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Q: My 1996 Volvo 850 GLT Sedan no turbo (AKA Sweet Roll) was in an accident. on 1996 Volvo 850

The impact occurred on the driver's side front fender. Most of the impact was absorbed by the wheel, which resulted in the following parts being replaced. 1. engine cradle 2. left front wheel 3. left front strut 4. left lower control arm 5. car was aligned 6. the drivers window had a broken track but their wasn't any visible damage to the door 7. the body damage was contained to the front bumper, cowl and fender but remember the brunt of the impact was on the wheel.
My A/C was blowing ice cold air before all this happened, a mechanic reported no visible leak other than a low side, hose seal by the evaporator. I was told this was an O-ring (is it?) I was told this was located on the passenger side of the car (opposite the point of impact) I was told the insurance would not pay for this maintenance. There is also an antenna that quit working after the crash which the insurance company would not pay for. The mechanic said it was a worn or broken worm gear. When it comes to taking my money the insurance company has no problem, it's the paying out part they have a problem with. Sweet Roll has 63000 miles on her.
Before the accident the air conditioning was working fine and so was the antenna .
Please comment.
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The window guide is a very common issue with these so it's unlikely the accident caused it. Same with the antenna, however the issue there is that the plastic cable that extends the mast breaks. The A/C issue may be a result of the accident, but I would guess it's more likely the repair of the vehicle may have caused it. It's really hard to know with all these things because they are all very common issues with your car, so I can see the insurance company rejecting the claims.
I think your best bet is to really push on them to fix the A/C issue and address the others yourself. Focus on the fact that while removing the cradle they have to deal with the A/C Evaporator, Accumulator and the lines...chances are the mechanic caused the leak.
Good Luck
Hello Bret, Thanks for the quick response. The insurance company kept calling the replacement of the O-Ring and subsequent charging of the A/C system, maintenance they would not pay for. My argument was kinetic energy caused the problems. Their reply was, they couldn't see a trail of mangled metal or crinkled paint leading up to the damaged area of the O-Ring.

Thanks again for the response Bret. It is good ammunition for my argument. If anyone else wishes to reply, please feel free.

Bret, Other than your "Master" status here on this sight could you please list your qualifications as a Volvo Technician? This too will help my argument.

I thank you and Sweet Roll thanks you for your expertise.
Sweet Roll may be the best car name ever! I hope I can help you get Sweet rolling again. I have over 15 years of experience working at Volvo Dealerships, and have achieved the Volvo Master Technician status. I worked on the 850's from the day they came out to the day they stopped making them, and longer.
The leaking o-ring is going to be a tough one to fight, but if true, keep on them about it working normally before the accident/repairs were performed. Also, if the o-ring is leaking, there should be a detectable oil leakage in the area of the o-ring.
Good Luck,
Hello Bret,

Thanks again for the reply and thanks for the compliment on the name “Sweet Roll” but that and $10,000.00 might get me another used Volvo.

I am a huge 850 fan who appreciates and am familiar with the superiority of the 850 models. When it comes to simplicity of repairs, maintenance, durability etc... the discontinuation of the 850 model was also the end of an era.

Bret, Would the detectable leakage you speak of be visible after the O- Ring was replaced? Could you see this detectable leakage with the naked eye?

Is it common for a “lower side” O- Ring to go bad all on it’s own?

What would be the most likely damage to occur on the Air conditioning in an accident such as the one Sweet Roll suffered? What would be the most likely failure of the A/C system due to age and or lack of maintenance? (Sweet Rolls' A/C maintenance was current or better than current) Please give me a clue as to what you would look for if it were you were doing the diagnosis? In what direction would you look first for a leak caused by such an impact?

First you should know that repairs were made first to the the following parts by being replaced. 1. engine cradle 2. left front wheel 3. left front strut 4. left lower control arm 5. car was aligned. These replaced parts were the first repairs made before the air conditioning was looked at. Would the air conditioning need to be disturbed in any way to make these repairs? Could any of the repairs caused damage to any parts of the air conditioning? If so where would you look for such damage?

As stated above (in the initial letter) most of the impact was absorbed by the drivers’ side wheel. Sweet Roll was turning into oncoming traffic when she was hit on the drivers side wheel. The wheel was turned toward the direction of impact which resulted in the damage listed above. Minor fender damage is the first visible damage as was hard to detect damage to the wheel. Yet the wheel took most of the impact as it was sticking out while turned in that direction. The cowl around the bumper was also scratched and damaged. None of this damage looked severe enough to total Sweet Roll, a $3000.00 - $3500.00 automobile. The total damage to Sweet Roll has reached about $1800.00. The adjuster was under the gun (by law) to get some kind of check out for damages in the given amount of time. I was out of town and was to return in a week and could not get estimates until I got back.

The insurance company had already supplemented added damages of about $400.00 give or take after the initial apraisal of damages at the first shop (an alignment shop). Another $200.00 was charged to me for the O-Ring, replacement of freon and stop leak which was done at a different shop. These were called maintenance by the insurance company. After the additional $400.00 was supplemented by the insurance company the adjuster told me I would have to pick up the diagnostic bill. I was told later by his boss that diagnostics were the responsibility of the insurance company. Which they said they did pay for. However deciphering their paperwork has proved to be a conundrum. Sweet roll and myself are not ones to jump to conclusions before getting all of the facts. One fact that sticks with me though, is the misleading diagnostic charges comment as to who was to pay for them. (possibly a little steering going on by an adjuster trying to avoid the higher prices at the Volvo Dealership) I guess it could have been an oversight or mistake on the part of the adjustor, I and Sweet Roll would like to give him the benefit of the doubt but when he was told that a Volvo Dealership would be doing the diagnostics, well. We would also like to know the whole story and get what we paid for should it be the right thing. We are honest people not trying to scam anyone for A/C. As stated before the AC was working before the wreck.

Sweet Roll
The leak from the o-ring is not going to be detectable after it has been replaced. I haven't seen many of those leak, but I'm also here in California where the conditions are much less harsh on your car, so I don't know how common it is in your part of the country. I'm going off your statement of "It was fine before the accident and stopped working after...". If it wasn't for the accident and subsequent repairs, the most common area for these systems to leak is the A/C Evaporator.

When replacing the cradle, the A/C Condenser (in front of the radiator) and the lines to it are definitely disturbed, and could (in theory) cause the o-ring to start leaking.

My belief is that if the A/C was working prior to the accident, then either the accident or repairs caused the leak. The insurance company should pick this up. A leaking system doesn't sound like "maintenance" to me. Is a leaking waterpump "maintenance"...I don't think so.

In the end, is this worth fighting with the insurance company over the $200, that's up to you (and Sweet Roll).

Best of luck!

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