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850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

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.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
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850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby javaqen » 24 Aug 2009, 01:16

I have a 1993 850 GLT (non-turbo). A little over a month ago, it started having a problem starting. It would turn over, but not start. It wouldn't happen often - average once a week - and I'm in an out of the car ALOT. A few weeks after this issue began, we left our house (after multiple starting attempts) and got maybe half a mile when the check engine light came on and the car stalled. After several more attempts, it started and we brought it back home. I researched the forums and "diagnosed" the problem as a fuel pump relay issue. We replaced the relay and it ran great with no issues for over a week. Then, (with no starting issues) it shut off one evening less than a mile after starting. Over the last few weeks it has gotten worse. Its still hit or miss on the starting & doesn't always shut off if there is a problem starting. It seemed to happen whenever I was down to a quarter tank of gas or less, but wouldn't start once on a full tank. When it started the first time, I would hear (and feel) a loud thump coming from the engine compartment. It seemed if I heard this noise then it would run fine. This weekend killed that theory. We replaced the fuel filter (it was in pretty bad shape) & the car started first try, ran smooth at idle for almost 20 minutes. Hours later when we left our house (started first try) we got less than half a mile and it died again. It ultimately started when we banged on the gas tank. As we made our way back home, it hesitated, the check engine light came on - but instead of letting off the gas, I gave it gas and it didn't stall. My husband wants to set fire to it - please help :)
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby tailor » 24 Aug 2009, 01:38

It sounds like you have bad fuel(fuel starvation) pump and it may be that the relay and fuel filter were all going bad in stages. As you have replaced two of the three already, my money is on the pump.
You do not mention what codes you read from the diagnostic boxes
so I cannot offer any insight there. I would also check the schrader valve on the fuel rail for pressure when you next have a no start scenario, that is before you change the fuel pump of course. Just to verify that you are getting pressure to the rail. You need to remove the cap and depress the nipple, have a rag to catch the spray which indicates pressure in the rail.
1994 850 Auto Turbo wagon 306000km (Sold)
2004 XC90 AWD 188000km

"Life is like a reel to reel tape recorder,
the closer you get to the end,
the faster it spins."
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby Ozark Lee » 24 Aug 2009, 02:09

The bang on the gas tank test verifies tailor's theory that the pump itself is craoking. You only get one or two shots at that "fix" before the fuel pump permanently dies. What I am saying is don't go on that 2,000 mile road trip until you change the pump - the chances of being stranded are very high.

There are two ways to go about replacing it - you can buy the entire assembly (very expensive) and just swap it out - or you can remove the assembly and replace the guts with either an OEM or a Walbro pump. Darrell Waltrip Volvo sells the OEM guts for around $100.00 and if you can find the Walbro kits they are even cheaper but they are noisier than the OEM. That said, the Walbro inserts are very durable.. I think the OEM assembly is $250.00 range. FCP Groton has an aftermarket gut kit for around $100.00 as well but I know nothing about it in terms of quality and reliability.

Search the repair database for some very good instructions on how to replace the pump.

You can reach Darrell Waltrip Volvo parts at (800) 689-0021. Ask for Jamie or Don and tell them that you got the lead off of the board - I'm not sure if it makes a difference but they say that you get a better discount.

Good luck and hide the matches,

...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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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby javaqen » 01 Sep 2009, 01:24

Well guys - I'm still searching. We replaced the fuel pump on Saturday. Granted, it was a used one from a junkyard (out of a 98 S70) but it seemed to do the trick. Car started out of the gate, I "drove it like I stole it" and had no problems at all. Drove it on the interstate on Sunday (about 15 miles); made a few stops and back home with a small glitch. We had been on the interstate for maybe 10 miles when it lurched as if I had jerked my foot off the gas. No lights came on, it didn't shut off and it was over in less than a second with no major issues. It ran fine this morning, down the interstate, parked for most of the day, started and brought me home 15-20 miles, again no issues. It sat for 2 hours and when we went to get in to take my son to baseball practice - no start. Still seems as if it's not getting fuel somehow. We took hubby's car to practice, left it in the driveway for a few hours - just tried again - no start. A few questions:
1 - Is it possible that the new relay we bought was bad from the get-go? Is it possible to test it?
2 - Is there anyway to test the old fuel pump to see if it was truly bad?
3 - How do I "pull codes" like you mentioned in your original post?
4 - We noticed under the hood that a few of the vacuum hoses are in pretty bad shape and need replacing. Could that cause these symptoms?

thanks for any insight!
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby Pauloil » 01 Sep 2009, 03:20

I would have checked the codes first!
look at code reading in chiltons, on volvospeed or on the help section here and report back. you have a diagnotic port on the opposite side of the battery.

http://volvospeed.com/Repair/a2.html
99 V70XC 158K

95 850glt 188K
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby tailor » 01 Sep 2009, 03:24

Hmmm! have a look here, http://volvospeed.com/Repair/a2.html
http://volvospeed.com/Repair/a1.html and http://volvospeed.com/Repair/a3.html
this gives you an idea about the reading of the codes post them back and lets try again.

