Jump to content

When to stop fixing?


lappir
 Share

Recommended Posts

My 2001 Volvo has been a very good truck till last fall when I had the misfortune of the dreaded oil contamination of the ECU harness. The shop in Grand Forks, ND was quick to diagnose and pretty  quick (considering) in obtaining the repair parts. It allowed me to at least make a visit to the National HDT Rally and visit my youngest Daughter in Norman, OK. 

I had a few hiccups after leaving Hutchinson, KS. One in Kansas a bit before entering Kansas City I think and another the next morning as I was getting on the interstate in Concordia. The first one was a brief "NO DATA" message on the dash and I lost all engine power. The radio was still playing and the A/C fan continued to blow, then suddenly I had power and all was back to normal. There were no messages in the log, so I kept on rolling. 

As I was pulling out of Concordia a different message popped up for a bit. Don't remember the exact text and again checking the ECU logs I don't see it, but again it went away and the truck ran fine for  awhile. It's been several months since the incident. I thought I had posted something on the forum about it, but a search of my content didn't bring anything up. My plan was to get to my destination, get settled and then find a place to take the truck to. Instead I came down with a pretty good case of COVID and the truck has pretty much set. I did change parking spots and drove it for just a bit, but didn't fill it up with fuel as I had planned. I waited till yesterday to get fuel for my next trip. And then it happened again. 

The truck started well after sitting for several months. I let it run for a bit and then headed out to get some fuel. The gauge was on E so I stopped at the closest place that had Diesel and put in $300. The needle hardly moved. I headed to the Interstate and was going to visit the next town North where I usually stop for Gas when I'm on the bike or in the Jeep heading to visit Iowa, but didn't make it. Just before  the next exit I lost engine power again, looked down and say the message "NO DATA" and a new "LINK BROKEN" message. I was able to coast to the middle of the exit before stopping. 

I got on the phone and called the Volvo place in ND and spoke with the "On Call" service tech. Of course the answer was "without having the truck to plug into the computer we can't really help." My next call to the Volvo Dealer in Sikeston, MO which had an after hours parts and service option if you agreed to a hefty "Call out" fee. I didn't. 

I waited a bit, cycled the key a few times and low and behold I get the green neutral light and the truck starts right up. 

I make it to the next turn but the truck again dies. This time I'm near a "Dollar General" and make it into their parking lot.  Once again after a bit of time it starts up and I make it back to the Campground.  

I won't be hooking up the trailer till I get it fixed,  replaced or figure out another method for moving my home.  I have an appointment at Spacecraft in Concordia early next week, but it doesn't look like I will make it. 

Now for the decisions. 

1. Fix the truck no  matter the cost and hope for the best. 

2. Sell the truck and hire someone to move the trailer when needed.  

3. Sell it all and retire. 

I'm on call this weekend, so will have a lot of time to think about it. 

 

Rod

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In case you decide to track it down yourself I’m posting this.  I hope it helps.  I had some electrical weirdness going on a few months ago, and I read and asked around.  One consistent answer was clean all the grounds.  My truck is second gen, but this quote might help?
 “check buss bar under steer shaft on the out side of cab. Check the ground wire behind battery's on frame. Then check the ground stud above the throttle pedal behind the lower dash panel. After checking battery cables and dead man switch”

These did not help in my case!  But I felt better.  🙂 Then I moved to the fuse box in the top center instrument panel.  In my case, the message had to do with data log failure or something like that.  Symptoms included cruise control and electric windows intermittent fail.  
Interestingly, those fuses were next to each other.  Removed and replaced the fuses. Still no improvement.  Well improved for a day or so, then it was back.  I then removed the fuse and attempted to clean and tighten the contacts.  I would need to revisit and take photos to describe what I did exactly, but the point is I tried to narrow it down (which took time) and the attempted cleaning seems to have helped.  I haven’t had that message in 6 months.  Just hoping this is helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a Volvo some years ago that pretty much did exactly the same thing, except it was a car.  After towing it twice to a shop with the issue of NOT being able to repeat the issue, and, yes, it did it again.  I started using my technician skills and discovered was supposed to be a weatherproof connector dripping with water when I unplugged it.

I cleaned it, used a emory board to remove corrosion on the tabs inside and then sprayed it with contact cleaner.  This process was repeated a few more times when the car quit.  My DW even learned how to and did it in a grocery parking lot, but after a few times, it never did it again.

