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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I tear it all apart, are 1988 240s prone to electrical issues? After I was under the dash replacing the clutch cable, I have been experiencing bizzare electrical proplems in the dash area. It involves the dash lights, tach, signal indicators, clutch, radio, etc.....It appears that I disturbed something while I was under there but what??? Everything appears fine. To make matters more complicated the previous owner added an aftermarket keyless entry and cruise control (neither which I use) so I have a large mass of wires under there. Any ideas as to where to start? Thanks!
 

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Re: electrical gremlins (ncvolvobob)

Bob:

You really need someone experienced with Volvo electricals for this, unless you're highly experienced yourself and have schematics to use for fault tracing.

I'd recommend two things, when you find someone qualified to do the work:

1- Get that aftermarket stuff OUTTA there, and return things to stock. 240's don't take kindly to tinkering with their wiring.
2- Check to see if you are due for a new engine wiring harness before spending any money. Some Volvos of this era have experienced extreme degradation of their engine wiring. Look for cracking insulation. If you find much of it, you need a new harness- patching it won't buy you much time. Whether the car is worth the hundreds of dollars a replacement harness will cost to put in is your call.

Hope this helps a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
UPDATE: Well George, after all the work I invested in to swapping the transmission, I didn't trade her in. However I did tear out all the aftermarket stuff that I never used. I don't believe it was the cause of the problems but it sure made it alot easier to navigate under the hood (what a pile of wires!). It only took me a few minutes to locate the wire for my stereo that I knocked loose while changing the cable. However it didn't solve all the problems. When I turn on the lights everything is fine till I turn the dash light dimmer switch (rheostat) on and then the fun begins. The tach drops a few hundred RPM, the dash lights do not come on (new bulbs) and the turn signal indicators stay green (unless I turn them on and then they blink). If that switch went bad could it cause those problems? I don't want to start throwing parts at it but I would like to fix it. The harness looks good and everything appears fine. Thanks.
 

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Re: electrical gremlins (ncvolvobob)

You probably need to replace the ignition contact switch. Each of the gremlins you described are caused when the ignition contact switch fails.
The failure is caused by age and heavy key rings (sounds weird but it's true).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It would appear that 240nut is right. I was learning to live with the problems till I found the time to investigate further. That was until I had no lights at all one night. I remembered the post and wiggled the ignition key. Guess what? The lights came back on. After a trip to my semi-local Volvo dealer, I have a new switch. I will install it this weekend and report back. I am hoping it will solve all the odd electrical issues.
 

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Re: (ncvolvobob)

I would still recommend checking into whether or not you can get your wiring harness replaced at low (or no) cost; you may have a car made during the era of the notorious 'bidegradable wiring insulation' fiasco.
 

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Re: (Alaric)

Quote, originally posted by Alaric »
I would still recommend checking into whether or not you can get your wiring harness replaced at low (or no) cost; you may have a car made during the era of the notorious 'bidegradable wiring insulation' fiasco.

Is Volvo doing "something" for cars affected by this? Both of my 240's are prone to suspect wiring. In one car, a very patient mechanic replaced most of the harness as it failed, and I have had few problems. In the other, I suspect the harness was replaced entirely by a previous owner, it looks a lot better than the other (no electrical tape/non-standard loom).

Just curious in case I start having failures down the road.
 

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Re: (Splat)

Quote, originally posted by Splat »
Is Volvo doing "something" for cars affected by this?

No. Nor should they. No manufacturer in the world would stay in business providing warranties to cars that are decades old (and operated by nth generation owners).

My comments aren't intended as sarcasm, but some reality needs to be applied.
 

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Re: (RearWheelPaul)

Just making sure. I was surprised by the ETM support Volvo is offering. Many other manufacturers would just say "F 'em" - surprised to see Volvo stepping up and taking care of an out-of-warranty issue.

Plus I'd love to see the look on a service writer's face when I pull my old wagon into the bay and say "fix it"
 

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Re: (judylyn)

Welcome to Swedespeed, Judy.

Most all '86 240's had/have wiring problems.

If you plan to keep your current '86 then expect to put at least $2,000 into the car to rid it (and yourself) of all the nagging inefficiencies.

New engine wiring harness - $300, labor $350+.

Rework fuse box - $50, labor $200+.

Troubleshoot entire electrical system (ignition, body, etc.) and replace/repair as needed - $$$$.

Once the bugs are gone and the car is up to original specs then the performance will improve and the joy of Volvo ownership will return.

If you attempt to address each problem individually it is possible to spend big dollars and still not have a reliable and fun Volvo.

BTW, perfect one-owner 240/740/940 Volvos are available for under $3,000 so keep an eye on your expenditures on the '86 or...

George Dill
 
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