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[VIDEO] Please help! I'm having transmission issues!

Volvo 850 Made from 1993 to 1997, this Volvo line was available in both a wagon and a sedan, both with were graced with several trim levels.

[VIDEO] Please help! I'm having transmission issues!

Old 02-02-2018, 09:58 AM
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1
Default [VIDEO] Please help! I'm having transmission issues!

Hello all! I just bought my 2nd 90's era Volvo, a 1997 850 T5 Wagon, and am experiencing some shifting issues. I first noticed the issue when I was idling with the A/C on -- I started accelerating and noticed the transmission would not shift into 2nd (or 3rd?) gear and the engine would just rev up to 5k. As soon as I turned the A/C off, it would switch gears just fine. I found it strange. Then later that day, after a short drive, the car would no start. Here are the issues and an accompanying video.

Please turn audio up to hear the car's noises.
  1. The "Up Arrow" light is flashing on the dash. Additionally, the "Econ/Sport" switch light is flashing as well.
  2. I think my automatic transmission is stuck in a higher gear than first. I press on the gas and it's REALLY slow to start accelerating and it revs up to 2k rpm before it starts to pick up speed. I never hear it shift into a higher gear.
  3. When the engine is warm (after a short drive), the car won't start back up. It feels like it's trying, but never turns over. The first time this happened, I noticed a slight burning rubber(?) smell and a small puff if smoke in the corner of the engine bay nearest the steering wheel.
Please advise!
Old 02-03-2018, 03:25 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 1,502

You have what appears to be a bad PNP switch. It is the device under the hood at the transmission cable that tells the computer which gear you are in. If it cannot see a gear selection, then everything goes haywire.

When these cars were newer and we had them on the lot, I changed more than a few.
Old 02-03-2018, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 57

The fact that your car wouldn't start after you stopped would indicate to me that the root cause may be a bad battery. A borderline battery will sometimes cause some really weird electrical issues especially with computer controlled systems. Have the battery and charging system checked first, most auto parts stores do this for free. Might be something as simple as a bad ground or bad battery cables.
Old 02-03-2018, 08:55 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 15,762

For starters, the CEL (Check Engine Light) is not working. You should have the car scanned for codes.

I agree that the PNP switch is likely bad. The car is in "Limp Home Mode" and is starting off in 3rd gear.

It also has a bad ABS module.

The car likely also has a bad battery cable from the battery to the starter. Bad resistance and heat up, then causes poor charging and slow to no cranking situations. The battery may also be bad since the cable has gone unserviced for a long time.

Watch the videos carefully. If you have ADHD, be careful not to skip steps, it will probably cause property damage.

Old 02-03-2018, 08:56 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 15,762
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