Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Paul Newman races a Nissan

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Volvo "male" symbol

Ever notice that the Volvo symbol looks like the male symbol?

I've always wondered what the story was behind it. Are Volvo's designed for men only? Why aren't the feminists boycotting Volvo? After a bit of research I think I know, and I found out some other interesting info too. First, Volvo means "I roll" in Latin, that's cool! The company symbol (not a male symbol?) stands for iron ore and means "Rolling Strength". The Volvo plant originated in Trollhättan, Sweden, known for its iron works and is probably the reason the symbol is used. I also found out the symbol for Mars is what's commonly known as the Male symbol. So, I'm not convinced the Volvo symbol is not the Male symbol but at least I'm more informed. Now the question might be, which car company uses (or should use) the female symbol?

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 001

About every 5K miles the service light goes on in my Volvo. In many Volvo's it can be reset using some combination of pressing the odometer reset and the brake (or something like that). However, in my model (I'd find out why later) the service light can only be reset using the OBD (On Board Diagnostic) II interface. It's probably not a big deal for most people who take their cars in for service, the person doing the service usually will have the OBD tool to reset the light. For me, most of the basic maintenance (oil change, spark plugs, air filter, etc.) is done with the help of a very knowledgeable family member and of course we can't reset the service light. The light bugs me, every time I start the car the light stays on for a couple of minutes. Some people have suggested disabling the light by taking apart the dash and removing the bulb (danger, no thanks) or putting a piece of black electrical tape over the lit up "service" word so you can't see it (lame). Inevitably I'll need to grovel to the Volvo dealer or independent shop and ask them to reset the service light. I'm usually met with varying degrees of interest in helping. In some cases they're happy to reset the light and in others they give me a hard time and want to charge or have some other excuse to not do it. One approach that is sometimes helpful is to buy an oil filter then ask for a light reset after. That way they don't feel like they're doing something for free. But recently, even this approach is not working and I've been getting denied.

So, I finally decided to put in a genuine effort to get an OBD-II scanner and reset tool of my own. Pretty exciting eh? Little did I know what an effort it would turn into... stay tuned for part 2.

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 002

(This is part 2 of the story that started here)

So, I searched the Internet for an OBD-II tool. It turns out there are tons of them. I almost couldn't believe it. I thought, why didn't I get one of these tools before? They range from about $40 to well over $1000. Most are called OBD-II scanners. Some just scan and read codes, some can also reset/clear codes. Some are really cool and have a USB interface and software that can be used for advanced diagnostics. The nerd in me got excited about the thought of plugging in the ODB tool to the car and then connecting it to a laptop that would display all sorts of cool graphs and graphical gauges (see screenshot). Many tools I found appeared to be "homemade". Meaning, they're not made by a large commercial manufacturer but by someone who produced them themselves, have a website, and sell them using eBay or paypal or something like that. Many of them appear like they'd work. One of the big selling points is the ability to clear the "Check Engine" light. That wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't find any that specifically said they clear the "Service" light (I have a "Check Engine" light too). I found many that said they worked with my Volvo year/model... but still not specifically for the "Service" light. I decided to take a chance that since they worked for the "Check Engine" they'd work for the "Service" light. I was on the verge of buying one off the Internet when I discovered that some of the auto parts retail stores carried the tools. I did a search on Kragen website and sure enough they had ODB-II tools. I thought that would be a better approach in case anything went wrong. Returning something bought off the Internet can sometimes be a pain, especially if it's from a "homegrown" manufacturer. I decided I'd stop by the local Kragen to check out the tools in person.

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 003

(This is part 3 of the story that started here)

The next day I went to Kragen. I found the ODB-II tool section. As I suspected, the selection was much lower than what was on the website. They conveniently were "out" of all the lower priced tools. I wasn't about to spend $175 on a tool that I wasn't even sure would work. So I left disappointed and got back in my car and drove off (with the "Service" light still on of course). Going down the street, I noticed an AutoZone on the other side. I'd never been to one before so I decided to make a U turn and check it out. I walked in, looked around, nothing, no ODB tools in sight. I ask the guy at the counter and he points me to a rack behind him holding lots of ODB tools! He even says they "rent" the tools. The way it works is you pay the price for the tool and get a 100% refund when you bring it back after using it. I got really excited when I saw one of the name brand (Actron PocketScan Code Reader CP9125, see picture) smaller sized tools that they carried. It was one I'd seen during my internet searching and had a reasonable price. I asked to take a look at it, read the packaging and decide it would work. I was going to spend $70 to own a new tool, reset the "Service" light and never have to deal with getting it reset at a dealer ever again. What a score! I bought it, walked out of the store and to my car to try it out.

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Volvos of Hazzard

What would a Volvo wagon painted like the Dukes of Hazzard car look like?

Someone must have done this. It's been done for other cars, check out the Chevette.

