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Proud owner of a 1986 d reg 1.7 gle manual....with only 5 thousand , yes, 5k on the clock! Belonged to my grandfather, who never drove it, but kept it taxed and tested, lucky for me!. No it is not a sports car, no it's not the prettiest machine n the world, but OMG is it reliable, safe, and it IS quick enough to join motorways quickly and easily, overtakes at 70 mph no problem. In good condition these " little tanks" still attract comments ( mostly good, lol).
Heated front seats, electric front windows, no power steering but it still feels ok for me, headlight washers, and a build quality that will last for years. Cheap to service, cheap parts available, easy easy maintainance, and fuel consumption not as bad as you may imagine, especially compare to " tuned" motors, and 4 wheel drives :).
Paint work is thin, and not so shiny as most modern cars, so a little care is needed to keep it looking " good", but the interior, and the feel of the seats is surprisingly good: every one of my passengers is surprised at "the ride quality".
I would recommend this type of car in good condition to ANYONE with no " boy racer" head on them, new drivers especially, because it is safe, and reliable, and because they are now so cheap nothing too bad lost with any small incidents.
When the 340 was first launched, certainly in this country, it was known as the 343 DL. The 343 was all of DAF's design, a Dutch manufacturer more known now for it's trucks rather than it's cars because their only model, the "Daffodil," and later known as the 45, 55, 66 & Coupe series would carry the same basic design; namely a 3 cylinder air cooled engine and a revolutionary automatic transmission known as "Variomatic." The little car was about the same size of Austin's Mini although it had quite a large boot as a result. It was primarily made as a 2 door saloon, but eventually a 2 door estate model and coupe were launched over time. All the models featured automatic transmission and no other option. Eventually it would make its way here to the UK in the 1960's and many drivers found that the quirky three speed transmission was slow to respond, yet character building for its small charms. It was really a car suitable for town driving and buzzing around Holland seemed to fit the bill for a car that was economic to run.
When Volvo eventually merged with the Dutch government and Daf BV Auto works, Volvo took the automatic transmission system and heavily revised the principle. It wasn't Daf that were wholly responsible for the CVT principle, but an engineer who worked for the company by the name of Van Doorne. Volvo's increasing interest in the small car niche upheld its roots and over the years their percentage in the Dutch holding grew until Volvo became wholly independent for the firm. Thus, Volvo took over the car division of DAF in the early 1970's and they updated the tag and renamed the system, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Slipping gears were also a common problem on the Daf 66 models, and would also surface early in life, on the 343 and 340 automatic versions - but they were much improved on in the 400 series HTA or "high tech auto," to give its proper title.
With a normal standard ZF type automatic, a vehicle which is equipped with an automatic transmission does away with the manual clutch. Instead the automatic transmission therefore hunts automatically for gears - usually in such an equipped vehicle you can tell when a standard automatic does this, as the car creeps or hunts into the next gear. Most cars these days have better automatic transmission systems that slide into the next gear seamlessly but you can still detect it, particularly up to speed or when over taking. With CVT, there is no creeping and the automatic transmission has a continuous gear that just follows the vehicle's speed. It therefore doesn't hunt for the next gear, because simply there isn't a pre-selection of gears available. Fuel consumption as a result isn't as high with CVT as it is with normal conventional automatic transmissions. Volvo 300's will do a normal 35 to 40mpg on the automatic models.
The 340 was effectively the same model as the 343 3dr and 345 5dr albeit with a few updates here and there and very little done to the basic body work architecture to keep costs down. By the middle of the 1980s however, Volvo renamed their entire range so that the 343 & 345 became the 340. It was simpler to understand really! Engines were mainly derived from Renault while the 360 featured a bored out engine taken from Volvo's bigger saloon, the 240 series. Thus the engine range is as follows:
* 340 DL/GL/GLE 1.4 (1397cc) 70 bhp
* 340 GL/GLE 1.7 (1721cc) 100 - 105 bhp
* 340 Diesel (Not available in the UK) 1.5 (1597cc) 45 bhp
* 360 GL/GLE (1986cc) 113 bhp. The older GLS models had the same engine but lower bhp of 109.
