engine turns over, but won't fire...why?


Asked by Dec 30, 2007 at 02:48 PM about the 1998 Volvo V70 XC Turbo AWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

1998 Volvo V70 XC AWD 2.4L, 5 cyl.

I recently pulled the engine and transmission in order to replace old seals and gaskets.  The car has 225,000 miles and was leaking everywhere, but other than that, the car was running fine. I put the engine back in, and the car turns over strongly, but won’t fire.  There is no spark getting to the plugs so I checked the distributor wire coming from the coil. There was no spark either. I have checked the crankshaft positioning sensor and the camshaft positioning sensor. Both check out good. I checked all fuses to make sure none were burnt. All good. I double checked all connectors to all sensors and cleaned them with connector cleaner to ensure good contact. I double checked the timing and alignment marks and even put a compression tool in the number 1 cylinder to make sure that it is on top dead center. There are no codes although I am using a regular code reader not specifically for Volvo's.  I have hit rock bottom. Any help on why I am getting no spark? I really need this car to run.

23 Answers

did you rehook ground strap on firewall to engine block,or your coilpack could be bad.if you have distributor try replaceing pic up modgul in it.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Yes, both firewall to engine grounding straps are connected and tight. Coilpack is tested and reading good in accordance with the Chilton book. Can you take me further? I feel like I must just be missing something.....

how about crank sensor or ecm fuse in fuse box.if crank sensor is not position correct will not fire make sure it is not rubing h.balancer.i think volvo put it their.if not check back of trans if every thing is ok it has to be one of the 2 not to get spark. let me know.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Thanks for following up again! I will get this before long. I have asked the question everywhere and am trying to put all our thoughts together to come up with a solution. This is an answer I got from another page. ("Did you re-install the ground strap from the engine to the body and/or frame? Also, check the automatic shutdown relay, as it supplies battery voltage to the ignition coils.") Like I said, the ground strap is good, but I will check the automatic shutdown relay. I haven't checked that yet. In response to yours, I checked every fuse and they all read good. I rechecked the crank sensor (and the camshaft sensor) but it seems fine and in position. I will buy a new one ($68 new) only if I get nothing out of the automatic shutdown relay which I will do first since I know I haven't checked that. I'm off to the junk yard. I will definitely check back frequently and let you know the outcome of all this mess. It really has me stumped and I know how valuable the experience is when you figure something like this out so I will definitely share. Thanks again. Jacob


MAN! I have rechanged the crank sensor and the camshaft sensor and put a new coil. Nothing. Then I replaced the main engine relay. Still nothing. I located the automatic shutdown relay that the other guy was talking about and there is no lack of voltage to any so I assume they are fine too. Where does that lead me?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

How about the neutral start switch on the transmission? This can cause a no-spark situation if it were damaged or disconnected during the engine replacement.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

How about the ignition module, usually in the distributor. Also, did you check that distributor was not accidentally installed 180 degrees off?


Oh, the crank sensor is on the flywheel not over by the H. balancer on this one.


Oh, on this one, it is dummy proof and it cannot be installed 180 degrees off. The car has a coil pack and does not have an ignition module in the distributor.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have not checked this. I'll make that my next step and will let you know one way or the other. Thank you for your time and help.


I still haven't gotten it yet. I give up and as soon as I can get it up on the trailer, it is going to the Volvo dealer. I can't wait to see what they tell me. I'm still baffled.


Well, it ended up being the darn crank sensor for all who wondered. I replaced that sensor twice but with parts from the junk yard. What are the chances that you get 2 bad ones? I ended up loading it and taking it in to the volvo dealer just to keep my sanity. What a crock. On the way home, I got a new code. P0715. Here we go again. Back to checking more sensors!!!! Wish me luck.


P0715 turned out to be a broken sensor. No biggie, replaced it and all is good. Had it out on the road the last few days. Tonight the check engine light came on so now I will take a look at that!

at least it is running,


Just an emission ordeal on the check engine light. Cleared the light and hasn't come back on since. Taking it in to get the transmission flushed as the fluid was quite black. I would assume the last owner never took care of it. It makes a bit of a shudder when downshifting but am assuming that will go away with the flush. Had this problem a lot worse with an old suburban and doing a complete flush on the tranny took care of it. This volvo shudder is slight in comparison. Yes, it is running! Had it detailed the other day. What a nice looking car.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

volvo v70 2001 103K miles, similar problem to yours: cranks fine but sometimes will not start and tachometer dances all around, then it usually will finally start, then runs well. Usually only does this if engine has not been run for past 24 hours Did the tachometer needle dance around when your engine would crank but not start? I have replaced ignition switch, cannot find any corrosion of bad electrical contacts, battery is new and strong, added extra grounding cable (engine to transmission), switched starter and ECM relays, yet problem persists. Will behave fine for days then without warning crank, but refuse to start. ---what else does anyone out there suggest that I try?--- Thanks, whs3

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2001 V70 as well with only 40K miles that is doing the exact same thing. It seems to only have the problem when it is hot outside. I would love to find the cause.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I have a 00 V70 that refuse to start if the camshaft sensor is connected. Once you disconnect the camshaft sensor it starts. Does anyone know what it could be?

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Hi I have a 99 Volvo v70 it's starts fine if it sits for a while once I turn it off it won't restart any idea's?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

my 2002 wagon Volvo won't start after putting power steering pump back on it started for a minute and then we turned it off and then we went to go start it and it wouldn't start

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

that shutdown relay switches

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I need help here also!!!!!

scan engine see if temp gage reading what it should?some times these fault and will crank no start.

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