Cranks for 5 seconds then stops - XC90 2007 3.2L AWD
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    1. #1
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      Cranks for 5 seconds then stops - XC90 2007 3.2L AWD

      Hi,

      Trying to help a friend diagnose a problem with an XC90 (was my car until 6 months ago). My friend went to start the car a few days ago but it wouldn't fire up. Turn the key and it'll crank strongly for approx 5 seconds then stops cranking (even with the key still turned on). Feels like the ECU is saying hmmm I've tried long enough now I'm shutting everything down. Current owner called AAA who thought it was a dead fuel pump (he stuck a tube/stethoscope into the gas tank, cranked the engine, but could hear no swirling fuel or noise from the pump. Something makes me think this is more likely an ignition problem than a fuel issue... but I'm not sure how to narrow it down. Does anyone have thoughts on what the cause might be or suggest steps to troubleshoot it?

      What I've done so far:
      - Used my OBD2 diagnostic tool (OBDWiz) to see if there are any error codes... surprisingly there are none (sadly I don't have a VIDA/Dice)
      - Ripped out the back seats/carpets and fitted a spare PEM (fuel pump control module) that I had... no change, engine still won't fire into life
      - Fuel pump fuses OK
      - General inspection of the wiring in the engine bay... all looks good visually.
      - The battery is good and cranks solidly (it was a new battery fitted 5 months ago)

      Tomorrow I'll pull a spark plug and see if there is spark (and if there's any fuel getting to the cylinder).

      Could be a crank or camshaft position sensor, but I'd have thought that would have shown up as some obscure error code on the OBDWiz... the only way I can think of diagnosing is throwing money at it by fitting new sensors.
      Or we bite the bullet and throw $300+ and buy a new fuel pump in the hope that's actually the cause.

      Regards,
      Colin.
      Last edited by colinu; 03-14-2020 at 10:42 AM.

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    3. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by colinu View Post
      Or we bite the bullet and throw $300+ and buy a new fuel pump in the hope that's actually the cause.
      Don't indiscriminately throw parts at it! Spend that money on DICE, or pay someone to scan it. It has an "auto start" sequence that is failing. You need to know why.
      John C
      ---------------------
      2011 XC90 3.2 175,000 miles and counting...

    4. #3
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      Agreed, throwing money at it is like going to the casino (the house... or parts supplier) always wins. I'll try to find a local Volvo independent willing to scan it, but that's unlikely to happen before Tuesday
      Last edited by colinu; 03-14-2020 at 08:10 PM.

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    6. #4
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      Your next diagnostic step is to get the truck to a Volvo specialist who has Volvo's VIDA/DICE combo to properly read what is failing the ignition sequence.
      If the car is simply ceasing all crank function after trying for 5 seconds, something larger is at play.
      2009 XC90 3.2 AWD l Oyster Grey / Bi-Xenon / Dynaudio / BLIS / VNS / RSE / THULE Aeroblade

    7. #5
      Junior Member Orange's Avatar
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      I don't see how the pump could stop the starter from spinning. But if you get another pump, just don't discard yours, so you can return the new one

      I'm thinking either key barrel or immobilizer problem. May be worth locking unlocking dr door 3 times with the fob, and also disconnecting the battery overnight - have key in POS II upon reconnecting

      May also look around the starter, shake the small wire to the solenoid, sometimes it rots. Also check the wires at the radiator fan connector. Did he left the car sitting and the battery drained ? Sometimes software may get corrupted. May also look at the DEM for corrosion (awd)

    8. #6
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      The starter does spin... it's not a cranking issue. It's also not an issue with fuel pump, sender unit, or PEM fuel pump control module (I spent a $50 on used items items which I tested before fitting... but the problem remains).
      To me it really feels like a crank or cam sensor gone bad (i.e. ECU is looking for signals but then shuts everything down after 5 seconds).
      The symptom is: turn the key to the start/crank position (pos-4), engine cranks normally (it'll keep cranking even if you let the key go and it springs pack to ON - pos-3), but after 5 seconds it stops.
      Calling my local Volvo independent garage Monday morning to see if they will come look at the vehicle (VIDA/DICE etc), or if they'll want it towed to their shop.
      On the plus side... I saved the current owner an unnecessary $1K bill... their local (non-Volvo) garage wanted to change the fuel pump ($350 + 6 hours labor).

