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Volvo Electric Primary Cooling Fan Conversions

Electric Fan Wire Diagrams.

Click here for my 8 page collection of relay cooling fan diagrams you can build yourself (PDF)

I began tinkering with electric primary cooling fan conversions in Volvo 240s back around 1997 after having less than a successful time keeping my '84 245 Turbo from running too hot during warm 100+ degree Southern California summers using the stock pulley fan.  I then developed this page beginning in 1999 to share this info and I've been updating it on occasion ever since.  Basically, this page will outline some fairly simple and inexpensive primary electric fan conversion ideas for Volvo 240s. Some ideas worked, some not so well. Some of these ideas also work for the 740,
however it should be noted the 740 Turbo has less room between the radiator and water pump pulley, so some fans shown in this page may not fit in the space. 

While there are many options for your Volvo when it comes to keeping cool, these are just a few. This information is presented at face value with no specific claims of magical performance, other than my own experiences.

For any electric fan installation, make sure that your fan is capable of turning itself on reliably if your engine starts to overheat.
There are two primary reasons for performing an Electric Fan Conversion. The FIRST is to reduce the engine drag at highway speeds. In theory you should gain a little horespower.
The SECOND reason would be to
reduce the amount of stress on the waterpump. 240s can go through water pumps faster than a typical car and it's a good idea to change them as preventative maintenance. The loads placed on the water pump bearings by the alternator and a huge belt-driven fan can shorten its potential service life.

You will need to decide for yourself if your fan clutch is best or if an electric fan is best. If the electric fan is big enough and really powerful, it can equal the cooling performance of a heavy duty fan clutch.  Most electric fans will not come close. Also an electric fan may not be as reliable as the mechanical fan. Electrical stuff fails.  If you decide it's best for your Volvo to keep the belt-driven fan, you may want to consider the option of a heavy duty fan clutch.  
An interesting bit of information I discovered while trying out the below electric fan conversions over the years. 
All electric fans I tried were INFERIOR in cooling capactity compared to a heavy duty tropical fan clutch
, EXCEPT for the huge FORD fans at the bottom of this list.

More info on the Heavy Duty Tropical Fan Clutch can be found in this page:

VOLVO 2-Speed FAN RELAY Basics.
 Lots of people are using this relay to control 2-speed fans because it's cheap if you can find it used. 

For suggested wiring info: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/volvo_electric_fan.shtml

<<< If you need a source for the original Volvo connectors for this relay, I am now offering them here: 


I've done a few different electric fan conversions over the years. I have compiled that info below for those who might be interested:

GM 14 and 16 inch Fans
<<< Excuse the photo quality. This is a very old pic. This is the first electric fan conversion I did back in 1997 for my 245 Turbo. I also used this same fan for several conversions of friend's 240s. One in a 240 non-turbo was still going strong and cooling well more than 15 years later.

<<< The fan depicted at left is from an early to mid-eighties Buick Century, Pontiac Grand Am, Olds Cutlass, or other General Motors mid-sized car with FWD and 4 or 6 cylinder.   It is made by AC Delco and is designed to be the primary fan for the car it originated in.  This fan should be plentiful in self-service auto salvage yards and should cost between $20 and $30.

Dimensions for this fan are as follows:

Height and Width: 17 inches at shroud edges

Depth at shroud housing next to motor: 3 1/8 inches
Depth at rear of fan motor: approx. 4 1/4 inches

Fan blade diameter: 14 inches.
<<< A 16 inch diameter fan in the same version can also be found in some of the GM 6 cylinder cars.  The outer dimensions will be the same. This is important because this shroud is a pefect size to fit directly onto the typical Volvo 240/740 radiator.

All four of the original plastic mounting ears on the shroud need to be removed for fitment to a Volvo radiator. 
A hacksaw or sawzall does just fine here.  In this photo the ears have already been cut off, but I left them next to the fan so you could see where they came from.

<<< Since this fan will be mounted to the radiator, you'll need some mounting hardware.  The simplest method I found is with some 2 inch sheet metal screws, washers and these funny little sheet metal nuts.  The screws I used were the counter-sunk type with some counter-sunk finishing washers.  Most any will work though.

