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Volvo 1996 850, problem is crankcase pressure and power lost

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.
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Volvo 1996 850, problem is crankcase pressure and power lost

Postby DWEames » 16 Sep 2008, 23:23

I recently bought a Volvo from a friend, and was driving it away from New Orleans and Hurricane Gustav, and got about 25 miles out when I suddenly lost power and the engine started running rough. I'm on a long voyage to Montana to spend time with my sister. I had to get away from the hurricane so I putt putted out of town. I stopped to put fuel injector cleaner in, then tried in Shreveport to clean the idle air control valve. it is moving freely now. (everything I tried, I learned from this site) So naturally I started giving the car a tune up by changing the plugs, which were totally fouled. Each time I tried something, I would drive a little more. And the power was improving. I stopped in St. Joe to work a job for a friend, and drove the car around wih decent power. However it was still sounding like a motorcycle, and not back to full power. I changed the Spark Plug Wires (i'm on a budget, and that's why i'm doing this piece-meal). It still did not fix the problem. From Missouri I drove up through South Dakota, and the plains killed me, and apparently this Volvo I have grown to love. Wall, South Dakota is apparently the place where this kind of stuff happens. I changed the fuel filter because of the alchohol content in their gas here is apparently wrecking fuel systems. It will start now and I can rev up the engine in Park, while it is not smooth, it will at least raise the RPM's. I looked at the Timing belt, it's fine. I looked at and cleaned the MAF sensor. I just noticed a thread about an accelarator sensor. Is this something I should investigate. I need cheap solutions. OH, oil is coming up out of the oil filler cap, and dipstick. I've been reading up on PCV problems with this car. The local mechanic had a dire diagnosis about the crankcase pressure, and something he calls (blowby) Is this my problem, should I count on this costing many hundreds of dollars? Please help, my Volvo friends.
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Postby confused_al » 17 Sep 2008, 01:29

I would try something simple first, clean the "flame trap" (for n/a model only);

http://volvospeed.com/Repair/ftrap.php

In my case the cleaning along with replacing clogged elbow solved the positive pressure issue.

And check the Airbox thermostat, make sure its open to the fresh air side.

http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/chat/p ... sc&start=0

Good luck!
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Postby vegasjetskier » 17 Sep 2008, 01:38

You could try a bottle of Auto-Rx (http://www.auto-rx.com). If your ring packs are stuck (which might be causing the excessive blowby), this stuff might unstick them and reduce the blowby to a tolerable level.
.

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Postby Ozark Lee » 17 Sep 2008, 01:44

Blowby is stuck or bad rings (or possibly the PCV system).

I wish I had known as you were tracking up I-29, I would have helped around KC.

What kind of spark plugs did you put in and what kind of plug wires did you use?

The proactive thing you can do is to buy a can of Seafoam from an auto parts store and dump 1/3 of a can into your oil. Drive it for a short while - I'm not sure what a short while is and the instructions on the can are silent. I would guess 100 miles or so would do it. Then change your oil and filter. The bummer is that in Montana I doubt you can find a Mann filter unless there is a local Volvo dealer. I have heard the NAPA gold filters are OK but I have never used one. Even if you wound up with a FRAM it will just mean clacking on startup until you can find a real filter.

It may or may not help but it can't really hurt anything.

JRL had great results after seafoaming his oil on compression. Good compression means less blowby. Hopefully Jim will jump in on how long to run the car with the Seafoam before the oil change.

You didn't say if you have a turbo or not. Particularly with a turbo, check all of the vacuum lines and the intercooler lines. The vacuum lines break / crack and the intercooler lines tend to just collapse under revs when they go south.

Is your check engine light on - if so get the codes read and post them back. The codes give us a lot to work with.

I'm glad you escaped Gus and clearly you were nowhere coastal for Ike.

A link to great pictures from Ike:

Ike Pictures - #11 is amazing

...Lee
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'96 850 N/A
'96 Platinum Edition Turbo
'98 S70 T5
'99 V70XC - RIP Killed by a drunk driver.
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flame trap and airbox thermostat

Postby DWEames » 17 Sep 2008, 02:00

Thanks Ozark, Vegas, & Al

This is not a Turbo, and I have over 100k miles. I would know exactly, but the odometer is broken. I cleaned the flame trap, which was full of gunk, and am now headed for the airbox thermostat. I have been suspicious of the MAF sensor. I looked at it, but didn't notice anything bad; one thread says that hot air can damage them, should I be looking in that direction? I hope that I can understand the directions for checking out this Airbox Thermo. Also I noticed one of the places the bolts holds the distributor on is cracked, and I have not checked out the distributor, rotor, etc...I'm about to download those instructions, and investigate. Because of the PCV issue I have had oil pooling up in the valve cover. I changed the spark plugs, spaced at .028, and have bosch wires (which said they were identical to factory).
I have a grey 1996 Volvo 850 with over a hundred k miles on it. I'm not sure because the odometer is broken.
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still broken

