Well, my car is back on the road after four months in the garage.
It all began with a broken-off bolt in the engine block – the alternator mounting bolt. It took a full weekend of work to drill out the old bolt, create a clean hole, tap the hole in the block, and install a 1/2″ thread stainless steel bolt like so:
With the bolt finally fixed, I replaced the rest of the accessory bushings with the blue polyurethane bushings from IPD. I also installed new engine mounts, using the OEM Volvo diesel mounts that are spec’d for a diesel 240. They are a bit firmer than stock motor mounts. For more maintenance, I replaced the front engine seals, timing belt, tensioner, transmission mount, alternator (under warranty luckily), valve guide seals and hushers (see previous post) and the cam seals. I also cleaned up everything as best I could.
On top of all that, I put in an IPD VX camshaft and a RSI adjustable cam gear. A new water pump and silicone cooling hoses from IPD finished up the cooling system, and fresh belts should keep the engine quiet. The brake system was done in August with fresh fluid and IPD stainless steel brake lines, so it didn’t need much work. As a special fun piece, I got ahold of a used, custom-made B230F exhaust manifold with equal length runners and a 4-to-1 collector. New spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, and IPD performance plug wires finished the job. For a fun change, I also had my M47 shift lever modified by Jacob Homer to shorten the throw, which makes the shifts faster and more “race car like”.
Oh yeah, and I removed the factory rack and plugged the holes using the kit from IPD. The car is rusting just a bit underneath the rack, and I didn’t want it to get worse by keeping that old clunky rack on there. The top of the roof is really ugly right now – it needs a run over with the power buffer to clean up the marks in the paint from 20 years of the rack sitting there. But really, the whole car needs a respray pretty bad too.
Since I wanted to run a working three-gauge cluster, I ran a silicone vacuum line into the passenger compartment, and installed a 5-bar oil pressure sender from E-Gauges to run to the OEM 240 Turbo 5-bar oil pressure gauge.
I wired in all of the gauges with LED bulbs from superbrightLEDs. For the gauges and three center console bulbs, I used about ten model 74 xHP3, the brightest #74 that they currently sell. For the instrument cluster, I ordered two WLED-x5, the brightest #194 that they currently sell.
However, when I took my cluster out, I found that it didn’t use #194 bulbs like the older 240s! This was something of a unexpected hassle, but I figured out a workaround.
Instead of just using the normal bulb holders for the main cluster bulbs (right two bulbs in the picture below), I had these weird bulbs with a red base. To make the LED bulbs work, I had to forcibly remove the bulb from its fixed socket (wear eye protection, these bulbs are pressurized and will explode if cracked). Once removed, I had to file down the LED bulb (shown at left) just enough to barely fit in the stock bulb holder.
Because the LED bulb is bigger than the hole in the cluster, I had to take the cluster apart to mount the bulbs, putting them through the “front” side, and then putting the base on the back and tightening them down.
But, the end result is pretty nice. The cluster isn’t as bright as I would like however, so I’m going to keep looking for better options. This isn’t the fault of the LED manufacturer, it’s really just an issue with the design of the cluster that relies on reflecting light from the back of the cluster. The brightness is about normal, and I was hoping for something brighter than the stock level.
Then there are the wheels. Real BBS RS from 1985, off of a Ferrari 308 supposedly. The front wheels are 16″ x 7″ and the rear wheels are 16″ x 8.5″. They came with an almost-new set of Goodyear Eagle GT tires as well.
It was not an easy task to fit these wheels. First off, while the wheels are the correct bolt pattern and offset (5 x 108mm, with the back wheels at ET -2mm), there are several issues to worry about. First off, the wheels were originally designed for (relatively rare) ball-seat lugnuts. Unable to find ball-seat lugnuts in a 1/2″ x 20TPI pitch (which is the correct nut for a 240 wheel stud), I had to use adapter washers, which I purchased from Brandsport. While these washers are the perfect size, they are unfortunately chrome plated, and after the first torqueing of the lugnuts, the chrome began to crack and flake off. Still, they’ll do the job until I can find something better.
The second issue is that the hub center of these wheels is smaller than a 240. The previous owner used a dremel tool to make the centers bigger, but if you buy a set of these, you’re better off getting a good machine shop that specializes in wheels to redrill the hub centers to fit your car. This is what I need to do, really, as I am not super stoked about the whole dremel thing.
The third issue is getting these wide wheels are tires fitted on the rear end. The fender lips on 240s make clearance of wide wheels an issue. While many people roll the fenders (or smash them with a hammer to fold the lips upwards), this break the seam welds, can crack the paint, and will deform the fender if you’re not careful. Since my wheels are not extremely wide, nor my suspension extremely low, I went with the Volvo-recommended method of cutting the fender lips. I used a DeWalt angle grinder, and took about 1/2″ off of the lips.
First I cleaned them and drilled out the rivet on each side that holds the mudflap up, and marked 1/2″ in, which cuts most of the seam welds in half, more or less.
Then I started cutting with the angle grinder:
Ugly metal strips!
Then, lots of edge smoothing with the thick wheel on the angle grinder, then with a hand file designed for using on steel, and then with a 60 grit sandpaper.
Once that was done, I put the wheels on and checked the clearance while having a friend jump on the back bumper as hard as possible to compress the suspension.
Satisfied, I took the wheels off again and started masking and getting ready to spray with underbody sealer.
That’s about 5 or 6 coats of underbody sealer there. Once everything was dry, I reinstalled the mudflaps, using long pieces of 3M strip caulk running up the fender edge. The strip caulk should hold them in place, since the rivets are gone now.
The fit looks very nice! I went back to my old 240 Sedan Overload Springs in the rear instead of the 240 Wagon Overload springs. The Sedan version handles well, is very firm, and sits just about right, slightly lower than stock. The Wagon version sits about 2 inches higher than stock, and really wrecks the handling – unless your wagon is fully loaded, in which case, the car handles wonderfully. I also installed an IPD adjustable panhard rod and torque rod kit while I was working on the rear end.