Volvo V50 Engine Questions

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
edited March 2014 in Volvo
Having an issue under the hood of your V50? This is the place to discuss them and share solutions.


  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    I looked through the message boards, but haven't seen any discussion on this particular problem.

    I have a 2005 V50 T5 AWD that I purchased in mid-February. About two months into ownership I started having engine trouble when starting the vehicle. I'd turn the key and the engine would sputter/misfire and then stall about 10-15 seconds later. Generally as soon as it starts to sputter/misfire I turn it off then immediately restart it and the engine starts/runs fine.

    I was told by the service manager that this is happening to other V50's in my area due to the altitude (they think) and possibly the grade of gasoline (the turbo requires super unleaded, but doesn't specify a top tier gasoline...yet). There are other owners in the Denver area who are also having the same problem (I live in Reno at 4500ft).

    Volvo sent an engineer from New Jersey to investigate the Denver and Reno vehicles having the problems. They ran diagnostics and took fuel samples. I am told that New Jersey and Sweden are in the process of figuring out exactly what the trouble is and how to correct it. The service guy told me that they might actually have to re-manufacture the heads & modify the engine software! I was also told to use Chevron super unleaded as it is a top tier gasoline and that might solve the problem (it didn't).

    So, has anyone else experienced this? If you did, what altitude are you at? Did Volvo fix the problem? I'd be curious to run my vehilcle at sea-level, but that's not going to happen in the near future.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,015
    hmmm... i wonder if they have considered the security system. i mean, is it possible its having trouble recognizing the coded keys and shutting down? I would think that would cause it not to start at all, but i guess you never know.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    I think they are right on the money. I thought it was maybe an ignition/key thing too, but they have tested throughly and it seems to be affecting not only my car, but other V50's located in a high altitude location. Apparently, the engine software is not adjusting the way it should (for altitude) and somehow it is in conjunction with modifying the heads (you've got me on that one). One great thing about this is that Volvo is acting quickly and is determined to fix and solve this. I'm wondering if this is going to turn into a recall for the car (obviously people at sea-level aren't having the problem, and my problem didn't start until after a month or so of driving at 4500ft, so it isn't something that is readily apparent to most owners).
  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    Well, its beauiful V50 T5 AWD is a lemon.

    At Volvo's invitation, I went to the dealer today to pick out another model (the V50's aparently have an engine software glitch for cars running at high altitude and Volvo will not have a fix until end of October 2005 - or later, so I'm not getting another V50). :(

    I don't know if anyone test drove other Volvo models (XC70 & S60), but the ones here in Reno stink! For a $41,000+ car they shake at freeway speeds and corner like my grandma's '73 Skylark!

    I was suposed to tell them the model I want to swap my V50 for, but because I couldn't find one (and I can't aford to upgrade to a S80 or XC90), I don't know if they are going to give me my money back or force me to buy a model I hate.

    Has anyone here dealt with this kind of situation? Input would be appreciated.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,015
    Well, I don't know what's going to happen, but my inclination is that they have obviously admitted fault by making this offer in the first place. In which case, I would think they are now obligated to do whatever it takes to make you happy. If you demand a full buyback, I don't see how they can refuse. If they do, maybe its lawyer time.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    Well, I have a fight on my hands. Volvo told me today that (1) I could get the extended warranty (never mind that damage to the engine and starter are probably occurring and warranty or not who wants that?) or (2) they would "exchange" my vehicle for another Volvo strictly as a courtesy to me not, because they think it is a lemon.

    After I told the guy I didn't like the other (within range vehicles) because their $41,000 cars drive like crap and that the V50's have unresolved issues, (and that none of the vehicles I might choose are in my price range, i.e. the S80/XC90) I said I wanted my money back. When I told him option 1 & 2 were unacceptable, that's when he lowered the boom and said Volvo didn't consider this to be a "lemon" (even though they'll replace the car...figure that one out!).

    So, now we are kind of at a stalemate. To top that off, they are going to penalize me on the mileage (deduct $$$ for the 1773 miles I put on before reporting the problem - if you have problems, report them right away or else!!! ), and I have to get a whole new loan (all that paperwork again) and if that wasn't the worst part, in Nevada (unlike California), the "deal/financing" doesn't include the state registering/licensing, so that's another $400 out of pocket and standing in 2 hour lines to register the damn thing.