Replace the vacuum pipes that are bad, in particular the one under the fuel rail which connects the "tree" and the fuel pressure regulator. http://www.fcpgroton.com/product-exec/p ... ory_id/149
Did you check if there is pressure on the schrader valve when you are faced with a no start ?
1994 850 Auto Turbo wagon 306000km (Sold)
2004 XC90 AWD 188000km

"Life is like a reel to reel tape recorder,
the closer you get to the end,
the faster it spins."
Abe Gottschalk
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby javaqen » 01 Sep 2009, 19:26

Thanks for the code info - that is GENIUS! Here is what i pulled: A1 - 124; 114; 134
A2 - 121; 131
A3 - 444; 312; 213; 142

So, where does that leave me? (Hopefully not still stuck in my own driveway! Lol!)
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby tailor » 02 Sep 2009, 00:20

javaqen wrote:Thanks for the code info - that is GENIUS!
Here is what i pulled:
A1 - 124; 114; 134
A2 - 121; 131
A3 - 444; 312; 213; 142

So, where does that leave me? (Hopefully not still stuck in my own driveway! Lol!)

A1 - transmission
124 Mode selector faulty or short circuit to ground
114 Program selector open circuit or short circuit to supply
134 Faulty load signal from ignition control module

A2 - fuel
121 MAF sensor signal
131 RPM sensor signal missing

A3 -ABS
444 No power supply to valves in hydraulic unit
312 Right front wheel sensor. open/short
213 Left rear wheel sensor, no signal on moving off
142 142 Faulty brake pedal switch, open or short

For the entire library of DTCs
viewtopic.php?t=10758

So you have multiple things going on.
I would clear all the codes first and see if any or all come back.
Then I would start with cleaning the maf with cleaner do not touch the elements with a brush or your hands, electrical cleaner normally does the trick.
If you disconnect the plug of the maf while the engine is running it should stutter if the maf is in good shape,( it runs without a problem if it is toast) now it may be that it is just filthy and this is the cause of your stalling / cut out.

See how you go
1994 850 Auto Turbo wagon 306000km (Sold)
2004 XC90 AWD 188000km

"Life is like a reel to reel tape recorder,
the closer you get to the end,
the faster it spins."
Abe Gottschalk
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby javaqen » 06 Sep 2009, 17:37

I'm back with an update (of sorts). We haven't been able to get the car to start for more than 2-3 seconds (and then only twice), but here is what we've done so far. We have checked the fuel pressure (couldn't find a gauge at Autozone, so we used a tire pressure gauge) at the filter and it was 40+; at the fuel rail it was 50+. We have replaced the 2 hoses that were dry-rotted - both connected to the tree that you spoke of. We have checked the plugs - no damage. We have cleaned the MAF. I tried to pull new codes after we got it to start one of the times and am now only getting 121 - even after we cleaned it. We removed the fuel pump relay and used a paper clip on 15 & 87 to see if it would start with no luck. When we try to start it, it cranks and seems like it wants to start but isn't "catching". To recap, we have replaced the fuel pump relay, fuel filter & fuel pump, various hoses, cleaned the MAF, checked the plugs, & "inspected" the injectors. Where do we go from here? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated :)

BTW - the check engine light hasn't come on at all through his whole saga.

NEW UPDATE! This morning with a fresh set of eyes, we tried to start it and noticed fuel spraying out of one of the injectors. We can't yet tell where its coming from other than it is the first injector on the left side. I'm going to look now for directions for removing the fuel rail to hopefully get a better look-see.
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby Jagger » 06 Sep 2009, 18:50

Hi Javaqen,

I had the same problem of engine stalling whenever it felt like it.
Just to bring on a new idea. In my case it was the battery.
One cell was broken down and whenever I drove into a rather strong bend the engine stalled. I had the battery checked as it was a car without any electronics and the guy at the battery center explained to me that the led in the battery breaks down and settles on the bottom of the battery. Driving through the bend must have shifted this led sludge and shortened the cell.
Well, just my experience. You can have the battery checked.
Cheers,
Jagger
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby javaqen » 06 Sep 2009, 22:33

Thanks Jagger - we had the battery checked and it "passed". This afternoon we removed the fuel rail, removed and cleaned the injectors, & replaced the o-rings. From trying to start it so many times the last few days we did run the battery down. So, this afternoon we jumped it and lo & behold - it started! It ran steady for a good 2-3 minutes. We revved it, got good rpms and were thinking we had finally fixed it. As we were standing & staring at the engine (read: patting ourselves on the back), it shut off. No stutter, no hesitation, just died. It hasn't started again since. However, NOW the CEL is on. Lol! I think it's possessed and will begin looking for a Volvo exorcist.
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby westfp928 » 07 Sep 2009, 05:23

One of your codes "A-2 131, rpm signal" tells me that you have an intermittant CPS (Crank Position Sensor), which can do what you are experiencing. I would check the connectors to it, and if ok and still has same problem, replace the sensor.
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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby Ozark Lee » 07 Sep 2009, 10:35

One other thing to check is the proximity of leads the RPM sensor (Crankshaft Position Sensor) to the coil wire. In its natural state the sensor leads want to loop up next to the coil wire and the coil wire can interfere with the sensor signal. Volvo had a TSB on that problem that calls for using a zip tie to fold the CPS sensor leads down away from the coil wire.

The RPM/CPS sensor is located more or less in the center of the top of the bell housing.

...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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Re: 850 shuts off while driving - sometimes

Postby javaqen » 10 Sep 2009, 22:55

Just a quick update - of sorts. We replaced the camshaft position sensor today because the parts store ordered the wrong thing. Still no start. Crankshaft position sensor should be in tomorrow. By the way, upon close inspection, my husband noticed that the plastic in the center of rotor button has a crack in it. Could that be causing this problem? My assumption has been (after we hit the $300 spending mark) that it will be a $10 fix when we finally find it. Will keep you posted - thanks again for ALL your help and advice on this :)
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