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A selection of reports taken from back-issues of the Club's magazine, 'Volvo Driver'.

To keep up to date with these reports join the Club and receive the magazine. Joining will also allow access to the back-catalogue of magazines on this web site.

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New members registration forms continue to arrive at a rate of several a week. Even though all the models in the Register are now obsolete, we probably have the potential to become the largest group in the Club. Certainly, looking at my cars current condition (compared to my old 240 at similar age), they will last many years into the future. Apart from an irritating coolant leak (source unknown), my 760 is running well. Thus, visits to my local dealer are very infrequent. When on holiday however, I do make a point of finding a nearby dealer. Perhaps in case of urgent need! Usually just to collect some new brochures and see what I may be driving in ten years time. This year I found a new accessory leaflet, and found a couple of 'essential' items to buy: a tunnel mat and bag hooks. I know all of you struggling with major mechanical or electrical problems will be laughing at me - but I do like gadgets! Most problems reported to me by members seem to concern poor starting or running. This very often is due to a bad electrical connection somewhere (I once had to 'wriggle' the connector to the air mass sensor unit to resolve a problem), or an air leak - check all parts of the air intake system from the air mass sensor on. A Register specific Internet web page is now on-line, and can be found through the main Club site register page. It will contain useful informa-tion, and specific links to other Internet resources for the Register models. Do let me know what you would like to see. Now with the onset of autumn and winter, my main task is to get the car back into the garage. This is very important for reducing the time it takes for the seat heaters to warm up in the cold mornings! The decision is: wear a coat to keep warm or remain in shirtsleeves and feel the heat sooner?


I am writing this shortly after the National Rally at Stratford, and still 'recovering' from what must have been one of the best in recent years. Certainly many of you were there enjoying the sunshine and the very good turn out in the BKV - well represented by this Section. I had entered my car for the first time, without any great hopes. It was obvious that what gets admiring glances in the office car park does not stand tip against the high standard of the BKV winners! I was pleased to be able to meet and chat with some members even though I hadn't put tip a Section 'stand' as promised. Next year .... ! Before memories of the rally fade, I can't leave unremarked the ad hoc comment of the 'MC' during the prize giving - as a winner with a 700 had left early he suggested that was because of 700 unreliability. As only 700's were shown in the working cars group, I leave you to draw your own conclusions! Finally, a word of thanks to Bob Isaac who masterminded the whole event. He tells me that he's already working on the year 2000 event! It's common for register keepers to give a running commentary on their cars performance - 'unfortunately' my car being so reliable (see comments above!) rarely needs any attention! Most recently a front indicator lamps/ lens assembly fell out. It had started coming out quite frequently - I would hear a banging noise or get flashed by another car and could stop and push it back in. I always intended to fasten a wire to hold it in, but too late as it came out during a fast motorway run and I last saw it in a hundred pieces in my wake. Following a phone call to my local dealer to check that it would be as expensive as imagined, I phoned round some local breakers. One had a replacement, and kindly met me halfway home. I work in Wells but live near Bristol and his shop is near Bath but lives in Exeter. (For reference, the interestingly named Hot Water Go, Tel: 0117 9860226). Is it because they drive Volvos they can live so far from work? Anyway - the moral of this story is not to put things off to another day, as a few weeks after this incident, the other side fell of too! I've created a Register Database, which I'm loading with details from your registration forms (so that's what happens to them!). As you may imagine there's quite a backlog - and probably many of the old ones have long since moved on. I hope to produce some interesting statistics from the database and also use it to log common problems/information to help you. I'm busily constructing a Register Website, and hope that by the time you read this it will be up and running. Go to the main VOC site to find a link. While the intention is not to duplicate other services within the Club, it will have a sale/wants page and 'topics of interest` pages. Send any contributions to me - note only email addresses will be posted unless you specifically request otherwise.


The sun is shining and flowers are starting to bloom; another new arising this Spring/Summer is a new Register Keeper. To those who read Driver from cover to cover, you'll already have noticed my name under the Club Officials list, to the rest let me say 'hello' my name is Paul Wildsmith. The Club Directors have recently appointed me as Register Keeper. Many thanks to Don Chapman who has run this section for the last ten years, and to all those who volunteered for this position. It's good to know there is lots of enthusiasm and willingness to help - attributes I shall expect to call on. Perhaps as an introduction, I should establish my Volvo credentials. First Contact was back in 1975 when my father bought a 1973 144DL. This I got to drive a few times - even before I passed my driving test. After some dalliance with Ford and other marques, I bought my first Volvo in 1982, a 1977 244DL and joined the club shortly afterwards I'm only on my second now' a 1990 740GLE bought in 1992. I'm pleased to say that my father, despite some appalling judgements in the interim, has since had a succession of 740GLE's and now drives a 460GLT. I'm quite keen at DIY, and though the reliability of Volvo's tend to limit work to be done, my annual mileage of circa 20K brings round plenty of maintenance jobs. My paid employment is in the electronics industry - and I work in quality assurance. You'll see in time how this colours my approach to being Register Keeper! In this, my first report, I'll be bold and set out my 'manifesto'. Well - at least some of the ideas I have, and things I'd like to achieve. By all means look back in a few years and remind me what I promised! 1. National Rally - this should be an essential entry in all members diaries. I've attended most over the last 15 .y are always enjoyable years, and the with literally something for everyone. I've never failed to find a bargain or some 'vital' extra to improve the car. This year I hope to set up a small stall' - where I'll leave my wife and son to meet you all, while I'm taking 'just one more' look around. 2. Web page - to all those surfers, I recommend the Club site. It has really come on a lot recently, and is definitely the place of the future. I intend to create a page for this Register, to be the most effective place to swap information. Perhaps someday we can even have a virtual rally! 3. Gathering - there have been many successful register and section events over the years. The trend is to make them less model specific, an event for all members to come and enjoy. I hope to arrange something for later in the year - let me know what you'd like. Details to be in the next Driver and advertised at the National. 4. Report - something in every issue of the Driver.