I wonder what kind of bumper stickers a General Volvo Lee would have. Would they still have the "Save Mono Lake" or "Free Tibet" ones? I decided to search around and I found a video of a Volvo sedan painted and doing donuts... sketchy for many reasons!

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 004

(This is part 4 of the story that started here)

On the way to the car I inspected the scanner and the package and tried to get it open. The packaging was thick, clear plastic and apparently designed to survive a nuclear holocaust. There was not going to be an easy way to open it and I didn't want to completely rip the thing apart in case I needed to return it. Fortunately, I found a new razorblade in the car door compartment and proceeded to slice the back of the package near the edges and made sort of a door. The plastic was freaking tough, even the razorblade had a hard time making it through. Why would it need to be packaged like that? Without even reading the instructions I plugged the scanner into the OBD-II interface. I pressed scan and after a few seconds I got some sort of error. That's when I remembered I needed to have the ignition on before scanning. I switched the car on and pressed scan again. This time I got a message that said "No codes" or something like that. I got a feeling it wasn't going to work for resetting the Service light. I decided to calm down and take my time later to read the instructions and try the scanner again.

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Volvos in Movies and on TV

I recently came across the Internet Movie Car Database. It's sort of like IMDB but for cars. I'm not sure why I hadn't heard of it before. The Volvo section is decent and there are lots of great screengrabs. Below are some that may be of interest and to give a sample of what's available. It's a fun site, check it out.

Geeze, I could post a hundred more. Some of the scenery is great and a lot of people spend a lot of time to get the screengrabs and identify the cars. Maybe I'll follow up with another post later on with some more pictures.

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 005

(This is part 5 of the story that started here)

Later that day, after reading the instructions and trying the scanner some more I concluded that it just wasn't going to work for the Service light. I decided to search the Internet for more information and also email customer service at Actron to find out what the problem might be.

After searching around for a while I finally found some valuable information. It turns out that in 1998 (my year) Volvo implemented some non standard OBD-II functions. One of those functions is the Service light reset. Crap! The commercial off the shelf OBD-II scan tools weren't going to work and that includes the one I bought and sliced out the package. After more investigation, I discovered that the tools that were going to work would now be limited to a single "homegrown" one, some tools distributed and available only outside of the U.S., and some other very expensive commercial ones. Double crap! Once again I decided to calm down and at least try to return the one I bought. So, off I went to AutoZone to grovel for a refund or at least a store credit. I got to the counter, asked to return the item and was asked "What's the reason for return?". I replied "The tool is incompatible with my car" and that was it, I got my money back and felt better. Once again I drove off with the Service light on and with a new task of investigating the special "homegrown" tool and the expensive Professional ones. Would I ever figure this out?

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 006

(This is part 6 of the story that started here)

It looked like I wasn't going to be able to reset my service light on my own any time soon. I also needed to get a smog check for my pending vehicle registration renewal. Since a smog check requires a trip to the shop, I decided to combine it with a reset request. I made a morning appointment at the independent shop I usually go to and prepared to once again grovel for a reset and also deal with whatever else might come up.

I got there a few minutes before my appointment and it was busy and crowded. Eventually, I was able to talk to one of the service advisors. I explained my need for a smog check and also requested a service light reset. He said no problem. Things were going well, I thought, hmmm... too well. I figured while I was there I could pick up an oil filter for the next oil change. I asked to buy one and that's where the problems started. The service advisor said "sure" and made a trip over to the parts department to get a filter. He came back with a box that was smaller and a different brand (not Volvo) than I was accustomed to. Volvo parts have a distinctive blue packaging but the one he had was beige. He handed me the filter and it was much lighter than I was used to. I knew there was a problem. Even though I knew it wasn't a Volvo part I asked if it was. He then said it wasn't and proceeded to explain that sometimes they use parts that are a different brand than Volvo but just as good. I didn't feel like arguing with the guy so I just said ok. I then opened the box to investigate why the item inside could be so much lighter and smaller than I was used to. Well, it was smaller and lighter because it was totally the wrong filter. He gave me one of the cartridge/insert type filers rather than the spin-on metal filters that my car uses. While I was investigating the filter, the advisor was trying to move my car into a different spot so it could be in the queue for service. I turned around just in time to see him start it up and stall it. This happens almost everytime I take my car in. I realize there aren't many 5 speed wagons around but geeze, at least pay attention! The guy started laughing in an embarrassed way because there were lots of customers around watching him stall my car. He said something like "Wow, a 5 speed, that's rare!". At least he didn't crash into the car in front of mine. To be fair, I've never seen one of the mechanics stall my car, it's usually someone else.

