Volvo XC70 Electrical/Lighting Issues

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
use this discussion to dDiagnose and solve any electrical or lighting issues you may be having with your XC70


  • cdonovancdonovan Member Posts: 6
    3+ hours into the drive with everything "on" going 70+ miles in hour, the car suddenly stops working for a split sec. The car dives down in the front, cruise control cuts out and you scramble for the gas pedal so the guy behind you does not slam into the back of the car. The first time it happened I thought I had hit or run over something. There is this "bang/thud sound" that comes with the sudden learching.

    5 mins later it happens again, this time the heat seats stop working. Another few mins pass it happens again and the dash map, radio, clock, trip odometer and other components stop. Within 20 mins of this I was down to only headlights working no turn signals, no highbeams, no fog lights, no interior lights when I opened the door. I turned the car off, restarted it immediately and all was normal - for 4 months.

    Yesterday it happened again. 3 hours into highway driving with everything on - boom. "What did you hit?" asked my husband. Nothing the car's electrical failures started again. I got to the nearest exit as it learched again - and turned it off. It is like everything just stops for a split second even the engine. I waited 10 mins to stop shaking - and all is fine again. Drove 8 hours straight with no issues.

    The Dealer found a faulty "rear module" and a low battery the first time based on some codes. This last time they said there were no codes and could see no sign of any "issue". Any thoughts?
  • cdonovancdonovan Member Posts: 6
    So it happened again on 4/12. 5 hours of driving and the car started its everything shuts down for a split second. The only two things the same between all three times this has happened are: 1) Its been a long drive; 2) The nav system has been on for hours.

    While I had been instructed after the first time to shut it off immediately to let the computer "reset", I did not on this third time until it had down about a dozen failures over a 30 min period to the point where nothing electrical worked inside, and there were 3 warnings: ABS Failure, Check Engine, and Airbag Servicing. Then I parked it for an hour. Started it up, the warnings were still there but all the electric was back on.

    The dealer said: "Brake control module was fried and the battery needed to be replaced."

    I can't help but think its another symptom and the real problem has not been found. Does it make sense for a faulty brake module to only act up when your hours into a highway drive?
  • theocontostheocontos Member Posts: 1
    this kind of happened to me yesterday - but it was only an hour drive (1st "long" drive since i purchased a 2001 xc70).

    got to my friends house, came back out to leave (30 min later) and when i turned the key - nothing - as if the battery was dead. waited, turned it again, slowly turned over, turned again and all was fine.

    stopped & started the car 2-3 more times with no problem the rest of the evening.

    has this happeend to anyone else ?
  • cdonovancdonovan Member Posts: 6
    I took the car back to the dealer on 4/28 for the fifth time; they have replaced just about every module and relay in the car since they all are fried by the time I limp the car back to them with nothing electrical inside working.

    After I threatened them with Lemon Law and called Volvo Customer Service, the mechanic was finally given permission by corporate to driving the car to and from work (50 miles each way). His quote was, " I was cruising along with the nav up listening to the radio, this XC is a really nice drive. Then, WHAM out of no where the car instantanously cut off and then came back up in a split second. It scared the beejesus out of me."

    They are searching for wire diagrams, maybe now they will find the root cause or get me a new car in exchange.
  • johns5johns5 Member Posts: 3
    Unexplained dead battery-recharged battery and alternator test OK.
    Engine fan goes on automatically up to 2-3 hours (observed) despite Volvo service alleging should only happen within 1/2 hour if engine remains hot?
    Could this be cause of battery run down?
    Any suggested fix?
    2001 70XC 3500 miles

  • johns5johns5 Member Posts: 3
    Correction to my original post:

    47500 miles V70XC 2001

    Sorry for the incorrect info.

    Local repair shop researched Volvo bulletins and website after checking battery and alternator. Cannot establish link between engine fan running after key turned off and removed and compartment fan blowing at full blast.

    When discovered both fans are retired by ignition key ON, then OFF.

    When not discovered may have caused dead battery several times recently/
  • knkaiserknkaiser Member Posts: 1
    2001 V70 XC 45k

    I just observed the same thing, all the interior fans at full blast on without a key in.

    I am also having troubles with my battery. I am about to put the third battery in. I am not sure whether it is caused by the lift-gate not completely latched (does not close that well) draining the battery.

