Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Volvo V70 clutch pedal position sensor

My 2002 V70 had a failed clutch pedal sensor a while back, leaving me stranded at a remote location. The gearshift was in neutral and the clutch was all the way to the floor, but the central computer didn’t believe it, and I couldn’t start the car. Towing and replacement cost several hundred dollars. It has run fine since then, but now it’s starting to fail again. This is an idiotic “safety” feature anyway…what’s the car going to do if I start it in gear, but lurch forward a few inches and die? I don’t want to risk getting stranded again, and I really don’t want to pay a mechanic another several hundred dollars to replace another cheap defective sensor. I’d like to bypass this sensor entirely, and ensure that my car will always start. I’ll take responsibility for the clutch pedal position. Obviously no mechanic will do this for me, but I just need to know which wires to cut and connect. Has anyone done this?

It’s not an idiotic safety feature and is required by Federal law. It could be that the replacement switch is not failing and the problem is related to clutch wear and adjustment. The odds of the new switch being defective are not very high at all.

The car may do far more than lurch forward a few inches and die. It may start instantly and run someone over.
Even I had the wiring schematic in front of me I would not advise you which wires to splice and odds are no one else on this forum will tell you either.

“This is an idiotic “safety” feature anyway”

I’m probably the most “anti-safety-device” guy you’ll find on this forum. I also agree with ok4450 above. There’s no way that you should be driving around a car that will start in gear–be it an automatic or manual–in this day and age.

You should also be aware that this clutch pedal position sensor does more than help you start the car. It should also keep the idle speed appropriate during shifts so the car does not die or lurch when you change gears. Cars are not as simple as they were 30 years ago.

Are you sure the trouble is with the switch? Many things can keep a car from starting.

Not that it’s much comfort to you but an aging Volvo is going to start sucking a lot of money. You’re not alone in this experience.

Even if the car were to lurch forward only a few inches with the switch bypassed, those inches could be enough to crush a kid walking between your car and the car parked in front of you. That’s the reason the switch is there, and it’s also why no responsible person here would tell you how to bypass it.

Additionally, it’s also probably the switch that keeps your engine from accelerating wildly should you step on the clutch with the cruise control on.

the sensor is intended to further idiot proof a car and to make more money for volvo. the mother my dog weenies keep adding unnecessary crap to cars complicating maintenance and increasing costs to owners. this device might be required by law. like airbags and other expensive nonsense.
if airbags were so great why aren’t they in race cars? 6 point harness is way cheaper. it is easy to replace but not if you don’t have the part. it’s on the clutch pedal pulling one connector and shorting the connector deactivates it and you won’t get stranded in the middle of the salt flats as i did by this piece of crap that decided to work and left no error codes when it got to the volvo dealer after a costly tow. i now refuse to buy anything with a computer in it. i have a '67 911 - a real car for people who drive.

Harvey , thanks for reviving a 5 year old thread with nonsense . Normal everyday vehicles with 6 point racing harness ? Get serious.

I like the switch on my 1999 Civic: driving with cruise control on, I can deactivate it by tapping on the clutch pedal - leaving my right foot on the gas pedal, so there’s no deceleration unless I want it.

I did hot wire the clutch switch on my 1984 Cavalier when it failed. I could justify it by remembering an old trick from driver ed: if your car stalls on the railroad tracks with a train coming, put it in first, let out the clutch pedal, and turn on the starter motor. It’s strong enough to move the car.

there is just too much unnecessary crap in cars today!

I agree that cars have a number of pointless crap today. Such as a commercial some years ago by Chrysler touting the number of cup holders in their mini-vans.

However, a clutch or neutral safety switch is not a pointless crap item. Remove all clutch safety and neutral safety switches and you can safely bet that within a year the number of accidents, collisions, injuries, and fatalities will take a sharp jump upwards due to people starting their cars in gear.

A six point harness? How well do you think that would go over with mom trying to buckle 3 kids and herself into the family grocery getter?
Not well at all. The same would apply if all cars were fitted with roll cages. Imagine mom trying to climb over the edge of a cage just to haul the kids to school.

Airbags save lives

I know people who’d be dead or seriously mangled, if not for airbags

Airbags are not nonsense

You can’t seriously think that the average consumer is going to ditch their modern vehicle for a 40 year old vehicle, and then install a 6 point harness

How far back are you willing to go? I have at the shop a 1955 Ford F100 in original form. It also has no neutral safety switch. Parking it is fun, or at least a good upper body workout with the slow ratio manual steering. At least it gives the driver something to hold on to, the passenger just slides around the vinyl seat with no seat belts. The 6 volt headlights make it kind of hard to see at night, but you’re probably not stopping very quickly anyway.

I was wrong, the truck is not entirely original. Someone installed a heater.