I took a seat on a bench and waited for my car to be smog checked and have the service light reset. The whole time I'm trying to figure out how to nicely tell the guy that he gave me the wrong oil filter. I didn't want to get in a hassle or make a really big deal about it. I sort of compare it to giving a waiter or someone else at a restaurant a hard time. I don't want to piss off the people involved in my food and I don't want to piss off the people involved in my car service. After a while, my car was next up. The mechanic drove it into position and connected the smog check equipment. He saw me and asked how the car was running. I said the car was running good. He's a nice guy and had worked on my car before. I'm not sure if he recognized me or not. He always does a great job. After a while more my car was ready and I met up with the service advisor back at the counter. He said my car passed the smog check and they reset the service light too. I said that was great. I told him I'm used to a different type of oil filter and put the one he gave me on the counter. I described the kind that I usually use and expressed my concern that the one he gave me might not be the right one (even though I knew for sure it was the wrong one). He immediately started typing away on his computer. I assumed he was doing a lookup on my model and the appropriate oil filter. After a bit, he walked over the the parts department again. I guess he didn't find what he was looking for there because he then walked over to the mechanics area. He came back with a familiar looking box. He handed it to me, I said thanks and opened it. The box was blue like I was used to but the brand was Mann rather than Volvo. The filter inside looked like the right type but it was missing a gasket. I told him the gasket was missing and he seemed to not sure that it was supposed to come with one (the Volvo ones always come with a gasket). He said he could try to dig one up but I said I probably had an extra. I really didn't feel like hassling any more over a $8 filter. I paid my bill, grabbed the filter and got out of there. For the first time in a few weeks I was driving off without having a service light on.

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LEGO Volvo

The very interesting Volvo XC90 made out of LEGO's should be on display again at the upcoming Seattle Auto Show. There are at least a couple of them around. I've seen a blue one too. Here's what they say about it:

This Volvo XC90 made of LEGO bricks, on display in the Volvo exhibit, was built by LEGO Master Model Builders, members of an elite team of talented artists who design, create and maintain the thousands of LEGO brick models at LEGOLAND® California. Constructed at the U.S. headquarters for LEGO Systems, Inc. in Enfield, Conn., the Master Builders began production of the Volvo XC90 in January 2004. It debuted at the 2004 New York Auto Show.

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Pimp My Volvo

Have you seen the green Volvo in the opening credits of Pimp My Ride? It looks like it's maybe a 740. Some people hate the show, I think it's funny and I like that they don't take themselves too seriously. Anyway, I don't think a Volvo has been pimped despite the one in the opening. Here you go...

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The Pope has a new Volvo

You've maybe seen the stickers: "What would Jesus drive?" I don't know what Jesus would drive but a few months ago the Pope got a new Volvo XC90. Here's the MotorTrend story:

Volvo Cars presented His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, with one of its Sport Utility Vehicles. The keys of the car were delivered to the Pope in the Vatican, on Wednesday June 28th, with a short ceremony in front of the Papal Audience. The delivery of the keys to the Pope has taken place in the Vatican, during a short ceremony after the Papal Audience. To represent Volvo Cars, Gerry Keaney, Vice President Volvo Car Corporation, Marketing Sales and Service, Pascal Bellemans, President Volvo Auto Italia, and Michele Crisci, General Manager Volvo Auto Italia attended.

The Volvo XC90 delivered to the Pope – and fitted for His personal use – is a V8 version. It is a dark blue XC90 with light interiors. Since its debut, the Volvo XC90 has set the highest standards among SUV when it comes to Safety, in all driving conditions and on any surface. The AWD system (all-wheel drive) allows the car excellent off-road behavior, while ROPS System helps the car avoiding roll-over or reducing consequences of that type of accident.

The Volvo XC90 has also been designed and built not only to protect people on board, but also in order to enhance Safety performances on other vehicles in case of impact. "We are absolutely happy and proud of the opportunity we had to give a car to the Pope. Safety has always been a no-compromise must for Volvo; no doubt, our strong commitment to safeguard lives could not get a higher and more touching recognition", said Pascal Bellemans, President Volvo Auto Italia

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100,000 mile medallion received

Yesterday, I got the Volvo 100,000 mile high mileage club medallion in the mail that I had ordered a while back. The packaging was more professional than the previous one I had gotten for my last Volvo about ten years ago. Also included was a letter from the CEO with congratulations on becoming a member of the High Mileage Club. I've included a few not so great shots of the package and the medallion. Once I decide where to put it on the car I'll take some more and hopefully better pictures. It's really great that Volvo sends the medallions out. Take a look...

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 007

(This is part 7 of the story that started here)

I eventually got an email back from Actron customer support about their OBD-II tool that I bought. They basically said the scanner wouldn't work for the Service Light reset and said I needed to get a tool from SPX/OTC, which I think is another division of Actron or is the parent company of it. I checked out the site and all they had were tools to reset the engine oil light... not what I asked about or needed.

