140 164 buying tips
For many people it’s hard to believe, but the Volvo 140-series car is the successor of the Volvo Amazon. The Volvo 164 is a more luxury version of the Volvo 140 with a different front and a 6-cylinder engine (which is actually a B20-engine but with two cylinders attached). The Volvo 140-series is available as:
– a two-door coach, called the Volvo 142
– a four-door sedan, the Volvo 144
– a stationwagon, the Volvo 145
As you can see the last digit represents the number of doors of the car, and the 4 indicates the number of cylinders. The Volvo 164 is a 1-series car with 6 cylinders and 4 doors. An Estate-version of the 164 was never built, but there are some projects of hobbyists who built a Volvo 165 Estate themselves. For more info about the history and development of the Volvo 140 and 164 please check the Volvo 140/164 history page.
With this buyer’s guide for the Volvo 140 and 164-series we will help you to find the right 140 or 164 for you! It’s a long buyers guide, but you can find a summary at the end (also very useful when you’re going to check a car, so take a print of the summary with you).
The Volvo 140 or 164 as a daily driver
Both Volvos are very suited to use as a daily driver: both cars have excellent seats (the Volvo 164 seats are slightly better than the 140-seats), provide a lot of space and are a bit more comfortable on the highway than an Volvo Amazon. But both cars aren’t very quick because the weight is much higher compared with the Amazon. Especially the 140 with B18A engine is slow in overtaking on the highway. The B20A is much faster, but the best performance is given with a B20E or B30E engine: much more torque and horsepower. But you don’t buy a Volvo 140 or 164 for racing and keep in mind it’s a classic car.
The brake system is also very reliable: both cars have a dual brake circuit, whichs means if one of the brake system fails, 80% of the brake power will be still intact (especially on the front wheels). The Amazon (until 1967) and PV doesn’t have a dual brake circuit, which makes the Volvo 140 and 164-series a much better choice if safety is an issue for the driver.
Keep in mind the Volvo 140 and 164 are both pretty rust-susceptible and can rust from the inside out. Protecting your car against salt, water and chippings is a must! Like for many classic cars: a Volvo 140 and 164 will suffer more from standing still than using it daily on the road, but protecting it will help your car a lot. Rust is the weakest spot of the Volvo 140 and 164.
Your plans with the Volvo 140 or 164
Before starting your journey for a classic car you’ll need to ask yourself what the intention of your purchase will be: do you want it to use it as a daily driver, do you want to restore a car, are you planning to buy a spotless car that won beauty contests or do you want a car that isn’t perfect but needs a bit work? All these factors will give you the idea for the car you are looking for and also determines the budget. You won’t find a car that is in a showroom condition and only costs $ 1.000,– (unless you’re extremely lucky).
Please keep in mind the tips below are a indication for a car that is in a good state. A perfect car is hard to find but they are available (but they won’t be cheap). So don’t try to get a bargain for a car that has the price for a car that needs (a little) work. Decide for yourself what budget you’ve got and how many work a car is allowed to have.
The Volvo 140 and 164 buyer’s guide
Below you can find the complete buyers guide for the Volvo 142, 144, 145 and 164. I’ve seperated each section of the car, so you’ll get a detailed description where you should extra pay attention to when you’re looking for a Volvo 140 or 164. A summary is included at the end of this buyers guide. Enjoy!
Volvo 140 & 164 bodywork and rust
The Volvo 140 and 164 are very reliable cars, but the bodywork can rust a lot! It’s one of the weakest points of the Volvo 140-series and 164. All bodywork parts of these Volvos are very good available and pretty cheap, but if you can’t weld it could cost a lot of money to recover a 140 or 164 from rust.
When you’re going to have a look on a Volvo 140 or 164 please make sure the following bodyparts and parts of the chassis aren’t rusty:
- the area around the grille have some rust, especially between bumper and the body part just below the grille.
- The front fenders can rust badly at the area above the headlights and indicators. Also the wheel arches and inner parts of the wings can rust badly. You can replace the front fenders, it’s very easy but pretty expensive (especially the front fenders of the Volvo 164 are very expensive). If the front fenders of the Volvo are in good shape: you should definitely buy a pair of Locari inner splash screens which prevents the inner side of the wings for standing water and mud (so it will not rust).
