S40 hard starting/long crank time (still!)

Discussion in 'Volvo S40' started by blurp, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. blurp

    blurp Guest

    Hi all,

    I've posted this before and am still battling the same problem. In

    THE CAR: 2001 S40 1.9T (auto with about 250K).

    THE PROBLEM: Hard starting, long cranking time.

    1. The hard starting happens always when the engine is cold (sitting
    for more than one hour). Car starts best in extreme sub-zero
    2. When it cranks for a long time (5 seconds) before catching there's
    a strong smell of gasoline
    3. The starter motor cranks hard and steady, there's no sign of weak
    4. It has not yet failed to start or stalled out while running.
    5. Once it stumbles up to normal idle and then it idles smoothly. This
    stumbling lead-up to normal idle has lit the CHECK ENGINE light.

    1. New spark plugs installed (and properly gapped)
    2. New wireset to plugs installed
    3. New ingition coil packs installed
    4. Installation of exhaust gas venting valve as per Technical Service
    Bulletin (specifically meant to address long cranking time)

    I took the car to a small shop here in Toronto originally suggesting
    the fuel pressure regulator be examined but they dismissed this,
    citing that the smell of unburned fuel indicates that the regulator
    was delivering fuel as it should. I later asked if he used an external
    fuel pressure guage to test it and he said he had but I'm not entirely
    sure he did. In my mind too much fuel would be just as detrimental as
    not enough.

    Any further ideas? Does all of this point even more strongly toward
    the regulator? Is there any way I can test it before dropping another

    Your suggestions, comments, and questions are welcomed.

    Thanks in advance,
    blurp, Feb 23, 2010
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  2. blurp

    clay Guest

    You try a series of short cranks?
    Let the motor turn over 3 or 4 times. Stop for a second or two then repeat.
    If it doesn't catch by the third or fourth try, forget it. That wasn't it.
    clay, Feb 23, 2010
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  3. Camshaft position sensor ?
    Advanced Kitty, Feb 23, 2010
  4. blurp

    blurp Guest

    That was suggested by the shop and it didn't really make a difference:
    it doesn't start until the starter turns it over 10-12 times or more.

    But, to go back to what you said:
    If it doesn't catch then WHAT wasn't it? What can I rule out?

    blurp, Feb 23, 2010
  5. blurp

    blurp Guest

    Do you know of any way to test that? If so I'll check it out.

    blurp, Feb 23, 2010
  6. Should throw up a code.
    Advanced Kitty, Feb 23, 2010
  7. blurp

    clay Guest

    Some fuel injection systems (FI) have logic circuits in them. If there's
    no fuel pressure then the system doesn't provide spark.
    Many FI bleed pressure when they sit. When you jump in and turn the key
    there's no pressure, therefore no spark.
    As you leave it turning over it builds fuel pressure but nothing there
    to lite it.
    Release the key once and try it again. The cycle starts over except now
    there is pressure so now you get spark and it fires.
    If it doesn't, then that's not it.
    As Mr. V pointed out in another thread, you can use a timing light to
    see if the plugs are sparking.
    clay, Feb 23, 2010
  8. blurp

    ransley Guest

    Do you smell unburnt fuel, then maybe its flooding and fuel related.
    New coils, wires plugs so spark should be hot if battery is good, but
    it may not be. Did someone put it on a scope to see if it fires well
    on starting, or do a test pull a plug or use an extra plug and ground
    it to see if you have a blue color. What is battery voltage, 12.8v is
    full charge 13.3 just after its shut off. Low compression makes
    starting harder and your motor has the miles, is that 250000 miles, if
    so its worn. Smelling gas to me means its getting to much fuel to
    ignite, or not enough spark to ignite it and low compression could
    agravate the main issue of weak spark or to much fuel.
    ransley, Feb 23, 2010
  9. blurp

    GlennK Guest

    Check Engine Light On or Off @ this point I would take a trip to your
    local Volvo Dealer & Have them Diagnose your problem most likely it will
    cost you 1 Hour @ whatever there labor rate is before dropping $300.00
    for a part that you are not sure if it is needed or not if the dealer
    comes back & tells you that you need the fuel pressure regulator then
    purchase & do it yourself
    G Klein
    Volvo Certified Technician 2009
    ASE Certified Technician 2009
    GlennK, Feb 23, 2010
  10. blurp

    blurp Guest

    Thanks all for the terrific insight, I have a few leads to follow up
    on. The garage has offered to help track this oddity down with no
    labor charge.

    The battery, I am told, was tested but a start test was not performed.
    I have a voltmeter so I can check some of that myself.

    I recall the 240 having a common fuel pressure-related starting
    problem when the car was hot because the elastic membrane that was
    meant to keep pressure once the fuel pump stopped would deteriorate
    and fail. It seems the FPR on this car has the same problem and may be
    prone to a similar failure.

    Can the easy starting in extreme cold temperatures be a clue to

    Thanks for all the input, I'll start checking these things out and
    report back.

    ps. The car has almost 250K km (not miles) on it.
    blurp, Feb 24, 2010
  11. blurp

    ransley Guest

    If the membrane is leaking some gas then sure at warmer temps the
    mixture is to rich, it floods, thats why you smell gas. Whatever the
    cause you smell gas because its not burning, its also ruined your
    motor oil
    ransley, Feb 25, 2010
  12. blurp

    blurp Guest

    It was the fuel pressure regulator! A test for this part is simple:

    With the car switched off and cold gently pull off the S-shaped vaccum
    line where it connects to the underside of the regulator. If a drop of
    gas drips out of the regulator from the connection point then the part
    needs replacing.

    Thanks all for your help and input.

    blurp, Mar 19, 2010
  13. blurp


    Nov 10, 2016
    Likes Received:
    i have a 2007 s40 and it was doing the same thing. changed plugs and coils stayed the same my shifter blind was no good so i ordered 1 on line 17.95 put it in and now the car starts right up everytime...
    scottwhit, Nov 10, 2016
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