With what you wrote, it appears that the last thing that changed was that the wiring harness was replaced.  Could it be a loose connection or perhaps a connector inside that loses contact when the truck is under way and vibrating the wiring harness??

Had an F53 chassis motorhome do similar.  Found the connector to the fuse block had over time become loose and with some of the same process as the Volvo car, fixed the problem and it didnt come back.  In this one, the V-shaped connectors inside the plug had over time become less of a V and so not always made good contact.  Opened up those Vs and away we went.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you sell it, sell it to someone not on this board or any way to contact you. Not because of the issue, as I'm sure you will be forthright, but because the next owner may very well fix the issue for $5.

I've witnessed this too many times over the years. Someone gets frustrated and disappointed enough to sell his/her beloved machine only to hear that the issue was resolved for next to nothing. Unfortunately sometimes ending a friendship as the seller accuses the buyer of knowing what the issue was and taking advantage of the situation. To which I will reserve my thoughts, but anyway.....

 Whatever you do, don't fool yourself into thinking that going to a pickup to tow, or some sort of motor home will solve anything. All vehicles are susceptible to intermittent, difficult to diagnose issues.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"When to stop fixing?" That answer is easy, when everything is repaired or replaced; So, never. Never forget this is a depreciating asset.  I've been repairing/replacing stuff on/in our MH since purchase in 2013, IMO I'm just keeping up, and learning more it every day.

That said, at some point it becomes time to get away from a money pit. No person can make that decision for another.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Deezl Smoke said:

only to hear that the issue was resolved for next to nothing.

A few years ago, we had a '95 Mercedes S420 that was, ahh, troublesome.  After being towed home 3 times for no starts, and having two different foreign car specialists throw up their hands, we unloaded  sold it.  Just a little over an hour after I put it out with the "for sale" sign, I got a call from a guy who'd bought our previous car.  He test drove it and paid my asking price in cash.

A couple months later, I bumped into him and asked if the car had ever repeated it's bad habit.  He told me he'd found an old guy in a junkyard who told him to raise the truck carpet, get into the rear fuse box and pull every fuse for 10 minutes to re-set the security system.  Problem solved.

If the smart ever pulls a stunt like that, I'll burn it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rod-

We had the same questions a year ago and our answers came down to repair it. Our issue was a bad ECM ($1800x2), a worn out clutch $5400 (clutch, pressure plate, other parts and pieces), and a worn out front end ($2800). Our rig has 600k on it now.  So our decision was can we sell it as is and buy something better?  Trade the truck and DRV for a coach?  Or repair it... With as expensive as the truck market is, and since I'm still working we have to have a "mobile" home to move to the next projects, we decided to put roughly $12k into a truck that we bought for $19k.  We considered me taking a permeant position on a project, but rent, lease, or buy is stupid expensive now and you have to live somewhere. 

I'd find a shop, maybe not Volvo, and see if they can chase the gremlins down.  I agree that its a harness issue, probably a wire getting old or rubbed thru.  Possible a connector that is corroding inside but clean outside.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, rickeieio said:

A few years ago, we had a '95 Mercedes S420 that was, ahh, troublesome.  After being towed home 3 times for no starts, and having two different foreign car specialists throw up their hands, we unloaded  sold it.  Just a little over an hour after I put it out with the "for sale" sign, I got a call from a guy who'd bought our previous car.  He test drove it and paid my asking price in cash.

A couple months later, I bumped into him and asked if the car had ever repeated it's bad habit.  He told me he'd found an old guy in a junkyard who told him to raise the truck carpet, get into the rear fuse box and pull every fuse for 10 minutes to re-set the security system.  Problem solved.

If the smart ever pulls a stunt like that, I'll burn it.

 Yep. So you know the all too well the type of situation of which I speak.

 I've been pretty "lucky". No skill involved, but so far, I've only received the malfunction and in a very few small cases, been able to fix it for next to nothing, and sell it or use it. I've also passed up many easy fix specials as I am so gun shy after seeing a few friends buy an "easy fix" only to learn otherwise. I don't always learn, but I do try to learn from other's situations. My lack of confidence in these situations, depending if one's glass is half full or half empty, has either kept me from loosing too much or kept me from gaining much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all for the replies. I will hopefully hop in it early tomorrow morning and head to Sikeston, MO.  It's a 36 mile trip, so I don't think I'll even top off the fuel tanks yet. May need that money to get it out of the shop. 

