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1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Help and Advice on Volvo's extremely popular car line, powered by Volvo's nearly indestructible, versatile inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Sofija » 22 Jan 2011, 04:26

I have a 1996 850 and have never had this problem before.

The car has been working fine. Yesterday, I get in, go to start it and nothing happens.
The lights, stereo, etc. work but the car won't start.

The battery died a couple weeks ago and I bought a new one through AAA so I called them thinking it may be a battery issue. They sent someone out and said the battery and alternator were fine.

He said he has seen this before in cars and that it sometimes has to do with the alarm disengaging.

I bought the car used and it did not come with a keyless entry remote. I didn't even know I had an alarm until it would randomly go off when I open the drivers side door with the key. It would sound and to stop it, I would lock and unlock the car again.

I read the manual and looked up some things online but nothing worked.

I am completely stumped and would love to avoid a trip to the mechanic. (This has has cost me some money!)

If anyone might have an idea as to what is going on, or can offer a suggestion, I would appreciate any input.

I do realize this might have zero to do with the alarm, but like I said, right now I am pretty stuck.

Thank you so much!
-Sofi
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Ozark Lee » 22 Jan 2011, 10:57

Welcome to MVS,

Does the car crank and not start or just not crank at all? The alarm / immobilizer prevents the car from cranking at all so if it is cranking the problem is not with the alarm.

Even without the remote keyfob you can normally reset the alarm by closing all of the doors and using the key to lock it a couple of times and then unlock it a couple of times.

...Lee
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby gilhuly » 22 Jan 2011, 14:56

Why would you not begin with diagnosing the starter? I'd like to know how the AAA guy OKed the alternator without starting the vehicle, not that I think it has anything to do with anything here.

Smack the starter with a rod or a broom handle or something while a partner turns the key. If it comes to life you have a bad starter and a straightforward fix.
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby holler1 » 22 Jan 2011, 15:47

Sofija wrote:I have a 1996 850 and have never had this problem before.

The car has been working fine. Yesterday, I get in, go to start it and nothing happens.
The lights, stereo, etc. work but the car won't start.

I'm reading this ("nothing happens") to mean the starter doesn't crank. If so, the problem could also be in the wiring to the starter, the starter/solenoid itself, or in the key switch. So you need to narrow it down. Banging on the starter may help if the starter is at fault. If locking/unlocking the door several time doesn't work, try rowing the shift lever back and forth a lot of times. That should help if the problem is in the PNP switch (if the car is auto trans).

If none of these things help, post back. If you can use a voltmeter, there are some other things to check.
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby jimmy57 » 22 Jan 2011, 15:54

I would try moving the gear lever to N and even moving the gear lever slightly for aft in P and N positions while key is held over in the start position. The starter circuit passes through the gear position sensor/neutral safety switch assembly on the gearbox and those electrical contacts do wear out.

Another thing: lights, radio, etc. coming on is not the most accurate way to check battery condition. If you can get jumpered by a friend or neighbor and it might start. If so then you do need to get a more thorough check of charging system.
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Sofija » 23 Jan 2011, 02:27

Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Ozark Lee » Today, 03:57
Welcome to MVS,

Does the car crank and not start or just not crank at all? The alarm / immobilizer prevents the car from cranking at all so if it is cranking the problem is not with the alarm.

Even without the remote keyfob you can normally reset the alarm by closing all of the doors and using the key to lock it a couple of times and then unlock it a couple of times.

...Lee


Thank you for the welcome!

The car does not crank at all.

I have tried locking and unlocking the doors as well.

I have never had this issue before, it's quite frustrating.
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Sofija » 23 Jan 2011, 02:29

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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby gilhuly » Today, 07:56
Why would you not begin with diagnosing the starter? I'd like to know how the AAA guy OKed the alternator without starting the vehicle, not that I think it has anything to do with anything here.

Smack the starter with a rod or a broom handle or something while a partner turns the key. If it comes to life you have a bad starter and a straightforward fix.


Sorry I didn't make that more clear, when they put in the new battery a couple weeks ago they said the alternator was fine.

"Smacking" the starter is not going to break anything? I'll give it a try!
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Sofija » 23 Jan 2011, 02:33

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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby holler1 » Today, 08:47

Sofija wrote:I have a 1996 850 and have never had this problem before.

