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New ECU - '04 S80 T5 - $2600? Help a newbie out!!!

Old 03-01-2011, 03:08 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Default New ECU - '04 S80 T5 - $2600? Help a newbie out!!!


I'm a newbie, both to Volvo and to this site. Unfortunately my first post is about a malady that my S80 suffers from.

I took my 2004 S80 T5 to a non-dealer but highly recommended shop that is very experienced working on Volvo cars. After about 30 minutes of diagnostic time (no charge, thanks guys), they said I need a new ECU and gave me a price of $2600. Ouch. I'm somewhat regretting our decision to purchase a used Volvo right at this point, but hey let's forge ahead and put on the 'ol smiley face...

I understand that ECU's in Volvos are like Cardinals (mated to each other for life).

- Is an ECU swap something I can do? I'm relatively mechanically inclined.
- $2600 seems WAY high. Is it?
- Should I bring the car to a dealer to see what they say?
- Is there somewhere else that I can get an ECU from?
- Any idea how long I can drive it as is?

My symptoms/issues with the car are:
- ABS light is on
- Warning message stating "Brake failure, please stop safely."
- ABS not working
- Cruise not working
- Traction control not working

The shop assured me that the car is fine to drive, and that my brakes will continue to work. He also said that at some point if I continue to drive it, the ECU will start affecting other additional things that are currently functioning fine.

Help? This sucker has 98,000 miles on it, and I know I'm due for a timing belt and service at 105,000 miles, and I REALLY don't want to spend $2600. Starting to think a Volvo was a bad idea... Please change my mind!

Old 03-01-2011, 03:23 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 110

It sounds like you just need a new abs module - about 150$ for a remanufactured one which is likely going to have the weak oem soldering issues resolved.

This is where I got mine for a 2000 S80
Use a mirror to get the numbers off your current one so that you do not have to take it off just to read them.

The E5 torx socket was surprisingly difficult for me to find local so I ordered one of those online too.

There is at least 1 good youtube video on changing the abs module for an S80. I'm a regular DIY mech and it was not hard to change at all. Taking the airbox/etc out is good advice from the video.

Make sure to get the data plug seated back onto the module when you re-install it.
Old 03-01-2011, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 171

Ask them if they mean ECU or CEM? If they dont know or cant give you the specific codes the pulled from the car, take the car elsewhere. Ask them why they think its the ECU.

Sounds like they are throwing parts at it. The issues dont strike me as ECU related. Its possible I guess, but I would want to know what codes it throwing first. The codes we are talking about here are NOT generic OBD II codes, it will require Volvo-specific hardware to pull them. On ABS module, would that affect cruise control? I dont imagine that it would. A speed sensor related issue could cause all of the issues you list however.

$2600 sounds steep to me, but for sure new modules in these cars are expensive. Drive it as much as you want. You just dont have ABS or traction control. But then you have feet and pedals to control these anyway. Get another diagnosis done, perhaps at a main dealer and have them get you the codes.

Last edited by NoLifeTilBoost; 03-01-2011 at 03:46 PM.
Old 03-01-2011, 05:05 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8

so i see that I am not the only one here that is having ABS trouble, I understand that when the module goes to junk it will throw all kinds of warning lights on the dash, my question is will it also make the check engine light come on and make the info center not work?
Old 03-02-2011, 10:08 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 110

When the ABS module is acting up, all sorts of other things may/may not behave in unusual ways.
From what I understand, a malfunctioning module tends to flood the car's high speed data network with all sorts of traffic.
When mine was going out I had the following:
-Cruise control would not work - if cruise was engaged and the light(s) came on, it would disengage.
-Message center locked on the ABS error
-Intermittent check engine light
-odometer unresponsive
-my scantool (hooked to laptop) would only read some generic "P" codes indicating vague problems with the brakes
At no point did the brakes feel different - I didn't try a panic stop to see if the ABS would kick in.
Replaced it early October and all issues immediately went away.
Old 03-02-2011, 12:26 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 171

Might be worth disconnecting the ABS module and if the symptoms change, ie cruise starts working again.
Old 03-19-2011, 12:12 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8

so I replaced my ABS module and I still have all the same lights on in the dash, could I have another cause or did I get a bad remanufactured module?
Old 03-20-2011, 12:24 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 110

Make sure the data cable is connected tight and snapped in all the way on the module. When I replaced mine I thought it had snapped down tight but it had not - the flimsy plastic that snaps it down had broken off on mine but I was still able to get it snapped with a good connection. May not be the case for you but definitely worth looking at.
Old 05-20-2011, 10:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2
Default '04 S80 T5 maladies fixed

Hey all

Well, I finally bit the bullet and brought in the old S80 to a reputable dealer here in Minnesota.

Thanks to all for your suggestions, and in the end it was the ABS Control Module that decided to take a dump. I find it completely bizarre that some of the issues were caused by a failing/failed ABS module, but indeed that was the culprit.

The service was performed quickly, and only ended up costing a cool $1600 instead of $2600+. I briefly (BRIEFLY) thought about spending that non-existant $1000 that I saved on mods...

Again, thanks to all who chipped in with thoughts, suggestions, and even several correct diagnoses. In the end I'm still happy with my big Volvo (or v&lva as my buddies calls it).
Old 05-28-2011, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 50

Does anyone know for a 2002 Volvo S80, if you could use a used one like from a pick n pull shop as long as it is the same model? I would spend the $150 or so for the rebuild but unfortunately that is ONLY available for 2001 and older vehicles. At least from every rebuild site that I have been suggested to visit to so far.
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