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Thread: jerky motion when backing up out of a parking space

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lubbock Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default jerky motion when backing up out of a parking space

    I have a 2013 XC70 3.2 FWD with 58,000 miles. I'm the original owner. The car has never had any mechanical issues; the only problems have been a couple of minor interior trim pieces that needed replacement, and the original battery, which needed replacement (under warranty) after just a couple of years. The car is all original/stock except for an IPD rear sway bar. It's been maintained per the schedule, or better, only at the Volvo dealer (including oil changes).

    A couple of weeks ago, I started experiencing an odd intermittent driveability problem. It's one of those issues that will be difficult to replicate by the service department, so I want to get some insight and suggestions from the forum before taking it in.

    It occurs most often when backing out of a diagonal parking space, while the front wheels are still straight. There is a halting, jerking, mildly rocking sensation that repeats about twice per second for two to four seconds as I back out. The halting/rocking motion has a rubberband-like quality similar to what I used to experience with older FWD cars with manual transmissions when in first or reverse. It happens perhaps 1 in 5 parking space back ups. It also happens occasionally when accelerating gently from a stop in first gear (forward). When it's happened, the car has been at operating temperature, and the ambient temperature has been in the 90 - 100 F range (Texas).

    I don't think it's the engine, because there is no change in RPMs or engine sounds. I thought about the front CV joints, but there is no noise from down there, including when making tight turns. Engine mounts: no vibration or noise from the engine bay. No symptoms at all when driving above parking speeds. One possible exception is that I think I've noticed that sometimes downshifts seem to take longer, or there is a slight clunk sound. It's subtle, so it may be my imagination.

    The only thing left that I can think of is the Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission. Maybe it's starting to slip? The ATF is original. There is no dipstick, and I'm not equipped to check it from below. My driving style is normal, even conservative. There are no burning fluid odors.

    Any insights will be appreciated.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    2013 XC70 3.2 FWD 58K miles

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Pleasanton CA USA
    Posts
    348

    Default

    The tranny could be the source of the problem, but you might also consider that the ABS is confused by a failing wheel sensor, resulting in throbbing "bites" of auto-braking. It also could be engine misfires (the RPM indicator is too slow to convey single misfires), which can occur without throwing a Check Engine code.
    You're due for spark plugs at 60K, so I would try that.

    The transmission fluid should be replaced at this mileage, and it's the first step for any tranny problem with used fluid.

    If the wheel sensor is failing, it should deposit an ABS code. I assume you're not seeing any message.

    At this stage, your best strategy is to experiment with driving conditions to improve repeatability. Unless you're getting an error message on the console, a repair tech will be stymied until he can make this failure happen. Often at this juncture, you just spend some "intelligent guess" money (tranny fluid, spark plugs). Or, live with it for a while longer, betting that it will get bad enough to throw a code.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lubbock Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thank you for the suggestions. I have an OBD-II scanner (BlueDriver), but I seem to have misplaced it ATM. In any case, it does not include the extended/OEM data such as airbags and ABS. If I can find it in the next few days, I'll try it anyway and see if there are any codes. Then, I'll probably just take it to the dealer's shop and have them connect their scanner (which is supposed to be free) and see if we get lucky. I'll post back with any updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by pbierre View Post
    The tranny could be the source of the problem, but you might also consider that the ABS is confused by a failing wheel sensor, resulting in throbbing "bites" of auto-braking. It also could be engine misfires (the RPM indicator is too slow to convey single misfires), which can occur without throwing a Check Engine code.
    You're due for spark plugs at 60K, so I would try that.

    The transmission fluid should be replaced at this mileage, and it's the first step for any tranny problem with used fluid.

    If the wheel sensor is failing, it should deposit an ABS code. I assume you're not seeing any message.

    At this stage, your best strategy is to experiment with driving conditions to improve repeatability. Unless you're getting an error message on the console, a repair tech will be stymied until he can make this failure happen. Often at this juncture, you just spend some "intelligent guess" money (tranny fluid, spark plugs). Or, live with it for a while longer, betting that it will get bad enough to throw a code.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    2013 XC70 3.2 FWD 58K miles

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lubbock Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default

    OP here, with an update. The jerking behavior appears to have subsided. I can't say with confidence that it's resolved. I want to observe it for another month or so.

    I've used premium fuel in this car almost exclusively for the entire time I've owned it. If I'm in town (and I have been since the problem appeared), I use Costco gas. I didn't think to mention this in my OP, but at the time the problem was occurring, I was using regular (also from Costco) instead of premium, to save money. I believe I used regular for two consecutive fill ups. Also, I may have been running a blend of regular and premium during some of the time when the problem was occurring. The car has a full tank of premium now.

    So, my guess is that either (1) I got a bad batch of regular fuel once or twice, or (2) the car's engine management system may have been trying to adjust to the lower octane fuel. That seems a bit far fetched, and I wonder whether any such adjustment is necessary, and if so, how long it takes. When I've occasionally used regular in the past, I didn't experience this behavior.

    I still haven't found my OBD-II scanner.

    I'll continue observing and will post back with any updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by randyn View Post
    Thank you for the suggestions. I have an OBD-II scanner (BlueDriver), but I seem to have misplaced it ATM. In any case, it does not include the extended/OEM data such as airbags and ABS. If I can find it in the next few days, I'll try it anyway and see if there are any codes. Then, I'll probably just take it to the dealer's shop and have them connect their scanner (which is supposed to be free) and see if we get lucky. I'll post back with any updates.
    Last edited by randyn; 08-19-2019 at 05:53 PM.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    2013 XC70 3.2 FWD 58K miles

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