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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know how to display the temperature of the engine coolant? The manual says that information is displayed on the dashboard “when it is needed,” but I would like to see it now. I have coolant bubbling out of the overflow tank at the hose fitting at the top of the tank. I’d like to see the temperature while I’m driving like in the old days, but that doesn’t seem to be possible.
 

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Does anyone know how to display the temperature of the engine coolant? The manual says that information is displayed on the dashboard “when it is needed,” but I would like to see it now. I have coolant bubbling out of the overflow tank at the hose fitting at the top of the tank. I’d like to see the temperature while I’m driving like in the old days, but that doesn’t seem to be possible.
That means you will see a message if your engine overheats. Otherwise, no other feedback will be provided.
 

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It's (almost) a perversity, but the smaller 8" drivers display, the one only few cars have, does show it!!
The question then comes to mind why that is so. Did some void have to be filled in the 8" display?
Is it an example of the bikini effect?
Whatever the case, I would like to see an engine temperature gauge in the drivers display.
 

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2018 Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design with air suspension and B&W Sound system
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help, everyone. Once again, SwedeSpeed members are more helpful than Volvo.

I was driving from South Dakota to Colorado today for a week of vacation in the mountains with my family. The trunk was packed to the roof and everyone was tired of driving when I pulled into a gas station in Denver and noticed coolant leaking from the car. I popped the hood and started looking for the leak. Fortunately it was easy to find because the leak was still hissing as it spat coolant onto the ground. One of the hoses connected to the expansion tank was leaking at the fastener:



The coolant inside the expansion tank looked like it was boiling, so naturally I thought the car was overheating. I hadn't seen any warnings on the dashboard, so I was hoping that I could pull up a temperature display. That's when I made my first post to this thread, and of course discovered that it's impossible to determine the coolant temperature without an aftermarket OBD reader (thanks, WunderWagen - I'll have to pick one of those up before the drive back home).

So I thought now was a good time for a lunch break to let the engine cool and consider my options. By the time we were done with lunch, the expansion tank was empty and there was a pool of coolant under the car. I turned on the ignition (engine off) and saw this warning:



So at least the idiot lights work, but it turns out that this warning wasn't all that helpful. The message looked pretty serious, so I started looking for a rental car location in Denver thinking I would drop the XC90 at the nearest dealer and repack everything in a rental so we could continue our vacation. Of course, every rental car company in Denver closes at 2:00pm on Sunday except for the locations at the airport. I thought about this a little more. Yes, I know the coolant is low, but exactly how low is it? The dashboard message doesn't say, but I can see the size of the pool underneath the car and it looks to be roughly the same volume as the expansion tank, which was about halfway full when I stopped. So maybe the rest of the system is still full? If I knew what type of coolant this car uses I could top it off and see if the message goes away. Maybe the owner's manual will tell me...



Nope! It turns out that the "Practical Information" section of the manual isn't so practical after all. I would know what type of coolant to add only if I had a container of the proper coolant in front of me so I could read the label. But how would I get a container of the proper coolant? Oh, I know - tow the car to a dealer and wait until Monday morning when they would be happy to assist me.

So I drove a few blocks to an Autozone where a friendly worker was able to look up my model in his computer and tell me what type of coolant to use. After filling the expansion tank the message went away and I continued my trip with a gallon of coolant, a gallon of water and a funnel riding shotgun. I never saw another warning on the dashboard, but it sure would have been nice to monitor a temperature gauge as I climbed up and over the Continental Divide. I stopped a couple of times to check on the coolant level. It seems like it's a steady leak and it's not boiling over, so now I have to decide whether to drive it back to Denver to get fixed or order a new fastener via FedEx and install it myself.

I'd like to know what Volvo is thinking by dumbing down the instrumentation and owner's manual. If something goes wrong, are we supposed to throw our hands in the air, call roadside assistance and let the dealer handle it?

/rant over
 

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A good example of why I want a gauge, chances are you can see a problem coming before it becomes critical
and have some time to anticipate. I don't find the OBD solution acceptable, not in a luxury car as the XC90!
 