Postby DWEames » 17 Sep 2008, 20:33

I looked at this airbox thermostat. I'm afraid my problems are more complicated. I have done some testing. I ran the car without cylinders 2 & 5. I had the code that said multiple misfire and system control misfire a while back. So there was no difference in performance when I remove the wires from those cylinders. In addtion to that I opened my distributor cap & it was filled will oil and crud from the spill over on the valve cover (PCV???). I cleaned it out best I could, but am worried that it could still be the problem? Does that sound like something that would cause the car to run very very slow until the RPM'S build? This part of Wall wouldn't have a new distributor cap until tomorrow and it's kinda pricey.
I have a grey 1996 Volvo 850 with over a hundred k miles on it. I'm not sure because the odometer is broken.
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Postby vegasjetskier » 17 Sep 2008, 20:47

Holy cow, you're lucky it was running at all. You might want to change the rotor at the same time. Have you been able to reduce the oil leak?
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Postby DWEames » 17 Sep 2008, 20:51

I will. I scraped the rotor down, but am wondering if I scraped too much off. I could spend another night in town and wait for this cap. It seems likely that i have a bad distributor cap. I cleaned the flame trap thing out, but can't be sure until I try driving this thing a considerable distance. I just need to make it to a town 50 miles away that has more parts.
I have a grey 1996 Volvo 850 with over a hundred k miles on it. I'm not sure because the odometer is broken.
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Postby vegasjetskier » 17 Sep 2008, 21:01

You should be able to get it to run for 50 miles just by cleaning things up. Make sure you scrape all the crap off the electrodes in the cap - that's where the current flows through when the plug fires. And try to clean all the rest of the oil out of the cap so you don't get carbon tracking - that's when an alternative current path is created by carbon buildup and the electricity doesn't flow to the correct spark plug.
.

SOLD - 2001 Volvo S80 T6: Mobil 1 Oil & Synthetic ATF, Brake Performance drilled and slotted front rotors, Akebono Euro Ceramic pads and Yokohama Avid V4S tires, 91K miles.

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Postby Ozark Lee » 17 Sep 2008, 21:09

In addtion to that I opened my distributor cap & it was filled will oil and crud from the spill over on the valve cover (PCV???)


You may have a rear cam seal leak. The distributor cap actually seals pretty well and I doubt that oil from the top of the engine got inside of it. Changing the rear cam seal is actually fairly easy is you can get one.

If your PCV is totally clogged up here was a creative way that one of our members dealt with it to get his car home from Washington DC to Manhattan, KS.

http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/volvo-blog/2008/03/

I think the line to the jug was tied onto the dipstick tube.

...Lee
'94 850 N/A
'96 850 N/A
'96 Platinum Edition Turbo
'98 S70 T5
'99 V70XC - RIP Killed by a drunk driver.
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Postby confused_al » 18 Sep 2008, 00:16

Did you find any code related to the MAF? If not, that might be ok, at least not on top of your list.

Good luck!
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made it 50 miles

Postby DWEames » 18 Sep 2008, 14:22

I was able to drive 50 miles, and used a quarter tank of gas.
Would a rear cam seal be an indication of a cam problem? Would that be a reason for the loss of compression? I'm going to change the dist. cap today, and am hoping that will improve matters. Was your suggestion possibly the link to the oil getting into the distr. cap? I can see a trail of oil that has poured down the valve cover directly into the dstr cap, and looks very much like it was the culprit. I hope so. As far as PCV I'm hoping to tackle that when I get to montana in 440 miles.

Thanks for the tips.
I have a grey 1996 Volvo 850 with over a hundred k miles on it. I'm not sure because the odometer is broken.
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Postby Ozark Lee » 18 Sep 2008, 14:50

The seal wouldn't really be indicative of an actual cam problem. I was focusing more on the oil in the distributor cap. Have you checked the compression? I didn't see anything about it in your previous posts. If you did do a compression check what were the numbers?

If you think the oil is leaking into the cap from the outside perhaps a ring of RTV around the base of the cap might help to keep it out.

...Lee
'94 850 N/A
'96 850 N/A
'96 Platinum Edition Turbo
'98 S70 T5
'99 V70XC - RIP Killed by a drunk driver.
Previous: 1989 740 GLT
1986 740 GLT
1972 142 Grand Luxe
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made it to montana

Postby DWEames » 20 Sep 2008, 20:51

I changed the distributor cap and rotor. The last leg of my journey was 440 miles, and the Volvo held up. We are safe and sound in Livingston, MT. There are some folks that work on volvo's around here I believe, so I will try to get a compression test, a manual, etc...How would I know whether this was a "timing" issue? Is that something that one can affect manually in these cars? I had the maf sensor completely detached and she ran exactly the same. Does that rule out the MAF sensor? What is the best manual I can buy?

Thanks for your thoughts.
I have a grey 1996 Volvo 850 with over a hundred k miles on it. I'm not sure because the odometer is broken.
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