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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the past two weeks I've been experiencing a strange phenomenon. After longer drives such as hour plus, anytime I stop the car, it will have a hard time starting, as if my battery were dying. It's not the battery, given I've got just a little over a year on it and it's tested fine otherwise. The problem also does NOT show up with short drives or after the wagon sits overnight - it starts up perfectly fine.

Should I assume I'm having what I believe to be a common problem with the alternator going bad? That the alternator is actually draining the car over long drives instead of charging it? I'm not getting any battery warnings or electrical warnings or faults popping up. Thoughts?
 

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From my basic understanding of your symptoms, it sounds like an alternator problem.
 

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2005 V70R, Midnight Blue, M66
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After longer drives such as hour plus, anytime I stop the car, it will have a hard time starting, as if my battery were dying.
The problem also does NOT show up with short drives or after the wagon sits overnight - it starts up perfectly fine.

Should I assume I'm having what I believe to be a common problem with the alternator going bad? That the alternator is actually draining the car over long drives instead of charging it? I'm not getting any battery warnings or electrical warnings or faults popping up. Thoughts?
I don't think it is your alternator, but suspect the starter.

To check for proper charging, measure the battery voltage while the car is at idle. Should be around 14 volts. You stated you are not seeing any message or light, and Volvo does monitor battery voltage well, so again, I do not suspect the alternator.

When you say it has a hard time starting, does it turn over OK, but just slower than normal, or does it drop out, chatter, etc?

I suspect the starter is getting heat soaked, and the armature expands slightly, binding the starter. This can be confirmed by measuring starter current which any electrical shop can confirm. Repair is to replace starter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't think it is your alternator, but suspect the starter.

To check for proper charging, measure the battery voltage while the car is at idle. Should be around 14 volts. You stated you are not seeing any message or light, and Volvo does monitor battery voltage well, so again, I do not suspect the alternator.

When you say it has a hard time starting, does it turn over OK, but just slower than normal, or does it drop out, chatter, etc?

I suspect the starter is getting heat soaked, and the armature expands slightly, binding the starter. This can be confirmed by measuring starter current which any electrical shop can confirm. Repair is to replace starter.
Thanks Roger, I agree that it seemed strange to not be getting any messages regarding battery condition - but thought that could simply be yet another gremlin attacking. When I have to start the car after extended driving, it feels and sounds very much like there is no battery. It's slow to start as if in slow motion. And it certainly doesn't help that I've noticed a lot of electrical issues seem to be happening with the hot weather. Haven't noticed any of these things when it was more temperate, but weeks of 95+ cannot be good for the car.
 

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Your mention of "other gremlins" gives me some pause.

The starter case I mentioned is usually isolated to it alone.

If you have other electrical issues, I would check for loose ground or battery connections. I would not discount the battery itself, regardless of how it checks. There may be a high resistance cell that only acts up when a little warmer. Normally cranking speed is faster when car is warm. Again this is a pretty easy check. Measure voltage at battery, during a hot cranking session when it is acting up. Battery voltage under these conditions should be about 10.5 volts. If it is lower than that, it either the battery, or the starter is dragging.
 
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