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Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather Topic is solved

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cejones1927
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Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by cejones1927 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:18 pm

I’m experiencing an intermittent starting issue with my 2008 S60 2.5T (AWD). The winter of 2016/2017 is when this issue began. I turn the key and the ignition excessively cranks and most of the time starts, but not all the time.

When the issue first started, I recorded video of the instrument panel when attempting to start the car to show to my auto shop. They were unable to use the videos to shed any light on possible causes. During the excessive cranking, the engine would sometimes 'stutter' making it seem as if the engine was finally going to fire up, but it would go back to cranking. Along with the 'stutter', the tachometer would jump up as well (as if the car was about to start), but come back down once I stopped turning the key over.

I initially thought this was an issue with my battery because I believe the battery was original (approx. 8 years old at the time). I dropped in a new battery from the dealer, but the issue persisted. I took it to my shop, but the mechanics were unable to reproduce the issue. The weather got nicer and the problem became rarer.

Fast forward to this winter (2017/2018) and the problem is back, but this time around, it's much worse. There have been days I've gone without a car because attempting to start the car 5-8 times with nothing but excessive cranking and the "reduced engine performance" message in the instrument panel was just running the battery down. I should mention that jumping never worked.

This year, I decided to leave it at the shop for extended periods of time. The shop initially pulled a code that said the antenna ring (engine immobilizer) needed to be replaced; the shop replaced it. A week later, I was back to square one.

When I took the car back to the shop, they got the antenna ring code again but said that the code could sometimes come up with any bad start. They received an additional code - this time for the crank position/shaft sensor. The sensor was replaced and about two weeks later, the car is having starting issues again. Often times the car is starting, but not revving up to the correct RPMs to get the car warmed up (about 1,500 RPM). Sometimes it immediately sinks down to 500 RPM after starting, even when starting first thing in the morning! Other times, the car 'stutters' and if possible, I can press the accelerator and help the engine fire up and maintain at idle.

It seems that this issue is greatly affected by very cold weather. I've had no problems with tachometer spiking or stalling while driving. The fuel filter was just replaced this past autumn (2017). The spark plugs were replaced just months prior to that.

If anyone has any advice on where to go from here, I'd greatly appreciate it. My shop has mentioned replacing the engine harness to rule out any issues with engine/computer communication, but that's very costly. As of today (2/5/2018), I've been advised to have someone tap on the starter while trying to start the car, as the shop may go down the road of testing to see if the starter needs to be replaced. I've spent nearly $300 on parts that may not have necessarily needed to be replaced but were replaced as a measure of ruling them out as possible causes.

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by abscate » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:43 pm

Your garage should put a fuel pressure gauge on the rail and monitor the condition of the fuel delivery system. On these cars, the fuel pump does not run constant on, but is commanded by a combination of the CEM and PEM (modules in your car)

I just solved an intermittent no-start in about one hour by making measurements, not guessing at symptoms. Its the first time Ive worked on a P2. Your mechanic should know this, if not, just use them for brake jobs and oil changes, not for diagnosing and working on your car.

A car that isn't starting or running well won't give reliable diagnostic data on crank sensors or misfires.
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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by mrbrian200 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:21 am

There were about 4 or 5 separate people check in during that last arctic cold snap in early January with cases that smelled like the same core issue. Specific list of symptoms on a P1/P2 5 cyl:

*long crank times/hard starting in the morning correlating to colder weather.
**tach jumps erratically during cranking**.
*engine eventually starts but runs rough for a period.
*misfire codes may be present, as well as DTCs for the crank and/or cam sensors.
*main battery cables appear to be ok (not necessarily verified by an expert measuring voltage drops)
*starts and runs fine in warmer weather or after the engine is warm.
*replacing sensors ECT, crank, and MAF, no change.
*fuel pressure is likely ok (people checked it, OPs mechanic likely checked this also)

From that earlier batch of people, one person reported back after investigating a potential remedy at the ground points for the coil packs. He indicated the car had been fine a couple days later but hasn't followed up since then to verify that the problem has not recurred in the longer term. Between several seemingly identical cases that's the closest we got.

There also exists an old TSB from Volvo suggesting that the tach jumping could be the pigtail/wires to the crank sensor picking up EM interference like an antenna. The TSB states to wrap a layer of foil around that wire then reorient it away from the engine block/transmission case. I'm not 100% comfortable with that diagnosis, or the fix. If the wire is picking up that much EM I would feel better addressing the primary issue (cause of the EM) rather than mitigating around it. If the EM becomes worse, a half baked wire shield + minor reorientation may not be permanent fix.

