C30 Newbie C30 faults?

edited February 25 in Troubleshooting

Hi gurus looking at a few c30s this weekend... A diesel and 2.4 na can you guys tell me which would be better and common problems to look out for? Do the 5 speed autos have any issues? I've read about timing belt changes...




  • I purchase my C30 2.4i just on 12 months ago. It's a great car, though obviously with anything around a decade old, stuff will be worn. Are you going to be using yours as a daily?

    I suppose a list of things would be;

    • suspension components (bushes and bearings); the P2 chassis seems to eat them up, so look out for wobbles and if it isn't feeling solid
    • engine mounts tend to be a sore point; check for excessive vibrations and replace them to make it feel significantly better
    • on the 2.4i, make sure the coolant system is up to scratch; there is no warning for low coolant from memory, so check the expansion tank; they aren't expensive to replace and if it looks old, just get it done
    • look through records for good service history and OEM or well known after market parts being used; no car is worth having crap stuff installed on it. If it hasn't had a major service done (plugs, all fluids and filters, plus the cambelt, budget an extra $2k if you are paying someone else for the work; more than you might need, but always best to be safe than sorry)
    • I don't know much about the transmission, I'm sorry; all I can say is that even at peak quality the 5 speed autos aren't the silkiest smooth of units. Just make sure it doesn't slip, I suppose

    My 12 months has taught me a few things about them. They are great on fuel on long highway hauls, but expect worse the 10l/100kms if you're doing city driving every day. I haven't had any experience with the diesels.

    Also, I kick myself everyday for not getting mine properly checked over by an independent shop before I laid the money down, so find a reputable shop and pay the money for the peace of mind, and if the owner doesn't let you, walk away.

  • Hi C30. I assume you have decided on the C30 in particular (rather than the S40, V50 or C70) ?

    Reason for asking: from what I've seen the C30 usually had cheaper options (eg cloth trim and manual trans) to keep the cost low whereas most of the S40s had leather and auto...but are now cheaper than the C30s.

    We have had a few of the AW55/51SN transmissions: I learned about ours when the 2003 S40 had a "limp home" mode at around 50,000km. Fluid flush a few times and reset adaption, and the transmission was perfect for the next 100,000km (with flushes every 50,000km). I couldn't believe the state of the fluid after the first 50,000km - we bought the car near new at 30,000km from a Surgeon, and the only person on the planet who drove slower than him would have to be my wife. Volvo say the transmission is "sealed for life" - there will be a few experiences on here of leaving the transmission alone for 250,000km but that's not my experience. As Anorak says they're not the most refined transmission but do the job quite well - I understand that the fundamentals are quite robust (the transmission is an Aisin Warner (owned by Toyota) and is used in many other cars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisin_AF33_transmission but Volvo software punishes the hardware more than other manufacturers. Any wear particles in the transmission wear out the valve body and stick in the solenoids causing havoc. I don't believe the transmission is any worse than many modern electronically controlled units, but I'm possibly wrong there. I've never had serious issues with them.

    We have a S40 T5 AWD with the same transmission and it gets a much harder life. I flushed its transmission at 100,000km and have done it again every 50,000km and no problems so far. You need JWS3309 fluid. It's not too hard to find, but be careful most garages will just refill with whatever they have in the bulk tank. The AW55 transmissions don't like it very much.

    Ignition switches can cause problems - ours is failing now and they're stupid difficult and expensive. Yes coolant bottles need changing now if not already done - there's a level warning on the washer fluid but not on the coolant...grrrr... (yes I'm on the second engine because of this...do not overheat these units !)

    The A/C compressor clutch is likely to be hit on a kerb, and the clutch will be badly worn or need reshimming, the timing belt needs to be up to date and replaced with pulleys , idler and tensioner (I've never seen a belt go yet but the tensioner fails often - it is the part which really needs doing)

    Suspensions only last around 150,000km - but they're made to be replaced often and easily. The C30 suspension is shared with the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus of the same year - so suspension parts are actually easy and cheap.

    Radios commonly lose AM reception. It's in the display - and expensive to repair. These are not cheap cars - they are extremely complicated and the number of unique modules which have to play well with each other is astonishing. You can't treat it like a Corolla or Camry, and you really cannot ignore little details.

    Don't be surprised if your cars are missing the cover at the back of the handbrake, or the grommets around the door lock buttons. I have no words...cheap bastard interior designers...

    Lastly, the PCV system will at some time need work - if you're lucky it's a $10 disphragm but unless you're mechanically minded your local gorilla will saws-all your air cleaner mounts off because he couldn't be arsed googling for 5 minutes. (Your ownership experience will be much better if you find somebody who understands these cars and don't try to "nickle-and-dime" them) They're actually fun to work on if you're that way inclined...

    The 2.4 should be quite bullet-proof. You need to remove the inlet manifold to replace the spark plugs which I find to be an entertaining piece of engineering, but it won't stress the transmission at least ! A T5 would be more entertaining, and seem to be cheaper as well !

    I don't have any experience with the Diesels - I just don't understand their attraction. They aren't cheaper to run, are coarser and noisier. If you want a tractor, just buy a tractor.

    Have fun - and be picky. There are plenty of these things around. Many of them lived a pampered life in parking garages in Mosman. A lot of others were showing up Ford Focus' at Mt Druitt. Find one of the ones which has been looked after, and it should look after you.

