Good buy or not? - njgleeds
Hi everyone

I have the chance of a 2006 V70 D5 SE Sport with about 130k on the clock for around £7000 direct from a fleet whose manager I know.
I'm thinking of using it to replace my current taxi, which I use mainly on days doing local contract and airport runs etc, and also quite a bit of long distance motorway driving in my private time.
I was originally looking at either a A6 Avant, C class Merc estate or a V70 D5, aged around 2004 with probably 70-80k miles to fit my budget but this particular one has caught my eye. Obviously the mileage is high but it has a full dealer history and is the right spec. I intend to keep it forever, putting on around 45k a year for the next 4 years and then to the wife for the school run etc.
Anyone got any thoughts? Whatever I have has to be very comfortable, quite wide (to match my physique!!) and reasonably economical (plus be an estate).
I know I should buy a Mondeo but we have quite a few requests for 'premium' cars on jobs, hence the reason for my shortlist.

Thanks in anticipation...

NJGLeeds

ps I do all my own servicing/repair work wherever possible as a keen(ish) car restorer in the little spare time I have left, so the labour aspect of running costs is irrelevant.
Good buy or not? - oldnotbold
"the labour aspect of running costs is irrelevant" - only if you can actually do them, of course. Plenty in some mfr's cars that an amateur can not do without the computer etc.
Good buy or not? - TheOilBurner
Sounds like it would fit the bill very well. If you do get one, just check that the EGR Mixer Plenum chamber isn't all coked up. They do get gunged up and dealers rarely check them.

Nothing major to worry about with these, just be aware that even doing the work yourself there are many things like engine mounts etc that don't last all that long and aren't that cheap even just for the parts.

I assume it will be a manual gearbox? An auto will need regular auto oil flushes (£100+ just for the special transmission oil if you do it yourself, it needs 3309 spec which is pricey) for taxi work and will struggle to make 30mpg.
Good buy or not? - njgleeds
Hi,
Yes,it is a manual. I know some things need more advanced diagnostics but a friend has a Launch X431 tool in his workshop should the need arise.
To be honest, its just the mileage already which concerns me but if it only had 90k, I wouldn't think twice. Daft or what??
Good buy or not? - Mapmaker
If you can buy a 5-year-old Mondeo for £1-2k, is the extra 5-6k cost of the Volvo worth it for the 'premium' jobs you are likely to pick up?
Good buy or not? - DP
I bought a high mileage petrol S60 (similar mechanically to the V70) and these things shrug off miles like no car I've ever owned before. 132k now on the clock, everything works, no squeaks or rattles, and still glides along in complete comfort. Goes like stink when I need it to, yet does anything up to 39 mpg when I don't. Beautifully engineered, constructed and finished cars.

I bought it with a worn top engine mount (common, but cheap/easy to do), and it had one episode where it didn't want to start from cold (never repeated). That's been it over the 8,000 miles I've done in it, apart from the headlamp bulb which popped on the way into work this morning. Damn DRLs!

Cheers
DP

Edited by DP on 08/08/2008 at 16:09

Good buy or not? - gmac
Check and make sure the belts have been done at 96k miles.
Top engine mount, as DP mentioned, bottom bushes (the car will wander around when pulling up on pitted roads if these are worn) and drop links are about it on these.
You will go through front tyres even if you are not a fast driver. 400NM torque and FWD do not make for long tyre life.
Take a test drive too. You might not appreciate the untaxilike turning circle.

Edited by gmac on 08/08/2008 at 16:34

Good buy or not? - njgleeds
Many thanks for all the replies...

If you can buy a 5-year-old Mondeo for £1-2k, is the extra 5-6k cost of the Volvo worth it for the 'premium' jobs you are likely to pick up?

Not if it was just for the jobs but in reality, I need something no more than 4 years old for licensing purposes and as much as anything, it's the reputed comfort which attracts me as I spend on average 70+ hours a week behind the wheel.
Also, it will hopefully stand up to the wear and tear better than the Mondeo which a lot of my colleagues have had no end of problems with once they hit 100k plus.

Does the price sound about right? The only one I can find in the same spec and year but with only(!) 60k on the clock is up at £15.5k with a dealer.

I was originally looking for an automatic but the fuel consumption is the main issue. Has anyone else on here got any experience of figures with a 163bhp/geartronic combo considering mileage is split about 50/50 with town driving/long distance motorway cruising. My current cab averages about 44mpg on this combination (pug HDi) and I don't want to drop too far below this. I know TheOilBurner estimates circa 30mpg but is this just on stop start local driving only?

Thanks, NJGLeeds

Good buy or not? - gmac
Have a look on autotrader. There is a 2005 car with only 31k on the clock for 8993. Must be something wrong or the wrong car for that dealer though as all the others at that price are straddeling the 96k mile cambelt change.