There are all sorts of things that might cause a hard start condition in very cold weather. You might need to find a different mechanic as the person you've used isn't figuring it out. The next one may not have any better luck, however.

You mentioned another symptom which I think to be a separate issue from the above: Intermittent lack of initial rev when starting a warm engine or no fast idle on a cold engine with a known good ECT sensor. Kicking the accelerator pedal sometimes restores the appropriate faster idle speed.

If you have ruled out an intake air leak such as loose intake pipe or hose (likely your mechanic did):

I've seen this personally. You will need your mechanic to watch live data while the engine is running to see if the throttle plate is sticking. In my own experience during a key-on/engine-off sweep test of the throttle you won't necessarily see a problem as the internal mechanism, if worn, tends not to bind and stick unless it is loaded by air pressure/vacuum while the engine is running. The throttle body is a somewhat expensive part. Don't go replacing it without first performing the functional test with a good scan tool. Some of the symptoms above are common to this failing throttle body issue, however, the long crank time and tach jumping is not. It would start immediately without the long crank, but to a low rough idle because the engine was starved for air. Other times it would stick open and cause a high droney idle that felt like all the engine mounts were toast. And show occasional DTCs for MAF and O2/fuel trims. The ECU never stored a DTC for the throttle body.

If you do manage to get this solved, please report what the problem turned out to be. I don't think this issue is terribly common. But because it seems to stump people, including some professional mechanics, people start asking about online looking for some direction. Ideally we would recognize that exact list of symptoms and know it's either this, this, or that. At the moment we're essentially guessing.

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by cejones1927 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:17 am

Thanks @abscate & @mrbrian200! I will share this info with my shop and see what testing they're willing to do (other than solely relying on codes). I'm inexperienced when it comes to working on cars, but my father is a mechanic. So I'll share this with him as well. I'll be sure to update everyone on my progress.

If anyone else has any insight they'd like to share, feel free to post! The more info, the better.

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by Klech » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:53 am

GI on YouTube and watch scotty kilmer YouTube videos. If you look through his videos he has a video for cars with your problem. It's most likely the fuel system and maybe clogged fuel injectors because an engine need's more fuel to start when it's cold. Seriously go on YouTube and go through scotty kilmer video's until you find a video title that suits what's wrong with your car because your problem may be fixed just by putting some cleaner in your gas tank for 10 bucks. Your mechanics are taking advantage of you.

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by mrbrian200 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:35 am

Bad injectors could cause many or all of these symptoms yes. I suspect the mechanic looked at this during that week OP left the car at the shop.

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by cejones1927 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:15 am

UPDATE: I'm sure this issue hasn't fully been resolved yet, but now that the weather is warming up, I'm not able to produce the issue consistently. It may go dormant again during the summer months like it did last year.
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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by Fireman9 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:07 am

I too am battling with my wifes 2007 xc70. The same long crank times, occasional tach jump erratically during cranking, slight backfire once in awhile and then nothing.
NO CODES !
swapped crank sensor made no difference,swapped keys no different. The car has fuel pressure, but has no spark while cranking cold when this happens.

If I park it in a heated garage overnight it's fine, runs like new, starts immediately, drives perfect. it will continue to restart the rest of the day till it sits overnight and the temperature dips below about 20 degrees F then the whole issue starts over again.
NO immobilizer stuff present, and it cranks so I doubt that that's an issue, its got about 125,000 on it currently, has had regular maintenance, and is fine otherwise. I am an ASE certified master mechanic, have experience with older volvos, and was a drivability expert on gm, ford and nissan... not that a Volvo has anything much in common with them other then ford stealing most of their technology.

Kind of at a loss....come on summer!

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by mrbrian200 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:03 am

Darn it, I will get to the bottom of this- someday.

Here's another interesting case: electrical arcing that interferes with CAN communication due to corrosion at the connector (in this case it was at the TCM), primarily in cold weather.

https://volvoforums.com/forum/volvo-s60 ... old-50593/

Isn't there a special dielectric grease that's supposed to be applied to the ECU (and maybe the TCM) connectors that should prevent corrosion and arcing?
You can't use a standard/common dielectric grease because it can block the very low current feed from the oxygen sensor.

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Re: Intermittent Starting Issue with Excessive Cranking During Cold Weather

Post by Fireman9 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:37 pm

Went out this afternoon to look at it some more and low and behold it started fine as if nothing happened. Temperature rose to about 43 today and its supposed to be warmer then average all week with 70 possible for a high Wednesday, so I'm pretty sure I'll get no reaction the rest of the week.
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