<<< This photo shows an existing hole in the top flange of the radiator.  All Volvo radiators will have these holes for mounting of the original fan shroud.  The sheet metal nut can be used here.  You will then need to drill a small hole in the GM fan shroud directly over the original hole in the radiator.

The plan is for the new fan shroud to be fastened to the radiator by four sheet metal screws, two at the top and two at the bottom.  You may need to drill the holes in the bottom radiator flange.

Here we have the new fan mounted to the radiator. 

This assembly can now be placed in the car as one unit and mounted as any Volvo radiator is mounted.

To make this fan work in your car, you have several options. You can purchase an all-in-one fan controller with a temperature probe that goes into the radiator fins. You can use a coolant sensor mounted in your radiator if it has one. 

For my 8 page assortment of relay wiring diagram options, including two-speed circuits, click here (pdf file).

Volvo 940/850 15 inch Fan

2009 Conversion for my 242:
This is a very popular fan used in many conversions.  It's found in 1992 and later Volvo 940 and 960 models as well as all 850s.  There is a similar fan found in the S70 and S80, however the S80 models I have seen feature a smaller, more compact motor.  I'm not sure if it's capacity is less.  All of these fans are two-speed models, with low speed being about 50% of high speed.  The motor will have three wires; one ground and two hot wires (one for low and one for high).  A two-speed circuit may be used when you install one of these or you may use just the high circuit only. My installation used the the high speed only.

For my 8 page assortment of relay wiring diagram options, including two-speed circuits, click here (pdf file).
<<< This fan is about 4 inches deep from the end of the motor to the furthest point on the front of the fan. The fan shown in the far left photo has been removed from the original fan shroud. One cool thing about this fan is it simply unbolts from the original shroud. No cutting or chopping needed. After it is removed, you'll find that it is about 17.5 inches across at the outer ring, which is why is fits so well into the Volvo RWD mechanical fan shrouds, which have 18 inch openings . The actual fan blade portion on this fan is only 15 inches

The 940 shroud is too wide for a normal 240 or 740 radiator, so I did not use it for this conversion. Some people have cut them down to fit. 
<<< The shroud used in the photos here is a 240 Turbo (Intercooled) shroud.
The inside diameter of this shroud is 18 inches. This particular shroud will only correctly fit the 240 Turbo.
It will NOT CLEAR the auto transmission cooling lines in a 240 non-turbo or a 740. Since a shroud normally sits further back in a Turbo Intercooled car (because of the intercooler), some extra work was required to get the fan to sit deep enough into this shroud to clear the water pump. It was a tight fit when done. 
Better to use a 740 Turbo Fan Shroud:
I found that a shroud from a 740 Turbo
(which can be seen in the Ford fan conversion below) is a much better choice to mount one of these fans inside of. The 740 Turbo shroud, also with an 18 inch opening, may be used in pretty much any 740 or 240 model without any fitment issues. 
<<< And this shroud places the fan closer to the radiator, offering at least 1 inch more clearance from the water pump than a 240 Turbo shroud does. Plus it's a lot less work making it fit in a 240 engine bay.
  I used this fan for about a year. I was disappointed. 
It did not cool as quickly or as efficiently as I liked.  I believe this disapointment was because this 15 inch fan is a bottleneck and the volume of flow through the radiator and out the 15 inch fan opening was small (even at highway speeds) compared to the stock 18 inch fan shroud with a heavy duty mechanical clutch fan. It was easy to see a difference during warm days, on uphill grades, and especially with the A/C on. 
>>> For real cooling needs with AC, a mechanical CLUTCH FAN is a better choice by far than this one. <<<

The above fan pulls a lot of amps upon start up when using the high speed circuit only. Because I wanted to avoid sudden, hard current draws to my charging system when this fan came on, I sought out a high-tech fan controller that offered a "soft-start" feature.  I chose the Delta Current Control  FK-55.  This is an all-in-one controller and it works smoothly, so no relays or other sensors are needed. When it's time for the fan to come on, it comes on slowly and smoothly, beginning with about 20% speed until more speed is needed. It regulates your radiator temperature by smoothly increasing or reducing fan speed, instead of on, off, on, off, like the old school method. Definitely not cheap. 

