This is now the second time Project Volvo has tried to kill me. The first time, I was turning left into a Scion dealership to go peek at an FR-S. All of a sudden, the steering locked up, and I looked down to see the dashboard lit up like Malmo synagogue. A few hundred yards down the road, an F-Series was bearing down on me. Luckily, the Volvo started up, and I drove off without having to test the brand’s legendary safety systems.
The next day, I picked up a 2012 MX-5 press car and forgot all about the stalling issues for the next week. It dawned on me that getting a CAA Membership might be a good idea too. Not that I followed through with it or anything. That would make too much sense. Of course, it came back to bite me in the ass right after I returned the MX-5 to Mazda Canada.
The car stalled at the very first traffic light, with the idle fluctuating like Charlie Sheen’s moods before sputtering and then dying. While coasting, the car ran smoothly, until I entered the on-ramp to the busy 401 freeway, where Project Volvo promptly died and wouldn’t re-start. The steering was locked up, but somehow I made it on to the shoulder without being sodomized by an 18-wheeler.
A $247 tow later, and I was at the mechanic. Right after the tow truck put the car in the ground, he jumped in and the car fired up promptly. The idle was still fluctuating, and turning the A/C on only exacerbated the problem. It turned out that in addition to the dirty throttle body, something was amiss with the A/C. My mechanic theorizes that one of the seals may need replacing, and that is causing the compressor to activate frequently, putting a fair amount of strain on the engine. So far, his estimate is roughly a couple hundred bucks, either for a new seal or a re-charge, and the throttle body cleaning. We’ll see later on this afternoon what the real issue is.
At least the smell is gone.