    9. #7
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      The stopping after 5 seconds is normal, prevents the starter from over heating, part of the tip-start system. Any messages? Hows fuel pressure? As many have said, need to get it on VIDA to see what's going on.

    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by colinu View Post
      Agreed, throwing money at it is like going to the casino (the house... or parts supplier) always wins. I'll try to find a local Volvo independent willing to scan it, but that's unlikely to happen before Tuesday
      Where is the car? If it's in my neck of the beach, I might offer to drag my VIDA/DICE rig over and help out. What does Tuesday have to do with it?
      2009 XC90 FWD 3.2, 2013 S60 T5
      In the past: '89 745, '91 940, '82 242, '67 122S, '67 123GT, '71 142E, '62 PV544.

    11. #9
      Junior Member ButchIVIX's Avatar
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      I have a 2008 XC90 3.2L and had the same issues about two months ago. How old is your battery? That's probably the problem. Try jumping it and if it starts with no problem, try changing the battery. My battery was still showing >12 volts when I tested it but it was over 5 years old. For some reason, the starting hesitation was on and off, until it just stopped starting. I changed the battery and haven't had any problems since.
      2020 XC90 T6 Inscription
      2008 XC90 3.2L FWD (Sold)

    12. #10
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      Problem solved. I recommended the current owner get it towed to a local independent Volvo garage that I've used before. Turned out to be (in the current owner's words) "a burned out coil board"... I assume she meant ignition module (that fires the coil packs, as it wasn't a coil pack that was replaced. I'll try to speak with the mechanic and upload info to here for any folks in future who have a similar problem.

    13. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by colinu View Post
      Problem solved. I recommended the current owner get it towed to a local independent Volvo garage that I've used before. Turned out to be (in the current owner's words) "a burned out coil board"... I assume she meant ignition module (that fires the coil packs, as it wasn't a coil pack that was replaced. I'll try to speak with the mechanic and upload info to here for any folks in future who have a similar problem.
      Unlike the GM's of yore, this engine doesn't have a "coil board" that fires the coils. Each of the 6 ignition coils connects directly to the ECU. Although the coils do have a feedback wire which is common between a few of the coils which could theoretically "corrupt" adjacent coils if one goes on the fritz, you won't lose all 6.

      I'm suspect of this diagnosis. Feel like they got lucky and it started but the problem may still be lurking.

      As a previous poster mentioned, the cranking for 5 seconds and then stopping means that the key was recognized and all safety mechanisms were satisfied (neutral safety, etc) to allow the engine to crank. The ECU will only run the starter for 5 seconds and if it hasn't started, will stop. Per VIDA, if the temperature is 32F or higher, the crank time is 3 seconds. If colder than 32F, it cranks 5 seconds.

    14. #12
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      Yeah I didn't think there was a "coil board" either in these Gen1 XC90s, but assumed that inaccurate phrase got relayed to me because of the current owner's unfamiliarity with cars, mechanical reports, and mechanic's lingo in general. What I do know is that I trust the mechanic she took it to (I've been using them for the past 10 years for general servicing of this XC90, but also the couple times when a Volvo issue got beyond my own knowledge and capability to diagnose or fix). They found a burned out item (now wishing the owner had told me that there was a burning plastic smell when problem first appeared!) and replaced it... problem solved. I know it wasn't coil packs because I pulled and checked them visually - nothing fried there. Really curious to know what caused all coils to not fire... surely one bad one would only cause a misfire and associated OBDII error report rather than kill ignition to all cyclinders. No matter what I'm confident the problem has been fixed. I'll try to get accurate info from the mechanic so I can post it here for other's info, but with the current COVID-19 "Shelter at home" orders here in California my mind and activities are kind of elsewhere. Stay safe folks.

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