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> Buying '97 960, Requesting Thoughts?
ten20
post Jan 28 2013, 08:20 PM
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Drives: 1997 Volvo 960



Hi,

I'm a new user here, I hope I'm posting to the appropriate forum. Thanks for anyone with time to offer their thoughts.

I'm looking at a '97 960 Volvo sedan with 122,000 miles and new tires (less than 1k miles old), regular oil changes, smogged last week, full records and all features working, that belongs to a customer of my Volvo mechanic who I really trust. The person is selling it for $4,400. I know very little about cars, and don't know if this is too cliche but I looked it up on kbb, and it seems like the absolute highest it should sell for is $3,500-$4,000. But I don't know if that takes the new tires into account?

I've got an appt for my mechanic to fully inspect the car this Wednesday morning, for $180. I'm unsure and would appreciate advice regarding the following:

a) Is getting it inspected a waste of $? The seller already has all the records and is willing to share them (I'm not sure if that's before or after the sale, but I'd think if she's willing to have it inspected, she'd be fine with letting me look at her records).

(IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif) Is there any way that $4,400 is a fair price? If not, what is an honest fair price for it, if it passes inspection fairly flawlessly? (I don't want to make an insulting offer, but obviously saving $400-$900 would be really helpful.

c) The owner (the guy I trust most at the shop) is less involved with the shop now. In the past when I asked him about purchasing other customers' cars, he has said he'd be able to talk down the seller by a few hundred. I think he'd probably do likewise here if he thought it priced too high, but given that he's there less often, I happened to speak to another staff member today, who seemed highly reticent to be involved at all.

I understand obviously that good boundaries should be observed, but I got the feeling they are more inclined to side with the other client, who has been their client for fifteen years, vs my one year, and who undoubtedly has spent a lot more $ with them. I know having an inspection is supposed to help me negotiate better, but I'm concerned whether they might not be fully honest about any flaws/older parts (the owner definitely would be), and just whether it would be better for me to ask up front if they'd lower it by $400, rather than spending $180 and then negotiating?


Thanks for thoughts on any part of this, if there's anything you think I'm excessively worrying about feel free to let me know, or any particular features of the car I should ask after, I really appreciate the advice!
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bagger
post Feb 9 2013, 06:09 PM
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Drives: 1998 Volvo S90



QUOTE (ten20 @ Jan 28 2013, 08:20 PM)
Hi,

I'm a new user here, I hope I'm posting to the appropriate forum. Thanks for anyone with time to offer their thoughts.
I'm looking at a '97 960 Volvo sedan with 122,000 miles and new tires (less than 1k miles old), regular oil changes, smogged last week, full records and all features working, that belongs to a customer of my Volvo mechanic who I really trust. The person is selling it for $4,400. I know very little about cars, and don't know if this is too cliche but I looked it up on kbb, and it seems like the absolute highest it should sell for is $3,500-$4,000. But I don't know if that takes the new tires into account?


Did you buy the car?
I sold February 7th a 1998 white Volvo S90 with 176,000 miles for $2800. Cosmetically, mechanically and interior were very good condition,
The first day I put a For Sale sign on it and drove it into work, someone wanted the car and we negotiated to the price of $2800. Had I advertised it on Craigslist, newspaper, internet, Ebay, I feel I could have got $3400 for it.
It had within the past 10,000 miles had struts, shocks, brake pads, ball joint, inner and outer tie rod ends, and sway bar end links
And in the same month I bought a 1998 silver S90 with 156,000 miles for $3400. The car needed and I installed brake discs / pads all four wheels, struts, shocks, ball joints and sway bar end links and new tires. I'm going to change the fuel filter.

