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Thread: 2004 XC90 2.5T Bad Connecting Rod Bearing @ 119k!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2

    Default 2004 XC90 2.5T Bad Connecting Rod Bearing @ 119k!

    I am completely baffled by this problem and I was hoping someone might have some insight. This is the first Volvo I've owned but I work on Volvo trucks for my living. The engines in my company's trucks hold up quite well, I heard many good things about the Volvo 2.5, and I absolutely loved everything about the XC90, so I decided to purchase one. I did a lot of searching and found a used XC90 with 105k miles on it and complete maintenance records. The vehicle was owned by the same people since new and dealer maintained the entire time. The biggest hole I can find in the maintenance records is about 10k miles but the owner explained that some records had been misplaced and a 10k mile hole is nothing to fuss about in my opinion. Anyway, at 119k my check engine light came on for Intake Camshaft Timing Over-advanced. No big deal, I knew I needed to do the timing belt at 120k so I had already purchased it. I replaced the timing belt and fired up the engine with no issues at all. I let it idle until it reached operating temperature and then went to give it a few gentle rev's to get the coolant circulating well so I could top it off (I had also replaced the water pump while I was in there). Upon revving the engine I heard a very clear clicking that sounded like lifter noise. I shut the engine off and re-checked the timing marks and they were all perfect. I fired the engine up again and at idle it was perfectly quiet but as soon as it got above about 2000 rpm I could hear the clicking. I figured I would just drive it gently and the problem would either reveal itself to me or go away.

    One day accelerating near my place of employment the "Low Oil Pressure. Please Stop Safely." message came up on the dash, the clicking got louder, and I heard a couple of squeaks. I ran a red light to pull into a parking lot and immediately shut the engine off. I checked the oil which was full, let the car sit for a little while, and then started it up again. The clicking was now there at idle but no messages on the dash or any other sort of noises. I limped it very gently the remaining mile to my place of employment and then called for a tow that afternoon. I was assuming that the O-rings had worn out for the oil sump pick-up tube and dropped the oil pan to investigate. To my horror, instead of some dry and cracked looking O-rings, I found a bunch of metal. The #2 connecting rod bearing had spun. The squeaking I heard was apparently the #2 connecting rod bearing on it's last leg and the lifter noise must have been caused by the oil pressure leaving through that bearing and starving the top end of oil.

    I have two questions. First, what on earth would cause a dealer maintained vehicle to spin a connecting rod bearing in an engine that is supposed to be as reliable as the Volvo 2.5T?

    Second, how do I split the engine block to remove the crankshaft for repair? I do not have the money to have a dealer or an independent shop make the repair so I am doing it myself. I have removed all of the peripherals from the engine and have just the block, head, and valve cover left in the car as a complete unit. I cannot remove one of the bell-housing bolts because the "angle gear" (trans-axle) is in the way but that bolt is only holding the bottom section of the engine block to the transmission. My plan is to split the upper engine block from the lower engine block so that the valve cover, head, and upper, complete with pistons, comes out of the vehicle and the lower section will stay right where it is. After the two halves are separated I can send the crankshaft out for repair with the offending connecting rod and then put it all back together. I have removed all of the bolts from the underside of the lower engine block and my engine hoist still tries to lift the entire vehicle instead of separating the halves. Looking at a breakdown of the engine I cannot find any reason why it shouldn't be able to come apart while still in the car. Is there some reason the diagram doesn't show that I cannot split the halves while it is in the car? Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2

    Default

    The repair is complete. If anyone happens to be browsing this looking for guidance I will provide what I can.

    Yes, the intermediate section can be left in the vehicle while the upper block is removed. Is it worth doing that way? Probably not. You will want the intermediate section out of the vehicle for reassembly of the engine anyway and it puts a lot more stress on the parts when attempting to separate them. If you really are in a rush, as I was because we had just sold our house and the closing date was fast approaching, the "dirty" way I did it was to leave the angle gear, CV shafts, etc in the vehicle, back that intermediate section bell-housing bolt off as far as I could until it hit the angle gear, and then cut it off between the bell-housing and the intermediate section with a long sawzall blade. Shade-tree stuff for sure but like I said I was in a terrible rush and it worked. That said, I do not recommend it. Just do it the right way and remove the CV shaft, angle gear, etc.

    When I got the motor completely apart I discovered the root cause of the failed connecting rod bearing. The motor was completely packed with sludge, especially in the ports for the PCV breather system. Apparently, when the engine warmed up with the plugged PCV system it would build crankcase pressure and force oil past the piston rings. By the time it built up any pressure, the catalytic converter was already hot and "cleaned" the oil out of the exhaust so that there was no outward indicator that the engine was losing oil at all. It must have eaten up enough oil to score the connecting rod bearing between when I got it and the first time I changed engine oil. Which reminds me, don't follow Volvo's recommended service intervals when it comes to oil changes. The manual says 7k miles but I'm going to split that in half from now on. My best guess is that the previous owner's driving habits required more frequent oil changes than Volvo recommends. 7k might be fine when you live in a moderate climate or drive a lot of highway, but if you combine long idle times or a lot of short trip driving with a Minnesota climate you are asking for trouble. Better to spend the extra money and change your engine oil more frequently than have to do expensive major engine repairs. Of course the previous owner's didn't have to deal with either. Lucky me! Replacement of the PCV oil trap should probably be done at 75k. It's not particularly expensive or difficult to do and it could save you a lot of headache. While the oil trap is off, clean out the ports on the block, disconnect the breather lines attached to it from their opposite ends, and clean them out with a good cleaner and compressed air before reassembly.

    Anyway, I hope this helps anybody avoid similar issues. If you have any additional questions don't hesitate to ask.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    98

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    Same basic engine in our 2004 XC70. Over the summer I changed the PVC system with all new components including the $200 hose. One engine port was completely covered with sooty sludge about 1/2" thick. The other port was open. Both were not clogged into the oil pan. I use synthetic oil changed at 4-5000 miles. Currently at 110,000 miles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Columbia Maryland
    Posts
    1

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    Hi MRjusten thanks for your post it is helpful.
    I have more questions about removing the upper and mid section of the engine.
    when you were removing all of the parts from the upper section of the engine does that mean the valve cover been all the turbo tubing and wiring as well?
    when removing the bottom half did you only remove the oil pan?
    if possible can you give me a step by step I have the same issue you had a year ago.
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Hey , i ran into simalar problem but when i pulled rod bearing i cant identify it . The numbers say 30637235 d2ik on the bearing and that is not what volvo tells me is on thier bearings. I want to know if someone has been in there before or if that is what your bearing numbers said .

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