COAL # 40 2007 Volvo XC90 – It’s Make or Break

In 2018 my fiancée and I were living in Rogers in a house that I had before we were engaged. We were looking for a house to buy together, and I was looking to increase the down payment on a house so we would be better suited, rather than just putting the minimum down. We were both out of college, Anna was working for Tyson Foods headquarters in Springdale, and I for JB Hunt in Lowell. Both of us had to drive because we were living out toward Beaver Lake, and I needed a shop instead of the 1-car garage that the 54 444 was occupying.

As usual I was perusing Craigslist, and ran across this 2007 1-owner XC90. It was a killer deal, but it had higher miles on it. I called the seller to get some more information on it, and to make sure it checked out. The seller said he was basically prying it away from his wife who did not want to sell it. They had it since new, and had done a long laundry list of things to it, all documented. So I then called a friend of mine in STL who knows these XC90’s very well, and asked if he would mind taking a look for me. He graciously agreed, and he came back and told me the good, the bad, and the ugly. My friend is a very particular guy when it comes to his cars. I remember he told me he turned down a Volvo because he noticed the seller had kids, and he did not want to buy a car that had kids in it. I was confident he would be picky. He said the car was great mechanically, but with 183,000 miles, it had a few things to address. Among those was a cracked wood steering wheel, and an intermittent check engine light, which was not on at the time of purchase. My friend basically told me if I didn’t buy it, he would. So I called the seller and got him down a few more hundred to pay for gas and a hotel, and told him we were leaving.

It was a Friday night, and just so happen to be New Year’s Eve. Not an ideal time to be driving, but not many people were on the road and we made it to STL before people headed out to their parties. My wife was actually excited to not have to spend New Year’s Eve at home, as we are pretty boring and don’t go out to parties much. The next morning, we got up and met the seller at his house, and he and his wife graciously invited us inside for some coffee while we filled out the paperwork. We loaded the car up, and headed home.

Once I got home and started to really dive into the records on the car, the seller really spared no expense. Some of you may recall my COAL early on about my 07 XC90 V8 Sport that I had for many years, and spent dearly on. Well that was nothing compared to what he spent. He did the entire AC system, alternator, valve cover gaskets, AWD system, and serpentine belt. All of these were done in the last year, and all at the Volvo dealer. It totaled more than what I gave him for the car, not to mention a nice new set of Michelins that were purchased at the Volvo dealer.

This XC was unique because it had the rare chestnut interior. Not many XC’s made it out of Sweden with this interior. I believe they were all V8’s as well. It is also worth noting that this car was loaded to the max. Navigation, wired Bluetooth phone hookup, HID’s, chrome wheels, sovereign hide, cross bars, Volvo all-weather mats, and a trailer hitch. I would bet that not many made it out with chrome rims either. The rims themselves were not rare, actually they were used in the pre 07 V8 version as well, but Volvo had them chrome plated. Not sure if this was a dealer option or what. I still have the window sticker for this, and it tops out over $60k, which in 07, right before a recession, was mega money.

One thing I had noticed was the blower motor worked on and off. I also noticed that it would come on when I hit bumps. I dove into that almost right away. Blower motors always seem to be in the worst spot possible, the XC90 is no exception. I had already ordered a blower motor online before I dug deep into it. I figured the motor was cheap enough and if I had the old one out to inspect, might as well replace it. Well, once I got the old one out and new one in, before I put it all back together, I decided to test. I fired up the heat, and nothing. So with the car still on, I started to touch the motor and realized when I moved it, it would kick on. It seemed like it was not sitting in the housing correctly, but everything was tight. After many test fits and a few curse words, I was able to get the blower motor inside its housing correctly without it moving out of place. That was a weird fix, it didn’t look like anyone had been tampering with it before me, but who knows, at least I can say it has a new blower motor to the next owner.

As soon as I got it all fixed, and drove it for a while to make sure nothing else needed repairs, I threw it up for sale. The check engine light came on once, and turned out just to be a simple gas cap. A new one from Volvo, and a OBDII scanner fixed the issue in under 5 minutes. Now I can sell it with a piece of mind that the problems are fixed.

I threw the car on Craigslist for a lot more than I paid for it, thinking it would never sell. It was after the holidays, and I was just being hopeful. We had not found a house yet, and I was in no hurry. I listed the enormous list of repairs that were done, and my phone blew up almost immediately. The first person to come look for it was later that night. He drove all the way from Ardmore, OK. It has to be the strangest selling experience to date. The gentleman was a single retired doctor, who was also a Volvo nut. He showed up in his tuned 2009 S60 with over 200k on the clock. He was looking for something to tow his Casita with (I got excited because we also had a Casita). It was very dark outside, and I told him we could take it to a gas station nearby to have a look under their bright lights. He shook his head and asked if I would start it. I agreed and hopped in the car, and fired it right up. After a minute he said I can shut it off. Thinking the worst, he said, “What are you asking for it”? I told him and he said, “Would you be happy if I gave you $100 more”? Shocked I said yes, and he said great! He further explained that I had described the car very well, but it was so much better than he had expected. He thought it was worth $100 more than what I was asking. This was a first for me. No test drive, not haggling over price, nothing. He did not even sit in the car.

He gave me half of the money, and told me he would be back tomorrow with a trailer to take it home. Just like he said, he arrived and we loaded the car up, and he was on his way. As an aside, he had a really unique Chevy Silverado 1500 diesel. I do not remember the year, but it was 90’s, and he said it was rare to have a diesel in a 1500 during that time. I can imagine so, I have never seen or heard of one since.

This was a great car to flip. All the big repairs that usually go wrong on these V8’s were done and out of the way. I do not know if I would have kept it longer and gambled that something else expensive would go wrong or not. I was pleased that the repairs that I did were simple, and it was an honest car. I was more than excited to get what I got for it, and so quickly. Now I had more than enough cash for a down payment and to add the shop that I always wanted.