AlCan Adventure: Not getting any Swedish love

We’re on a boat.

Specifically, the ferry between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert. (Actually by the time I have enough service to post this, that is almost certainly not true.) Originally, I was against taking a 300 mile ferry on a road trip, but I have to say I am pretty happy with it at the moment. Not just because the scenery is stunning, though it is, but because my “wisest choice of them all” Volvo is having… issues.

Not terminal, as far as I can tell, but issues nonetheless.

The primary problem is a massive oil leak the developed when we were driving up Hurricane Ridge. When we stopped in traffic, Taylor noticed smoke pouring off the Sidekick. My smug sense of superiority in my Swedish sweetheart was shattered when it was then noticed I was also smoking. Apparently something had sprayed the engine and exhaust with hot 0W-40, making it look like my car was about to burst into flames. In reality, the leak was a small amount, barely registering on the dipstick, but it was a taste of things to come.

Photo: Taylor

Over the next few hundred miles, I noticed a drop or two under the car, but a whole bunch on the back. Seems that oil was leaving the engine by some route while the car was driving.

Request permission to say “oh cock”.

The most likely suspect is the turbo oil return. The problem of course being I don’t know where that is. So I fashioned a makeshift inspection pit out a nearby open sewer closed pawn shop curb and got under the car. I identified what I thought was the turbo oil return line and tightened it, even though it was dry around the fitting.

Photo: Taylor

I didn’t work.

We pushed on.

The oil loss was not catastrophic, probably less than a quart every 500 miles, but it appears to get worse when the car is driven hard. I’ve turned down the boost in hopes that would help, but it seems to be more of a function of engine load than anything else.


To make things more fun, the car also started idling rough when we pulled into the hotel last night. I’m pretending that was a function of being on the road for an extended period, including a lot of engine braking and uphill driving.

I know that probably isn’t it, but we live in hope.

Looking over the photos I took while I was under the car, I’ve identified a couple points of interest. Mainly, there is something that looks… well it looks like a coolant return to me. Also a suspect looking hose clamp will need to be prodded.


Ordinarily I’d consult the FSM, but the FSM for this vehicle is a software suite called VIDA that requires Windows 7 to run. I spun up a Win 7 VM before we left, but realized too late that I needed IE9 to run the software. Now I’m on a boat with no internet… so…





Get VIDA running one way or the other.

Also get back under the car and check out the suspect pieces and tighten what I can.


If that doesn’t work…. Well I don’t know. Probably just send it until either problem gets worse and go from there.

Wish me luck, I have a feeling I’m going to need it!

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