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My Recent ETM Failure

Let’s talk ETM Failure


Another Failed ETM Story

*Not once*, through all of these symptoms, did the ETS light ever illuminate. To me this is proof positive that the software “update” that Volvo issued along with the extended warranty for the ETM essentially hobbled the ETS monitoring system to the point it is useless. Considering Volvo’s stature as the builder of some of the safest cars made, this backroom hijinks of a “fix” is certainly a slap in the face to their cusomter base. In my view, the throttle system on this car was so over-engineered as to become a detriment to reliability and safety.

This will certainly be my first and last Volvo. I, for one, will never buy another one again.

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ETM Failure

Bonus! 10 Interesting Volvo Facts

  • In Latin, the word Volvo means: I spin. Today however the nearest meaning is “I roll”.
  • Volvo was founded in 1924. The two founders were Gustav Larsson and Assar Gabrielsson.
  • The ÖV 4 is the first Volvo car. The first car was sell-ready in 1927. The 2-Liter, 4-cilinder car got the nickname: Jakob.
  • Volvo’s very first commercial vehicle was the Type-1 truck. The release year was 1928. In the same year, Volvo released the second car, the Volvo PV 651. Volvo manufactured a total of 1383 of both vehicles in the first year; of which automaker exported 27.
  • This trend saw a sharp rise in 1932 when Volvo released a good amount of 10,000 vehicles, both trucks and cars.
  • The company, however, started making a large-scale profit from the year 1935. The first luxurious car by Volvo was the PV36, which could carry six passengers at a time. The design of this iconic car paved the path for future Volvo cars to come. I came in the market with a price tag of 8,500 Swedish kronor.
  • Volvo touched a landmark in 1941, with the sale of its 50,000th vehicle; this is a unique achievement considering the time when WWII was in full swing.

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I had the software upgrade and stalling symptoms for a couple of years but did not go to the dealer because the ETS light did not come on so I figured I had no case. Now I had the car checked passed the warranty date only to find ETS failure codes but never had the dash light come on after the software upgrade by Volvo. I feel cheated by Volvo, can anything be done?

neil lesslie says:

re your failing etm, my 19 year old daughter was driving to uni on a 4 lane highway when the dreaded happened,complete power failure!by the grace of god she was able to manoeuvre the car to the emergency lane, much to the annoyance of other drivers doing 110 kmh.she eventually made it to her exam as the car went into limp mode, crawling along at 40kmh, no power to get up hills, extremely dangerous even for an experienced driver. shame on volvo for not doing a total recall of all cars with this type of etm. i took the car to a volvo dealership and they confirmed what i suspected after reading all about the symptoms on mathews volvo site, the etm was failing. $1,600 to replace it with a new etm which will eventually do the same thing as it uses the same system. after doing a lot of research i found the answer. there is a company in melbourne called PRECISION who rebuild your old etm better than new for only $360. there is a link to his site in one of the discussions etm’s on mathews volvo site, or contact mike directly on a melbourne toll free number 1300886955, his address is 173 murray road, preston, victoria 3072 australia. i put the reconditioned one back in and vroom, she goes better than ever. mike is also working on other electronic modules to improve them

kim richardson says:

please help!!! i have owned 40 to 50 volvo-rear wheel drive ones-i own a 2001 S60 with a bad throttle body.i have contacted volvo of america about this problem with the bad throttle body.the dealership has gone our of business-Ron Newton volvo of Anninston,alabama.the nearest volvo dealership is 85 miles told me that it is my problem now, what is this extended warranity on the ETM. the computer update was installed. Can i get a used yellow ETM off of Ebay it work? my S60 volvo has 128k miles. huntsville volvo told me it would be $1000 to $1200 to fix it.this is not right.can anyone please help me. this is a great looking volvo-hate to let it go for nothing.thank you, kim

I bought a used 2000 S70 from a local dealership “as is – no warranty” in December 2010. No service lights on. They said car ran fine. Not long there after did the car start not running right. Felt like it was skipping or like it was going to die. Then it started getting worse and I barely drive it. I have only put 4k on it in 6 months. After reading these Volvo forums I realized it wasn’t just me that here was a major problem going on. I got a “code check” done last week and they tell me it’s the ETM. I never had a light come on to indicate there was a problem. I barely made it home after they checked the codes it went into limp mode. After a little research I find there was some sort of recall but the dealer states my car is too old even though it only has 74000 miles. Has anyone had any luck getting this covered under the recall? After all isn’t a factory recall a factory recall? Just saying.

Jim Rollins says:

I just had the ETM failure. It could have killed my wife as she ended up at 20 MPH on a busy 4 lane loaded with 18 wheelers and log trucks doing around 75MPH. They just can’t stop on a dime.
Anyway, I would just like to confirm that NO Service Engine Light came on. Yes, my 2000S70 (50,000 miles) also had the so called software upgrade. Makes you wonder if this new fault was intentional!
They had the gaul to try another software upgrade (really a “work around” to delay the mechanical defect. Fortunately, it didn’t work and they called Volvo America to get approval to replace the ETM. Apparently Volvo America is the problem, not the Dealers!

I did discover a potential “Limp Home” Emergency Proceedure that could work for some: Pull over and shut down the engine Let it sit a few minutes…sometimes it resets (you probably could disconnect the battery for 10 sec also but you loose the diagnostic code).
Start up and quickly get started and out of idle. Set your shifter in 3rd or 4th gear to maintain a higher cruise RPM. Avoid low RPM for any lenght of time.
Logic: The throttle position sensor is basically a coil with a mechanical feeler on it (a Potentiometer). The main wear area is the lower end. If you can stay away from that area, you might avoid the limp home mode.
It worked for me!

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