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Volvo s90 press gas pedal to start

Dear members,

I bought a car aware of its starting problem. As I have to get it repaired I will need some insight into the problem

The car starts if I press the gas pedal slightly. It falters a little and idles a little rough, fuel can be smelled in the exhaust after the startup (not afterwards). Once the car starts it drives just fine. The guy who sold me the car informed me that he ran the car to empty tank two days ago and had to fetch 2 gallons in a can to start it again, that is when the problem started.

Any think that comes to your mind ?

Thanks in advance

Could be lots of things. What year is the car? Miles on the car? What kind of service records do you have on the car? I’d start with new plugs. If this is the 5 cylinder motor and it has a distributor cap; the cap, rotor, and plug wires should be replaced. See if that helps the starting problem. If not, then you change the fuel filter. Hopefully it will be gunked up and a new filter will do the trick. If you still have a starting problem after doing the above get ready to spend some serious money.

its 1998, 105000 miles. I dont have any service records. Its a 6 cylinder engine. I probably will start by getting the fuel filter changed. How much money you mean by serious money :(. do I have have the fuel pump, fuel injection checked ? Please elaborate

@vabi by all means get the fuel injection system checked out by a professional.
Fuel pressure at idle
Residual fuel pressure after shutting off the engine (how long does it hold)
Check engine light on?
If yes, please post codes
Can you hear any obvious vacuum leaks at idle (hissing sounds)
You might want to clean the throttle body. A dirty throttle body can cause all sorts of idling problems.
The idle air control valve could also be a problem.

But first replace the fuel filter and clean that throttle body. If you don’t know when the plugs were replaced, now’s the time to do it.
Once you get it running correctly, replace the air filter and do a transmission fluid and filter service.

@UncleTurbo I believe this car has coil on plugs.

Serious money is a new fuel pump. On a '98 V70XC the only fuel pump I could get was a Volvo part and it costs over $900 just for the part. This kind of thing is not uncommon with old Volvo’s.

A '98 Volvo likely has a distributor cap. With no records I’d assume that the cap, rotor, plug wires, and spark plugs are all old and need to be replaced. My '98 Volvo factory maintenance guide called for all this stuff to be replaced every 30K miles.

You need to learn if your motor has a timing belt, if it does it is overdue for a new timing belt, water pump job. The 5 cylinder motor in '98 has a timing belt and is an interference engine meaning the valves and pistons collide when the belt breaks in effect destroying the motor. That’s why you need to know this about your 6 cylinder motor.

Thank You for replying. I dont think I can change the fuel filter myself, looks like I can change the spark plugs. But do spark plug wires also need to be replaced ? The guy who sold me the car said he didnt hear any hissing noise. I didnt quite understand by “cleaning the throttle body”.

I don’t have the Volvo maintenance schedule for the '98 Volvo’s with a 6 cylinder engine. I do know what was recommended for the 5 cylinder - that was new plugs, new cap, new rotor, new plug wires EVERY 30K miles. Not just new plugs, new everything.

What I am suggesting is you start by replacing simple, and known parts that likely are overdue for replacement. Sometimes just doing the required maintenance can resolve starting issues. My guess is the maintenance on this car has been neglected and you have no records to show otherwise.

Thank You, I think I understood most of it, but whats a cap ? I will probably take your advice and have anything and everything replaced which my budget allows. I am not sure about timing belt, the guy said that it sounds like it had been replaced, can it be inspected ?

and probably the list includes oil/air/fuel filter, (fuel injectors ?), new oil, coolant…

@UncleTurbo I’m looking at and it shows that it has an inline 2.9 liter 6-cylinder with coil on plug.

But it also shows the engine as having a timing belt. It would likely be overdue at this point.

@vabi once you get everything sorted out, also plan on having that timing belt kit with water pump installed.

Thought to update for the benefit of everyone. Changing MAF solved the problem. Mechanic was getting it for $140 from a local shop, I bought it from ebay for $25 :slight_smile:
Other things that fixed the problem was low pressure AC switch for non functioning AC and now working on fuel sending unit to have the stuck fuel gauge problem solved.

Congtrats on fixing the problem @vabi. A little gas odor isn’t unexpected on a cold start. It’s just the ECM enriching the mixture based on the coolant and air temp.

It appears like this car may perhaps be suffering from a bit of deferred maintenance. If this were my car, I’d bring all the routine engine maintenance up to spec as recommended in the owner’s manual as first order of business.