|Dave's Favorite 240s
|Just a few very cool (and modified) 240s to entertain you.|
|UPDATED: July 8, 2017 CONTACT|
|D O M A
I N S
|Some of my very favorite 240s|
|Here's a 1979 242 that has been built
up over several years by Mike K of Granville, Massachusetts. His
build thread has a lot of detail and Mike has created a beautiful car
inside and out from the once former neglected hooptie left in a barn
for 20 years by the previous owner. There is a lot of cool
techical stuff for those into building up turbo B230s.
More can be found in his thread here: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=290558
|I have a soft place in my heart for black 242 Turbos. Not sure why. This 1983 example is owned by Dave in Fort Collins, Colorado. It's a great looking car inside and out and his detailed Turbobricks thread is one I visit often. Dave's innovation and attention to detail is a pleasure to look at. At this writing this car has an electric powered steering pump retrofitted from a Toyota MR2 and both an HE351CW turbocharger and an M90 Eaton supercharger from a 1990s Jaguar XJR. More can be found in his thread here: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=88662|
|This is the first V8 powered Volvo I featured here several years ago. This ultra-clean 1982 242 DL is owned by Michael Yount of Knoxville, Tennessee. The first V8 conversion was done using a Ross Converse kit prior to 1996 with a 1991 Ford 5.0L. Move up to 2016 and the new motor is a Chevy LS3. The transmission is a T-5Z (5 speed manual). Rear end is a Ford 8.8 3.55 with Truetrac. The wheels/tire combo is 17 x 8 Voxx wheels with 235/45-17's. Stopping is done by 12" front discs with Wilwood brakes. Air conditioning by Classic Auto Air.|
|This is a
1981 242 DL built in 2012 by Sean Fogli (Hackster) of Portland, Oregon.
The color is Scotia Blue, a color I'm fond of since my old 1980 242 DL
was this color. It might not have been so special except for the
exceptionally done Chevy LM7 V8 transplant (5.3 liter). I saw
this car in person at the May 2012 annual RSI Picnic and I was really
taken by the clean underhood detail. This is the kind of stuff that
makes a 2,000 plus mile round trip worth it. The transmission is
a T56 6-speed. It was chosen over other options for the nicer
highway gas mileage possibilities. Like most project cars, it had
a few changes as time went on, like the wheels. If you're a fan
of stuff like
this, you'll love the detailed Turbobricks build thread Sean posted: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=255021.
In 2014 the car was sold to a new owner in Florida: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=281062.
December 2014: New owner has begun his own continuation build thread with more cool things to see, including a turbo: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=304035.
Here's a YouTube video published in April 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rGzQgja7W0
magnificent 1984 245 Turbo is owned by Paul Schuh of Maryland.
Paul bought this car new in January 1984 in Portland, Oregon, where he
lived at the time. In
all these years he has only managed to put 23,000 miles on the car
(almost all of that in the first couple years). He has been
slowly modifying the crap out of it and it has become one of the most
modified 240's in the country. It has a brand
new custom 2.7 liter (2740 cc) stroker motor with 16 valve head from Unitek&ST in Sweden. The
motor is capable of delivering over 600 RWHP. Also
from Unitek&ST is an M47 racing gearbox (5 speed close ratio) with
straight cut gears and no synchros!
More on this car can be found at http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=101844.