- Check all areas under the hood (also the hood itself, very important), especially the crossmember (radiator support). Also check the battery box.
- The sills are also very rust-susceptible. The sills of the Volvo 140 and 164-series are made of three parts: the sills on the outside, inner sills and a bodypart that is welded into those two. When one of the sills is rusty you can expect the other two will also have rust. In most cases the sills on the outside have rust.
- The part just above the sill (the underside of the front fender) is very rust-susceptible, just like the area at the rear wheel arches.
- Check the area around the windscreen and rear window for any rust, caused by a bad rubber or the metal clips that holds the chrome window trims. Also check the places where water would make its way down.
- The doors are also bodyparts that can rot badly. Because Volvo thought that day only a partial seal was needed for a door water could easily get into the door and when the drain holes are blocked this water could lead to serious damage. Check the bottom of the doors carefully for any rust, also the doorway above the sills. The rain gutter of the 140 and 164 is also very rust-susceptible.
- At the bottom: check the floor panels, jack supports, front crossmember (must also be inspected under the hood), inner sills, chassis legs and the steering box mountings.
- Test the hinges of the doors and hood. The hinges of the hood should be rustfree, just like the bodywork where they’re mounted on. If it’s replaced in the past: be sure it’s done correctly.
- At the rear of the car: check the wheel arches and the inner parts of the rear wings. The spare wheel container is another weak spot, just like the bodywork part on the other side (almost the same as the spare wheel container but slightly different). Check the trunk for any rust and look inside the trunk for any rust. Have a close look on the area below and between the rear lights because this area can also rust badly.
- Be sure the fuel tank is in good condition and doesn’t have any rust.
- In case of a Volvo 145 stationwagon: check the rear side windows area for any rust, and the tailgate: especially the underside of the tailgate and area of the rear window can rust badly.
If everything of the list above is looking fine, the condition of the bodywork shouldn’t be a problem! If you have any doubts about the bodywork (for example: the owner uses putty to cover hidden rust on the bodywork) please bring some small magnets (to check the bodywork: if putty is used the magnet won’t stick to the car) and a sharp object (like a screwdriver, to test the bodywork when too much undercoating is used).
Please note the costs for welding a car are very expensive (unless you can do it yourself). If you can’t weld yourself (or you don’t know a cheap welder): welding bodywork is much more expensive than engine problems or replacing brakes and suspension parts.
The engines of the Volvo 140 and 164
The engines of the Volvo 140 and 164 are very reliable. Keep in mind a B18, B20 or B30 shouldn’t run “too smooth” (or: like a charm) because it means it will be worn out also. When a B18 is running idle it should have sometimes a “dip” in revolution.
Be sure you don’t see any oil leakages caused by broken seals or filt gaskets. A seal or gasket isn’t expensive but it can be a hell of a job to replace one. Also check the oil level and the condition of the oil.
Replacement parts are very easy to get for the B18, B20 and B30-engines, but the parts of the Bosch D-Jetronic injection system (used on the B20E, B20F, B30E and B30F) are more rare and sometimes pretty hard to get. Due the rareness prices of some items (like injectors, cable harnesses, air pressure sensors and fuel pressure controllers) for the B20E/F or B30E/F-engine are rising.
The B18, B20 and B30-engines can handle high mileage, so don’t be scared to buy a car which already drove 250.000km (or 125.000 miles).
Check the exhaust system for its color: when it’s completely black in the inside the car has a serious problem with the oil consumption. If it’s gray it will be OK. Another great test is to check the color of the gasses when the engine is running: step on the gas a few times and check the color. If it’s gray there is no problem, blue gasses from the exhaust means the pistons are worn out, water in the engine (due a broken head gasket) or the car consumes too much oil (but it can also be the valve seal rubbers, which aren’t a big cost to replace) and black gasses means the engine or carburator isn’t adjusted well.
Also be sure the cam gear set is replaced (in case it’s made of steel and fiber) or a steel version is mounted. The steel camgears will make some more noise but they will last forever!
