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Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on the Volvo S80 model. Sometimes called an "executive car", the S80 was and continues to be Volvo's top-of-the-line passenger car.

Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby robby91 » 23 Nov 2009, 07:09

Good day,

I am in need of some serious help again. I need to know if i should go to the dealer or start with an ABS ECM rebuild. My vehicle is a 2000 S80 2.9 with 120,000 miles. I live in Chicago, i think i have an ABS or ECM problem.

A few days ago i got "Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP" error and the ABS,Brakes,and STC lights all came on. So, i pulled over and tried to restart hoping it was a computer fault. Stopping was fine, brakes were fine. I check the brake fluid and everything else and it looks completely normal.

Upon the restart, the car fails after starting. I restart again, it sputters and dies. I try to start again and it won't. So i leave it for about 10 minutes and start the car. It starts fine with zero errors and i drive to work.

Later i drive home and it does it again, this time i dont stop and the car continue to drive fine. However, i have no engine temp,tach,odometer, or cruise control. After i get home i restart and its cleared. Tonight i drive to Wisconsin. Upon trying to restart to come back to Chicago, i get the whole Christmas tree of lights plus more.

Now its "tranmission service soon" something like that followed by "Brake Failure Stop Safely ASAP" and Check engine, ABS, STC, and Brakes are lit up. Car wont run well after a restart, and after pulling the keys, the lights for the transmission shift indicator next to the shifter stay on?? I try to start multiple times and it finally works fine again.

What on Earth is wrong? Should i just rip out the ABS control for rebuilding? Should i spend the money to go to a dealer to have it checked out? Lord knows i couldnt afford their repair fees. But do i need to pay for the diagnosis?

Here is another thing, when i bought the car 4 years ago it had 60,000 miles. The day after buying it "brakes" came on. So i took it back to the used car dealer and they either sent it out to be rebuilt or replaced the ABS module. I don't remember what. But it fixed it. I know it had to do the with ABS control. Could it be the module again? Would it cause everything else to fail? I have never seen this problem until recently.

Also, i replaced the tranny filter and fluid for the first time about a month ago. Everything has been great concerned with the transmission since. Is the trans error a result of the ABS system taking everything else down?

Sorry for the book. But i hope it helps. Thanks so much to everyone for their feedback.

*Also, I don't know if it matter but maybe a month ago i took it into the dealer for the ETM software update. I have never had any ETM problems but figured the update was needed what with the recall and all. I hope that hasn't screwed up the system.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby jbrown122 » 23 Nov 2009, 11:57

That pretty much sounds like ABS module failure to me. Look here, http://home.earthlink.net/~vicrocha/Volvo_Parts/Volvo_V70_ABS.htm

He rebuilds them for only $125.

Here is how to remove the module: http://home.earthlink.net/~vicrocha/s80_abs/s80_volvo_abs_removal.htm

Good luck!
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby mvsuzr » 25 Nov 2009, 06:02

If you're getting a lot of unrelated and intermittent messages, you might also want to check your voltage, if your battery is low and/or you're not charging properly, them little chips tend ta go nuts...

Also check the CAN bus connections you can find and make sure they're secure, a bad connection should register as a CAN bus error, but sometimes the noise from a bad connection can also confuse those little darlings.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby todd_b » 25 Nov 2009, 16:46

Similar thing happened to me the other night. Also, complained about my key sending the right signal. Turned out to be my red battery cable had frayed clean through. Attached a new clamp on the frayed end and connected it to the battery and it cleared everything up.

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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby robby91 » 25 Nov 2009, 22:48

Hi everyone, thanks for the responses.

I contacted Victor as mentioned in the link (and other places). I plan on sending the ABS controller to him.

1. Where can i find the E-5 Torx socket. I have called Lowes, Ace, Sears, etc etc. I haven't been able to find anyone around Chicago. Anyone have any suggestions? I know i can buy it online, but i wanted to get this done on Friday. The sooner i remove, the sooner it comes back.

