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850 has become gutless

urbanwheeler

Active member
Joined
Mar 1, 2008
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
On my trip down to southern California, I noticed the car would smoke when climbing hills in 3rd gear (around 4500 rpm). I could see a smoke in the driver side mirror, and I am assuming its oil smoke considering the mileage (210,000) and the amount of oil it consumes (between a quart to a quart and a half every tank). Then, when I was down in Camarillo visiting my aunt and uncle, one of the front calipers started to leak, making a small pool under the driver side front wheel (not related to its gutlessness). Then, when coming back to Santa Cruz, the car was very inefficient on gas (got about 93 miles from a half tank), and it makes a very loud bogging noise above 3000 rpm, and it got passed by a 4 cylinder 4wd toyota truck :-P(a slow, 110hp vehicle) on a grade. I have 2 questions: 1, does anyone know what would make it start smoking and sluggish in such a short amount of time? (it only smokes at high rpms climbing hills), and 2, is it worth it to put more money into one of these, or should I sell it while it still runs and cut my losses while I am still ahead?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
 
On my trip down to southern California, I noticed the car would smoke when climbing hills in 3rd gear (around 4500 rpm). I could see a smoke in the driver side mirror, and I am assuming its oil smoke considering the mileage (210,000) and the amount of oil it consumes (between a quart to a quart and a half every tank). Then, when I was down in Camarillo visiting my aunt and uncle, one of the front calipers started to leak, making a small pool under the driver side front wheel (not related to its gutlessness). Then, when coming back to Santa Cruz, the car was very inefficient on gas (got about 93 miles from a half tank), and it makes a very loud bogging noise above 3000 rpm, and it got passed by a 4 cylinder 4wd toyota truck :-P(a slow, 110hp vehicle) on a grade. I have 2 questions: 1, does anyone know what would make it start smoking and sluggish in such a short amount of time? (it only smokes at high rpms climbing hills), and 2, is it worth it to put more money into one of these, or should I sell it while it still runs and cut my losses while I am still ahead?

Any help would be greatly appreciated


Theres your problem right there. You shouldn't have a smoke in the drivers side mirror. No seriously though, is the smoke blue, black or white? Turbo 850 or non? Is there coolant in your oil (pull cap, look in for milky substance). There are a ton of things that could make your car smoke.
210xxx isn't a reason your car would be smoking, lack of maitance/care would over time. How long have you had this car? Is stage 0 done? Hows her service history (timing belt changes, pvc system clean/replace)? Baisically need more info on the actual car.
Mike
 
Sorry about the lack of info on the car, I was kinda tired when I posted it. It is a 1993 Volvo 850 with a 5 speed manual, and is a non turbo motor. I will have owned it 1 year on the 20th of this month. I have put about 22,000 on it since I bought it last year. I replaced the timing belt when I first got it, and changed the motor oil between 4-6k miles (it burned about a half quart a tank when I bought it, so I would constantly be adding oil whenever the low oil light would come on). So far I have replaced the flame trap, all the motor mounts, and other basic maintenance stuff like brake pads and such. I cleaned the egr and throttle body when I got the car. It started to smoke (bluish white smoke) a few weeks ago when I was climbing a steep mountain road, and stopped to take a picture at the top of the hill. I started it back up, and it ran on 4 cylinders for a couple of seconds, and made a cloud of blue oil smoke. It doesn't smoke all the time, just when it is at high rpms when climbing hills. But here is the part I don't understand: it has begun to make a loud airbox bogging sound when I rev it past 3,000 rpm when climbing hills, and it doesn't have nearly the power it once had.
 
I took the car out for a drive today, and it ran really good, with good power and such. But then when I stopped to get more oil at the auto parts store, and added more oil, it made a puff of oil smoke upon start up. Then I got on the freeway, and it was back to bogging and being gutless. I think it is a combination of worn parts (most likely valve stem seals) and the engine management/sensors, although the check engine light hasn't come on, and the last time I checked it (1 month ago), it didn't throw any codes. I think I will check the codes again right now.
 
My last car (suzuki sidekick) had the cat clog on it, but it was an obd zero car, so I took the cat off and cleared it out. It smelled like a lawnmower afterwards, but at least it would do the speed limit. I think my Volvo has the oxygen sensor after the cat, so I cant take it off, but if it is clogged, I will have to replace it, or sell the car, depending on my situation (I am not selling it because it has a few quirks, but because I am planning on moving to Scotland or Ireland, and can't take it with me).
 
You're not getting a check engine light - I'd suspect the engine internals - and although not often mentioned here in the threads - bad rings, and/or head gasket. You definitely have a serious internal engine problem imo and ditching it may be your only option next to swapping out the engine on it.
 
That is probably what I am going to do. Tomorrow, I will check the compression and such. It probably wouldn't be too efficient for me to put a new engine in it if I am trying to save up to move.;-)
 
You're not getting a check engine light - I'd suspect the engine internals - and although not often mentioned here in the threads - bad rings, and/or head gasket. You definitely have a serious internal engine problem imo and ditching it may be your only option next to swapping out the engine on it.

that is why I inquired about coolant in the oil and colour of smoke out tail pipe. This to me sounds serious to a degree (depending on the tim/money you plan to invest) Have you checked the engines compression?
Mike
 
See that low oil light is actually a low oil pressure light. When it's on your bearings can be getting damaged. It doesn't measure oil level in the engine.
 
See that low oil light is actually a low oil pressure light. When it's on your bearings can be getting damaged. It doesn't measure oil level in the engine.

It has an orange "low oil level" light that comes on when it is about a half quart low, and it has the oil pressure light on the other side of the dash, which is red. I will take a picture of it. But, when I start it in the mornings when it is cold, it takes the oil pressure light anywhere between a second to turn off, to ten seconds to turn off (it has stayed on long enough to where I would stop the motor, check the oil level (it was full) and restart it). Also, the hydraulic lifters make noise when it is cold, more so now than it did before. I think the oil pump may have seen better days, as it takes a while to build pressure.

I checked the compression, and it is as follows from the timing cover to the right:

cyl 1: 218, cyl 2: 218, cyl 3:190, cyl 4: 193, cyl 5:195

The spark plugs were all the same color (white crusty color, possible lean burn)

850dashlights.jpg
 
weird never seen that on my S70.

compression doesn't look so even, plus your oil pressure should go out almost instantly. my 137k s70 is running 5w-40 fully synth and the light goes out almost as soon as it cranks
 
See that low oil light is actually a low oil pressure light. When it's on your bearings can be getting damaged. It doesn't measure oil level in the engine.
Yikes. I thought it was oil level. That thing's on in my 850. Need to go do some @#$# checking now.
 
well since there's no turbo to lose oil out of, and the compression isn't bad enough as it appears to cause cylinder ignition failure, I'm guessing that there may be fuel management problems at times that is causing the engine to run too rich under certain load/rpm conditions... it would at least account for some of the really bad mileage and bogging down you're experiencing - (as well as some of the smoke?).
 
most likely the level thing was just for the introductory year. i check my oil enough on any car i've owned to never need one.

if the hydro tappets are taking along to pump up etc i'd be looking at hooking an oil pressure gauge to the warning light port and seeing whats up. but then with all those problems and the very uneven compression i'd just swap the engine anyway. there cheap enough now
 
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