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Volvo 1992 940GL starting problem

My 1992 Volvo 940GL has had OCCASIONAL rough starts.

Problem: I would turn the ignition and it would crank for 1-2 sections and then quit (which sounds as if the battery is dead, which it is not). Holding the key at “ON” (or turning it counter-crockwise and starting again) and 3-5 seconds later the car would start. I am concerned that in time it would not start.

I bought a new STARTER online and the day it was to be installed the mechanic judged from the above problem and suggested an IGNITION SWITCH so I ordered one. Well, the new ignition switch did not resolve the problem, and the problem continues. Any clues would be appreciated.

p.s. The car was totaled by a hail storm so I am just driving it one day at a time. The fuel pump has since been replaced and the new pump does not work right. The fuel gauge would indicate 1/4 tank left only 100 miles after fill-up. At that time the pump would stop pumping for 2-3 seconds at sharp turns (scarry). I don’t suppose this fuel pump issue relates to the above starting issue. Thanks.

How do you know that there is nothing wrong with the battery?

Thanks. Well, I thought I knew what a dead battery sounds like (perhaps not). With a dead battery you crank and crank and the engine turns and finally gives in. In my case, (when it does not start) I would hold the key at “ON” for 5-7 seconds and then it would crank all by itself.

Buying a starter online which I cannot return and then installing an ignition switch which did not help do urge some cautions about the next step. Perhaps I could beg the mechanic to test my battery? Or, since a battery is a relatively costless option, if there is a reasonable likelihood that a battery would do it, I am willing to try it.

I thought the scenario described above (holding at ON for 7 seconds to start) is quite unique and hope someone would offer a hand. Thanks.

I may sound cheap but the car was totaled by hail and I bought it back for $84, for which I am cautious about spending much money on it.

So - what you’re saying is that you turn the key all the way to crank the engine over and sometimes you get the key turned and … nothing at all happens. But if you hold it in the crank position then it can suddenly start to crank - seemingly spontaneously since you haven’t moved the key? Is that the scoop? If so then I don’t think the ignition switch was a bad guess. However, you are correct to not just continue guessing. The problem is finding someone someone to do some electrical sleuthing.

For starters, you can pull into most any big box auto parts store and they will run a load test of your battery & charging system for free. Beyond that, at this age all bets are off as the problem could be in multiple places. One thing I would do, assuming it is an automatic, is start putting it in neutral before you try to crank it. If it cranks just fine without fail from neutral then either live with it or replace the neutral safety switch. Beyond that I’ll wait for clarification on how the problem presents itself.

When you hold the key in the starting position is there any kind of click sound?
Does the car have an automatic transmission?
Just wondering if the car has a neutral safety switch fault and that’s not unheard of on any aged car with an automatic.

Thanks for everyone for trying to help. My car finally failed to start entirely with a dead battery. I had it towed and a mechanic put on a new battery. Now it nows starts like a charm! So it was the battery after all (cigroller was right). I had to feel bad for all this pain I had to go through, as I had been handy enough to replace all three previous batteries so far.
On a unrelated subject, I had my fuel pump replaced 10 months ago (and had another one put on on warranty). (Now after all this money spent I wonder whether a new battery would have done wonders) Since then it has never pump right. I would fill the pump and after 100 miles or so the gauge would be down to 1/4 to 1/3 tank left and it would not pump right. I would make a sharp turn and it would quit pumping for about 2 seconds (scarry). Sometimes it would be backt o pumping,a nd other time I would have to crank it. I can keep this goign by pumping every 100 miles. A gentleman shared an experience with his Volvo 98 fuel pump, and suggested living with this. I should be spending big money on this car (196,500 miles now). Any clues would be apprecited. Thanks again for everyone for tryign to help. I was new to this network and logged on today after 2 months, to find all these messages!