|This beautiful 1983 242 Turbo Flathood was built by Jay Chee of SoCal from about 2000 to 2004. The car has a lot of work into it. All that shiney stuff under the hood is chrome... no polished aluminum anywhere. While the engine on the inside is a pretty standard B21FT, it has some mods which help it run very well, such as an IPD turbo cam, later EFI intake manifold and later exhaust manifold with Mitsubishi turbo. Some of the most notable things about this car are the Bross body kit imported from Sweden, genuine Volvo Polaris 17 inch aluminum rims that were polished, and very lightweight all aluminum hood and trunk-lid that cost a fortune to have shipped to the USA. Jay sold the car in 2009 and luckily it remains in SoCal.|
|1980 242 DL
owned by Tim Otters of SoCal. He bought the car new in 1980 and
has logged over 400,000 miles as a daily driver. Modified? I'll
this way: Tim has found no limits to his imagination when
it comes to
modifications. The photos on the right are later versions. It has
sported a 2.7 liter stroked 4 cylinder with a supercharger and a Garret
T-4 turbo. The motor began as a typical B21FT. As you can see it has a
top mounted intercooler. Fuel is
supplied by a digital programmable injection system from Simple Digital
Systems (SDS). After grenading a number of M46's, Tim fitted a
high-strength Promotion T5 transmission (rated at over 750 lb. torque)
and a Strange Engineering Ford 9-inch torsen-locking rear with 4.30
gears. There are very few things in this car that can be
considered stock or conventional. The car has been
dyno'd at 267 RWHP and 382 lbs. torque. Wheels are 17 x 9
front and 17 x 10.5 rear. Tires are 235/40's and 315/35's.
Tim's 242 received the First Place Award for Modified 200 Series at the VCOA West Coast Meet at Lake Tahoe in October, 2006.
242 Turbo owned by Rob Prince of
Maryland. He bought the car
in 2000 and has been modifying it for local drifting events.
While it may not be shiney yet, it has mods to kill for, which makes it
more than worthy of a mention here. We all know there are limits
to the amount of tire you can fit in a 240 rear fender. It's rare
to find anyone who has fit anything larger than a 225 width rear.
Rob did some extensive, but
barely noticeable, inner-fender mods in order to fit the Kodiak Racing
wheels... 17 x 8 fronts (ET -3) and 17 x 9.5 rears (ET 0), and
tires... 225/45-17 front and 255/40-17 rear. He reports no
clearance issues at
all and actually still has 5/8 inch clearance left on the inside
rears. The wheel fitment is obviously very carefully
engineered. The last photo is the most recent (2009) appearance after
new paint. If you would
like to read more information on Rob's build of this car, check out
the Turbobricks Projects and restoration forum at http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=64485.
If you find the subject of making more room in 240 fenders (for fat tires) interesting like I do, here's another cool thread...
|"Tuff240" was built around 1999-2000. This 1982(?) 242 started out as a DL and slowly made it's way to historic modified heaven. It was owned by Patrick Dickman, then living in Central California. I first met Patrick (and this car) at the 2000 VCOA West Coast National Meet in Rancho Cordova, CA. He also brought it out to the Thunderhill track day that weekend and, even though the engine was still the old B21F (non-turbo), he blew away everyone else with some serious driving talent (back then they actually recorded competitive lap times for this event). As you can see in these photos taken a number of years ago, the car went through a few changes, eventually getting a turbo motor and going to the flat-nose hood later. Patrick sold the car several years ago to someone in the Pacific Northwest and I lost track of it. In mid-2009 Patrick located the car and bought it back. It hadn't been very well taken care of, so he's now in the process of bringing it back. This 240 was one of the best sorted and coolest modified Volvos in its day and a big crowd pleaser at shows.|
242 Turbo, built and formerly owned by Doug Kauer of Northern
California. Doug put a ton of time and money into it, making it
into a very fast and nice looking performer. The huge Holset
turbo, which looked enormously out of place in the engine bay, was
capable of supplying
more boost than the engine could ever use. I don't know
how driveable the car was on the street, but who cares? It could
fry the tires at a whim and turn mid-13 second quarter mile
times. The car put down some leadfoot satisfying
The most important contribution Doug made with this car was his pioneering effort in the adaptation of a Ford T5 transmission behind a Volvo 4-cylinder bell housing. It solved the problems for many 240 builders (myself included) who were hopelessly tortured by fragile Volvo transmissions. A webpage made by another person on such a transmission swap can be found at http://www.aaronreedbaker.com/t5swap.html.