The best indication of the condition of the engine is a compression test. A engine in a good condition will have a high compression. All cilinders shouldn’t be below 10 bar. A revised B30 or B18- or B20-engine will have about 13 bar (or above) compression.
Another simple test: when you take out the car for a testdrive, speed up to about 60mph (90kmh) and release the gas pedal. When the car is dropping to about 35-40mph (60kmh) put the pedal to the metal and look in the rear view mirror: if black or dark blue smoke is visible you’re certain the car is consuming a lot of oil. It can be caused by valve seal rubbers (B18, the B20 and B30 haven’t got the “umbrella’s”) or in worst case: broken pisten rings. In case of the last option: the engine needs to be rebuild and that’s expensive.
The carburators are pretty easy to maintain. The SU- and Zenith-Stromberg carburators were used for a long time and also on other brands than Volvo, meaning parts are pretty easy to get. If the previous owner replaced the carburators of his B18B of B20B by Webers: the Weber-carburators are also very reliable and parts are also easy to get.
If you’re planning to buy a Volvo 140 or B30 with E or F-engine: these cars are equipped with a fuel injection system. In both cases it’s the Bosch D-Jetronic system. It’s very reliable but when you’ve got problems with it, you can expect high bills. Some parts are pretty hard to get or needs refurbishing. In both cases it wouldn’t be cheap. Be sure the engine is running nice and doesn’t hick up in lower rpm’s when accelerating. Also be sure it doesn’t smell of petrol (which can be caused by leaking injectors or a broken fuel pressure accelerator). Also the cable harness of the B20E, B20F, B30E and B30F is sensitive for hitches and/or bad connectors. If there are problems with the distributor you should consider to replace it with an electronic ignition.
Volvo 164 & 140-series transmission and powertrain
The Volvo 140 and 164 can have 4 types of transmissions: the M40 4-speed gearbox, the M41 4-speed manual transmission with electronic overdrive, M410 4-speed transmission with overdrive (only used in MY1970 and replaced by the renewed M41 in MY71) or the BW35 automatic transmission. Some people replaced the gearbox with a M46 or M47 manual transmission (of the Volvo 240) or a BW55 or AW71 automatic transmission. But both conversions aren’t seen a lot so I don’t discuss these conversions in this buyer’s guide.
All transmissions are very reliable but you should listen carefully for some noise: a high/whooping noise means the needle bearings can be broken (manual gearboxes). If the top gear is quieter than the other ratios it means the gearbox is worn out. The condition of the BW35 automatic gearbox can easily be checked by looking at the automatic transmission oil (ATF): if it’s clear red everything seems to be fine, but if it’s darker red or black the gearbox might have some serious problems! Also check how the automatic transmission changes gears while driving: too late gearchanges or hicking indicates problems with the gearbox. But late gearchanges can also be caused by the kickdown-cable. Replacing a gearbox will take about half a day (plus the costs of a new/rebuild or used gearbox).
Manual gearboxes of old Volvo-cars always sweat some oil, so don’t panic if the gearbox is a bit wet. But if you see oil traces from the bearings or propshaft there are some worries. Fixing it means the gearbox should be disassembled, fixed and reinstalled again (again: the costs of replacing the parts aren’t expensive but it will take a few hours).
The clutches of the Volvo 140 and 164-series are very reliable. To test the clutch: put the transmission in the thirth gear and release the clutch slowly. When the car stalls the clutch is fine. If it keeps running the clutch is worn out. Please be aware that not all car sellers like this test so ask them if you’re allowed to perform this test. If the gearbox and clutch produces a screeching / rattling noise or doesn’t t fully engage the release bearing and/or the pressure plate is worn out. Note: please also notice the gasses from the exhaust when you test the clutch: if big black smoke is coming out of the exhaust (coloring the street or pavement entirely black) the engine can be worn as well!
When you drive the car and you’re switching gears the revs of the engine should drop immediately when the lever is in the higher gear. When the revs are rising for a moment it means the clutch is slipping. Replacing the clutch will take about 4 hours of work plus the costs of the new clutch set (clutch plate, pressure plate and always replace the release bearing as well). In most cases it will be about $ 675,– / € 500,– (including parts, wages and VAT) if you can’t do it yourself.