  • jomotojomoto Member Posts: 12
    The alarm just starts on without any reason...not even a thunder storm nearby ¿ Anybody has experienced anything like that????
  • lmkaufmanlmkaufman Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2004 S80 T6 with 35,000 miles and I too have had the exact same problem with my vehicle. I was driving in the early morning about 2 hours into my drive at 55 mph, and I heard a thud. Then the message center reported my left rear door was open, and when I tried to lock the doors, the locks repeatedly bounced. After driving a few more minutes, the interior lights illuminated, then the radio, climate control, gauges, and all lighting failed. I also lost power assist to the steering and the brakes and the car felt like it was lurching. The message center was the only illumination in the vehicle and it continuously popped error messages (ABS, SRS, DTSC, Brakes, etc.). I stopped the car and restarted it immediately and the problem persisted. To date, no on has been able to diagnose the failure cause.

    Please note that I have had similar issues on long drives, but never as severe as the one listed.

    My big questions are did Volvo ever repair your XC70 and what dealership performed the work?
  • jfremeaujfremeau Member Posts: 2
    We have EXACTLY the same problem with fan starting & hot air blowing after engine is turned off -- Did you find a fix??
  • lmkaufmanlmkaufman Member Posts: 2
    After 4 months and 5 Volvo dealers :mad: , I found a dealer that agreed with me that the voltage regulator and/or alternator were/was defective. The voltage to the CEM can never drop below 12.5 volts (per Volvo), but the fault in my electrical system allowed the voltage under load to drop momentarily to as low as 11.3 volts. Additionally, the battery was not being properly charged while driving, which led to its premature demise.

    Whenever the voltage drops below the minimum bias level, the behavior of the computer system in totally unpredictable. Low voltages will reset the computers preventing any errors codes from being stored (a concept that many dealers refused to accept!). This phenomena accounted for my original breakdown, and even after the CEM and battery were replaced, the vehicle still behaved oddly. The alarm sounded without reason, the door locks would behave erratically etc. Finally, I found a dealer that understood my cars issues, and thanks to a new alternator/voltage regulator, my car is again driveable.

    Please be aware that the S80, and I assume the XC70, have an automatic feature that cycles air through the cabin when the car is parked to keep temperatures to a minimal level.
  • jfremeaujfremeau Member Posts: 2
    Reply to John, I was just reading your reply regarding the 2001 XC wagon, blowers turning on after ignition key is turned off. Just had my regulator replaced and it did not fix the problem. Have you found a fix for the problem. If so would love to know. Battery was dead, the reparis shop said it was the voltage regulator, but still doing the same thing. I also found that this only happens when I am using the airconditioner.
  • dundrlndundrln Member Posts: 1
    Have a 04 XC-70 with 75,000 miles. Really no major mech problems. However, we have a summer home situated on a gravel road . I am constantly replacing the light bulbs for the rear brake, signal, license,and tail light . Come on; this is considered a vehicle that can be driven off road. Also, I upgraded to Xenon headlights which are horrilbe. They only extend the beam in a narrow range and less than 25 feet in front, Volvo service said there is nothing that can be done.
  • mkreneskymkrenesky Member Posts: 1
    Have '01 XC (90,000 miles) that the electrical went out and the dealer says nothing is wrong.
    What happened: Was driving on highway and slammed on breaks to avoid accident ahead. First, the radio turned itself on-off, lost turn-signal (bulb was burned out). When arriving home, radio would not shutoff. Next day was driving 2-3 miles from home and all electrical went out...except radio! Drove home and had car towed to Volvo. Appeared that when hitting bump in the road everything flickered and went out.

    Message center displayed initially that a bulb was out (proven true) and the second time that the ABS was bad.

    Volvo initially has said that the computer is bad, but diagnostics shows no errors.

    Noticed that there have been other electrical issues posted here. Did anyone ever have the problem resolved?
  • kdavidson78kdavidson78 Member Posts: 1
    We have the similar problem. Our XC70 is '03 and we're constantly having to replace the low-beam or back tail lights. This is frustrating. When it first started happening we took ours to the dealership, but no firm explaination on why it was doing that. For now we just have to deal with it and simply replace when it happens, but it is frustrating. We've noticed also that when we would have 2 items plugged in the AC adapter that a fuse would blow, I think part of the electrical system (lighting) and the AC adapters are a weak point that needs to be adressed with volvo design dept.
  • fjccpifjccpi Member Posts: 3
    Same problem here - does anyone have a solution?

