Overheating and a smell inside car when idling?

Tiny
GABRIELB8403
  • MEMBER
  • 2009 VOLVO S80
  • 3.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 111,000 MILES
I don’t know a lot about cars but I’ve owned and worked on a few now and my vehicle listed above tends to overheat and or smell bad in the cabin while at a stand still but also the fans tend to stay on after the ignition is turned off (guessing to cool the engine). My lights pop up just like you’re either to pull over or slow down and go away quickly.
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Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 AT 7:31 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
SQM
  • EXPERT
Hello,

As for the smell, what type of smell? It is a electrical burning smell or sweet coolant smell or engine oil smell?
When an engine overheats it could produce certain smell like burnt oil or plastic smell.
If the engine temperature gets really hot it could melt components under the hood and you can smell that.
Does it overheat and cools down on its own or do you have to shut if off?
Have you changed any components like thermostat or water pump?

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-an-overheating-engine

The fan can stay after you shut off the engine as you suspected to cool the engine.
When you are stating 'my lights pop up', what light are you referring to? Check engine light, battery light? Please clarify.

Thank you.
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 AT 11:44 AM
Tiny
GABRIELB8403
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Hi, thanks for your response.

As my own none professional judgment I have ruled that the problem could be my radiator fans.

My car in idle is overly humane hot, full blast of the A/C doesn't bring cold air at best its just warm air (this is at idle and at stop lights or stops). Now when I'm driving the cold air works( I believe it's do to the air outside being sucked in through the front of my car). The fans are also quite loud when they do end up running, but I have only heard them run when the cars off or when the cars idle or stationary, so I believe it's a problem with the fans or maybe just the relay or fuse. The smell kind of just smells dirty like it's not a burning smell but its not like a clean air kind of smell, as well as my car being off and my radiator fans still running for 5-15 minutes after makes me believe that there just not working when my cars driving and that's why the cars sensors are going off saying it's overheating and to pull over.

Thank you for any or all advice and please let me know if this sounds correct or if it might be a different problem.
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 AT 2:29 PM
Tiny
GABRIELB8403
  • MEMBER
To add, my Volvo doesn't have a visible thermostat no way to tell the engine temperature unless the car it self tells me via (the lights popping up that I mentioned earlier).
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 AT 2:32 PM
Tiny
SQM
  • EXPERT
If the car gets hot when idling or at a stop but cools back down when you started to drive is a sign of faulty fans. Now it could be that the fan control module is not sending the correct signal, which can make them not come on at the correct time.
This can happen if the temperature sensor is faulty and giving wrong data to the module.

Also if the A/C does not blow cold when you are at a stop can be a sign of a over heating engine, typically due to the fan not pulling air through the fins.
Now is your check engine light illuminated?
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 AT 3:21 PM
Tiny
GABRIELB8403
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My check engine light is not illuminated, and the overheating light has only appeared once. This problem started about 3 days ago.
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 AT 3:32 PM
Tiny
SQM
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It might sounds very basic, but have you checked the coolant and made sure it is correct level?
On your gauge cluster can you scroll through the menu and see if there is an option that will show the coolant temperature? If so that might help you determine what temperature the engine typically runs. Which could be a good bit of info.
The factory engine operating temperature is 220F (105C).
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 AT 6:23 PM
Tiny
GABRIELB8403
  • MEMBER
My Volvo does not have that feature sadly and for as how full the coolant is it’s, on the Max line for the coolant level and the oil level isn’t max but it still has a good color to it.
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Thursday, August 12th, 2021 AT 11:56 PM
Tiny
SQM
  • EXPERT
That display feature might have helped as that way you would know how hot the engine gets before the fan kick in. The fan operation control by the module and the coolant temperature sensor.
I did some digging and found that there was a recall a while back for the fan control module. Not sure if the recall is still active. Might want to call your local dealer and give them your VIN they can tell you if that recall was performed or if it is still open. Recall #214
Fan control module.
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Saturday, August 14th, 2021 AT 7:21 AM

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