I've been browsing through back issues of Driver. Here's some Register related facts;

  • Dennis LeWorthy original keeper for a combined 66/300/700 Register
  • Spring 1982 issue of Driver, front page "It's n Exclusive" 760 launch.
  • Spring 1986 - new 700 Register Keeper - Peter Jones
  • Winter 1988 - new 700 Register Keeper - Don Chapman

And finally, I am writing this before taking on all Don's files. But I suspect the Register is probably out of date (do you write in and report a change of car?) (Can I invite all 7/9 owners to ensure they submit a registration form, and in any case let me know what they'd like out of the Register. I look forward to meeting you all at the National and any other events I can get to.


As you may have seen elsewhere in Driver I have decided to stand down, having been 700 series Registrar for some 10 years. This article is therefore by way of a tribute to our 740 GL which has served us so superbly for 11½ years and 112,000 miles so far, and won 14 BKV trophies in the process. The first time the car let us down was a battery failure at about 4 years old. Sad to relate the replacement (Halfords) battery cost about half Volvo price and has so far lasted about twice as long as Volvo's original. The only other item which failed and let us down was the starter motor cable which I wrote about in a previous Driver. Other than these two items, the only replacements have been the usual consumable items. The exhaust has been replaced only once - by a Club stainless steel system. Front and rear brake discs have both been replaced, the rear discs rusted for some reason. I am a great believer in high quality lubrication to reduce wear, and have for several years used Amsoil fully synthetic oils in the engine, automatic transmission, power steering and rear axle. I never use any engine oil filter except genuine Volvo. Tyres are Swedish-made Gislaveds, which are very reasonably priced and perform well. All in all the 740 has proved to be an excellent choice and could hardly have served me better. Anyone interested in assuming the mantle of 700/900 Registrar please contact Technical Director, Jack Cluer.


A question I am often asked by people looking to purchase a 700 is - which model/engine should I go for, and what should I bear in mind when looking at any potential purchase? A few notes may help - comments on engines in particular are derived from a combination of personal experience and contact with members. Engines: the V6 is power-ful, smooth and quiet, but thirsty around town. Regular oil changes, good quality oil and genuine Volvo filters are vital, otherwise oilways can sludge tip resulting in rapid wear to rocker gear. If maximum performance is important, the turbo is the engine to go for. Watch for a smoky exhaust, which could mean blown turbocharger seals, and bear in mind higher insurance costs. When it was introduced in 1982, the VW based diesel engine was very advanced, but has had little or no development over 15 years. The cylinder head sometimes suffers warping or cracking problems, so look very carefully for signs of the engine oil and coolant getting together. The 2.0 litre and 2.3 litre engines are extremely long lasting and reliable units, there are a number in use which have covered over 250,000 miles and up to 400,000 miles. The only (very minor) oil leak suffered by my own engine was from the seal at the rear of the camshaft, which is cheap to replace. Rust seems to present few problems, some panels are galvanised and the amount of galvanised steel used was increased in 1986. A check of all the body panels and if possible the underside of the floor pan is still a good idea. Have a good look at the brake discs. A few years ago there was a spate of front discs warping, but that seems to have passed. Look for scoring of the discs, replacing all 4 discs and the pads is an expensive exercise. Both the manual and automatic transmissions are reliable and long-lasting, so choice of transmission is really a personal matter. Have a good look at the interior - if the seats are badly worn or damaged they will be very expensive to replace. A Dealer service history is clearly desirable, particularly if the car is not known to you.