To test the overdrive: take the car for a testdrive and the overdrive should work when you drive 45mph (70kmh) by slightly push the clutch pedal and use the overdrive switch. When you release the clutch pedal the revs of the engine should be a lot lower. Please test it several times and also for a longer time because overdrives can fall out due tilting pistons or solenoid problems.
Check the condition of the cable under the hood because it can break. Clutch cables aren’t expensive but you don’t want a broken cable when you’re driving home!
Also check the driveshaft for noises and shocks. In most cases of noise and shocks the universal joints of the prop shaft are worn out. If you hear a screaming noise it means the bearing of the propeller shaft is worn and needs to be replaced. Please replace the rubber (bearing support) as well. Replacing these parts are easy and pretty cheap.
Make sure the differential isn’t noisy. If it’s “singing” or whistling it might take a rebuild. Rebuilding a differential with new bearings and pinions can cost some serious money!
Volvo 140 & 164 heating & cooling system
Check the condition of the radiator and all hoses. If you see any traces of coolant (or anti-freeze) it means there are some small leaks. Also check the radiator of the heating system because it’s more expensive to overhaul than the radiator for the engine.
When the engine temperature is high enough (the thermostat should be opened) check the heating system at the interior of the car. Use the heating controls and fan to check if they’re working fine and the car is getting hot and cold air blown in. When the heater controls don’t respond well (only warm or cold air is available, no matter the controls stands at warm or cold temperature) it means there is a problem with the heater valve (or maybe with the links to it) or heater radiator. Both aren’t a cheap fix.
Especially the Volvo 164 needs a good radiator. If the radiator of a B30-engine is pretty worn or has a leak, it should be replaced as soon as possible! The B30-engines take a long time before the oil is warm, but it also takes a lot of time before it’s cooled off again. When a radiator is worn, it could result in an engine that’s running too hot, resulting in severe engine damage. Replace the radiator if you have any doubts about its condition.
Check the expansion tank of the 140 or 164 for any leaks and while the engine is running there shouldn’t be boiling water (but boiling coolant can also be caused by the cap of the expansion tank, but you can fix that immediately by pulling the spring a bit and tighten the sealant).
Volvo 140 & 164 braking system
The Volvo 140-series and 164 both has front and rear brake discs and a dual brake circuit. It makes the car very suitable for daily use!
Be sure the brake booster is working fine. There are two types of brake boosters: the version which is found in the Volvo 140-series and the specially designed brake booster for the Volvo 164. All versions can leak which means the brake system can loss its pressure resulting in poor-working brakes! These brake boosters can be repaired (but it isn’t easy and not in all cases the servo can be fixed) or replaced by a new one. Note: both brake boosters are pretty hard to get (although the version for the 140 is now being produced again) and very expensive!
Be sure the car won’t pull to one side during a testdrive. It means the brakes can be sticky to one side and needs a closer look to solve it. In most cases the brake calipers must be replaced (always do this in pairs to prevent brake difference).
Also check the state of the brake hoses, brake pipes and main brake cilinder for any leakages or defects. Fortunately these parts aren’t very expensive and pretty easy to replace. To test the brake system for any leaks: press the brake pedal for a longer time. The brake pressure should be the same. If the pedal is lowering you’re sure something is wrong.
Most parts of the brake system are very good available and not very expensive (except the brake servo, as mentioned above). Working on the brake system is pretty easy as well but you’ll really have to be sure what you’re doing because making a mistake can give some serious troubles! When you’re taking a Volvo 140 or 164 to a workshop or garage to fix the brake system you’ll have to be aware for some big bills: these days a lot of garages don’t even know how to exactly work on such older brake systems! For example: they don’t know how to bleed the brake system exactly. So be sure the workshop is specialized in older cars.
Volvo 140 & 164 steering & suspension
The steering- and suspension system of the Volvo 140 and 164 is very reliable. But of course they have some weak spots. Take a close look on the tie rods, steering rods, bushes of the wishbones, sway bars and the torque rods/support arms (and their silent blocs) of the rear axle.
