VOLVO 460 GLE
Hello, and welcome to the page which was the longest to make of all of the web pages here in our site :) This one is about the car, which Aod and me share. For some reason i never really had the time to bring this page up, although the photos had been taken and everything was fine, well, laziness also counts, right..?
This is it. A '94 Volvo 460 GLE. A car, looking like and being made for MEN. Ever seen a Volvo logo up close? Well, it's a men's car, every Volvo. And that does not exclude gay men :) Some details about this particular one:
Engine: In-Line four, 2 litre (1998 cc), Multi-point injection, catalythic converter
Output: 139 Horse power (102 Kilowatts)
Gearbox: Automatic transmission, 4 Speed, no overdrive
Tyres: 195/50/R15-H on MAG wheels (original 165/65/R14-H)
Extras: Air Condition, Power Steering, ABS, Electric windows/mirrors, central lock
Sound System: Crappy Sony R/C combo, 10x CD changer which doesn't work, original speakers.
This car is a pretty nice one, if it weren't for the crooks which are mechanics here in Bangkok. Knowing that the driver of the car is white, they smell money. And also they do that when the driver obviously has not much clue of cars...... so both me and Aod have already had lessons about whom to trust, and we both found: Do not trust ANYONE.
I bought this car around march or april 2002 from a second-hand car dealer. It was sitting there for over a year, because we saw it already there one year earlier when we first looked for a car. It then was too expensive (350.000 at that time). Now, in 2002, it was still there, we wondered a bit but after a test run and inspection of engine and under the car (i am indeed mechanic myself and KNOW what to look for when buying a car) and after some bargaining, we took it for 298.000 Baht. It had 81.000 Kilometers clocked, and some calls verified me that "Volvo's are good for 500.000 and more kilometers....". VOLVO's, yes.... more about that later.
I used this car to get to work. I alwys somehow work at places that are difficult or impossible to reach by public transport, and originally it was actually intended for Aod, at that time he had a job which required seing clients..... but he did not have that job for too long, so i got to use it for the most time. After two weeks only, the air condition broke down.
I brought it back to the dealer, and they fixed it. They put an awful lot of new electric wires, and since electrical stuff in Thailand is GENERALLY done "as dodgy as possible", so was it here. But, it worked.
After a while, the "ABS" light on the dashboard came on, that was when Aod was driving. Well, it means the ABS just broke down. Aod's dad knew some guy, a "vehicle electrician" and we brought the car there. Next day it came back, yes, the ABS light was off. Aod kept driving at that time, for two days. When he wanted to pick me up (he finished earlier than me) i waited, and then he called.... "The ABS light came on again, and now the engine is off and won't start, i am in the middle of the road not far from your office, what should i do???" He was in a true panic.
I walked, or better, RAN there (was a few kilometers tough) and he was really in an ugly situation, in the middle of a three lane road, and thai drivers don't care if someone eventually needs to push a car to the roadside. They continue driving and honk their horns, but nobody would make space for someone to allow to push a car to the side! I then planted myself on the middle of the road, forcing a car to stop. Then i started pushing Aod and the Volvo to the side. I quickly found out that the battery was DEAD empty.
We called Aod's Dad, he came then and brought that mechanic along.... again there they went, the guy took the car (towed by Aod's dad's taxi) and the next day again it was finish. "Short circuit" was the short answer. Well.... again two days, the ABS light came on and the car had problems starting. Battery screwed from all that fumbling.... A new one solved that, but the ABS light is on till today, we don't bother anymore. It is just a stupid cable broken (the guy fixed that with electric tape, and it got contact with the body, the tape disappeared and thus caused the short... screw ABS, it's for children anyway, and this is a MEN's car :)
A while later then this car started to overheat occassionally, but more and more frequent. It would always get hot, then all of a sudden cool down again. We brought it to a "Volvo Service" this time. And there the cheating started. First we came together, and they saw ME (white = rich!) driving the car. And they fixed it, replacing two relays and a sensor. Ok so far, the price was surprisingly low. I soon found out why that was.
After a few days only, it started overheating again. And back we went, asking for warranty. Well, Aod went, alone. And they tried to sell him on the story "The head gasket is broken, that will cost 15.000 to replace bacause it is a LOT of work!" Since i had to work, Aod again called his dad, who knows of cars as well, and consulted me, too. I explained that, should the gasket be broken, there got to be oil in the cooling water, or white smoke from the exhaust. Neither was there, and, Aod told me later, his dad shouted around with the mechanic and they then admitted "trying a cheat". Wow. The actual cause for the returned problem was the on-purpose loose fitting of those two relays, which caused bad connections, high current and thus both relays AND their sockets had to be replaced again. Needless to say, after two weeks or so it started again, and this time i fixed it MYSELF by soldering the damn wires direct to the relays, and throwing the damn sockets into the bin. That was sometime in september or october 2002, and it works and does never overheat again since.
