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1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

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1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by SonicAdventure » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:58 pm

Hello,

I have been trying to chase down some intermittent misfiring in my 96 N/A after warmed up. I bought the car from a frustrated PO who had been chasing the problem also and he had other cars and wanted out on the Volvo. He replaced the igniter, distributor cap and wires with purple “Wired for Life” wires (no clue about that brand). I believe the plugs were changed and all this was in the last 6 months.

I’ve had the car about 3 months and issues persist. Usually happens when warm, the car will sputter a little under load, but no check engine light. I replaced the CPS with the one off of my 98 V70. Seemed to run fine, but after a few weeks on a longer drive the missing came back.

Tonight I was driving and it stumbled a little more than usual and the CEL started flashing for about 5-6 secs then stayed on. Got home, read code, and it was P0302 and then P0300 in that order. The car seems to idle fine.

I have a set of fairly new Bougicord plug and igniter wires from my 1998 V70, should I try replacing the Wired for Life plugs with them? Never had a stumbling problem in my V70. Are they compatible with a 96 850?

Would a Cam Position Sensor cause a misfire like this? I have the one from the V70 sitting here. My understanding was that both the crank and cam sensors cut spark, but might not throw codes of their own. Is that accurate?

Any other items I should check other than pulling the plugs? I’m assuming if it was just the #2 plug it would just throw that cylinder’s code but the generic 0300 “multiple misfire code” makes me think it’s something else as well.

Thanks -

SA



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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by greg850r » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:28 pm

They are the same wires. Put the Bougicord wires on it and if the plugs are not Volvo replace them too. There is a good chance those two things will solve it. I wouldn't be too focused on cylinder 2 unless the multiple cylinder misfire code went away,


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96 850R wagon
96 850T wagon
96 850 GLT 5spd N/A sedan
97 850R 5spd sedan
66 GTO 421SD 4spd
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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by SonicAdventure » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:00 pm

After doing some more looking around and thinking about this, I noticed that there is a damp coating of oil around the top cam cover near the distributor cap. I now suspect that the intake cam is probably leaking and after learning that cyl 2’s wire is at the bottom of the cap, it’s beginning to make sense. I’m going to pull the cap in the AM and inspect the inside of it. If there is oil, I will clean it all down and see how it runs. I don’t want to replace the cam seal till later this month when I do the PCV system. Hopefully this is the issue. It’s odd the other owners went through all the trouble of replacing the igniter when the oil is so obviously where it should not be. Maybe the wires needed replacing anyway. Then again, I’ve been fumbling around with this issue for a few months replacing sensors and relays and trying things and this never occurred to me.

Where is the best place to buy that cam seal, other than a Volvo dealer because there are none near me. Thanks.



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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by erikv11 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:35 am

If you're going to wait to replace the cam seal, buy one from FCP or another online vendor. That's your best bet anyway. And only use Corteco (or Volvo) brand cam seals. Also inspecting the cap is a good start but go the extra 10% and inspect the cam seal itself. And put it back in if its blown out, even if the PCV is bad.

You're going to need to get rid of those wires and put on Bougicords. Yes all the engine parts are the same between your 98 base and the 96 NA.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by SonicAdventure » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:19 am

erikv11 wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:35 am
If you're going to wait to replace the cam seal, buy one from FCP or another online vendor. That's your best bet anyway. And only use Corteco (or Volvo) brand cam seals. Also inspecting the cap is a good start but go the extra 10% and inspect the cam seal itself. And put it back in if its blown out, even if the PCV is bad.

You're going to need to get rid of those wires and put on Bougicords. Yes all the engine parts are the same between your 98 base and the 96 NA.
Right, I do intend to replace the seal in a few weeks. But not until I do the full PCV job. If there is any or or crud inside the cap isn’t it safe to assume there is a bad cam seal without removing the actual distributor and looking deeper into the shaft? Where else could the oil be coming from inside the shaft other than the cam seal? The dist is finicky to get off with the Allen heads and it’s fragile. I don’t want to mess with trying to push the seal in or sealing it because couldn’t that just cause another seal to blow out? If this is where some pressure is going out I’d rather it stay coming out here as this seal is very easy to replace.