UPDATE Summer 2012:  I'm sorry to report that I can no longer recommend the controllers from Delta Current Control.  I had two of them fail after less than 2 years of use each. This makes a $180 controller way too expensive if it can't be reliable.  And to make matters worse, the owner of DCC, Brian Baskin, has found it impossible to respond to emails, even if you place an order.  When I placed an order for a third controller in 2012 my order went unanswered for 6 weeks.  No order status info, no communication, period. Nothing.  I had to dispute the purchase with Paypal to get my money back after my order and emails went unanswered for 6 weeks (and yes, my car was down the whole 6 weeks). 

  Instead I bought a Flex-a-Lite variable speed controller.  See the below Ford fan conversion for more info on that.

Ford Thunderbird SC 17.5 inch Fan (YES!)

In 2010 I did this conversion for my 242 Turbo: This exact fan is only found in the T-Bird SC (with supercharged 6 cylinder) made in the late 1980's to mid-1990's. The depth of this unit from the fan motor to the front of the fan is only 3.75 inches (a little bit shallower than the 940 fan).  It is similar to the more common V8 Ford T-Bird fan or Lincoln  Mark VIII fan, except this version is a little less deep (from motor to fan) and seem to fit with less room.  It is suggested that these fans will pull an estimated 4000 cfm on high.

<<< The circular portion on the Ford shroud is 17.5 inches across, so after some chopping, as seen in these photos, it fits very well into the 18 inch opening of the Volvo 740 Turbo fan shroud.  I sought out this fan because after using a belt-driven heavy duty tropical fan clutch for years in my 242 Turbo, I was spoiled by how great it cooled. 
I tried the smaller 940 fan above for a while. I was disappointed.  It did not cool as quickly or as efficiently as I liked.  I believe this disapointment was because the 15 inch fan was a bottleneck and the volume of flow through the radiator was reduced (even at highway speeds) compared to the stock shroud with a heavy duty mechanical clutch fan. It was easy to see a difference on uphill grades, especially with the A/C on.
 <<< Here's the Ford fan next to the 740 Turbo shroud that I used to mount it in.

<<< The Ford shroud needed to be cut down, separating the fan and circular ring that was then mounted into the Volvo shroud.  I used a friction cutting wheel to trim the Ford shroud, which worked ok... not the best job.  A sawzall with a fine blade would work much better on this plastic.

<<< Here's the in-progress assembly and completed fan. The last pic shows it mounted in my 242 Turbo.   This is a two-speed fan, like the 940 fan, except this one is much, much more powerful.  The low speed on this fan probably pulls at least as much air as the high speed on a 940 fan.  I have read that the high speed on this fan pulls between 35 and 40 amps when running continuously. So I suspect this is NOT a fan for a light-weight charging system.  A large capacity alternator (100 amp), heavy cables to the fan motor and a high capacity relay (50 to 70 amp) would be a good recommendation.  For my 8 page assortment of relay wiring diagram options, including two-speed fan circuits, click here (pdf file). 

PROBLEMS WITH DELTA CURRENT CONTROL (DCC) CONTROLLERS:  I can no longer recommend the fan controllers from Delta Current Control.  I have had two of them fail after 2 years of use each. This makes a $180 controller way too expensive if it can't be reliable.  And to make matters worse, the owner of DCC, Brian Baskin, has great difficulty responding to emails if he ever responds.  And if that's not reason enough, another order I placed in 2012 to replace a bad one went unanswered for 6 weeks.  No order status info, no communication, period.  I had to dispute the purchase with Paypal to get my money back. 

