2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
Mark: It's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So today's victim is a 2013 Volvo XC70. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop. The owner had a couple of electrical complaints. The driver's power window wouldn't work, obviously very important. And his power seat would not operate. Also the backup camera when you put it in reverse to back up, the camera would not come on.
So was three electrical issues going on. Did ask him, did these all happen at the same time? That's an important bit of information to know. And he said, no, they all kind of died at their own time. So knowing that gives us the idea that there's three separate issues that have happened. Not just one thing that's kind of gone bad, like perhaps a fuse just blew.
Mark: So what kind of testing do you do to start to dig into what's going on?
Bernie: Well, the first thing to do, you know, being a Volvo and a 2013 vintage, hooking a scan tool up is a good place to start, just to see which modules communicate. Everything is hooked up to modules.
The power window switch you know, it's a switch, but it connects to modules in each door. So it's important to see what's going on in these particular modules. So we did some tests and that area. Pretty much determined the power window switch was bad. The other windows would operate from their own switches. We could operate the driver's window from the computer, which is kind of a neat thing. So it eliminates the possibility of being say, a bad wire inside the door or the actual motor itself. So that's one area of testing.
The backup camera. I don't believe there's any codes for that particular issue. But we did a visual inspection on the camera. We can see that there was some cloudiness inside of the camera, which probably indicated that some moisture got into the camera. Although there's a module for the camera apparently located under the driver's seat.
And for the power seats. There was no communication with the module. So there's further testing to be done in that area which we did and determined that the module was defective. But there's also a lack of power getting to the module as well, which something we noted along with a very wet floor on the driver's side. So that's also a bad sign.
Mark: Ro ro, wet floor doesn't seem very good.
Bernie: No, so the wet floor. I mean, there was actually a lot of water on the floor, so we figured you know, that would involve removing the seat, the carpet and testing some wiring under there, because we weren't getting power to the seat module, among other things. So we did know the seat module was bad. We were able to manually power it up and it wasn't actually working. So it's basically two items destroyed.
And the owner decided, the backup camera was not such a huge issue. I mean, I priced a new one out from Volvo. It's a lot of money. That's the only place you can buy it. I can't remember the exact price, but you could buy a half decent digital SLR camera for the price of a little backup camera to stick a Volvo. Plus there's also a module. So there wasn't any way of really testing. Is the camera, the problem, or the module, he decided to leave it.
So let's get into some pictures. There's a 2013 Volvo.
Now, by looking at this car, you wouldn't think that there would be a lot wrong with it. And why would there be a lot of water on the floor? But of course there are places water can leak in. Like a sunroof drains, windshields, door seals. There a number of places where water can get in? So we can talk about the water situation afterwards.
Mark: So where'd your diagnosis go from there?
Bernie: Yeah. So basically we pulled the carpet out, as I mentioned. Had a visual inspection. We took some wiring harnesses apart to trace the power to the seat module.
And I'm just going to show a few pictures of what's involved. So here's some of the wiring and we did some repairs in this particular area here. This is some of the wiring you'll find when you take the carpet out. You can look at this huge bundle of wires here. This is the floor. The seat kind of bolts in over top and the carpet and the seat bolts in over top of this area here This is the passenger side. We took out to have a look at some wiring as well.
Again, you can see just a massive array and bundle of wires. And, you know, if it wasn't for all the computerized modules, there would be probably, I don't know, 5, 10 times as many wires. So the computers make them more complex, but they actually make it simpler at the same time.
This is the bottom of the driver's seat. So these are the plugins that go to the bottom of the driver's seat. You can see, unfortunately not a fantastic picture, but you can see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 connectors for various electrical items that go to the driver's seat. And I believe there might be a couple more as well. You can also see a lot of rust here. So this water situation has been here for a while. This is an Ontario vehicle. So it's seen some harsher road salt and worse conditions.
This is a view of the floor with the carpet out. You can see that brake pedal on the accelerator pedal here. Again, the wiring we repaired was over in this area, but you can see the array of wiring. And there's just a little tiny bit of the seat rail that sticks up. Again, you can see a lot of rust there. So this water has been sitting on the floor for awhile.
And one other ugliness, this module wasn't replaced. I believe this is the body control module. But you can see an awful lot of corrosion on the outside of this module. This is under the passenger side. So there've been some water intrusion on the passenger side as well. Nothing wrong with this module, but I figured we took a picture of it to show the owner and, or at least to have it on our files for a record, should something happen in the future. Then we know there might be something going on there.
So this was the actual problem we found took a while to trace out the power from various areas underneath the vehicle from the fuse box, over to the driver's side. This is a junction splice where power goes to the seat module and a couple of other modules in different areas. And as you can see, all this green guck, it's not good, it's not a good sign. That's corroded copper. So badly corroded in fact, there's no connection there anymore. So we replaced the wires, solder new connections, heat shrunk it, made sure it was all well sealed. And of course we dried the carpet out and everything under the floor of the vehicle.
