Archive for April, 2012
Volvo Sunroof Water Leaks - Your Sunroof Drains May Be Clogged
On Monday morning, one of our customers — Volvo Owner – made a most unpleasant discovery.
A soaking wet carpet on the passenger side foot-well. Rain water had leaked inside his Volvo and soaked the carpets, a result of clogged Sunroof Drains.
A steady, constant rainfall, had drenched the North East this past weekend. And the resulting debris – from falling twigs and tree leaves — washed down and settled on the sunroofs of your vehicles.
What you may not know, is that this is a very common problem in the Washington DC Area because most of us– including me – park outside on the curb, under huge trees, heavy with foliage.
Causes of water damage
The sunroof pan has drains at both front corners. The debris is washed down to the front corners, where it flows down the tubes, and into the the 90 degree elbow. Unable to make the sharp turn, the debris gets trapped, clogging up the Sunroof drains.
The elbow is a black plastic fitting, angled like the crook of your elbow at the base of the A-pillar — metal frame between the windshield and front windows. When the tubes are clear, rain water flows down through the tubes, into the 90 degree elbow and exits out behind the front wheels. You can test this by pouring water onto the sunroof drains and see the water drain behind the front wheels. However, if the drains are clogged, the water will not drain properly, but find another path that leads directly to the carpets. Click here to view images.
If your trunk is soaking wet, then the rear drains maybe clogged as well, and rain water is now seeping into your trunk. Make sure to clean out any dry or wet leaves around the rubber lining in your trunk that may be clogging up the drains.
This is not just a Volvo problem.
A clogged Sunroof drain is a common problem on any car that is parked outside under a tree. The best way to avoid this problem is to park in a garage.
I had this same, exact problem when I owned a VW Jetta — with a sunroof — the only difference, was that the driver side foot-well got soaking wet, and not the passenger side, unlike the Volvo’s.
As a Volvo owner, you alone are responsible for making sure the Sunroof drains stay free of debris. To clear debris out of the drains, pour a cup of water into the sunroof drain to flush out the tube.
So, you cannot hold Volvo responsible if this is a recurring issue with your vehicle . However, if the elbow fitting is found to be defective, it could be covered under warranty.
Effects of water damage
The first step is to unclog the Sunroof drains, achieved by cleaning out the debris.
The next step is to remove the carpets and suck out as mush water as possible with a wet/dry Vacuum. Under the carpets is a piece of foam, form fitted to hold the passenger side carpet. The purpose of the foam is to soak up excess water and we usually hang up the carpets and foam to air dry in the workshop, this may take up to three days to dry out. This prevents mold or mildew from taking hold, plus you want to avoid the awful smell of moldy carpets.
The last step is to dry out the floor boards, because there is wiring under there.
Volvo XC90 are a special case — $$$$. You will get all kinds of electrical problems as a result of water damage to sensitive electronic components located under the carpet.
Under the passenger seat, you will find two electrical components, the yaw sensor — sensor that measures yaw rate — the angle velocity of the car for the Electronic Stability Control System (ESC) or Roll stability Control.
The ESC can sense over-steer or under-steer in a skid situation. ESC cannot increase the traction – tire treads do that — but can make maximum use of what’s available to help keep the vehicle under control.The ESCworks without your knowledge — behind the scenes in a skid situation — brakes are applied on a specific wheel, engine power may be reduced, a transmission shift may also occur, all in a fraction of a second. Suv’s like Volvo XC90 have a high center of gravity, thus need Roll Stability Control.
Your Anti-Skid Service Required warning light may be illuminated as a result of corrosion damage to the Yaw sensor component. The second component that may suffer some damage is the Radio Amplifier. The Radio may start acting weird or stop working completely — terminals in the connectors may suffer irreparable damage. The resulting damage will cost you big time, labor and parts to replace these two components runs about $1500 to $2000. So, before you buy a Volvo XC90 with a Sunroof, think very hard about where you will Park it.
Does a worried expression, revealing feelings of uncertainty and unease, appear on your face when China and Volvo are mentioned in the same sentence? This is because some of you believe that the iconic Volvo Brand would be cheapened by Chinese ownership.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but keep in mind what happened to another famous, iconic Swedish brand, SAAB.
SAAB is dead. SAAB will soon be liquidated after filing for bankruptcy with a debt of $2 billion.
The Chinese had expressed an interest in buying SAAB from it’s former parent, General Motors (GM). However, GM refused to share patents – Saab uses engine and drive-train technology licensed from General Motors — and that was the beginning of the end for 64 year old SAAB.
Read all about how the Chinese are planning to do a complete overhaul of Volvo. Check-out this article on the Wall Street Journal.
The article details how Volvo’s current European chief executive, Stefan Jacoby, and the Chairman, Li Shufu of Geely Holding Group initially clashed with regards to the future vision of Volvo Cars — recently acquired from Ford Motor Company.
