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  #1  
Old 03-29-2008, 01:28 PM
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1996 Volvo 850
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 68
Default 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

New poster here with a sudden problem...

I've got a 1996 850 sedan, non-turbo, with 69K on it. I was driving it home from work and decided to get a car wash at one of the touchless automatics. All was well until I came out of the car wash. I noticed the "Check Engine" light came on.

The car remains drivable. Here are my questions:

1. Could something from the car wash have caused the light to go off? I know it could have just been coincidence, but being that it went on right after the car was dried (ignition still on) I'm wondering if it had something to do with the car wash? I drove it about five miles back to my house.

2. I'm going to have to drive it on Tuesday. I'm a college student (commuter) and have two huge exams that day. I'm only 2.5 miles away from campus but alas, cannot walk due to the roadways involved.

3. Should I test it again tomorrow by taking it to church to see if the light might go off by itself? My church is only about a mile and a half away so that wouldn't be too harmful, right?

4. I've got to study for the aforementioned exams on Monday. Would it be OK if I waited until Wednesday, when I have no morning classes, to go see the mechanic? I'd only have to drive the car back and forth to school and church, with a combined total of about 6 miles there (and four starts, five if you count the one to the mechanic, he's about 7 miles from where I live).

As far as the car--I've looked around for leaks, etc and have found nothing. I'm not the most savvy person when it comes to the mechanics of cars--I know how to drive them and fill their gas tanks--and wouldn't know specifically if there is something I could check to see if there is anything serious here.

In addition to the lack of leaks, I can't notice any unusual smells. I smell the car wash soap pretty strong in the garage right now but that's it--no gas/oil smells. I've gone to this car wash before and haven't had a problem, although the soap smells exceptionally strong today so maybe it had something to do with it? Or maybe it's just some minor part that went due to age?

As I said, it does drive, and nothing feels, sounds, or looks wrong (aside from the amber light on the dash). It passed PA inspection two months ago with no problem and the engine oil has always been maintained.

Any advice on this would be much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2008, 07:53 PM
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

Hi Scott,

Welcome to the forum.

Note, that CEL on the 850 comes on for trivial reasons and often the causesare negligible.

As to your questions:

1. It may or may not be related to the car wash. Another person had reported of similar symptom after a car wash a while ago. Most likely some water got onto electrical component and caused CEL to come on.


2. Good luck on the exams. You can drive the car.


3. As long as the car is running fine, the problem was temporary or was not anything serious. However, if you insist on driving to the church, I would try to talk to the pastor/Father in person and confess all the sins you've been perpetrating so far & beg for God's forgiveness; this may turn offCEL....[8D]. Make sure to act as if you were really sorry.


4. It would be OK to drive the car. If there is AutoZone near you, drive there and have them do a free OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostic IInd generation) diagnostic. They'll connect a hand-held scanner and see if the car's computer reports any stored trouble codes. If there's no AutoZone, other franchise parts shops may provide similar services. The OBD-II connection is in front of the shifter, right under the coin holder.

Make sure to follow scheduled maintenance, and double check to see if the timing belt + its pulleys + hydraulic tensioner have been replaced within the last 70,000 miles or 5 years.


JPN
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2008, 08:02 PM
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1996 Volvo 850
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 68
Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

Sounds like I'm headed to the parts shop if I have a break on Monday or else on Wednesday. Doesn't sound too serious--I didn't notice any overheating or anything. There is an Auto Zone around here but it's a little bit out of the way for the next few days...does Advance Auto Parts also have this?

Interesting note about another guy who went through the car wash. I was actually thinking either water, humidity, or condensation may have set something off, because the light went on right after I got out of the tunnel and the guy was drying off my car. I had gone from neutral to drive, no problem, and it came on right when the guy was just about done. It seemed exceptionally foggy/humid in the car wash today.

Thanks for all the advice. As far as the timing belt goes, I know for a fact it was replaced in 2004. The car doesn't have 70K on it yet but that checkup should be coming in May, so I'll make sure they look at all those components then.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:30 PM
 
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

^Most auto parts stores will have the scanner for you to borrow..
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2008, 08:59 PM
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1996 Volvo 850
 
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

I had the guy at Advance read my code today and he said it's an O2 sensor. The mechanic is going to fix it as soon as he has an opening, for now I'm just going to drive it to campus so I don't use it excessively--I can always borrow my mom's Toyota at night.

After talking with my grandfather, the original owner of the car, I found out that the O2 sensors in the 850 are the originals. This surprises me, I didn't think they were supposed to last for 12 years!!!
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2008, 12:13 AM
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

Note, that sometimes a vacuum leak can trigger O2 sensor codes. There are not many vacuum hoses in the 850, especially compared to Japanese makes. Often the vacuum elbows crack due to heat, vibration & age. As to the O2 sensors, I hope your mechanic replaces them with direct-fit OEMs.


JPN
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2008, 08:40 AM
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

Ditto on the direct fit OEM's For some reason Volvo's do not like anything other than original equipment O2 sensors (and spark plugs)

Glenn
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  #8  
Old 04-03-2008, 01:01 AM
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

I've spent a lot of time deep in thought over your problem and I'm starting to think that, as your Volvo was totally immersed, i.e. baptised, glory be brother, it's now seen the CEL light - Hallelujah!

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  #9  
Old 04-03-2008, 07:31 AM
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Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

Amen.


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  #10  
Old 04-17-2008, 11:14 PM
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1996 Volvo 850
 
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Posts: 68
Default RE: 1996 850 Check Engine Lamp

Sorry for not updating sooner--saw the mechanic last Wednesday and it was a computer glitch. The sensors were fine, everything looked OK, and he simply reset the computer for me. I've driven it 200+ miles since with no problems.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:14 PM
 
 
 
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1996, 850, 850r, 870, bulb, cel, check, code, engine, lamp, light, mercedes, turn, volvo


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