So once that was fixed and the module is put in and the power window switch and everything was restored back to normal operation.
Mark: So once you've repaired all that, those issues, was there anything else that needed to be done?
Bernie: Yeah, I should say it was restored to operation. There actually was one of the thing we needed to do, and that is the seat module needed to be reprogrammed with a software update.
This happens a lot, like the power windows switch is just a switch, so it didn't require any reprogramming, but a lot of times modules need to be reprogrammed. And so we did that and you know, everything was working perfect as it was supposed to.
Mark: So did you do that reprogramming or did you have to take it to Volvo?
Bernie: Yeah, we do the reprogramming in house. I won't lie. It's a bit of an ordeal for us to do it. I mean, we have all the equipment to do it. It's always fiddly downloading the software and you know, every time we do it, it's not like we do it every day. So there's a gap. And usually they've changed the password after a while. So I have to redo the password. I tend to do all the programming because it takes time to do it. And so I figure our technicians are better off to do the other work. So. Usually fiddle around with that and have fun. But yeah, we do it.
Mark: It's your favorite stuff playing around with computers.
Bernie: Yeah. But you know, the Volvo software is really neat because when we get the subscription, we do it. It's OEM Volvo software. So, the whole diagnostic system is OEM Volvo. So it's kinda neat because you can plug it in and it shows all the modules communicating with each other. Which ones will talk to each other. Which ones won't. And their repair information, it's really quite excellent. You know, we have a variety of different tools in our shop and it's really about economics as to whether we have certain ones.
Volvo unfortunately has some of the most expensive software around. Like for an annual subscription to their software is, I think it's 7,000 US dollars for a year. So we just buy it on a couple of day basis. And it's pretty economical. It's competitive. But for some reason there's no discount for buying a whole year's worth.
And I mean, I know some specialty Volvo shops, all they do is Volvo is all day long and they don't even have the software, which actually seems kind of crazy to me because you're going to be an all day long specialist. Why not invest that money to do it, but I guess they figure it's not worth it. It is a lot of money.
Mark: So why was there so much water in this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, one thing we did do is we inspected the sunroof drains and found them to be partially plugged. So we did clean them out and made sure there was nothing going on there. That was kind of the extent of what we did on the vehicle with the abilities we have. Things like windshield leaks are not something we can do. So we basically cleaned it out, cleaned the sunroof out, made sure the drains were good in that area. Because they were partially plugged and you know, giving it back to the owner to make sure they just keep an eye on it and see what happens. And if further leaks develop, then we'll have to do some more diagnosis on it.
Mark: So I guess a further note of this is, this is why vehicles that have been in a flood or have been left to sit for a really long time, so there's been a buildup, especially in a wet area like the coast. You get a lot of water condensation and that's going to cause all kinds of electrical issues over the long run.
Bernie: It certainly does. And we see that from time to time. Water inside your vehicle is not a good thing. I guess, you know, if it got in, drained out really fast, and you cleaned it up, that'd be one thing. But you know, even these things like these computers, you know, once you get water inside those they're pretty much toast.
There's nothing you can do. You don't get that green corrosion that we saw on that wire. Imagine that inside a computer and it does happen. So they put the computers inside the car to keep them dry, but sometimes we don't succeed or, or if a car gets stuck in a flood, a lot of flood damage vehicles are just written off. Even if they work. Sometime down the road, you'll probably have a whole bunch of problems that you'd never expect.
Mark: And be incredibly expensive to fix.
Bernie: Absolutely. Yeah. And when you look at the wire, I mean, this junction we repaired is just one of many. Anyways, just one of many wiring junctions that you'll find in a wiring harness. So it can take like the amount of time and labour and man hours to figure some of these out can take quite a long time.
Mark: So the owner was happy. Everything was working well. How are Volvo XC70sfor reliability?
Bernie: They're pretty good. You know, there's a few issues like the rear differentials can often wear out on these things that we've talked about in the past. Actually that reminds me, we actually did change a rear, there was a rear axle seal that was leaking and we found some interesting on this particular 2013 they'd redesigned the rear differential with different seals than we were normally used to. So I don't know, we actually haven't had the bearings go bad. And so it might be that they've made an improvement on it. I'm not sure, but for most of these XC70s rear differentials make noise. You know, the engines are kind of quirky and some of the designs of them, we can get into it further. But overall it's a pretty reliable vehicle.
Mark: If you need some service for your Volvo in Vancouver, guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can go to their website, pawlikautomotive.com to book your appointment. Or you can phone them and talk to somebody 604-327-7112. You have to call and book ahead, you have to book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website, hundreds and hundreds of videos and articles on there about all makes and models, types of cars and repairs. We've been doing this for 10 years. Or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We appreciate you greatly for watching and listening. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.