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2004 V70 NA poor running, starting, head gasket? Topic is solved

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Spiderland
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2004 V70 NA poor running, starting, head gasket?

Post by Spiderland » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:15 am

Hello all! This is my first post, although I have been reading this forum for years. It has helped tremendously with various electrical mysteries in the past. Thanks!
I'll try to make this quick as possible. 2004 V70 177,699 mi.
I have had a series of issues ever since my husband and I replaced the radiator after it cracked after a slide off an embankment in an ice storm. It did over-heat after trying to get out of the ditch before we realized it was cracked. Replacement went well we thought...until we started to go through quite a bit of coolant (5 or 6 gallons) over the course of a few months (please don't judge! I realize too long but life and money, you know?). We could not find an external leak. The Check Engine light going on and off periodically. We start wondering if it is leaking internally. Now comes inspection time. Doesn't pass obviously. Codes read: 3502 & 3503 misfire, 500A A/C pressure sensor 990F torque monitoring. We had a pressure test for the coolant system and it showed no leak externally. It has a hard start most mornings trying to find its idle (do to misfiring Im guessing?). Also, white, sweet smoke coming from tailpipe... Now on a ten day extension for inspection after codes were cleared. Check engine light reappears. I had a sobering discussion with a friend who has quite a bit of experience and his opinion was that there is no way I will pass and in his opinion I most likely have to replace the head gasket and would be wise to replace the head as I might find it to be cracked and should be prepared since we have it off already. Another clue- A couple of days ago, right after starting in the morning, I immediately have no compression and cannot go over 10 mi per hr. Stopped car, restarted and fine.
While I am in NY this car came from CA when I bought it a couple of years ago. So the body is in great shape. And besides various electrical problems with the dash and ABS (which I disconnected) this car has been great and I cannot afford to let it go.
Does my friend's diagnosis sound correct? Are there other things we should investigate before going down that road? And if the head and gasket are to be replaced, any tips on the reliability of looking for a used one?
Thanks for reading and I look forward to any responses! Volvo Love!



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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by oragex » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:27 am

There is a compression test that needs to be done on all cylinders. Try that first. If it fails, I think you have no choice to either scrap it or install a used engine which is risky because costly and may cause further problems. Changing the head gasket only is also quite out of question because it's a complex job on this car. You can still find a used head but you will have to find a mechanic that is VERY used to these cars, not just a Joe the mechanic who 'knows Volvo'. It is critical to find a Volvo specialist. While there you may need to replace the timing belt components - use only with genuine or Continental kits and buy parts online from sites like Fcp or Ipd

Because you have been driving it for quite a while with important loss of coolant, I wonder if the engine block is still in good condition and if the exhaust (catalytic converter and O2 sensors) are still good.

Up to you. At 180k with a bad head gasket it should be scrapped but if you have no choice, a repair will be from $1000-$3000 IF you can find a Volvo specialist and install a used engine or head.



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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by abscate » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:50 am

Definitely compression test to sort out head issue. The good news is an overheat will almost always, 99.99% stay confined to the head gasket on these tough motors. Let us know where you live ( pm me if you want to stay private) as we may be able to connect you to a good indie in your area.

Upstate is western, Canandagua, finger lakes, southern tier, Catskills, capitol, north country, west Chester, and, of course, Ithaca.
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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by SuperHerman » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:25 pm

First - STOP DRIVING THE CAR. You may cause further damage and ruin the engine.

It sounds like your head gasket is blown. Best things to look at are the engine oil, it most likely will be milky brown and the engine coolant if any is in there, it may have oil mixed in. This is an almost 100% head gasket failure sign with your facts.

Second thing to look at is your piston tops, at least one of them will be much cleaner than the others. You need to take out each of the spark plugs and look down the hole to do this. If certain tops are clean, this is also an almost 100% head gasket failure sign with your facts.

My guess is when the car overheated the head slightly warped and compromised the head gasket. It has progressively gotten worse as you are now smoking white and burning coolant out the exhaust.

You have two choices on how to proceed. Fix it your-self or have a shop do it. I don't think Volvos are magical cars - if you have a mechanic that is good s/he can change a Volvo head gasket. The only thing s/he will need are the special tools to time the car - or know the Volvo engine well enough to set the timing without the timing tools (not easy but some can do it).

If you do the job yourself figure the following costs: $120 for timing tools (you may find someone on the forum near by that will loan them to you), $350 in parts, and $250-$400 in machine shop work (you can get this down to about $100 if you do all the work yourself except for milling the head (which I am confident is warped)). Parts are basically a complete head gasket set, timing belt, water pump and pulley set and a few other items. Best case scenario $500 in costs. (Check out the site sponsors for package deals).

I assume your car is a non-turbo which will make working on it easier. There are a ton of write ups on the process on this forum. It is not an easy job, but it is not that difficult. It will take sometime to though - not a single weekend project - especially as the head needs to go to a machine shop.

Not sure what a local shop will charge - you need to ask.