2. How would i go about checking the voltage of the battery? I do not have a charger with a volt meter or anything. Could i purchase something or would i have to take it some where? Would a multimeter work? Seems kind of crazy that they couldn't include that in the on board computer. I had an old Oldsmobile that had a digital voltage read out back in high school.

3. How about removing the air intake and air filter. Haven't looked into yanking it. Is it hard? Looks like that is the first step in the ABS removal steps but it isnt spelled out.

Anyways, thanks again guys.

Oh also..when it comes to the battery, does anyone service it regularly? I got a new one about 3 1/2 years ago and haven't touched it since.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby mvsuzr » 28 Nov 2009, 23:45

Regarding your battery:

A multimeter is just fine for checking the battery. In this case you're probably not too concerned about load testing, which requires different equipment.

First, check the voltage across the battery terminals (the battery may be in the trunk on your car). The voltage should be at least 12 volts DC when the car is not running.

Next, if you can, try to check the voltage between the battery post and the wire connected to it. This may not be possible on a side mount battery. If you can do this and you measure a voltage above zero, the connection is bad and needs to be cleaned or reworked. (This is true of any connection, if you can measure a voltage across the connection, it's not a good connection.)

Measure the voltage under the hood. I believe there's a post the battery wire is connected to. Put one probe on the connector and the other probe on a good ground. This should read the same as the voltage you measured at the battery.

You might also try measuring something inside, like the cigarette lighter plug. Measure between the center and the sides, or the center to a good ground. Don't touch the probes together, you'll get quite a show!
Again, this should read the same as your battery voltage.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby robby91 » 03 Dec 2009, 17:23

Still no resolution. Just more problems. I can't thank you folks enough for your input.

Here is where i am at now....

I sent the ABS control to Victor and he is finding NO FAULT with it.

If thats the case, then what do i do next???

I don't have my multimeter to check voltage yet.But i have visualy inspected the battery and its fine. None of the cables are frayed or loose. The battery is about 40 months old. Its an 85 month Interstate.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is my recap..

When the problems happened what would happen is the computer would come on with "Brake Failure Stop Safely ASAP". In addition "Brake, "ABS", and "Traction Control" lights would come on. In addition to that, Engine Temp, Speedometer, Odometer, Cruise, and Tachometer would all stop working.

The car would still run fine if I kept driving it when those came on. The first time and many times since it has happened I have checked the brakes and the fluid and everything is fine. Braking feels fine with no more play in the pedal than normal.

Sometimes I could drive the car for a couple days and it wouldn't pop up. Then sometimes it would pop up while driving. Occasionally it would register when I attempted to start the car. When the Brake Failure was popping up at ignition, the engine would run horribly. So I would shut it down or it would simply die. Then I would wait a couple minutes and try again. During these moments I was also getting something like "check transmission at next service" then the "brake failure stop safely" message. Also, check engine would come on when this happened. However this was only a problem when it seemed to be faulting during the initial startup.

That is how it was operating before I sent the ABS control out. I would say 85% of the trips there were no errors, lights, or anything out of normal.

Since I removed the computer and have been attempting to drive it, more has happened. I get the "SRS airbag service now" message and the brake failure every time. The 3 brake lights and the check engine are always on (which I would expect with the ABS control gone). But the biggest thing is, it does not start or run correctly half the time now. When it isn’t starting correctly none of the gauges work except the fuel level. Also, the door locks don’t always work until after I open the doors with the key and put it in the ignition. The key fob isn’t registering all the time. Plus the clock isn’t always correct. It gets off by hours.

Now the battery is less than 4 years old. It’s an interstate with an 85 month warranty. I checked the terminals and everything seems fine. As for the alternator, the lights don’t dim. Even when starting and it won’t run correctly, the lights are constant. So I don’t imagine it could be the alternator.