I decided to revisit my investigation of the homegrown tools and the one from the UK that supposedly works. The website of the most popular homegrown tool is really tough to work with. It looks like a giant text file that was converted to html with a few bullets mixed in. After reading through the information I wasn't really sure if their software would work with my car and the site was giving me a headache. The Draper tool out of the UK looked like it was going to be my best bet. While they don't offer shipping outside of the UK there seems to be some new units available on eBay. I'm thinking I'll wait for my service light to go on then order the tool. That way if it doesn't work I'll know right away and won't be sitting around with a reset tool waiting for my light to go on to try it out.

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Volvo candy, balloons, and calculators

You can find some interesting items aside from the standard car accessories and merchandise like roof racks, floor mats, coffee mugs, pens, etc. There are at least couple of Volvo merchandise shops, one for North America and one for outside North America. The Swedish one seems to have some of the more obscure merchandise. It's sort of entertaining to browse through all the things available. Here's a few...

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UK High Mileage Club

There's a High Mileage Club in the United Kingdom that allows people to register their cars and also get a high mileage sticker or badge (see below). It's not officially sponsored by Volvo but there seems to be some type of friendly relationship between the two organizations.

The UK group has chosen 150k, 300k, and 500k as the increments for the club which is different than the 100k increments in the official Volvo club. The stickers are free but you'll probably need to pay postage. The grill badges are cool and are £12.50 plus postage. On the site you'll find listings of people, their cars and mileage. I might have to join.

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Well, don't get too excited. BLIS, in this case stands for Blind Spot Information System. I'm not clear if this is a brand new feature or not. I'm guessing it might be since Volvo sent me an email about it. There are digital cameras in the side mirrors that will alert the driver to objects in their blind spot. Sounds cool. It also sounds like an expensive item to fix.

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The 40 Year Old Virgin Volvo 240

I watched The 40 Year Old Virgin last night. There's a nice 240 that shows up a lot because it's driven by one of the main characters.

Diecast and model Volvo's

Some people are collectors. I'm not really one of them. However, for those that are interested, there are some interesting diecast and model Volvo's out there. With the Holidays coming around maybe you can find something for your Volvo enthusiast friend, family member, or yourself. There seems to be a few companies out there making models and selling them. Even though I don't collect, I might have to get one anyway. Here are a few samples:

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Pimp my Sales Reps' Volvo's

There's a UK company running a survey for how they should Pimp their sales reps' Volvo's. There are three designs to choose from. I'm not really sure if they're serious about it or not. Here's what they're proposing:

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Broken door lock

The right front door lock on my 1998 V70 stopped working via the remote control and in-car controls. I'm back to the old days of having to manually pull up the lock or push it down. The door lock assembly might be bad or have some corrosion. This weekend I'll take things apart and have a look. If I need to buy a new lock assembly it's going to cost at least around $110. I suspect I'll end up getting the new part. I could keep manually locking and unlocking but I really don't like having something broken on my car.

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C30s at the 2006 SEMA Show

From the Volvo newsletter:

"Just a few weeks after the Volvo C30’s global unveiling at the 2006 Paris Motor Show, Volvo Cars, in conjunction with three aftermarket tuning companies, unleashed the ultimate expressions of free will at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The three cars, all highly modified iterations of the production Volvo C30, are the separate visions of Evolve Cars, Heico Sportiv and Burton Snowboards and IPD. These cars represent what could be the ultimate dream cars for the young active audience. "These three cars will definitely spark a lot of interest in the C30 and there is no better place to show them off than the SEMA show,” commented Hans Krondahl, Executive Vice President, Marketing, for Volvo Cars of North America, LLC (VCNA).

Built purely as design concepts and prototypes, each tuner took a decidedly different take on what the ultimate Volvo C30 could be. Volvo supplied each company a production C30 T5 with a six speed manual transmission and gave them only one rule to follow: all Volvo safety features must remain functional. Other than that, they were free to let their imaginations run wild. Additional photos and information on all three SEMA Volvo C30s, along with information about the production car, may be found here. Here is just a glimpse of what each car is about:

Evolve C30
The Evolve C30 is the ultimate street performer and track star with motorsports technology throughout. Horsepower is the name of the game here, with 507 stampeding ponies thundering through all four massive tires. Sophisticated race-inspired suspension, gigantic brakes and a screaming yellow high gloss paint scheme over wild body lines highlight the Evolve C30. Sequential twin turbos, exotic exhaust plumbing and an advanced heat exchanger promise eye-popping performance from this dream C30. Inside are highly bolstered seats, a safety structure and custom leather touches.

Heico Sportiv/Burton Snowboard C30
A joint collaboration between German tuner Heico Sportiv and Burton Snowboards, this C30 promises those with an active lifestyle the ultimate lifestyle vehicle. Fully drivable with 300 horsepower and factory electronically controlled all-wheel drive, this dream C30 features a height adjustable suspension, custom cut Toyo tires and an incredibly complex six layer camouflage paint job that will let the car blend into the mountain environment while still turning heads on the road. Inside, there's a portable GPS system and gleaming 2008 Burton snowboards and boots.

