st century began on January 1, 2001, so this car is actually the dregs of the 20th century. But I won’t fall on my sword for that nit. Y2k still *felt* like the 21st century.

    As for the transverse turbo I-6, they look like a pain to work on, but I’d love to drive one once. It’s amazing they fit it into the smaller S60.

    But this car in the junkyard at 15 years old? So much for the myth of Volvo durability.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      FWD Volvos are not particularly durable as a whole.

      • 0 avatar
        Jesse

        My ’01 v70 (manual) with 210k miles would beg to differ. You still see a lot of them around the Northeast even though the oldest ones are now 14 years old. I’ve never seen a rusty one.

        My ’96 850T isn’t so bad either, but then, it only has 92k miles.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That period has the problematic auto transmission, unless you bought it new yours might be on the road due to not using an auto and your own fastidious nature of maintenance. You can keep a P2 on the road but frequently it becomes financially unfeasible.

          Good luck with the 850T. None of the FWD’s hold a candle in terms of pure durability to my 200.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I actually saw yesterday a V70XC Cross Country – one of the originals! It was in great condition, and I wondered how much money they had dumped on it with transmission maintenance.

            EDIT: And replacing interior door panels where the glue came off, and ruined stereo buttons, and exterior trim bits that change to multi-grey.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The 800 series platform, P80, used a 4spd and 5spd AW automatics. The V70XC was introduced for MY98 and used a 4spd.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_P80

            “For the model year 2000, a new 5-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift-logic was introduced. It was only available on non turbo front-wheel drive models and the 2000 V70 R AWD”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_V70#First_generation_.281997.E2.80.932000.29

            However the S80, which was prone to transmission issues, never used the 4spd and instead used the AW 5spd and in certain configurations the GM 4T65-E. So spitballing I would say the 5spd auto was more problematic than the 4spd auto and thus the earlier P80s had a slightly better chance of surviving with an auto trans.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_S80#First_generation

          • 0 avatar
            Jesse

            I actually just bought the p2 for a grand as my winter beater (even thought it’s my newest car). Hasn’t been too awful yet – just things you’d expect out of a 210k, 14-year-old car: suspension bits, engine mounts, exhaust stuff. I even got the AC working with some zip-ties on the compressor. We’ll see. If the clutch goes, that might spell the end of the car. But so far so good.

            The 850 was bought new by my grandmother in SoCal (in Boston now). I just converted it to a manual. I’ll be keeping that car for the long haul.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I was gonna say, in response to the main post’s “yes, it’s possible to get six cylinders sideways in an engine compartment”, that it’s not like Volvo *stopped* doing that with the S80 in 2001.

      The XC70 I got six months ago has the same setup (transverse I6) and greater displacement (3L vs. 2.7L).

      I hear much better things about the post-2003 XC transmissions, too.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I have a ’02 V70 XC with a 5 speed auto that was allegedly maintenance free. Well I discovered a way to change the fluid myself, as there is no such thing as “maintenance free” fluid. I did the change, and will continue to do so. The transmission is working great at 202K, and a new one out values the car. I hope to continue driving the XC. It’s comfortable, roomy, and gets decent mileage. I suppose most people are unaware of this important measure to save their transmission. It doesn’t help Volvo misinformed owners.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      From what I hear about the AWD system in the ’02 and earlier, that’s impressive.

      (I also hear that it’s usually the center diff that fails, and you can convert to FWD and just keep going, but who wants that?)

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I am utterly offended at that huge and voluminous dealer plaque. You’re slapping that on my expensive Volvo? I think not.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The platform was revolutionary at the time and is part of the reason (if not the reason) Ford bought Volvo Cars in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The platform will last 20+ years. That’s pretty good.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Volvo AB got 26 years out of it’s 100/200 platform. My issue with P2 is I doubt many of its children will run for 20 years after production while most of its 100/200s did.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well that just doesn’t happen anymore. Simpler times dude.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Foolish as a civilization, its also incredibly wasteful. Where are the green police? They are all over that AGW hoax but when it comes down to simple numbers (i.e. double the amount of raw materials in a 30yr period used to build a product) they are nowhere to be found.