I suggest you run a Carfax. Carfax will tell you how many owners, odometer, servicing, accidents, flood damage and other useful information.
With 122,000 miles on the car your considering, in 18,000 miles you will have to change the timing belt and parts about a $600 job parts & labor.
Dealers expect more for the car than private sellers. From a private seller, in excellent condition cosmetically, mechanically and interior wise $3200-$3400 is a fair price IMHO.
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AlaskanPrincess
post Feb 15 2013, 04:16 AM
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I suspect you've already made your decision...but in case you haven't, or in case you're still looking, I'll add some data and suggestions.
I've found Edmunds.com to offer more realistic pricing; you, or others, may agree or disagree with that - again, just my experience. I used their appraisal on '97 960 sdn (no options added; entered color as white, condition as clean) and used Lakeside/Santee, CA. as location/area. It gives 3 values: Trade-in ($1834); Private party ($2421); and Dealer Retail ($3401) with note that vehicle isn't eligible for (dealer) certification. http://www.edmunds.com/volvo/960/1997/tmv-...se-results.html
As far as mechanic - yep, possibly in a pickle of a situation: what does he/they do when 'in the middle' of 2 customers? If there IS an issue and they make you aware of it, they likely lose the seller's business. I'm a proponent of pre-purchase, independent inspection, but $180? Wow! If you're shelling that much out for an inspection you need to be relatively certain you're going to buy. Do you have a car knowledgeable friend who can help you with 'pre-screening' process?
I've been looking at cars, and initially did things 'backwards.' Now..I'd suggest, look vehicle up at Edmunds.com so you learn what's standard and what were options, and get idea of value. (This will give you some idea of some questions that need to be asked...often you'll have trouble getting value/s because it's common for seller to only include minimal details in an ad. "Buyer beware" - owner of 850 I considered listed it as 'well maintained' it was only when I specifically asked about A/C and did it work, that I found out a/C and heat did NOT work. Research indicated MAJOR problems, heater core, etc., and seller agreed that my research had been 'right on.' My geographic location doesn't lend itself to my just popping over somewhere for test drives...I need to do major screening ahead of time.)
Look up complaints, investigations, recalls at Traffic Safety website. (Will also give you more questions to ask seller...)
Go to Volvo forums (this one, and the old RPR-USA Swedish Brick boards) and look up known problems/issues. It's also my experience that every year/model has quirks/issues. IF you don't find any, do just what you did here - ask! And...read...read...read....you'll learn a lot about Volvos from these forums.
Carfax is another tool - altho' it seems reporters will be primarily dealers, and national chains. It's likely seller who has used a small, independent garage or shop will NOT have reported to Carfax. And, that still doesn't tell you what WASN'T done. (You have to get familiar with service/maintenance/repair requirements/schedules and common issues!)
Then of course there's the test drive! Have a list of things to inspect, and questions to ask. Don't overlook anything! (I almost blew off 'picky' stuff until I reminded myself...some of Volvo's minor stuff can be real spendy! Cup holders (often broken) - list for about $150. Ext. light lens covers - often lens can't be replaced, you have to replace ENTIRE light assembly (cost of part..and labor!) So, what should be 'minor' can burn thru $500 - $1,000 real fast. Odometers commonly fail (break) so even it it's working, ask if it has EVER broken, or has ever been repaired! (And read elsewhere in forums about how to check/verify mileage other than by odometer reading!)
Lastly - seriously look at RWD vs. FWD vs. AWD...and decide if you prefer one over the other. It may not matter to you. (My experiences, again, have been that FWD is costlier to maintain...but if you buy a RWD that has MAJOR issues, such as evaporator, stuck front seats, and heater core...the fact that's it's RWD pales into comparison of what the repairs will cost (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) ,In that situation, a well-maintained FWD that's had all the 'known issues' repaired/replaced would probably be a better buy. I'm assuming you (like me) have to pay a mechanic.
Always, always, ALWAYS, ask about replacement of the timing belt (and associated parts, including water pump!)
I love Volvos but they are not all created equal! Good luck and pls post about your Volvo after you buy it!
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danielm85948
post Feb 15 2013, 08:44 AM
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QUOTE (AlaskanPrincess @ Feb 15 2013, 05:16 AM)
I suspect you've already made your decision...but in case you haven't, or in case you're still looking, I'll add some data and suggestions.
I've found Edmunds.com to offer more realistic pricing; you, or others, may agree or disagree with that - again, just my experience. I used their appraisal on '97 960 sdn (no options added; entered color as white, condition as clean) and used Lakeside/Santee, CA. as location/area. It gives 3 values: Trade-in ($1834); Private party ($2421); and Dealer Retail ($3401) with note that vehicle isn't eligible for (dealer) certification. http://www.edmunds.com/volvo/960/1997/tmv-...se-results.html
As far as mechanic - yep, possibly in a pickle of a situation: what does he/they do when 'in the middle' of 2 customers? If there IS an issue and they make you aware of it, they likely lose the seller's business. I'm a proponent of pre-purchase, independent inspection, but $180? Wow! If you're shelling that much out for an inspection you need to be relatively certain you're going to buy. Do you have a car knowledgeable friend who can help you with 'pre-screening' process?
I've been looking at cars, and initially did things 'backwards.' Now..I'd suggest, look vehicle up at Edmunds.com so you learn what's standard and what were options, and get idea of value. (This will give you some idea of some questions that need to be asked...often you'll have trouble getting value/s because it's common for seller to only include minimal details in an ad. "Buyer beware" - owner of 850 I considered listed it as 'well maintained' it was only when I specifically asked about A/C and did it work, that I found out a/C and heat did NOT work. Research indicated MAJOR problems, heater core, etc., and seller agreed that my research had been 'right on.' My geographic location doesn't lend itself to my just popping over somewhere for test drives...I need to do major screening ahead of time.)
Look up complaints, investigations, recalls at Traffic Safety website. (Will also give you more questions to ask seller...)
Go to Volvo forums (this one, and the old RPR-USA Swedish Brick boards) and look up known problems/issues. It's also my experience that every year/model has quirks/issues. IF you don't find any, do just what you did here - ask! And...read...read...read....you'll learn a lot about Volvos from these forums.
Carfax is another tool - altho' it seems reporters will be primarily dealers, and national chains. It's likely seller who has used a small, independent garage or shop will NOT have reported to Carfax. And, that still doesn't tell you what WASN'T done. (You have to get familiar with service/maintenance/repair requirements/schedules and common issues!)
Then of course there's the test drive! Have a list of things to inspect, and questions to ask. Don't overlook anything! (I almost blew off 'picky' stuff until I reminded myself...some of Volvo's minor stuff can be real spendy! Cup holders (often broken) - list for about $150. Ext. light lens covers - often lens can't be replaced, you have to replace ENTIRE light assembly (cost of part..and labor!) So, what should be 'minor' can burn thru $500 - $1,000 real fast. Odometers commonly fail (break) so even it it's working, ask if it has EVER broken, or has ever been repaired! (And read elsewhere in forums about how to check/verify mileage other than by odometer reading!)
Lastly - seriously look at RWD vs. FWD vs. AWD...and decide if you prefer one over the other. It may not matter to you. (My experiences, again, have been that FWD is costlier to maintain...but if you buy a RWD that has MAJOR issues, such as evaporator, stuck front seats, and heater core...the fact that's it's RWD pales into comparison of what the repairs will cost (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) ,In that situation, a well-maintained FWD that's had all the 'known issues' repaired/replaced would probably be a better buy. I'm assuming you (like me) have to pay a mechanic.
Always, always, ALWAYS, ask about replacement of the timing belt (and associated parts, including water pump!)
I love Volvos but they are not all created equal! Good luck and pls post about your Volvo after you buy it!