Doug was a pioneer in 240 performance mods in 2003 to 2005. This car was sold and is now in the hands of another Volvo enthusiast on the East Coast. If you would like to read more information on the build of this car, check out the Winter 2004 feature article in Turbobricks at http://www.turbobricks.com/feature.php?content=winter_04 or in the Turbobricks Projects and Restoration Forum at http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=45457 and http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=42863.
1976 245 was owned by Victor Kaplin of Southern California. These
photos go back a bit... they were taken at local shows in 2000 and
Victor had a knack for making a non-turbo Volvo run really well.
At the time, with it's manual transmission, it could easily keep up
with stock turbo cars. If
you look closely, you'll notice the K-Jet fuel distributor is in a very
different position than stock and it feeds into a 240 Turbo intake
He also had a good eye for customization. The one-piece
were from a GM car. Victor moved to the Camarillo area several
years ago and I
lost track of him and the car. In 2010 I learned
that Victor no longer has the car and that it was parted out some years ago.
|<<< This was
the result of another driver pulling out directly in front of my 16
The collision was estimated at more than 50 mph.
She was able to walk away with only a few bumps and bruises.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE VOLVOS.
A Use Volvo for your Teen Driver? (A Guide to Surviving Teen Drivers)
If you had to guess, what age-group of drivers is most likely to smash the family car? That's easy… law enforcement knows it . . . your insurance company knows it . . . I'm sure you do too. Your 16 year old driver! Compared with adult drivers, teen drivers have much higher crash rates, even when teens drive much less than adults. Based on crashes of all severities, a 16 to 19 year old is four times as likely to crash his or her car compared to a driver 20 and older. The risk is highest for 16 year olds.
So, as a responsible parent, is it possible to crash-proof your kids? Should you run out and buy the biggest land-yacht you can find to protect them? Do you keep them from driving a car at all? Having raised four kids and having dealt with this issue several times over, I've learned some things. I've been a Volvonut for a long time and I've owned more than 10 of them. I'll share some ideas with you.
The photo above is what was left of my first 240 after a crash involving one of my kids. More in a bit... but most people have heard about how Volvos have been safe cars for a long time. Volvo has employed a lot of well-educated engineers, who have come up with a some great safety features.
Here are just a few important safety features that were introduced by Volvo over the years:
1944 - Laminated windscreen
1959 - Three-point seat belts
1960 - Padded instrument panel
1966 - Twin-circuit triangular braking system, Crumple zones
1967 - Seat belts in the rear
1968 - Head restraints in front
1969 - Three-point inertia-reel seat belts in the front
1972 - Three-point seat belts in the rear, Child-proof door locks
1973 - Energy-absorbing steering columns
1974 - Energy-absorbing bumpers, Gas tanks relocated forward for enhanced safety
1984 - Anti-locking brakes
1986 - Brake lights placed at eye level, Three-point seat belt in the middle of the rear seat
2002 - ROPS (Roll-Over Protection System) for their SUV (XC90)
2006 - Proximity collision warning with automated brake support
2007 - Lane Departure Warning
2009 - City Safety: Automatically stops at speeds below 19 mph if obstruction is detected (XC60)
2010 - Pedestrian Detection with auto braking (S60)
So is safety a chief concern in your decision? Are there other factors involved when trying to pick out a car for a young driver? Of course there are... economics will play a part too. But first, a little more about safety….
Does BIG equal Safe?
When it comes time to decide on a car for your teen, what factors will you use? Your decision might be based on several needs, such as Safety, Reliability, Economy, Safety, and Safety. But your teen might have his or her own ideas. Their goal might be, for instance; Style, Power, Music, Style and Style. Who wins? Well, you of course, since you're the one with the car.
Should we consider that a larger vehicle just might make the difference in a collision between serious injury or walking away unhurt? Between life and death? Will a little extra metal make the difference? Should you consider a car that isn't so small that your kids will automatically lose if they get into a crash, especially if they get t-boned by a larger vehicle. Hopefully, your decision isn't based on mere cost. But if crash-test ratings will be something you'll consider, keep this in mind.... Very small cars are being awarded very high crash-test scores. How is this possible? It's possible because those compact cars you see with "five star" ratings are only being judged in how well they protect your kids in a crash with a similar sized vehicle. If a Smart car had to be rated in a crash against an SUV, all Smart cars would be rated ZERO.
