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    Thread: low oil message

    1. #1
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      low oil message

      A low oil message came on my '08 V8 XC90 today with a yellow triangle. Not low oil pressure with a red triangle, but low oil level with a yellow triangle. I was almost home when it came on, so made it home no problem. When I check the oil level with the dipstick it looks like it's perfectly fine, not low at all. Starting it up again, the low oil level light doesn't come back. Records show it was changed shortly before I bought it, about 3000 miles ago.

      I didn't realize we even had an oil level sensor. After some brief reading, sounds like this message can come on not only for a low level, but also low oil quality somehow? What is the sensor actually measuring? Any way to diagnose if the sensor needs replacing? Should I just do an oil change ASAP with known good oil (normally Mobil 1 5w30) and see if the message returns?
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

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    3. #2
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      We had the low oil message in the 3.2 only once when it was still quite new. I stopped and put in a little oil but didn't find it low either.
      07 XC90 3.2

    4. #3
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      I would probably add just a bit of oil, 1/4 Quart, and then monitor if the light comes back on.

      Sometimes the oil level is adequate at rest, yet just low enough to trigger a low oil warning light during certain manuvers or very hot and thinned out.
      2009 XC90 3.2 AWD l Oyster Grey / Bi-Xenon / Dynaudio / BLIS / VNS / RSE / THULE Aeroblade

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    6. #4
      Junior Member SloppyJoe927's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Leto Atreides II View Post
      A low oil message came on my '08 V8 XC90 today with a yellow triangle. Not low oil pressure with a red triangle, but low oil level with a yellow triangle. I was almost home when it came on, so made it home no problem. When I check the oil level with the dipstick it looks like it's perfectly fine, not low at all. Starting it up again, the low oil level light doesn't come back. Records show it was changed shortly before I bought it, about 3000 miles ago.

      I didn't realize we even had an oil level sensor. After some brief reading, sounds like this message can come on not only for a low level, but also low oil quality somehow? What is the sensor actually measuring? Any way to diagnose if the sensor needs replacing? Should I just do an oil change ASAP with known good oil (normally Mobil 1 5w30) and see if the message returns?
      Although it could be possible to have a faulty sensor, if it was installed correctly I highly doubt that such a critical engine component would be the cause.

      I highly recommend that you only check oil when the engine is cool and level. Remember when the engine oil is warm it expands and flows through the engine core so the levels when checked hot/warm will give faulty indications and nobody wants to blow a gasket...

      I would recommend that you proceed with process of elimination and change out the oil yourself (it's a pretty straight forward process and new oil is definitely a good investment). Let it drain overnight and put in the recommended amount as published in the owners manual (remember to respect the additional amount when changing the oil filter). I I personally only use OEM oils but the most important is to get a high grade synthetic and respect the viscosity for the type of OAT you will be driving in.

    7. #5
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      I disagree with the part about draining it over night. In the old days of worn out engines and oil pumps some times it was better to drain, fill and start quickly so the lifters wouldn't rattle waiting for the pump to prime.
      07 XC90 3.2

    8. #6
      Junior Member SloppyJoe927's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Leto Atreides II View Post
      A low oil message came on my '08 V8 XC90 today with a yellow triangle. Not low oil pressure with a red triangle, but low oil level with a yellow triangle. I was almost home when it came on, so made it home no problem. When I check the oil level with the dipstick it looks like it's perfectly fine, not low at all. Starting it up again, the low oil level light doesn't come back. Records show it was changed shortly before I bought it, about 3000 miles ago.

      I didn't realize we even had an oil level sensor. After some brief reading, sounds like this message can come on not only for a low level, but also low oil quality somehow? What is the sensor actually measuring? Any way to diagnose if the sensor needs replacing? Should I just do an oil change ASAP with known good oil (normally Mobil 1 5w30) and see if the message returns?
      Although it could be possible to have a faulty sensor, if it was installed correctly I highly doubt that such a critical engine component would be the cause.

      I highly recommend that you only check oil when the engine is cool and level. Remember when the engine oil is warm it expands and flows through the engine core so the levels when checked hot will give faulty indications increasing the chances of adding too much oil resulting in a blown gasket...

      I would recommend that you proceed with process of elimination and change out the oil yourself (it's a pretty straight forward process and new oil is definitely a good investment). Let it drain overnight and put in the recommended amount as published in the owners manual (remember to respect the additional amount when changing the oil filter). I have never had an oil level issue, when you use the prescribed engine oil quantity as stated in owners manual. I personally only use OEM oils but the most important is to get a high grade synthetic and respect the viscosity for the type of OAT you will be driving in.

