Unverified Ownership Tis trives Finland män: 2003 Volvo XC70 2.5T


Made from concentrate
Jul 8, 2008
79 Opel Kadett|72 Ford Country Sedan|03 Volvo XC70
So, since @_Jules_ and me are expecting a baby something with Isofix and some more modern safety stuff was needed. Luckily, the cheapest Volvo 940 I could get in Germany for the move to Finland is a real commodity at the beginning of Nordic winter, when teenagers look for RWD Volvos to lower and put Chinese turbos on. So I got almost 2.5 times what I paid for it. This would have been more than enough to buy a ten years younger high-mileage fwd V70, and I was considering to do so. But then the pikkujoulu (Christmas party) at the workshop I keep my project cars in came along and after waaaay to many beers the guy renting the spot next to mine offered me his XC70 for what sounded like an okay price for a high-mileage car. Two days later I texted him to ask if the offer still stands while sober. It did, but he was going on vacation, so I'd have to wait two weeks to check out the car.

I did wait, and I am happy I did because when checking it out it turned out to be pretty close to the holy grail of used car purchases:
  • "Only" 320k on the clock
  • Two owners from new
  • Uninterrupted service history, first 10 years at Volvo dealership, after that at an independent garage
  • Even the automatic gearbox fluid has been changed every 60k as specified
  • No deferred maintenance, no rust
  • As with most XC70 the fuse for the burglar alarm has been pulled. But since the previous owner really kept good care of things, the fuse is in a labeled plastic bag in the glovebox.
  • AWD works
  • Five-pot petrol engine
  • Tan leather interior
  • The very desirable 40/20/40 split rear bench
  • Already Isofix equipped, no need for a retrofit
So apart from the thirst that comes with what is a proto-SUV with an 2.5 liter engine, a turbo, and a slushbox, it's pretty much perfect. It even comes in a color that's not XC70 default silver, and with both summers and winters on XC alloys (according to @public "the best").





You scored with that one!
Very impressive!

The other cars in the background, I mean. But also this Volvo. :)
I really like these cars and up there you are least have a good excuse for an XC70 instead of a V70. Looked at them more than once while looking for another car, but road taxes for a 20year old car with a 2.5liter engine are simply ridiculous here.
The best Volvos have words like Cross and Country written on them. Congrats to you both on both the coming baby and the car!

And iirc Volvo sees the transmission as sealed for life. Only taxis got 60k fluid changes. Oo if someone actually serviced it according to Aisin Warner’s recommendations, it tells a lot.
Very nice buy and priced on the lower end of XC70s, and perfectly equipped. I'll look through my bins if I can find anything XC70 related that's useful to you!
That looks really nice. Congrats!
Another bonus I just realized: this sucker still has glass headlights. While the 2004-on facelift units look cooler new, they are plastic so you get the clouded over California look unless you enjoy polishing them once in a while.
Another bonus I just realized: this sucker still has glass headlights. While the 2004-on facelift units look cooler new, they are plastic so you get the clouded over California look unless you enjoy polishing them once in a while.
I figured glass headlight lenses went away in the 90s
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I figured glass headlight lenses went away in the 90s

I think the very last holdout was the pre-facelift V70 and its siblings.

I also think the US switched to plastic earlier, because you see things like 700 series Volvos and the like with clouded lights over there.
I figured glass headlight lenses went away in the 90s

The P2 gen cars were introduced with the S80 in 1998 so glass was still a thing when it was developed, and the V70/V70XC/XC70 dates back to 2000 or so.
Very nice, and in a great color combo, too!
First update installed!


The car comes with this absolutely useless narrow but very tall storage space to the left of the radio.

On the other hand, being a European design from the 90s, the car comes with no cupholders, which is annoying in a long-distance family hauler. No cupholders? As an optional extra there was a pop-out cupholder that goes into the space of the useless storage compartment. Sadly, since no European car buyer in their right mind bought an optional cupholder in 2003, this is a rare part, and has not been available new from Volvo or Skandix since forever.


Luckily, a Original Volvo Parts Specialist (I think that means "specialized junkyard") in Lithuania had the part available on eBay.



Out with the old!



In with the new! One can see that the donor car was driven by an Eastern European woman, given the fake fingernail scratchmarks, but a brilliant update nevertheless.
You can probably rub off the rest of the soft touch surface with acetone to make it neater. In any case, brilliant!
I'd be careful with acetone, many interior surfaces around that time had a thin vinyl coating that is easily damaged and will start to flake. Make sure that's solid plastic before using any solvents.
Since the bluetooth cassette adaptor I got from Motonet does not spark joy in terms of audio quality or handling, I decided to upgrade to a bluetooth adaptor that connects to the stock headunit's CD changer port, available in Sweden.

This is not my first rodeo so I was fully aware that the claimed 20 minute install represents a best-case scenario. That being said, install was pretty straigtforward:

Wrestling the headunit out involves four torx screws and a lot of awkward prying on 20 year old plastics. To my surprise, even in the cold-ish parking garage, nothing broke, not even a single clip came off (one of the install videos on YouTube starts with the first part you have to remove, the pen holder below the HVAC controls, breaking in half, with the guy just quipping "it's plastics in a 20 year old Volvo" and continuing working).


I have no clue why late-90s Volvo uses DIN connectors, but the left one is where the Bluetooth thingy goes. A "power thief" clamp-on connector to the big red cable provides +12V to the unit, and you are set for the bluetooth part...


Unless, of course, you want to use the adapator's handsfree phone function in a reasonable manner and thisuplan to install the supplied microphone somewhere on mouth/eye level with no visible cable. Then it's fitting the cable under the A-pillar cover, along the driver's door seal, through the fusebox, removing some driver footrest covers to route the cable past the ventilaton hoses to the center console...

...which of course does not come without some troubled teenage girlfriend flashbacks.


But all's well that ends well, on next turn of the ignition key the headunit suddenly gained a CD changer mode, which can actually connect to two phones via bluetooth.
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I installed a similar thing in my V70 with the same head unit back in the day. It was a different time though, the kit cost an arm and a leg and the handsfree and bluetooth modes sounded terrible. 30-pin to my iPhone was fine, though, which was what I used most of the time. I had the headunit out umpteen times and I lost one of the two screws into the depths of the center console somewhere under the shifter. It was never to be seen again, not even with a magnet.

The upside of driving the same car as everyone else is that the pen holder probably is readily available from any random boneyeard if you need a new one.
By the way, your XC70 needs the thicker of the two available cabin filters. The one that my catalog always says is for "auto climate control" but it's a translation error to Finnish (I guess) and what it really means is that it's for cars with automatic recirculation. Which your car has. There's an auto mode on the recirculation button. I've had this conversation over the phone so many times.

Also a reason to buy the same car as everyone else. Parts people and garages know them well.