High tech and high style come through in the International Product Development (IPD) SEMA C30, all draped in the colors of the Swedish flag. Producing 384 horsepower, the IPD C30 retains its factory front-drive layout and puts its best foot forward by offering up plenty of electronic fun and a thoroughly custom fabricated interior, highlighted by a touch screen in the floating center stack and a heads-up instrument display. But the icing on the cake is the fully functioning gull-wing style doors."

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Volvo stamps

News from Volvo and just in time for your Holiday cards and letters...

"The Volvo FM can now be on a Christmas card straight to you – from Hong Kong

Visitors and residents of Hong Kong can now post letters or postcards with the Volvo FM as a motif. Postal authorities have recently released an entire series of postage stamps with motifs of different vehicles used in official service.

The former British crown colony would like to use this series of stamps to draw attention to the important role that different vehicles play in making Hong Kong a good and safe place in which to live. In addition to the Volvo FM12, a bus, a fire truck, a helicopter, a police motorcycle, and a boat have been depicted on the six postage stamps included in the series.

The truck is used by Customs authorities in Hong Kong, and is specially fitted with x-ray equipment used in searching through containers. It has been in use since April of 2004.

The denomination of the postage stamp with the Volvo truck is HKD 1.80 (= approx. SEK 1.65)."

Volvo XC90 V8 Sport

New options for the XC90...


Exhilarating performance. Distinctive styling. Outstanding comfort. The XC90 V8 SPORT has all that– and attitude. Here are just a few performance features that give this vehicle its bold and dynamic demeanor:

311-hp 4.4 liter V8
McPherson spring strut front suspension
Sport calibrated steering for a precise feel
High ground clearance to traverse rough surfaces

LUXURY, WITH AN EDGE The interior of the Volvo XC90 V8 SPORT, with unique Sport Graphite leather seats and special styling accents delivers a sense of confidence that must be experienced first-hand.

LEGENDARY VOLVO SAFETY The Volvo XC90 V8 SPORT’s high-traction road-holding ability comes via stiffer anti-roll bars, unique, sports-tuned chassis and sophisticated stability control technologies. The result is a vehicle that feels quick and responsive, yet composed and purposeful. We'd like to encourage you to take a test drive at your earliest convenience."

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Bewitched Volvo S80

I watched the Bewitched movie the other night. It was not very good. I like some of the actors in it but they couldn't save the movie. There's a S80 that shows up early in the movie... but it's still not worth watching.

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Volvo receives order for 700 city buses to Shanghai

From Volvo:
"Volvo Buses has received an order for 700 city buses to Shanghai. China has enacted more restrictive environmental legislation and these are the first city buses with engines that meet the Euro III emission standard.
In 2005, Sunwin Bus, Volvo Buses’ joint-venture company in Shanghai, signed a framework agreement for delivery of 2,000 city buses to the Shanghai Bashi Industrial Co Ltd and 1,300 of these buses were delivered during 2006.
Bashi has now signed a contract for the remaining 700 buses, comprising the Volvo B6R and Volvo B7R models. The deliveries will be made during the first half of 2007, starting in January.
China follows the rules set in European legislation with regard to emissions. The country started later, but is enacting the new emission steps at a more rapid pace that was the case in Europe. The buses now being delivered are the first with engines that meet the Euro III standard, the emissions step that applied in Europe as recently as the past autumn.
The chassis will be delivered as kits from Volvo Buses’ plant in Borås, Sweden. They are then assembled at the Sunwin Bus plant in Shanghai, where the bodies are also manufactured.
When the buses in this order are delivered, there will be more 4,000 Volvo buses rolling in Shanghai. "

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Volvo Construction Equipment launches new wheel loaders

From Volvo news...

"Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is introducing three new wheel loaders, giving Volvo CE the most modern fleet of general purpose wheel loaders on the market.

New engines, transmissions and cabs are some of the highlights of the latest L60F, L70F and L90F medium duty general purpose wheel loaders from Volvo CE. All models have increased power over the E variant they replace, giving more strength to move earth or load gravel. The Tier III compliant Volvo engines delivers high torque and low fuel consumption. With Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT) they meet the latest emission standards, Tier III.

The new Care Cab that is fitted to the L60F, L70F and L90F is the safest, most comfortable and cleanest operator environment ever made by Volvo CE. In addition to being flexible, productive, safe, comfortable and reliable, the all-new L60F, L70F and L90F are also environmentally minded, being up to 95% recyclable."

