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Dash lights

Help and Advice on Volvo's extremely popular car line, powered by Volvo's nearly indestructible, versatile inline 5-cylinder engine.
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Dash lights

Postby romaswind » 22 Jun 2010, 15:57

When I start my car all my dash lights come on. When the brake light is on my speedometer does not work. Sometimes it feels like I am "driving" the emergency brake. When the brake light goes back off then everything starts working normally. I do have new brakes and roators for the front. Is that what is causing the problem or is it something else? Thanks
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Re: Dash lights

Postby C@lvin » 22 Jun 2010, 17:56

When you say brake light I assume you mean the ABS light. Since you just had the front pads and rotors changed I'd first check the wheel speed sensors to make sure they are attached correctly and not inadvertently damaged and along with the "flux wheel" in the hub that they are both clean. If there is no apparent problem with the speed sensors, then the next most likely problem is a failing ABS controller.

If you search this site for ABS or ABS failure you will find a wealth of information. If you conclude that you have a failing ABS controller look at Ozark Lee's DIY ABS Repair thread. If you aren't up to trying to repair it yourself you will also find reference in that thread to several "rebuilders" who you can send yours to for prices ranging from $45 to $140.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby vjaneczko » 22 Jun 2010, 18:02

Ahh, now it makes a bit more sense - if you are talking about the ABS light.

If you remove the ABS module your speedo will not work, so it sounds like this may be failing. You can drive without the ABS module so just remember how to brake without it!
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Re: Dash lights

Postby romaswind » 22 Jun 2010, 19:00

No all the lights come on but the light that I am talking about is the emergency brake light. I have not replaced the brakes or pads yet. I am trying to find out if this will fix the problem or if it may be something else. The yellow arrow button flashes at me also.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby nightc1 » 22 Jun 2010, 19:24

During an ABS unit failing you'll see both the "ABS" and "Brake" dash lights lit, the speedometer will drop to zero, the computer will stop computing current mpg, the odometer and trip computer may go to dashes, as well as on occasion the flashing arrow and the car will have a hard time shifting (it acts like it's stuck in whatever gear you were in when it stopped working). You can manually down shift to 1 or 3 and get going again if stuck in a high gear or even shut the engine off and restart it and that sometimes works well... or if the light goes out then everything returns to normal.

Further along I've also seen the gas gauge fluctuate slightly... it will slightly raise then drop. But this doesn't seem to happen to everyone.

IF the ABS goes out (even for a minute) it affects about 3 or 4 systems in the car.

Also you can have the "Brake" light show without the "ABS" light illuminating and it be an ABS system failing as the speedometer will drop to zero since it's signal routes through the ABS before the instrument cluster.

....

I'm talking about just the "ABS" and "Brake" dash lights... the Emergency Brake light is a separate light and says "Park Brake" on my 99' V70... though maybe it's different on your 2000 S70?
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Re: Dash lights

Postby vjaneczko » 22 Jun 2010, 19:54

romaswind wrote:No all the lights come on but the light that I am talking about is the emergency brake light. I have not replaced the brakes or pads yet. I am trying to find out if this will fix the problem or if it may be something else. The yellow arrow button flashes at me also.


It sounds like you may have several issues.

Dashboard lights – do they always come on when you start and do they stay on? Do they go out when the ride becomes normal? Does it happen every time? Some ignition cylinders can show their age by doing some goofy things, one of them being that the dash lights are on. Wiggle the key and see if they go out.

The emergency brake light (which is red and labeled ‘Parking Brake’ on my ’97) is separate from the ABS system. Do you use the e-brake at all? If you do, I would think the cable is a bit rusty and sticks when you release the handle – although I’m not sure how the light switch is setup so I could be way off. If you happen to drive around with the light on, take a minute and give the rear tires a sniff for excessive pad wear. The e-brake pads are separate from the regular pads so you won’t see them until you pull the rotors off, but if you should be able to smell them if they’re engaged. If they are, get it fixed ASAP. If not, it may be the switch is gummed up and needs to be cleaned.

On mine, the ABS and TRACS lights (both of them are orange) went on at the same time (which is very common) but never the ABS and Parking Brake lights. Now, the separate BRAKE light (which is red) indicates low brake fluid, so you’ll want to make sure it’s topped off ASAP - but not too much if your pads are real thin, because you’d probably have to remove some fluid AFTER you do the brake job. Make sure it’s just above the MIN line on the reservoir for now (and keep an eye on it) until the brakes are done.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby nightc1 » 22 Jun 2010, 20:38

vjaneczko,

I like all your suggestions, but the main thing that got me was the Speedometer going out during this. That's really typical of the ABS unit failing. Plus this just happens while driving then disappears.. which I can't imagine the actual emergency brake doing this.


Romaswind,

Does the ABS light illuminate when you turn the ignition to position 2? If not, then more reason to think this is ABS related.

One suggestion, hit Advance Autoparts and they will read your codes for free from the computer. If you can post the old codes then that might help narrow things down a bit. Usually the speed sensor will fail along with other things when the abs unit flakes out (though those parts aren't broke, they just aren't getting past the ABS unit so it appears that they failed). This is a hugely common issue, but it's fixable on the super cheap if you or a friend can solder.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby polskamafia mjl » 22 Jun 2010, 21:47

romaswind wrote:No all the lights come on but the light that I am talking about is the emergency brake light. I have not replaced the brakes or pads yet. I am trying to find out if this will fix the problem or if it may be something else. The yellow arrow button flashes at me also.


I think it would help everyone out if you could clarify your post. What light exactly is turning on or not turning on? If you don't know what it is called take a picture of it. Maybe this is just me, but I have no idea what an "emergency brake light" is. The up arrow flashing means your transmission is going through some kind of drama. It may be the PNP switch (easy) but who knows. Until you can figure out what's wrong w/ the trans it may be best to not drive your Volvo to prevent serious damage to the trans.

Do a search for PNP failure and read up on it. This way you can figure out if you have those symptoms.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby Ozark Lee » 22 Jun 2010, 22:58

Is it the brake light, the ABS light, or the parking brake light? If it is the parking brake light your cables are bad.

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Re: Dash lights

Postby vjaneczko » 22 Jun 2010, 23:29

polskamafia mjl wrote: Maybe this is just me, but I have no idea what an "emergency brake light" is.


It's the dashboard light indicating that you've yanked up the e-brake handle. My daughter, with a drivers permit in her hand for only three weeks, is learning that she needs to understand the dashboard lights before she tosses it in Drive! :)
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Re: Dash lights

Postby polskamafia mjl » 22 Jun 2010, 23:44

Suggesting I don't know my dash lights? ;-) haha I suppose it is just the way it was written but I couldn't figure out if "emergency brake light" meant a light that comes on during an emergency involving the brakes or something else. If the e brake light is on then make sure your e brake is off. If it is, then you need to replace the e brake cables.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby romaswind » 23 Jun 2010, 15:40

Thanks Everyone I will take a pic of it and post it so that it will clarify what I am talking about.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby romaswind » 23 Jun 2010, 18:46

Here is a pic that I just took. Hope this helps.
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Re: Dash lights

Postby romaswind » 23 Jun 2010, 18:47

Usually the arrow light is flashing at me also.
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