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2004 XC70 Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

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BigNerd
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2004 XC70 Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by BigNerd » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:19 pm

Hi All!
This is my first post on this board. Quick bit of background just to paint a fuller picture: I bought the car in CA specifically for the mission of loading all my stuff, my bike, cat, dog, and towing my '69 Porsche from Monterey to New London, CT last March. The trip was a success and the old XC70, purchased with 140K on the clock, made it and has been my daily ever since. Now has about 165K. I've replaced the entire suspension with OEM parts, the difference with new struts was amazing! The car is completely stock, and I'm completely sold on Sweedish cars. My next car will be another XC70 I'm sure.
IMAG0518.jpg
Taken in the abandoned Cisco, UT
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Cats are not good road trip companions.

I have two problems that I believe are related, but I can't be sure. The first indication of trouble was about 3 months ago when it became slow to start. Then it degenerated to starting slowly and running awfully for about 30 seconds, after which it would spring to a perfect idle and run properly. I've developed the habit of cranking it for about 10 seconds, letting it sit for about 5 seconds, then it generally fires up right away. I read some people on the forums who had similar problems that were caused by one of two things: fuel pressure damper, or antenna behind the steering wheel. I'm inclined to blame the fuel pressure damper because of a persistent smell of gasoline around the car when idling and immediately after its been running. There is never a check engine light.

The second problem may or may not be related. Sometimes (often) during partial throttle acceleration the car vibrates slowly. If it happened all the time I'd say it was an out of balance tire, but it's only sometimes, and changing engine speed, like downshifting, changes the frequency of the vibration, making me believe it's tied to engine speed. I have a theory that this may be related to low fuel pressure? The dealer evaluated the problem of the cruise vibration and told me it was incorrect aftermarket half-shafts installed on the front. This does not seem like a realistic explanation to me.

Anyway, I'd really appreciate some clarity on the issues, whether you think there's a link, and what the offending part may be. I was just about to buy a fuel pressure damper, but I just don't have the money to throw at unnecessary parts.
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jonesg
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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by jonesg » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:16 pm

I'd fix the gas leak first, the other problems might go away when the leak stops.
On mine it was the plastic pump access cover in the tank which cracked, common problem and can be fixed with marine epoxy paste.
Do you have a code reader?

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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by abscate » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:15 pm

Check the fuel pressure at the rail for 50 psi. The P2s don't have a fuel pressure regulator like the old cars.

If you smell fuel, check the injector seals for leaks.

If zombie apocolypse comes, dump the car, save the cat and dog... :D
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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by BigNerd » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:39 pm

I'll check the rail pressure. I think what's happening is that it's being allowed to bleed down pressure when the car's off, although other FI systems I've worked on always start from 0, I've read that this car should have a full head of pressure at all times. I'll also do the underhood sniff test and see if I notice anything.

JonesSG, I have no evidence of leaking except for the smell, but it isn't present inside the car, only outside, most noticeable immediately after shutdown. Would that be consistent with the leak you've described? I do have a code reader, but the slate is clean at the moment.

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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by abscate » Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:56 am

When were plugs and coils last evaluated? They last About 30k and 100k , respectively.

The ignition key antenna is not the problem.

I doubt axle shafts are the vibration , much more likely misfiring. You could evaluate this on a lift and watching drivetrain
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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by BigNerd » Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:54 am

abscate,
Won't any misfiring cause CEL to trigger? On VW's and Honda's I've had in the past any misfire always triggered the light, even when the misfire wasn't noticeable.

I've not touched the engine other than to add oil since I bought the car. Perhaps FCP's coil and plug kit is needed? I purchased the car with 140K from a dealer and sadly didn't get any records, so I have no idea how old the coils and plugs are. Plugs are a minimum of 25K miles.

... and I agree fully about the axles. I repeated the dealer's malarkey for giggles.

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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by jonesg » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:53 pm

BigNerd wrote:
JonesSG, I have no evidence of leaking except for the smell, but it isn't present inside the car, only outside, most noticeable immediately after shutdown. Would that be consistent with the leak you've described? I do have a code reader, but the slate is clean at the moment.
Yes, you describe what I experienced, no gas smell inside car unless window is open.

I would first inspect the fuel filter under the car, if no signs of leakeage....

Disconnect battery, pull rear seat, disconnect seat belts etc, pull carpet and look at the tank access hatch, probably pooled up with fuel.

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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by abscate » Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:35 pm

Look at your date code on your coils, pull the plugs, line up the plugs and let's a pic of what you have

It could be as simple as some has put the three electrodes in a turbo car...no no.

I've found my plugs over gap in 30 k miles and I drive easy, so you are due.

That's a big no for CEL being reliable indicator of misfire both in Volvo and other brands for that matter.
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Re: Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by BigNerd » Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:22 pm

abscate,
Do you have a recommendation on plug brand and type. I tend to be an NGK loyalist from my Porsche experience, but I'm not sure what's running well in the Volvos.

I'm feeling like we're on the right track for my uncomfortable vibration while under load. I'm going to just change the plugs and we'll see what kind of improvement that brings. I'll also check those coilpack dates and take lots of pictures of the coils and plugs while its apart.

I don't feel like this is a realistic cause for my rough and slow starts. I have a very strong impression that the starting issue is tied to fuel pressure, but I'm willing to be talked out of it. To re-state: if I just crank it, it will require 15-30 seconds of cranking, then will start and run very poorly for another 30ish seconds, then suddenly it will smooth out and be fine until next start. I can make it start and run normally if I crank it for about 5 seconds, stop for a moment, then resume. In that case, it will start right up and run smooth every time.

My theory on the starting is that the fuel pressure in the rail is leaking down while the engine is off. If I just crank it, the pressure remains low, and it cranks for a long time and runs crappy until the pressure comes up to where it should be. I believe that the short cranking period before I actually intend to start the engine serves to prime the fuel rail and get it close enough to operating pressure that it starts normally on subsequent cranking. Am I nuts?

Thanks a lot for the help and I'll post results once I've checked out the ignition system.

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Re: 2004 XC70 Starting and cruising trouble - dealer no help

Post by abscate » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:13 am

Your turbo XC will like single core plugs from Volvo Bosch or NGK. These cars are picky on plug and gap, so keep them on the small side of .028 inches...even 0.025 is ok.

High mileage Volvos are often lumpy on startup, and they do get 'lawn mower syndrome' too. If your coolant temp sensor goes old, you can get a poor/no start from excess fuel injection.

The best way to put the fuel pressure issue to bed is measure it at the fuel rail..50 psi and 20 minutes to bleed down. These cars are too complex to diagnose by symptom when new, let alone after a decade of running!
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