So I have been wanting to write about this for some time now, however have held back just to ensure I don’t ‘speak too soon’. Life as a skier without a car isn’t the easiest, however when you aren’t part of a club team and need to do a lot of domestic racing in Sweden, it becomes a whole lot harder if you are car-less. So here is my solution to the problem! A 2000 model Volvo V40 that has been affectionately named ‘Postis’ (after the yellow Swedish Post cars) by my girlfriend Teresa.
As you can see, the appearance with the old chalk board yellow duco spiced up with the odd pocket of rust isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing to say the least. But, horrendous looks comes with a mighty good depreciation rate! So here is a top of the line model with a 2.0L Turbo charged engine, leather surround heated seats, cruise control, traction control, studded winter tyres along with summer tyres on Alloy Rims. All for a stupidly low price of 5500SEK (or just a dab under $895 AUD). Unexpectedly, everything works including the air conditioning with the only exception being the driver’s heat seater button which is a little temperamental but I’ll get around to fixing it. It is the cheapest car I have ever owned but is also the newest, and has the least amount of km’s on the clock out of any other car I have previously owned.
So, why is it so cheap? Firstly, used cars here in Sweden are worth nothing. Volvo’s usually hold their value slightly better due to Swedes being proud of anything Swedish and also due to Volvo’s reputation for reliability. Unfortunately, for all those that thought it was good idea at the time to buy an odd coloured new car just so they could spot it in a busy car park lost out big time! Other models with mechanical issues and no registration in a normal colour were on the market for 8000SEK and here was one that had just passed rego and was reduced from 9,999SEK to 6000SEK. Of course I bargained him down a little by finding the odd imperfection here and there that hadn’t been included in the advertisement.
Here’s a little word of warning though. Buying a dirt cheap car is a risk. Like I said in the Momo post, you need to know what to look for and even still you have to factor in things going wrong. You just have to hope that they are small issues that can be either cheaply fixed, or fixed by yourself with a little know-how. When a car is worth so little however, the level of risk curve takes a bit turn as it doesn’t have to take you that far before it has already paid for itself! This car took me 2500km without any form of issues what so ever. Doesn’t use any oil or coolant and still has a fair old punch when the turbo starts spooling up. Nothing like the WRX, but has a fair crack! Not only that, but it will do 6.8L/100km on the open road, all given by yet another feature – the on dash display which gives fuel efficiency, outside temperature, range left and how many km’s since the last service. All pretty good for an older car.
For those of you who read my earlier ski blog, whilst driving the 380km to Ostersund last week, Postis was really put to the test with temperatures getting down to -30 degrees C. This brought on the first issue, which resulted from the Intercooler outlet freezing.
To try and keep things simple terms, the turbo charger uses the exhaust gasses to run a turbine which creates pressure. This pressure then forces air through the intercooler (to be cooled) and then into the induction system, creating forced induction. When the air is already so cold at -30, contains moisture, and is then sent through the intercooler it can be too much. As you can see in the photo above, the thick hose at the front of the engine bay is was takes the air out of the intercooler after it has been cooled. That entire outlet had frozen up and was causing the engine to starve with no enough air flow. Thankfully that was an easy fix after the car was placed in a warm garage overnight.
The second issue resulted when driving home when the car started ‘hunting’ on idle. This means that the car was revving at idle without any accelerator. After some research I decided to pull apart the Idle Air Control Valve (IAC) to see if that could be the problem. As you can see, there was a significant amount of build up potentially causing the valve to malfunction. After a good clean, the issue is now resolved. It’s a cheap man’s fix though so may only be a temporary fix meaning I could be up for a new IAC entirely, however luckily these can be bought at a relatively low price.
The car has now taken me over 3000km and as a result, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that it’s a fair win.