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Ted G.
Ted G., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 6154
Experience:  20 years auto repair experience, ASE Master Tech, Mechanical Failure consultant, Expert Witness
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1998 volvo: bought used..check engine light..the abs/trac light

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I have a 1998 volvo s-70 that I bought used, about two years ago. The check engine light has gone on at irregular times, as well as the abs/trac light. They can stay on for a day or two, then they''re off for about the same time. The module for the abs has been replaced. The car seems to run a little rough when the abs light comes on. The most recent issue, however, is a dead battery problem. I had a new one put in a month ago, and the mechanic said the system is putting out 12 volts regularly, so he doesn''t think it is the alternator, but it still has run down twice after about a week. When I bring it into the mechanic (who specializes in electrical issues) he can''t find anything wrong other than a dead battery. The one other thin I should add, is that I had an electric starter added to the car soon after I bought it. I really don''t use it much, so do you recommend removing it?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Ted G. replied 9 years ago.
Your tech will need to do a long term passive draw test on the car. You have several computer modules that run different things in the car. They draw power while the car is one and then some still stay on after you turn the key off. After a set time (about 20 minutes) most of the vehicle should go to "sleep" and battery draw will be minimal (less than 50 mA). I have seen these with modules that refuse to go to "sleep". This causes the draw to stay up and kills the battery as it sits. If he/she hooks up a milliammeter to the circuit your tech should be able to watch all the units shut down. If after 30 minutes there is still a draw, the various modules have to be disconnected till the amps go down-that is your culprit.
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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I left a message with my mechanic, and am waiting to hear from hear whether he has done that test already. Assuming he has, (or hasn't but will do it ) and didn't find a problem, do you think it is worthwhile to remove the auto start system?
Expert:  Ted G. replied 9 years ago.
If this test is done it will show if the auto start is drawing too much. If it's not and you like it then leave it. I must admit though, my preference is not to have aftermarket accessories added to any car if possible.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
My mechanic (who specializes in electrical work, but not specifically Volvo's)is finally admitting he can't do that kind of test, so I have to bring it in to the dealer. Even they do not know what "a long term passive draw test" is, but get the gist of what you're talking about. So thanks, XXXXX XXXXX will work, but with this clunker, I'm not counting on it.