There are a few options for controlling a primary electric fan like this.  The old school method is using a relay (or multiple relays). Relays are pretty reliable, but electronic temperature switches are not always as good in the long term.  I installed one of the above 2-speed T-Bird fans in a friend's 240 many years ago and used I used a Hayden 3654 adjustable fan switch (shown at left. It was about $40 at Summit Racing) to turn on the fan low speed circuit for normal cooling needs. Typically I would set a controller at 180 to 190 degrees F, depending on the coolant thermostat being used. Then for this installation I used a separate heavy duty 70 amp relay to trigger the high speed circuit, which was then wired to a standard Volvo on/off temp sender in the radiator (outlet side). This temp sender was there to trigger the high speed if the outlet temp exceeded approximately 210 degrees F, which would happen as a failsafe if the Hayden fan switch failed.  I also put an override switch on the dash to turn on the high speed circuit manually if needed.  This type of installation functioned well in hot SoCal summers using the A/C for many years, but of course the Hayden controller evenually failed after a number of years and the engine was saved by the failsafe design.
<<< The photo at left is the Flex-A-Lite 33054 "Variable" Speed Controller. At time of writing this, Flex-A-Lite made these in 35 and 45 amp versions. The 33054 is the heavy duty 45 amp version, designed to run multiple fans if needed.  The important part about using a controller like this is that it supposedly uses soft start technology.  Flex-A-Lite also make less expensive controllers that don't have variable speed or soft start.  I bought this 33054 from Summit Racing for about $100 and it was in use in my black 242 Turbo (installed summer of 2012) with the big Ford fan shown above until it failed in 2016.  It was wired to control the fan high speed circuit only. 

This controller was more reliable (lasted longer) than the Delta controllers that failed.  After installing it, I discovered that this fan controller is not really a true variable speed controller.  This controller uses a probe in the radiator fins and when the set temperature is reached, it will turn the fan on at 60% power (set point is adjustable from 160 to 210 degrees F).  If the radiator temperature increases more than 10 degrees above your set temperature, the fan switches to 100%. 
So the reality is this controller is a 2-speed controller, instead of a true variable speed controller.

That was a big disappointment to me, since the big Ford fan can cool quite well at low speeds (maybe 25-30%) under light load and this controller can't do that. This controller will also operate your fan(s) for up to 30 seconds after shutting off the car if it reads a high enough temperature.  And of course it has the connections to add the A/C "ON" circuit (turns on at 60% continuous) as well as circuits for a manual override "ON" switch and manual override "OFF" switch if you want.  The installation instructions for the Flex-A-Lite 33054 can be seen here: http://static.summitracing.com/global/images/instructions/flx-33054.pdf

If you're looking for a true Zero to 100% variable speed fan controller that can handle a BIG fan, you might have a look at my AutoCoolGuy installation HERE.

FINAL NOTE: I'm a fan of fitting larger radiators, especially when running AC, but there is prior planning needed when it comes to a 240 Turbo.  The standard intercooler configuration limits the radiator width to the stock dimension.  So if you go wider, you must plan to install a different intercooler so you can route intake tubes around the wider radiator.  You can also go with a taller radiator. It's even possible to install a 19 inch tall radiator.  Don't believe me? See the following Turbobricks thread: 

Lincoln Mark VIII 18 inch Fan

I decided I wanted a bigger (WIDER) radiator.  I bought this one from Griffin and ordered PN 1-55221-X3. It's 26 x 15.5 inches, 2.7 inches thick, has two rows with 1.25" tubes, 1.38" OD hose inlet/outlet (they call this radiator a universal fit "Chevy style"). Price was about $300.  It can be ordered without a top radiator cap flange, but I left it on. The cap used is Stant PN 10230 or 10231.  I then had aluminum male AN fittings welded on the right side for the expansion tank and turbo feed hoses (I believe these sizes were -6 and -10). Probably the smarter method would have been to have Griffin install those before shipping if they'll do that.

The Lincoln Mark VIII fan is legendary.
This fan assembly is roughly the correct width for this new radiator (after trimming off the four protruding mounting ears), so it fits nicely.  This fan pulls 40 amps at full speed (at 13.6v) and some reports say it pulls over 4000 CFM.  That's more than double the flow of a Volvo 940 fan.  If you're tired of fans that just aren't enough for your hot climate, like that tiny Volvo 940 fan, and you have AC, you might think about one like this.
7 Blade Fan
I bought this NEW complete fan assembly for a Lincoln Mark VIII.  This one is for a 1997 model. It's a single speed type with 7 blades and can typically be found as Ford PN F7LH-8C607-AB F7LH-8146-AA.  The reason it's a single speed fan is because these later fans were made for a variable speed controller instead of the earlier two-speed version

I don't know if this exact fan can still be found NEW, however I believe a similar fan (with 7-blades) can be found as an earlier 2-speed version, which should be Ford PN F4SZ8C607D.  I don't know if a 7-blade fan performs any better than a 6-blade type (below).