you would be better with a volvo 940 than a 960 they have gearbox and engine trouble like a cracked head and over heating.
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mlarrycw3
post Sep 7 2013, 09:29 PM
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Location: Georgia USA
Drives: 2004 Volvo V70 2.5T



Transmission Repair History of a 1996 Volvo 960 Purchased in August 2013

My brother had the opportunity to buy a 96 Volvo 960 wagon for a good price but it had some serious electro/mechanical problems. Sorting them out was beyond his technical ability but I am a long time Volvo owner and have kept Volvo's running since 1965. So I thought it was worth taking a chance on buying it. It had 175K on the odometer and the engine had supposedly been changed sometime recently, the rest of the history was not known.

I conferred with a expert Volvo mechanic about the flashing shift light, the check engine light and the P0733 and P0715 code. He confirmed what I had read about the transmission being pretty durable so I felt it was possible it wasn't totally shot. He leaned toward the solenoids in the transmission as a possible problem (along with the PNP switch or computer). He loaned me a Volvo transmission manual that detailed everything, and on a later trip, he also printed the specifications for the TCU and what the outputs should be and what the solenoids should be seeing signal wise. All these components can be checked to determine if the are functioning correctly.

The 960 would not shift out of park and when in park did not lock the transmission, in addition the emergency brake was not working. The check engine light was on and the shift arrow on the dash was flashing along with the lights on the E/S/W switch. The speedometer DID work correctly. When placing the car in gear the motor would race but the transmission would not engage in any gear. I knew absolutely nothing about the 960 but after doing some research found that it was a pretty good car and well built.

