Surf Wagon Distress Call

I am writting out of fear/desperation/ and not knowing what else to do.   My 1990 Volvo station wagon is terminally ill.   The shop says it will take $1400 to get her fuel pump problems straightened out.    She has led a full life and 195,000 miles later I don't think she is worth the repairs.   Any other ideas? 

Thus, this is an alert to see if anybody has a spare rig for sale, loan and or borrow.    I have borrowed my roomates Suzuki Samuri to get me through the work week but it is only a temporary.   I dont really have any standards or requirements other than a vehicle that is surfboard compatible and moderately reliable.  I am loacted in San Diego but am willing to travel, so location is not a problem.   The main problem is the budget that I am stuck with due to my research job.    Thanks a lot guys and gals.   Darren

A 1400$ fuel pump sounds like a diesel? If its diesel, call The Diesel Doctor in the white pages to get another price, he’s mobile. A fresh car will cost around 1000$ or more, might be best to get the one you’ve got running, that’s always what I do but I do all the labor work.

Nope. Its gas. According to the over kind service lady on the phone there are two pump and a bunch of lines and filters. Thanks for the tip though. I got a buddy who just bought a strugling diesel he will appreciate the tip. Darren


Get a Chilton probably @$25, and get the parts that you need. Give it a shot…might even be a volvo forum out there to give you advice. The majority of the cost is in the labor. fuel pumps usually dont need a cherry picker to get at them, just some hand tools (usually). Good luck.

two words…hyundai accent…i have one and it was my ultimate road trip machine…i drove that thing from vermont to florida…from maryland to california…all the way through the colorado rockies…always with crap on top. The tranny blew when i was living in cali, but it was a free tow and $0 transmission because it was still under 100,000. all for around $200 a month brand new. works great with short boards, but if you are a longboarder…just put it sideways on the roof and on a windy day you may have liftoff! i have since invested in a honda element because sleeping in the hyundai is not as comfy.

Sounds high$ for gas repair pump. Do all your mechanical shop homework south of San Diego. Market, Imperial, National Avenues. You may have to cruize those streets to find a shop that wants to tackle the job for a good price. Do all your own parts pricing homework first so you start getting feel for what the job should cost, yes get a manual at the library and study the pump system so you see the layout and possible needed parts and labor hassles.

What about Mechanics in TJ? I have a cracked head in my 2000 Explorer. The quote I was given was $2,500 to repair it. I’d be willing to drive it down there to get fixed if it’ll cost significantly less. Does anyone have a reference for a good shop down there?


Go somewhere else.

Tell them you have a bad fuel pump.

If they try to sell you two, ask them which one is bad. Tell them to replace that one. Just the pump and filter. Not the lines, not the other one, just the one that’s bad. I had an '84 Volvo fuel pump (the tank one) replaced for $300. “Well, you should replace the other one too, because it’s probably about to go out too.” Well, 2 years later, it hasn’t. And it’s running. Pretty well. To replace the other one would have been another $300. $600 for both, NOT $1400 for both.

Don’t let them get you for a $100 throttle body cleaning either. Go buy some $5 throttle body spray, take off the air intake into the throttle body, and follow the directions. Get a few bottles of some pour-in fuel injector cleaner and follow those directions.

Your mechanic is trying to get himself a car that needs a $100 repair for cheap off you and the thing’ll have another 200,000 miles in it after he does.




follow the advice you have received in getting your Volvo fixed at a reasonable price. That car has at least another 100,000 miles left in it.

Volvo designs for a 20 year/300,000 mile (500,000km) lifespan for their vehicles with out major work being required. That is more than double of what mostly all other manufacturers design for. Get it fixed if you can.



Hi Darren -

A friend was having trouble with his Volvo fuel pump and being that he just had surgery, I tried to help him out without much luck.

He finally had it towed to the dealer and…

There is a computer module that controls the electricity to the pump. It was such a common problem, there was a recall of sorts. His car was over the mileage limit but they covered it anyway. He was still out several hundred dollars on the cost of the new pump which was improperly diagnosed by me. The computer module was something like $500.

I would suggest a trip to the dealer and have that checked before authorizing any repairs. It might be covered under that recall but I doubt it with that many miles on the car.

Good luck and HTH.

What model was that, JM?

What model is yours, Darren?

Mine’s a 740


Or go to a junkyard & get another one (or both). You were perfectly happy with your used one until it went out, right?

I loves the junkyards :slight_smile:

I appreciate the vote’s of confidence and advice. Mine is the 740 turbo intercooler. I am Internetless tonight but I will be back in the am. Thanks guys. Darren

Ah, the turbo version.

Remember that Volvo commercial where they drove a 740 off the roof of a 7 story parking garage nose first into the ground?

Oh never mind.

Good luck!

If it were me in your shoes, I’d fix it myself.

However, if you havent been changing your own sparkplugs and own a modest toolset.

This repair is too late to start fixin’ your own unless you have someone holding your hand.

Open the yellow pages , and dial repair services saying 1990 Volvo etc, needs fuel pump, how much?

call at least 5 places.

Go to the Volvo forum. Very helpful in diagnosing and getting problems sorted. Its a UK site but really good.

Hi Hal -

My friend’s fuel pump wasn’t working at all. I whacked it with a hammer handle and it started humming away. I figured that was it(?)

Several hundred dollars (dealer prices) and a lot of time later, it was apparent that I had misdiagnosed the problem. I figure a diagnostic computer is really expensive and beyond the reach of most home mechanics.

Simply cranking a wrench in this case definitely wasn’t good enough.

Aloha Darren - My neighbor, shaper Bill Urbany just went big w/ a new SUV, and his Volvo Wagon is sitting in the street (perfectly good in and out) and I’d love to see it gone. I think they have it for sale at the same price of the repairs that you quoted. I’m not sure why people drive volvos anyway…

Seems pretty clear to me.

Maintained, the 240 engine, drivetrain, sheetmetal, and most everything else is good for 300,000-400,000 miles. The interior even holds up well. They’re safe. Reliable. Fuel-economical.

The company (now owned by Ford) designer doesn’t like how many 1980s and early 90s Volvos are still on the road either though. It makes it hard to brand his GM-inspired 100,000 mile jobs.

But you don’t have to like them, because there’s a car for everyone in this great land-- here’s one for me:

and here’s one for you, Skippy:

I was looking for a Volvo for my wife and called one lady. I mentioned that the car “had a lot of miles on it (150,000).” She replied indignantly, “Have you ever owned a Volvo? 150,000 is not a lot of miles for a Volvo.” After that she wouldn’t even return my calls. I eventually got a Volvo. It now has 175,000 miles and going strong. I also own a VW Vanagon with over a quarter million miles on the odometer (260 thousand and change). So maybe 195,000 isn’t taht much.

Before I jumk the car I’d get a second opinion. Maybe someone will do it for less. What kind of replacement car will you get for $1400?