    Note to all of you: the 2005 V50's are the first version of this model and all of them have the same defective engine software program that my car has (I'm just lucky the altitude screwed up mine), so this model year's resale value is going to go into the toilet once problems start making themselves known. I'm also having problems with the LCD climate/radio display where it randomally looks faded out and it's hard to read (during daylight and it's not from the day/night switch either). It generally resets itself after about 15 minutes or so (and turning off the engine doesn't fix it either). I also have a problem with all the windows...they squeak going up and down and the auto up/down feature works sporadically (mostly not works). I have taken this to the dealer twice and they tell me if the "belts" get dirty, that causes the squeaks, and then the dirt hinders the pinch protection, so the "auto" feature gets disabled. What a pain in the [non-permissible content removed]. Do any of you have these kinds of problems or am I just the lucky one?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,015
    well, state law dictates whether or not its a lemon, not the manufacturer or dealer. If this is an obvious problem that they cannot fix, then I would contact a lawyer. Start the lemon law process now. Based on your posts, I really don't think this will go much further than a few letters from a lawyer to settle.

    Good luck.

    by the way, what S80 would you be interested in? I don't know what you paid for your V50 or what options you are looking for, but a base S80 sells these days for about $7K under invoice! so you're talking roughly $28K.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    You all are not going to believe this...Volvo gave me back all my money for the V50 T5 AWD (the full price of the car, + my down, etc. with the stipulation of buying a new Volvo). Okay says me, so back to the credit union and I do a whole new loan (they weren't transferable), and it cost me a point in interest. So today I go back to the dealer to pick up the nice brand new 2005 XC90 with 30 miles on it that I replaced my V50 with.

    I get 1 mile from the dealership and the A/C goes out!!! I thought maybe I pushed the wrong button or something. Nope, its out, and to top that off, it was 104 in Reno today.

    So I immediately drive back and they say it is just a calibration thing because the car hasn't been driven. So I say okay, and 20 minutes later I'm on my way with cold A/C.

    I get a half-mile away and the A/C goes out again!!! This time I take it back and tell them I'm not taking the car back until they fix the @#%$# thing for good and do a complete inspection of the vehicle from top to bottom and that if anything else goes "out" within a week I'm bringing it back and not picking it up...ever.

    The V50 was my first Volvo, and now this XC90 is my second, and I can honestly say to anyone that I would not recommend a Volvo (any model) to anyone strictly on the quality issue. I mean the XC90 is a $45,0000 and they can't test these things out before delivery? I only shudder to think about all the safety items (and other things) on these cars that you can't test.

    I'm begining to think that Volvo sends all their lemon cars to Reno (and there is only one dealership in all of Northern Nevada!). In the mean time they've given me a used S60 that smells like an old motel room to drive while they "fix" the XC90. I swear, is it me or are other people having the same kind of trouble???
  • jss1951jss1951 Member Posts: 3
    I test drove the V50 T5 AWD. Seems like a great little wagon. However, I'm concerned about the engine problem you referred to at higher altitudes, as I am planning to move to Jackson, Wyoming.

    Has anybody heard of any more problems/solutions? Does anyone have any awareness of any changes for the '06 models?
  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    I was told that only a handful of cars (V50's) were affected. Whether or not this is true, I cannot say. It was however affecting cars at high altitude (I'm at 4500+ft), and the other cars were in Denver.

    I am told that once the engine software is rewritten (and it passes the EPA tests), the new software will be installed into the "problem" cars and I would assume all the other V50's as they come in for service. This is supposed to occurr in October or so.

    I can say though Volvo does stand behind their product, so should anything happen, they will help.

    On an update on my situation, I finally got my XC90 back after the dealer throughly check it out, and so far it hasn't had any problems (since the A/C fiasco). I definetely do miss my V50 and can say that the V50 has a lot more standard features then the XC90's. Also I highly recommend the Premium Dolby Surround as it is very superior. The XC90 I have didn't have it and boy you can really tell the difference (the XC90 has a "High Performance" sound system and it stinks compared to the other).

