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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Waynesboro, VA
    Posts
    68

    Question 02 V70 XC plugs failed

    I turns out the (wrong type) plugs just failed at about 197K miles, the shop that used to work on it put in the wrong plugs after they had the head off to replace the head gasket about 30K miles ago. (not a blown head gasket, just beginning to show signs of a leak)

    Fast forward to the present. The check engine light came on recently and the code was P0016 but it ran perfectly well. Reset the code and it didn't come back on for over 300 miles. I was waiting for an open spot to get it to my mechanic. This is my only car, I have to borrow one when I take it in for service. After the second occurrence, I didn't drive it like this long. The day before I was to take it to the mechanic, I went to start it that evening and for the first time it cranked longer than normal before starting, ran a little rough but hardly noticeable. The next morning it wouldn't start at all. I cranked it a few times for a maybe 3 seconds each time. It started to act like the engine was spinning freely.

    Turns out when my mechanic checked it out, the [gasp!] Champion copper plugs were completely shot. Gasoline soaked the cylinders. He let it dry out thoroughly with plugs out, put in the proper plugs and started it yesterday. It ran a bit rough at first but ran.

    He started it this morning to take it for a drive and it wouldn't start, cranks freely and acts like it has no compression. In fact the compression bleeds down when he pumps it up with the gauge on it.

    Any thoughts? Timing belt and tensioner only have about 40K on them. No apparent problem with timing belt or timing jumping or anything like that.
    Last edited by tmcmilli; 03-24-2015 at 07:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    austin, tx
    Posts
    55

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    Sounds like classic lawnmower syndrome (poor compression, especially troublesome at startup). Not really a plug related thing in my mind though extremely wide plug gaps won't make the car any easier to start. I use Champion's in all my Volvo's so plenty of love here for the brand in general... Never belonged to the rabid fan club of OEM plugs (though I do think they are perfectly fine, just not worth the added cost to me).

    30k is probably an okay change interval, I typically change at 15-20k. Only advantage to Volvo plugs I can determine is better longevity. Not trying to start a debate here, just my experience in probably a million Volvo miles at this point.

    I'd ensure you have good ignition (coil packs). You can try an oil treatment (MMO works well for dissolving internal gunk without causing issues), or do a Seafoam treatment to try and get some carbon removed from the intake / rings. Not much else you can do except ensure you have a fresh starter (an old starter motor potentially won't spin the engine fast enough to build good compression).

    200k is nearing the end of life for these engines, the valve stems start leaking or the compression is down down down at this point... An engine that has always gotten love will likely do 250-300k but they don't last like a redblock might (drove one to 750k before tiring of the car).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Waynesboro, VA
    Posts
    68

    Default

    Maybe I should add that my mechanic told me the electrodes on the plugs were really burned away, almost to nothing. Also I should add that I had the PCV replaced at around the same time that the head was pulled around 30K miles ago. At that time the PCV was really clogged up. I've been running Mobil 1 5W30 since I bought the car in December 2013, with the oil being changed about every 5000 miles.

    I put a rebuilt starter on roughly 2 months ago, I lose track of time. Never had any trouble yet with the motor being slow to turn over nor hesitant to start. Fires up instantly or it did until the other day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    austin, tx
    Posts
    55

    Default

    If I were you, I'd pull each coil pack and look carefully for cracks. One of my cars had 155k on the original packs (no misfire codes or issues per se). All had cracks so I replaced with a fresh set, the car immediately ran noticeably better. Hard to quantify but I'd say it immediately ran 30% stronger.

    I find it difficult to imagine a set of plugs worn to nothing in 30k miles approx., most of my cars have tuned ECM's and higher flowing turbochargers - and I drive the cars at least moderately aggressively - these cars will generally widen the plug gap from .028 in. to .032 in. in around 20k miles. I will say that OEM Volvo plugs will last a very long time and hold a more consistent gap due to the platinum tip construction so no trouble encouraging you to go that route, I suspect the Champions may have had a lot more mileage on them than you were led to believe or they are of an incompatible heat range, etc....

    PCV issues only encourage oil burning / oil leaks / and compromised performance, don't think I'd chalk up plug issues to anything PCV related except perhaps a bit more gray/black oil-burned matter on the insulators...

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