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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So..this has been intermittent since I got the car. It first appeared shortly after i got, but only after like 1 hour of driving. Message on the dash reads "headlight error, service required". But as summer came it started to go away, it would only flash for a second or two on startup before going away. Now as it's getting colder again it's back. It now appear a few seconds after startup and stay there. On startup the lights dip, then come up again. Then as the warning comes on they seem to go up a little more.

Anybody know this error, what causes it and how to fix it?

I have checked the battery, reads 12,6 v cold and 14,3 v running and it does not dip under 10 v when starting the car. Also checked the connectors behind the lights, no corrosion.

Car is a 2011 XC70. It's due for it's MOT soon and I would guess this will be a fail?
 

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Do the headlights work? And with the dip, I assume they are the active/bending lights?
I just got a fault warning "low beam failure". My RF light worked intermittently, and when it was on, it was a low-brightness purplish color. Now it is completely INOP. My local guy says it is either a bulb, igniter, or ballast. I'm going to try a bulb and igniter as he has those in stock for me.

I'm not trying to hijack the thread. Just wanted to know if your lights work even with the fault, and relate my story. I would guess your dealer/indie with a code reader could determine the fault. Hopefully it is not a complete failure needing complete replacement. Those run $1,100 retail, but you can find them for about $800 at https://www.volvopartswebstore.com/
 

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Can you get access to a VIDA system?....the fault messages are much more informative than the one showing on the console. Do you have Active Bending Lights?....4C suspension? When you say the headlight "dips", is it the light level dipping or the aiming direction?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I do not have access to VIDA, so "headlight error" is all i got to go by. I do have active bending lights, but not four-c suspension. They dip down on startup, not aiming in a direction left/right.. then seem to find their level (all in a second or two), then when the message appear after maby 30 sec, they as I said seem to adjust up a little more, but the light all work....DRL, highbeams, parking lights, fog lights...all work.

As I also mentioned...the error stayed away all summer, when it`s hot outside. But now it´s back as we start to see lower temperatures here in Norway.

I´ll add a picture of the message in the dash (text in norwegian, but it say headlight error, service required".

 

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I believe this ABL headlight unit has a mechanism for steering the beam. It sounds like it "freezes up" in cold weather, causing a motor stall. I don't know that anyone repairs these assemblies. They are US$800 each.

I would scour the online junkyards in Europe, first figuring out how to identify the ABL headlight unit visually. I would get one cheap to experiment with, to try as a replacement, and maybe to take apart. I'd be looking for how a strategy to lube the ABL mechanism, and figure out where to drill holes in the casing for oiling.

When it's time for the MOT inspection, you can warm up the headlight assy. in advance with a hair dryer before starting the engine.

I love the ABL feature driving at night. My first drive in my XC70, I crossed the Sierra Nevada mountain range into California, and I fell in love with the XC70 and the ABL lights.
 

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Under no circumstances should anyone drill holes into their headlights. Nor should the mechanism be oiled.

The issue with the error message is the result of incorrect cable routing inside of the headlight housing. An error message will be displayed briefly upon starting the vehicle but not DTC will be logged by the headlight controller. It is possible for the error message to randomly be displayed during normal vehicle operation.
Expected function of the headlights - self leveling and beam adjustment - will not be inhibited.

In case of a real system malfunction the headlights will adjust to their lowest position and disable beam adjustment. This is to avoid blinding other road users. On vehicles without sensus the green Led on the ABL button will not be illuminated, on vehicles with sensus the ABL function will be shown a disabled in the systems menu.

It is normal behaviour for the headlights to start in the low position upon vehicle startup, than do a sweep. This is a system self test. A second self test is executed upon reaching a minimum speed threshold.


Unless other issues exist, rerouting the cables will fix everything.
- Remove headlights from vehicle. Do so after having made sure that the vehicle has not been powered on for some time. The high voltage components for the HID can kill you.
- Open the bigger cap on the back of the headlight.
- Reroute the high voltage cable going to the HID bulb in such a way that it is not tangled up with the wiring for everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I´ll give that try Blockpartie...but wouldn´t turning off the ABL in the radio-menu "fix" the problem? If the ABL is off, the lights won´t try to move and tangled up wires won´t stop them and therefore no warning on the dashboard? Or will the system still test it self and figure out something is wrong and give the warning anyway? Just to mention it...I have tried to just turn off the ABL and the warning still comes up after a few seconds.

I can´t say I have noticed the lights turn with the steering wheel as long as I`ve had it (haven´t looked for it either)...but then again, it doesn´t get dark here during the summer so would be hard to see.
 

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Couple of things...

Just from the error message alone it's not possible to exactly diagnose what the issue is. The system tests everything upon vehicle startup and there are only two message it can display via the DIM: system error or bulb error. Not all bulbs are checked however.
The entire lighting system is integrated into the vehicle and depends on several other parts and modules. Among the things that get checked are: voltage (over/under), actual position vs expected position, time to reach position, algorithmic check of expected x versus reality and a lot more.

I am guessing you are from Norway? If so I expect your vehicle is setup to switch on the low beams when the car is started. Aka low beams are on in position 0 and position 2 of the headlight switch.
ABL functionality was only available in position 2 when originally delivered from the factory. An update is available to restore ABL functionality for pos. 0.

The issue with the tangled up wires is not that they restrict movement. Instead the high voltage wire is in such a position that it causes issues by inducing a current in the low voltage wires. This is outside of the expected signal range for these wires, causing the control module to report an issue. Due to the transient nature of this issue a fault may or may not get logged.
With a different cable routing that issue can no longer happen which solves the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You seem to know your stuff. How should the wires be routed to avoid this? (See photos of my headlight units). Do they look like they should be rerouted or if they are in a position that should not cause any issues?



 

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None of the three pictures you linked show up so I can confidently state that your headlight wiring should not look like a browsers default icon for a broken image.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ah, ok...well, one thing I do see is a loose connector that´s not part of the regular low beam... a small white one, but it is impossible to get to and reconnect...how on earth to I get that sorted out? Take off the glass?
 

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Issue diagnosed as: Unplugged connector.

How to repair: Plug connector back in.

Removal of the headlight lens / glass is not intended by the manufacturer unfortunately.
 
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