During the testdrive you should check for any play in the steering wheel and column. It can tell a lot about the condition of the bushing of the idler arm, ball joints and steering house itself. Check the steering box for any leaks and if the car is steering heavy it could mean the steering box is overtightened which can lead to premature wear (replacing the steering box or steering house is expensive).
To test the shock absorbers and suspension: lean on the car and push it down. After releasing the car should stand still immediately after it’s coming up. When the car is still shaking the shock absorbers have to be replaced. The condition of the springs can be assessed during a testdrive: if the car is too jumpy and can’t handle big shocks the springs needs to be replaced. Springs and shock absorbers are pretty cheap and not difficult to replace.
Volvo 140 & 164 rims & tires
Tires are the most important parts of the car: it’s the only way of contact with the road. In my opinion you must never save money on tires because a cheap Chinese tire is $ 10,- cheaper than a good brand like Goodyear, Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli or Vredestein. Make sure the tread is deep enough and there are no cracks caused by dehydration. The radial tires are the best choice for 140 or 164: it provides a better road handling and are safer than bias plys (radials are stronger, stiffer and handles a lot better). Look after the tirewear:
- Over inflation: the center part of the tire has excessive wear, caused by a too high air pressure. In this case the tire is riding on the middle of the tread and wearing out prematurely.
- Under inflation: the outer parts of the tread are more worn than the center part. It isn’t caused by a too low tire pressure but caused by a bad wheel alignment (which may indicate a worn tie rod or ball joint).
- One side wear: a inner or outer rib of the tire is worn more than the rest of the tread. Caused by bad wheel alignment, worn kingpins or ball joints or bad bushings/silent blocs of the control arms.
- Cupping: damage on the sides (cups or scalloped dips) means worn suspension parts (mostly shock absorbers, kingpins, ball joints or springs). If you see a brake spot on the middle of the tread it means the car has made a emergency stop. It will cause a noisy tire (rolling noise) when you drive the car. Cupped tires needs to be replaced as soon as possible: tire trimming is a bad option (the tire is trimmed in cold condition but when the tire is warm again the noise can appear again).
- Feathering: the edge of each tread rib has a rounded edge on one side and is sharp on the other side. You’ll need to feel it because it isn’t always visible. If you have a closer look you’ll see every rib is pushed aside. It is caused by a bad wheel alignment due worn bushings.
The tire wear indication chart (click on the image for a larger version)
Please note tires only last for about 6 years. After 6 years the rubber lost its best of its compound. In most cases the production date is found on the tire: the week and year is mentioned on the tire and is called the DOT age-code. For example: 2607 means the tire is produced in week 26 of 2007. If you see a 3-digit number it means the tire is made before 2000 (for example: 187 means: week 17 of 1997). Needless to say but such old tires needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Check also the spare tire!
The wheels needs to be rustless and have no visible damage like bumps or dents. Some curb damage isn’t nice but it doesn’t effect the safety of the car. Some people put custom-made widened rims under their Volvo 140 or 164 but if it isn’t done professionally it can be a big risk for your safety. Other nice options are the Wolfrace-wheels (or Ansen Sprint, almost the same design), Minilites (do not buy the replica of them, but the original). Wheels of the 240/260, 700-series and 900-series wil also fit excellent on the Volvo 140 and 164 since they have the same hole pattern (5×108). Some wheels of the 850 and S60/V70/S80 will also fit but be sure the wheels don’t scrape the inner side of wheel arch or bodywork (in most cases spacers are required, but I’m not a big fan of them).
If you hear any rolling or humming sounds when you take the car for a testdrive please check the tires and the bearings of the wheels.
Volvo 140 & 164 interior and upholstery
During the years it’s most likely the interior and upholstery has had its best day. Sun (UV) and aging will cause cracks and tears in the dashboard padding, leather upholstery (which the Volvo 164 has, and sometimes the 140-series also have) are abound and worn and rubbers can be as dry as the Sahara. Also moisture is a big enemy for the upholstery and interior. The Volvo 140 or 164can get very wet inside if door rubbers, window rubbers (like guide channels, windowbrushes, scrape rubbers, etc etc) and grommet or rubber plugs are worn out or are too dry. Check the windscreen- and rear window rubbers for any damages or leaks, because a broken rubber can cause rust to the chassis. Broken side window rubbers will lead to rust inside the doors, so those rubbers needs to be in good condition as well.
