Volvo cars with five-cylinder gasoline engines (V70 S60 S80) can suffer from rough idle and stalling problems. This article will discuss Volvo’s Electronic Throttle Module problems. Although not exclusively limited, the most likely cause of this problem might be a failing Volvo Electronic Throttle Module (ETM).
These cars use a fly-by-wire throttle. The failure is caused by wear in the internal throttle position sensor contacts.
Symptoms of Failing ETM
What you might experience:
- rough and fluctuating idle
- engine stalling or dying
- hesitation on accelerations
- the engine goes into limp mode
- Illuminated check engine light
- idle fluctuates between 500 and 1000 RPM
- error codes 91A7, 9190 or 917F
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, your Volvo likely has a bad electronic throttle module, especially if any codes are present.
The problem lies within the throttle position sensor integrated into the ETM. Being a mechanical contact type, it relies on physical contact between two small moving parts. With time, these parts wear out, causing loss of contact. Newer cars don’t experience this problem as they have contactless throttle position sensors.
Dirt on Butterfly Valve
Over time dirt and grime can build up inside the throttle body. You can remove the intake air hose connecting the throttle body. Then, use a Throttle Body Cleaner and a clean cloth to remove the dirt.
Remove any loose dirt from the throttle body, or it will end up in the cylinders. As dirt build-up can cause symptoms similar to the failing ETM, checking this should be your first step. Use a cleaner to clean the throttle butterfly valve thoroughly.
Volvo ETM Failure
The Electronic Throttle Module itself can fail. Replacing your ETM with a new one is an obvious and easiest solution but also the most expensive. If done by a dealer, you are looking at a $1000+ repair. An alternative solution would be to buy a new Volvo throttle online. Keep in mind it may need to be programmed.
Replacing your ETM with a used one is a much cheaper option. Still, as with any used part, this is always risky. You don’t know how long the used part will last; it may also need programming. A cost-effective way to fix Volvo ETM is to have a specialist repair your existing unit. You will need to remove it and send it in for repair. As ETM failures are widespread, several specialists offer Volvo ETM repair services on eBay. See the instructions below on how to remove Volvo ETM.
If possible, ask that your specialists replace the mechanical type TPS with a contactless type, eliminating potential problems in the future.
An alternative solution is to buy a contactless Volvo throttle body position sensor on eBay repair kit and repair it yourself. As this can be done within one day, it is much faster than sending the unit to the specialist. And it will save you some money, too. However, it requires quite a bit of skill and patience and some more-than-basic tools.
Removal and installation procedure
Whatever Volvo ETM repair method you choose, the ETM unit must be removed from the car. The good news is that the manifold is no need to remove itself.
- Open the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Remove the intake air pipe that connects to the throttle body. Remove the inlet pipe to the air filter housing if necessary.
- Remove any pipes that go to the throttle body.
- Disconnect the ETM connector.
- Unbolt 4 bolts that hold the ETM.
- Carefully separate the ETM from the inlet manifold.
- Installation is in reverse order of removal. Always use a new ETM gasket.
If you are still experiencing problems after repairing your Volvo ETM module, read the fault codes via the Diagnostic Port under the dashboard. To better understand the problem, use a Volvo-specific scanner instead of a generic OBD2.
The YOUCANIC Full System Scanner can read and clear fault codes through every vehicle’s control module.
Some programming might be required if you have acquired another ETM or have yours repaired. A sticker color can be used as a rule of thumb. After installation, units with white stickers will require programming called ETM Reload.
You will need a Volvo proprietary diagnostic for this. Otherwise, programming will need to be done by the dealer. If the tag is yellow, all you need to do is to reinstall it.
We hope you find the Volvo Electronic Throttle Module (ETM) Problems guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Volvo.
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