Top 10 Problems with the 240…
and how to fix them!
Number 10… a poorly designed fuse panel.
The fuse box in the 1975-1993 240 is located near the driver’s side lower kick panel, and is covered with a door (that probably falls off regularly while you’re driving) that has a small thumbscrew on it. The fuse box is susceptible to corrosion from water that can enter through the door jamb and drip directly onto the fuses. The other issue is the small contact area of the European ceramic style fuses which are prone to corrosion due to electrolysis from mixing dissimilar metals. We HIGHLY recommend using a piece of emery cloth or fine sandpaper (about 180-240 grit is good) about once a year on both the fuses and the contacts as a preventative maintenance measure. Suddenly experiencing rough idle after warm-up? Could be the fuse feeding your Lambda Sond (O2 sensor). Fuel pump not working, or experiencing no-start conditions? Could be the fuse feeding your fuel pump. Overdrive on your automatic suddenly inoperative? Likely the fuse feeding your overdrive solenoid!
Oh, and one other thing we always do is apply a clear silicone dielectric grease to all contact points after sanding them clean, which will keep away the water and the corrosion, and ultimately ensure a smooth running and operating 240.
Number 9… a loud and/or inoperable blower motor fan, or a fan that only works on HIGH.
The 240 is notorious for having an awesome heater, however, the heater blower motor is buried in the deepest confines of the dash, almost like Volvo built the car around the heater motor, and over time can experience bearing failure, leading to an ear-piercing squeal, or all-out failure. Fortunately, the motors Volvo used were of decent quality, so if you’re lucky, you’ll only have to replace it once every 30 years or so. Replacing the motor can take 3-4 hours for an experienced mechanic, so be warned, it can be a pricey, time-consuming venture, but it’s a necessary evil if interior heat is important to you!
Another common issue folks experience is a blower motor that suddenly loses all fan speeds except ‘4’ or HIGH. This would be indicative of a failed blower motor resistor. Bad news, replacing this resistor is about as tedious a process as replacing the blower motor, so if you’re unsure as to the state of your blower motor and you’re all about playing it safe, now would be a good time to replace it too. Like the blower motors, there are several blower motor resistors out there. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, you get what you pay for! These things have been in use for almost 30 or more years, so don’t skimp on the replacement! Original OE equipment was manufactured by VDO, so maybe consider buying VDO replacement parts.
Number 8… worn motor & transmission mounts.
One of the key selling features of the 240 has always been safety. Well, when the 240 was released in 1975, a major safety advantage Volvo introduced was an engine/transmission that would drop out and under the vehicle during a frontal impact, reducing the severity of a crash. Well as a result of this engineering, the 240 goes through engine and transmissions mounts on a regular basis! To prevent serious damage, you’ll need to inspect them annually. Be prepared to replace them every 2-3 years, depending on how hard you drive the car. Here again, the brand of the mount is extremely important— you get what you pay for!
Number 7… the flame trap system.
From 1976-1993, Volvo used a flame trap system to capture unused fuel vapors from the combustion chamber while every other car manufacturer in the world used a PCV system incorporating a PCV valve. Volvo has had problems with this system since it was introduced, yet even later model vehicles utilized the same problematic system. In theory, Volvo’s system is better, but in reality, it gets overlooked and in time inevitably becomes clogged-up, causing oil leaks and idle problems.
Number 6… odometer/tripometer failure.
The odometer in the 240 is driven off of the main speedometer drive shaft by a small rubber gear. Not surprisingly, after 30 years or so the gear eventually loses all of its teeth and thus its grip on the driveshaft, resulting in erratic or complete loss of odometer & tripometer function. The repair can be done by the average do-it-yourselfer in about a half hour using a repair kit.
Another common issue, while we’re talking about the instrument cluster, is failure of the speedometer. This is usually due to the vehicle being improperly jump-started, or a small electrical surge to the instrument cluster, and is a little more involved to fix, usually requiring the cluster be sent away for repair.
If you need help finding someone to fix your instrument cluster, just send a message and we’ll put you in contact with our service provider!
Please bear with us while we finish compiling this list!