    I have a 2004 XC70 wagon, 80,000 miles
    It has the same electrical problems described.
    The car will suddenly ‘buck' for a second as if it stalled or is trying to downshift. I'm pretty sure it is trying to shift. The inside lights will go on, and a ‘left door open' message will appear. Sometimes the dashboard lights and indicators will go out as well.
    The transmission was flushed by the dealer for the first time at about 70,000 miles. It was dirty at that point according to them. 75,000 mile service was performed, and the software upgrades were done.This was about 6 months ago
    The problem continued after the service, once the weather got hotter (in New Jersey) One volvo dealer had no idea, another said it was a $ 1,200 + problem:
    ‘Fault trace to internal fault in DIM P/N 8602763, 8633289' The first item is the dashboard assembly for $900, I can't find any info on the second part.
    From browsing I have picked up the idea it is the ECU. From other posts, it sounds like I should have the transmission flushed and check for software upgrades. I am not planning to attack this myself. I'm looking for clues to discuss with a mechanic.
    Has anyone successfully fixed this ??
  • dean36dean36 Member Posts: 1
    This seems to be very similiar to my 2004 xc70. This only happens after 5-7 hours of highway driving, which is only 2-3 times a year. There is no indication anything is wrong and it does sort of feel like a thud, but is likely the engine momentarily stalling or the AWD system reponding to the electrical problem. The red triangle immediately appears with the messege that the left rear door is ajar, with of course it is not and the interior lights illuminate...because it thinks the door is open. This will occur every 2-5 minutes 2-3 times until the cem shuts down which leaves the vehicle in "limp" mode, driveable, but without many systems. In my case usually if you pull over stop, turn the car off for a couple of minutes and restart all is normal, except for the codes that relate to some of the system failure that have nothing do to with the original cause. the dealer wants to replace the cem, but a good local independant says in 20 years He's only replaced 2 of these and one had obvious extermal damage..they want to start checking the systems one at a time?? Volvo must by this time be aware of the problem and possibly a solution?.....but they're not telling. the previous post about the s80 with the alternator make sence, but it could be anything on the electrical network causing voltage problems....please post any updates
  • fjccpifjccpi Member Posts: 3
    I found a good independent in Freehold, NJ: Pro Vo Vo. They also thought replacing the CEM would be unusual, but after some extensive testing they did replace it for about $900 total parts & labor. Results after 2 weeks and 500 miles are EXCELLENT. The behaviour both of us experienced is gone. Also, I always felt the transmission was sluggish. This has also cleared up. I would let them change the CEM.
    This may be a chicken or egg thing with the voltage. A computer chip should not 'wear out' like a moving part, although a defect may take time to appear. I suppose a voltage swing could burn it out or weaken it.
    For now, I am glad the CEM was replaced. The first dealer said nothing was wrong, the second wanted over $1,200 to replace the instrument panel, but couldn't explain how that would cause the problem. (i declined)
    I agree Volvo should be more helpful

    Keep me posted.
  • brojdbrojd Member Posts: 1
    Our Volvo V70 has had the exact same problem -- after driving at highway speed for many hours, it will lurch, the engines will rev, the interior lights will come on, and I'll get a "Left Rear Door Open" error.

    Once the problem starts, it'll continue and usually worsen. The latest time I would completely lose power to the dashboard (lights off, gauges at zero) and get an error message that my brakes and airbags had failed.

    We've taken it to a couple of dealers and independent mechanics, but no one has had a solution (or even experienced the problem). I'm not sure it's worth $1000ish to fix, though, if ti really requires a new CEM.
  • fjccpifjccpi Member Posts: 3
    It was well worth it for me. I have driven the car for almost another year since the CEM was replaced, and zero problems. I don't understand why a $10 computer chip costs $1000 to replace, but it did do the job.
  • gjoagjoa Member Posts: 3
    Second time now the RSE has gone out; anyone know where the fuse is and the amperage? Rather fix it myself than pay a dealer to replace one fuse ....
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