Dash lights coming on
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    1. #1

      Dash lights coming on

      Haven't attempted to look into this problem yet at all, just thought I'd fish and see if it's something obvious to some of you with more Volvo experience. Drove my 83' 240 to NC and back (from MD) over memorial day weekend. On the way back, for a stretch of about 20 miles, the battery, parking brake and brake failure lights in the instrument cluster would come on for a few seconds, flicker a bit, then go back out. Sometimes they'd just stay on for a couple seconds, sometimes for 20-30 seconds. The first time it happened I wiggled the key while driving and they went out but that did not work subsequently. Following those 20 miles, it did not do this again for the rest of the trip. The car never lost any power, headlights didn't dim or anything like that. Just stabbing in the dark my first thought would be the ignition switch but my other thought would be if this car has a voltage regulator somewhere separate from the alternator (not sure if it does). The battery is good and the alternator is a year or two old. Any thoughts before I start digging into it? Thanks in advance.

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    3. #2
      Senior Member
      Join Date
      Aug 2004
      Temple, Texas, USA
      Could be corroded fuse contact(s) and/or bad electrical ground(s).

      Also check the engine wiring harness where it rubs on any hard component and the major harness connection near the firewall. Check all engine ground wires and every wire at the battery. If the battery cables/connectors are old and/or have been under tension due to the angle of connection be sure there is no loss of conductivity at any union.

      Be sure the drive belts are correctly tensioned. Remove ALL dangling stuff from the ignition key ring including the ring.

      Have you ever removed the instrument cluster?

      George Dill

    4. #3
      Drive belts are definitely good and tensioned correctly. Battery cables are good. The thing that surprised me was the three lights that came on together, the oil light did not come on when the others did. I've never taken the cluster out but I changed the back lighting bulbs for it a few months ago from underneath. The more I think about it, there has to be a common circuit (probably a ground circuit) that those warning lights share that's got a bad connection somewhere. I feel like if the ignition switch was failing something more than just a few warning lights would've happened, ie loss of power to the ignition coil and stumbling, ect. Also, it was night time and dark out, I feel like if the vehicle actually wasn't charging it would've made itself evident pretty quickly in some way other than just the warning light. I'll have to dig into the wiring diagram this weekend and see if I can't find where those warning lights are linked and track it down. Man Volvo wiring diagrams are confusing to me, though, oh well, gotta learn sooner or later. Too used to DIN diagrams.

      Thanks for the suggestions, gdill, I'll see what I can find these weekend and feel free to add if any other thoughts pop into your head.

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    6. #4
      Never got around to messing with this until last weekend but thought I'd post the result in case anyone else runs into it. Brushes on the voltage regulator screwed to the back of the alternator were worn out. Seen it plenty of times in my VWs over the years (and actually replaced it with a regulator from a VW alt I had laying around, all the same Bosch stuff) the only thing that threw me off is that other lights were coming on and flickering simultaneously with the battery light. Anyways, first thing I checked was it, I love it when things are simple.

    7. #5
      Junior Member JBLasVegas's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 2006
      Las Vegas, Sin City, Nevada.
      Inspect all of the wiring that runs around and under the front of the engine to the alternator and look for any missing insulation or frayed wires... or wires that are making a connection but with only one or two strands of wire.

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