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Old 07-05-2012, 06:37 PM
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Default Volvo 850 random stalling and hard to start. Testing Fuel Pump and Fuel Pump Relay

Hello all,

I notice that here in the Volvo 850 section of these forums a decent percentage of the number of threads being posted involve someone trying to diagnose and fix a Volvo that either turns over but doesn't start and run or has a start-sputter-die situation due to fuel starvation. Among many possibilities, one likely cause of these problems is the fuel pump relay. Many people seem to want to know how to test if their fuel pump is running, and if it is not, how to test if the relay is working correctly, so I have put together this write up/How-to for the steps of how to test your fuel pump and fuel pump relay.

Perform the tests listed below WHILE your car is acting up. Many of these issues are intermittent, so it doesn't really help to do the test when the car is wanting to start!
----------------------------------

Steps for listening for fuel pump:

1. Walk over to your gas filler on the right side/rear of car.
2. Lie down near this section of the car.
3. With the car parked in a quiet area, have another person turn the key in the ignition to the ON position but do NOT start the car.
4. Once the key is in the ON position, you should be able to hear a humming that runs for a few seconds and stops.

If you don't hear anything, your fuel pump is not running. From there, diagnose whether its the pump or the relay (or possibly both) that are bad. NOTE: Even if you hear the pump run initially but when you try to start the car it sputters and dies, you still need to check your fuel pump relay.

Steps to test if the fuel pump relay is bad:

1. Open hood and remove four screws holding down the cover over the fuse box that is located in the top right of the engine bay.
2. Remove the red relay labeled 103 (see picture attached below).
3. Bend a paper clip or wire to connect between ports 15 and 87 in the fuse box where the relay previously was.
4. Either try to start the car OR do the steps above for listening for the fuel pump, then start car once you have determined that the fuel pump is running. NOTE: if you do decide to listen to the pump before you start the car, it may run continuously rather than shut off after a few seconds.

If your fuel pump runs and your car starts and stays running while the paper clip/wire is connected in the relay socket, your relay is bad. This is the part you need:

Volvo Fuel Pump Relay (850 C70 S70 V70) KAE 9434225 | FCP Euro

If this test does not run your fuel pump and your car does not start, you either have a bad pump, a wiring issue, or some other problem that needs to be looked into.

This test is not recommended to be a permanent fix, but rather just as a test for the fuel pump relay.


Hope this helps all of you having starting issues involving fuel starvation!

1995Volvo850
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File Type: jpg fuse box underhood.jpg (76.6 KB, 82 views)

Last edited by rspi; 11-04-2012 at 07:06 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2012, 06:44 PM
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In my opinion the fuel pump relay should be changed every 10 years.
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  #3  
Old 07-05-2012, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rspi View Post
In my opinion the fuel pump relay should be changed every 10 years.
Not a bad idea. Mine made it about 15 years before it started showing signs of acting up, but I can see how it could have been worse if the car were driven more often than it was.
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Last edited by 1995Volvo850; 07-05-2012 at 10:15 PM.
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2012, 10:26 PM
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Well, it's a part that cost less than $50 and leaves a lot of people stranded and scratching their heads. Less than a car battery that is usually changed every 4 years.
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'95 850 T-5R Wagon - Panther - Daily Driver 22 / 28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT - Lil' Red - Daughter 22/30 mpg
--------------------------------------------
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--------------------------------------------
Volvo's of time past: '87 740 GLE, '79 262C Bertone, '78 264, '95 960, '97 960, '98 S90, '98 S70 GLT, '95 850 T-5R Yellow, '95 960, ,96 850 R...
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2012, 09:39 AM
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Here is a bad fuel pump relay in action. As you watch you can see the pressure build then when the car starts the pressure drops off. Worked sometime which you will see happen in the video.

Fuel pressure - YouTube

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by boxpin; 07-06-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-06-2012, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for the directions for the fuel pump too. I'm going to take a listen and see if that's the problem or (hopefully) it's the relay. Just curious but how hard is it to replace the pump? I'm somewhat mechanically inclined, but far from a mechanic, and I am willing to take the time out of my day to do it if that means not taking it to a shop.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derrickb View Post
Thanks for the directions for the fuel pump too. I'm going to take a listen and see if that's the problem or (hopefully) it's the relay. Just curious but how hard is it to replace the pump? I'm somewhat mechanically inclined, but far from a mechanic, and I am willing to take the time out of my day to do it if that means not taking it to a shop.
I added a note in my How-to above that says that even if you listen to the pump and you hear it but you try to start the car and it sputters and dies, that is also likely a relay issue. Here is my understanding why:

When you turn the key to the on position but do not start the car, the relay engages and runs the fuel pump for the necessary amount of time to pressurize the fuel system before startup. Then, if you wait for the pump to shut off a few seconds later in the on position BEFORE you start the car, the relay has to engage AGAIN to run the fuel pump while the car is running, but this second engagement may not always happen if your relay is bad. So, the result is that the car runs for a few seconds off of the fuel pressure that was built up in the system in the first running of the fuel pump, but that pressure quickly goes away (like in boxpin's video) and the car sputters and dies because the relay did not engage the pump for the second time, and the pump is no longer providing the car with fuel pressure, and in turn the car sputters and dies.