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Thanks for the help, everyone. Once again, SwedeSpeed members are more helpful than Volvo.

I was driving from South Dakota to Colorado today for a week of vacation in the mountains with my family. The trunk was packed to the roof and everyone was tired of driving when I pulled into a gas station in Denver and noticed coolant leaking from the car. I popped the hood and started looking for the leak. Fortunately it was easy to find because the leak was still hissing as it spat coolant onto the ground. One of the hoses connected to the expansion tank was leaking at the fastener:



The coolant inside the expansion tank looked like it was boiling, so naturally I thought the car was overheating. I hadn't seen any warnings on the dashboard, so I was hoping that I could pull up a temperature display. That's when I made my first post to this thread, and of course discovered that it's impossible to determine the coolant temperature without an aftermarket OBD reader (thanks, WunderWagen - I'll have to pick one of those up before the drive back home).

So I thought now was a good time for a lunch break to let the engine cool and consider my options. By the time we were done with lunch, the expansion tank was empty and there was a pool of coolant under the car. I turned on the ignition (engine off) and saw this warning:



So at least the idiot lights work, but it turns out that this warning wasn't all that helpful. The message looked pretty serious, so I started looking for a rental car location in Denver thinking I would drop the XC90 at the nearest dealer and repack everything in a rental so we could continue our vacation. Of course, every rental car company in Denver closes at 2:00pm on Sunday except for the locations at the airport. I thought about this a little more. Yes, I know the coolant is low, but exactly how low is it? The dashboard message doesn't say, but I can see the size of the pool underneath the car and it looks to be roughly the same volume as the expansion tank, which was about halfway full when I stopped. So maybe the rest of the system is still full? If I knew what type of coolant this car uses I could top it off and see if the message goes away. Maybe the owner's manual will tell me...



Nope! It turns out that the "Practical Information" section of the manual isn't so practical after all. I would know what type of coolant to add only if I had a container of the proper coolant in front of me so I could read the label. But how would I get a container of the proper coolant? Oh, I know - tow the car to a dealer and wait until Monday morning when they would be happy to assist me.

So I drove a few blocks to an Autozone where a friendly worker was able to look up my model in his computer and tell me what type of coolant to use. After filling the expansion tank the message went away and I continued my trip with a gallon of coolant, a gallon of water and a funnel riding shotgun. I never saw another warning on the dashboard, but it sure would have been nice to monitor a temperature gauge as I climbed up and over the Continental Divide. I stopped a couple of times to check on the coolant level. It seems like it's a steady leak and it's not boiling over, so now I have to decide whether to drive it back to Denver to get fixed or order a new fastener via FedEx and install it myself.

I'd like to know what Volvo is thinking by dumbing down the instrumentation and owner's manual. If something goes wrong, are we supposed to throw our hands in the air, call roadside assistance and let the dealer handle it?

/rant over
I agree with the need to have the engine temp gauge.

Meanwhile, when I took my car for its second service in May 2018, they proactively replaced the coolant pipe citing some TJ calling for its replacement as and when XC90s are booked in.

They said the original pipe was created for cooler northern hemisphere regions and unsuitable for harsher and hot southern hemisphere climate.

It looks like this TJ must also be extended to the western hotter side of the US regions.

I didn't follow up exactly on what that TJ was and sadly, can't be too helpful to forumisters

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for posting, Seti. I'm going to try to get a dealer to look at it this week and will mention the possible technical journal. We had been driving for hours at 85 MPH in 100 degree F weather with a fully loaded car which undoubtedly stressed the cooling system, but it's been 25 years since I've had a car overheat or leak coolant and was pretty surprised to see a puddle of antifreeze under my car at the gas station.
 

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My dealer replaced a coolant hose at my 30K service per a TJ. Never noticed any coolant issues but I guess it must be prevalent if the TJ exists.
 

