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99 Volvo starts and then dies

I have a 99 Volvo V70. Sometimes when I start it, it turns over and then dies right away. It may do it once, or it may do it several times, but it will start start eventually. I am bringing it in to the garage next week, but they don’t seem to think they will be able to fix it unless it happens while the car is in the garage. Since it doesn’t happen every day, I’m worried that they won’t be able to fix the problem. Has anyone had this problem? If so, why did your car die right after starting?

If the problem wont rear its ugly head for the mechanics, ask them to check the fuel pressure regulator. Its a quick check and can be the source of your problem. Just ask for a check, don’t tell them you think it is bad because if you do that, they may replace it even if it is not bad. It is just a suggestion for a place to look.

You also might have a leaking injector but that will be harder to find, each injector has to be checked separately so that takes time (money).

Other than the fuel pressure regulator and fuel injectors, I’m pretty sure this car uses an electronic fuel pressure sensor. Maybe there’s a glitch with that particular item and residual fuel pressure is not being maintained.

The best thing to do is hook up a fuel pressure tester and keep tabs on it while starting it repeatedly and allowing it to sit so as to see if the fuel pressure is bleeding off.

I had a problem like this with a late 70’s VW Rabbit years ago, which turned out to be dirt and sand in the fuel injection system, from a bad tank of gasoline most likely. I had to replace the fuel filter, drain the gas tank, clean it & the fuel pump screen of debris, and take the fuel injection completely system apart and clean it to fix the problem. I didn’t need to replace the injectors, that was one good thing. I’m not sure why it would sort of run ok sometimes once it got started, but the symptom was that it would start, run for 15-30 seconds, then stop. I expect the mechanics of the fuel metering system was sticking, but the warmth and jiggling from a running engine would overcome the friction & make it work once the engine got going. There are many other things that could cause this symptom btw, contaminated fuel isn’t where a mechanic would start to look, but contaminated fuel is at least somewhere on the list. A plugged up cat converter can cause this symptom for example. I think it is still worth it to take it to the mechanic, as the mechanic will have diagnostic eqpt to test the engine performance, and might well be able to figure out what’s wrong. I think it is a good bet.

I had a similar issue with 2005 V70. First thing in the morning with engine cold and air temp below 50 deg F, engine would start and would increase RPM to about 2000 and then decrease RPM to almost stall hunting back and forth for the first minute or so. If put car in gear, it would stall. Connected a scan tool and recorded what was going on. Found the MAF sensor was sending a signal like the engine was running very fast, over 4000 RPM, for the first minute or so of running. After that, the MAF settled down and would be O.K. on all restarts for the rest of the day. A new MAF fixed the issue.

Jack Keefe

Intermittent problems like this can be hard to pin down and fix. Like @OK4450 thinks, I would check the fuel system first for the trouble. Perhaps the trouble is just due to an intermittent fuel pump relay, fuel pump, or connection to it. Monitoring the fuel pump motor current at the fuse connection would be an easy way to check that out.