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Old 10-26-2020, 09:50 AM   #1
Elvolvito
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Exclamation Car stalled yesterday (I believe itís the oil?)

So long story short, I was coming home from a friends house last night at 3 am and suddenly the ďneed oilĒ light popped up on my dash before the car abruptly came to a stop. Everything completely locked up. I unscrewed the lid off the oil tank and found a little smoke coming out, as well as it being completely empty. Not only that, but even before the incident occurred, I noticed the vehicleís electronics were malfunctioning. My radio would turn off every time I pressed the brakes, and my windshield wipers for barely working. I also noticed that my high beams were refusing to work. So I understand I need oil, but whatís the other issue and how can I go about diagnosing it?
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:03 AM   #2
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The oil light usually means low oil pressure which doesn't necessarily means low fill level.
You can't "see" the oil fill level by just looking into the valve cover.
The dipstick is dry?

Is the timing belt OK?

Also, post your model and year.
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:22 AM   #3
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How many seconds elapsed between the oil light coming on and the engine stopping?
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:56 AM   #4
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Oil light comes on when the engine is not turning fast enough to make oil pressure or if no oil pressure, simple to check. Look at dipstick, that confirms oil level. if above minimum, check battery voltage, if good, check timing belt. Sounds like battery got drained and wouldn't make enough voltage to run the car, check alt belt also.
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Old 10-26-2020, 12:45 PM   #5
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Many possibilities. It would be useful if you supplied the model, year and engine for the car because some Volvos do have an oil level sensor in addition to a low oil pressure switch. I don't know of any Volvo that has an oil tank unless your car has had a mystery dry sump retrofit. Do you mean the oil fill cap on the top of the valve cover?

The proper way to confirm oil level is to use the dip stick to check the oil level as Fa182 suggests. If the dip stick comes out dry and the light that came on was the low oil pressure light you are likely screwed. Open the hood and using a suitable sized wrench on the bolt on the end of the crankshaft pulley see if you can turn the engine clockwise (looking from the front), never counterclockwise. If the crankshaft will not rotate or there is a lot of noise during rotation that probably confirms that you are screwed (engine seized).

If the dipstick shows that there is still oil in the engine, then you may be lucky. Your warning light coming on may have been caused by an electrical fault in the vehicle wiring harness which could also have resulted in the engine stopping. Certain Volvos had problems with degrading engine wiring harnesses. That is why the model and year is important information.
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Old 10-26-2020, 01:12 PM   #6
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Looking at your past threads, I would say you have a failing ignition switch. It's very likely this is what's causing all of your electrical problems and sudden stops. Buy a genuine Volvo one if you can.

The smoke coming out of your oil is likely a clogged PCV system. They need service every so often on these vehicles. Also, to check your oil, look at the dipstick, not the top where you're supposed to add oil.
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:46 PM   #7
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Car model is a Ď88 244DL. It has a B230F engine. All the belts look to be fine. I believe itís a battery issue to be honest. Not enough battery to keep the car working?
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daniels740 View Post
Looking at your past threads, I would say you have a failing ignition switch. It's very likely this is what's causing all of your electrical problems and sudden stops. Buy a genuine Volvo one if you can.

The smoke coming out of your oil is likely a clogged PCV system. They need service every so often on these vehicles. Also, to check your oil, look at the dipstick, not the top where you're supposed to add oil.
After replacing fuses, sparking plugs, and cleaning both the MAF and throttle body, the issues from my pervious posts have almost completely cleared up, the only thing still stressing me is how weak the electrical system is in the car. Feels like thereís never enough juice going around the car.
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:54 PM   #9
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Also, Iíve checked the oil with the dipstick and thereís a good amount left, so I donít think itís the oil.
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Old 10-26-2020, 02:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
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How many seconds elapsed between the oil light coming on and the engine stopping?
2-4 seconds
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:00 PM   #11
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Yeah, it's sounding less like a catastrophic failure of the motor due to lack of oil. More like the last gasps of the car due to falling voltage.
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:07 PM   #12
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First, check your battery's voltage with a multimeter, with the engine off. It should be around 12 Volts. Then, start the engine and read the voltage again, with the motor running. It should have gone up to 13-15 volts. If it goes down or doesn't change, there's likely a problem with your charging system. If it does in fact go up, your alternator and battery should be fine.