Were it me, I would look at the costs and figure out if the car should just be sold as is. I would most likely look into fixing it as I think you can get buy with just replacing the head gasket, timing/water pump kit, and having the head refreshed. Before ordering a single part though I would pull the head and look at the condition of the block. If it shows any signs of cylinder wall damage I would stop and source a new engine or sell the car as is.

The only reservation I have is that by driving the car after the head gasket failed you may have caused issues to the piston rings. No way to tell. A compression test will not help as the head gasket is not sealing.

One more item - I am very confident your head is warped. If you do not have it machined flat you will still have the problem. Whether it is in 5 minutes or 5 months a warped head will not seal.

Think about it and ask more questions if you have them. FYI - I had a 2001 XC70 that suffered the same, and my friend drove it for sometime. After I changed the head gasket and refreshed the head the car worked without issue.
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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by oragex » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:24 am

SuperHerman wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:25 pm
You have two choices on how to proceed. Fix it your-self or have a shop do it. I don't think Volvos are magical cars - if you have a mechanic that is good s/he can change a Volvo head gasket. The only thing s/he will need are the special tools to time the car - or know the Volvo engine well enough to set the timing without the timing tools (not easy but some can do it).

That's the whole idea why she needs to look for a place who really works on european cars and have done hg. Tools, hub adjustment, head installation and sealant type, one really doesn't want to leave these to a Honda or Toyota shop 8) I think that for a random mechanic, these are not going to be magical, but rather mysterious :)



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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by Spiderland » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:17 am

Thank you all for the advice. I am not currently driving the car. A couple of notes- Since the original overheat, I have been very careful to not let the car over-heat. I checked the coolant level every time I had been driving it. I have my own business right here on my property, so I am lucky that I don't have to rely on it for commuting. I say this to point out that hopefully the damage isn't as bad as it could be.

We have been checking the oil and it seems ok, not milky. The white smoke only happens in the morning for a short burst, and even then, only periodically.

While I am pretty adept with tools, I've been a metalworker/blacksmith for over 20 yrs, this possible head and gasket is WAY outta my league! I usually stick to the various electrical and relay mysteries with my Volvos, that can keep you mighty busy!

Luckily one of the moderators on here gave me some good advice about some local experts. I will start with the compression test and take it from there. Hopefully I haven't killed my car beyond a realistic state to put more work into it. It took me a long time to warm up to a more modern Volvo from having older ones, but now I love it!

I will update you on the prognosis. And thanks again for the advice! Oh, if this all pans out, I will be back to ask about my finicky dash controls having a mind of their own on occasion.

Peace.



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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by abscate » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:00 pm

Good reference for parts

Euro
FCP
IPD
links above

My second most all time favorite for getting OEM part numbers

http://volvopartslisle.com

(My favorite is pinging June and getting her receipts)
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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by Spiderland » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:28 pm

*UPDATE*
Hello all. I have an update and seeking your thoughts..

A very generous moderator on here, who is in the vicinity, offered to come do a compression test and take a look at my situation. The pressure test showed not a huge difference between cylinders:
#1,2,3 120 psi
#4 110 psi
#5 118 psi
Remember I got a misfire code on 2 & 3

Yesterday-We took out and examined the existing spark plugs, which we agreed should be replaced (the gaps were a tad big, so adjusted) put them back in and started it up and it found it's idle and was running ok. My next step was to go to a highly recommended indie Volvo place and talk about replacing the head gasket. Around 2 hours later, I decided to drive it a bit to get through the drive cycles so I could at least pass inspection. It wouldn't start. Meaning it wouldn't catch a fire (sorry for the inexperienced terminology?). Tried 5 or 6 more times, and finally a really rough idle and a very high pitched whining that subsided after a min. Put it in drive and after a 1/2 mi or so, no compression. The RPMs go high but nothing over 15 mph. Returned home, made stiff drink.

Today-Replaced all of the spark plugs, gapped at .028, put all the coils and covers back on...and same thing. It won't catch. Super defeated.

I have an awesome Napa guy up here who recommended a "cylinder leak down test" to further see whats going on with coolant leak/gasket replacement but my question is could I have done something in the last couple of days with the compression test/spark plug fidgeting to make my car go from running poorly to no go?

Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Spiderland on Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Spiderland
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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by Spiderland » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:31 pm

Ohhhhh! I forgot to add that it was vibrating and rattling quite fierce! And the check engine light was flashing.



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Re: Coolant leaking into Head? 2004 V70

Post by oragex » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:25 pm

Between the moment when you adjusted the plug gap and was idling fine, and the moment it didn't start, was the car at the garage? Did the mechanic work on it? Also good to know that the plug gap is a very sensitive thing, really just slightly out of gap and it can go crazy.

Shaking is serious misfire. Could it be the ignition coils weren't put in their correct cylinder ? Was there water on the ignition coils? www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HUnpp7UpKk

Also, last time when I got a flashing triangle it was a bad injector, maybe inspect the injector wires closely.

Don't give up already on it. The fact it didn't start is a bit strange and may point faster in the right direction.
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