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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR USA
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    22

    Default Electric System Problems- 2004 XC70

    I'm 5 months in to my first Volvo owner experience and things have been good....until this week!

    On Thursday while my wife was on a 50 mile highway drive, the battery warning light came on and the message center said "EL SYSTEM SERVICE REQUIRED." Things seemed fine so she kept driving. Made a stop for a couple hours, turned the car back on to come home and the light/warning was still there.

    On the next morning, light/warning still present. She stopped by the tire shop that installed the battery 3 months ago, they said that the battery was fine and it was likely an alternator issue. While driving home, the ABS warning light came on, as did the Airbag warning light. The AC stopped, the radio stopped, and by the time she got home, she couldn't roll up the windows.

    This afternoon, about 20 hours after it was last turned off, I started the car to turn it around so I could look under the hood and get to work. To my surprise, it started just fine and there were no warning lights. Thinking it was odd, I drove the car around the neighborhood and within about 5 minutes, the battery light came on, and a few minutes later systems started shutting down. I got home and parked it, turned it off....then turned it on just to see if I could. It turned over, but the warnings were still present.

    Thinking it was odd that I could start the car and that the warnings didn't come on until the car was warmed up, I decided to test a theory that the problem only happened once the car was at operating temperature. I let it sit and cool for 4 hours. Sure enough, I turned the car on and there are no lights, no warnings.

    I was originally thinking it needs a new alternator, but this cold/warm thing has me confused. Is it something else? Maybe the regulator or even a belt/pulley issue? Help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    1,921

    Default

    Sounds tricky to diagnose the problem. Likely may require a good mechanic to do some good diagnostic analysis. You'd want to avoid having someone throwing parts at the problem. I'd suggest the following

    - Figure out the failure pattern. Confirm your suspicion the electrical problem occurs when warmed up. This would give the mechanic a head start
    - Take it to T. Scandia in Tigard to help you diagnose this. Family owned Saab/Volvo shop (they also do Subarus now). Head mechanic Raymond is the owner. Super honest and charge you only for the actual labor and not book rate. Call in advance to make sure they have the Volvo diagnostic equipment (VIDA/DiCE) so they can pull all the stored error codes. From their, they might have a hint at where the problem might be.
    Past Volvos : 01 V70 T5, 01/02 V70XC, 02 V70 NA, 00 V70XC
    Current EV/Hybrid : 13 Tesla S85, 11 Gen3 Prius
    Friends cars under my care 17 Audi A4 Quattro DSG (B9) 05 Audi A4 Manual 6sp Quattro (B7) 04 e320 V6 Auto, 05 Accord 2.4, 08 Element 2.4, 08 Camry Hybrid
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    http://www.freewebs.com/howardsvolvos/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR USA
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Thanks for the referal to T. Scandia, a good local Volvo mechanic request was going to be my next post to the group!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    694

    Default

    Sounds like a bad battery...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR USA
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    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kamiar View Post
    Sounds like a bad battery...
    I agree it sounds like a bettery, but its only 3 months old and I had it tested the other day at the place we bought it. They say its fine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Devon PA
    Posts
    11,409

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    Then it's your battery cables or your alternator
    These cars do not run well at all if the battery is low
    You need to do a full charge and draw (load) test
    All emails please use: jrl1194 (at) aol.com

    2007 V70 2.5T White/Oak, 112K miles. My daily driver and GORGEOUS
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Decatur, TN
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JRL View Post
    Then it's your battery cables or your alternator
    These cars do not run well at all if the battery is low
    You need to do a full charge and draw (load) test
    I had the same symptoms on my 02, did the test and it turned out to be the alternator.
    2002 V70XC 260k+ miles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Portland, OR USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRL View Post
    Then it's your battery cables or your alternator
    These cars do not run well at all if the battery is low
    You need to do a full charge and draw (load) test
    Any way to know if its the Alternator or just the regulator?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Western Head, Nova Scotia
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    The regulator is bolted into the regulator on these Bosch alternators and the price of a new regulator/brush assembly is typically more than half the price of a rebuilt alternator. Since you have to pull the alternator out to replace the regulator anyway, way easier to just bite the bullet and replace the while thing.

    Good luck,

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
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    Because you're car still starts okay and the other symptoms you described I'm thinking it might be your regulator and poor voltage regulation. A simple check would be to first look at the battery voltage with a DVM with the car not running and then check the voltage with the car running. The battery voltage should be in the range of 12.4 to 12.6v for a fully charged battery and with the car running and the alternator charging somewhere between 13.5 to 14.4V. This may not tell you the whole story but it will give a good idea if there's an obvious problem with the alternator/regulator.

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