The car has been working fine. Yesterday, I get in, go to start it and nothing happens.
The lights, stereo, etc. work but the car won't start.


I'm reading this ("nothing happens") to mean the starter doesn't crank. If so, the problem could also be in the wiring to the starter, the starter/solenoid itself, or in the key switch. So you need to narrow it down. Banging on the starter may help if the starter is at fault. If locking/unlocking the door several time doesn't work, try rowing the shift lever back and forth a lot of times. That should help if the problem is in the PNP switch (if the car is auto trans).

If none of these things help, post back. If you can use a voltmeter, there are some other things to check.
1998 Volvo V70 AWD 150000-R muffler, HD endlinks, boost gauge
2008 Ford Fusion AWD 27500
1991 Toyota Camry 160000#1
Previous: 1982 Volvo DL (240) 160000
1998 Tacoma, Fords (5), Dodge, Montero,
GTO, Sunbeam Alpine, VW Dasher
---


You are correct, the starter doesn't crank. I will definitely give the shift lever a try (yes, it is an automatic).

*crossing fingers*

I appreciate all the replies.
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Sofija » 23 Jan 2011, 02:36

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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby jimmy57 » Today, 08:54
I would try moving the gear lever to N and even moving the gear lever slightly for aft in P and N positions while key is held over in the start position. The starter circuit passes through the gear position sensor/neutral safety switch assembly on the gearbox and those electrical contacts do wear out.

Another thing: lights, radio, etc. coming on is not the most accurate way to check battery condition. If you can get jumpered by a friend or neighbor and it might start. If so then you do need to get a more thorough check of charging system.





AAA told me yesterday it wasn't the battery. I didn't want to assume just because the lights were working that the battery was fine.

I really appreciate all the help here.

The only thing that stinks is it's 12 degrees outside so messing around with my car is the last thing I want to be doing right now! But I'm going to go give a few of these suggestions a shot!
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Pauloil » 23 Jan 2011, 03:22

got a voltmeter? might be bad starter cable, batt to starter check cables before alt.
volvo wires (cables) are checked at 2K rpm with headlights on and rear defroster and fan on high
normal voltage drop in less than 0.2 volts... It is like asking "how much voltage can't get thru the wire?

http://www.aa1car.com/library/voltage_drop_testing.htm
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby SkyVolvo » 23 Jan 2011, 04:10

I just dealt with a bad starter cable on my 740 - if this is the case, you should be able to hook the battery up to a charging source and crank the engine with the extra power (even though the battery is just fine). In my case, though, my cable problems became noticeable over time, with a longer, slower starts, and eventually not starting while the engine was hot. Also, if you can't start the car, you can't exactly test it at 2K rpm.

If it does happen to be a bad starter cable, it's not all that hard to replace (I did mine this afternoon).

Nobody's come back to the alarm idea? Personally, I just don't know anything about the alarm thing.
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Ozark Lee » 23 Jan 2011, 13:02

If the alarm was tripped the hazard lights would be flashing and, such that many of them work anymore, the alarm horn would be blaring. This is a classic PNP switch problem.

Sofija,

Row the shifter (with your foot on the brake of course) - Quickly between low and park about 20 times and try again, if still no crank in Park try it in Neutral. PNP switch problems get worse when it is cold since the grease gets thicker. Rowing the shifter back and forth will loosen the grease up a bit.

...Lee
'94 850 N/A
'96 850 N/A
'96 Platinum Edition Turbo
'98 S70 T5
'99 V70XC
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1986 740 GLT
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Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Sofija » 24 Jan 2011, 07:08

Re: 1996 850 not starting. (alarm issue?)

Postby Ozark Lee » Yesterday, 06:02
If the alarm was tripped the hazard lights would be flashing and, such that many of them work anymore, the alarm horn would be blaring. This is a classic PNP switch problem.

Sofija,

Row the shifter (with your foot on the brake of course) - Quickly between low and park about 20 times and try again, if still no crank in Park try it in Neutral. PNP switch problems get worse when it is cold since the grease gets thicker. Rowing the shifter back and forth will loosen the grease up a bit.

...Lee


Lee, I tried rowing the shifter today but not as many times as you suggested.
It isvery cold here in Boston so I imagine that is not helping anything.

I will try again tomorrow with some more patience and see if I can't get this problem fixed.
My mechanic isn't open on Mondays so I'm really hoping this will do the trick!

Thank you!!
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