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Buying a 2004-07 V70R - what to look for

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Here at we are often asked what to look for when buying a used R.

This is a short (and incomplete) list of the most common items to look for.

To include any additional items PM me and I’ll add them on.

The V70R is like any tuned European car, maintenance costs can be higher compared to local vehicles.

When buying a used V70R a service history is a must – visual evidence of a considerate owner is also highly desirable.

Few things to note:

:: It’s a heavy car, so don’t expect any WRX beating 0-60 times

:: It’s a front biased AWD with power being sent to the rear through a Haldex system

:: A Volvo backed warranty of some sort is a wise investment in case things go wrong

These are very comfortable and rewarding cars when looked after.

If you are in the market to buy a V70R – apart from the regular items to evaluate when buying a used car - here’s a few things to look for:

The Major Issues

Clutch slave cylinder - Manual Transmission (MT)

A few owners with MT cars have reported the clutch slave cylinder failing – or more to the point - the piston seal within the clutch slave cylinder.

The clutch slave cylinder is located inside the transmission/clutch housing.

When the slave cylinder; a. leaks, b. fails, or c. both – it contaminates the clutch and requires renewal of the slave cylinder, clutch plate any typically clutch pressure plate etc. This is an expensive repair requiring removal of the transmission.

Signs to watch out for:

- consumption of brake fluid (brake fluid reservoir is for the clutch as well)

- catastrophic failure where the clutch pedal does not return after being depressed

Collar gear failure

A splined collar gear connects the transmission to the angle gear which in-turn provides power transmission to the rear wheels.

The collar gear can be prone to failure resulting in stripped splines and no power being fed to the rear wheels.

This is an expensive repair (labour) and may require replacement of components other than the collar gear. This issue seems to affect MT cars more than automatic cars fitted with the GearTronic (GT) transmissions and has discussed at great length under the P2 AWD "Collar" gear analysis thread.

Signs to watch out for:

- no AWD function resulting in torque steer or front wheel spin under moderate to hard acceleration


Front wheel spin or torque steer may also be a bad Differential Electronic Module (DEM).

A quick and simple method to diagnose is AWD faults can be found - here


By using the ‘Jim Lill AWD test’:

  1. Jack up one (only) front wheel
  2. Put car in neutral
  3. By hand, turn the wheel in the air
  4. Observe the propeller shaft, it should turn

Angle gear leaks

A common occurrence on earlier cars is where the angle gear (bevel gear) leaks oil from faulty casing seals.

Loss of oil causes premature wear and eventual failure.

This is a known issue and a service bulletin TNN46-13-2008-04-18 was released a while ago to alert dealers.

Signs to watch out for:

- noisy operation while driving (sounds like a worn diff noise)

- obvious leaks on the outer casing (wet = leaking)

The Big Issues

Suspension & struts

Replacement struts (shock absorbers/dampers ) for the R are expensive.

The Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept (4C) on the R requires Volvo specific struts developed by (Tenneco) Monroe & Ohlins.

Signs to watch out for:

- visual leaks from the struts

- no appreciable difference between comfort, sport & advanced modes

- chassis settings service required appearing in the instrument cluster


For some reason radiators in the R may develop small leaks that will be hard to detect.

The leaks usually occur at the joint between the aluminium radiator core and the plastic end tanks.

Signs to watch out for:

- Low coolant message and/or coolant requiring regular top ups

Minor Irks & Quirks

Always check that the car has the latest recalls, software updates and any service bulletins have been addressed.

You can find a comprehensive listing - here

Some of the other noteworthy items include:

Turning circle

Is quite large. Parking and U-turns need to be planned in advance.

Interior upkeep

Nordkap interior (dark blue metallic leather)

Earlier models have shown excess wear on some seat areas. Lucky owners may have replacement seat covers fitted

Atacama interior (orange leather)

May suffer from water stains and requires up-keep – Lexol or Leatherique for conditioning

Gobi interior (light beige leather)

Will show up dirt in the smallest leather creases – again infrequent cleaning, but frequent conditioning is recommended


Where the back-end may feel ‘unsettled’ over certain road imperfections.

Correct tyres, alignment (and also sway bars) have shown to reduce this.

Tyre rub & kerb rash

17” or 18” ‘Pegasus’ rims may rub slightly at full lock - spacers solve this issue.

Also rims are prone to damage from kerbs.

Bumper droop

Low front bumper can easily get caught on parking lot blocks.

Basic model differences

Depending on regional markets and optional packages certain V70R vehicles may have additional features.

First production of the R started in calendar year 2003 and may be sold as Model Year (MY) 2004 in some markets.



- 5 speed automatic (torque limiting 1 & 2nd gear)


- black bumper inserts & side mouldings

- HU 803 audio system (4 CD Dolby Pro Logic I)

- flip cover cup holder

- Further info 2003-04



- updated Haldex

- faster CAN bus


- additional brushed metal trim around radio

- slider centre console

- HU850 radio (6 CD Dolby Pro Logic II)

- jewelled taillights

- colour coded bumper inserts & side mouldings and revised rear bumper

- additional exterior colours (e.g. Sonic Blue)

- revised front seat cushions

- Further info 2005



- Instant traction added to Haldex

- 6 speed automatic


- interior cosmetic changes

- electric silver replaces flash green

- Further info 2006



- turn signals integrated in wing mirrors (puddle lights omitted)

- Euro indicator stalks (press one flash 3 times)

- Further info 2007

More than likely, what you're looking for may have been covered by our group of experienced owners - the search function will assist for the answers you seek!

We hope that this forum helps you with your research.


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If you are going to buy an automatic, make sure that you are the first person to start the car for the day (it should be cold), and drive the car while it's cold to experience the shifting of the transmission. My car, and others have hard down-shifting when cold. So far, it has not caused any problems, but it can't be good, especially for higher mileage cars (mine is not).

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