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2004 bad turbo and engine? Help!

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on Volvo XC90s. The XC90 proved to be very popular, and very good for Volvo's sales numbers, since its introduction in model year 2003 (North America).
henderpa
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henderpa

2004 bad turbo and engine? Help!

Post by henderpa » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:10 pm

Sorry for the long post but I'm hoping someone can help me out.

Recently I purchased a 2004 XC90 with a T6 engine. On the drive home, I noticed a significant amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust when I’d let off the accelerator or come to a stop. I did some quick googling and saw several threads suggesting either the seals in the turbo were leaking or the oil trap was clogged/failing.

I drove the car for a few days and it seemed to perform fairly well. I didn’t feel like it had tons of a power but it didn’t feel like it was underpowered either and I assumed that was normal. It was consuming oil fairly quickly (the white smoke) and I always needed to crank the engine for about 10 seconds before it would start.

I took the car to a Volvo mechanic to check out and, hopefully, to fix it. He told me when he took the car out for a test drive that the check engine light came on and the car started driving really poorly. At the garage he decided to run a compression test and found that all the cylinders had about 60-65 psi except one with only had 30 (normal is around 180 I think).

He told me the oil trap was clogged, the turbo needed to be replaced on bank 1, and the engine needed to be replaced too and said it probably wasn’t worth sinking the money into it. When I drove the car home It’s performance was noticeably worse but it kept running.

I appreciate him not trying to waste my money but the body and interior of the car are in great shape and, at this point, I’d have to sell the car for a loss. I’d like to fix it but I’m not going to spend $4000 to have it done.

Thinking more about this makes me ask some questions.

First, does it make sense for the compression to be so uniformly low (excluding the one outlier)? It doesn’t seem right to me that they would all go bad so similarly. I wonder if the engine has gone into some sort of “limp mode”. Do these cars do that? Does this make sense to any of you?

Second, I’ve been told that this generation of T6 is not a very good engine and even if I replace/rebuild it, I’ll still have to deal with the problems inherent with this engine. Is it really that bad? If it is, can I just install a newer generation T6 or even a V8 from a 2005 to have a more reliable engine? Can it just bolt in or is the configuration totally different? I’d be more willing to spend the extra money if I’d have a more reliable vehicle.

I’d appreciate any thoughts you all have about this. Do you think there’s something that’s being overlooked or does the mechanics diagnosis sound right to you? Do you have any alternatives to getting the car working well again or, if not, any suggestions for getting more than scrap value ($300) out of it?

Thanks for reading my long post!



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SuperHerman
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SuperHerman

Re: 2004 bad turbo and engine? Help!

Post by SuperHerman » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:49 pm

Volvo doesn't make a bad engine. The 2.9 na and turbo are great motors. On you car the weak link is the transmission.

Compression is really low - surprised the car actually runs at all. I would try a leak down test. Also check your timing belt - maybe it broke and caused some damage - but that seems doubtful as things are fairly consistent.

What codes did he get?

How many miles on the car?

What is the condition of the oil? I fear that the oil in this car was never serviced regularly.

If you want to work on the car here is what I suggest. Start with the PVC (oil trap) - I would also drop the oil pan and see what it looks like and give it a good cleaning. You need to clean out the passage from the oil trap to the oil pan - which I am confident is caked and blocked up pretty good. The sealant for the pan is a special type, but can be found for around $10.00. Unfortunately the oil trap is around $90. You can try and clean the rest of the parts to keep costs down. Replace them as needed. So for around $100 and a good bit of labor you can have the PVC system sorted. For $150 you can do the entire PVC system correctly, but as you may have other issues it is hard to spend good money at a potential bad. Cleaning the PVC oil trap has had mixed results, but if you want to waste your time that is one other approach. You could try putting on a used PVC trap found at a wrecker.

You really need to sort the PVC system first - that is where I would start. Until it is sorted correctly you will have all sorts of issues - like the massive oil consumption (and soon oil leaks from the seals).

It is possible that once the PVC system is sorted out the engine will stop smoking. I would run some Seafoam in the oil for a few quick oil changes to clean out the gunk on the top of the engine (assuming you drop the oil pan).

At this point I would see where you are at with the compression numbers, and if they are good send me a PM and I may have a turbo for you for price of shipping.

This is all high level - more instructions can be provided if you decide to proceed. In order to get out of the car with a minimal loss in its current situation you have to do the work yourself. Otherwise if you are going to farm it out - the cheapest route is a used engine.

Again the 2.9 T is a great engine - the transmission is the problem. I fear transmission problems after an engine transplant more than a bad engine.

No you cannot do an engine transplant of another engine without changing a ton of computers, keys ...

If you cannot do the work yourself cut your losses and take the scrap value.



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RickHaleParker
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Re: 2004 bad turbo and engine? Help!

Post by RickHaleParker » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:31 pm

Engine runs normal but weak, puffs of smoke and low compression are the symptoms of worn or stuck piston rings.

One could confirm this by placing a table spoon of oil in the cylinder (Wet Compression test).
If the oil cause the compression to rise the rings are not sealing.

You could pull all the plugs dump some Seafoam in each cylinder, let it soak overnight then crank engine to push out the Seafoam, reassemble, start and run it until it stops smoking. IF you are lucky your piston rings are stuck across board. Not real likely but not unheard of. The Seafoam eats away the carbon and unsticks the rings.

It will smoke black as night, don't freakout, it is the carbon passing out. It might take 30 minutes to clear up. Thereafter it may blow black smoke when you get on it, that too will pass.


Platform: P80 1998 C70, B5234T3, 16T, AW50-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4, Special Edition package, Plant: Uddevalla Sweden.

Platform: X40 (Nedcar) 2003 S40, B4204T3, 14T twin scroll AW55-50/51SN, Siemens EMS 2000. Plant: Born Netherlands.

Platform P2 2005 XC90 T6 Executive, B6294T, 4T65 AWD, Bosch Motronic 7.0,
Plant Torslanda Sweden.
----------------------------------------------------------------
1997 S90, B6304S, AW30-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4 - Sold

cn90
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cn90

Re: 2004 bad turbo and engine? Help!

Post by cn90 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:11 pm

Minor thought...

PVC...hone plumbing terms
PCV...car terms


2004 V70 2.5T 100K+
2005 XC90 2.5T 110K+

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SuperHerman
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Re: 2004 bad turbo and engine? Help!

Post by SuperHerman » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:38 pm

CN90 - I have been working on some windows and had to train myself to use PVC as I was constantly putting in PCV. Now I am broken.

RickHaleParker - I agree fully with your thoughts. That is why I recommended fixing the PCV first as that is pushing excess oil into the pistons from the top side. The Seafoam treatment for a few changes may free up the piston rings. I know it works as my brother did it to his Toyota with great results. Of course that assumes the compression issue is related to stinking rings.



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