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Volvo bus named Commercial Vehicle of the Year in Finland

From Volvo news...
"Volvo’s low-entry bus, Volvo 8700 LE, has been named Commercial Vehicle of the Year in Finland. It was selected for the award due to its environmental friendliness and that it is an important component of the new Bus Rapid Transit system in Helsinki.
Each year the transport trade magazine Ajolinja awards the title Commercial Vehicle of the Year in Finland. The most important argument cited in selecting the Volvo 8700 LE for 2006 is that the bus has such low emissions. The bus already today meets the Euro 5 emission standard that does not become effective until 2009. Moreover, Volvo was the first bus manufacturer to deliver diesel buses that meet the Euro 5 standard in Finland.
According to Ajolinja, the Volvo 8700 LE is also a essential part of the Jokeri bus transit system in Helsinki, which has raised a lot of positive publicity. This system has significantly improved cross-city connections in the capital city area.
Jokeri, operated by Concordia Bus Finland, comprises a 30-kilometer bus line. The bus traffic moves smoothly and rapidly as a result of separate bus lanes and that the buses have priority at crossings with traffic signals. Since the buses avoid so many stops, emissions are further reduced.
A GPS system ensures that passengers at the stops can see exactly when the next bus arrives. The Jokeri buses also feature distinctive interior and exterior designs and colors clearly distinguishing them from other buses. According to Ajolinja, Jokeri has become a brand in itself.
The Jokeri Line has 29 low-entry buses in traffic from Volvo. These are 14.7-meter-long bogie buses with capacity for 103 passengers.
The magazine also notes that bus traffic is a highly efficient form of public transit in which many passengers can travel flexibly without the need to invest in much more expensive alternatives such as trams or subways."

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Advertisements and other fun stuff

I found a site with some cool Volvo advertisements and other "fun stuff". Here's a few samples:

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Big Volvo sign in Portland

I was in Portland, Oregon a while back and took this picture. I think it's a dealership. It's the biggest Volvo sign I've seen. Cool!

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 008

(This is part 8 of the story that started here)

I've been waiting for my service light to go back on before ordering the Draper service light reset tool from the UK. A few weeks ago the light went on. For the first time since I've owned my 1998 V70 I think I was actually excited that the service light went on. I wanted to wait for the service light to go on before ordering the part because I wanted to make sure it worked after I received it... and what better way to test it than with a service light that was ready to be reset.

So, I ordered the part from a UK vendor on eBay (Draper tools are only available in the UK). I paid through PayPal and then received an email from the vendor saying I would get it in around 2-3 weeks. There wasn't a tracking number (despite my asking) but they had good reviews so I generally felt confident that I would get the tool. A week or so passed and I wasn't thinking about the delivery every day.

Yesterday, I went to start my car and drive to work and the key wouldn't turn past the first position. Long story short... I ended up getting a tow to the local independent Volvo dealer where they had to order a new ignition unit which would take a couple of days. It's supposedly a common problem for my 1998 V70. It been nearly ten years worth of starting my car so in the whole scheme of things I guess it's not unreasonable for the ignition to go bad. But, it's going to cost about $500 to drill out the ignition and get a new one installed (that sucks!). Anyway, I borrowed a car, went to work, came home that night... and guess what was waiting for me at home? Yes, the service light reset tool I ordered from the UK a few weeks ago. If it had arrived a day (or even half a day) earlier I would have been able to try it out. Hopefully the shop doesn't reset the light on their own. I could probably try and call them and tell them not to reset it but it would certainly be an awkward conversation. I'm sure they don't get too many requests to not reset the service light.

As far as the tool, it looks ok, the box it was in was kind of trashed though. The shipping package could have been better but the tool itself seemed undamaged. Configuration is via dip switches and there are instructions. I just hope I can try it out soon without having to wait another 5-10k miles. I hope I can get my car back without too much hassle from the new ignition and possibly new keys. Also, my windows were cracked and I was unable to put them up because I couldn't get power due to the key not turning. My car is outside at the shop so I sure hope it doesn't rain. What an ordeal...

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Another bad movie with a Volvo in it

I'm embarrassed to admit that I watched "Must Love Dogs". It was a bad movie. I like John Cusack and Diane Lane but the movie was really bad. However, there's a scene with a C70. here's a screenshot where Diane Lane is getting out of the car.

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The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 009

(This is part 9 of the story that started here)
The Draper Tool works!
It was a simple process of setting the dip switches correctly, plugging in the tool to the OBD-II interface, then pressing the button. It was pretty straightforward. Below are a few pictures, the box got a little beat up during the shipping process from the UK but the tool itself was undamaged.
I get a lot of hits on my blog from people looking for a tool to reset the service light on 1998 Volvo's. I'll probably create a separate post soon on how to get the tool. Don't worry, it will be simple and I'm sure I won't go into the drama of parts 1->9 of the (my) story.