            Materials used to build a car:

            http://www.allianz.com.au/car-insurance/infographic/materials-used-to-make-a-car-infographic

        • 0 avatar
          Jesse

          I can tell you, the newer Volvos don’t rust anywhere near as bad as the 240 series. The newer ones are made out of better material in just about every way. The earlier 240s actually had biodegradable wiring by design. I own four: a ’73 1800, ’92 245, ’96 855T, and an ’01 v70.

          The FWD cars have better interiors and are not the slightest bit rusty. Can’t say the same for the 240.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re right about the biodegradable wiring but the next time I’m at the shop I’ll see if there’s a rusty 800/S60/V70 there to shoot. Nice 1800 btw.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Get a 7-9 series, theyre basically 240s with proper rustproofing and sturdier interiors, glued on headliners aside.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      (Ford): Must… kill… Panther… Need… new… large… car… platform…

  • avatar
    Fred

    The screen is used to keep bugs from committing suicide on your radiator.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Anecdotal experience data point of one, but here goes:

    A friend shelled out 38K for the turbo six and had all dealer maintenance performed. It was intended to be his baby, and to last at least 10 years.

    6 years in, no one noticed the slight but steady drop in coolant level. It ended up migrating through the heat exchanger in the bottom of the radiator, and getting into the transmission. As a result of the lower coolant level, the head gasket blew.

    After all was said and done, the tranny was polluted with coolant with damage to the friction materials, the engine was in need of resurfaced heads, and the car was sold to a rebuilder for something like 4K. It would have needed over 8K in repairs.

    He remarked to me that for the low miles, less than 40K IIRC, it would have been cheaper for him to have rented a car for the duration he owned it.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    Oh, great. The junkyard dog series finally comes around to a car that I own. The exact same, actually. My brother dropped it on me after he decided to be a Hyundai guy. It’s the family commuter/station car now. With 120,000 miles on the clock, the S80 keeps me on edge every time its transmission gets a little whiny, or one of the service lights inexplicably flashes for a couple of days (and then goes out).

    When that twin turbo goes someday, it’s going to be a hella expensive to fix, and thus it WON’T get fixed, and will join all the XCs with blown trannys in the back lot, available for a song. That’ll be too bad. It actually has a solid feel that I like a lot. (Except for the sunken driver’s seat, which now requires the use of a pillow, thus making you look like an old New York cabbie.)

    I’d consider getting a new S80 like my brother’s wife drives, but I’m suspicious of that malady so common to Nordic cars — the mysterious central-command-station boxes deep within. A bunch of functions go through these impenetrable brains. I suppose the boys down at the service department like replacing these precious things, but if the frail gizmos drive people away from the brand, well, then a rethink is in order.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    Weren’t the T6 models known for engine fires? I could’ve sworn I read about garages and houses going up in flames in the middle of the night due to these cars.

  • avatar
    doubleshooter

    Volvo. For Life.

    Always thought their tagline was funny. Not for life but for your life.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Sorry! I should have also included all other fluids needing changed…differential, transmission, etc. The 10-07 have no center diff…it’s all part of the transmission on AWD models. The rear diff also needs regular service when the trans is done. One other part that seems to go prematurely is the master cylinder…on all models using that platform. I’m about to have a second one redone or replaced. I guess that’s why I need all those airbags. LOL

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    After reading these comments I am glad I never owned a Volvo. I will take a Honda any day.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “I’ve heard possible urban legends stating that this engine — yes, it’s possible to get six cylinders sideways in an engine compartment — will bolt up to the bellhousing in a manual-transmission Volvo 760, which opens the door to all sorts of fun with 240 swaps”

    I am not sure about the B6294T, but the 960 has a NA version B6304etc, so there must be something true in that.

    If you want to know for sure, PM me and I’ll check it.

  • avatar

    Volvo’s aren’t the most reliable but they are as tough as old boots. Get that tank fixed up and back on the road where it belongs!

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