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1970's & '80s Volvos



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    we're discussing this in your first post on the subject. Try to avoid duplicate posts---thanks!

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  • allfaderallfader Posts: 1
    thats correct. the car does exist up to this days:).
    this amazon where the fastest of its time, and i can tell you that the fastest janne went in this car was 185km/h in third gear... the acelerator pedal got stuck under high speed tests outside stockholm and the nitrous system engaged... the engine you refer to was a b20 with nos and a weber dcoe that was mounted before the turbo,this was combined with water injection in later years the kugel fisher mekano injection system was mounted... do not know if there was made a measurement of power after this...
  • esommeresommer Posts: 24
    I have been told that you cannot just add an intercooler to a non-intercooled 240T.

    Can anyone provide additional information on this subject?

    Volvo used to offer an intercooler upgrade kit for around $700. I have checked with the local Volvo parts dealer and that kit is no longer available. The kit included such things as the intercooler, all the piping, wastegate, fuel pump, etc.

    I have discussed with others that have simply added the intercooler and proper "plumbing" and then re-adjusted the existing wastegate. They didn't do anything with the fuel distribution.

    I would like to intercool my car without replacing too many components, but I don't want to damage the engine either.

    Any info is greatly appreciated!

  • I have a 1991 240 with 181K miles. For as long as I can remember, whenever I run the A/C when idling or in traffic the temperature gauge rises almost to the red. The dealer suggested that the temperature control may be sticking and need to be replaced. Can anyone explain how it works, how to test it, and how to replace it? Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877

    You should probably cut and paste this question into our "Technical Questions" topic on the Maintenance & Repair Board. This topic is more about discussing the history, models, etc. of "classic" old Volvos--so it's not about repairs.

    The Tech Questions topic has a lot more gearheads in it and much more activity. Here's your link:

    Technical Questions



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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877

    This isn't really a technical board for Volvos. I would suggest that you contact IPD and see if they can advise you.

    good luck with your project!


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  • blackdayzblackdayz Posts: 16
    I know this group is for newer models, but I was wondering if anyone can tell me if a 1968 volvo B18B engine is internally or externally balanced?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    Just look for counterweights on the flywheel or harmonic balancer if you have external balancing. If you don't see any, then it's internally balanced.

    If it's external, those parts will have to be on the crankshaft if you are balancing the engine dynamically.

    Of course unless you are racing, all this may not matter so much...

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  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    It's internally balanced.
  • fuddlefuddle Posts: 1
    Hello. I have an '86 Volvo 240DL, and the brake lights won't work. The normal back lights and the turn signals work fine, however. I have replaced the fuses and the bulbs, but the brake lights just won't work. Does anyone have any idea what it is? I was told by someone it could be the brake switch. If that's it, is it something I can do myself? If not, how much surgery would be required by a mechanic to fix it and how much might it cost? Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    If I recall it's pretty easy. I believe that switch is on the master cylinder, a small silver cylinder with wires coming out of it. It's a ten minute job and probably a $10 part...oh wait...Volvo....a $20 part.

    If the switch isn't there, then it's under the brake pedal...a little push button thing. Sorry I'm not sure but I sometimes get my old Volvos mixed up. I think it's a hydaulic switch on the master cylinder though, under the hood, just in front of the steering wheel area.

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  • sdawgsdawg Posts: 2
    I am totally new to the Volvo scene, but I noticed an 83 242DL for sale as I was driving home from work. I am quite interested in it. How much is one worth if it is in great shape? The body looks good and the engine has only 109000 miles, along with a lot of recent work done on the suspension and clutch. (its a 5 spd)Also, what it the approximate gas mileage on one of these tanks?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Having owned a 1980 242DL for 21 years (1982-2003), I can tell you they're great cars. Shifty though will disagree! ;)

    But I'd be very leery of buying one that old now, unless you obtain a long, well-documented maintenance history and have the car checked out by a knowledgeable mechanic. These cars are notorious for rust, especially right behind the rear wheels, and I've no doubt you'll find oil leaks if the car is put on a lift. Plus the suspension bushings front and rear are likely to be shot, unless they were part of the recent suspension work. Coolant leakage from the water pump gasket is a chronic problem, and exhaust systems seem to have a short life also, aft of the catalytic converter. Another problem is that the front seat cushion supports (wire and a wicker-like material) deteriorate over time so it's like sitting in a tub.