Keeping the above information in mind, you might be interested in what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has to offer. They publish some interesting test results that might be useful. Their data can give you an idea of the saftey ratings of most cars and trucks, as well as projected insurance losses relative to inury or damage for most makes and models (this last one is key to your insurance costs). This data, however, may be more relative to newer cars, since most of the easy to find data at IIHS is for cars made in approximately the last 6 to 12 years, not so much for older cars.
If you're thinking you should just go BIG and get an SUV, it may not always be such a good idea for a teen driver either. Even if an SUV shows a lower fatality rating, some of them might be quite a handful to an inexperienced driver in an emergency situation. Many SUVs are required to carry a label (usually on the visor) warning that "abrupt maneuvers should be avoided" or a catastrophic roll-over might happen. In other words, don't turn sharply.
A Volvo SUV (or similar class type) might be an exception, since from their beginning, Volvo SUVs have been equipped with Volvo's Roll Stability Control. This RSC uses a sophisticated gyro sensor to identify a potential rollover situation. If the RSC senses such an event, it becomes active and literally takes control of the gas and brakes, applying them in such a way to avert a rollover and keep you driving straight. But maybe you're super-human and you think you can maintain control just as well as this robot car can. I'm here to tell you that unless you've figured out how to apply your brakes so that any one of your four wheels can brake independently of the others, you won't be able to do what this system can. I've seen it in action during severe testing and it works amazingly well.
Is Safe Always Boring?
Many drivers think safe means boring. This will be especially true for young, trendy drivers who already know everything. The idea of a Volvo as a first car was not even close to the top of any list my teens had in mind. So, will a Volvo be a boring car for a teen? Maybe, but here's economics lesson #1.... Safe cars are NOT boring to insurance companies who base their rates, in a large part, on the safety features of the car you drive. But can there be that much difference in real-world auto insurance prices? When I was looking for insurance quotes for my new teen drivers, I found some interesing things. Newer vehicles generally cost a lot more to insure than older ones. This is partly because it's more expensive to fix them when they crash. The differences can be surprising. For older Volvos in particular, I have found auto insurance rates to be much, much less. Often more than 50% less, when compared to a new car.
And while on the subject of insurance costs, are you aware how much insurance for the same coverage varies state by state. A lot! Here's an interesting article on that and you can also find out if you live in a cheap state or expensive state: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/08/21/302370.htm
As boring as Volvos might seem to some (mostly I think to those who don't own one), you might be pleasantly surprised to know there is quite a following that is growing among younger drivers. A following I rarely saw when I was pushing old 240s on my kids. The internet is full of places where Volvos are getting great reviews by younger people, so if you go the same route as I did, you might have an easier sell.
Pleasant Side-Effects: Valuable Lessons in Responsibility and Maturity:
Since auto insurance prices can be so significant, especially for a young driver, I tried an idea that I though might help. As each teen approached that magical driving age, I sat them down and told them I would buy them (or hand down) a very nice used Volvo. This gift, I explained, came with a couple of conditions. One such condition was that they would learn to pay a bill. They would know well in advance that their portion of paying for a car was the monthly insurance bill (having it billed monthly made it easier to understand than a few times per year). Each teen readily agreed (maybe because getting a car was all they could see in their starry eyes). This agreement was reinforced with the understanding that I was counting on them to be fiscally responsible and that a default in their insurance payment would definitely result in their car being parked. They also understood that if they became an irresponsible driver and smashed the car, the increase in insurance premiums would directly affect their finances.
I found this agreement worked quite well. And as they grew older, I found they had developed other positive attributes, such as an increased sense of fiscal responsibility and learning to plan ahead. These were lessons in maturity, which I found were putting them years ahead of most of their friends who weren't made responsible for things like insurance bills.