Ford got hitched to Volvo Cars Dision in 1999 for $6.5 billion, and after the rocky marriage failed, Ford Motor Co. got rid of Volvo Cars in 2010, for the kingly sum of $1.8 billion to the new suitor, Geely Holdings Group.
The reason behind the divorce was two-fold; poor sales and and a bad economy.
According to this article by businessweek magazine, Volvo lost $2.6 billion between 2008 and 2009. As of 2010, Sales have been off by about 27% since they last peaked in 2004.
Volvo sales have been on the decline.
The last year Volvo worldwide sales broke a record was back in 2004 when Volvo Cars sold 456,244 units. In 2008 Volvo worldwide sales dwindled down to 374,297 from 458,323 the previous year. However, 2010 has seen Volvo fortunes rise with the introduction of new models, such as Volvo XC60 — Volvo’s best selling car.
China is now the largest automobile market in the world after overtaking the U.S.
In china alone, Volvo sales increased by 36.2 percent in 2010 – 2010 saw 50,000 Volvo’s sold in China.
Geely has promised to invest $11 billion over the next 5 years on new models, engine design and engineering in Sweden with a goal of doubling Worldwide sales to 800.000 vehicles by 2020, half of those vehicles will be manufactured in China.
To put this data into context, according to the bmwblog – ”in the first five months of 2011, BMW sold 555,429 units (19.2 percent increase over last year), ahead of Audi’s 17.5 percent rise to 535,400 cars — Audi is now the official car for the Chinese Government. Mercedes’ sales grew 10.5 percent to 490,021 through five months of 2011. ”
China is now one of the world’s fastest growing luxury markets.
Mr. Li Shufu’s vision — the Chairman of Geely Holding Group – is to have Volvo upgrade it’s product line and to compete head-on with the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus in the luxury market.
The newly rich Chinese are snapping up luxury vehicles like Halloween candy.
The ambitious 48 year Entrepreneur, Mr. Li , believes that the Volvo brand has no future in China unless it caters to flashier, elite tastes.
In contrast, the 53-year-old Mr. Jacoby, a reserved German, former head of Volkswagen AG Unit in the U.S., and now Volvo’s European chief executive, begged to differ. His vision was to focus on safety and fuel-efficiency with smaller cars.
Now, while some of you may be of the opinion that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, to quote a famous phrase by Thomas Bertram. I am of the opinion that Volvo needs fixin – it’s been broke people, years of falling global sales can attest to that. However, Geely will face a long struggle in reviving Volvo to it’s former glory.
The problem at the dealership level is that when new car sales went down, the dealership leaned on Service to do all the heavy lifting. In order to keep up with the competition, Volvo offers generous warranty plans –free 5 year or 50,000 mile services. So fewer cars sold translates to fewer cars being serviced, and with Warranty Work paying less money, everybody down the food chain gets less of the pie.
Geely Holding Group is expected to spend up to $900 million, just to return Volvo to profitability.
The two big Chief’s of Volvo reached a compromise – which is a scalable platform architecture. And Volvo in Europe will remain autonomous, as an independently operated premier brand, ensuring no dilution of the Volvo brand. Geely will get an accepted brand associated with safety and reliability that can be scaled up to compete in the chinese luxury market.
I am of the opinion that SAAB was an unfortunate casualty of a patent fight, don’t let Volvo share the same fate. An African proverb that distills my thoughts precisely is…. “when Elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers“.
This past month of March was one for the record books, it was unusually warm. I was surprised to learn that Scotland also experienced record high temperatures in March. But this past week, Scotland was smothered in Snow.
It’s my opinion that the Earth’s A/C system is falling apart as the polar ice caps begin to melt. So, before your Volvo’s A/C System falls apart too, you might want to have it looked at.
Have your Volvo A/C System looked at and make sure it’s working properly. I say this because we are already getting calls from customers who are concerned about their A/C not working properly; A/C blowing warm and A/C not cold enough.
If you are not sure who to call, first check to see if the car is still under warranty. And if your car is still under warranty, call your Volvo dealer and set up an appointment. But if your car is out of warranty, you can consider an Independent shop that specializes in Volvo repairs, they may be more pocket friendly.
To address our customers concern, the technician will first look at the AC System as a whole. And then isolate the component in the A/C system that is causing all the problems.
The first step is to get the A/C Recharged because when your car runs low on refrigerant it will blow out warm air. If this doesn’t work, then the technician has to do a further diagnostic.
To recharge your Volvo’s A/C, the Volvo dealer or Independent Shop will add fresh refrigerant after evacuating what’s left of the old refrigerant. The technician will also add a colored dye in order to check for potential leaks in the A/C system.