If your alt. and battery checks out, the ignition switch is HIGHLY suspect. The best route will be to buy a genuine Volvo ignition switch and replace it.

Last edited by daniels740; 10-26-2020 at 03:24 PM.. Reason: Changed from "alt likely bad" to "problem with charging..."
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:13 PM   #13
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Or more likely, the ground or exciter wire for the alt has failed.
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:21 PM   #14
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If the batt warning light doesn't come on with the key on, engine off, it indicates a problem with the exciter circuit.

Slightly ironic that the warning bulb burning out can cause the alternator to stop working.
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:16 PM   #15
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What about the alternator brushes? When the Bosch go bad you'll get all sorts of funky activity.
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:36 PM   #16
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All right gentlemen so I think the issue is the alternator because I just jumpstarted the car and I disconnected the cable from the other car and My Volvo shut off after just a couple minutes of idling without the help of the other car. It shut off exactly the way it shut off last night. I think I’m just going to replace the entire alternator
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Old 10-26-2020, 05:55 PM   #17
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Don't waste your money and fire some aftermarket junk at the problem.


Do some diag bro
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZVOLV View Post
Do some diag bro
+100



Lots of great tips have been suggested. Follow the basics first, don't just fire up the parts cannon.
It's easy enough, even for a beginner.

Check this first:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
If the batt warning light doesn't come on with the key on, engine off, it indicates a problem with the exciter circuit.
If that checks out OK, this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniels740 View Post
First, check your battery's voltage with a multimeter, with the engine off. It should be around 12 Volts. Then, start the engine and read the voltage again, with the motor running. It should have gone up to 13-15 volts. If it goes down or doesn't change, there's likely a problem with your charging system. If it does in fact go up, your alternator and battery should be fine.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:40 PM   #19
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Confirm you have power at the small exciter wire. Disconnect it and use a TEST LAMP, not a meter, and confirm the lamp illuminates with the key on

Use a meter and confirm the alt is grounded. (Low ohm between alt case and a clean metal surface on the block. Do a VOLTAGE DROP TEST on the ground circuit too.==== Start the car and check voltage reading between the alt case and the block.if it's more than half a volt= bad ground wire. They corrode.


Thirdly, pull the voltage regulator and inspect the brushes.


If all checks out ok THEN you fire an alternator at the problem.

Don't waste a day driving around town, swapping pulleys and wrenching if you don't have to.
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Old 10-26-2020, 06:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fa182 View Post
+100



Lots of great tips have been suggested. Follow the basics first, don't just fire up the parts cannon.
It's easy enough, even for a beginner.

Check this first:


If that checks out OK, this:
I did the first recommendation and the battery light didnít come up on the dash. However, I donít even know what an exciter circuit is or where itís even located. I apologize if I sound dumb, Iíve just started learning more about how cars function. Also, I just want to mention that Iíve previously already cleaned out all my ground connections in the engine and made sure they were all working.
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Old 10-26-2020, 07:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvolvito View Post
I did the first recommendation and the battery light didnít come up on the dash. However, I donít even know what an exciter circuit is or where itís even located. I apologize if I sound dumb, Iíve just started learning more about how cars function. Also, I just want to mention that Iíve previously already cleaned out all my ground connections in the engine and made sure they were all working.
No shame in not knowing everything. We all start somewhere.

If the battery light doesn't come up, you will likely not have a charging alternator, which means the battery goes dead.
The battery light on these cars is a crucial thing in the charging system.
It must work to excite the alternator.
To "excite an alternator" basically means it needs a short 12v input to start loading the battery after starting the car.
If it doesn't get that input, the battery will not be charged and the car will stall after a while.

The exciter wire is the small red wire at the back of the alternator. It comes directly from the battery light bulb in the instrument cluster.
It is marked D+ here below. It should look similar on your car.