    Good luck!
  • doran19doran19 Member Posts: 1
    I could not believe it when I saw this post. My V50 has been doing the exact same thing and is in the shop for the 3rd time. I live in Houston so it must not be a high altitude only problem. I went to my dealership today (after printing out our posts) and they of course said they have not heard of any such problem with V50s. I would like to get as much information from you as possible so that I can educate my dealership and hopefully have them buy back my car too.
  • lissielissie Member Posts: 1
    Okay, friends, time to share my troubles with my 05 V50 T5 AWD with y'all. First I want to say I really want to love this car, but it's been in the shop now 7 times for (mostly) really minor stupid stuff and I'm getting annoyed. I feel,as I'm sure you do, that it's an insult to pay over 30K for a car and then have my time repeatedly wasted to boot. I love driving it but I'm starting to think it's time to begin to harass Volvo to get me my money back (does this ever really happen?).

    At about 1400 mi. the 'SRS Airbag service urgent' light came on. Took it to the shop and supposedly it was fixed. tonight I started it up and the light came on again (8100 miles).

    The battery went absolutely dead at about 5K miles. I called roadside assistance and they jumped it. I thought everything was fine until the same thing happened three weeks later (to the day). Into the dealer for a new battery.

    The radio issue is really annoying: I've been in 4 times to get it fixed. The radio
    doesn't cut out on me, but it doesn't hold the equalizer settings, and returns to radio when I turn off the engine after listening to a CD. Also the sound goes all the way down after I turn off the ignition and I have to turn it back up every time I get in the car. Not as bad a problem as some of you are having, but really annoying to pay $1200 for premium sound that has caused so much trouble. Now the dealer says they have a part that will fix it: this
    will be my 5th time in the shop
    for this problem. I had the new software installed at about 6K miles, which was supposed to fix worked for about a week. I live at altitude too: 7000 ft. in Santa Fe, NM, but see no logical reason why altitude would be a factor.

    I wish y'all luck. And I long for the days when cars were mechanical, not so electronic, and RELIABLE!!!!

    The ongoing problem that worries me the most is that the car doesn't start up from a cold start about 60% of the time. I have a Honda with 225K miles on it that starts EVERY TIME! Both the dealer and Volvo customer assistance tell me this is nothing to worry about, but I see no reason why this should be happening. IT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!!!!
  • sanjsriksanjsrik Member Posts: 7
    I wonder if this has to do with the T5 AWD, I don't seem to see anyone posting with issues with the standard non-T5 model.

    The only issue I had which I outlined above was with the radio not turning off and that was fixed with a software upgrade.
  • slee4slee4 Member Posts: 2
    I purchased V50 T5 AWD on 10/30/04 at Volvo Edison in NJ and now about 5K mileages. My car has been exactly same problem for 5 months'.

    I started having engine trouble when starting the vehicle. I'd turn the key and the engine would sputter/misfire and then stall about 10-15 seconds later. Generally as soon as it starts to sputter/misfire I turn it off then immediately restart it and the engine starts/runs fine.

    Is there any idea how it can be fixed or when the new software will be released?
    I feel bad when I start the car in the morning.
  • tk4tk4 Member Posts: 1
    We've had our V50 T5 in April. After 2 months, we started having the same problem on a few mornings. That progressed to every morning, and now morning AND if the car has been sitting for several hours.

    We've tried:
    different brands of gas
    using only premium for several fill-ups
    keeping the tank at least half full

    Dealer seems to know nothing. By the way, we live in Florida and are at sea level and still have the problem.
  • tangowoodtangowood Member Posts: 1
    QUESTIONS for you and others [back to ]reporting engine problems with V50 T5 AWD: First, are your problems only with 6-speed models, or has anyone had problems with automatic-transmission T5 AWDs? (My local dealer asserts that only 6-speed models are involved.) Second, have your engine problems been corrected yet? (My dealer says there's a software fix he'll install next month, September '05.) Thanks!
  • v50inflv50infl Member Posts: 2
    To all: Be aware that the starting problem with the V50 is not isolated to high altitude or AWD models. I'm in Florida and the dealer here attributes the problem to "a change in gasoline formulation". How creative.

    Their temporary fix is to use regular gas, as opposed to the Volvo-recommended premium. I still experience stalling fairly often. I guess using regular retards the timing, but I'm not sure how that helps. It would reduce horsepower somewhat, but I don't know if it would be enough to affect mountain driving. I don't notice a diferrence here. BTW: I also have a S40 (non-turbo) and it does not exhibit this problem.

