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Very likely is the sending unit, as you suggest. There are usually separate units for the temperature gauge and the fan switch though. Check YouTube for some videos, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3bASQM4EYs: How To Diagnose Replace Volvo Engine Coolant Temperature ETC Sensor V70 S60 S80
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcJofnHEULc: How To Replace Volvo ETC Sensor
Hmmm. The unit that calculates the fuel is under the back seat base. There are two level sensors under covers on either side. Could be that you have a trapped wire shorting and when you go into reverse the back axle just momentarily jogs the shorted wire. I'd look at the wiring there.
Have you checked and changed the thermostat? This would be one of the first things to try. If not, do so and then let me know how it runs, and what it feels and sounds like when starting and driving it.