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"el power system service required" 99 volvo S80 2.9

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.
buckle17
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buckle17

"el power system service required" 99 volvo S80 2.9

Post by buckle17 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:43 am

I'm not new here, as I get most of my repair info here. GREAT site with great ideas and how-to's!!! This is however my first post since I just signed up. Usually very good at reading and fixing. This issue is giving me fits.

Back Ground Info.
99 volvo S80 2.9
68, 700 Miles (belonged to an older man, kept in his garage, and barely driven)
General maintenance with exception of ETM replacement about a year ago.
A few upgrades: CAI, Plugs (platinum 2 from Bosh), Silicone Vacuum hoses, Fuel line and new fuel filter.
Great car so far.

3 weeks ago while coming home for t-ball practice with my son, and without warning mind you, I see a message on my DIM "EL SYSTEM SERVICE REQUIRED". Within about 2 miles, when I "TRY" to pull away from a red light, no go. RPM's at 1000, muffler crackling noise, moving about 1/3 of a MPH. A good samaritian helps me to the median. I tow it home and troubleshoot. Here's what I've done:

1. Checked the battery terminals - clean, but I pulled and cleaned anyway with wire brush and small file (did this for all connectors mentioned below also).
2. Checked the power cables from the battery to the Alternator and voltage regulator - I noticed the single cable running from the wiring harness to the alternator/voltage regulators plastic housing was split and broken, I fixed it, then pulled and cleaned the other connections.
3. I re-routed the B+ cable from the mount by the sway bar as shown in VADIS as a "possible" electrical fix for certain symptoms (none of which I seem to have with my current situation), did it anyway to eliminate any doubt
4. Checked all the grounds (Engine compartment and trunk by battery) - The one from the tranny to the underside of the air box was loose at the tranny (airbox doesn't exist due to a new air intake installed a year or so ago). I pulled all grounds and cleaned, bought a new negative battery cable and installed.
5. Charged the battery overnight
6. Checked the voltage at the battery with the car off and it was 14.47
7. Checked the voltage with the car running (lights, heater, radio on) at the battery, it was 14.45, then checked at the alternator, it was slowly but surely dropping from 14.38 down to 14.04 within aout 2 minutes.
8. Took it to Autozone and Pepboys, both of which say there is no electrical issues found.
9. The serpentine belt is tight an no other components are having issues that I can tell so far, although I don't hear anything coming from the alternator, no sounds to indicate bad bearing or diode

However, just as many have posted, I drive it for a couple of hours, and BAM, DEAD. Left stranded.

I'm good at fixing issues with my volvo, but what do I fix if no one can seem to find any issues? I've searched the forums and done everything stated with the exception of replacing parts, money is tight so if someone can point me in the right direction I would be GREATFUL!!



dcarlson12
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Canada
dcarlson12

Re: "el power system service required" Help

Post by dcarlson12 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:08 pm

Could it still possibly be the battery? i.e. possibly shorting inside after getting warmed up? Not sure if that is even possible or correct description. But of course if the alternator is ok, then that shouldn't really matter until the car is shut off in which case you wouldn't be able to restart it...
Sounds most likely like the alternator is going south after it has been rotating/warmed up????



D_V_ENT850R
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D_V_ENT850R

"el power system service required" Help

Post by D_V_ENT850R » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:40 pm

dcarlson12 wrote:Could it still possibly be the battery? i.e. possibly shorting inside after getting warmed up? Not sure if that is even possible or correct description. But of course if the alternator is ok, then that shouldn't really matter until the car is shut off in which case you wouldn't be able to restart it...
Sounds most likely like the alternator is going south after it has been rotating/warmed up????

Yes it's called a bad cell! When 2 plates inside the battery are shorted to each other it will cause issues. Yes mostly when warm! Your alt. should be good considering the voltage and no charging (battery) light on the dash. Bad cells can act as a bad battery, non-charging battery, can kill the battery in 2 hours sitting, many things. I would have the battery tested! If there's any question i would replace it! That's where I would start! Hope that helps..



jimmy57
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Re: "el power system service required" Help

Post by jimmy57 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:11 pm

There are a number of Bosch alternators of that series with bad regulators. They will charge fine until the regulator gets really hot, usually an hour driving, and then they overcharge or undercharge. Yours sounds like an under- or no charging one.
Let it idle with A/C on and check charging voltage for an hour at intervals. The normal is for initial charge V to 14.5 and to fall to 13.8-13.9 so that part is normal. Look for it to charge OK for a bit and then you'll check it and it will be 12 or less.
The regulators are available separately if you want to repair what you have.



buckle17
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Year and Model: 1999
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buckle17

Re: "el power system service required" Help

Post by buckle17 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:32 am

Thanks for the responses everyone. My apologies for not mentioning these 2 "probably important" facts I forgot about.

1st - after the car dies, if I let it sit for 20 or so minutes, it'll fire right back up and can be driven for another couple miles or so, then die again. I can also jump it off with my wife's car and I'm able to drive a bit longer, maybe 5 minutes, all of which are dependant on how many stops and turns I make. Don't ask why I'm a gluton for punishment, but I was testing the charging and voltage while driving and my wife following me around town with jumper cables. She wasn't happy with me!

2nd - I checked the electrolyte level in the battery when this all started. All 6 cells were a little low. I filled each cell with distilled water then charged it for 10 hours per VIDAS. Got 12.48V after the charge. Let it sit for a full day with negative cable unplugged. No discharge what-so-ever, still at 12.48V. unplugged the negative cable, let it sit for 2 hours, and the stand-by voltage was 12.47V.

I suspected the voltage regulator from reading other s80 owners who've had the same issues and replaced the regulator with success. But a few didn't. Is there a way to check the voltage to just the regulator, can find much on that process anywhere?

As far as the battery goes, it would be possible to have an open-circuit since the voltage drops fairly quickly with a load on it. But surely Autozone or Pepboys would've found this while testing right?

Thanks again for the responses!!



emk
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Year and Model: 1999 S80 T6
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Re: "el power system service required" Help

Post by emk » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:10 pm

I had the exact same message on my car early this year. The message would come up every time I started the car, but it would operate without issue. Then about 3 weeks later I was driving home doing about 50-60 kmh when the car just started to lose power. I was approaching a set of traffic lights and they just turned amber. I remember having to press on the brakes harder than usual because the car was losing power. I make the stop safely. As soon as I did stop, all power to the car was lost. Not even the hazards were working. Tried starting, no dice. Pushed the car into the side street and called CAA for a tow.

While waiting for the tow my bro in law comes and tests the voltage with a multimeter. Can't remember what is was but it was low. We boost the battery for a while and start car again. Not enough juice in the battery to run the car so it dies again within 10 seconds.

Car gets towed to local auto-sparky and he has to replace the alternator. Normally he would try to re-coil the shaft and recondition, however he shows me that the shaft bearing end is completely mashed and toast. The regulator in my case was fine. Been driving it since then without issue. Cost $450 CAD. He charged my battery while the car was at the shop and it is still fine.


1999 Volvo S80 T6 - 210K kms

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