* 360 GLE Injection / GLT 113 bhp (the injection models were slightly quicker and made an improvement to fuel consumption)
* 3 Door hatchback
* 5 Door hatchback
* 4 door saloon
* 4 Speed gearbox
* 5 Speed gearbox
* CVT Automatic Transmission
Again, the automatic transmission was not heralded as an advance in transmissions though and the fact that the car came with a Renault engined 1.4 in capacity hardly set the world alight. The car was slow and ponderous and often the noise of the transmission coupled with the engine would result in a similar sound made by a cow as the revs got faster. Later in the 1980s, there was the 345, which meant effectively that the 343 had two extra doors to make a 5 door hatchback. This time, Volvo decided to launch a 4 speed and 5 speed manual gearboxes for owners to have more choice.
The 340 GL (and further badging such as GLE models etc) is really, one of the most popular cars launched by Volvo. The GL, or Grand Luxe as it was known by, usually sported central locking - and very little else - because Volvo would make great lengths for it to be known that at that time, that here was a family hatchback that was very safe on the road and no other competitor could beat it for that addition only - in the Ford Escort class where it was sold alongside. Other variants such as GLE versions were added, which gave the 340 more items such as rear head restraints and more colours to its options lists as well as electric windows in the front. By far one of the most unusual standard kit on all of the 343/345/340 range was the inclusion of heated front seats. However there was no switch to activate this (not until much later in 1987 when the car was about to be face lifted one more final time) and the heated seats would often come on, unaided.
Heated seats were of course a usual Volvo trait as well as its safety record, featuring heavy silled passenger and driver's doors, crumple zones front and rear, and a collapsible dashboard along with the steering wheel. When compared with cars of its age in its infancy, the 300 series did look quite a bargain compared to what was on offer in terms of occupant safety. The car came with a safety cage and steel bars in its doors whilst rivals had to do with lower fitments of safety. The 340 series was also, one of the very few cars where rear seatbelts were also fitted as standard.
Volvo 343 DL models in general (and 340 DL models later on) were usually in 3 door form only until the last 5 to 10 years in its life. The reason being for this is that the lowest model in the range would do with the automatic transmission whilst other derivatives would have the option of manual gearboxes. The highest derivative the automatic versions of the 300 series ever got was the 1990 Volvo 340 GL which was available with 5 doors and electric front windows.
However, the only model that was ever available with Power Assisted steering, was the 360 series in the last couple years in the 1990s. As a result, the other models had no power assisted steering and let me tell you, the car could prove heavy to steer because of this lack of valuable assistance. Blame it on the body shell and added safety crumple zones. However the tight steering gave way to a good turning circle and the fact that the car was in rear wheel drive makes it a doddle to drive, as well as being somewhat bouncy thanks to De Dion suspension.
So here are a few tips if you do see a Volvo 340/360 come on the auction line or consider online sellers such as EBay:
* Some 340s and more 360s have had an abused life, so watch out for rust in the tailgate and surrounding areas on the doors, especially at the bottom sills. Water pumps usually are the first to go in the engine bay, although some exhaust problems also remain.
* Fit and finish is generally average because Volvo tried in earnest to make the car hospitable and comfortable, cutting costs here and there of good quality plastics. Some models therefore have irritating squeaks and rattles, but as I have often found a couple of squirts from a bottle of WD40 will often do the trick!
* Not many models in the 1980's had a rear wiper fitted either and it was not possible to get an after market factory fit option. Later models had rear wash wipe fitted as standard - it seems odd that Volvo went to all the bother of fitting headlamp wash wipers as standard and not a rear wiper given that it would be a safer idea of putting it on their cars!
* The rear seat is essentially a bench type seat that doesn't split, even in the 1990s when Volvo were working on the 400 series, the 300 series never yet received split rear seats.
* The transmission tunnel is quite large and bulky which means access to the rear is best suited to 2 people in the back rather than 3. A lap belt was fitted as standard though and at that time not many cars had lap belts in the back, never mind rear seat belts.
* Early 3 door models had quarter windows in the front side windows that meant you had to open the window to adjust the mirrors and couldn't do it from inside.
* Headroom in the 3 door models in the rear is tight due to the sloping nature of the hatchback's roofline.
