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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The warranty on my 2016 V60 expired a couple months ago and the car now has 51,000 miles. Yesterday while driving through a parking lot at low speed (5-10 mph) the engine just died. The car was in the middle of the driving lane so I put it in park and hit start but nothing happened and a message appeared to press and hold start until engine starts. I held it for probably 20-30 seconds and nothing ever happened. Everything else (radio, lighting et. al.) was still working but the car was not going anywhere. Luckily, a couple of people came by, one with a jump pack. He tried tried it but the result was no different, suggesting it was not a battery problem. I was able to get the car in neutral and they were able to push me out of the driving lane. Long story short, a call to AAA and after 2½ hours a flat bed tow truck finally arrived, which took the car to the Volvo dealer (less than a half mile away).

Today, the dealer diagnosed it as a failed fusible link to the battery, which has been ordered and hopefully will be there tomorrow. The service adviser said the solder just melted and a new one would fix the problem. While I am sure that it will fix it and they'll get the car started, the question remains about what caused it to fail. If a fusible link is essentially a fuse, its purpose would be to protect other hardware from over current situations. Is there something else that needs to be looked at here, perhaps something like a periodic short circuit? The adviser seemed certain that it was just a random failure but why would something that is nothing more than a piece of wire just fail at 50,000 miles?

My plans include a 1000 mile drive next week (and return the following week) and I would hate to experience a recurrence of this while driving 70 mph on an interstate through the mountains!

Thanks for any input,
Gary
 

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Maybe holding the starter for 20-30 seconds burned up the link.

That’s a lot of juice to be pulling for that long



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Maybe holding the starter for 20-30 seconds burned up the link.

That’s a lot of juice to be pulling for that long
It sounds like the starter never engaged for that 20-30 seconds because the fusible link opened.

The adviser seemed certain that it was just a random failure but why would something that is nothing more than a piece of wire just fail at 50,000 miles?


Gary
It's also possible that the link was damaged or psychically fatigued. Is this located at the battery? Has the battery ever been removed or disconnected for any reason? I would hope the dealer would at least do a current load test on this circuit.
 

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I had a fusible link fail many years ago ( on a 1985 Ford Escort). Travelling at night at around 110 kmph in France on a dual carriageway. All electrical power lost, no lights even. Very scary, luckily we were with another family who parked up behind us with their car hazard warning lights on

I had look; the link had broken off at the battery terminal. It was clear the link hadn't been secured properly to the wiring harness and due to vibration over around 3 years one by one the strands had broken at the battery terminal until the remaining ones failed. As a "get me home" fix I just clamped the broken end to the battery terminal and secured it to the harness along it's length with cable ties ( the days when I used to carry tools and the like with me !)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It sounds like the starter never engaged for that 20-30 seconds because the fusible link opened.
It's also possible that the link was damaged or psychically fatigued. Is this located at the battery? Has the battery ever been removed or disconnected for any reason? I would hope the dealer would at least do a current load test on this circuit.
Yes, this is at the battery which has never been removed or disconnected for any reason. ecoDrive is correct, the starter never cranked at all. This failure occurred while the car was moving forward at low speed and since this link carries power to both the starter and the engine, it was all over at the point of failure.

I got the car back this morning and asked for the failed part so I have attached a photo. It carries part number 31473638 and is essentially a fuse which is packaged directly onto the positive battery terminal clamp. The whole thing is very clean and you can also see the broken fuse on the right, which is also discolored from the heat of failure. If this is related to vibration or fatigue the only way for it to happen would be that the fuse itself has a natural frequency matching an actual operating condition of the car. I am doubting that.

I am still concerned that there must have been something which caused an electrical overload here. The part says that the fuse is rated at 220A. That's a heckuva load to ignore IMHO! I think the only possibilities are that a) there is a deeper problem which has not been diagnosed or b) this part was defective. The dealer is banking on the latter and does not want to pursue it further. I raised the issue of asking Volvo for warranty consideration since it occurred at only 1006 miles past warranty but the service adviser said flatly that Volvo will not do any goodwill! The repair was only $225 ($200 labor and $25 for the part) but somehow Volvo should take an interest in this.

Putting on my engineer's cap, I wonder if this is related to the auto stop/start feature. I find Volvo's approach to this is exceptionally annoying and I usually turn it off unless approaching a traffic light that I know will take some time. (That the camera on the car windshield can actually read speed limit signs but doesn't identify traffic signals to engage and disengage the feature is a real missed opportunity). When approaching stop signs, traffic circles and parking spots and other situations which demand multiple stop and starts the starter may be engaged a half dozen times in 10-15 seconds. As my wife also uses the car and is less inclined than me to keep disabling the feature, in four years there must have been thousands of additional heat cycles. It is entirely possible that Volvo has far underestimated the additional wear this places on the components and that 50,000 miles is about the limit of how long this system will work reliably.

How hard would it be to do a current load test on this circuit? Does anybody from Volvo corporate monitor this forum?

Since there is a safety aspect to a car shutting off while in motion should this be reported to NHTSA?

I'd be interested to hear what you all think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I've managed to stumble upon the root cause of the problem here.

While doing a little research on thermal fatigue I decided to look over at the NHTSA site to see if anybody else has ever reported this problem. Instead of entering my VIN I searched for 2016 Volvo V60 and found that there have been two recalls on this model, one for a seat belt issue and the other titled "Starter Motor Fuse May Blow"! Even more interesting, the recall involved increasing the amperage rating of the fuse! I immediately went out to the garage and saw that the new part is rated at 250 amps vs. the 220 amp failed part which is now on my desk. I then called the dealer and told him there was a recall that I was never informed of for the repair they just made. He checked and said that by the VIN number there were no recalls on my car. I persisted and gave him the NHTSA recall number along with the dates of manufacture that were involved and told him that it is highly likely it should have been. (I took delivery of my car in October 2015 and the manufacture dates for the recall went until August 22 so I was pretty sure my car would have been involved). He dug a little further and said that the the recall was done at the port on August 31, so I asked why there was still the lower rated part in my car. He had no answer except to say that since the record shows the recall had been performed at the dock he could not do anything to help me. I later searched NHTSA by VIN and saw that indeed my particular car had no open recalls, so somebody at Volvo reported the work as completed when it actually had not been.

So I've called Volvo customer service and provided them with a copy of the receipt for the repair. I suspect I'll be getting reimbursed as I have the smoking gun of the failed part. (That's an important lesson in this). I am actually very happy to have run across this as the higher rating fuse does raise my confidence that this won't happen again and I'm feeling a lot better about my long trip next week.

Of course, looking at the NHTSA site has its drawbacks - there have been three reported complaints of 2016 V60 sun roofs exploding while driving down the highway. Can't wait for that to happen!
 

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Thanks for this information. After reading this I went to the NHTSA site and looked up the two recalls that my car was the subject of. My car was built in July 2015 and I bought it in May 2016. I looked at the fuse and see that I have the 250 amp version, so I'm not overly concerned.

Out of curiosity, is there a green dot on the inside of your fuel filler door? According to the recall documentation all cars having this recall completed at the port should have the dot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Out of curiosity, is there a green dot on the inside of your fuel filler door? According to the recall documentation all cars having this recall completed at the port should have the dot.
No, there is no green dot on my filler door.
 

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Robert,
Just curious, does yours have a green dot?
No it doesn't. The recall started on October 26th, 2015 and my car was at the dealership in September 2015, so it was already at the dealership when the recall came out. The build date is July 2015 so it is covered by the recall. My car was probably done by the dealer before I bought it in May 2016, since they're not allowed to sell a car with outstanding recalls.
 
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