Engine oil dipstick shows water and rust mixed in with oil
Everyone always jumps to head gaskets. There are plenty of MINOR things that can be looked at first.
The Volvo 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 Inline 5 Cylinder dipstick tube is known to develop a large amount of condensationin winter months and stop and go driving. What you see on your dip stick is possibly just condensation. Take off your oil cap and look under the cap and inside the valve cover. Is there any thick foamy oatmeal like substance or noticeable amounts of water? If your oil was saturated with coolant, you would be able to see it up there too. Check your coolant for oil. Volvo coolant is typically brown to orange, however make sure there is no sludge. Start the car with the cap off and keep an eye out for alot of bubbles. A large amount of bubbles is a sign of a bad head gasket. A couple here and there is just air in your cooling system.
Coolant, Transmission fluid, and Oil have several places they can mix. If you have a turbocharged Volvo, the seals in the turbo can go bad and cause a mix of oil and coolant. Your transmission cooler is also in your radiator, and if it cracks your transmission fluid and coolant can mix. I believe turbo models have an oil cooler built into the radiator as well.
Overall if your car sounds fine, you dont see oatmeal, your not using coolant and oil in excessive amounts, dont have white smoke, and your turbo isnt whining you probably just have condensation in your dip stick. If you are overly concerned you can send a sample of your oil to a lab and have it tested for traces of coolant. Headgaskets rarely fail on Volvo's, even the old ones....I have seen many that have gone to replace them have not found a failed gasket and end up finding a bad transmission cooler or a bad turbo.
1999 Volvo S70
on Mar 19, 2015