Replacing rubbers isn’t very hard (except the windscreen- and rear window rubbers, it can be a hell of a job) but if many rubbers needs to be replaced it’s expensive. Dashboard paddings are still new available but are pretty expensive.
Lift up the carpet set (or rubber mat) to check for any rust at the bottom of the car. Especially check the sides (sills) and at the pedals, firewall, corners behind the dashboard and kickpanels: if there is any rust it means there could be a leak at the windscreen.
When you have a look at the doors: check for rust at the bottom of the doors and check the condition of the door panels. Open and close the side window and feel how smooth it goes (if it’s hard: the cable of the door window can have a problem but it’s pretty easy to replace). Check the hinges of the doors: if the door falls a bit down when you open it the hinges are worn.
The upholstery isn’t new available anymore, so if you want to replace the upholstery you should approach a joiner or furnisher who is specialized in car upholstery. Producing a custom-made interior isn’t cheap. New seat padding (foam) is very good available and not expensive.
The headliner of the Volvo 140 or 164 won’t suffer a lot so in most cases it is in good condition. If it needs to be replaced it isn’t expensive but it’s not a very easy job.
Volvo 140 & 164 electronic system
Check all wire harnesses for any cracks or rusty plugs and connections. Check all lamps of the car if the lights are matching with their light output (differences may indicate earth-problems or rust at the housings of the lights). Test the indicator lights (if there is a problem with it: in most cases the relay is defect). Also test the horn of the car: if it won’t work there can be a problem with the horns or hitch in the cable in the steering wheel.
The only thing of the electrical system that can be very expensive is the cable harness for the Bosch D-Jetronic injection system of the 140 E and 164E. Many injection failures of the B20E, B20F, B30E and B40F are caused by this cable harness. Be sure the ECU is working fine, because it’s expensive to repair or replace. Pay also extra attention to the injection air pressure sensor (can be found at the right inner wing), injection trigger contacts and the distributor (which can be replaced by an electronic ignition). All these parts are hard to get and expensive.
Volvo 140 & 164 registration papers & VIN
Please check if the licence plates and papers are complete. Check if the chassis number (VIN) on the registration papers matches the VIN-number on the car. The VIN-plate is located under the hood just above the firewall or at the top of the bodywork above the wheel, but the VIN is also stamped on a other location: check the registration papers where it should be located. Also check if the owner has a service history. Most Volvo 140 and 164-cars are maintained by the owner itself: check if the seller has any copies of invoices.
Volvo parts for the 140-series and 164
Most parts for the Volvo 140 or 164 are very good available. Most parts can be bought as brand new product at many webshops, most of them aren’t original Volvo-parts but they’re good enough as replacement (in some cases: a lot better than the original). When you buy a Volvo 140 or 164 please don’t try to fix it with only second-hand parts because some day you’ll be punished for that. Some parts are out of production and aren’t being produced by other suppliers but that kind of parts can be refurbished at specialists (like radiators or alternators). Most rubbers are also very good available. Some parts are difficult to get, like the body repair parts (they are only produced in small series) or some parts of the Bosch D-Jetronic injection system. But in most cases a solution is available!
Volvo 140 or 164 for sale: what to pay?
It’s pretty hard to say what the right price is for a Volvo 140 or 164. Prices of a 164 or 140-series car may differ per country, so the prices I mention here is a indication for most countries in Europe and I think the USA will have about the same asking price. I must admit: prices for old Volvos in The Netherlands are a lot higher than in Belgium or France, but Germany has almost the same prices as The Netherlands.
The biggest factor for the price is the condition of the car: a 140 or 164 that needs work and doesn’t have a MOT (due too much rust or brakes that won’t work) the price should be about EUR 750, – – EUR 1.000,– (US Dollars: between 1.000.- and 1.200,–), a car that is suitable as daily driver (with a little rust but nothing big) should be around EUR 2.000,- ($ 2.500,–) and a 140 or 164 in perfect condition should be around EUR 8.000,– ($ 10.000,–). These prices may vary per country and of course the exact condition of the car determines its price. Also extra accessories and/or service history can rise the price a bit. But beware the value of the car depends on the market. In the Netherlands prices of the Volvo 140 or 164 aren’t high because people prefer the 240-series to use as a daily driver.