Making an Impression in their Mushy Little Brains:
There are lots of stories about teaching kids to drive. One I like to share is how I made them "earn" the privilege of driving FORWARD. That's right. Once they had a driving learning permit in hand, my kids spent a considerable amount of time driving in reverse. Not on the streets, though. I would take them to empty parking lots and carefully instruct them on reverse driving techniques, explaining how most low-speed accidents happened while backing. I made them pay attention by finding obstacles they had to maneuvered around or by directing them to back into parking spaces, while staying evenly between the lines and stopping just shy of the bump-stops without bouncing off of them. After a few days of only driving in reverse, they had more skill than most experienced drivers.
Common sense tells us that when cars go too fast, crashes tend to go up. Here's a question to ponder: If your teen's car is better handling than others, or more powerful, or generally more capable of dealing with risky maneuvers without losing control, will that encourage your kids to take even more risks? I'm not sure if there's an easy answer, but I do believe some restraint needs to be administered to achieve a good balance between, for instance; a rocket ship and a slug-mobile. Since I already knew Volvos had pretty good handling from the start and I believed in good handling and good brakes, I always liked making them better for my teens by adding larger anti-sway bars, sport springs, high-performance shocks and better brake pads from places like iPd. As for the speed and power department... I like that too, but I'm no idiot. I was a teen driver once and if my parents knew 10% of the land speed records I set in their cars, I'd still be grounded.
The path I chose:
My teens were given non-turbo 240s (and one got a non-turbo 740), which meant they could still get on the freeway without being embarrassed, but they would never win a drag race. The photo you see above was the result of another driver pulling out in front of my 16 year old daughter. That collision was estimated at more than 50 mph. She was able to walk away with only a few bumps and bruises. All my teens survived…. and so did I.
|CONTINUED FROM MAIN PAGE
A funny thing
happened about the time I bought this
245.... I got the internet and soon
discovered a few other Volvo people out there who also
had the internet. Turbobricks
was a brand new concept back then and I remember spending hours
email digests and learning new ideas. I
learned an enormous amount from others who shared
their experiences. The original
list is now extinct. As great as that old list was, the latest Turbobricks
has it beat. And I'm
still learning about these cars.
You'll notice that my 245 began to move away from the original stock 240 wagon look. I made a few cosmetic and functional adjustments. As it progressed, I found it important to work on the aesthetics as well as the performance. The first major step was the elimination of the old original wagon roof rack, which was done by a body shop (all holes welded shut and the roof repainted to match). Pretty early on I exchanged the original "coffin" hood for a flat hood and matching flat grill, both of which came from a junked ’83 242 Turbo SE “flathood” I stumbled across in a salvage yard one day. The "SE Flathood," which was known for this flatter nose, was a special edition 242 Turbo built in 1983 for North America. Volvo built 500 of them to satisfy the FISA requirements for factory homologation for European Touring Car Group A racing, the most notable being the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). More info on Volvo's Group A racing effort with the 240 Turbo can be found here at Volvo 240 Group A Racing. I prefer the look of this sleeker nose over the original North American import pointed hood. And of course, the headlights were eventually changed to the European (E-Code) lamps. They work so much nicer than the original US DOT approved lights found on all USA import Volvos back then.
In 1998 the internet supplied the connections which helped me import the Bross body kit from Sweden, originally obtained from Hallsjo Styling of Sweden. It's no longer available from them and it became impossible to find for a few years. It was then offered by other companies in Europe, however they have vanished.
1999 I was dissatisfied with
the performance of the B21FT motor and I began gathering parts for a
new 2.6 liter
stroker turbo motor.
It was based on the B23FT block from the 1984 760 Turbo. Due to
involved, it was nearly two years before that motor made its way into
car in the spring of 2001.
The motor was equipped with a programmable
digital electronic fuel injection system from Simple
Digital Systems in
Calgary, Canada. The
turbo was a Garrett Super 60 from Turbonetics.
