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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I was greeted on Christmas day by my car shuddering a bit as I parked it for the night. Definitely not something normal since she's been running really well lately. On Dec. 26 I go to start it up and was greeted by a pretty serious misfire, bad enough that the car died when I tried to limp it into my garage.

I had a misfire in June of 2014 and replaced the distributor cap and rotor, spark plugs and wires all with OEM parts so I was pretty surprised it was happening again.

Since then, I've located a few problems.

1. Oil under the valve cover ontop of the block
2. Oil in the spark plug wells
3. 1 yellowed spark plug wire for cylinder 5
4. Code reader showed P0304 - Cylinder 4 misfire
5. Distributor cap contacts are corroded, and there is moisture inside of it

First I was concerned with the source of the oil, which could be from the oil filler cap, pcv hose that goes into the top of the block, or from between the seal between the top camshaft cover and the block.

I checked all the spark plugs and they were pretty dirty so I cleaned them up with a rag and wire brush, and I tried to start the car up with no luck. The second time I tried to start it there was a slight clunking sound...

The car has been in the family for 10 years and 250,000km and I don't believe the PCV system has ever been serviced so it seems to be a likely culprit from what I've read.

Today I bought all the parts to replace the PCV system from Volvo, and about 15 minutes into that job I noticed the distributor was quite oily, so I removed it to check it out. Lo and behold, it's not looking so good - the contacts are corroded and there is moisture inside the cap, and the plastic housing is deforming exactly like the old one did.

Now it's looking like oil is leaking from behind the cap and rotor. I'm wondering if there is a cam seal behind the rotor which could be the source of the oil?

I'm thinking the oil on the top of the block could have been spillage from my last oil change, or the seal on the oil filler cap needs to be replaced (I'll probably do that just in case).

I've also found there is oil is leaking (probably very slowly) down the whole right side of the block and a bit on the back right as well.

So I've still got a bit of a puzzle on my hands and I'm wondering what kind of input you all have. I'm moving back to my university on Jan. 3rd so I'm doing my best to fix the car by then









 

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Oil on top of the engine is pretty common on these cars, most often caused by a bad oil cap seal (even a warped oil cap believe it or not) or excess pressure in the crankcase, caused by a clogged PCV system, significant blow by due to a worn engine (low compression), or a combination of the two. Yours actually doesn't look too bad at all. I was checking the plugs on mine the other day and there was probably an inch of oil in the spark plug well behind the oil fill - pretty bad.

Certainly that distributor cap doesn't look too great so with the misfire issues you are experiencing I would replace the cap, rotor, wires, and plugs as well as that cam seal.

Oh and that top engine mount looks pretty cracked in one of the pictures so should probably be replaced as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. Good eye on the mount, I hadn't even noticed it!
I replaced the distributor cap and rotor and the car is now running again. So it seems the PCV must be clogged which is causing the oil leaks which is ruining the distributor. 3 problems, and I've now fixed 1. Time to get started on the PCV replacement and buy that cam seal.
 

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You might want to run with your dipstick pulled slightly out until you get a chance to fix the PCV. This should minimize the amount of oil blowing by the cam seal if the leak hasn't gotten too big yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You might want to run with your dipstick pulled slightly out until you get a chance to fix the PCV. This should minimize the amount of oil blowing by the cam seal if the leak hasn't gotten too big yet.
Thanks for the tip! I don't plan on driving it until I have the PCV and cam seal done though. I drove it for about 10 minutes after having it idle for 10-15 last night and there's a fair amount of oil dripped underneath the car this morning...

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Other thing I forgot to mention is to do the rubber glove test on the oil fill to test for crankcase pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright, so I finished the PCV replacement today as well as replacing the rear cam seal behind the distributor. And now the car won't start! I've gone back and double and triple checked everything that I can but nothing seems to be wrong. No codes coming up either so I'm at a loss. The only thing I can think of is that the distributor that I just replaced (and had installed for less than 24 hours) already has a bit of corrosion on the contacts and when I took it off 2 days ago already had a bit of oil and moisture leaked into it. So I'm going to get another new one tomorrow and hopefully that solves it.

Any other suggestions?

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Did you replace the cam seal? When putting the reluctor plate back on the cam you may have put it back incorrectly.

What element of the starting equation are you missing? Is spark present? If not go for the above first.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Did you replace the cam seal? When putting the reluctor plate back on the cam you may have put it back incorrectly.

What element of the starting equation are you missing? Is spark present? If not go for the above first.

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Yes I replaced the cam seal behind the rotor. I'm assuming the reluctor plate is the metal piece that the rotor is screwed onto which has a single bolt in the centre of it? I made sure to orient it exactly as it was when I removed it (I took a picture before taking it off) so I don't think I messed it up. However, if I did, would having that plate in an incorrect position stop the car from starting? And if so how?

I am sure I have fuel and air, spark must be missing. I just replaced the distributor (again) because the one I bought a few days ago already had some corrosion on the contacts, but that hasn't solved it. The only remaining parts for the spark equation are plugs and wires now...

Do you know if the orientation of the ignition coil matters? Both ends seem to be identical and I've tried swapping which end goes where which hasn't helped.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did you replace the cam seal? When putting the reluctor plate back on the cam you may have put it back incorrectly.

What element of the starting equation are you missing? Is spark present? If not go for the above first.

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This plate?



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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Is it possible that if the PTC nipple is clogged it could prevent the car from starting? I didnt remove it to clean it out, just scraped out what I could.

Another thing is when I'm trying to start it, there's a bit of a blub blub fart sound coming out the exhaust. There's definitely air coming out of the exhaust No idea what that means but thought it'd be worth mentioning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
One more thing that I can think of is that when I replaced the rear cam seal it didn't seat perfectly. The left side went in very slightly past flush,and the right side was not quite flush, very close though

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Put a plug in the spark plug boot and lay it on the cam cover or something metal, remove the fuse for the fuel pump and crank it over. It will spark noticeably if it's working.
Looks like my car doesn't have a fuse specifically for the fuel pump. There's one for the fuel pump and ignition coil together but that's it. I checked both fuse boxes and my owners manual



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