** Pros **
* All 3 door models featured angled seats that swung towards the dashboard making access to the rear a great deal easier than other 3 door hatchbacks whose front seats fold over the base cushion.
* Cars are generally cheaper to buy nowadays. Even if you see a 1990 spec one going for £1000 you should consider walking away; private owners are notorious for charging a fortune when they are trying to sell these cars, ESPECIALLY the 360 GLT models that feature power steering.
* The 4 door saloon 340 and 360 models had no split seats but they were generally better built and featured a ski hatch in the back to enable long items to be put in the boot.
* Average fuel consumption for the 1.4 is around 35 miles per gallon depending on the mileage that you do. The worst I have managed is around 32 and the best around 40 mpg. Not bad for a 1.4!
* The car's spare tyre is fitted in the front underneath the bonnet. The bonnet also opens up with its side facing upwards, which makes it a lot easier and safer to look into the engine bay. Changing oil is easy since most parts under there are clearly marked.
Space is in plentiful supply in the front at least and on all models except the DL badged versions, lumbar support on the front seats are fitted as standard.
My car, a Volvo 340 GL G reg. 5 speed manual gearbox model was bought a few years ago from a mate in the trade. Priced at £595-00 this car was a major bargain at the time, not just because it was super safe, but because the car was very comfortable and visibility excellent due to the high design of its windows and large windscreen. It was a 1.4 version and its powerful engine that managed to take a lot in the boot, which is also quite large. Best of all though, when travelling at 70 miles per hour, the car felt planted although side winds can move it around a little thanks to its un-aerodynamic shape! When servicing these cars though, please be warned that Volvo are notorious for charging high prices. If you just fix the basics and get a local garage to do it, it usually works out a lot cheaper!
In terms of cost of parts, you would do well to shop around as prices can be high but they can also cost buttons if you know where to look. The 300 series was continually made with part galvanised steel which means that usually, these models take their time to allow their paint work deteriorate.
It doesn't stop people getting a bargain however - there's still life in the old Daffodil - or Triffid yet depending on how you look at it! Thank you for reading! ©Nar2 2008.
Am I nuts? I just got my 1988 Volvo 360 GLT 5 door hatchback for £300 off a friend. It's only got 65000k on it and it's ugly as sin, but boy what a ride! I was pleasantly surprised by the power in it's 1.9L engine and by the comfortable seats. I also feel as if its a very solid car and though it does begin to have issues above 70 mph, the ride is consistant and sure footed.
I have not had it long enough to testify to reliability, but so far, so good. I think I might just become very attached!
Bought my Volvo 360 GLE in 2006 for £150. Only had 29000 miles on the clock (owned by pensioners). Added new clutch and exhaust and have done around 6000 miles. Excellent car and am not looking forward to the day the great scrapyard in the sky begins calling it home. Until then I intend to thrash the very life out of it, it's a bit lik a 2-stroke motorbike, you need to thrash the life out of it all daylong. Have done 3x1000 mile roundtrip journeys and on the motorways the little beauty has performed well, even hitting 110mph on one quiet stretch. There was more in the engine but I couldn't stand the vibration, I thought it was going to fall apart. Bloody good fun though. This is what motoring is all about, driving by the seat of your pants, never knowing whether this will be the day the 360 gives up the ghost.
Come on! Embrace your 360, thrash it hard, it's all they understand. Don't limit it to about-town driving. Get out onto winding country roads and be prepared for some hairy driving.
Happy motoring volvo heads. The 360 rocks (and vibrates)!