My brother bought the car for $800.00 and I attempted to drive it home so I could work on it. It actually went into reverse and then drive (confirming that the problem was intermittent in nature), and off we went, after about 3 miles it started to lose power, the engine was running but the transmission acted like it was in neutral, I pulled off the road and turned off the ignition and then restarted it putting it in Drive and off I went again for about a mile and the same thing happened again, the 10 mile trip home continued this way with at least 10 stops and restarts. The last ¼ mile was uphill and it took me four tries to finally pull into my driveway. The “limp home mode” the mechanic described was not a true statement as related to this car. After a couple of tries I was able to pull it up onto ramps, jacked up the rear wheels and placed jack stands under the rear of the car.

The transmission is computer controlled and many inputs give it signals that control it's operation.
For example: The Transmission Control Unit (TCU) gets inputs from :
The Mode Selector Switch
Throttle Position Sensor
Transmission Speed RPM Sensor
Gear Selection Sensor
Transmission Oil Temp Sensor ( sends signal for shifting and torque lockup)
Brake Switch (signals TCU to control solenoid for torque converter lockup)
Kick Down Switch

The first problem was to fix the park and emergency brake before I could even get into the transmission shifting problems. The car had about 10 problems all interlinked to the signals going to the computer controlled transmission. The emergency brake problem was caused by no brake shoe materiel left on the shoes so new shoes fixed that problem. I traced the voltage from the brake switch to the shift interlock switch and found that the brake switch was good but was sticking due to the car being non-operational for an extended period of time. Once 12 volts made it to the interlock switch it started functioning correctly and you could hear the solenoid energize. Sometimes the car would start in park and sometimes only in neutral, I found the shifting linkage bushings to be totally missing and when I bought and replaced the new bushings and re-adjusted the linkage, the “park” position again functioned as it was supposed to. While I was in the console area I replaced the little light for the shifter with a real neat LED that was a direct fit and will not burn out again in my lifetime. On the 96, that little bulb is removable and costs about two dollars if you replace it with a regular bulb. The LED is better and very bright. 74-xHP3: 74 LED Bulb - 3 SMD LED Wide Angle Wedge Base 74-WWHP3: Warm White http://www.superbrightleds.com/ $3.49 plus shipping total cost $6.48. There is a second choice of lamp offered but I chose this one.

My troubleshooting consisted of determining what was working and continuing until all the working things worked in unison and then determine what was not working and why. I used a ohm meter to check all the solenoids and found them to be within the specs listed. This verified that the solenoid was not shorted or burnt open. The next step was to apply power to the solenoid through the disconnected connector. One of the descriptions stated that S1 was energized when the vehicle was in reverse. I applied 12 volts to the solenoid and could hear the solenoid click inside the transmission. While in drive, I checked the other suspect solenoid and it clicked also. This only proves that the solenoid is energizing, not if it is actually doing its function of opening and closing a circuit. Next, I found the main computer and reseated the connector terminals in case they were adding to any of my problems. All the other associated wiring seemed intact and functional after re-seating all transmission related connectors.

The next step was to drain the transmission ( I measured an actual five quarts of fluid that came out of the transmission) and drop the transmission pan. I replaced the filter which was pretty dirty, cleaned the magnets and used the gasket that came with the new filter. I replaced the five quarts of fluid (with the intention of doing it again in about two to three months. This would give about 98% new fluid after two changes. While on the jack stands it seemed to be happy in all the gears--which was not the case when the project first started. I lowered it down and put all wheels on the ground, took it for a tentative drive around the two mile circle we live on. It performed perfectly. At this writing it has been over a week and several short trips, so I am confident that it is going to be okay. I bought a code reader from Amazon and it is great, I re-set the check engine light and the codes; they have not returned.

The information on the web for the problems I had were instrumental to the repair and restoration to working condition of the 96 Volvo 960 and gave me a logical step by step sequence to follow. Perhaps this additional information can benefit others. I did a very large amount of web research and read all the literature I could obtain from Volvo. If you spend enough time you can actually start to understand the Volvo transmission manual. I copied all the pertinent information for the transmission and Transmission Control Unit (TCU) and have it in my computer.
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