I am so confused. I thought it was the ABS with the problems popping up. What do you think? Does that sound normal for the car to be acting severely worse without the ABS system installed? What could be causing these problems? Faulty alternator?


Please help me. When i get the ABS back and reinstall it, what's next? Alternator or is it another computer problem?
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby robby91 » 22 Dec 2009, 15:16

Ok, here is another follow up.

Its been a month, and i still do not have resolution.

-I removed the ABS computer and sent it to Victor (it checked out as fine)
-I had the car taken into a regular mechanic (they replaced the battery and repaired a fault in the electical line from the trunk to the engine block)

Yet, i still get all the brake messages and the transmission service and abs service warnings. In addition, i still lose all of my gauges. This isn't every time. But its most of the time. Any clue what to do next? I left it at a shop again, and they haven't found the problem. Do i dare bring it to a dealer??
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby polskamafia mjl » 22 Dec 2009, 16:38

If the module itself has checked out then I'm willing to bet their is one small simple thing that has been overlooked. I hate to advise anyone to go to the dealer, but you may need to... :|
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby E Showell » 22 Dec 2009, 16:53

Ok -- This is definitely out there in a Twilight Zone kind of way, but . . .

Some, but not all, of the symptoms you mention can be caused by a faulty electrical part of the ignition switch. If you have a lot of heavy stuff dangling from your key fob, take it all off now and never put it back on.

Also, if the symptoms are cured by gently jiggling the ignition key while it is in the ignition and the car is running, you may be on your way to solving the problem.

I operated a car by jiggling the key for years before replacing the electric portion of the ignition switch -- about a $65 part.

Best of luck.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby polskamafia mjl » 23 Dec 2009, 18:45

That's true...the electrical part of the ignition wreaks havoc on the 850's...perhaps you've got the same problem. Good thinking E Showell.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby jbrown122 » 25 Dec 2009, 17:26

Thats a possibility but I don't think so. If it was the ignition, usually just the lights like ABS, CEL, park brake, etc will come on. But there are actually messages coming up on the info screen that do not show when the key is in II position.
Are you getting "low voltage" message? If so, did your mechanic check the alternator?


Maybe you just want to have the ABS rebuilt. Because these are all symptoms of module failure. Every thing you describe. When the module was out, the speedo and tach should still have been dead right? And all the lights should have stayed on. Probably. Therefore, I think the ABS module is bad, because the lights and gauges act the same with or without the module in there. So its probably not working when it's installed.

I don't think a bad ECU would throw these messages and no performance be effected. This is strange.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby JDS60R » 25 Dec 2009, 18:50

You are having an electrical ground fault or a voltage fault. The fact that many systems are being effected lets you know the common denominator is the power source.

First go to your local Advance or Auto Zone and get a battery test (both voltage and load/CCA ) and then have them test te alternator. Many hav reported a failing alternator with the same symptoms. If your battery and charging systems check out ok then have an automotive electrician check the car for a bad ground.

This should get you back up and running.
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Re: Brake Failure Please Stop ASAP error...plus lights galore

Postby robby91 » 02 Jan 2010, 19:18

Ok, here is another update.....

Still no resolution. I am dropping the car off at my second mechanic in about a half hour.

-The ABS control module was fine. I reinstalled it and everything worked for about 10 miles and then it started happening again.
-I brought it back to the first place and had them check the alternator again while the engine was running and the guages were all dead. They said it was constant and fine.
-I tried to have them fault check for a bad ground or voltage irregularity and they couldnt find any.
-The new battery is working fine

To recap, the SRS system error and Transmission Service errors are always on in the message center. I imagine because they got tripped while driving the car with the ABS computer out. Shop i went to couldnt clear them. Sometimes the car drives fine. But most trips eventualy i'll get the Brake Failure Message and all the lights and lose all guage except Fuel Level. When i try to restart, it wont, unless i disconnect the battery first.

Thanks for your input guys. I have never had such a messed up automotive problem.
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