Volvo 850 - turns will not start

As of this morning, my car will turn, but not catch ignition. It worked fine last evening. I did check and saw that it was getting
fuel. I suspect the distributor cap or rotor. Is this a common problem, and can it fail so suddenly?
Thanks, AC
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P.S. Its raining cats & dogs right now, and so I don't want to have the hood popped up to pull the dist. cap off, but I'm planning on doing it tomorrow morning.
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Probably happens to every car ever built, sometime or other. The mechanics always pull a lead off a plug or better, remove a plug and see if a spark will jump a short distance either to the plug or block. It's easier when it's dark and only experience tells if the spark is strong enough - I'm terrifed of getting booted and not very good at judging but that's the way to check the spark. Then work back if there is no spark...
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Last night? How long did it run last night? If less than 2 mins, then its flooded. The white blocks love to do it when started up / shut down without warm up.
Pull fuel pump fuse. Crank for around 30 seconds throttle wide open or until it splutters. Replace fuse. With throttle wide open again (dont pump it) crank again in a continuous burst.
If no sign of starting, you'll have to pull the plugs clean and dry them and try again.
Tim..
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It could also be your Ignition Coil is bad if no spark. Mine died in the rain on 94 850 turbo.
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Moisture inside the distributor cap? I've had that problem with my 850. Just pull the cap from its mount, wipe dry everything inside, quick dose of WD40, reassemble.
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I had this happen twice on my 1993 850, for different reasons.
1. I had run the car just long enough on a Saturday,to pull it in the garage after washing it. Monday morning, it would not start. Had it towed to Volvo shop, where they pulled the plugs, which were soaked with gasoline. Problem: Engine flooded itself. Is a known problem when you only run it for several seconds then let it sit. Next time you drive it, then it won't start (or will be very difficult to start). Mechanic recommended that I let the engine run for a few minutes at a minimum, not just several seconds. Have followed that advice, have not run into the problem since.
2. There is a smaller diameter red wire running down from the + side of the battery. This wire is for the ignition (the big fat one is for the starter). On my car, it died because the wire had chafed up against the battery tray over the years, letting small amounts of gunk, water, and residual battery acid leak into the wire core, past the insulation. Over the years, the copper corroded away and finally, an open circuit. Thus no juice to the ignition = dead car. Had car towed. Volvo shop re-spliced and re-insulated the wire, all was fine.
Mike

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I finally got around to looking at the car on Monday, dried the plugs (they were soaked). Car wouldn't start, and there was no compression. I didn't know what to do, but a buddy of mine suggested that maybe the flooding was so bad that it soaked past the seals.
So I put oil in the cylinders, let it sit overnight - spent the day at Mardi Gras yesterday, and checked compression this morning. It was okay (between 150 - 158). Started it up, and it started fine, blew black smoke for about 5 minutes (burning up the oil, I guess), and then was just fine.
Moral of the story - I'm never going to turn the engine on for just 15 seconds to move the car five feet again.
While I was at it, I did change the plugs - I put in Bosch Platinum2. I hadn't changed the plugs in about 15000 miles, so it was due.
AC
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Excellent! Good work. Glad it started.
Mike
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We have a product here for hard to start motors its called "start ya bastard " an ether based product .My wife was disgusted they should sell such a product :)
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I just suffered through this with my 94 850 20V...I replaced the plugs and let the cylinders air out for a couple of hours...I did a compression test and found it varied AS low as 70 psi. I suspect hat the build up of carbon in the cylinder from lots of inner city commuting was the prblem...I have taken it out for a good hot run and it starts great (first turn of the key). I just got this car but I would be shocked if I have to change plugs every 15k miles...then again I do a lot of highway miles where the engine gets hot and less chance for carbon build up.
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