The Volvo 140 & 164 buyers guide: the summary
As you can see the buyers guide for the Volvo 140 and 164 is very long. Of course you can read it completely but when you arrive at the car for a closer look you’ll forget the most of all the tips above.
Always be realistic with the price the seller is asking for his 140 or 164: you can’t expect a showroom-condition at a 164 which should cost $ 1.000,–. Keep in mind what your intention with the car is (daily driver, hobby-car, to restore it completely or partial, or you want a car that is actually in a brand-new mint condition) and also think what you want to spend.
And always make a testdrive with the car!
Please use this summary and take a print of it with you when you’re going to have a look:
- Bodywork: check for rust, especially the area around the grille, just above and below the headlights and indicators, the hood (also the hinges), bottom and hinges of the doors, front- and rear fenders, front and rear window areas, inner front wing panels, wheel arches, , the parts in front and behind the rear wheel, spare wheel containers, radiator support, area between the rear lights and bumper, sills and floor panels.
- Engine: check for oil usage during the testdrive (go to 60mph/90kmh, let the car drop down to 35mph/55kmh and put the pedal to the metal: if you see black smoke leaving the exhaust the car has a oil consuming problem). If possible: perform a compression test. An engine that “sounds like a charm” isn’t the best buy: when running idle the car should have some “dips” in revolutions sometimes. Be sure (in case of a 140 E or 164 E) the injection system is working fine.
- Transmission and driveshaft: check for noises and test the clutch (ask for permission) by putting the car in thirth gear and engage the clutch pedal. If the car stalls the clutch is fine, if it keeps running the clutch needs replacement. Listen carefully for noises during a testdrive: a constant screaming sound and banging means there is something wrong with the driveshaft (but not expensive to repair).
- Cooling system: check the hoses, radiator and when the engine is hot enough test the heating system in the car. At a closed cooling system: check at a hot engine the coolant isn’t boiling in the expansion tank.
- Braking system: check for any leaks and test during a testdrive if the cars is pulling to one side when braking. Also check the brake booster and brake cilinder for any leaks.
- Steering & suspension: test the shock absorbers and springs by pulling down the car. After release the car should get up and stop shaking immediately. If it keeps shaking the shock absorbers needs to be replaced. Check for any play and noise from the front axle during the testdrive. Be sure the car is steering fine and not too heavy (check the steering box for leaks and wear).
- Wheels & tires: check for any damage at the wheels or rims and tires. The condition of the tire can tell you a lot about the wheel alignment and condition of kingpins, ball joints and tie rods. Check the tread and the age of tires (DOT-code, tires shouldn’t be older than 6 years). Check for rolling sounds (caused by bad tires or bearings).
- Interior: check for rust at the inside (especially the inner sills and floor panels) and the condition of the upholstery. Take a close look at the rubbers (especially the rubbers of the windows and windscreen). Check the seats for its support and the seats shouldn’t be sagged (otherwise it needs new foam and/or new seat straps).
- Electrical system: check all lights and have a look all lamps are shining at the same strength (if not: the car can have some troubles with its negative/mass). Also check the condition of all cable harnesses and electrical wires. In case of a 140E or 164E: be sure the electrical parts (harness, ECU, sensors) of the D-Jetronic system is working fine (engine should run perfectly and not having troubles at lower revs).
- Paperwork: check if all registration papers and service history (if possible) are complete.
If you have any doubts (in the car or yourself) you should consider a purchase inspection. If the seller don’t want to co-operate with a inspection you know there is something wrong with the car. A purchase inspection will cost some money but can prevent you spending money on big repair costs, and the defects that will appear can be a good reason for negotiating on the price.
And of course: take someone with you when you’re going to have a close look, because two pair of eyes see a lot more than only your eyes.
Good luck with finding the right Volvo 140 or 164 for you!
Any questions or comments? Please feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
© Volvotips August 2012