My Volvo 740 Update: Even Volvos Need Repairs Eventually


With this week deemed Volvo Week at CC, I thought this would be a fitting time to give an update on my 1991 740 Estate. A while back I wrote a letter to the original owner of the Volvo. Here is what I have been working on since then.

Shock Replacement

I will never have a girlfriend or friends or children watch me work on a car. I swear too much. It’s a tightrope act working on older cars. Seven out of the eight steps may go flawless, but that one piece of rusted steel is going to hold you up for the next two hours. A repair that looks easy on paper can turn into a whole afternoon of turmoil and high blood pressure. Irreplaceable parts that can only be found by relentless searching of junk yards only add to the tension.

But every repair I make to my Volvo, I take a step back in time. Each broken or worn out part I replace I get a closer look at how driving this wagon must have felt when new. I am a daydreamer, I like to pretend. On certain days my imagination runs wilder than normal. In the middle of February, when snow blankets the scenery, when I hear the groaning and crunching sound of driving over fresh snow in sub-zero temperatures. And when I see bright clear blue sky above me and snow covered conifers in backwoods of rural Indiana, I pretend I am back in Sweden where this car was built. Crossing the Scandinavian countryside as the solid B230F hums along with confidence.

Recently, I replaced the shocks and struts. I did not see any record of new struts installed during its 235,000 mile life. So I was not too surprised to see the condition of the originals once I finally got them removed. I also replaced the ball joints while everything was opened up.


After returning from a three hour road trip, I noticed some of my coolant hoses were sweating. I replaced the rubber coolant hoses and water pump seals for around $12.00.

Later that night, confident the 740 was healthy, I was driving to a friend’s house. Leaving a stoplight, shifting from 1st to 2nd, I depressed the clutch and *snap!* the pedal went limp. Without a clutch I nurse the wagon into a parking lot and get it towed right back to where it left just two hours ago. My AAA membership, the most important tool for a two decade old vehicle, paid for itself once again.


The slave cylinder, as you can see in the photo, blew up. An easy fix once the correct part arrived; Step one: Remove clutch line. Step two: Remove snap ring and pull out slave cylinder.

I bought a new battery for it. The old one was about 10 years old. But other than the updates mentioned the 740 has been running well. Next on the to-do list are new rubber bushings for the engine accessories. Once I save up a little more I plan to get the A/C in running order and see what I can do about replacing my cracked windshield.


Here it is after a clay bar and fresh wax. Ready for summer adventures!