Not much happened then except the aircondition gas disappearing slowly and having to be replaced every two months or so.........
Then, in february, i had an accident! At a right-turn at an intersection, 250 meters from home, a truck took too hard a turn and rammed into my left side. Quite some damage, and the dreiver was drunk AND had no insurance. Luckily our insurance is a first-class and we were covered. Well, waiting for an appointment with a garage, i kept driving.
Haunted, four weeks later (exactly the day Aod renewed the insurance!) I had another crash! This time a unlit motorbike. I was driving slowly out of a side street when this demon came charging down the main with no lights on and no helmet, and his bike disintegrated at my right front fender. The guy flew over the car and was not much hurt, but the poor Volvo........ Now it was REALLY required to go to a garage for some SERIOUS body work.
We then brought the car to the garage, and here it all started........... it was there for almost 6 weeks and came back in a condition just like brand new. BUT...... we drove from the garage about five kilometers, then the engine went off and did not start any more. Bingo. The garage once again had done *something* in the hope we come back quickly and leave more money there (white driver! Screw it..........)
We been towed to another garage (again a "Volvo Service") and after almost another two weeks and the replacement of many dubious parts, they got the engine running... still, to today, not the way it should, but hell it runs. 22.000 Baht were to pay!!! And here went the rest of mine and Aod's saved money, and the borrowing started.
Needless to say, also this garage had seen the white driver and already "prepared" the car for a new visit. The power steering was now leaking oil.... and quickly! Not just dripping........ But now being fed up with all garages in Bangkok, we took the car to another friend of Aod's dad who also fixes cars. He could indeed fix it, and another almost 4.000 Baht had to be borrowed. This car went to become a money destroyer.
The fixed power steering lasted almost two months. Then it leaked again, and more than before!!! No money anymore, but car needed every day. So we brought it back to that guy, but he wasn't there so we left it with his neighbour who as well fixes cars (there is in fact the entire small street a row of small garages). And he agreed with Aod and his dad to change the whole power steering servo unit, at a cost of 15.000 Baht.............. Phone and Walkman to the pawn shop, sister borrowed, dad borrowed............. and again, it's got fixed. That was about three months or so ago, and since there was no major damage anymore. Oh sure, the engine still idles either too low or too high, and the replaced driving belt is already damaged (but not yet broken) since the garage put much to high tension on it.... that also killed the bearing in one of those guide wheels and leads to a strange noise all the time, but there is no money, no way, to fix ANYthing. Both Aod and me are still in the process of paying back all that borrowed money slow but sure, part of our stuff is still in pawn shops....... and if it comes a major breakdown again, i will push it in the river and claim it with the insurance as stolen. Fed up with the mechanics here.
But both Aod and me love this car. It is big inside, and very comfortable also on long-haul trips. It's a gas guzzler, yes...... but it's a Volvo, those are heavy cars, but therefor very safe. Hmm that leads to the last..... It's a Volvo..?
It certainly looks like a Volvo. BUT IT IS NOT!!! And that made the visit to every garage so expensive. The Volvo 460, and god damn ONLY that series, is a "hybrid". The body is Volvo, but most of the underlying technology, inclusive engine, is Renault! The Volvo 460 is basically a Renault 19 with a Volvo body on it. And each and every damn spare part for this model has to be imported, there is not anything available "Made In Thailand" like for all the other Volvo models, which are assembled by "Swedish Motors" in Samut Prakan. All but the 460, which was made in and imported from The Netherlands. And that was also the reason why this poor car has been sitting at the dealer's for over a year and nobody wanted it........ because people that know Volvo also know the 460, but i of course did not. And the dealer of course didn't tell... he was hapy to get rid of it. And i have a Volvo which's price has dropped to 250.000 in the meantime, and all i wish is a huge amount of money to once and for all put it into a REAL OFFICIAL Volvo Garage to make a big inspection, fix all those dodgy cables and things and have a brand new condition 460. This car is for sure good for another 10 years, there is not ANY rust on it, not even UNDER it....... the only things nagging is the electric and the engine idle, which seems to be also *something electronic*. The engine itself runs like a clockwork, smooth, has power and doesn't use up oil.......
Well, see a few more pictures of it :
It's now clocked 106.000 kilometers, so after all we been driving 25.000 with it in 1 1/2 years.... also not too bad for a 9 year old car. Most of that was stressy city traffic.... bumper-to-bumper jams, exclusively. That's Bangkok... but THAT's a different story :)