Volvo 440 SE Idles Rough And Stalls

2 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Volvo 440 SE Idles Rough And Stalls

Questions and Answers

Volvo 440 SE Idles Rough And Stalls

Q. Hello Mr Vincent Ciulla, Discovered your interesting web site some time ago, and wondered if you can assist with a problem concerning an ancient 1991 Volvo 440 SE 1.8 petrol, carburetted, manual transmission and 110,000 miles. No P/S or A/C. The volvo is fitted with a catalytic converter although, legally, a catalytic converter is NOT required in the UK for this car owing to it’s age.

The problem is very bad idle, idle speed can change from excessive to very slow at any time, engine can die at any time but usually when slowing down at road junctions, makes driving interesting! Idle can range between fast but smooth, to slow and very lumpy. And also lumpy overun when maintaining a steady speed, any speed.

Power output as expected for type and age of car. Fuel consumption average for type. To try and rectify problem, carburetor was rebuilt, all breather pipes and restrictors replaced, Vacuum pipes and hoses replaced. Fuel pump checked pressure and quantity (mechanical).

Possibility of vacuum build up in tank checked. Ignition system checked. Plugs, wires, flywheel sensor, coil and ECU replaced.

Checked for air in fuel line and fuel filter, return fuel line checked, found problem with air bubble collecting in In line fuel filter so removed filter, some improvement to ‘idle’ but not a lot. Checked for water in tank. Battery and alternator okay, Voltage nominal. Throttle and choke cables and linkages as intended.

Engine temperature okay.

Mechanically car in good condition. Drive train good. Exhaust system has no leaks. Air cleaner element new, no diverter flap/valve/stat in air cleaner intake.

There is no sensor on the catalytic converter to the ECU. The only sensors to the ECU are engine temp/flywheel sensor plus manifold vacuum hose.

Obviously I have missed something. Carburetted engines are, apart from this car, always simple and straight forward to maintain. Please help to put me out of my misery.

Seriously, any advice very much appreciated, it seems a shame to scrap a car that is mechanically sound and has very good body work, who’s only fault is as described.

Any help much appreciated,


A. Well, you can always drive it off the White Cliffs Of Dover Colin.

Seriously, I think you have a bad carburetor. All too often rebuilding a carburetor just doesn’t work. The best way to check for a bad carburetor is with a four-gas emission analyzer.

Lacking that, partially covering the throat of the carburetor with your hand while is running will often tell the tale. If the idle smooths out or increases, then the carburetor is running too lean. Now I’m assuming there are no vacuum leaks. You can try turning the mixture screw out one turn and see if it makes any difference.

If not, the carburetor is probably shot.

If the idle smooths out, then you probably fixed the problem.

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