Outer Dimensions: 26 inches wide with mounting tabs. 22 inches wide without tabs. 19 inches tall, 5.5 inches deep. Weight: about 8.8 lbs.
Lots more info here: http://forums.tccoa.com/6-general-tech/136722-ultimate-mark-viii-fan-thread.html

6 Blade Fan
I believe you can still get the pre-1997 2-speed fan assembly. It has 6 blades and is
Dorman 620-118. It will typically costs under $80 for the complete assembly with shroud. 

<<< This fan: Dorman 620-118, 2-speed fan, 6 blades.
Outer Dimensions: 26 inches wide with mounting tabs. 22 inches wide without tabs
. 19 inches tall, 5.5 inches deep. Weight: about 8.8 lbs.
Lots more info here: http://forums.tccoa.com/6-general-tech/136722-ultimate-mark-viii-fan-thread.html
Unconfirmed Mark VIII Fan PN info:
1993-96 uses PN F3LY8C607A. Rotation is 1100 rpm on low and 1850 on high.
1997 uses PN F7LZ8C607AB
1998 uses PN F8LZ8C607AA.  The 1997-98 rotation is 1800 on low and 2225 on high.
NOTE: If I was still using a stock width Volvo 240 radiator I would cut off the entire outer shroud from the Mark VIII fan barrel and mounted the barrel inside a 740 Turbo shroud similar to the above conversion #3.

<<< After trimming off the mounting tabs, I fabricated a steel braced frame inside the TOP of the shroud to fully support the weight using the top radiator brackets shown below.  Width was 1/2 inch.  Then I bought bolts and clip-on barrel nuts (AKA: U-Nuts) from McMaster-Carr. The bolts were PN 98093A436 M6 x 1mm, 16mm long with a flange head (see photo). These have a 10 mm head. The barrel nuts were PN 95210A150 M6 x 1mm made for a panel thickness of 0.8 to 4 mm.
<<<  I used simple 1/8 inch thick steel bar stock for this brace. This is pretty typical metal found at your local hardware store.

Here's the Griffin radiator and Mark VIII fan installed in my 240.  As you can see the original style intercooler is gone since it no longer fits and instead I installed an eBay intercooler in front of the radiator with new pipes going around the radiator.  This radiator is WIDE and there is barely enough room to keep the battery in the original location, but it still fits. 

Here's a bottom view of the Mark VIII fan. Yes, the Mark VIII shroud is taller than the radiator by several inches.  This is fixed by adding some aluminum sheet metal to seal the gap. It's securely fastened and then some duct tape added to seal the bottom gap.

I continued using the Flex-A-Lite 33054 Variable Speed Controller that I had previously installled in conversion #3. 
As I mentioned before, I was disappointed after I discovered that this controller is actually only a 2-speed controller instead of a true variable speed controller. I really would rather have something that begins spinning the fan at 10% or 20% or 30% instead of 60% low speed like this controller has. 
Anyway, this controller
on a hot day when I had the AC going and while pulling into a car meet. 
So this one is definitely NOT recommended for a large fan.

Still using the Lincoln Mark VIII 18 inch Fan

I didn't make any fan changes for this project. After the Flex-A-Lite fan controller melted in the summer of 2016 (while pulling into a car meet), I decided to try building my own custom 4-speed fan controller using reliable relays to control my massive Mark VIII fan.

Here's the detailed project page: https://www.240turbo.com/fanharness.html.

It worked pretty well and never failed for any reason. 

Still using the Lincoln Mark VIII 18 inch Fan
I didn't make any fan changes this time, but I decided I would try one of the new controllers made by AutoCoolGuy.