      If you know someone who has a VIDA/DICE unit, you can use it to check the engine parameters as well as engine TEMP sensor...

    9. #7
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      I did let it cool before checking the oil level, and it was about 3/4 of the way from the low to full marking on the dipstick. I plan to replace the oil, but as this is not a warning I've ever seen before I wanted to poll the collective wisdom of the hive to see if there's anything else I should be considering. I haven't hooked it up to my DICE unit yet, we'll see if that tells me anything.
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

    10. #8
      Member Tommm's Avatar
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      V8 has the warning light, 2.5 Turbo does not. The 06 owners manual for both is the same, and it does not say the monitor is only for the V8. The sensor mounts to the bottom of the oil pan. the oil could have sloshed to one side and the light was triggered. Used sensors are available on line. They look the same as the sensors BMW uses.
      Sincerely,
      Tom
      08 XC90 V8 - Hers
      07 S80 V8 - Shared

    11. #9
      yup. only the V8 and the 3.2 engines had them.
      2010 XC90 V8 - 113k miles
      2012 S60 T5 - 160k miles
      2009 C30 - Totaled. It ate a minivan at 35mph.
      2006 S40 - at 217k it was tired and needed too much.
      2008 XC90 3.2 - traded with 220,780 miles

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tommm View Post
      V8 has the warning light, 2.5 Turbo does not. The 06 owners manual for both is the same, and it does not say the monitor is only for the V8. The sensor mounts to the bottom of the oil pan. the oil could have sloshed to one side and the light was triggered. Used sensors are available on line. They look the same as the sensors BMW uses.
      Frightening to think the engineers neglected to include a low oil level sensor on a turbo engine! The engine type most sensitive to low oil is anything with a turbo (and 2-strokes).
      2009 XC90 3.2 AWD l Oyster Grey / Bi-Xenon / Dynaudio / BLIS / VNS / RSE / THULE Aeroblade

    13. #11
      ^^to that point, in it's later life I appreciated my XC letting me know that it was down two quarts.. my wife's 2.4i ended up being a serious oil burner even before 100k and I did not realize because I did all dealer services and they apparently didn't care and my current s60 takes 2 quarts between its 7500 mile interval. Lessons learned on my first Volvo. I am not a fan of turbo engines because of the s60. Volvo tells me that 1qt per 1500 miles is ok on turbo motors..
      2010 XC90 V8 - 113k miles
      2012 S60 T5 - 160k miles
      2009 C30 - Totaled. It ate a minivan at 35mph.
      2006 S40 - at 217k it was tired and needed too much.
      2008 XC90 3.2 - traded with 220,780 miles

    14. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Masscomguru View Post
      . I am not a fan of turbo engines ..
      Nor am I.
      The new XC90ís engine is something of a marvel and yet screams at me: ďDO NOT BUY ME OUT OF WARRANTY.Ē
      An undersized 4 cyclinder engine hauling a 4400lbs truck that needs a compressed air tank, a supercharger and a turbo charger to make adequate power? It sounds laughably overstressed. No thanks.
      2009 XC90 3.2 AWD l Oyster Grey / Bi-Xenon / Dynaudio / BLIS / VNS / RSE / THULE Aeroblade

    15. #13
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      By the time they are selling for a price I'd consider reasonable I assume we'll know better whether or not the engines are reliable.
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

    16. #14
      Member ggleavitt's Avatar
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      Nothingís ever easy with the V8 (canít speak for the 3.2)-

      Oil monitoring,
      General
      The oil level sensor, [via the ECM and in turn] via the driver information module (DIM), is used to inform the driver if oil filling is required.
      Detecting the oil level
      The integrated electronics of the sensor calculates the oil level using the measured value for the oil temperature.
      In order for the correct oil level to be calculated, temporary oil level changes in the oil sump must be added to the calculation, for example when driving on an incline, during cornering and the like. These calculations are performed by the engine control module (ECM) using the oil level sensor signal and a number of other parameters such as the vehicle speed signal and load signal.


      So itís another ďcalculated valueĒ. If you have not had the bottom cover off before, thatís also a prime place for oil to collect since the connector for the sensor routes around oil filter area. And oil sometimes starts to pool around there if the rear bank valve cover gasket begins seeping to the point of dripping, at least mine did.

      Easiest is my opinion, is to make sure everything is clean around the sensor and the pan area, do a cleaning of the connector and plug, put it al back together, top up the oil, and see if the message comes back.