I’m assuming this F100 has no kind of power brake booster whatsoever . . .

plus I know the brake lines are single circuit, if it’s still original. Meaning you lose one, you might be in big trouble

It’s amazing that the truck is still original, save the heater

Around here, most vehicles of that era are slammed on fat rims and tires, and the interior bears absolutely no relation to what it used to look like

It’s somewhat unusual to see a vehicle that isn’t restored to “better than new” condition. I know paint quality was only so-so on many new cars back in the day. But many restored cars look glossier than when they left the factory. I suppose those are the ones that will not be 100-point cars, but most people aren’t doing it to win trophies

I worked at an auto air conditioning shop back in the day. I was assigned to drive a small manual pick up into the work bay. I turned the key and the truck took off for the fence. With some quick pedal work, I was able to avoid contact with the chain link fence and damage to the truck. After that I made sure the manual transmission was in neutral (moving the lever from side to side) and the clutch pedal was in before turning the start key.

All original 6 volt positive ground system, engine has been rebuilt original configuration with road draft tube and no PCV, air filter has been upgraded to paper element. Stock trans, 3 on the tree, chassis and brakes restored to original. It does have radial tires.

Funny thing, this guy has 2 or 3 rental houses, and he uses this as his utility vehicle to haul and do maintenance for his rentals. He says even his wife drives it from time to time.

1967 Porsche 911 …

The ignorance in this statement is almost hilarious. The belt itself might be cheaper, but then you have to install a full roll cage so that when you roll it the roof doesn’t crush in and smash your head like a watermelon at a Gallagher show. That also means that it’s hard to get in and out of the car, so between that and the inconvenience of having to strap into a racing harness every time you drive means no one will buy the car. Making 0 profit on something that costs you money to produce is not cheaper than making an actual profit on something that costs you slightly more money to produce.


My 1961 Ford Econoline pickup was a heavily modified wheel stand exhibition “Little Red Wagon” knock off that had been made street legal. The A/T was a B&M Racing 1950 Oldsmobile Hydra-Matic. No Park. No neutral safety switch. No gear selection indicator. No accelerator activated passing gear. Gear selection from top to bottom was neutral, 4th (drive, which would shift automatically from 1st to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th). 3rd, 2nd, 1st, and reverse. Definitely a vehicle you would be crazy to loan to someone.

Automotive technology develops in fits and starts and leaps and bounds. 1967 was 50 years ago. Go back just 20 years from that and let’s see how many items that are on your car 1967 were just unnecessary crap in 1947.

How about side windows made of safety glass to your throat isn’t cut open by jagged spears of glass flying. Two wipers? Some cars back then only had a driver side wiper. A steering column that doesn’t impale you in a collision would be nice. But since you don’t have seat belts, you can just slide out of the way. How about a brake system that doesn’t result in complete failure when one wheel cylinder leaks. Reverse lights that illuminate your way and let others know you’re backing out. And let’s not forget creature comforts like a heater and defroster that many cars didn’t have either.

Now go forward 20 years from your car to 1987. A car now has a headrest so you don’t snap your neck when getting bumped from behind. Side marker lights seem like a minor thing but they help you spot a car in the dark. Catalytic converters and air pumps have reduced CO and hydrocarbon emissions from the average tailpipe by more than half. Shoulder belts in cars keep you from whipping to and fro.

I’m not saying every development in cars is a good thing, but by and large most are, and cars are better in every way now than they were in 1967.


, bless their hearts, you must own a shop. today’s cars have very poor diagnostic capability considering the sophistication of the electronics, not only that the mechanics are not appropriately trained to maintain them. the manufacturers are setting things up for dealer only maintenance and at times the dealers are incapable of telling you what the problem is. with my flakey non-starting problem it still goes on. i discovered by accident that there is a safety neutral sensor that might be causing the problem. if i turn the ignition all the way to start and push the shift lever to the left hard & hold it there a few seconds. interestingly enough, volvo parts and volvo schematics do not show a neutral sensor there for the manual trans. very weird. if i had the software, the micro code and real schematics to include the board level, i could figure things out. but i’m an electrical engineer; most mechanics are not. i have paid close to $2000 on a “simple problem”. for all l i know, the mechanic used crimp connectors in stead of soldering some connection somewhere that is now giving a very low voltage reading.

btw - the clutch pedal sensor is a potentiometer and shows 300 ohms when depressed and ~ 1300 ohms when not depresses, a low power 300 ohm resistor bypasses the “fail safe” feature that will leave you stranded in the middle of the salt flats, very well.

and yes i do object to paying the dealer $300 to add “fog lights” to my cars equipment profile.

Then don’t do it. The price of the fog lights and the labor are not out of line. And I don’t agree that modern cars are that hard to diagnose . I would put you in the 3 year lease category so you have warranty and just do that every 3 years and dispose of your frustration.