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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    184

    Default Back from the brink of electrical mayhem...

    Just thought I'd share this, for what it's worth. Climbed into my '04 after a few days without driving it, turned the key and immediately saw something was wrong. Got a message that the DSTC was malfunctioning, then the brakes. Various warning lights on, and the clock was showing dashes. Tried to start the engine, but all I got was the sound of - what I imagine to be - a solenoid fluttering. The engine didn't turn at all. I had visions of calling out the stealers, and paying them a fortune to replace various three-letter acronyms, since my warranty and maintenance plan recently ran out.

    Turned the car off and repaired to my computer to consult the oracle at volvoXC.com. Didn't find a complete match to these symptoms, but after reading similar posts I decided the most likely cause was that the battery had somehow become disconnected for a moment (the loss of time on the clock). Also possible that, even though I had instrument lights, there wasn't enough juice in the battery to turn the engine, although that wouldn't explain the clock (would it?) and I had no reason to suspect a weak battery until now.

    Back to the garage, disconnected the battery in the prescribed manner (turn off the climate control, wait >5 mins after removing the key, disconnect negative lead first) and found the battery-lead clamps were, indeed, not very tight - but not exactly rattling loose either. Decided to charge the battery overnight, just in case.

    In the morning I touched the + and - leads together, to re-set the car's brains (just in case) then reconnected the battery - again in the prescribed manner (key to position II, reconnect negative terminal last, lock and unlock the car), re-set the clock and... presto! Car started and drove perfectly! No problem with the climate control, sunroof or anything else. Didn't seem any more powerful after re-setting the brains, though.

    As for the underlying cause, other than the not-very-tight battery clamps, the last thing I did before this happened was wash the car. I didn't spray water into the engine compartment, but I did vacuum under the seats, and I wondered if I might have shorted out a wire there. However, after I cleaned the car I had no trouble starting it to drive back into the garage. If there's a problem with the battery it will show up again, of course. BTW, can anyone tell me if you can use a deep-discharge battery in place of the regular one?

    Just thought I'd share in case this helps anyone else...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Chocolate Town USA
    Posts
    1,185

    Default

    ? I use all Optimas on all my cars so ?
    2012 Ford Fusion 2004 V70XC 01 V70XC -M66 1998 C70 T5-M66

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Western Head, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    3,089

    Default

    Yeah, loose cable clamps, a bit of oxidation and an older battery can cause all kinds of havoc in the newer, more electronically-controlled cars. I had a Porsche that didn't like voltage that was just a bit low per the spec, so what you saw doesn't surprise me considering all the processors in our cars.

    Gel-celled batteries can help some but if the clamps are loose and dirty, you are still fighting physics. If you are still on the original battery, might be worth heeding the warning and have it checked out anyway.

    Cheers,

    Bill
    Western Head, NS CDN

    '08 BMW 750i (Black Sapphire)-204K kms to-date
    '05 XC70 (Lava Sand)-296K kms to-date
    '02 V70XC-gone @393K kms
    '05 V70R (Magic Blue)-120K mi to-date - gone
    '96 854R (Red)-real CDN-spec 5-speed R - gone @270k kms
    And other Volvos and misc. Euro stuff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    94

    Default Me too

    Almost the exact same thing happened to me just last week except mine was accompanied by a screaming banshee (the wife).

    I suspected it might be the battery and since my old one was 4 years old, I just decided to replace it (plus I had to show the wife I was actually doing something).

    Anyway, new battery fixed everything except the banshee (just kidding honey)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    459

    Default

    No. You can't use a deep discharge battery in place of an automotive battery. The internal construction is different involving the plates. And there would be no reason to do so. Just get the battery size that Volvo calls for.
    2006 XC70 Ruby Red, mfg 03/06 (traded)
    2005 S80 Ash Gold, mfg 11/04
    2016 XC60 T6 mfg 04/15

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    184

    Default

    An update on this, in case it helps anyone.

    After a few weeks I confirmed a trend - after a couple of days without running the car, the charge on the battery is definitely low. I went to a battery place to get a price on a replacement, but while chatting to the guy he asked if I had a satellite tracking device fitted (pretty much everyone has them here - hijacking cars is a national sport, and insurance more than pays the cost of a tracker through reduced premiums).

    The battery guy said after a couple of years the backup battery fitted to the device fails, and it begins to draw continuously on the car's battery, draining it when the car isn't running. I contacted my company (Tracker) who said their device only 'wakes up' when they run a trace on the car, but they'd send someone to look at it anyway, at no charge.

    Turns out there was ANOTHER device (Netstar) fitted by the previous owner - the Tracker guy finds the fuse (the devices themselves are hidden on the car, and you aren't told where, for obvious reasons) and shows me that there's a draw of about 15 milliamps when the fuse is connected, which drops to 1 milliamp when it's taken out. (I may have the decimal in the wrong place, but the ratio is right).

    Problem solved - although it nearly became a new problem. I discovered the Tracker guy had disconnected the car's battery, and didn't know the proper procedure to re-connect it (even though he said he's often at the Volvo stealership, installing devices). Fortunately he hadn't done so yet, so I was able to do it - and show him how. As an aside, my brother-in-law bought a new (08) XC70 last year, and asked the same dealers to have a tracking device fitted before delivery. Seems the technician fitting the device (don't know which company) fried the electrics of his car - the rear door opener stopped working, and IIRC it cost the company quite a bit to fix.

    I don't know whether tracking devices are common in other parts of the world, but for me this has been a wake-up call that they are NOT install-and-forget items - fellow South Africans take note.
    Last edited by Mink; 10-10-2009 at 09:37 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    184

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tgwillard View Post
    No. You can't use a deep discharge battery in place of an automotive battery. The internal construction is different involving the plates. And there would be no reason to do so. Just get the battery size that Volvo calls for.
    My "reason" was that I had a perfectly good deep cycle battery, of the right size, lying around. BTW, "Willard" is the name of one of our most popular brands of car battery. Coincidence?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    459

    Default

    Now I understand your reason. A deep cycle battery is not built for sudden surges of amperage required when starting a car but rather long periods of lower amperage draw. If you try to use a car battery in place of a deep discharge battery you will find that it becomes quickly depleted. And yes "Willard" batteries used to be a well known brand in the states, but I have not seen the name (no relation) for years.
    2006 XC70 Ruby Red, mfg 03/06 (traded)
    2005 S80 Ash Gold, mfg 11/04
    2016 XC60 T6 mfg 04/15

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    2,371

    Default

    Perhaps the largest "normal" battery that will fit is an alternative.
    I have the (OEM) battery from the diesel model, I think it's 92Ah.
    Willy
    144 GL (1974)--->244 GL (1982)--->940 GLE 2.3i (1992)--->XC70 2.5T (2004)--->XC90 T5 (2018)

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