There can be a few things why the light is not working, two main reasons are the bulb is burned out or faulty solder joints at the back of the instrument cluster.
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Old 10-26-2020, 09:46 PM   #22
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You can't just clean a ground and call it working.

Buy a test lamp and a meter and do the tests I mentioned.

My bet is still on a bad ground wire or an open circuit on the exciter circuit.


The exciter wire is the THIN RED wire going to the generator (alternator). It is the D+ wire in the picture above. Turn the key on and check that a test lamp illuminates between this wire and a good ground. DO NOT stuff test probes in the front of a terminal! It can damage the terminal! Instead, go from behind and backprobe a test lamp between the exciter wire and a known good ground. Like the aluminum on the cylinder head. KEY ON- the lamp should illuminate.

NO haz $2 testlamp? Got a length of wire and stuff a stripped end into the exciter wire terminal (DISCONNECTED from the generator) and tap it to ground, the lamp on the dash should illuminate. (KEY ON).

Here is another fun one, start the car and then use your jumper wire to tap battery voltage to the exciter wire terminal on the generator. You should hear the engine rev up and the see the lights get brighter= generator is charging. It only needs ONE slap to power and it will stay charging until you turn off the engine. This is a great trick for if you were broken down on the side of the road with no tools.

The exciter wire commonly breaks under the engine. The harness gets hot, oily, and chaffed and the wire fails. My bet is THAT is your problem. People have seen bad bulbs, but I never have. I guess the bulb could burn out from the harness shorting to ground.

Last edited by ZVOLV; 10-26-2020 at 11:07 PM..
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Old 10-27-2020, 10:06 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ZVOLV View Post
You can't just clean a ground and call it working.

Buy a test lamp and a meter and do the tests I mentioned.

My bet is still on a bad ground wire or an open circuit on the exciter circuit.


The exciter wire is the THIN RED wire going to the generator (alternator). It is the D+ wire in the picture above. Turn the key on and check that a test lamp illuminates between this wire and a good ground. DO NOT stuff test probes in the front of a terminal! It can damage the terminal! Instead, go from behind and backprobe a test lamp between the exciter wire and a known good ground. Like the aluminum on the cylinder head. KEY ON- the lamp should illuminate.

NO haz $2 testlamp? Got a length of wire and stuff a stripped end into the exciter wire terminal (DISCONNECTED from the generator) and tap it to ground, the lamp on the dash should illuminate. (KEY ON).

Here is another fun one, start the car and then use your jumper wire to tap battery voltage to the exciter wire terminal on the generator. You should hear the engine rev up and the see the lights get brighter= generator is charging. It only needs ONE slap to power and it will stay charging until you turn off the engine. This is a great trick for if you were broken down on the side of the road with no tools.

The exciter wire commonly breaks under the engine. The harness gets hot, oily, and chaffed and the wire fails. My bet is THAT is your problem. People have seen bad bulbs, but I never have. I guess the bulb could burn out from the harness shorting to ground.
Alright, Iíll take your advice for it and buy a test light and a multimeter when I get off of work later today. Iíll update it then with all the readings I get. I just have a few questions: I noticed that the cable for the test light is around 14 inches in length, how do I get it to reach over to the alternator if itís on the other side of the engine? Also, what V readings should I be getting when it comes to the circuit? Just to make sure, I should be getting battery readings of 12V with the car off and then 14-15 with the car on right?
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:08 PM   #24
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Quote:
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I noticed that the cable for the test light is around 14 inches in length, how do I get it to reach over to the alternator if itís on the other side of the engine?
Buy a jumper test lead or make one out of a length of wire and two alligator clips.
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:24 PM   #25
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Clip one end of the lamp to a good clean ground and then BACKPROBE an unplugged exciter wire. Key ON.

I like my Lisle lamp from O'reilly. It gets a lot of use.$10-$15

A meter is the WRONG TOOL for checking power circuits. A meter can show 12V, but there may not be enough current to operate the circuit. ( One strand of wire will pass 12V. )
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