I thought by 2006 the D5's were 185bhp. The 163's were 2.4D. The 163bhp D5's were replaced in the summer of 2005.
Good buy or not? - njgleeds
Hi gmac

You're right... the one I've been offered is the 185bhp model but I was originally looking for a 2004/05 model which would be the avenue to go down if I decided on the geartronic option.

Thanks, NJGLeeds
Good buy or not? - TheOilBurner
>>I know TheOilBurner estimates circa 30mpg but is this just on stop start
local driving only?


Not exactly. 30-35mpg on the trip computer with a Euro III 163bhp D5 auto. The real figure tends to be about 2-3mpg less than the computer anyway.

That's with 2-3 days a week 5 mile round trip town driving and 1 day a week 70 mile motorway commute. If I use the car for weekend family duties it improves by a couple of mpg or so.

Back when I did nothing but cruise up and down motorways I used to get low 40s on the computer.

As to the cambelt fuss, I can't see the problem either. If anything, buy one that needs a cambelt change at 96k, negotiate a good discount and then get it done at an indy Volvo specialist for £150. No big deal at all.
I don't agree with the premise that they tend to snap early either. If anything, they seem less likely to snap than some other brands with much shorter change intervals (*cough* VW *cough*), according to the indy specialist I know.

Absolutely no reason to get it done at a Volvo dealer either unless your nearest specialist is a long way away and you don't trust any old garage to get it done.
Good buy or not? - ex-Triumph man
If you are going to do a higher than average mileage, I would suggest regular rotation of the wheels/tyres - front to back. If your V70 has the 185 bhp engine, you will be looking at 10-12k miles MAX on the fronts. Might be worth asking previuous owner how he found tyre wear and what tyres he found best for durability. I personally found Michelin outlasted Pirellis by a long margin.
Good buy or not? - prm72
njgleeds, I have owned an 05 s60 D5 (165 bhp) geartronic for 3 months, i've covered 11000 miles doing 70% motorway 30% rural and london traffic, and i'm getting 45mpg which is fantastic for an auto, im also well pleased with the car.
Good buy or not? - pd
£7k is bang on trade price so a decent deal. Nothing much to add to what people have already said except that although people keep banging on about the cambelt it is a not a major job or expense.

The parts are about £95 from Eurocarparts or similar and a decent mechanic can do it in an hour or so. It is a £150 job - less than two fill ups.

An auto will do 45mpg on a run but mid-30's around town - no higher.
Good buy or not? - pd
Just to add, V70's tend to average anout 4-5mpg less than S60's in D5 guise driven in the same manner. A bit of extra weight and less aerodynamic does it. A S60 D5 can do 55mpg on a motorway run at a decent speed even in automatic guise.
Good buy or not? - gmac
£7k is bang on trade price so a decent deal. Nothing much to add to
what people have already said except that although people keep banging on about the cambelt
it is a not a major job or expense.
The parts are about £95 from Eurocarparts or similar and a decent mechanic can do
it in an hour or so. It is a £150 job - less than two
fill ups.


Why would you pay that price then scrap the FSH with aftermarket parts. A Volvo at that mileage is only worth anything with a FSH or a known independants stamp with genuine parts fitted.

I have an S60 D5 Sport manual, only ever seen 51mpg with my wife driving at 50mph on deserted A roads. This car has covered 46k miles so it may losen up a bit yet, but I doubt it, and I had the plenum chamber off last year and cleaned out.
Good buy or not? - pd
The parts from a Volvo dealer are not a lot, if anything, more and they are the same parts anyway.

A cambelt is not a service - Volvo dealers do not actually change the cambelt at the 96k service unless asked so even a stamp from a Volvo dealer is no guarentee the cambelt has been done.

Anyway, a main dealer will only charge about £250 so I can't see why people make such a fuss about it. A pre-2006 S60 D5 should be able to do 55 without too much effort - a later D5 or 2.4D with the Eu4 tends to average a little less.

Edited by pd on 10/08/2008 at 23:05

Good buy or not? - gmac
A cambelt is not a service - Volvo dealers do not actually change the cambelt
at the 96k service unless asked so even a stamp from a Volvo dealer is
no guarentee the cambelt has been done.
Anyway a main dealer will only charge about £250 so I can't see why people
make such a fuss about it.


People fuss about it because as you said "Volvo dealers do not actually change the cambelt at the 96k service unless asked". It is not unknown for them to snap (even at lower mileages - see VOC forum for evidence) and if they do, it can result in a 5k bill to repair. Personally I'd want to see the see the service receipt and the sticker under the bonnet to confirm it had been done if the seller is claiming a Full Volvo Service History.
Good buy or not? - pd
That's the problem - a car can honestly claim a full Volvo service history and not have had a cambelt change because Volvo dealers do not include it in the service.

As you say there should be a sticker regardless of whether done by Volvo or an independent.