So, if the A/C begins to blow warm again, in a few weeks (big leak) or in a few months (tiny leak), the technician can go back and trace where the leak is coming from, by use of UV light (ultra-violet light) to trace the exit point. The dye is visible under UV light and serves as a trace marker.
AC System consists of the:
- Evaporator: Evaporator removes heat from the passenger compartment and transfers the heat to the refrigerant.
- Compressor: Compressor is the refrigerant pump for the A/C system.
- Condenser: Condenser circulates refrigerant through a series of tubes and fins.
- Receiver/Drier and Accumulator/Drier:Filters moisture and foreign matter from the liquid refrigerant.
- Expansion valve: Expansion valve regulates the flow of refrigerant to the evaporator.
- Orifice tube: Orifice tube divides the high and low-pressure parts of the A/C system.
- Refrigeration oil lubricant - PAG Oil
- Refrigerant: R-134a
How Your A/C Works
Vehicle A/C systems use the physical principles of heat transfer and movement. When the temperature gets hot & humid inside the car you turn the A/C on. And just like a hot air balloon rises up to displace cooler air, the heat inside the car will move to an area that is cooler than the surrounding air. This is commonly known as heat transfer.
The evaporator creates a cold place inside the vehicle for the unwanted heat to transfer to. Once the heat moves to this cool area, the heat is then removed and transfers the heat to the refrigerant. The evaporator consists of a series of tubes within which ice cold liquid refrigerant circulates.
An electric blower fan forces warm air from the vehicle’s interior over the surface of the evaporator. The ice cold liquid refrigerant absorbs the warm air and in the process changes states, from a liquid to a gas. The refrigerant then exits the evaporator, carrying away the heat within the refrigerant, which is now a low-pressure gas.
Just before the refrigerant gets to the compressor it first has to go through the accumulator/drier. The Accumulator acts as a separator just like the PCV breather box — oil trap – separates engine oil from the combustion fumes in the engine. The accumulator separates the liquid refrigerant from gaseous refrigerant so that it does not damage the compressor. Liquid refrigerant in the compressor damages the compressor.
The compressor draws in the warm, low-pressure gas from the evaporator which has now passed through the accumulator. The Compressor increases the pressure drastically, raising the temperature of the gas in the process – squeezing hot gases to the condenser.
The condenser receives the hot, high-pressure refrigerant gas from the compressor and transfers the heat to the outside air through the radiator. Like the evaporator, the condenser circulates refrigerant through a series of tubes and fins. A fan pulls outside air over the condenser’s surface area, allowing the hot refrigerant to pass its heat to the cooler air outside. As the refrigerant cools, it changes states, from a high-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. The liquid refrigerant gets chilled and if you run your AC on high for too long, ice will begin to form in the AC System, killing it immediately.
The AC system is divided into two parts: a low-pressure side and a high-pressure side.
Refrigerant boils or evaporates in the low side and condenses in the high side and in the process, transfers heat from inside your car to the outside air.
Volvo Sensus, now available on:S60, S80, XC60, and XC70
Volvo Sensus is your all-in-one onboard operating system that merges together; infotainment, navigation, and car settings.
Volvo Sensus includes:
- An easy to read, 7 inch screen display.
- Easy to reach, angled center console with buttons and knobs.
- Steering Wheel Control, with buttons and a thumb scroll wheel.
What I like most about Sensus is the steering wheel controls for Voice activation, Menu activation (Exite button), Thumb wheel for scrolling up and down, and the left & right arrow keys for Radio and CD functions — the Steering wheel control give you quick and easy access to the infotainment.
Another function that I like in Sensus is the Car Settings. You can access car setting on the center console, and also from the wheel controls by pushing the exit button to give access to the main menu — where you can select car settings from the menu and click the thumb wheel to select from your options.
The cool thing about car setting is that you can customize settings, such as selecting to have the sideview mirror fold automatically when you park your Volvo. This saves you from having your side mirror knocked out while you are parked in the narrow Washington DC Streets. Sideview mirrors are very expensive to replace, $800 or more if you have a BLISS camera – blind spot warning – in the side view mirror.
Connecting or pairing your phone to the car is easy. You can also connect your Bluetooth-enabled phone wirelessly to Volvo sensus. You can access the Blutooth settings through both the Media and Tel Menu. And if you do not want to use the thumb wheel to scroll down the menu you can repeatedly press the source button — Media, Radio, Nav, Tel, My Car, and Cam — in this case keep pressing Tel button. But make sure your phone has Bluetooth switched ”on” and the phone in “discoverable” mode.
Connect your ipod through a USB socket in the console and enjoy your music selection through the Media menu.
The easiest way to cancel Navigation system is to Press the Voice button on the steering wheel and say this in your loudest voice, ” Navigation Cancel Guidance”. But don’t yell, or you might draw unecessary attention to Sensus. Use Ok/Menu knob to zoom the map view on the navigation system.
Finally, cut-off sensus by holding down the power button.