      If the message comes back, can do a new sensor AND an oil change.
      2005 XC90 B5254T2 019 198k
      2008 XC90 B8444S Sport 452 127k

    17. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by Leto Atreides II View Post
      By the time they are selling for a price I'd consider reasonable I assume we'll know better whether or not the engines are reliable.
      Reliable? I'm bullish. I think Volvo put it through enough testing to deliver a suitably reliable engine.
      Durable? I'm very bearish. I don't think we'll see too many of these going over 100K before they're headed to junk yard or the Pseudo-luxury Buy Here / Pay Here lot.
      2009 XC90 3.2 AWD l Oyster Grey / Bi-Xenon / Dynaudio / BLIS / VNS / RSE / THULE Aeroblade

    18. #16
      Member RedGeminiPA's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDancer View Post
      Reliable? I'm bullish. I think Volvo put it through enough testing to deliver a suitably reliable engine.
      Durable? I'm very bearish. I don't think we'll see too many of these going over 100K before they're headed to junk yard or the Pseudo-luxury Buy Here / Pay Here lot.
      Time will tell, and it should be soon. I'm tempted to keep an eye on that section of the forum. I'm sure someone is well over 100k on the 2.0 Super Turbo by now. Some people easily pile up 30-40,000 + miles per year, and an early '16 could be passed the 100k mark.
      2006 XC90 V8 w/ Climate, Touring, Convenience and RSE. Silver w/ Graphite
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    19. #17
      Member ggleavitt's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDancer View Post
      Reliable? I'm bullish. I think Volvo put it through enough testing to deliver a suitably reliable engine.
      Durable? I'm very bearish. I don't think we'll see too many of these going over 100K before they're headed to junk yard or the Pseudo-luxury Buy Here / Pay Here lot.
      Some folks said the same thing about the 3.2 I6 when it was first launched in the XC90.
      2005 XC90 B5254T2 019 198k
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    20. #18
      Member RedGeminiPA's Avatar
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      I did see one report of needing a new engine at 45k miles, but it was due to cylinder scaring. It was also a '16, which as a TJ for spark plugs that may have contributed to the problem.
      2006 XC90 V8 w/ Climate, Touring, Convenience and RSE. Silver w/ Graphite
      2014 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost Elite, Tech, Pano, 20Ē, Rear Captains. Pearl/Black
      Past: 2008 XC90 V8 w/ Climate, BLIS, Dynaudio, Bi-Xenon. Ember black w/ Sandstone
      2004 XC90 2.5T AWD 7-Passenger w/ Climate, Premium and Versatility packages and Xenon headlights.

    21. #19
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      Changed the oil last night, and cleaned up the sensor's connector. We'll see if it comes back.
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

    22. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Leto Atreides II View Post
      Changed the oil last night, and cleaned up the sensor's connector. We'll see if it comes back.
      did this solve your issue with the warning light? Mine came on the other day on my 09 xc90 r v8. , oil level looks great and just had oil changed about 2k miles ago

    23. #21
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      I have a silly question.... how do you read the bloody dipstick on the v8?
      Mine always come out full of oil, makes me think maybe pcv's clogged or something, but it's not readable at all.
      2011 XC90 B8444S R-Design 614 120k km RHD

    24. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by kiwiV8 View Post
      I have a silly question.... how do you read the bloody dipstick on the v8?
      Mine always come out full of oil, makes me think maybe pcv's clogged or something, but it's not readable at all.
      mine's the same way. you need to let the engine almost get to cold, then I get a good reading. otherwise, you are right. it shows oil all the way to the top of the stick.

    25. #23
      Yeah. Let it sit overnight, pull the stick, wipe it and then ďgingerlyĒ put it back in for a good reading. I think the hole being so small just makes for a messy stick
      2010 XC90 V8 - 113k miles
      2012 S60 T5 - 160k miles
      2009 C30 - Totaled. It ate a minivan at 35mph.
      2006 S40 - at 217k it was tired and needed too much.
      2008 XC90 3.2 - traded with 220,780 miles

    26. #24
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      Mine comes on pretty reliably when it's down pretty close to two quarts. No false alarms to date.
      John C
      ---------------------
      2011 XC90 3.2 171,000 miles and counting...

    27. #25
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      I have 2 V8s and they both have 130k+, they both have some minor leaks and the oil lights come on every 3000mi reminding me its time to start planning an oil change.