    Good luck (if I haven't put you off already...)

  • johnajohna @johna Sydney
    edited February 25

    I've had my 2.4 petrol V50 manual for 6 months and have a long list of problems: fuel pressure regulator, crank sensor, CV boot, variable valve timing fault, coolant tank, coolant hose, PCV hose, timing belt needs replacement, faulty air conditioning and probably more I have forgotten.

    These models do have their share of common problems, although most models do. But these do seem to have a lot of hard to diagnose electrical issues that can leave you stranded based on all the troubles I read about in various S40/V50/C30 Facebook groups.

    I also keep my eye on cars for sale and 2.4's with dud had gaskets seem to come up more often than most other models so those cooling system failures need to be kept on top of.

    As much as I like my V50 I do live in fear of what the next problem will be, and approach long journeys with a risk analysis of what happens if the car doesn't make it.

    But my car has 190,000 km on the clock and was real cheap so I might have just got a bad one.

  • We've owned our 2008 C30 T5 R-design 6-speed manual for nearly 10 years. I do regular brake fluid and coolant flushes on it as per the books. Also did the timing belt - on this engine (not sure about 2.4i or diesel) it is 150k km or 10 years, whichever comes first, so if you're looking at a low km car that hasn't yet had the belt done, yes, do it for peace of mind. Only problems we've had so far are:

    Fuel pressure sensor (about a $50-100 part and easy to replace)

    Front lower control arm rear bushes worn (replaced with SuperPro poly ones)

    RH side outer CV boot split (I bought a genuine boot kit and replaced it - fairly big job)

    Sunroof drain tubes blocked (avoid sunroof car unless you really want it!) I caught this early, but if you don't it can cause issues with getting water on the fuse & relay centre

    Stone hit AC condenser and put a hole in it. Bought one from Europe for about $150 or less delivered and replaced it myself...another big job. I put a plastic mesh grille over the lower air intake below the bumper to prevent larger stones from hitting the condenser

    Replaced the lower transmission torque mount with the improved later style one

    Replaced tyres (the fronts got badly chewed out on the inside edge due to the worn LCA bushes)

    Overall we've enjoyed the car and it's gotten around 7.5 L/100 km overall since we bough it (at 85k km, now has about 145k km)

    Also if the windscreen has not been replaced, they can come loose and leak (again potential to get in the fuse & relay centre).

    Good luck and let us know how you go!

    edited March 1

    Excellent info provided there by Staggers.

    Get a T5. Even as an auto they will put a smile on your face.

    Bought my Black 2009 model in 2016 in immaculate condition for 16k at 57000km from an ABC Classical Music radio presenter.

    I've done around 50000km in 5 years.

    Only things i've needed to fix are:

    Control arms - easy diy . $300 for a meyle pair

    The silly PCV diaphragm /oil filler thingo which made a whistling noise - $160 fix, easy diy.

    Fuel pressure regulator sensor - $20 if you know where to buy it for $20, otherwise its like $250

    Normal preventative service involving Timing belt/ tensioner/idler /water pump kit replacement kit ( - $180 plus $300 labour - a necessary expense anyway for all volvos once they reach 80000km)

    Transmissions in these same as in many other volvos and nissans. Same transmission in my V70T caused me issues at 150000km but that was due to lack of fluid changes thanks to volvo's insistence it didn't need a fluid change. In the C30 these transmissions are less of an issue. But change the fluid every 50000km if you intend to keep long term.

    Otherwise a very reliable car and a lovely lively car to drive with a sporty feel.

    Parts usually half the price if you buy from FCP Euro in the states - they provide half price shipping to Australia if you email Scott the ceo with the order no. before you complete the checkout and mention an ozvolvo discount.

    R design pack very nice as well If you can find one

  • ""We have a S40 T5 AWD with the same transmission and it gets a much harder life. I flushed its transmission at 100,000km and have done it again every 50,000km and no problems so far. You need JWS3309 fluid. It's not too hard to find, but be careful most garages will just refill with whatever they have in the bulk tank. The AW55 transmissions don't like it very much.""

    No longer the case. I was stuck on using JWS3309 as well, and it is expensive and hard to find - only at specialist oil suppliers, especially in the 20 litres drums you need for a decent flush. I overcame my transmission oil driven OCD and I've replaced all my Volvo's Aisin transmissions with Valvoline Multi Vehicle ATF. It meets the Mobil JWS3309 specs and its half the price - $40 for 4 litres at Bunnings! My volvos are running much smoother with it and its easy to get at Bunnings. I've used it in my ute as well and the changes are also much smoother

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    edited March 1

    Berry's use Valvoline bulk supply.

    For petrol engine oil and diesel engine oil ( it is low smoke and slows carbon buildup as well) , it's in both our V60T6 petrol and S80D respectively and also the trans fluid in both, same trans with different software.

    The shop changed the trans fluid at 150K and 80K respectively on the two then again on the former at 180?K .

    Good stuff!

  • Thanks guys. I'll try the Valvoline next flush !

  • If you want to get fancy you can use Penrite ATF Synthetic which should last even longer. Not sure why you wouldn't go synthetic when it's almost the same price as dino fluid. It's available for ~$9/L in 20L.

  • Valvoline multi- vehicle is full synthetic. $34 for 4 litres at bunnings

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