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Having just invested big bucks in a travel trailer with the intent of pulling in it here in the mountains of the western US, the one thing that bothers me is the absence of coolant temperature gauge. Back in the late 80s, I pulled a trailer with my turbo 765 Volvo - with one eye always on the temp gauge. As long as I kept it out of overdrive, I was ok. I knew some other folks with same car that always boiled over because they were unaware of the need to downshift a bit.

So, going forward, the OBD digital coolant meter is going to be an immediate purchase. Me too, thanks WunderWagen. Then I will also gain info what gear to run with in the mountains. BTW, anybody want to share what gear they run in when trailer towing? I have been thinking nominally 7 or 6, i.e., 3000 RPM or higher - especially in hard climbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
After searching previous SwedeSpeed posts on this topic and doing a little internet research, it appears that the Automatic Pro OBD reader will work on the XC90 with either Android or Apple phones. I used an earlier version of Automatic on a previous Q7 and it was able to read and reset fault codes (cylinder misfire in that case). Best Buy sells these, so I'll pick one up when I get the car serviced.

https://automatic.com/pro/

EDIT1: I purchased and installed the Automatic Pro. The Automatic app doesn't report any real-time information other than vehicle location, so I'm returning it and will look for another solution.

EDIT2: Before returning the Automatic Pro, I looked on the Apple App Store to see if another app could interface with the Automatic Pro. An app called “OBD Fusion” looked like it might work, so I sent the company an email and they confirmed that it does interface with the Automatic Pro (and a few other OBD devices). I installed the app and have gotten it to display real-time engine data including coolant temperature and will post details below when I’ve had a chance to use it more.
 

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Instead of going for an external product I'd really like to have Volvo create a little App that would read the gazillion sensors in the car and let me choose what I want displayed. I even did suggest this a while ago in the now-defunct volvo feedback forum. This would allow those that want to see what is going on under the hood to do so and the others can keep going for the "black box" approach (I'm not judging here!). I'd would use this app much more than the, e.g. weather one (I'd venture to say that pretty much every xc90 owner got a mobile phone with a weather app installed already!)
oh well, down the pedestal now but keep hoping for the "techie app"... :D :D
 

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I would prefer that they just add some of these data points to the already existing Sensus system for the vehicle status... like engine temp, oil temp, voltage, etc...

The Sensus system should have easy access to this data from the CAN BUS so it should just be a programming option to include a viewing option into Sensus. :)
 

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I would prefer that they just add some of these data points to the already existing Sensus system for the vehicle status... like engine temp, oil temp, voltage, etc...

The Sensus system should have easy access to this data from the CAN BUS so it should just be a programming option to include a viewing option into Sensus. :)
While we're at it, would love if Volvo added the ability to see actual TPMS readings rather than just a green dot. My Jeep showed the actual PSI, and my bf's BMW shows both PSI and tire temperature.
 

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While we're at it, would love if Volvo added the ability to see actual TPMS readings rather than just a green dot. My Jeep showed the actual PSI, and my bf's BMW shows both PSI and tire temperature.
But I do get proper readings in mine.

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While we're at it, would love if Volvo added the ability to see actual TPMS readings rather than just a green dot. My Jeep showed the actual PSI, and my bf's BMW shows both PSI and tire temperature.
That's not possible with the type of TPMS system in use on new Volvos. Your jeep and BMW both have Direct TPMS / dTPMS, while your Volvo has Indirect TPMS / iTPMS. The dTPMS use an actual pressure sensor in the wheel, but comes at the cost of having to be maintained and rebuilt at every tire change which costs money. It also will tell you the wrong wheel if your wheels get rotated, and won't work at all if you put on winter wheels without buying and programming an whole new set of sensors. These sensors also go bad from time to time, and can cost a bit to repair, and I've found them to be not all that accurate anyway. The indirect TPMS system on your Volvo requires no maintenance, and uses the same sensors as traction control and ABS to tell if a tire is low on pressure. It can't tell you the individual pressure, because it isn't reading the actual pressure, but instead how the wheel behaves: vibration, rotational speed, etc. Both systems have merit, and the iTPMS is probably the way of the future.
 
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