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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am officially stomped. Saturday night i drive out to a friends house for dinner. 3hours later when about to go go home, enter the car key in ignition and...nothing. Dash lights up as do headlights etc, but no way will the engine turn over. I figured maybe the battery was dying so got hold of some jumpercables and let it charge for 5 minutes or so. The car fired up as normal.

Drove the car home and hooked the battery up to charge for the night. Next morning car fired right up no problem. Went shopping, came out, got in car - excact same problem.

Eventually got the car started by jumping start relay sockets in engine bay fuse box.
Called volvo and had them precharge me a new battery and then headed their way. Got to volvo - left the car running. As they came out to swap my battery I had to shut it down, when the new battery was in the car would not start - same problem. The volvo dude was very surprised and we ended up bringing the car in. Once inside mech checked all connectors, cables, ground leads etc. Nothing wrong. Althoug when the key is turned to position III there is no voltage to the starter signal cable. Checked cable integrity from engine bay fuse box relay. Cable is fine. Confirmed the relay itself to be ok.
Mech ordered a new ignition unit as they suspected this could be the culprite - no CEL stored to guide them there - as they said if it is the ignition unit it usually throw a code. Even so, new unit ordered.

This morning they installed the ignition unit and the problem persists. Swapped the old unit back in and as of right now both me and the volvo techs are at wits end.

Has anybody experienced the same and if so, what caused it?
Any feedback would be much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Checked voltage at the signal cable. If i short the signal cable and main power to starter - it fires up, given ignitions on.

I guess what you mean is the thick cable coming from the battery..?
 

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Alternator could unfortunately be the cause.
If your alternator does not function properly you may run intermittently on battery power.
Just something to think about. I may very well be completely off here :p

My wife had her car dying just before getting to work. I went over. Jump-start the car and let it run a while. She started to drive and a mile down the car would eventually die. Now that was with a completely dead alternator. So maybe a partially dead alternator could cause the engine to run on the battery.
Does anyone know if you can disconnect the battery once started on these cars? It would be an easy way to check the alternator. Not the greatest or safest though...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alternator is fine, battery is brand new. Got it changed yesterday as i thought it may be the reason.

#13 relay in the engine bay fusebox. When testing the fuse box "relay connectors" we get 12volts in and 4 volts. This is on the connectors - relay actuator.. as in not the ones you can use to jump the relay.
Cant remember their specific number. ahh wait got the schematics here page 57 of document or 64 overall page nr.. relay in question is marked 2/35

www.matthewsvolvosite.com/downloads/2005_S40,_V50_wiring_diagram.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When bridging connector (3/30) and (5/87) - car starts albeit with ignition in position II
When checking voltage on connector (1/86) = 12++ volts
When checking voltage on connector (2/85) = 4 volts, according to volvo it should read 0 volts.... Wassup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Nice pic, thanks. We checked the signal cable (the one in the plier) and the bottom cable from battery to starter. Do you mean the top one? Not sure if its been tested. Volvo been at it for 2 days straight now. The did not call me before they closed today. Guess they will try another starter assembly tomorrow morning...

ahh btw, we cleaned off every connection with wired brush. They all looked good apart from the connector held by plier in your pic. It was so corroded that we figured might as well swap it out for a new one. Didnt help of course..


Could jimmyrig the assembly with a cable from relay 13 and a switch inside cabin, although i hate myself for even thinking about it. Nice car and all, dont want to start with halfwit solutions just yet..
 

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Yeah, if you short the circuit to the starter and it fires up, it's a bad starter solenoid.
The solenoid first uses the voltage/current to kick the starter pinion to engage the flywheel. Right after it does that, it closes the circuit so the starter motor energizes. You don't want the starter to spin before the pinion engages the flywheel. These movements are all mechanical, so if the solenoid doesn't do step 1, the starter motor will not energize as the circuitry remains open.

Those are pics of me changing out my starter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am sure you are right, this could be it. Just needing a new starter. Im kinda freaked though as when i went by the dealer today the dash was on its way out. This is a big dealership and surely some of the techs would have come to your solution. Hate to think its 300usd/hr just labour.. asked if the meter was running and they told me they`d make me a good deal. Heaven knows what that means..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Truly impressive writeup there aldebaran, if not stickied yet - get her up there :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
at this point, having two volvos in the household my wallet has been made rape proof - its empty. Guess tomorrow it really will be ;-(
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, and it is stickied already.

$300/hr? You aren't in the US, are you?
Norway, stupid money for just about anything here
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For arguments sake, if the starter itself is shot and dont kick in leaving the circuit open. How is it you can jump the relay and get it going?

BTW just got back from dealer, now most components are out, all cables in wiring harness have been found ok. They were talking of trying the ignition assembly once more as they apparently didnt upgrade the software for the ignition. Im still suspecting the starter and had them order one.

As of right now they will charge me for 1,2hr changing out the ignition first time, 1hr troubleshooting and whatever the starter will set me back + labour. Not to shoddy as they had 2 guys working on it non stop since tuesday. Must be an guardian angel out there for me, if he could only fix my car..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
and the story continues... They (volvo techs) are certain the starter is ok, to the point they dont want to swap it out. They can, as the intake assy is out of the car.. They just told me that if they use external earth on the relay (earthing relay directly to chaissis), it works - car starts as per normal operation.

They now want to jimmyrig it with this solution. If it works i guess its ok but I`d much rather have the problem itself fixed than bypassing ecu earth.
 

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There's nothing critical about grounding. You can add as many ground wires as you want (well as long as it does not create any weird RF interference).
So I would not worry about grounding the system differently but I agree with you that it does not fix the possible problem(s).

I would see if rather than bypassing (rerouting) they can simply add a ground wire and see if that works, and perhaps that is just what you're talking about already...
If that works than you have not hurt anything and can safely try that out for a while and see if the rest is stable.
 
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