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Volvo 850 Starting Problems

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Red Morris Red Morris 8 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #481158
    Red Morris
    Red Morris
    Participant

    Hey everyone, new to the forum so I thought I’d start the karma off on a positive note by adding this to the forum and database.

    My 1996 Volvo 850 2.5 is a reliable work horse that never lets me down….unless, and here’s where it gets odd, I park it somewhere that’s not level for a while. I can leave it on the drive for 3 or 4 days and it’s fine. 1 night on a 4 inch kerb and it will not start. It will turn over and really have a good go at starting but won’t catch. Eventually I found the cause, and it’s a common thing with this car, but only common when you already know what to search for.

    The Fuel Pump Controller Relay is known to go bad, and I think what happens is that it allows fuel to drain away from the engine if it’s not level. If it’s really bad it might do this wherever you park it.
    Temporary workaround: If you turn the key so the dash lights come on you will hear a slight ticking, but it’s quieter than the seatbelt light relay, so buckle up first and you’ll hear it. Turn the key back off and on until you don’t hear the ticking and it will probably now start. This is also verification that a new relay will fix it.
    To fix: I bought a replacement for £8 on eBay. They are tall pink relays with 130 on the top. Open the bonnet, and on the drivers side for UK or passenger for US, there is a fuse box. Open that up, remove the rubber seals around the box area and remove the 4 torx head screws. Lift the fuse box out, yank the old relay and install the new one, have some cake.

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  • #482063
    dreamer2355
    dreamer2355
    Participant

    Thanks for the tip!

    #485918
    Christian Huebner
    Christian Huebner
    Participant

    I allways carry a spare fuel relay laying in my glovebox! You just might never know when you need it.. :dry:

    #486060
    Roy French
    Roy French
    Participant

    I don’t have a Volvo with a bad fuel pump relay, but I sure would like to have some cake.

    #516533
    Red Morris
    Red Morris
    Participant

    I thought I’d come back with an update now that I know a bit more.

    Last weekend the neighbour went away and I wanted to use the car I keep in the garage. I only have a single driveway so that means the Volvo usually blocks this in. Normally this is when I park the Volvo on the kerb and have the starting issues, so I thought I was being clever and parked it on the neighbours driveway. When I went to start it again 36 hours later it was acting like it had been put on the kerb! 🙁 It’s in exactly the same position it is every day, just 10 feet to the right!! :angry:

    As annoying as it was, it helped me diagnose the issue as “lawnmower syndrome”. Some cars suffer from this when you start them and only run them for a minute or two before shutting them off, e.g., to move them out of the way! So at least I can (hopefully) avoid the situation in the future.

    For those of you reading this and thinking “That’s great for you, how do I get my car started?” the issue is actually that the tappets don’t close because the oil hasn’t warmed enough to slide out the way when you shut the engine off, so you don’t get any compression, then you flood the cylinders with fuel when you try to start it and wash all the oil off the cylinder walls making the compression worse. To get rid of the fuel you can either pull the spark plugs and let it evaporate, or pull the fuel pump relay and try starting the engine until you can hear it’s not got fuel any more. After this it may well start with a lot of effort, and I would try that because while the next step works, you look like a hillybilly.
    If you can’t get it to work, pull the spark plugs and put a teaspoon of oil into each cylinder. This will help with the compression, but after that you are going to be burning that oil and creating SOOO much smoke! lol

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