    This is the first car I have had in 20 years with an engine problem. Add that to the other odd bits and peices that having been falling off or failing and I'm not sure I will be buying another Volvo.
  • robbie89512robbie89512 Member Posts: 8
    Hey everyone. I'm the guy that originally reported the V50 engine problem. All I can tell you is that you must instist on the dealer contacting the local or regional Volvo representative. They must do this for you. If they give you trouble, I have found that contacting Volvo customer service via email (you can find the link to them on the Volvo car website) and there is probably info in he manual. Anyway after I detailed my problem via email, they said the local guy would get in contact which he did (though the dealer).

    The old saying "the squeeky wheel gets the oil" really works. Immediately report any problems, don't let them go on "for awhile" before having the dealer see it. Keep detailed and accurate records, keep all dealer receipts and make sure the problem(s) are on the work orders with results of what was done. Keep records of who you talk to and about what...especially if they tell you things that are not in writing. Follow what the manual says for operation, gas, etc.

    The main thing is be persistant and exact...meaning tell them exactly what you want, what you expect and stay true until you get it. Work with upper management people only (service manager, customer service manager and even the general manager until you get results). My feeling is that I was one of the "first" to get the ball rolling with Volvo, so they were in a position to deal with me. Now that there are many more people with defective cars, they may not be so eager to take them back due to the liability factor and the cost of doing so.

    I have been driving my XC90 now since July and I've had no problems with the engine eventhough it is the same engine as the V50. One thing I have noticed is that the V50 (especially the top of the line one) is superior to all the other Volvos. Meaning that the electronics are more advanced. On the XC90, you have to have the dealer turn on/off options and settings where on the V50 you can do it through the menu. This means more computer crap which is more likely to fail because this is a brand new model for Volvo and I think they are "testing" the waters before carrying it over to the other models.

    Believe it or not I still miss my V50, and eventhough the XC90 is a nice car, I really hate it (I didn't want an SUV). Go figure.

    As for the fix, as I was told before the engine software revision was supposed to be available end of September 05 or possibly longer depending on the EPA tests which are required before it can be marketed. Because I no longer own a V50 I am out of the loop and don't know what they are up to.

    Last thing, there is power in numbers, so if you band together, you may also carry more clout in getting it resolved. The last thing any manufacturer wants is bad publicity on their line of products.

    Good luck.
  • loutlawloutlaw Member Posts: 1
    I have the same issue- I've had volvos for years and love them, test drove the V50 T5 and am interested in it but wonder about these engine problems- did you get any update on the problems?
  • bbukbbuk Member Posts: 1
    Help please ! I have a V50 2litre diesel , 14 months old 39000miles, awaiting an engine and turbo replacement in the UK. Volvo denying reponsibility but that's another story. The dealer suspects the bearing in the turbo failed at high speed, sucking out all the engine oil in matter of minutes. No hint or warning: no oil pressure warning light came on, and oil level was checked and fine 8 days prior.No noise from engine and no oil on standing area. Serviced only 7000 miles/3 months previously.
    Previously another engine fault occurred during servicing at 31000 miles when 90 % loss of power discovered on leaving service garage: no computer diagnostic showing and later stated to be a failed micro-switch or sensor.
    Any other experiences to support my arguments with Volvo welcomed.
  • applecoreapplecore Member Posts: 1
    Electrical problems. I got a new T5 automatic about a year ago. After 30 days, the electrical system went haywire - wipers would turn on by themselves and not stop, dashboard lights would flash indiscriminately, transmission would lock up and the rear door would not open. We took it into the dealer, and got it back a few days later. After another 30 days or so, same thing happened again. Again into the dealer, out again and then after another 30 days - same thing a third time. We raised a ruckus, invoked the Georgia lemon law and Volvo substituted a brand new identical vehicle (we had to wait several months for it to be ordered from the factory). We got the new car last March and when it ran through the 30 day period without incident, we breathed a sigh of relief. Today (after six months and 7100 miles) the replacement did the exact same thing. The dealer hasn't figured out what's wrong. Anyone have similar problems or any ideas?
  • v50driverv50driver Member Posts: 1
    I had some of the same problems and other problems, all computer related. Right headlight went out in the first month of driving, brought it to dealer to replace it and they ended up having to replace the computer - bulb was fine. Since then: entire console went out twice - no control of anything electronic, Radio and AC went out a few times briefly - came back on after a restart or two, *while driving car went into "Crash" (?!?) mode and shut down - would not go off on restart - went off after a half hour of being shut off (on restart), battery drained twice. I am bringing it in to the dealer tomorrow morning, who knows what they will try to tell me. Sorry to hear others having similar problems. If I hear anything interesting from the dealer I will post it.
  • oregonv50toregonv50t Member Posts: 2
    I purchased a V50t awd in Feb of 05. I live in Portland Oregon and after about three weeks I had the same problem with dying on the cold start and then after restarting it having it start back up and work fine. I understand the pain of listening to you car start the day off like that.

