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Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                          Version 5.0

Trailer Hitch

Trailer-Towing Tips

Long-Distance Car Towing Hints


Plastic Glue That Works

Trailer Hitch.  [Query:] I am considering installing a trailer hitch on my 1996 960 wagon.  Has anyone used an alternative to the Volvo hitch kit and if so how successfully and approximate cost.  [Response:  Zippy] ONLY use the Volvo hitch. It is specifically designed for the car, all the mounting holes already exist in the body and the additional Volvo wiring harness for the trailer is the only way to prevent permanent bulb-failure indicator lamp illumination.

Trailer-Towing Tips.  [Tips from John Shrout] As one who has towed a camper extensively (coast to coast & then some) behind my '87 745, I would like to weigh into the discussion.
First: A 745 makes a GREAT tow vehicle -IF:
1) You put on a good hitch. The Volvo dealer installed hitch is terrific.
2) You install a good trans oil cooler, which you need to do to reach the 3300 lb. capacity.
3) You don't exceed the weight limit. There are reasons for limits.
4) Put electric brakes on the trailer if over 1000 lbs. and a brake controller on the brick.
5) Don't tow in overdrive.
6) Don't forget that the weight limit includes passengers and stuff inside the brick itself.

Had the local Volvo dealer (a good one) install factory hitch and trans cooler. Had trailer dealer install electric brake controller. Had to remove the black plastic skirting (wrong word, I know) to make room for the hitch. Total cost in 1992 was about $1K for everything. With this setup I towed a 1600 lb. Coleman pop-up camper around Virginia , including the mountains until we got stationed in California. Towed the camper behind the brick all the way across the country. We took the southern route, so the mountains weren't too bad, but I made up for it later towing the trailer a number of times into some 7-8K and better mountains while we lived in Southern CA. Never a problem. I serviced the trans every year or so just to ensure the fluid wasn't burnt. If I was equipping the car again today, I would install a trans temp gauge. With the electric brakes on the trailer, stopping distances weren't much worse than without, so we never had that panicky feeling, even in Los Angeles traffic. I bought some cheap but effective trailering mirrors that strapped onto the regular mirrors. They vibrated some, but worked well enough for safety. Started trailering with about 85K miles on the brick, it now has 211K. Same tranny, still going strong.

Just do your trailering smart and listen to the experts. Most of the rules for this sort of thing have been written in someone else's blood. As John Wayne said, "Life is tough; it's tougher when you're stupid."

Long-Distance Car Towing Hints.  [Query]  I plan on towing my '85 740 behind my Jeep using one of those U-Haul dollies that go under the front wheels. The trip will be about 1,000 miles. Are there any precautions I should take, or is it a matter of putting it in neutral and driving off?  [Response: Don Foster]  Disconnect the driveshaft at the differential, and either secure it aside or completely remove it.  Why?  Because your tranny (tailshaft bearings) are lubricated by splash (if a standard) or ATF circulated by the pump (if an automatic). Neither splashing nor pumping occurs if the input shaft of the tranny isn't spinning.  The tailshaft bearing will run dry after about 20 miles, or so.
An alternative is to back the car onto the dolly, lock the steering wheel, and drag it on the front wheels.  Don't overlook the need for registration, insurance, visible license plates, visible tail 'n direction lights, and all that.

Cupholders.  [Tip]  See  For a center console cupholder assembly of fine quality.

Plastic Glue That Works. [Tip from Carl Krall] When I was looking at my smithereened handbrake cover I remembered that I'd bought some plastic cement called PowerPoxy Plastic Bonder.  It comes in one of those syringes, which I hate because it never comes out evenly although it looks like it should. Anyway, my cover is now elbow-worthy again, although I did break the tiny joint that goes under the handbrake while putting it back. I sanded the joint and glued it again with a strip of metal (folded-over farmer's helper) behind it for morale, and did it while it was in place so the agony of installation didn't have to be repeated. The stuff really stinks, and you've got maybe 5 minutes to use it once you mix it, so be ready and make a small batch. It's set in about 15 minutes, but I wait a day before I unclamp it or move it.  Buy it at Builder's Square, and likely Lowes and Home Depot. The info number on the package is 800.248.7699, answers 8-4, M-F.

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