Not long after completing the above 4-speed fan controller project back in 2016, I discovered these controllers being made by AutoCoolGuy.  Their controllers were very interesting and had some features not usually found elsewhere.  I stayed with the 4-speed controller for a couple years and it worked well, but I was interested in trying out this new one, so I did.
Autocoolguy features I liked:
They have controllers made for all the way up to 200 amps.
I couldn't find ANY complaints about failing controllers or problems with their customer service anywhere, and I searched hard.
They make controllers with an independent AC speed setting that's actually adjustable.  I really like the concept of this feature.  Running a big Mark VIII fan at full speed for AC is ludicrous unless you really need it.
They offer a pretty wide variety of temperature sender options.
Their controllers are made to use a dash controlled FULL SPEED OVERRIDE switch if desired.
And when I sent them an email on a Sunday asking some questions about controllers for my big fan, they actually responded, on a Sunday!

<<< So here's the Auto Cool III that I installed in my 242 Turbo in November 2018 to control my Lincoln Mark VIII fan.  It's a 125 amp PWM fan controller.  It's internally fused for 150 amps. 
<<< This controller can run one or two fans.  When running one fan like I am, the output posts (FAN A and FAN B) are combined as shown here.  The output to my fan then comes from the FAN A post. 

It may seem a bit backwards, but these controllers are designed so that the 12v cable from the battery goes directly to the fan positive pole.  Then the fan gets controlled by the negative cable, which comes from the FAN A or FAN B posts (or both). 
<<< That's a 3 amp fuse I added between the battery and the controller 12v input pin.
<<< Here are the input pins on top.  Hooking this thing up is pretty simple. Pins 7 and 8 (those white wires) are for the full speed dash override switch (labeled F/S for "FailSafe"). When those two pins are connected together, the fan runs at 100%.

<<< The AC speed adjustment trimpot is beneath that black cap.
<<< Here's the AC trimpot under that black cap.  I used a photo tachometer to measure fan blade speed and I set the AC speed at 1500 rpm, which is 75% of maximum speed of measured at 13.5 volts input.
<<< Here's the default temperature sensor that came with this controller. This is the one you get, unless you order one of their optional screw-in sensors.  It's designed to partially slip under the radiator outlet hose and may be used on any ALL METAL radiator.  It's not recommended for radiators with plastic outlets.  This is the sensor I used for my all-aluminum radiator.  It comes with a long wire lead that's wound as a twisted pair.
<<< Or you may optionally choose from a variety of screw-in sensors.  AutoCoolGuy does not offer a push-in sensor probes for radiator fins. They don't believe in those due to their inaccuracy.
<<< Here's the fan full speed override switch I put on my dash. I have seen a LOT of previous fan controllers FAIL over the years. Having an override switch is a really good thing, even if only for nothing but peace of mind.  I also added an LED light that lights up when the fan is on.  It lights up dimly at low speeds and gradually gets brighter as the fan speeds up. This is also a really good thing for people like me who have developed cooling fan trust issues.

AutoCoolGuy has instructions for wiring this LED in their webpage HERE.  In those instructions they show the use of a 1.5k Ohm resistor in line with the power wire for the LED.  I found that a 1.5k Ohm resistor was not sufficient.  My LED was way too bright with that resistor and it really lit up the interior at night.  So I switched to a 10k Ohm resistor and the brightness seems about right and won't blind me at night.  Who knows? Maybe the LEDs I have are brighter than others.

If you have any feedback or comments, please let me know:
What's the deal with BUZZ or No-BUZZ mentioned in their webpage?
From what I've learned, there are some fans that are prone to making a buzzing sound when receiving PWN input. AutoCoolGuy describes this as
a mechanical problem in some fans which have a blade and armature that's too loose.  They said many Asian made fans have this issue, but many Ford or other American made fans do not.  There is more info in their site as well as some videos of this buzzing in action. Basically, if you have a fan that does this and it bugs you enough to do something about it, then there are remedies.  AutoCoolGuy offers an add-on Buzz Box that can be connected between the controller and fan to suppress the buzzing. They also have a couple of controllers with the extra no-buzz circuitry built into them. 
I DID NOT order a No-Buzz controller and my aftermarket (Dorman) Mark VIII fan does not buzz.  So I guess I have a pretty decent fan.

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