1997 960 wagon--starting issues related to shifter and steering wheellock

Discussion in 'Volvo 960' started by glsvolvo, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. glsvolvo

    glsvolvo Guest

    I have an intermittent problem starting the old wagon. It has 120K+
    miles. It's the last of the rear drives. Occasionally, the steering
    column lock won't engage, precluding starting. Movement of the wheel
    eventually locks it, and it will sometimes start. But then, on
    occasion, the shift lever's release must be "tapped" to allow the
    ignition process. (this is not the shift lock button on the console,
    but the release just under the shifter handle and below it on the
    shifter itself. According to one shop who "fixed" the issue, a
    grommet had to be replaced in the shifter and all adjustment has been
    taken out and the next fix involves pulling the transmission. The car
    repeated the problem and I took it back to the shop that initially
    "fixed" the problem. The problem continues.
    A subsequent shop, couldn't find any problem as this is intermittent.
    I have resisted going to the dealership because of reasons related to
    past repairs.
    Are the steering wheel and shifter problems related or purely
    Is there a "fix" short of pulling out the transmission?
    glsvolvo, Jan 30, 2008
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  2. glsvolvo

    bg4a Guest

    We suffered the same issues. As you say, being intermittent, it is
    difficult to assess.

    For us, the there were two issues that seemed intertwined. One was fixed
    with a $350 replacement of the shift indicator switch. I understand it is
    on the outside of the transmission and does not require pulling

    The related issue involved another intermittent and variable nasty
    electronic interlock problem that prevented ignition and seemed to involve
    the emergency flashers and burgler alarm. After spending too many wasted
    hours in the shop, I wrote down the exact part numbers for a set of relays
    that measure about 2 by 2 by 1 (inches) that are mounted in a board behind
    the ash tray. At the junk yard, I found a Volvo about the same year having
    the exact part numbers, paid the guy $20 for the set of three, and that has
    been the end of the weird issues.

    Our 1997 has 130,000 miles, uses no oil and is a pleasure to drive. Our
    only problem is that there is a seal in the steering rack that leaks. It
    seems replacements for this in-between model year aren't to be had. When
    the steering fluid is low, there is a roar that is heard while turning. I
    am keeping a bottle of steering fluid in the car with me these days but it
    would be nice to get that fixed.

    Good luck.
    bg4a, Feb 2, 2008
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  3. glsvolvo

    Ross G Guest

    I agree with the other poster who suggested the transmission selector
    position switch which is mounted on the right side of the transmission.
    It degrades internally and can cause difficulty starting and also
    cause the transmission warning light on the inst panel to flash (along
    with the lights in the W S E buttons. Sometimes, you may get some
    improvement by moving the shifter back and forth from Park to Low 20
    times or so (with the engine off). This may clean the contacts in the
    switch enough the improve things. This is really only a temporary fix
    though and switch replacement is the real cure - and no, the
    transmission does not have to be removed for this. Removing and
    replacing the wire bundle to the switch is a pain with the transmission
    installed, but not a show stopper.

    The problem could also simply be the alignment of this switch. If
    moving the shifter a little one direction or the other allows the
    starter to operate, then I would consider this. A Volvo tool is
    supposed to be used for this adjustment, but if you are adventurous, you
    could try it yourself. The job is a PITA since you have to disconnect
    transmission cooling lines, and perhaps even the exhaust system at the
    Ross G, Feb 4, 2008
  4. glsvolvo

    glsvolvo Guest

    Many thanks for the respones. For the shifter work, to the dealer I
    will go, with checkbook in my hand, Hi Ho, Hi Ho. ;)
    glsvolvo, Feb 4, 2008
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