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  1. #1
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    Aug 2016
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    Default Engine cut out repeatedly on highway (65 mph),terminating in limp home mode

    It's a 2004 XC70 with just under 100.

    I was on the Interstate doing around 65 when it started to cut out. It was as if the engine stopped running for a second, then started right up again for a mile or so, then did it again repeatedly, each time seeming a little worse. Toward the "end" the dash lights went out each time, until finally they went out completely. At that point I had already pulled off the exit on to a main road paralleling the interstate.

    By this time, the car, while still running, was more or less in "limp home mode." I couldn't go over 40, the dash lights were out, and the signals and windows would not work. I was close enough to get home, and fortunately did NOT get pulled over by the cops for not signaling.

    The next day it started up just fine, everything worked just fine except for an "urgent air bag message." I drove it to my friends shop. They are equipped with Volvo diagnostic software, but they could find nothing wrong with it. They reset the computer and told me to drive it around and see how it did from there. That meant that I was afraid to drive it some 300 miles to visit some friends over from Europe, and I had to take my van (no fun there).

    I did a search and found a member with vaguely similar cut-out issues, and his remedy seemed to have been to replace and clean out the PVC system. Does this sound about right in my case?

    The nearest Volvo dealer is about 75 miles from here, and the nearest Volvo specialty shop is about twice that far, and I don't feel comfortable making that trip.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    2004 Volvo XC70 83k
    1994 MX-5 Miata M-Edition 35k
    2003 Ford E-150 Econoline 110k

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    155

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene-M View Post
    It's a 2004 XC70 with just under 100.

    I was on the Interstate doing around 65 when it started to cut out. It was as if the engine stopped running for a second, then started right up again for a mile or so, then did it again repeatedly, each time seeming a little worse. Toward the "end" the dash lights went out each time, until finally they went out completely. At that point I had already pulled off the exit on to a main road paralleling the interstate.

    By this time, the car, while still running, was more or less in "limp home mode." I couldn't go over 40, the dash lights were out, and the signals and windows would not work. I was close enough to get home, and fortunately did NOT get pulled over by the cops for not signaling.

    The next day it started up just fine, everything worked just fine except for an "urgent air bag message." I drove it to my friends shop. They are equipped with Volvo diagnostic software, but they could find nothing wrong with it. They reset the computer and told me to drive it around and see how it did from there. That meant that I was afraid to drive it some 300 miles to visit some friends over from Europe, and I had to take my van (no fun there).

    I did a search and found a member with vaguely similar cut-out issues, and his remedy seemed to have been to replace and clean out the PVC system. Does this sound about right in my case?

    The nearest Volvo dealer is about 75 miles from here, and the nearest Volvo specialty shop is about twice that far, and I don't feel comfortable making that trip.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    This is a power problem, battery, ignition switch, power distribution through the engine compartment fuse box. I can't post a diagram but there are 60A power distribution fuse circuits in the engine compartment fuse box and based on what's not working the 11A/4 60A fuse circuit seems suspect to me. These 60A fuses look like they're on the underside of the fuse box. It appears this is an intermittent connection problem not a blown fuse. My suggestion is to check the battery condition and cable connections carefully and then disconnect the battery and carefully check the battery to fuse box connector and underside connections in the engine compartment fuse box. Look for any corrosion or burnt looking connections. Pull and check the fuses and check the connection condition.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    NY Upper Catskill Region
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstVolvo View Post
    This is a power problem, battery, ignition switch, power distribution through the engine compartment fuse box. I can't post a diagram but there are 60A power distribution fuse circuits in the engine compartment fuse box and based on what's not working the 11A/4 60A fuse circuit seems suspect to me. These 60A fuses look like they're on the underside of the fuse box. It appears this is an intermittent connection problem not a blown fuse. My suggestion is to check the battery condition and cable connections carefully and then disconnect the battery and carefully check the battery to fuse box connector and underside connections in the engine compartment fuse box. Look for any corrosion or burnt looking connections. Pull and check the fuses and check the connection condition.

    Thanks very much for your input. I'll read this over again when I have access to the car. Battery is new so I know the connections there should be clean. I may have to send it back to the shop though, I have an injury to my hand that might turn out to be an impairment to doing much of anything myself.
    2004 Volvo XC70 83k
    1994 MX-5 Miata M-Edition 35k
    2003 Ford E-150 Econoline 110k

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    169

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    Sounds like it could be a CEM (Central Electronics Module) problem.

    See this thread:

    https://www.swedespeed.com/threads/p.../#post-7975666

    Similar terminal result with the instrument cluster going dead and the car going into a limp mode. No resolution posted, yet, but respondents seem to favor the CEM as the culprit.

    Brett

  5. #5
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    Aug 2016
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    NY Upper Catskill Region
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett San Diego View Post
    Sounds like it could be a CEM (Central Electronics Module) problem.

    See this thread:

    https://www.swedespeed.com/threads/p.../#post-7975666

    Similar terminal result with the instrument cluster going dead and the car going into a limp mode. No resolution posted, yet, but respondents seem to favor the CEM as the culprit.

    Brett
    I agree that it does sound like a similar problem. Hope it works our for that guy.