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Four Brothers XC90

I watched Four Brothers the other night. I thought it would be better than it turned out to be. Pretty mediocre overall. Andre 3000 from Outkast is one of the main characters and he drives a XC90 regularly throughout the movie. I bet there aren't too many Volvo's in Detroit where the movie is supposed to take place.

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The Saint C70

I watched The Saint recently. The main character Val Kilmer uses a 1997 C70 in a few scenes as a getaway car. I liked the first generation C70's. I'm actually surprised they weren't more popular. They were good looking cars.

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Concept cars

I'm not a big fan of concept cars. They usually seem to get more attention than they deserve. Most of them are too futuristic or unusual looking for me.

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Volvo C30

It's small but I kind of like it. There's a lot of small cars around these days that look like death traps but I'm sure the C30 is one of the safer of the bunch. Those in the market for a small car might want to check out the C30. They start at around $23k. Here's an animation from the Volvo site. Here's the build your own site. Check it out.

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Volcom Volvo Hippie Truck

Volcom has started some sort of promotional tour called the Tie Die Fly By. For this tour, they got a Volvo truck and put a bunch of hippie crap all over it. What a waste.

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Ireland Volvo's

I was in Ireland recently and was amazed at the amount of Volvo's there. They seemed much more prevalent as a percentage than in the US. I took a few pictures but unfortunately didn't get any C30 shots.

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I sold my 1998 V70 5-speed. I might not be too motivated to write about Volvo stuff anytime soon. It was such a great car.

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Swedish Olympic Team Visits Volvo

The Swedish Olympic Team recently visited Volvo for some team building exercises. Read the story here.

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U.S. Debut of the All-New 2008 Volvo V70

Volvo will reveal to the U.S. the all-new 2008 V70 at the L.A. Auto Show (November 16-25). It looks like a decent design. I'll have to search for some more pictures.

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Volvo Technology Transfer AB is a new part-owner in El-forest AB

Volvo is trying to increase it's role in the forestry industry by investing in El-forest AB. The El-forest forwarder is the world’s first forestry machine that uses energy efficient electric-hybrid technology. Read the whole story here.

BKK Volvo Dealership

Here's a picture of half the Volvo dealership in Bangkok. Sorry, the car I was in was moving too fast to get a picture of the whole building, maybe next time. A few times I've walked by and checked out the cars on display. I guess the C30's haven't made it to Thailand yet because there were none. I sure do miss my car.

Mutant Thailand Volvo's

There's quite a few of these cars around. I think they're some sort of old Isuzu model. They're usually pretty beat up looking. To me, they look like some kind of mutant, wanna-be Volvo 740.

Special features on V70... coffee break?

An audio alert and message that tells the driver to take a break? Yes, the alert and message is part of the Driver Alert Control (DAC) system on the new V70. Supposedly, erratic driving is the trigger. I think the Volvo's in Thailand will have to have this feature turned off. The message will be going off all the time. Read more about new features in the V70 here.

Volvo buses in Thailand

Many people travel by bus in Thailand. With the heat, you need something that's going to hold up and also be comfortable. It looks like Volvo buses are the way to go.

S60 D5 Thailand

Check it out here

Volvo Group News

The latest Volvo Group News via their RSS feed:

Bangkok car rental with Kitti

If you're in the Bangkok area and need a car and driver then you must call Kitti. I cannot recommend him highly enough. I've used his services for over 6 months and have colleagues who have used him for probably 10 years or more. Everyone praises his excellent and well priced service.

He knows every back road, side street, and shortcut in Bangkok and will get you where ever you need to go safely, comfortably, and quickly. He'll even do long trips and overnight journeys to other provinces. Yes, he will drive you from Bangkok to Phuket! For any type of trip, airport transport, or tourism, Kitti is your man, he is really nice and you will be friends with him soon after you meet. You won't really have to worry about anything when he's driving. You'll also probably end up at an excellent restaurant for lunch with no tourists and at a place that you would never find on your own. His fleet of clean, well maintained, safe, and comfortable Toyota vans (sorry, no Volvo's) will get you where you need to go. The van's even have DVD players and excellent sound systems. No worries with Kitti!

Kitti speaks English really well. Give him a call at 085-145-0744

If calling from outside of Thailand, you'll need to add the Thailand country code (+66) before the number and probably drop the leading 0. So, it would be 66 85 145 0744

Use something like Skype to call, it's cheap!

Design your own C30

This site is pretty fun. You can design your own C30 color, pattern, seats, wheels, and more. Here's a screen shot of the design page. Have fun...

C30 Box of Tricks

C30's are starting to show up at the Thailand dealers. I haven't seen anyone driving one yet though. It's probably a good car for the narrow and crowded Bangkok streets.

I'm too Sexy for my Volvo

I saw this book in the bargain bin at the local bookstore. I didn't buy it.

