Volvo MD2040C ignition switch - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-09-2011 Thread Starter
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Volvo MD2040C ignition switch

Hi,
I am hoping for help from the many knowledgeable folks on this board.

My Volvo MD2040C has a keyed ignition switch for starting, similar to an automobile. If you turn the key to the right it resets, to start the engine you turn the key halfway to the left and this activates the glowplugs. You see a light with the glowplug icon. Then you hold it there for ten seconds and continue turning the key to activate the starter.

The other day, returning from a sail, I tried to start the engine and got nothing, no sound, no click, no lit up glowplug icon. I was unable to start the engine. Batteries are fully charged. The eingine usually starts right up.

I am thinking I have to replace the ignition switch. The only reason I have not done this yet is the cost. $320 for the switch (ouch).

Before I do this does anyone have any ideas what might be going on, am I missing something? When the engine is shut off via the kill switch there is usually an alarm buzzer that goes off till the key is put back in the up and down position. This is not happening anymore.

Another odd thing is that this failure to start happens intermittently. Usually it starts when I leave the dock, I shut down to sail, and then fails to start when I am about to return to port.

Any ideas? Is replacing the ignition switch the first thing to try?

Thanks in advance.

Ron
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-09-2011
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Ron, it sounds like a power issue to me.

If you turn the key to the "on/running/I" position, you should at least get the tach light on. Anything happen when you push the "alarm test" button??

Assuming your battery switch is on, you've probably blown an engine fuse...
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-10-2011 Thread Starter
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Hi Hartley,

Yes, I forgot to mention that....the alarm test button produces nothing and normally when the key is shut off the is no alarm sound.

So if I understand you correctly, I should check the engine fuses replacing any that have blown?

Thanks,

Ron
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-10-2011
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Volvo does not make ignition switches, nor does Yanmar or others. If it is the switch buy a Cole-Hersee with the correct functions. It will be about $250 or so less expensive. Being the largest manufacturer they probably make them for Volvo.

Brian
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-10-2011
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Electrical issues:

1: Check fuses - free unless blown
2: Check connections - free
3: Check wires for continuity - cheap to replace
4: Check for component failure - price varies from a free simple repair to very pricey

This is my approach to boating electrics. It also saves a pile of money in the eventuality that you have to pay someone to do the work as you've done the basics yourself.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-10-2011
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Originally Posted by birdlives View Post
Hi Hartley,

Yes, I forgot to mention that....the alarm test button produces nothing and normally when the key is shut off the is no alarm sound.

So if I understand you correctly, I should check the engine fuses replacing any that have blown?

Thanks,

Ron
Ron, you have no power to the engine panel.

Knowing how they are made, I seriously doubt it's the keyswitch and there are a lot of other things for you to check first:

1. There is (should be) a block of 4 fuses on the top right-hand side of the engine (looking from the front) - 1 fuse + 3 spares. Given that you said the problem is intermittent, your problem is more likely to be a loose wire than a blown fuse. Check that the connections are good and try another fuse just in case.

2. You'll find the battery negative connection at sump level below the fuse box. Check that all the wires to this connection point are tight and not loose/corroded. Undo the nut and have a look. From the symptoms you mentioned in your original point, I'm 95% sure this is where the problem will be...

Happy hunting!

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Last edited by Classic30; 08-10-2011 at 09:19 PM.
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-12-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for your suggestions and help. Going to spend some serious time down at the boat tomorrow.

I have changed the fuses and looked at the battery connections. They seem good. I did find my pressurized house water has been running constantly, not sure if I need to refill the water tanks or if its some other problem. That might have caused the batteries to be too weak or some electrical situation.

At the dock, after a night plugged in to shore power it started right up. I will not know if it is solved till I go out. The problem is restarting after sailing. I am pretty sure its not that the batteries are dead because I have to motor for about an hour before I hoist the sails.

Thanks for the tip about Cole Hersee. It looks like they have the same switch for $45 vs. the Volvo switch for $250. Quite a markup. The hard thing is figuring out which of their many switches is the correct one. I am waiting for an email response from CH.

Ron
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-14-2011
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Originally Posted by birdlives View Post
Thanks to all for your suggestions and help. Going to spend some serious time down at the boat tomorrow.

I have changed the fuses and looked at the battery connections. They seem good. I did find my pressurized house water has been running constantly, not sure if I need to refill the water tanks or if its some other problem. That might have caused the batteries to be too weak or some electrical situation.
Ron, I wasn't talking about battery connections since, if you can get the engine cranking at all, I'm sure they're fine. If you re-read my post above, you'll see I'm talking about the negative lead connection at the engine.

There is a wire on the engine negative post that is part of the power supply to your engine panel. From the symptoms you describe (and being unfortunately rather familiar with a similar problem on our 2040A) I'd be extremely surprised if this wire wasn't so corroded it's just about to fall right off your engine block.

..but if you reckon it's a faulty switch, by all means, spend the $$$.

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post #9 of 18 Old 08-15-2011 Thread Starter
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Hi Hartley,

Appreciate your patience. It sounds like you know what you are talking about.



I am rather challenged electronically. I took this picture of a connection below the starter motor on the port side of the engine. Is the ground you are talking about that hex nut below the starter motor?

Is the the ground you are talking about?

Ron
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-15-2011
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Originally Posted by birdlives View Post
I am rather challenged electronically. I took this picture of a connection below the starter motor on the port side of the engine. Is the ground you are talking about that hex nut below the starter motor?

Is the the ground you are talking about?

Ron
Hi Ron, yes, that's the one.

It "looks" quite okay in the pic, but one of those black wires (the one off to the right I'd say) supplies power to the Engine Control Panel.

If you haven't done it already, undo the hex bolt and clean up the surface of the ring connectors underneath the main battery earth cable (the thick one) making sure they are tight and don't move when the bolt is done back up again. Once you have it all up tight, spray the connection with WD-40 (or better) to keep moisture out.

EDIT: Your engine is in better nick than mine!

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Last edited by Classic30; 08-15-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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