And a huge intercooler was custom built by Spearco to fit in the
position (more info is available in my Spec
This car was originally equipped with an automatic transmission and I considered my options for something that would hold up to more power. I settled on a custom race-prepared Volvo AW-71 auto trans built by Art Carr Racing Transmissions (now California Performance Transmissions) in Huntington Beach, CA. Once installed, the new drivetrain seemed to run pretty well, logging a zero to 60 time of 5.9 seconds while running about 14 psi of boost. But from the beginning I felt the new motor was not running to its desired potential. The ignition was still stock and I remember spending a lot of time trying to get the primitive mechanical boost retard system to mesh with everything else. It never did that very well. As is always the case with modified cars, it's never enough. In 2003 I upgraded the SDS fuel injection to include a crank-triggered ignition system that was fully programmable. It helped a lot. I also installed a coil-over spring package I got from MVP (no longer available). I was very impressed with the handling improvement. Things were stiffened up a bit. I opted for 200 lb. front springs and 175 lb. rears, since this car was still a daily driver. I had a chance to take the car to some VCOA track days at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California and the coil-overs really seemed to make the handling better for the car. There are more photos of this installation in my Spec Sheet Page.
|After experiencing some problems with the suped up AW-71 transmission (it started slipping at 11,000 miles... bummer!), I decided in 2004 that I was long overdue for a manual transmission. The Volvo M46 manual (4 speed plus OD 5th), which was normally optioned in a 240 Turbo, simply would not do. The M46 is well known for breaking when subjected to high torque levels. By this time I had found my stroker motor was making well over 300 lbs. of torque at the wheels. Once again, the guys on the Turbobricks forum came though and led me to a great transmission swap based on the Ford T5 gearbox. I chose a new Ford Motorsport T5-Z five-speed gearbox from Summit Racing. This gearbox is rated at 330 lbs. of torque and typically survives behind V8 engines with much more than that, so I felt it would be sufficient. It was mated to a modified Volvo M46 bell housing with an aluminum adapter plate. Doug Kauer’s 242 Turbo (you can find it here) was the original Guinea pig for this conversion and it worked so well for him that I had to try it for myself. Strangley I had never owned a manual transmission Volvo before this, primarily because I never found the right one when hunting for them. I never knew what I was missing. The increased control and fun factor was no real surprise as I had owned other manual trans cars over the years. The jump in fuel mileage was a pleasant surprise. I knew it would increase a little, as I was used to gas mileage figures in the 16 to 18 MPG range. I suddenly found the car getting 26 plus MPG on the highway... exceptional considering the bigger displacement and my lead foot. I was also surprised at how much cooler the engine ran. The manual trans puts a LOT less demand on the motor.|
like this is NEVER done.... so to keep that concept
alive, in 2004 I
front brakes. These were adapted from a 2004-2007 S60R.
photo at left is the mock-up a friend (Paul Jones) and I put together
using a junkyard strut assembly, before
actually installing the brakes.
The aluminum adapter brackets were designed by Travis Kijowski
Maryland. I had the pleasure of putting
together the first 240 on the planet
with R brakes. The
installation of 13 inch front rotors and big 4-piston calipers from the
transformed the braking on this car. More info and photos about
how and why I did this can be
found in my 240
Big Brakes Page.
While my 245 stopped being a daily grocery getter, it was still very much a road trip machine. I made quite a few long trips to Volvo meets and shows in California and Arizona, Oregon and Washington and it never stranded me. With so many modifications, I crossed my fingers each time. In the summer of 2003 I drove in air-conditioned comfort 1,100 miles each way to the West Coast National Volvo Owners Meet in Olympia, Washington. The 245 won First Place and Best of Show in the modified division that year (see those awards here: http://www.240turbo.com/specsheet245.html).
1980 242 DL back in
2000 in non-running condition. It was a very basic, non-sunroof
car (I prefer a non-sunroof car). The car had been abandoned by
previous owner outside a local repair shop because he couldn't afford
repairs. It was eventually towed away and I found it in the tow
storage and bought it for $150. I tracked down the previous owner
and gave him a
little money for
the original keys, which worked out quite nicely. He told me
the car had belonged to his daughter and it over-heated. I pulled
the head off and found it was cracked and warped. After
rebuilt head (plus a few things to freshen
it up, like a new engine harness, vacuum hoses and such), it
served as a
great daily driver
for several years
bought the black 242
2003. I gave the DL
to my son when he turned 16. He kept it for a while and did some
of his own, like the 16 inch wheels. After a few years, he bought a new car
and traded it in.