Hope this makes sense. lol
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DIY AUX input for radio. Aftermarket Cabin Filter.
161K miles and counting! Still goin' strong!
What a beauty!
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  #8  
Old 07-06-2012, 02:30 PM
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I believe a bad relay can ruin a pump. Just think, if the relay is turning the pump off and on several times per minute or hour, sooner than later the pump will go out because it keeps getting shut off and turned on so many times. Just a thought.
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'95 850 T-5R Wagon - Panther - Daily Driver 22 / 28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT - Lil' Red - Daughter 22/30 mpg
--------------------------------------------
Volvo Repair Videos - Used Parts For Sale - Interior Lights For Sale - ABS Light? Click Here - Men's Mentoring
--------------------------------------------
Volvo's of time past: '87 740 GLE, '79 262C Bertone, '78 264, '95 960, '97 960, '98 S90, '98 S70 GLT, '95 850 T-5R Yellow, '95 960, ,96 850 R...
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  #9  
Old 10-06-2012, 02:43 PM
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Default so it WAS the fuel pump relay

I have a 93 850 volvo, almost 200,000 miles on it. The previous owners took somewhat good care of it so its in pretty good shape. About 6 months ago I went into a Starbucks and when I came out she refused to start. AAA towed her to my house and eventually to a mechanic who charged me 600 to put in a new fuel pump. Then about a week ago it started doing the same thing, not starting. It was weird, she would start just fine at first, I could go wherever I needed to go, but if I turned her off and then tried to start her up again within like 10 minutes or so, she wouldn't kick over. Just turn and turn. Finally I looked up the issue on this forum, found this thread and ordered a new fuel pump relay for 40 bucks. BAM. She works fine, in fact I think she runs better now. I also bought a tune up kit with new spark plugs, wires, and distributor cap and plan on putting those in as soon as I have some free time during daylight hours. But thanks to this forum and thread I saved a ton of money. So THANK YOU.

Last edited by rspi; 10-12-2012 at 07:21 PM. Reason: typo
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  #10  
Old 10-06-2012, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggle6 View Post
I have a 93 850 volvo, almost 200,000 miles on it. The previous owners took somewhat good care of it so its in pretty good shape. About 6 months ago I went into a Starbucks and when I came out she refused to start. AAA towed her to my house and eventually to a mechanic who charged me 600 to put in a new fuel pump. Then about a week ago it started doing the same thing, not starting. It was weird, she would start just fine at first, I could go wherever I needed to go, but if I turned her off and then tried tos tart her up again within like 10 minutes or so, she wouldnt kick over. Just turn and turn. Finally I looked up the issue on this forum, found this thread and ordered a new fuel pump relay for 40 bucks. BAM. She works fine, in fact I think she runs better now. I also bought a tune up kit with new spark plugs, wires, and distributor cap and plan on putting those in as soon as I have some free time during daylight hours. But thanks to this forum and thread I saved a ton of money. So THANK YOU
Yeah, no problem! I'm just so glad I was able to help!

My fuel pump relay first failed when I was waiting in line at a car wash, which was incredibly awkward.
I was waiting in line idling for a few minutes while they were pre-scrubbing an incredibly muddy truck, and then I decided to turn off my engine while I waited for the line to move. 10 minutes later and it's time to move, but my engine just sputters for 2 seconds and dies when I crank it first, then all other tries were totally unsuccessful. We had to push the car backwards out the long line. An hour later, it started back up. It seems the relay wanted only to work when it was cool.

After that I went through my tests to diagnose that it was indeed the relay acting up, and then I replaced it and have had zero problems since!
__________________

White 1995 Volvo 850 Sedan with the 5 speed manual transmission.
DIY AUX input for radio. Aftermarket Cabin Filter.
161K miles and counting! Still goin' strong!
What a beauty!

Last edited by 1995Volvo850; 08-18-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:37 PM
 
 
 
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2000, 850, bad, fuel, location, pictures, pum, pump, relay, s70, symptoms, test, testing, v70, volvo


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