Although this car is as ugly as a bag of snakes and rattly as a bag of spanners, the Volvo "pig" will keep on going and might even become your friend! My '89 1.4 5-speed manual GL cost me £230 with a full year's MOT and has yet to let me down. Put another way, this is less than the cost of one month's repayments or a main-dealer service on a new/nearly new car which will cost you £1000's a year in depreciation. (the most I can lose is £230-depreciation included!) This car has big car comfort and feel on the road, loads of room (I moved house in mine!) and although it handles a bit tricky, the brakes are good should you get into trouble, and if anyone hits one of these, they come off worst! The down side- economy is not the 340's strong point, although I manage 31mpg commuting and 38-40 on a run. Rust can hit the front crossmembers hard, and the electrics can be a bit weak on some models ( mine gets through a tail-light bulb (69p!) every month or so, and the starter sometimes needs 2-3 turns of the key to kick in). Insuance (group7) is also higher than, say a 1,4 escort of the same age, but you will make that back in reliability. Hard-driven cars also suffer from prop-shaft faults, but as boy-racers avoid these like the plague this is seldom a problem. Water/condensation can get into the distributor causing misfire, but lather said object in grease and you've no problem.Scrapyards are full of them so parts are no problem. Due to it's lack of street cred, a 340 will never be stolen, vandalized or stopped by the police. Despite its age, I just did a round trip of 500 miles in mine this weekend in awful weather and never used a drop of oil or water. All in all, a cheap banger that does what it says on the tin-and more- in comfort!
Previous ---------- I have had this car for about five months now, it is my first car, and it's what i learnt to drive in, and passed my test in. I have always liked volvo's, mainly for their safety, and their 'last for ever' build quality. Why and How? ----------------- When i came to get my first ever car, i decided it had to be a volvo, no matter how long it took to find the right one. When we saw an add in the local paper for this car, we were lucky enough to be the first people to phone, and see the car. I say luckily, because if somebody else had seen it first, it would have gone. The car cost £400, and it had a 12 month MOT on it, and a few months road tax. Inside was (and still is) immaculate. The car only had a few spots of rust on one of the jacking points. Review -------- The car is a slight thirsty on petrol, and doesn't really go like a racing machine, but then again, that isn't why i bought it. The interior is extremely well made, and having heated seats is great (even though on mine, the elements have burnt out, from the last owner leaving them constantly on). Steering is a little heavy when parking, but on the move the car keeps a straight line, and also keeps straight under heavy breaking (unlike some ford mondeos). The blowers in the car are quiet, and clear the screen quick. A luxury item, you can even adjust the brightness of the dash backlight with a little wheel under the rear screen heater switch, which also works well. It can be a bit of trouble getting into reverse sometimes, needing 2 or 3 attempts, and making some lovely 'healthy' noises. Brakes are very, very good, and the clutch is like that of a tractor, you can pull away in 2nd ok. Steering is very good, especially to the right. If you drive slow, you can turn to the right almost back on yourself it seems, great for parking. To sum up ------------ I think this car is a
brilliant first car, and a good one to learn to drive in. Reliability is excellent, so i was confident in using it for my test. I am now looking for a Volvo S40, not because my 340 is no good, but just because i would like something a bit newer.
I love my Volvo. It's a 1990 340 GL 1.4. It's a great car, well built, first time starter and very well equipped. I've piled on the miles on it since passing my test, yes it is my first car and I am 17 but I don't care if its an old mans car. The performance is OK, 115 mph (where the law permits) and the acceleration beats my mams brand new 1.4 Polo. The fuel economy varies from 7 yes 7 mpg to about 35mpg depending if you're try too hard or being careful. A few parts have needed replacing such as, clutch, exhaust, water pump, battery and a few others but for a 12 year old car it's OK. For the money I could have a Nova or a Fiesta but who'd want one of those pieces of crap. I'd have my Volvo anyday. I can even fit a motorbike in the back with all the seats down.