The first two pics above were
after it was towed home and dropped in my
driveway. The next pics were more
recent after applying new
Scotia Blue), 1984 bumpers, black turbo beltline
trim, new black trim above the bumpers
and around the windows, later style headlights (Cibie hi-watt E-code), a "new"
interior, a nice "new" uncracked dash, freshly powder-coated
Virgos, full iPd suspension (TME
springs, 25mm sways and Bilsteins HD's), all new suspension
bushings, and lots of other
|<<< Here's a red
1990 740 Turbo
I bought used in 1996 in San Diego. It also soon became
with IPD sport springs,
25 mm sway bars and Bilstein HD shocks. It was a great driver and it
handled beautifully. The auto transmission failed at 100k
miles. That was expensive. It eventually got traded
2002 for a brand new S40.
<<< And here's a pic of my very first Volvo... a black 1988 760 Turbo. I bought it brand new from the showroom floor of Riverside Volvo in Riverside, CA (this dealer is now gone) in March of 1988. I later added 100 watt killer driving lamps, Fittipaldi 15 x 7 wheels (they were the hot ticket back then and the ONLY aftermarket wheel available for a Volvo at the time), iPd anti-sway bars (with the rear IRS type bar that is no longer offered), and a factory Volvo rear trunk-lid spoiler, which I got the dealer to throw in free. It was a very nice car, but it had a few imperfections later. It suffered badly from the well known door panel problem, where the vinyl at the top would come loose and shink/peel back. It started happening when the car was less than a year old. This car was sold with a 12 month bumper-to-bumper warranty and after that, the limited powertrain warranty. I was a little late in getting the car in for its 12k mile service (13 months after purchase). I showed them the bad door panels and after the dealer talked with their Volvo rep, they called and said Volvo would not cover the defect. I couldn't believe it. The dealer generously offered to sell me new door panels for about $400 each. I had a neighbor who worked at Orange County Volvo (next county over). He also couldn't believe it and told me this was a very common problem with the 700 series and Volvo should have covered it. He called me a couple days later and said their Volvo rep had authorized new door panels for the car without any fuss. Makes me a bit suspicious of that Riverside dealer. Anyway, I never returned to that dealer and they went out of business a few years later.
Here's the 2005 S40 T5 I bought new in the summer of 2005 after trading in the 2002 S40. This was the last new Volvo I bought.
This 2005 was a pretty nice car, but not nearly as trouble free as some of my other Volvos had been over the years. It got traded just before the 4 year warranty expired after a few electrical failures (sensors, computers, etc) and motor mount failures. One electrical failure, a month before the end of the warranty, was invoiced by the dealer to Volvo for $3500. Not a chance I was going to keep this car past its warranty.
This car also suffered from what I believe was mis-engineered rear suspension geometery. It allowed for too much rear negative camber, which destroyed tires prematurely. I discovered this in December 2007 after burning through the first two sets of tires in under 30,000 miles; first set lasted just over 15,000 miles, and I didn't really notice (this car was almost exclusively driven by my wife). I figured Volvo cheaped out on the tires. Seen that before. The second set lasted just over14,000 miles, and I did notice why this time. These were very good 40,000 mile tires, so I was NOT happy about that. When I looked closer, I discovered the extreme wear on the insides of the rear tires (see photos). The tires had been getting regular rotations by the Volvo dealer during regular check-ups (every 5000 miles), but no one at Volvo seemed to notice the inside tread area on two tires was worn slick when I had them perform a 30,000 mile service (and a tire rotation) a week before taking these photos.
