|240 Headlight Page
|UPDATED: October 31, 2023 CONTACT|
|D O M
A I N S
|Go to 240 Headlight RELAY Page|
|1975-85 240 Headlight Switch Problems
||240 Headlight HISTORY
|H4 Halogen Headlights
||240 E-Code Headlights
|Lamin-X Protection Film
|LED Headlight Bulbs
||How to Remove Headlight Terminals|
|Headlight Relay Harness Upgrade
||Fog Lights / Driving Lights
|Mounting Driving Lights
|Dealing with the Bulb Failure Sensor
So here's the formula needed to swap in a newer headlight switch and plug.
1. White wire from old plug goes to position 7 in new plug.
2. Yellow wire from old plug goes to position 4 in new plug.
3. Red wire from old plug goes to position 3 in new plug.
(position 1 not used for early 240)
More information on adding a RELAY to upgrade your early 240 headlights can be found here:
Early 240 Headlight Switch with 5 Poles
In some markets (I believe Canada is one of these) the 240 was made so the wiring would activate the headlights when the car was running. I have not seen this wiring first hand or up close, but I found the below images in Vovo Greenbook TP30808 Wiring for 1985 240 (pages 50-51).
early U.S. 240 came with inferior sealed beam headlights. You might
install Euro-style (E-code) headlights that use H4 bulbs instead.
Your connector wires may need to be MOVED in the plugs to make the wiring work.
Here's the back-side of the headlights for a typical 1985 or earlier 240 with four headlights. Look at the wire order in your headlight plugs. The High/Low headlight will be the one with THREE wires.
If your wire order looks different from the below H4 style diagram (probably), they need to be moved to the below H4 configuration before using H4 bulbs.
Go HERE for a terminal removal guide.
|E-Code headlights get their name from this CODE embossed in the lenses (below photo) of all European approved headlights.
It may say 'E2' like this one or it may have a different 'E' number. This E-mark was an approval mark regulated by the ECE (Economic Commission for Europe). The code info on the lens shows it's approved for the country where the European test agency granted approval. The E-mark certifies that the product met and complied with specific automotive requirements.
When our beloved 240s were imported to the U.S., our beloved U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) had their own ideas of what good lighting should be. Their motto: If it was good enough 50 years ago, it must still be good.
So all U.S. 240s got super crappy sealed beam headlights with inferior lighting.
240 HEADLIGHT HISTORY
The first 240 models in 1975 appeared with TWO ROUND headlights (EXCEPT for 260 series). Headlight size: 7 inches (178 mm) in diameter.
So originally, all 4 cylinder 2-door, 4-door and wagon model 240s got these headlights.
Of course in Europe, these round headlights were the superior E-Code type using the H4 bulb. Not in the USA.
This TWO headlight front was retained on all 2-door models (except for the 262C) through the 1980 model year, while other models changed.
The FOUR ROUND headlights in this photo appeared on U.S. 6-cylinder models first (260 models). They would then later appear on USA 4-door and wagon 240 models up through 1980.
These four round headlights are 5.75 inches (146 mm) in diameter. Again, for U.S models these were originally inferior U.S. DOT approved sealed beam lights for all cars in the USA, but of course they can be replaced by better E-code halogen headlights if desired. When the 4-cylinder 240s began using these four lights, the up-scale U.S. 6-cylinder models (262, 262C, 264, 265) then began receiving four RECTANGULAR headlights.
Europe was quite different. The European (E-code) large rectangular headlights (which use one H4 bulb per headlight) first appeared in 1975 on the 262C.
Some of these cars received an extra special headlight version shown below with wipers.
This style E-code headlight eventually became standard for most Euro version Volvos through the 1980 model year. U.S cars were never so fortunate to get these headlights.
These are similar to the above 1980 or earlier E-code headlights. This was a DUAL BULB version using two H1 bulbs per headlight, one bulb for low beam and one for high beam. I mounted this set on my 1984 245 Turbo.
If you look closely at this photo below, you can see the second smaller curved reflector inside. This extra reflector is for the high beam and it will tell you this headlight uses dual H1 bulbs. Only this dual bulb style headlight will have this extra reflector.
These square headlights were optional in some E-code markets in 1979-80, such as the Netherlands and Australia (and maybe some other places). This headlight uses one H4 bulb per headlight. Never available in the USA.
These four rectangular headlights below first appeared on 1977 U.S. up-scale models, such as the 262C and other 6 cylinder models. The headlights are 4 x 6 inches (102 x 152 mm).
The four rectangular headlights later became standard on ALL U.S. 240 and 260 models from 1981-1985.
Of course the USA versions used inferior U.S. DOT approved sealed beam units. Greatly superior E-code headlights in this size are available, which use one H4 (high-low) bulb for each outer headlight and one H1 (high beam) bulb for each inner headlight. These headlights are 4 x 6 inches (102 x 152 mm).
This U.S.A. 1984 245 Turbo below originally came equipped with the same four rectangular headlights shown above. For 1985 or earlier U.S. 240 owners, these headlights below (sourced from a 1980 or earlier Euro 240) are a direct bolt-in and a welcome improvement for those who can import them from a country using E-code lights.