Ahh, my first car. As such this will be a horribly biased opinion, but bear with me, I will try to be objective! I bought this car in 1996 when I was 19. I needed something that would be cheap to insure, but I've never been a fan of small cars, so my choice was rather limited. I like rear-wheel drive too, so a Volvo it had to be, really. Plus even back then you could get a really nice one for my £1,000 budget. I bought a 1984/B 340DL three-door, in hearing-aid beige of all colours, for £1,050. That sounds like a lot of money, but the car had had one owner from new and had travelled just 36,000 miles. There was a full Volvo service history from new right back to the purchase invoice. No radio had ever been fitted and it even had the protective cover on the passenger-side vanity mirror in the sunvisor. There was no rust and the spare wheel (under the bonnet!) had never been used. For the next 18 months the car ferried me to university each Sunday night, then back to my supermarket job each Saturday morning. Of course, I used the car for all manner of things in between, so I clocked up an average 1,000 miles a month. Volvos have a deserved reputation for safety (more on that later) and it always impressed me how tight and solid it felt. It was quite heavy on fuel for a 1400 (due to the high-ish weight and the four-speed 'box) but ran on unleaded happily. The seats were the most comfortable I have ever sat in, even seven cars later (and I've had a diverse variety of motors, too). The steering was terribly heavy but the gearchange was a delight. The handling was OK in the dry, but more fun in the wet - it didn't really have enough power to induce oversteer in the dry. Back seat room was not too bad, although be warned, when the front seats tilt forward they lean in towards the centre of the car - this is quite normal, at first I thought the seats were broken! So what went wrong? Well, nothing to start with. One
day a spark plug fell out on the M4. I joined the AA after that. It went into a local village garage for a service the same day. About two months later I was in Kent and the car started running really rough with a distinct loss of power. The AA man did a compression test and there was no compression on no.3 cylinder. I frantically looked for a garage locally, found a really dodgy one (the only one free at the time), and bit my fingernails. Luckily it was only a broken pushrod - it was due to the village garage overtightening the rocker cover when they did the service. I never used them after that. Otherwise it was only the usual consumables, but notably a new brake master cylinder and radiator were needed at one point. Then one day there was a funny noise from the left-hand side of the car on corners. The car had sat for a while before I bought it and the front suspension strut cups filled with water. One had rusted through. The local garage wanted £950+VAT to sort it out. Things looked grim, until my dad cajoled a knowledgeable friend with spring compressors and a torque wrench into helping us do the job ourselves. Two secondhand struts (£50), two new shock absorbers (£80) and a couple of hours saw the job done. The car drew a lot of favourable comment due to it's fantastic condition - there was no rust anywhere. I jazzed up the looks a bit by finding someone locally scrapping a 360GLT and bought the alloy wheels. The wider tyres meant even more grip (and less fun). All good things must end, and one day in the summer of 1998 my then-girlfriend lost control and hit a post. The impact was at about 15-20mph and, while we were fine, the car took the impact square-on, bending the front valance, bumper, grille and leading bonnet edge. A quote from the local bodyshop of £1,000+VAT would write the car off, and my fledgling no-claims bonus would bite the dust, so I sold the car to my mechanic for £200 as it was. He bought the necessary part
s from a scrapyard, did the fitting and painting, and sold the car to another local who still uses it today. These old Volvos tend to be slated by the motoring press, but a looked-after one makes a lot more sense than a last-legs Escort or Astra for the same money.
We have had Volvo 360 GLT's for 16 years now, four in total. The Volvo 360 GLT is similar to the 340, but has a Volvo 2.0 litre engine, instead of a Renault engine. They are very sport and quick cars. Our's have been reliable, but unfortuately we had to sell our last one, as the price of petrol had risen so much, it made it expensive to run. The parts can be expensive to buy, unless you go for the cheaper pattern made ones. There are minor problems with this luxury car, such as the electric window motors often wear out and end up getting stuck. Our 360's have not rusted and give an excellent, comfortable ride. We were sad to part with it, but the Governments taxation on fuel has made it too expensive to run a petrol guzzling car!