I know that no one can make my decision for me, but it's helpful to read the posts and get a couple other ways at looking at things. The truck is pre DEF so at least I don't have that to worry about, but electrical stuff can be a bear to find, and I don't have the patience or inclination to start looking. Also don't have an extremely deep pocket to throw money after it, especially if it's a fix one thing and then another and another and another and so on. 

 

Rod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a reward for yourself, there's a Lambert's Throwed Rolls in Sikeston. They are not cheap but I order a main and some sides I can take home then eat mostly rolls and pass-arounds while there. I like to get the chicken fried steak because it is huge so I can eat some there and still have plenty to bring home.

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, sandsys said:

As a reward for yourself, there's a Lambert's Throwed Rolls in Sikeston. They are not cheap but I order a main and some sides I can take home then eat mostly rolls and pass-arounds while there. I like to get the chicken fried steak because it is huge so I can eat some there and still have plenty to bring home.

Linda

Have been there multiple times. My favorite so far is the "Frogs Legs", believe it or not I have been asked a couple times if I'd like more, sort of like "all you can eat". 

Have never taken anything with me. I'm usually just passing through or on the Motorcycle. 

 

 

Rod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the counter said I made the last post 4 hours ago. 

I just got back from dropping the truck off at Trucks Inc, a Volvo Dealership in Sikeston, MO. 

All the service bays were full and it looked like plenty of trucks waiting for something in the back parking lot. I was told it would be at least Tuesday or maybe Wednesday before the truck will be looked at. It's now a waiting game.  Have gotten pretty good at that.  It took three stops and waiting to get to the dealership. 

I also waited this morning for a reasonable time to call a few "Towing" services to inquire about availability. Good thing too, a couple that listed "Heavy Duty" tow either didn't have anyone available today or just didn't have the equipment for an HDT. The one I ultimately called seemed good and accommodating and made it to me in a reasonable amount of time (sort of). 

Long story short. The tow truck arrived, pulled in front of me and while waiting to get ready to hook up the truck died and wouldn't start. While waiting on the truck to arrive earlier I tried to start my truck again and it started. I called to inform the tow operator to keep coming and hopefully meet me at my destination. I got no answer so I started south again, only to be sidelined again and this time the truck was just minutes away. 

While helping the guy with his truck and recording multiple vehicles that were not pulling over I decided maybe my truck will start again and I might just make it the last 9 miles. Sure enough it did. 

It took me about an hour to give information to the Service Writer,  unload the motorcycle, secure everything (almost, just remembered I forgot one thing) and get back on the road North in a pretty good rain storm.

Thankfully when I got to the last place I stopped the tow truck was gone. My reflective triangles were still there and a bit later today I will take the Jeep to finish locking the truck and maybe pick up the 5 triangles I left on the side of the road, if they are still there.  I will stop at the Tow place and give them a bit of cash for their trouble. I offered him a ride before I left, but he declined. 

Will post the next information when I have it. 

 

Rod

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

   Sorry I did not see this sooner.

  I think there is a fuse holder for 12vdc from the batteries to the ecm. My truck acted likes yours years ago.

   I shut it off twice trying to get back our campground. Just to check stuff. I kept  getting a check engine light, yellow I do be. Got to the campground and turned left down our street. Truck shutoff on its own.  

Call a local repair facility that only had the owner and two employees. He stopped the next day on his lunch break. I told him I fixed it. But while you are here let’s hook up you computer and check things out. Things looked good.

   He said what did you do. I said I found the fuse holder corroded that comes off the positive to the ecm I think. Replaced it and it has worked since . That was about 2009.

 

   Also there are three grounds on each side of the firewall on the engine side. They should be removed, cleaned and retightened.

   Just some thoughts.

 

  Hope they get it correctly for you.

 

    Vern

  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Got a call from the shop yesterday afternoon. Apparently they did start looking Tuesday late afternoon, but so far have not found a cause. They thankfully were able to see the "Data Failure" message. I gave them a dollar amount to not go over without calling me. Now it's the wait and see. 