Either way, it would not be a deal breaker IMO. Just get it changed if not sure.
Good buy or not? - DP
a car can honestly claim a full Volvo service history and not have had a cambelt change >> because Volvo dealers do not include it in the service.


If that's the case, they're blatantly ignoring the checksheets.

The Volvo service checksheets in the service history for my S60 specifically instruct "timing belt - renew", "belt tensioner - renew" in the service items to be carried out "every 96,000 miles". It even mentions application of the sticker as a specific checklist item. The car formerly belonged to a friend who had this service done at a Volvo dealer, and the belt was just changed as a standard item for this service. He didn't need to ask.

On mine, the sticker is on the black box (I guess it's a fusebox) between the power steering reservoir and the o/s headlight. Has the date and mileage that the change was done.

Most third party belt kits come with a similar sticker.

Cheers
DP
Good buy or not? - pd
I've lost count how many Volvo's I've seen with a perfectly stamped service book but no cambelt change (and not just Volvo either). Many dealers do not do it unless specifically asked and I agree it is on the checklist.

About 80% of Volvo D5's are lease cars of one sort or another and these seem particularly bad at doing it.

From mid-2005 the change interval is specified at 108k btw.
Good buy or not? - DP
I wonder if this is some kind of instruction from the lease companies. It's a big bill right at the end of the car's term, which makes good business sense to avoid if at all possible. It's quite common for lease cars to have a 100k "cut off", so they probably gamble the remaining 3,000 miles in order to save about £300 a car. A lot of money in the context of fleet sizes.

If it weren't for the possible safety / litigation implications, they probably wouldn't bother having the service done at all.

I would imagine on a Volvo, that 3k "overrun" is a fairly safe gamble.

My old Focus (100k interval) was outed a handful of miles before the 100k service became due, so the belt change was someone else's problem.

Cheers
DP
Good buy or not? - pd
I doubt they worry about litigation or safety - there is many a lease car which does 100k and never has a service. It depends more on the diligence of the driver and the type of contract.

I've seen ex-lease cars with 130k and no cambelt change and some private ones too.

Basically, it's not a big job so if you buy a 100k+ Volvo and there is no evidence of the belt change get it changed regardles of a 96k or 108k service stamp would be my advice.
Good buy or not? - DP
True, but there's a difference between a car not being serviced because its keeper couldn't be bothered / forgot, and one where the keeper asked for it to be done and the lease company refused. Particularly if an accident occurs later on, and safety defects on the car come to light.

Your advice is of course spot, and applies to any cambelt equipped used car. Invoices and engine compartment labels are far more reliable evidence than stamps which can be bought / forged for peanuts online if you know where to look.


Good buy or not? - njgleeds
Hi everyone

First of all, thanks for everyones comments... I've been away for a couple of days and only just got back to the PC. You've helped me to make my mind up regarding the manual/auto decision, I am going to have a look at the '06 185bhp manual in the next couple of days and will report back then.
Thanks also for bringing it to my attention that it may not have had a belt change as part of the history... Unless I find concrete proof that it has been done (assuming I purchase it in the first place) then it's straight to the dealers for the cam kit and back home with the spanners out.
Regarding the point of keeping the FSH intact at the dealers, it doesn't really matter once I've got my mits on it as like I explained, it will be run for several years until practically worthless anyway before being presented to SWMBO for school run duties (or in fact, college run duties by then!).
Once again, thank you everyone for your kind input... I'll keep you posted!

Yours, NJGLeeds
Good buy or not? - TheOilBurner
Good luck. Just check on the manuals that the gear change is smooth and noise free. My 2001 V70 needed the input shaft re-greasing - way too expensive to get done but annoying to live with the sometimes poor gear change in certain gears. Might not be a problem on newer 6 speed boxes, but worth paying attention to, just in case.

Also, don't write off the Euro III 163bhp D5. I've been driving a 2008 S80 185 D5 recently and found the engine a little noisy (in an unpleasant way) at lower speeds compared to the old unit, although incredibly smooth and quiet when cruising on the motorway. The new D5 also comes with a DPF and higher pressure injectors, all of which *might* be worth avoiding if long term reliability is your aim, depending on your view of these things.

Fuel economy was much worse with the new D5 too, even with the 6 speed box. This could be because the engine wasn't run in yet or because of the DPF re-generation and the extra weight in the latest S80 compared to the old one.
The performance of the new D5 was a little better than the old one, but not so that most people would be bothered either way.

Note that the Euro IV 2.4D (163bhp) is not the same as the Euro III D5 (163bhp), the newer 2.4D is a detuned 185bhp D5.
Good buy or not? - gmac
On mine the sticker is on the black box (I guess it's a fusebox) between
the power steering reservoir and the o/s headlight. Has the date and mileage that the
change was done.


That box is the ECU. Take the cover off and you will see the blades/slots.
There are two slots in there, manual cars have just the one blade.
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car