June 30

2008 Volvo C30 Electrical Issues



Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, and we're talking cars. How you doing, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2008 Volvo C30 that had electrical problems. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop. The owner had expressed that there was a number of things going on. A variety of electrical issues where the wipers weren't working, and then the turn signals that all of a sudden blink without being turned on. And it was just a kind of a ghost in the machine, so to speak.

Like things were just turning on and off. And the locking system wasn't working properly. There was a number of issues. So that's where the vehicle came to us. And we were charged with fixing that issue, those issues. 

Mark: So how do you approach this sort of weird repair? 

Bernie: Well, the first place to start, oh, the other thing too, there was a puddle of water on the floor too. So that's something we'll talk about at another time. But once you got water, In the vehicle and you're thinking electronics, there's probably a connection between the two. So the first place we start is with a diagnostic with a scan of the vehicle. And actually just a test and to verify the client's concerns.

So the only thing that was happening at the time that we had it, even though we had this big list of items, the only thing that wasn't actually working were the wipers. So again, another thing with electronic problems is sometimes they come and sometimes they go, and that can be kind of tricky.

So anyways, connected a scan tool pulled out codes, found a number of them, cleared the codes, and the only one that remained was a code for the wiper system. So we performed diagnostics on that system and concluded the problem was in the central electronic module, which is located under the dash.

 Which is a vulnerable item because it's behind the windshield. Sunroof drains. There's also just wet water items that can come on, on top of that. So that's what we had diagnosed being the issue. We pulled the module out and had a look at it and found some interesting things, which we can have a look at right now with some pictures.

So there's our car. And let's have a look at some under dash issues here. 

2008 Volvo C30 Electrical Issues

There's our scan tool read out. Sorry about the lighting there. I just take a picture of the screen and the only code actually that was stored after everything was cleared was communication with the wiper module signal missing.

2008 Volvo C30 Electrical Issues

So we did some tests on that circuit. Found out the problem was actually in the central electronic module. This is basically like a fuse box and a computer that's like sort of below the glove box, under the dash and almost everything electronic in the car goes through this particular item. So when you have problems like I described, often that can be a bad unit like this. 

So from inspecting the unit, this is what we found. This is one of, I think there's eight electrical connectors. Some with large pins. Some with small pins. If you look around here, you can see some green corrosion. Absolutely an indicator that there's a problem there cuz you should never see that kind of thing. So that's what we needed to fix to get the vehicle working. 

2008 Volvo C30 Electrical Issues

Mark: So is that an indicator of shorting? 

Well, what happens is when you get that green connection, there could be short circuits, but there can also be, I'll call 'em long circuits, oh, it's actually, open circuit is the other one, where you basically have no connection.

So the circuit is always a loop. It's a circle and you know, the connection is basically not happening. And of course once you get water into electronics, it'll do all sorts of weird things. Like it'll turn stuff on that's not supposed to be on or off, you know, that kind of thing.

So it's definitely bad. I mean, the other area too, of course is, you know, if there's green corrosion here, how are the pins in the connector? And so we looked at those pretty carefully too, and we're able to clean 'em. We have compounds we can put on the clean things up. Sometimes they get worn so badly or corrode so badly that they disintegrate, but in this case it wasn't the case. So that adds for some additional repairs. But that wasn't the case for this particular vehicle.

Mark: So, was there any other repairs required for the central electronic module? 

Bernie: No. We just basically had to have the module repaired. So you're probably wondering, well, how do you repair the module on this thing? Do we do it in house? Do we send it out? Do we buy a new one? Do we get a used one? So the answer is there are a number of options available.

The least expensive and best option, there are companies that rebuild these units, so we have a good company we deal with. Send it off, takes a few days and they go through it and they repair everything inside and make sure it all works. They retest it and then we put it back in the car and away we go.

Mark: Did it require reprogramming after that?

Bernie: It doesn't require reprogramming going through this company in this way because it retains all the original, I'd say there's memories in inside the modules of how, you know, which modules it's supposed to be communicating with. So it's set up for the vehicle.

Now, you can buy, I guess a brand new module from Volvo would be a really good way to go as well. Very much more expensive than doing this. And that requires fully reprogramming the vehicle. So that adds a layer of a hassle to do. Volvos are a little difficult too. You know, sometimes, you know, with these cars, we may have to actually send it to the dealer.

I mean, we can reprogram almost anything in our shop, but there's certain makes that are difficult and Volvo is one of them. So sometimes we have to send them out. Other times we can do 'em, but that adds another level of a hassle. So being able to actually do it without reprogramming it, saves the customer money no matter what. And their warranty on this is very good. 

Mark: So once the central electronic module was repaired and reinstalled, how did the vehicle run? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was good. Everything worked fine and all was good. 

Mark: And how are these Volvo C30s for reliability? 

Bernie: Generally pretty good car. I mean Volvos are a little more problematic and finicky than other, than say other Japanese cars, but generally pretty good cars.

This one's an 08, it's 15 years old at this point with only a hundred something Ks, but actually in fairly decent shape. So it's a nice little car. And like I say, you will spend a little more money. Any European car will cost you more than a Japanese car in maintenance and repairs overall. But good car. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, BC Canada, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at their website to book Pawlik automotive.com, or you can call them (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead. They're always busy. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC. Thanks so much for watching and listening. We appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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