They did report something that I already knew from my time in North Dakota. I tried to remove all of the pine cones that a "Red Squirrel" packed into every nook and cranny of the truck last fall, but they found some. Didn't see any chewed on wires thankfully. 

They did mention checking many ground connections and others, will be checking the modules on top of the transmission next. 

When they hit the next mark I'm thinking of asking if putting a manual transmission in would potentially solve the electrical problem. It wouldn't be cheap, but could work, at least in my mind. I already have the clutch pedal and I'm sure there is a plate on the floor that can be removed for the shift lever. Just don't know if I'd want to stay with the 10 speed (that I didn't like during test drives) or if there is a 13 speed that could work. 

 

Rod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rickeieio said:

We explored the possibility of going to a manual last year.  Big dollars.  It's not a simple swap.  Our truck was the same year model as yours, but with a Cummins.

Thanks for the info. 

 

Rod

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have shut off the flow of money. They can't say they found anything, but ran down a big list of wires, connectors, locations and report pulling apart the connection between the recently replaced ECM loom and the Transmission and found nothing worrisome. No bent or missing pins or anything. They say with what they have done there has been no more "DATA LINK FAILURE" or "DATA LINK MISSING" messages, but they haven't taken a test drive. I guess they are waiting for me to arrive Monday morning for that. Wish me luck. 

I tried several avenues for obtaining a truck for a move within Missouri, but all of my Iowa relatives and friends have trucks that are not to leave Iowa. They are also busy hauling the $8 corn before the price falls. I don't know enough people in Missouri and my only relative doesn't have the truck in a size I need. 

Once again, wish me luck in your thoughts Monday. If you don't see anything you may assume all is well. 

 

Rod 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the engine you have?  I would start with checking small ecm positive wire on the batteries and replace the ground cables.  Have you scanned it in self diagnostic menu? 

 

To get a 13 speed it will cost you over $6500 for a rebuilt transmission itself, since you don't have a core. Then you will have to cut the driveshaft and install few other parts. Probably looking at $9k or so all together. 

It's cheaper to convert your existing 10 speed autoshift to manual. Will be under $5k with new clutch. 

 

I also manage old Volvos Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/4034846383212743/?ref=share

You can post there and we will try to help out. Will probably can find you a buyer too if you decide to sell 

Edited by DUNE-T
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, rickeieio said:

We explored the possibility of going to a manual last year.  Big dollars.  It's not a simple swap.  Our truck was the same year model as yours, but with a Cummins.

It's actually a very easy swap, I own 4 of these older Volvos and did 3 swaps. You need a new gear shifter, new transmission harness, new transmission top plate and reprogram the ecm. 

Not exactly a cheap job to do, but cheaper than replacing old Autoshift ecm, xy shifter and harness

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, DUNE-T said:

It's actually a very easy swap, I own 4 of these older Volvos and did 3 swaps. You need a new gear shifter, new transmission harness, new transmission top plate and reprogram the ecm. 

Not exactly a cheap job to do, but cheaper than replacing old Autoshift ecm, xy shifter and harness

Thanks for the info so far. I have asked the shop to put together a price. 

Wasn't aware you could covert the 10 speed to a manual shift. I would want to change the clutch components for sure though. I'm assuming the swap you did was to convert the 10 speed to a manual. 

 

Rod

 

ps what issues have you had with the trucks after the conversion? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, DUNE-T said:

It's actually a very easy swap, I own 4 of these older Volvos and did 3 swaps. You need a new gear shifter, new transmission harness, new transmission top plate and reprogram the ecm. 

Not exactly a cheap job to do, but cheaper than replacing old Autoshift ecm, xy shifter and harness

In our case, it was a Volvo dealer in Odessa, TX who gave me the prices.  We had them install a re-man x-y and all was well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, lappir said:

Thanks for the info so far. I have asked the shop to put together a price. 

Wasn't aware you could covert the 10 speed to a manual shift. I would want to change the clutch components for sure though. I'm assuming the swap you did was to convert the 10 speed to a manual. 

 

Rod

 

ps what issues have you had with the trucks after the conversion? 

Yes, our autoshifts are basically manual 10 speed transmissions with a computer slapped on it. There are no issues after a swap, since a 10 speed manual setup is as simple as it gets. 

I really doubt a Volvo dealer will do the swap though. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...