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Getting More Serious about a 240

1138 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  [email protected]
I spotted one today, '86 GL wagon. It has a blown head gasket. Here are my questions...

1). What year did they start galvanizing these cars. That'll make a big difference on rust, and I know audi did it in like '85 or '86.

2.) Anybody know a good shop in the DC area who would quote me on overhauling an '86 245?

The motor is pretty much toast on this car, but all around, it's in okay shape. I was thinking of having a local shop quote me on fitting a later model 4cyl turbo and tranny in it (converting it to manual tranny if that's within the price range) and basically updating the thing. I can get the car for $500 or less, and that's reasonable, but the motor swap is more than I care to take on myself.

I'm in the DC area and plan on speaking to Skandinavian in Rockville. Any other ideas?
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Galvanized panels started in '85, but some people say that Volvo didn't "get it right" until later. I think you'll be OK with an '86, but I've seen some '85s for sale that were really RUSTY. The crunched fender on my '87 has some exposed metal, but there's only a tiny spot of rust where the fender was hit the hardest (by a metal sign post). Most of the exposed metal has remained rust and corrosion free for nearly a year now.

I wouldn't know who to recommend to do the swap, but I would check with Brian Leppin for the engine/trans. http://www.volvousedparts.com/ I've heard nothing but good things from those who have bought used engines or transmissions from him. I think delivery for large items is free within 100 miles too.

An '89 or later B230FT will the best engine, but the newer, the better (last year was '95 in the 940T). One thing that must be dealt with on the B230FT is the head mounted distributor, which won't fit once the engine is in the 240. There are other things you'll have to sort out, especially if you go to a manual trans (clutch, flywheel, driveshaft, overdrive, etc). Join the Turbobricks and Badbricks mailing lists. They'll be able to give you all the specifics about what you'll need for the conversion, but check the archives first.

How many miles are on the '86 245? And not that it matters, but what color is it?
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There are 240K miles on it, and it's a blue/gray color (more blue than gray) and metallic. It's a GL with a kind of yellowish tan leather (I'm not big on those tan leather setups, but its better than blue I guess). I only had a few minutes to look at it, I'll probably go back, but it had no rust that I spotted in my haste, though it did have some wavy sheet metal on the rear left door. It'll need tires and a front windshield seal for sure, and I am counting the motor as toast.

Hmmm, so fitment of the newer engine could be a pain. I'll have to check those links to see if anyone has sorted that out, or put together a conversion kit.

The thing is, I'm in the market for a car to put mileage on and use with the dog. It'll most likely be a 245, and I figure if I only put $3-$500 into it, then I have money to play with getting it rehabbed (new motor, tranny, brakes, exhaust to start with). I just need to find a garage who is capable of doing the swap.
BTW, if I don't go for it, are you interested?
The deal with the distributor is that it's mounted on the back of the head and driven by the camshaft on the late model turbo engines (B230FT). In the 700/900 series cars the engine bay is a little longer, but in the 240 there is only about an inch between the back of the engine and the firewall, so there's just no room for the distributor. The distributor on the 240 is mounted on the block and driven by the intermediate shaft, which is what you'd have to do when you swap the engines. I know that there were some 740s or 940s that had the same configuration as the 240, so it shouldn't be a problem to switch to block mounted.

There's a bunch of things that need to be changed or added for the turbo engine, like the ECU, intercooler, oil cooler, wiring harness, airbox, motor mounts, pedal assembly (for manual trans swap only), electric fan (or fan shroud, depending on what year the engine is), and more, which is why it's helpful to have a donor car to get everything from. It should be less expensive and less complicated than a V8 swap, but it's more than just replacing the dead n/a 4cylinder with another B230F. I'm not sure if the driveshaft has to be changed or not, but the center support bearing probably needs to be upgraded, and the transmission mounts should get replaced too. Since the 245 has a lot of miles, check for maintenance records to see when the rear bushings were last replaced (trailing arm and torque rod). At one point I was getting some nasty wheel hop on my car just from moderate acceleration from a stop because the trailing arm bushings were so shot that the rear axle was flopping around. The handling was also affected by the bad bushings, but I didn't know it until the bushings were replaced and the ride suddenly improved tremendously. Normally I would say listen for loud clunking noises, but since you can't drive the car you might want to have it checked by a Volvo mechanic. The front suspension may need attention too, depending on how well the car was maintained (ball joints, inner/outer tie rods, struts, strut mounts, and the rack). If the dust boots are full of fluid or if they're torn and deteriorated, then it's a bad sign about the condition of the rack. At 240K, there's a good chance that it's already been replaced. Here are a couple more sites to check out. The brickboard 700/900 FAQ has tons of info that should help in assessing the condition of the 245 and it may be useful when you start checking turbo engines.


The General Information section of this site has a little bit of info about his turbo conversion going from a B21F to a B21FT.


I know you want a wagon, but there's a decent example of the most desirable 240 Turbo on ebay right now. It's a 1983 242 flathood, one of 500 made that year that have a factory intercooled turbo engine (factory intercoolers weren't installed until '84.5 on any other 240T). These were built to meet the minimum production requirements so that the car could be used in European Group A racing as a production car. Item # 594281868 This one definitely needs some work, but it's hard to tell from the description.

I'm not interested in the 245 if you pass on it, but thanks anyway. If I do get another Volvo, it will be a 240 Turbo.
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Thanks for all the info. This car's not going anywhere, so I'm going to do a little research first. That flat hood looks amazing, but my wife and I have agreed to get a wagon. Too bad. Nice car.

You are a wealth of info. Thank you for the tips as I'm still relatively new to the rwd cars.
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