    Gas mileage is pretty awful by today's standards for a slow 4-cylinder: 20 mpg in the city if you're not stuck in heavy traffic and no better than the upper 20s on the highway (manual tranny).

    I'd say you shouldn't pay more than about $1500 tops.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    I think you and I are right on the same page about old 240s. I don't think they are BAD cars at all. My major complaint with them is that they are clumsy and boring to drive, but that of course is because of my particular tastes, not a fault of the car itself.

    Definitely the exhaust systems are prone to failure, the rear swing arm suspension bushings and the usual pieces of interior falling off everywhere.

    Old Volvos are sturdy cars but their interior build quality and paintwork is really bad. It's hard to keep these cars from looking like piles of junk--you have to work at it.The Volvo leather is particularly low grade.

    So if you find a clean one inside and out, that's worth paying extra for (to a point).

    I also agree, 18-22 mpg, perhaps a little better on the highway with overdrive transmission option.

    Certainly I'd choose an old Volvo 240 over the equivalent year BMW or Benz or Sasab in terms of reliability and maintenance. And they are comfortable and roomy besides.

    Problem is finding one that isn't all clapped out with too many miles on it.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,595
    Although I didn't like them when they were new, or dislike them for that matter, I like them now. Boring can have different meanings for me, as in "boring, but with character", or just "boring, without character." It's hard to explain te difference but, for me, the DL/GL240 falls into the former category, and hence its appeal, while a '90s Buick Century or an Achieva (4 door, in particular, because the coupe, at least, looks kind of interesting) exemplifies the latter.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    Boring with character sounds like a contradiction to me. I suppose you could steer one into a tree or slam it in reverse at 60 mph to pick up the pace, but otherwise I couldn't think of anything resembling excitement in a Volvo 240.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,595
    Okay, this is a very subjective, individual thing, so I understand how my simple explanation came across as a contradiction. I'll elaborate. I drove a 240 just once, and was a passenger in another one a couple of times, years ago, and at the time I considered it a boring drive, plain and simple. No "buts", and I'm sure that the driving dynamics have hardly become more exciting with time. However, for me, at least, perhaps in a strange way, time + wear and tear can add a certain character and individuality to a car. Part of this intangible appeal may be that you come to respect an old tank that's been through some battles, but retains its dignity. In the case of the 240 it's the simple, classic exterior lines combined with the spartan yet functional interior, the rather high (when low was in) supportive seats, the utilitarian seat fabrics, and the tough, durable engine. Added together, these qualities impart a certain character to this car that, considering the current price, compensates for it's driving shortcomings. When the 240 was new, it's styling just looked dated and not with it, so there was little to compensate for the the way it drove. However, time and mileage have imparted a certain charm to the 240, that it didn't have when it was new. Allowing for better ride and handling, and the other differences we're familiar with, I might use similar language to describe the appeal of the Mercedes W123D. By comparison, FWD Buick Centurys and Olds A bodies, and the Achieva (or Ford Tempos, Mopar K-cars, etc.) never acquired the charm and dignity to which I'm referring.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    You've actually hit on something my younger son mentioned when we had the Volvo 240. It was one year older than he was, but he said it still seemed more modern than the clapped-out K-cars used in his high school driver's ed class. (And these were newer cars than my '80 240.)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    I think the concept of "character", while quite interesting, really isn't about the car itself but a projection of memories, fondness, etc. put upon it by the owner---something I often do myself.

    But I was defining boring as very much tied to the tangible aspects of the car...basically a noisy, body-leaning, brick-shaped, sluggish old box. If we define "excitement" in a car as something to do with speed, precision, fabulous noises, "sexy" lines, tire-burning power, eliciting envy, etc.---well the poor Volvo 240 strikes out on all of those.

