CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2000 Volvo XC70 will not start

It was a gift from my mother in-law and it’s been a bit of a problem. When I got it the transmission was dead so I swapped it with one from a salvage car and it ran great. That was about 3000 miles ago and now I’m having a problem where it starts and will not keep running. I was driving home from work two weeks ago and the car started to slow down from 70mph to 35mph. I drove on the shoulder for about a mile and then finally pulled over when the car was struggling just to go 30mph. I called for the tow truck to have the car towed the last twenty miles to my house. When the tow truck operator went to connect the car to the tow truck he tried to start the car and it just barely ran. I got the car home and scanned the codes since the check engine light was on. The codes I received pointed to the mass air flow and one of the ignition coils. I replaced the parts and once again tried to start the car. It starts for a few seconds and then dies. I tried this several times without any luck. Now I am perplexed as to what else could be failing. I can hear the fuel pump running when I turn the key but I’m not sure if it is building enough pressure. One of the mechanics I spoke to mentioned this particular year needed a check valve added to the fuel line near the gas tank to fix a starting issue. I have not tried this as of yet since I’m having some issue sourcing the check valve.

To see if you are having a fuel delivery issue simply spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake and see if that gets the engine going for a bit. If it does then check out the fuel pressure to see if that is causing the issue. Changing the fuel filter would be a good thing to do also. From your description of the trouble it does sound like a lack of fuel is causing the problem.

Thanks. I think I will try the fuel filter replacement first. I forgot to mention the car only has 113k miles on it. The fuel pump on the wagons is very difficult to get to so I hope I don’t have to change that part.

The car may be a “gift” but it is also a major headache. It will breakdown several times per year and each repair will be $1000+ to get back in business again. I owned 2 of these things and realized that this is one car that is just too expensive to own. My advice is sell it and move on to another car.

I did have a fuel pump go bad and the part was over $900 and only availabe from Volvo. Your code reader will not be very accurate since Volvo uses unique codes, so you really need a Volvo mechanic to diagnose the problem. I’d say the MAF is a good guess. Had this problem as well and similar symptoms to yours. When my fuel pump failed the car would not start at all, it would crank but there were no “fires” or misfires on any cylinder.

You are right about the fuel pump being very difficult to change. The car also has 2 fuel tanks and very complicated pumping overall.