    On another note, I forgot to add an unusual symptom that I had about 3 weeks ago. Three times I turned the key and the engine turned over but did not start (cold engine). The fourth time it started right up. Another CEM symptom?
    2004 Volvo XC70 83k
    1994 MX-5 Miata M-Edition 35k
    2003 Ford E-150 Econoline 110k

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
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    155

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene-M View Post
    I agree that it does sound like a similar problem. Hope it works our for that guy.

    On another note, I forgot to add an unusual symptom that I had about 3 weeks ago. Three times I turned the key and the engine turned over but did not start (cold engine). The fourth time it started right up. Another CEM symptom?
    The engine cutting out as described in your first post and this no start symptom are not likely CEM related in my opinion. I still think there's an intermittent power problem to one of more of the modules. The power distribution through the engine compartment fuse/relay box and ignition switch should be carefully looked at first IMO. All wiring harness and fuse connectors should be cleaned and examined and there's three plugs underneath the fuse box that should be checked, battery disconnected. I'm not ruling out the CEM but wouldn't start there first.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    NY Upper Catskill Region
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstVolvo View Post
    This is a power problem, battery, ignition switch, power distribution through the engine compartment fuse box. I can't post a diagram but there are 60A power distribution fuse circuits in the engine compartment fuse box and based on what's not working the 11A/4 60A fuse circuit seems suspect to me. These 60A fuses look like they're on the underside of the fuse box. It appears this is an intermittent connection problem not a blown fuse. My suggestion is to check the battery condition and cable connections carefully and then disconnect the battery and carefully check the battery to fuse box connector and underside connections in the engine compartment fuse box. Look for any corrosion or burnt looking connections. Pull and check the fuses and check the connection condition.
    I spoke with my mechanic today, and he assured me that much of what you suggested was what they did.

    He told me that they are getting in a new guy next week who specializes in German cars, and he thinks this guy will be just as helpful with the Volvo electronics. I ordered a new CEM just as an insurance policy, so if that's not the problem it's easily returnable. If it's not a bad CEM and can be fixed with new fuses and such, I'll be very happy. I'll print out this thread as well, so they can cover all the bases that you have suggested; stuff that they might not have thought to check last time; that was three weeks ago.

    Wish me luck.
    2004 Volvo XC70 83k
    1994 MX-5 Miata M-Edition 35k
    2003 Ford E-150 Econoline 110k

  8. #8
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    Apr 2017
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    San Diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene-M View Post
    I spoke with my mechanic today, and he assured me that much of what you suggested was what they did.

    He told me that they are getting in a new guy next week who specializes in German cars, and he thinks this guy will be just as helpful with the Volvo electronics. I ordered a new CEM just as an insurance policy, so if that's not the problem it's easily returnable. If it's not a bad CEM and can be fixed with new fuses and such, I'll be very happy. I'll print out this thread as well, so they can cover all the bases that you have suggested; stuff that they might not have thought to check last time; that was three weeks ago.

    Wish me luck.
    Read the fine print on returning that CEM. I'd be concerned that electronic parts become non-returnable if they've been installed.

    Good luck. Electrical gremlins like this are the toughest to deal with, especially in an early CAN bus car like these Volvos where issues with one module can cause some other seemingly unrelated remote problem.

    I don't think your cold start problem from a couple weeks ago is the typical CEM issue. From that thread on swedespeed, it sounds like the typical CEM symptoms occur due to overheating. So, a cold start problem wouldn't fit that scenario. Your first post describing cutting out after you have been cruising on the highway for a while sounds a lot like the swedespeed thread. But then again, your problem may not be "typical."

    Brett

    PS. I just noticed the OP on the swedespeed thread updated that he made it through the rest of his trip after taking measures to keep the CEM cooled down.
    Last edited by Brett San Diego; 08-02-2022 at 04:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2016
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    NY Upper Catskill Region
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett San Diego View Post
    Read the fine print on returning that CEM. I'd be concerned that electronic parts become non-returnable if they've been installed.

    Good luck. Electrical gremlins like this are the toughest to deal with, especially in an early CAN bus car like these Volvos where issues with one module can cause some other seemingly unrelated remote problem.

    I don't think your cold start problem from a couple weeks ago is the typical CEM issue. From that thread on swedespeed, it sounds like the typical CEM symptoms occur due to overheating. So, a cold start problem wouldn't fit that scenario. Your first post describing cutting out after you have been cruising on the highway for a while sounds a lot like the swedespeed thread. But then again, your problem may not be "typical."

    Brett

    PS. I just noticed the OP on the swedespeed thread updated that he made it through the rest of his trip after taking measures to keep the CEM cooled down.
    Haven't yet checked in there again, but I'm really glad for him. Wow! Whoda thunk? That was certainly great advice... if the fan was truly responsible for solving the problem.

    OTOH, temps around here rarely ever go above 90, which makes my sudden stalling on highway a bit less likely if exterior heat was the main cause of his problem. Plus, I was on the 15th mile of a thirty mile trip on a 75 degree afternoon. Less of a chance, I would think, of the CEM overheating.

    I've got my fingers crossed that the new mechanic at my regular shop with have some insight. Turns out I got an Inspection notice from the State of NY, which conveniently means that I had to bring it in anyway. Thanks for your heads up on the CEM return possibilities I'll double check with FPC and alert the mechanic to proceed with caution before hooking it up.
    2004 Volvo XC70 83k
    1994 MX-5 Miata M-Edition 35k
    2003 Ford E-150 Econoline 110k

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