<<< Here is one front and one rear tire. The middle and outside tread still had about 60-70% left, but the inside tread on the rear tires was worn slick. After buying and installing a third set of tires, I took the car to the Volvo dealer and asked them to check the alignment. The service manager told me that the camber setting for all four tires was "within factory spec." When I demanded to know what it was actually set at, they had to put the car up on the rack to check again. It measured negative 2.1 degrees on both rear wheels (this is a lot of camber and it was visibly obvious when viewed from the rear). Apparently, Volvo considers up to negative 2.5 degrees to be acceptable for this chassis and "within spec." I certainly disagreed and so did my tires. The rear camber on a Volvo S40 is not adjustable or correctible without changing parts. I was pretty disappointed when they repeated that they considerd the camber to be OK and there was nothing that could be done. They checked the front camber too. It was negative 1.0 degree, which I believe is closer to what the rear should be from the factory if it's reasonable. Since this dealership was rotating my tires every time I brought it in, I asked the service manager if their techs should have noticed the tread on the tires was worn smooth? He wouldn't give me an answer.
It became evident that not all Volvos with this chassis have this issue. While at the dealer waiting between aguments, I spotted an identical 2005 S40 pulling into the service area, so I checked it out. I got down behind the car and could see it obviously did not have as much negative camber as mine did. The difference was clearly visible. I could see the tires on this other S40 were nearly worn out, but they were EVENLY worn. I then asked the owner about his car. He told me he bought it new in 2005 (several months before I bought mine). He had 40,000 miles on the car and those EVENLY WORN tires were his ORIGINAL TIRES. After I brought the service manager outside and showed him, he seemed more confused than ever at the significance, so I collected my car and left.
After continuing my research, I discovered through a confidential Volvo insider (it helps to know a few insiders) that Volvo knew about this defect and there was even a Technical Service Bulletin in existence (but no recall). The fix for this problem was a new, re-engineered set of rear control arms that were available to correct this (apparently common) problem. I again checked with the dealer and they said they knew nothing about a TSB on the issue. After I pointed them in the right direction, they contacted Volvo Corporate and verified the existence of the bulletin and replacement control arms. The dealer called me back and told me Volvo had agreed to replace the control arms free of charge.
While Volvo eventually owned up to this, at least for my car, I should NOT have had to fight so hard to get this defect corrected. Volvo needs to improve vastly in this respect! After being corrected, the rear camber was measured at a more reasonable negative 1.1 degrees. Since the S40 shares the same platform as the C30, C70 and V50, some of them will be affected too. I had a close look at several new C70s in the showroom that day and they ALL had way too much rear camber.
In February 2013 I received an email from a Volvo owner regarding this: "I read of your rear alignment issues with your S40 and I had about the same experience with a 2010 V50. I just traded that V50 for a 2011 with the T5 and it had the same problem. The local dealer replaced the control arms under warranty. This was also a problem on my wife's 2011 C30 and we just had the dealer replace those control arms under warranty (after buying a new set of tires at 18k miles). Too bad Volvo did not just fix this one part early on. I know the Mazda 3's have the same problem , too." S. R., Nindle, VA
Reference Material: Uneven Rear Tire Wear, Correction of Excessive Negative Camber; Retailer Technical Journal RTJ15309-2009-12-16. This RTJ calls for the replacement of the rear upper control arms with PN 31201356, which reduces the camber by ~ 0.7 deg. It is applicable to: C30 2007-2010, C70 2006-2010, S40 2004.5-2010, V50 2005-2010. In 2012, this RTJ was updated to include the listed models through 2012. A fellow Volvo owner sent me a copy and here it is for you to read and use if needed: http://www.davebarton.com/pdf/RTJ15309.pdf
Volvo RTJ19674 Wheel Alignment Specifications : http://www.davebarton.com/pdf/RTJ%2019674-2010.pdf
Volvo TSB Listings: http://www.carproblemzoo.com/tsb/volvo/
More Volvo TSB Listings: http://www.faqs.org/car/volvo-s40n-2005/
Copies of TSBs may be obtained here (paid subscription required): www.eautorepair.net/app/TSBS
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