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2007 XC90 - alternator damage by body shop? You'll want to read this story...

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on Volvo XC90s. The XC90 proved to be very popular, and very good for Volvo's sales numbers, since its introduction in model year 2003 (North America).
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Year and Model: 2008 Volvo XC90 3.2
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2007 XC90 - alternator damage by body shop? You'll want to read this story...

Post by roddissimo »

Hi all - first poster here. I have a question re: My wife's 2008 Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD with 165,000kms.

So, my wife’s Volvo was rear-ended a few weeks ago. Not huge but enough to require a new rear bumper, etc. Fast forward to the pickup from the body shop which is where my question is from – apologies for the rather long back story, but I felt it was relevant.

My wife picked up her car and just as she started it, it made a horrible noise, like a whine or a scream, and the red triangle warning light with “Power system service urgent” lit up. She called me to meet her at the body shop (a reputable one, and one that Volvo dealer recommends). I popped the hood and found a nozzle attachment to an airhose lodged on top of the driver's side frame rail :shock: . I removed it and gave it to the body shop manager who could tell I was pretty pissed off. I restarted the car, no warning lights came on, and I decided to drive it home (my wife happy to take my Audi).

Within 30’, the same warning lights and message returned (no noise), then the abs warning light with “Anti-skid turned off”, directional light switch blinking, etc. She was shutting down. I pulled over just as the “Brake failure stop car safely” message appeared. As I pulled over I could hear a sound like a faint thumping every 10 seconds when foot on brake (coming from rear), as if something is trying to engage but can’t and is slipping. I couldn’t rev engine (car in P and accelerator pedal not responding at all) – no power.

Had the car towed to the Volvo dealer for a diagnosis per my conversation with the body shop. Here’s what the dealer said:
- The alternator pulley nut came loose and back out and now we need a new alternator ($850)
- Oil leak from the brake vacuum pump ($400)

Here’s my question:
Is there a possibility that the air gun nozzle that was left found its way onto the alternator belt and jammed it up momentarily enough for it to effectively seize, and in seizing, worked the pulley loose? Given the noise it made, I feel it did some damage in there, and from what I’ve read on this here, it’s entirely plausible. See this:
http://matthewsvolvosite.com/forums/vie ... hp?t=34002

I'm guessing the oil leak is unrelated, but to be honest, at this point, I'm not sure of anything. The car ran flawlessly up until dropping it off at the body shop.

What say the experts here? Volvo said they couldn’t definitively say if the tool caused the problem with the alternator, but I am also waiting to speak directly to the tech working on the car. Figured I’d try and get the wisdom of this group as well. Hoping to bolster my inevitable argument with the body shop….


Thanks all.
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Re: 2007 XC90 - alternator damage by body shop? You'll want to read this story...

Post by cuhfs »

I think you have a good case for some sort of compromise on the alternator cost. The tool did not belong in the engine compartment and the body-shop blew it by leaving it in. They are supposed to be professionals. I have had mechanics leave tools in and it always bothers me since I wonder what else they forgot to do...
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Re: 2007 XC90 - alternator damage by body shop? You'll want to read this story...

Post by Masscomguru »

So the alternator is actually on one side of the READ assembly and hidden under the intake, the brake booster is on the other side. I would absolutely have that Read (Rear Engine Accessory Drive) Assembly checked as if there is damage to that, the block could have cracked. If that air nozzle did in fact get tied up in the accessory belt, that would put stress on that assembly which drives the belt and the alternator. I do not believe the oil pump is attached to the READ but is a common spot for oil leaks out of the cover. The Alternator pulley in some cases has come loose. Before they replace the alternator, just have them tighten it back on with thread lock and see what happens. I don't see how that pulley coming loose would kill the alternator, that would just prevent the alternator from spinning.
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