Weird problem with not starting when recently locked or something like that...

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Taed Wynnell, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Taed Wynnell

    Taed Wynnell Guest

    We recently got a 1993 Volvo 850 Turbo. Every once in a while, the car
    begins to start (all of the lights on the dashboard turn on), but the engine
    never tries to start. The circumstances around this are weird, and imply
    some weird security feature.

    For example, if we leave the car unlocked, the first time we try to start
    the car in the morning, it always starts. However, if we turn off the car,
    go to the ATM or whatever for a few minutes, and then try to start it again,
    it won't start. If we wait about 10 minutes, it will always start.

    If we lock the car at night, we frequently have the problem in the morning
    after unlocking it. Again, after about 10 minutes, it starts right away.

    So, it seems that this is some weird security feature (it doesn't behave
    like something is "broken"), but I couldn't find out anything about it in
    the manual. The person we bought the car from claims to have never run into
    this problem, but I suspect that they had some routine that just avoided the
    problem or something like that.

    The car also comes with a special valet key, which only allows it to be
    driven a short distance according to the previous owner, but again, the
    manual wasn't clear about how the key was actually different. If this is
    true (and it's not just a glove-compartment thing), then that also implies
    something security-related about the starting problem.

    Can anyone give us some clues as to what might be going on?
    Taed Wynnell, Dec 26, 2003
  2. Taed Wynnell

    Rob Guenther Guest

    Does your car have a security system, with an immobilizer installed?

    Just from the one thing about the ATM, I would say your starter is getting
    too hot from the engine, common problem on old Jetta's actually (I have a
    few friends with Jetta's), I haven't heard of this as a problem on Volvo's.
    But you also mention cold start problems, if the car is locked... I would
    say something is wrong with the engine immobilizer.

    We have a 1993 960, which is a step up from the 850 supposedly, but it only
    got the new technology that the 850 introduced in 92/93 in 1994/1995... We
    have all the old 760s fabulous technology in ours. IE - no alarm, no
    immobilizer, no wipers on the headlamps... and other little niceties.

    Get the alarm system checked out.
    Rob Guenther, Dec 26, 2003
  3. Taed Wynnell

    Taed Wynnell Guest

    Does your car have a security system, with an immobilizer installed?

    As far as we know, it does NOT have an alarm system. We were given nothing
    relating to an alarm system, and we've never heard an alarm go off.
    Taed Wynnell, Dec 26, 2003
  4. Taed Wynnell

    Rob Guenther Guest

    Wow, that is very weird then... Perhaps there is a starter motor issue, or
    something with the ignition.

    It could also be some problem lurcking in the depths of the electrical
    system caused by things like bad grounds and other nasty thing.... But that
    isn't really a Volvo sounding problem. Our 960's electrics are in excellent
    shape, I can't see an 850's system being bad. Care seems to have been
    excercised when they installed our electrics.
    Rob Guenther, Dec 26, 2003
  5. Taed Wynnell

    Ivor Problem Guest

    see my thread no starting problem 1/12/03 - poss solenoid on the starter
    motor - alth yours sounds more complicated ;-((
    Ivor Problem, Dec 27, 2003
  6. Taed Wynnell

    Michael Bird Guest

    I have a 1994 850 Turbo with a factory fitted alarm of sorts which is really
    just a basic intrusion alarm system. There is not much documentation about
    it and it is very basic but if you miss how it works at times it can be a
    problem. The little remote just has open and close buttons and when the
    battery gets low you have to be almost standing by the car for it to work.
    The problems start when you get the system out of synch. For example - if I
    lock the door with the control with my daughter inside the car and she then
    uses the door handle to open the door from the inside I get an alarm and
    also the engine is isolated and the system has to be reset. The same thing
    when some mornings if I get into the car and all the lights come on but the
    starter doesn't turn over. To reset the system I have to get out of the car
    and then lock and unlock the door using the key on the drivers side. Once
    the system is reset with the key everything works fine.

    Michael Bird
    Michael Bird, Dec 27, 2003
  7. Taed Wynnell

    Mike F Guest

    Assuming from this description the starter motor doesn't turn, as
    opposed to the starter motor working and the engine not starting.

    First of all, this is not a security feature, something is wrong.
    Secondly, the valet key will allow you to drive the car as long as you
    want, it just won't go into the locks for the trunk lid and glove box.
    (The trunk lid can be disconnected from the power locks.)

    Since the problem is repeatable, any decent garage should be able to
    figure this out. Next time, try shifting to neutral, this will check
    the gear position switch. It could also be the ignition switch
    (electrical part) or the starter motor itself.

    Mike F.
    Thornhill (near Toronto), Ont.

    NOTE: new address!!
    Replace tt with t (twice!) and remove parentheses to email me directly.
    (But I check the newsgroup more often than this email address.)
    Mike F, Dec 29, 2003
  8. Taed Wynnell

    Taed Wynnell Guest

    This was the problem -- it's an oddly-documented security feature. It turns
    out that my car (and Michael Bird's below) have a built-in alarm system.
    Unlike Michaels, the horn did not sound when mine was activated (otherwise,
    it would have been much more obvious what was going on), but it turns out
    that there was a red LED on the top of the dash that I hadn't noticed
    before. And once I knew what to look for, I found this documented in the
    manual. As Michael and the manual point out, if the alarm gets confused as
    to the state of the car, it can be reset by locking and unlocking the car
    with the key in the driver's side door.
    Taed Wynnell, Dec 31, 2003
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