RWD - Bizarre charging issues on startup

Volvo RWD 200 Forum

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Bizarre charging issues on startup 200 1991

Hi again-

Been driving my 1991 240 more since we've been having pleasant weather and it's tolerable driving without A/C. This is the car that had a pretty catastrophic harmonic balancer failure this spring which caused a small fire under the hood. Luckily I got it put out and fully repaired as described elsewhere on here and so far it's done about a thousand or 1500 miles performing generally well.

The past two weeks or so I've noted an odd but reproducible behavior with the charging system. I generally park my cars (automatic) in Park, parking brake on.

If I start my 240 in Park with the parking brake ON, the Service, Alternator, and Parking Brake lights will stay on even when the parking brake is disengaged after starting. The SRS light will be on for a while too but will eventually go off. The alternator light should be on, since it is in fact not charging. Raising the RPMs in park usually won't turn it off, but putting it in gear and accelerating will turn all the lights off except for Service, which stays on for a couple minutes then goes out like it's supposed to. I know it's not charging because when the warning lights go off the headlights get brighter and the fan pitch changes presumably due to increased speed from higher voltage of a functioning alternator.

If I start my 240 in Park with the parking brake OFF, it will start normally and none of the lights remain on (except Service if it hasn't been reset from starting the previous way.) The SRS light will go out almost immediately once the engine has started.

I know that the instrument cluster plays a role in the charging system but most of what I can find in relation to it is that it won't charge if the alternator light is burned out or otherwise not functional. I really have no idea where to start trying to figure this out since it is a reliably reproducible situation re: the status of the parking brake on starting the engine. I know i can just take the parking brake off and then start it but where's the fun in that.

Possibly a defective instrument cluster? I have a spare in the garage from an older model I could Frankenstein together with this one so that it has the correct flat black finish but I don't want to bother if it's not necessary. Any ideas?
1994 844 5-speed, 180k


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New Bizarre charging issues on startup [200][1991]
posted by  Raleigh240  on Wed Jun 28 19:13 CST 2017 >

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