To: Shocktroop40-you were right, it did not correct itself. Sometimes it ran fine to a family reunion. But, when i left the reunion, it wouldn't start. The fuel filter is fine, had it towed to a cousin's and waited several hours, tried it again-it started, drove home. Drove it to church the next day, it started after church and moved about a foot, then died. It's still there. Someone else who works on foreign cars suggested that it may be the crank sensor!!!
Volvo crankshaft sensors go bad. On the 4 cylinder with a Rex ignition system, reach behind the engine and inspect the wire that runs from the firewall to the transmission. If this has any cuts or open spots, it should be replaced. This is common on a Volvo. (I think it is a good design. You can get to it easily.) It runs about $60. It is easy to change. Part number is 271949.
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sometimes the computer gets wiped clean and it has memory on how to idle, memorizes how the transmission shifts when you drive.. when all that is lost it can take a few days to relearn.. I found that I had luck spraying fuel injection cleaner into the throttle body and revving engine enough so it didn't shut off... and then I would drive fairly hard up hills etc.. and usually problem would correct itself
This engine is electronically controlled so the first thing that must be done here is to have the systems control computer tested for fault codes and then do the proper diagnostics based on those codes.
You might want to start by checking the wires to the starter. I've seen those little buggers age and develop cracks in the insulation causing intermittent starting issues especially if the battery is good and it feelslike it's cranking slow. You might also want to check your alternator to make sure everything's charging properly. If memory serves there was a tsb for these cars regarding the charging system and I think even a recall for the rectifiers.
WIthout trying to turn it over, turn the key to the on position and listen. You should hear your fuel pump prime. If not could be a bad fuel pump relay or maybe a bad wire to the pump, or even the pump itself.
Do you remember the specific codes you pulled from the computer? Especially the ones from when it stalled after replacing the computer. Those might also be helpful in putting you in the right direction on this.
since it ran fine at first, I would think you got the cams and crank correctly timed. the two connections in the diag box to connect are "T" and "E1". You may want to check out the distributor to see if the air gaps from the star wheel to the pick up coil projections are less or more than the correct--.008-.016". If so, the bearing is bad (the star wheel will wobble) and you should replace the distributor. Also, the distributor has three coils in it that should be checked for proper resistance--140-180 ohms. The car will run with one of the three coils dead but not as smoothly.