I’m pretty much expecting (and even hoping) that it’s the cam seal causing the #2 misfire, and that a clean off and replacement of the cap and reset of the codes will get me through for a little bit of time.



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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by erikv11 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:18 am

Sure you make good points. Dist cap is less fragile than you think maybe but I hear you. Usually a blown cam seal means pretty bad misfires, like the car shuts off when driving, that's why I would re-seat it. But I guess the main thing is just to see whats up - maybe the seal is leaking but not blown (popped out), I'd want to know that. And you have so much engine bay space to do this on an NA car. You could also relieve the pressure by unseating the dipstick an inch until you get around to the PCV.

How does the car do on the glove test, with the cam seal in place? Or even with it out, currently. If it's not horrible, unseating the dipstick should do the trick.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by abscate » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:13 pm

You want all the metals parts on the cap and rotor to be shiny and new, like Madonna. Use a knife and scrape them clean , wipe out moisture and oil, clean with brake cleaner and get it dry.


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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by SonicAdventure » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:02 pm

abscate wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:13 pm
You want all the metals parts on the cap and rotor to be shiny and new, like Madonna. Use a knife and scrape them clean , wipe out moisture and oil, clean with brake cleaner and get it dry.
I actually didn’t see too much oil in there, but I was not impressed with the other things I found.

First of all, Wires For Life - what a joke. When I pulled the wires, all the little rubber boots were fused to the ceramic on the plug bodies. Luckily I had a long narrow sharp knife and needle nose pliers to carefully shave the rubber off the ceramic and work them out. Waste of a half hour.

Pulled the Bosch cap and it was very dirty inside, lots of corrosion on contact points. Not oily or wet though. There was some oil around the edges of the cap cover, but I think it’s from the oil cap and running down the trough. The cam seat could be seeping a bit but if so, it’s not intense. I also noted the little drain hole below the distributor...pretty clever, but no evidence of wetness in there.

Replaced the 96’s Bosch cap with the identical Bosch cap from the 98, which looked cleaner, but not perfect. Put the Bougicord wires on and tried to start car. Start but no turn over. Couldn’t determine if wires were on right but felt sure they were. Pulled air box and battery, removed wire cover and pulled the cap. When I removed the tube from the MAF, it was filled with smoky, fuel air mix - indicating no spark to me. I was having some starting issues with the 98 the last two weeks it was running so I figured I’d mix the 96 cap with the Bougicord wires, confirm proper routing and tried again. Since I had it this far down again, I figured I’d replace the Cam Position Sensor with the one I pulled from the 98 as the wires between the sensor and the plug on the 96 were starting to crumble.

Got it all put back together and it started up. Drove until warm and it still stumbling and hesitating on acceleration but it idles ok and no CEL.

I’m thinking new cap, plugs and rotor are probably warranted at this point. The Bougicord are stamped 4/09, so they are 10 years old. The distributor is glazed and dingy and the cap is pretty dirty even though I did carefully scrape the interior contacts with a sharp knife. What is considered serviceable life for cap, rotor and wire on these cars?

I need to pull the plugs as well for closer inspection, but they seem new.
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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by abscate » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:32 pm

Rotor is nasty.

The other part that goes bad that is much harder to see is the carbon brush in the Centre that wears down or even has pieces missing sometimes.


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Re: 1996 850 - P0300 & P0302 + flashing CEL

Post by erikv11 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:41 pm

And a third part of the rotor that wears out is the electronics inside the plastic, can't see that at all. Mike (precopster) has posted examples of failure there.

If you are looking to save a few bucks on this one I can send you used but very serviceable cap and rotor.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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