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Angle Gear - 2003 XC90

39752 Views 37 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Roadwore
We have been informed that our 2003 XC90 needs a new angle gear. I understand this to be the external component on the transmission that transmits power to the rear axle enabling the AWD feature. Re-sealing is not an option as the damage is too extensive.

The repair is very expensive $3,300 CDN and the car has only 69,000Kms. We purchased the car used and do not have an extended warranty.

What are the implications of not doing this repair?

I am disappointed that this seems to be a flaw Volvo is aware of as the part from the manufacturer seems to fail early. Any luck with a recall or having this repaired free/reduced cost?

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Thank you for posting up your question. Make certain that the damage is too extensive (hopefully you had a second opinion) because the bleed valve and seals are serviceable, but if the gears are damaged you may need an entire unit which can sometimes be found for around $2,500. I have heard in some instances where the AWD was disconnected in lieu of replacing the unit.

You might try to contact a couple of experts in this area:

HubbardWoods Volvo - 847-446-0711
Wolverine Transmission - 734-663-3314

Either one can probably tell you in detail what your options are. Volvo also has not had a reputation of repairing this outside of warranty.

Sorry your having trouble. Post back what happens here.

Got a second opinion from a repair shop specializing in Volvo.

They suggested only a reseal was necessary. They showed me under the car and that in the splash pan there was a stain maybe 1.5ft in circumference (i.e. not litres and litres). The technician heard no noise whereas local Volvo dealer said they heard noise and reseal was not possible. Really questioning the ethics of the dealer.

I had the reseal done yesterday and am hoping for the best. Have a one year warranty with the repair shop if the leak starts again.

Thanks for your help.
Thanks for the report back on this. Sounds like the second opinion really paid off! I'm glad it worked out. Check back in and let us know how the repair holds out.
Just a question....what was your original concern, why did they say you need to replace your angle drive unit. Did it not work or was it just because it was leaking?
I had no original concern actually, just at a regular service Volvo dealer drew a leak to my attention.

But it seems to me that they grossly exagerated the size of the problem as they claimed they heard alot of noise and that it was a big leak. Based on my not noticing any sound and my 2nd opinion not hearing anything and my 2nd opinion actually showed me the drip pan that wasn't even wet (you could just see that there was a stain)
Angle Drive

Thanks for the response. I had an extra bit of curiosity because I'm actually a Service Advisor for a very high volume Volvo dealership. The way they approached your situation was all wrong. They should have told you that it was leaking and they will inspect the internals upon disassembly. Sometimes just the exterior seals can be replaced but sometimes the unit actually needs to be removed and disassembled to reseal the two case halves, as I suspect was your case. On the west coast of the US, complete case reseal runs about $850 + tax, exterior seals (without disassembly) about $375 + tax. I'm glad your situation sounds like it worked out well. The Service Advisor that you were working with could really use some training. Thanks for your feedback and time, R.
rfilori - thanks for the feedback! Great to have someone with your knowledge advising!
Can someone reply with the outcome of not replacing the angle gear if necessary?

My wife's 2003 XC-90 was making sounds and they recommended replacement of the angle gear, as upon taking it apart they found metal shavings. We declined, and after driving it the sound occasionally came back.

Will the car not drive if the angle gear fails? Isn't it a required component of the transmission? The quoted replacement is around $2,900 USD so we are going to drive it unless the sound gets louder or the car stops working :)
You could continue to drive, you will likely not do any additional harm. The thing is that if the internals, gears, break it could bind the angle drive and leave you stranded, probably with little warning. The angle drive is not necessary for the operation of the transmission. It bolts to the transmission and mechanically delivers power to the rear wheels. Without it you will not have all wheel drive.
have the same problem

My Volvo dealer found the same problem with my 2005 XC90 t2.5 but they said they may be able to seal it for $1100. My friend crawled under the car and confirmed that there was a small leakage, but he told me to look for other shops to do the job for less, which is what I am doing this week. Grrrr - I love my Volvo but the repairs really scare me!
It's true, you can probably find it cheaper by shopping around and checking some independents. There's a lot of good independent shops that are trustworthy and reliable, there's also a lot that are hacks and will say they replaced parts while not doing the job completely. The price seems pretty reasonable to me for the job. It's a very common thing and some seepage from the case is normal. The thing is that the angle drive doesn't hold a lot of fluid so it doesn't take a huge leak to do damage. One other thing to consider is that once the angle drive is removed the splined coupler between the transmission and angle drive is often found to be stripped out, +$300ish. I hope it all works out well for you. :)
My 2005 XC90 was diagnosed with this same issue today. The dealer basically said I now have a front wheel drive car until I replace the angle drive for a mere $3100 US.

Has anyone on here done this replacement? He said it was a pretty straight forward remove and replace, but I trust him as far as I can throw him(he was pretty big).
Here's a link that explains the procedure in detail;, Drivetrain - Angle Gear Fluid Leakage.pdf

You can see why the cost would be high because of the work involved. If some of you do choose to get things fixed, get a reputable shop to do the job.
This is great info, but unfortunately, I think my angle gear is past the point of just resealing. Right now there is no engagement of the gears at all, basically my AWD car is now FWD. At the risk of being greedy, do you have something like this that gives the remove and replace procedure?
Just dig back into the link;
Volvo Cross Country Resources: How-To Guides

There's lots there, not sure about the r&r...
Thanks, looked already. Lots o' good info, but nothing on this.
Sloth, I'm not sure of a link with procedure but I can tell you that billable shop time will usually be 3.5 hours to remove and replace with an additional 1-1.5 hours to replace the coupler sleeve that will be found to be stripped out. The coupler sleeve physically mates the transmission to the angle drive and it is usually found to be stripped out along with the input shaft to the angle drive. However, the quote of 3100 sounds like it may all ready account for that. I'm a Service Advisor at a Volvo dealership and am very familiar with this repair.
The time estimate sounds about right in line with what Volvo quoted me. Most of the cost was for the replacement parts. I've been under the car and, as you know, this thing is buried behind the exhaust and frame spar. I read somewhere else that you had to pull the engine and transmission up a little to get enough clearance to remove it. I can't believe this is true based on the hours estimate.

I am competent enough with this kind of work to do it myself, but I don't want to get into it and find there's some trick or sequence I didn't know about that messes me up.

I also can't find a part number for any of these replacement parts. The stamped number on the angle gear casing is 1023859, but that doesn't seem to mean anything to anyone.

Unfortunately $3100 is not an option for me right now.
The only real trick that I'm aware of is the the coupler is pressed on and can be very difficult to remove from the trans output shaft. Aside from that I can only say that you're not doing additional harm leaving it the way it is, you just don't have AWD. Maybe that would be ok until you have the money to have it replaced? I'll talk to my shop foreman on Monday and see if he can offer more insight.
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