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twardnw
2010.12.17, 09:36 AM
o this car has been all kinds of interesting since early last week.

After starting the car cold (but not every single time), after backing out of my driveway or parking spot at work, going forward to the next place I come to a complete stop, the SRS, TRACS, and trans (up arrow), and service lights all turn on. At the same time, the trans goes into 3rd, much akin to 'winter' mode, I can still shift freely to neutral, reverse, etc.

These things make me think trans problem.

But, while this happens, it seems the alternator is not producing enough current. When I start up the car, everything seems fine, as soon as it starts mis-behaving, anything electronic has problems. Lights dim, stereo will actually shut off, wipers are slow. Alternator light does *not* turn on.

Then, 30-90 seconds later (moving along slowly now, trans is in 3rd gear), the trans and TRACS lights shut off, the wipers speed up to normal, lights become bright, car downshifts to the appropriate gear, and it's like nothing happened.

After that (usually) if the car is warm and I re-start it, no problems. Every couple of times though, I will have the same problems again.

I have yet to be able to reliably re-create this problem, which makes troubleshooting oh-so-fun, but I will take any advice I can get, I'm tired of my nice car not being reliable (I have become too accustomed to heated seats )

I received a response on OVT:

Have you checked your grounds and battery connections? Maybe disconnect the battery terminals and give them a good scrub with a wire brush (the posts and clamps both). Then theyd be clean, and you would have reset the computer. Worth a shot anyway.

I would think a tranny problem would leave the lights consistantly on, as it would trip a code that would need to be reset. Whereas something like a bad connection wouldnt necessarily trip a fault code.

To which I respond:

I did clean and tighten the battery terminals about a month ago. I don't suspect them though, because the car starts fine, and once it's done being 'weird', it is like nothing is wrong. If it were the terminals or cables I would have slow starts and/or not getting a charge.

Yesterday morning, I was letting the car idle in the driveway, and it did it. A minute or so after starting, the lights came on in the cluster. I ran back into the garage and grabbed my multi-meter, and checked voltage at the battery, 7.89. Ouch. Couple of moments later, everything was back to normal *banghead*

So that eliminates it as a trans issue for sure, it is just the place the low voltage is having the greatest effect.

Voltage regulator? My thoughts would be that if it were bad, I wouldn't get a charge or have low voltage at all times, not just when the engine is warming up.

So PNWfahren, what say ye?

Rabbit 16v
2010.12.17, 23:41 PM
Do a resistance check between the battery negative and the block. then do a resistance check between the battery positive and the alternator positive... report back :beer:

ducatipaso
2010.12.18, 09:54 AM
Good call sir.

I call grounding issues or the likes, too.
Dying battery, broken cell?
swap out ECU with a loaner?

twardnw
2010.12.18, 12:16 PM
Grounds are fine.

I'm leaning towards a broken cell in the battery. Gonna pick up a replacement from Joey next week.

unimogken
2010.12.18, 20:40 PM
Volvo 850 electrical fun
Well at least you're having "fun." Hehehe

twardnw
2010.12.20, 10:13 AM
got me a shiny new Interstate yesterday, no sign of previous problems yet

ducatipaso
2010.12.20, 10:40 AM
wow that'd be nice

Twelvizm
2010.12.20, 12:40 PM
Grounds are fine.

I'm leaning towards a broken cell in the battery. Gonna pick up a replacement from Joey next week.

That dude charged Kim $150+ for an OEM replacement battery for my GLI while I was away playing Army. I'm still peeved pulled that while I was gone. Bad form.

twardnw
2010.12.20, 15:27 PM
yeah, was gonna be $110 for mine, but it completely died on Sunday, so I had to pick on up from Firestone.

ducatipaso
2010.12.20, 17:49 PM
That dude charged Kim $150+ for an OEM replacement battery for my GLI while I was away playing Army. I'm still peeved pulled that while I was gone. Bad form.

that's what an OEM benz battery costs.
what's wrong with that? the price seems not out of line.

Twelvizm
2010.12.21, 12:24 PM
It wasn't a OEM Merc battery. It was a standard, off the shelf Interstate.

ducatipaso
2010.12.21, 12:32 PM
OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer
which implies it was a battery from VW

$150 for an aftermarket replacement is a bit high, was it also installed for that price?

Twelvizm
2010.12.21, 17:18 PM
Battery install, seriously? Two bolt loosened and then retightened. I've never heard of anyplace charging for a battery install.

My irritation is that he charged Kim full retail and some labor, while I was being deployed and out of town. After I had done plenty of work for him on the cheap as friends.

Rabbit 16v
2010.12.21, 17:45 PM
You forgot the hold down bolt :p

twardnw
2010.12.21, 18:17 PM
Battery install, seriously? Two bolt loosened and then retightened. I've never heard of anyplace charging for a battery install.

My irritation is that he charged Kim full retail and some labor, while I was being deployed and out of town. After I had done plenty of work for him on the cheap as friends.

fwiw, I've never received a break on parts or labor from him. I don't spend a whole lot of money at *any* shop, so I don't mind.

and yes, installation. If I had had Firestone 'install' the battery in the Volvo, it would have been $20.