Volvo V70 ABS light on, speedometer dead, going to safe mode and loosing power with possible check engine light on

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012 in 1999 Volvo V70 |

This happens in the beginning of the fall. It could be quite scary. The ABS light comes on randomly and as it persists the speedometer goes dead at zero while doing 60-80mph. As it persists the Volvo goes into safe mode (not passing third gear), looses power and eventually check engine light comes on. Possible codes P1057, P0600, P1081, P0722, P1054 and as usual most of them are only detected by the special Volvo code readers.

The problem is in the ABS module touching somewhere due to vibration and returning short signal. You can replace the whole ABS module which will cost several hundred dollars or use this easy fix described by Enes. I used a folded Wal-Mart card that is still doing the trick for our Volvo V70.

Having a problem with Abs and Traction control is not a rarity on a V70/S70 Volvo. It is a common and expensive problem caused mostly by the Abs Module. The right way to fix this is to get a new one put in. It does not come cheap though, it’s over $400 for a new one and $200 to rebuild

Is there a way to go around it? Yes, there is(sometimes). I tried this”unorthodox repair” on a 1998 V70 and it worked. Actually it’s still working 13 months later. It’s cheap and it required 15min of my time. Abs Module is located on the left side of engine compartment under the fuse box. Good news is…you don’t have to remove it at all.

The whole idea consist on putting some space between Abs pump and the Module. It can be done with almost everything: wood, cardboard, plastic. In my case I used a scrap piece of plastic.

Take the spacer and push it between the pump and the module. Make sure it stays tight and won’t fall while driving.

There we Abs and Tracks light anymore and it’s working fine.

I tried this method on 3 different Volvo’s with the same problem and it worked fine on 2 of them. No guaranties though but you lose nothing by trying it anyway.

Now, don’t forget to clear your check engine light if it is still ON!

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Eric Armstrong
Jan 15, 2013 at 4:57 am

I tried this myself thinking this will not work but too my surprise I have been going strong.
And it has been 4 days now. I put the spacer in by using half of a battery cover off of one of my sons remote control card that didn’t work. I went to the local oreilys and had the codes erased and usually in some hours the lights comeback but so far so good. My e5 torx just came in the mail and some of you know where I was about to send this part. Saved me $125

Charlie Stobert
Feb 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

I have the UK version where the fluid reservoir is separate. ABS seems to be under fuse box as described. But how do I move the fuse box? Thanks
Feb 20, 2014 at 11:43 pm

We never moved the fuse box. Just inserted the plastic spacer. That’s all

Jul 8, 2014 at 5:49 am

Your a genius! This simple repair worked for me. Thank you.

Aug 13, 2014 at 4:39 am

Brilliant! Inserted plastic spacer. Immediately solved problem. Took 5 minutes and saved me a huge repair bill.

Aug 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hey whoever discovered this deserves a medal / hug.

Worked for me, I guess it pushes the loose contacts to a firm state.

Have read elsewhere that the dry solder joints shorting will kill the whole ABS unit over time, mine has been on/ off for over a year, more on than off now.

THANKS to writer / discovery.


Sep 9, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Thanks so much. I am a mechanic of 30 years and I always try the easy things first to say my customers money. ABS light went right out and we will see how it goes. Thanks again Todd

Oct 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Thanks it worked for me going for month now

Jul 5, 2015 at 2:54 am

I did it yesterday. Thank you. It works like a charm.

Steven Bowman
Sep 21, 2015 at 2:22 am

Well, that worked. Spent 20 minutes looking at the chilton’s and couldn’t find the problem. Looked here and bam, problem solved. Thanks. You’re awesome!

Nov 27, 2015 at 10:17 pm


It works on my v70 2.0T 1998, I think contacts became right dued cover bend.

SRS and engine failure lights still on.


Antonio Garcia
Nov 30, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Thanks it works just fine for me to !!!
Dec 24, 2015 at 3:20 am

for the “SRS and engine failure” lights you will need to reset/clear all codes and they will go away. On older models, like your 1998, sometimes (but not always) driving for 20min. over 50mph clears the codes. The engine failure appear only after the ABS light comes on 3 consecutive times. Also, if not taken care of, the whole car goes into limp mode and you cannot drive it over 30mph or 3,000 RPMs

Jan 8, 2016 at 3:42 pm

I think this might be the problem we have been having with our 03 Volvo XC70. Does a car clunk/jerk/hesitate when going into safe mode? All the symptoms described above are happening usually with a clunk. Then it drives fine, but lights remain on and dash dead until restarted.

Nell Hickman
Feb 23, 2016 at 11:02 pm

It only took me 15 seconds to place a credit card between the pump and module. Could I have done something wrong?

fred to,
Mar 8, 2016 at 5:08 am

thanks, your a genius, yes it is the vibration caused by worn cv joint axles and the cold solder
in the module. But the spacer worked great. aloha & mahalo

Ian UK
Apr 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Had all these signs & did the half clothes peg tip and—Bingo all going well after 7 days a many miles. Thank you a million, but why should this solve the issue?

Onez Mario
Jul 13, 2016 at 5:36 am

Genius !!! That worked just fine, took less then 5 minutes and it saved me $300 thanks!!!

Sep 1, 2016 at 12:09 am

Ty, this work like a charm. I used as spacer a trimmed dental floss case 😀


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Sep 23, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Does this work on the 03 models?

Oct 2, 2016 at 2:42 am

Got a 2000 volvo s70 been having that limp mode issue for months was about ready to just get rid of it stumbled upon this and now it’s been shifting perfectly fine and no problems with the speedometer going dead. Wow such a simple fix probably saved hundreds hope it lasts

David Boyle
Oct 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm

You’re a genius! Worked perfectly with plastic card on 2002 V70

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May 4, 2017 at 12:33 pm

AMAZING!!! Thank you so much.



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