    It took me about five months and three times into the shop before they have been able to slow the frequency of the dying on the cold starts but now my check engine light has been on and they can't turn it off.

    I am considering a lemon law but I hate to go that route because the car has be been great in terms of everything else. what response has Volvo or your dealership given you in terms of fixing the problem?
  • oregonv50toregonv50t Member Posts: 2
    I have a Volvo v50 T5 awd automatic and I have had the cold start issues with my car since three weeks after I bought it. The dealer has tried three different software fixes and it's helped a little but now the check engine light is permanately on.
    What route have you been able to take to remedy your problem?
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    The dadburned V50 brochure I have, under "Fuel Type" says "Gasoline" for both engines. I would like to know if the T5 requires high octane? Obviously, not an owner here.....yet

  • volvomaxvolvomax Member Posts: 5,238
    91+ octane gasoline is "recommended"
  • waltlewwaltlew Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a new 2007 V50 2.4i and would like to know where the oil filter is on this car. I do know it requires a filter element rather than a spin on filter.
  • huhuhuhu Member Posts: 10
    Hi guys,

    I have bought a 2007 V50 2.4i two weeks ago. Now I have some concerns.

    1. When I start the car, the rpm goes to 1.5 k, after maybe 20 sec, it drops and stays at 0.8 k rpm. I read the manual, and it says that it is normal to have high rpm in the beginning. Do you guys have the same thing?

    2. When I accelerate, the engine sounds very noisy. Als the mpg is only 20 ( I drove 10 miles in 15 min to work).

    Wondering if you guys have the same observation?

  • volvobuffvolvobuff Member Posts: 35
    1. The high then low rpm on startup is normal for both the 2.4i and T5 engines.

    2. The 2007 2.4i engine was very raspy on acceleration, and a number of reviewers commented negatively on this idiosyncracy. Since this engine is not very powerful, the driver frequently has to floor the accelerator to get moving. I recently drove the 2008 2.4i and found that the engine is much quieter, although not any more powerful. My guess is that they changed the air intake and/or the exhaust system for 2008, probably in response to the negative criticism.
  • alexancxalexancx Member Posts: 1
    I can confirm about the high RPM when you first start. I got one for my girlfriend and I have gotten a few loaners when I have my C70 in for service and thats the way the V50 is setup. It's normal.

    As for the engine noise while driving it is a little louder than the average under med to high load but not bad in my opinion. The T5 is quieter probably more sound deadening materials in that model.

    The mpg will be lower in the beginning during the break in period and your driving style will influence it as well. My girlfriend drive like a little old lady and does mostly highway miles and she is getting close to 30 MPG.
  • huhuhuhu Member Posts: 10
    thanks a lot guys!

    To Alexancx,
    How long does it take for your gf to get 30 MPG? I have 500 miles now on my v50, and I only get 20 on mixed (driving on I95 around baltimore maybe should not be considered as highway only)driving.
  • magnum01magnum01 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 v50 with T5 and 60kmiles, what plugs would be a best replacement ? And , does the fuel line recall make the sensor go bad (causing it to throw a PO 193 code ? ) :confuse:
  • jprsjprs Member Posts: 1
    I have a V50 3.5 years old and 50000 miles on the clock. It has just been diagnosed with a oil leak on the turbo. my local garage suspects the bearing is leaking and allowing the oil to pass through the turbo.

    I noticed that the car had developed a small oil leak on one of the air hoses coming from the turbo, although no oil loss noticed.

    My arguments/pleading has just begun with Volvo, hope this helps your fight.

  • v50ownerv50owner Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 V50 with 67,000 miles on it. Love the car, after owning a 91 240 wagon for years. When I start the car I here this loud buzzing noise from the engine. When turning the engine off it continues for about 1 minute then clicks off. I lifted the hood and it is coming from this Silver cylinder in the very front of engine on drivers side. Next to plastic refill container. Not sure what this unit is. Any ideas?
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