Due to circumstances I haven't done many miles in our 740 recently less than 3,000 in the last year. An intermittent fault surfaced a few weeks ago which was annoying, but with the benefit of hindsight was also dangerous. The problem was that when the ignition key was turned, all that happened was a faint click from the relay, Usually after several tries with the selector in N and then P positions the engine would start, so there was no great incentive to investigate immediately. Matters came to a head on a Saturday morning trip to Louth; the starter completely refused to function. A long walk to local Volvo Dealers, John Darke, produced a lift back to the car with a Technician, and the car of course started immediately. We then followed the Technician back to the workshop to have a look for the cause of the problem. What the Technician discovered was that the positive and earth leads which go to the starter had, over the years, chafed together until the insulation had worn through causing the two leads to short-circuit, We were lucky with around 300 amps flowing when starting a cold engine, the car could have caught fire. This is apparently not an isolated incident, Volvo issued a bulletin suggesting re-routing of the cables where they run along the front cross. Member. Cars which could be affected are 740 series with petrol engine, without turbocharger up to model year 1990. If your car falls into this category it may be worth your while to have a look at the battery cables. intermittent fault surfaced a few weeks ago which was annoying, but with the benefit of hindsight was also dangerous. The problem was that when the ignition key was turned, all that happened was a faint click from the relay, Usually after several tries with the selector in N and then P positions the engine would start, so there was no great incentive to investigate immediately. Matters came to a head on a Saturday morning trip to Louth; the starter completely refused to function. A long walk to local Volvo Dealers, John Darke, produced a lift back to the car with a Technician, and the car of course started immediately. We then followed the Technician back to the workshop to have a look for the cause of the problem. What the Technician discovered was that the positive and earth leads which go to the starter had, over the years, chafed together until the insulation had worn through causing the two leads to short-circuit, We were lucky with around 300 amps flowing when starting a cold engine, the car could have caught fire. This is apparently not an isolated incident, Volvo issued a bulletin suggesting re-routing of the cables where they run along the front cross-member. Cars which could be affected are 740 series with petrol engine, without turbocharger up to model year 1990. If your car falls into this category it may be worth your while to have a look at the battery cables.


Oone of the jobs I recently carried out on our 740 was to change the coolant (should be changed every 2 years). When draining the coolant, the heater control should be set to hot. On the B230 engine the coolant is drained at two points:

1) the drain tap situated towards the rear of the cylinder block on the right hand side,

2) the bottom hose is disconnected from the radiator - this will probably necessitate removing the two screws securing the fan cowling, so that it can be moved to give access to the hose clip. The cooling system can then be flushed with clean water if required.

Coolant capacity of the B230 engine, say Volvo, is 8.5 litres. This should be a 50/50 mixture of Volvo coolant and clean water. This will give optimum corrosion protection, particularly of the aluminium alloy parts of the engine, and frost protection down to -30°C. I find the system always airlocks, so it's a good idea to measure the coolant as you pour it in, so al roast you know the size of the airlock. After filling the system, start the engine and run it for about five minutes to disperse any trapped air. Keep a careful eye on the coolant level and be ready to top it up as the air escapes and the level drops. Plain water should never be used for topping up (except of course in an emergency) so it's a good idea to keep some 50/50 coolant/water mixture topping up if necessary.


A fellow carvanning section Member, Terry, recently told me of a problem with his 740. Smoke issued from the fuse box, and inspection revealed that the plastic fuse box around one of the fuses (can't remember which one) had melted. In spite of this the fuse had not blown. I always believed that fuses were intended 'to prevent the car incinerating itself in the event of an electrical problem - had Terry not been in the car at the time the consequences could have been disastrous. Are some of Volvo's fuses of too high a rating, I have not heard of this exact problem occurring before, but we had a similar one some time ago. In our case the plastic around the headlamp relay melted and caused the headlamps to stop working. Again, no fuse blew. I would very much like to hear from any members who have suffered similar problems, preferably with cause and cure it known, electrics are not my favourite subject. Our 740's mileage has dropped to around 5,000 a year at the moment due to the use of an Escort diesel pool car. No power steering, very little power, but it does achieve over 82 mph. Discussing this with Caravan Section Chairman Danny Danks, at the National, he informed me that his 400 diesel returns more than 70 mpg. Certainly helps to overturn the widely held view of Volvos being thirsty beasts.


Looking through the most recent 180 or so register forms, I noticed that the 700 outnumbered the 900 by around 4 to 1. Since the 700 has been out of production for several years I find this rather surprising - why do we attract the owners of more 'well used' cars rather than brand new ones? Insurance renewal reared its ugly head in February, but after several years of spiralling cost, the trend seems to be downward somewhat. In our case a reduction of probably 30% over the last 2-3 years. This year I got six quotations, which varied quite widely, happily two companies who advertise in Driver, Chris Knott and Sun Alliance were best. A couple of companies advertising on television were least competitive. A point to be kept in mind at all times is your Duty of Disclosure. You MUST inform your Insurance Company if your car is modified from standard. My only modifications are a radio, mudflaps and towing gear and although mentioned were obviously of no concern. Engine and suspension modifications, bodystyling kits or non-standard wheels could be a very different story. I also read recently in a Motoring Magazine that after market cruise control for some reason can make a car uninsureable with some companies. A friend of my son fitted estate-type side windows to his Escort van, and his insurance was immediately cancelled. It's best to speak to your insurance company before you carry out modifications, it could save a lot of inconvenience and expense later; if you don't mention modifications at all, you could easily be disowned after an accident. It does not pay to take chances with insurance.


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