As a status symbol the Volvo 340 is somewhere between a Bay City Rollers fanclub membership badge and a gold lame' shellsuit. However, I bought a 1.7litre GLE for very little cash and as practical transport it more than fits the bill. To start with, it doesn't handle very well and the m.p.g is often criticised (but i averaged about 37 m.p.g). However, it is a solid vehicle and for anyone who can undertake a bit of maintenance themselves it is excellent. There's plenty space in the engine bay and lots of bits simply bolt on - very good for the home mechanic. Things to watch for - rusting sills and engine bay crossmember but everything else is pretty much indestruxtible. The 'essentials' will last forever - come nuclear war all that'll survive will be cockroaches and Volvos! They are incredible value for money and for motorists on a budget they get the highest reccomendation; but boy racers can stick to their 1000cc Novas with lurid bodykits and bigbores:)
I love my Volvo to bits! Even when they fall off. I have had my 340GLE 1.7 5 door for nearly ten years now. It is starting to fall to bits, piece by piece, on the inside and out - but I'm determined to get it up to the 100,000 miles mark. Only 1,500 to go! Having been driving for 28 years now, I've been through six cars - all different makes. I have never bought from new, they have always been used. This Volvo I bought from a main Volvo dealer and, as I was paying cash, I got a good deal on the warranty. This meant that for the first three years I had it, it hardly cost me a penny apart from servicing. Over the years, I don't think I've spent any more on it than I did with any of my other cars. I believe that it is generally thought that the Volvo 340 series was/is rubbish. Well, I haven't found it so. At the grand age of 13, I reckon it still has a good few miles left in it. I haven't taken it abroad or done horrendous mileage (averaging about 8,000 a year) but most of the time it has got me safely from A to B and I've always felt safe in it. It's solid. It also has a number of features which I haven't had before in previous cars. This was the first for me that had electric front windows, a rev counter and central locking. It also has electrically heated front seats which are fabulous in the winter and headlight washers that help with visibility in mucky conditions at night. The only thing I didn't like and still don't, is the positioning of the rear wash/wipe switch. It's set in the console just behind the gearstick. Awkward, especially at night. Okay, it feels like a tank to drive, has quite a wide turning circle and, without power steering of any kind, it has given me muscles like a female Popeye. Some people would pay a fortune to have a go at driving a tank, wouldn't they? Okay, it doesn't get a second look from other drivers because it's not 'cool'
. It's always there in the car park when I go back to pick it up. Okay, it costs a fair bit for parts because it's not English - but then again, the parts are well made and don't need replacing too much. Okay, it's now showing its age - and the inside is so well 'lived in' I'm embarrassed to open the doors too wide. Well, my dogs love it. It carries all sorts of things to the rubbish tip. You can get a BIG load of Sainsbury's shopping in it. I've carried 6 people and 2 dogs in it and driven up some steep hills in The Lake District. It's a willing workhorse by anyone's standards. Get the impression that I'm fond of my old Volvo? You're right. I shall be sad to see it go when go it must. If I knew anything at all about mechanics, bodywork etc. I would probably think about keeping it until it flipped over and died with its wheels turning sadly in the air. Unfortunately, I am useless at things mechanical… I think the Volvo 340s are worth a second glance if you're looking for a cheap car to run for a few years. If it has been carefully kept, there is no reason why it should have any more problems than any other car of a similar age.
My second ever car was a 340 and when I first got I wasn't dissapointed but then again I wasn't impressed. After about 1 month of owning it I decided that I had learned enough from driving it to hate it! Lets start with the propshaft, aluminum and rubber filled, Stripped it self from the inside and fell off, new one on the next day, and low and behold 1 week later it fell off again. Lets say I wasnt impressed (under-statment of the year). The next one lasted about 2 months so I sold the car. You may be tempted as a new driver or poor student to buy one as they are so cheap and there are so many for sale, but dont, the seats are dodgy and uncomfortable (unless you like back ache) the interior falls apart especally the dash and doors. The engine is under powered for the weight of the car(a mere 76hp), the steering is very heavy when parking and road holding, lets just say it might as well of had ski's (I had many hairy moments on wet roads) but a least it had good brakes. And now we move to the body work, two points 1- its very ugly 2- it rusts like an iron fish. I do have 1 praising point for the car there was not a single time that the car even struggled to start you just turned the key and drove away. If your a new driver or student I hope this has pointed you in the right direction, dont buy a volvo buy a pug or nova even a fiesta is better. cheers tinca!
But... I truly liked this little car for the year and a half that I had it. (unfortunately we parted company after an aqua-planing resulted in a collision, but with no harm to the cars only occupant: yours truly) It handled like a well meaning beast, ie. you had to fight it a bit but once it got the idea there was no problem. The acceleration and top speed really wasn't anything to shout about, but it was more than ample for general day-to-day driving in London and could just about top the ton on the motorways. The thing I liked most though, was the fact that it was such a solid car. Really low maintenance combined with reknowned Volvoesque safety meant that you never felt you were driving a small car, even though you were. And speaking of small, there was a lot of room inside the car and all. Plus, the insurance was dead cheap, so, overall I would strongly recommend the volvo 340 as a first time buy, or as a second car.