    I mean, even an ox has character, but it's not the most exciting animal to watch or ride :P .

    So one can like a boring thing (no comments on marriage please).

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  • sdawgsdawg Posts: 2
    How about the emissions? Many of the old bricks I see for sale are bragged to bea ble to pass the smog test. Is this something that you have to work real hard to get one of these cars to do? Are they naturally a nasty soot shootin' carbon emittin' greenhatin' manmade devil?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    I think the fuel injected models are fine regarding emissions, at least for the era. Really any fuel injected car should pass emissions testing---that's nothing to brag about unless you have a car with carburetors. Some older Volvos used Stromberg vacuum-depression carburators, which really suck. The really old ones used a version of SU carburetor, which are can just dial 'em in as you take the smog test...the Strombergs are a nuisance to tune and they are gas hogs.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,595
    When thinking about old Volvos we tend to think about the 240 Series, but there was a 760 for the '83 model year and the 740 was introduced for '84. The 760, a V6, was a lousy car, as I recall, mostly, but not exclusively, because of the engine. A friend bought one of the early ones, and it was quite unreliable. But what about the 740, which, in various trim and power iterations (naturally aspirated and turbo, manual and automatic) became Volvo's main offering by the late '80s? Does anyone here have experience with the 740 series?

    The 940, which was essentially an updated 740, came later, and wouldn't yet qualify for discussion in this Classics board.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    My impression was that the 740s were just...okay...and that, like most early turbo cars, they tended to hand-grenade. I can only recall two friends who had them and both engines did go bad...they were maybe that co-incidence left a bad taste in my mouth about them.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,595
    Thanks, Shifty. Technologically, the 740 is similar to the 240. They share the NA 114 hp 4 cylinder engine, and the solid axle rear suspension is similarly pretty basic. Even the dimensions are similar, leaving the styling and interior as the primary differentiaters. Or am I missing something? The 240 seems to have a better reputation for reliability than the 740, maybe because it had more time to be debugged.

    I kind of like the boxy look (although not to the exclusion of other styles), which is what attracts me to these old Volvos, late '70s-'84 Mercedes sedans, and the '82-'90 GM A and H bodies. My favorite Volvos, styling wise, are the 240 and 940.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    I think the turbo is the main issue here. Otherwise, it would have the usual 240 bugaboos, which is the bio-degradable interior leathers and plastics, the exhaust systems falling off...all of which one can deal with.

    I think the Mercedes is a ten times better built car in that era...there is simply no comparison. But the Volvo might be easier to work on and cheaper to fix.

    I think one reason the 240s lasted so long was that they were very understressed---but once that turbo got in there, that changed the dynamic and I don't think the car was up to it.

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  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 5,074
    My mom had a 1990 Volvo 740 (non-turbo). I remember it not being very powerful. It had a ton of problems with the rear diff when it was new, and the standard "bulb out" indicator seldom worked correctly. It had a nicer interior than a 240, and the interior held up quite well for the five or so years she owned it.
  • colloquorcolloquor Posts: 482
    FWIW . . . here's a relatively recent shot of my 1970 Volvo 144S, 4-speed with many IPD parts. Still a daily driver after all of these years!

    I know it's been a long time since a post on this thread, so I thought I'd post this.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 21,626
    Other than the IPD stuff, and it being a '69, that is exactly like the car my foks owned when I learned to drive (they had it from '68 to '79). I learned at the tail end of it's time with us.

    I still miss that car...

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • colloquorcolloquor Posts: 482
    When they define tank, I think the Amazon-series (122S), and the 140-series qualify. Structurally, these cars are tanks, and built like it. Thankfully, the mechanicals (engine, suspension, etc.) are not quite stock on this 144S, and it runs very well. Plus, it's so simple to work on, compared to today's rolling computers, that I truly enjoy the work.

    My younger brother had a '69 144S, but with the B18 (1.8L) engine, and the B/W automatic - it was a real slug, but safe and reliable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,877
    '69 was a transition year of sorts. The '70 is better I think. You have the short gearshift or the long one?

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