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      Hey guys, I don't mean to hijack the thread but I'm having the same issue (2008 S80 3.2) with the red triangle showing up saying I'm low on oil, etc. Dipstick shows otherwise and I just had full oil change. The warning comes on within minutes every time I start driving. Could I have a faulty oil level sensor issue? Is the oil sensor in the oil pan or outside? Is it easy enough to replace or do I have to drain the oil first?

      Cheers!

      Mike

    29. #27
      Global Moderator R-Pow3R3d's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoRf3uS View Post
      Hey guys, I don't mean to hijack the thread but I'm having the same issue (2008 S80 3.2) with the red triangle showing up saying I'm low on oil, etc. Dipstick shows otherwise and I just had full oil change. The warning comes on within minutes every time I start driving. Could I have a faulty oil level sensor issue? Is the oil sensor in the oil pan or outside? Is it easy enough to replace or do I have to drain the oil first?

      Cheers!

      Mike
      When my light goes on, my stick shows I'm down 1/4 of the "acceptable range" from max fill (or 3/4 full). Tends to happen around 4k-5k miles. I put in 1/4 - 1/2 quart and it holds off until it's time for an oil change.

      When you say "dipstick shows otherwise," what does this mean? Where is it on the stick? Sounds to me like you just need to add a little oil.
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    30. #28
      On my v8, itís a half qt that triggers the light, on my previous 3.2, it was a full qt that would trigger, but, the triangle was yellow. What is the actual text that pops with a red triangle?
      2010 XC90 V8 - 113k miles
      2012 S60 T5 - 160k miles
      2009 C30 - Totaled. It ate a minivan at 35mph.
      2006 S40 - at 217k it was tired and needed too much.
      2008 XC90 3.2 - traded with 220,780 miles

    31. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by Masscomguru View Post
      On my v8, itís a half qt that triggers the light, on my previous 3.2, it was a full qt that would trigger, but, the triangle was yellow. What is the actual text that pops with a red triangle?




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    32. #30
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      Quote Originally Posted by R-Pow3R3d View Post
      When my light goes on, my stick shows I'm down 1/4 of the "acceptable range" from max fill (or 3/4 full). Tends to happen around 4k-5k miles. I put in 1/4 - 1/2 quart and it holds off until it's time for an oil change.

      When you say "dipstick shows otherwise," what does this mean? Where is it on the stick? Sounds to me like you just need to add a little oil.
      Itís on the max level on the stick as I had the oil done at a shop. Itís been a month since then almost so maybe Iíll try to top it off but it gave me that warning about a week after the oil change.


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    33. #31
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      The sensor electronics are down by the oil filter housing. You can make sure it's not too dirty down there and that all the wires are connected well.

      Changing the oil and cleaning up the sensor area did the trick for me. It did come on again recently but it was around 5K miles since I'd changed it and it was slightly low (maybe around mid point on the dipstick, so not really low but not "full" either). I just did another oil change since it was due anyway and it's been fine again.
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

    34. #32
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      Quote Originally Posted by Leto Atreides II View Post
      The sensor electronics are down by the oil filter housing. You can make sure it's not too dirty down there and that all the wires are connected well.

      Changing the oil and cleaning up the sensor area did the trick for me. It did come on again recently but it was around 5K miles since I'd changed it and it was slightly low (maybe around mid point on the dipstick, so not really low but not "full" either). I just did another oil change since it was due anyway and it's been fine again.
      Thank you sir! Is the sensor accessible from the top of the engine bay or do I have crawl under the car to access it?

    35. #33
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoRf3uS View Post
      Thank you sir! Is the sensor accessible from the top of the engine bay or do I have crawl under the car to access it?
      It's under the car, you have to remove the splash guard to get to it. Literally right next to and around the oil filter housing.
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

    36. #34
      Junior Member Leto Atreides II's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoRf3uS View Post
      Itís on the max level on the stick as I had the oil done at a shop. Itís been a month since then almost so maybe Iíll try to top it off but it gave me that warning about a week after the oil change.
      Are you assuming it's at the max level since you just had it done recently, or did you actually check that it's at the max level?
      Toby
      2008 S80 T6 AWD Black Stone / Anthracite Black 90k miles
      2008 XC90 V8 Ember Black / Offblack 115k miles
      SOLD: 2005 XC70 Lava Sand / Taupe 176k miles
      Sammamish, Washington

    37. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by Leto Atreides II View Post
      Are you assuming it's at the max level since you just had it done recently, or did you actually check that it's at the max level?
      I let the engine to get cold to the touch, then measured myself. Iím due for an oil change soon so Iíll get that done and see if it goes away.


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