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Help! Starting in the Damp Weather

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.

Help! Starting in the Damp Weather

Old 01-13-2011, 08:02 AM
Junior Member
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1
Default Help! Starting in the Damp Weather

I was hoping someone could have some suggestions/tricks to help me start my 1996 Volvo 850. It generally doesn't like damp weather, and unfortunately I haven't needed the car for 3 days and the 3 days were very very damp, rainy, misty days... now when I need the car it won't start. If I keep trying to hold the key on I am afraid the battery will die. It is turning, but sounds like there is just no spark. Please help!
Regards!! :-)
Old 01-13-2011, 08:51 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,712

How long has it been since the car had a tuneup? It's possible that some condensation found its way into the distributor cap. if it's been a while, do the cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and once you get it started check for codes.
Old 01-14-2011, 07:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,710

Check to crank position sensor to see if water got in there. Also, do you happen to have any code stored in the computer?
Old 02-05-2017, 08:02 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Dorset, UK
Posts: 1

Hi. I know this is an old thread but it didn't seem like a good idea to start yet another thread on cold/damp start problems for a 1996 Volvo 850 when I am simply adding what worked for me.

I looked at many threads on here when I had problems with starting in the damp and cold; more damp than cold but additional cold seemed to make damp starts even harder, sometimes impossible. A lotof answers seem to skip over the simpler solutions and straight into something a bit more involved and technical. Experienced mechanics will probably have tried the obvious stuff before reading these pages and just want to get straight to the more difficult stuff.

For me, just replacing the HT leads and spark plugs was sufficient. Neither had been replaced in at least 8 years, probably more like 10 or more. Once out, the state of the plugs demostrated my embarassing lack of work in looking after the basics.

Attached, hopefully, is a link to my Volvo Forums album showing some reference pictures of old, dirty, burnt out plugs, a comparison to the new ones and some shots of the boxes for the new spark pluga and HT leads.

Hope this helps someone else with the same problem.

BTW, pay particular attention to the order of the leads on the distributor. I could have sworn I had copied the order correclty but after consulting more internet references, discovered that although I had the right order, they were exactly in reverse order.

Volvo Forums - Volvo Enthusiasts Forum - Cheesy's Album: Replacing HT leads and plugs on 1996 850 T5
Old 02-05-2017, 09:17 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ridgefield, CT
Posts: 4,153

note that the Bosch distributor caps have firing sequence numbers on them - that said, I've managed to cross a wire :-)
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