Smiley Face 740

Smiley Face is yet another mediocre movie with some Volvo shots. The main character tries to drive her 740 but can't get it together. Check out the movie and you'll understand.


The XC60 Crossover has the first-ever automatic braking system to come standard on a car and is touring North America now. Check it out.

Volvo Accident Research Team

Read about the team and how in 1972 it was the first of its kind in the industry.

Hong Kong and beyond

Been on the road quite a bit lately. 2008 finished super busy and 2009 has started with more of the same. Here's a few recent shots of a Volvo dealer in Hong Kong.

Reservation Road 850

Cars play an important role in the movie Reservation Road. A 1995 850 appears the most. View more pictures here.

Singapore Volvos

Here's a S80 and XC90 in Singapore

Beijing Volvo's

Advertisement in the Beijing Airport, looks like Hong Kong in the ad though...

Street shot...

Siam Paragon Volvos

The Siam Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok recently had a temporary Volvo showroom setup on one of the floors. I spent some time checking out the cars and the C30 in particular. It was comfortable and felt solid, like other Volvo's I've had. The back hatch was surprisingly small and limits what can be put in despite having room inside. Also notice the price tag of nearly 2 million baht. That's close to $60k US dollars! Much of that price increase is import tax.

Xi'an Volvo's

Here's a S40 in the amazing walled ancient city of Xi'an, China.

Chiang Mai Volvo Dealer

Here's a Volvo dealer in the great city of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Taiwan Volvo Shop

Here's some Volvo shops in Taipei, Taiwan. I was lucky to get a shot with the Taipei 101 building in the background.

Taiwan Volvo Buses

Taiwan is a surprisingly enjoyable and scenic destination. There's no shortage of Volvo buses either.

Taiwan Volvo Tractor

This tractor was in a sketchy looking position ripping apart a freeway interchange.

Sawadee Khrap Grungthep

Bye, BKK...


New cars, new site Focus...

Top 10 European Cars Not Sold In the U.S.

At #7 is the Focus RS. Article from Popular Mechanics.

Focus action shots in Michigan

Sorry, pics gone...

Automakers focus on affordable electric cars

Article from SFGate.

Focus action shots in Michigan part 2

Sorry, pics gone...


This isn't exactly new news but it's still interesting. Read the full announcement here.

Ford unveils 2012 Focus, designed as 'world car'

Ford says new Focus designed will be top in efficiency, yet quick, responsive and quiet. Read the full story here.

2012 Focus

Get a preview of the 2012 Focus here.

2010 New York International Auto Show

Here's the Focus section from the show's website

How to Make Cars And Make Money Too

Time magazine ran an interesting article on the Ford CEO. One topic is how the Focus is important to the One Ford program. 85% of the Focus' parts will be common to all regions. Read the article

Configure your 2012 Focus

The new new hatchback is available too.

Check it out:

Meet the Focus ST

Read about it here.

Focus Rally

Watch episodes and check it out: http://www.focusrally.com/

Parking Technology Package

Watch the parking video here.

2012 Focus EV

Take a look at the features here.

Volvo S40 versus Ford Focus SES

This isn't an in depth review. Just my thoughts after renting a S40 for 5 days, owning a Focus SES, and being an enthusiast of both Volvo and Ford cars.

I was quite surprised when my "compact" car rental on a recent business trip ended up being a S40 with about 3k miles on it. I was expecting a Corolla at best or something like that. Very happy to get the S40. I'm assuming it was the low end model, I didn't have much time to check out under the hood, there was no manual.

Typical of Volvo, the doors and trunk felt solid, more solid than the Focus.

The most surprising thing is that the S40 felt gutless, really gutless. My SES is quick to accelerate and feels much faster. Very surprising actually but aligns with a friend who says their V50 is gutless. There are times when I accidentally peel out driving the SES, it really takes off. It's fun to drive.

The S40 proximity sensor key for the S40 is weird. I would lock the car, then pull the handle and it would open. Was the car really locked? I returned later without the key and couldn't open the door. I'm not sure the proximity unlock is a good or even safe feature. I'm not sure if it can be turned off.

The S40 cloth seats are a little nicer than the SES but the dash area is similar. Some reviews of the Focus complain that the dash and console is ugly, I never thought that and the S40 isn't that much different.

There are some blind spots in the S40 that I never really got used to.

I think the SES handles better.

It was raining a lot and the wiper interval adjustment was a little confusing in the S40. Although, having a manual for the car would have helped.

Both cars have a moonroof and low profile alloy wheels.

I couldn't really figure out the bluetooth in the S40. I think I've gotten lazy with the excellent SYNC system in the SES.

Here's the specs for both cars (Volvo S40, Ford Focus).

Overall, I'm really glad I got the SES instead of the S40. The speed, handling, features, and price make it a winner. Recent Ford quality is underestimated while Volvo's is overestimated. Plus, the SES is more fun to drive!