These early H4 bulb versions pictured below are shown mounted on a U.S. 1984 245 Turbo. No changes were needed to the hood, grill or turn signals on this. These early headlights bolt right in.
This U.S. 1984 242 Turbo below also originally came with four rectangular headlights. These E-codes originally came from a 1980 or earlier European 240. The turn signal lenses were changed to Euro style dual color, but the turn signal assembly did not change.
This is the same U.S. 1984 242 Turbo as above, except this later photo shows the change to a flat hood and grill. No sheet metal changes are needed, except of course the new hood.
In 1981 Volvo re-designed the front sheet metal for European 240/260 models. USA got left out in the cold and continued to get the old 4-headlight version seen above through 1985.
These 1981 and later E-code versions below used one H4 bulb per headlight.
The flat hood shown below was the same hood used on earlier flat hood 240s in Europe and USA. Some up-scale versions in Europe (6-cylinder cars) received a peaked hood and a different grill.
The new sheet metal changes for 1981 and later European versions included the following:
Different front fenders to accommodate the larger, re-designed turn signals.
And a different sheet metal piece directly below the headlights and grill (shown here below).
And you'll also notice that Europe abandoned the larger aluminum (commando) bumpers in 1981 (below car is a Euro 1981 240). The big bumpers stayed on U.S. cars through 1982 and on Canadian cars for a year or two longer than that.
These E-code headlights above and below are the same, except for the chrome trim (instead of black trim). This model below is a U.S. 1986 or later model that has been fitted with E-codes sourced from a Euro 1981 or later 240. The U.S. 1986 has a raised/peaked hood and chromed grill surround. This is the more common style of Euro headlight/grill combo that will fit a U.S. 1986-93 240. Volvo continued using these headlights on all Euro 240s through 1993.
If you can find a set of these E-codes for your U.S. car, they're a direct bolt-on to any U.S. 1986-93 240. Be sure to buy the Euro turn signals too, since the U.S. turn signals will not correctly fit next to the E-code headlights and the turn signal lenses will not interchange.
1986-93 240s imported to the USA received the same front SHEET METAL that Euro versions got for 1981-93. U.S. versions did not, however, receive E-code headlights. Instead the U.S. versions received inferior U.S. DOT approved headlights with plastic lenses. At least these weren't sealed beam units. These headlights use replaceable 9004 bulbs. The turn signals appear to be very much like the above Euro versions, however they are not interchangeable. If you buy E-code headlights for a 1986-93 240, buy the E-code turn signals to match.
you have expensive or rare GLASS headlight lenses that you want to protect
from rock chips, breakage or pitting, spend the money to get some good, thick headlight protection film.
If you search for Lamin-x or other universal headlight protection film, you'll mostly find a lot of pre-cut kits for many different newer cars. There are no pre-cut kits for older Volvos, so you need to buy universal uncut sheets or rolls of this stuff.
DON'T BUY THIN FILM
or ANY film where thickness is NOT clearly advertised!
I originally put thin universal Lamin-x film on this headlight below and a rock killed it immediately.
This universal Lamin-x film I used first turned out to measure only 8 mil thick (0.008 inch or 0.2 mm). Perhaps this thickness would be OK for paint protection, but it did not protect my headlight very well at all.
I then found the below Lamin-x film, which is available in 40 mil thickness (0.040 inch or 1 mm).
When I found this thicker stuff, it was only available in a bulk roll, 12 inch x 15 feet (or longer). The 15 foot roll was about $133.
More bulk rolls: https://lamin-x.com/rolls/lamin-x-rolls/
I had extra film left over, so I sold it to some friends for a small price to cover the cost of the roll.
Here's a comparison photo above of 8 mil versus 40 mil.
12 inches square can be used for two 7 inch round headlights, however you will probably really only need about 6 3/4 inch circles for that size.
|INSTALLATION OF LAMIN-X
LAMIN-X CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEksXxq7yPaVLNhYQScg30A
| LED headlights (and bulbs) have been around for years, but aftermarket kits for bulb replacements have mostly earned a bad reputation because of poor or inconsistent lighting patterns and poor brightness.
I resisted trying out any aftermarket LED bulbs in any E-code headlights for a long time because I felt it would be really hard to match or beat a good set of European H4 HALOGEN headlights.
This Info is Primarily about ROUND HEADLIGHTS, but if your car uses bulbs, then read it.
For a long time I used 80/100 watt H4 HALOGEN bulbs, which were much brighter and far better than any stock headlights. So my lighting was very good. Good E-Code H4 headlights are well known for the great beam pattern and lots of brightness. I had no complaints.
The only negative with high wattage halogen bulbs is that they use a lot of current. You should be using relays and heavy gauge wire for direct battery power when using high wattage halogens.
LED bulbs have an advantage. They typically use about 30% to 50% of the current of a high wattage H4.
My NON-VOLVO car happens to be 2018 Subaru, which came with factory LED headlights. Those lights are exceptional, so I had been hoping eventually the aftermarket would catch up to that kind of quality, brightness and beam pattern.
A few years ago I saw some videos from Headlight Revolution (I placed those below).
This first short video is a simple brightness comparison between standard Halogen bulbs, upgraded 100 watt halogen bulbs and high-end LED bulbs.
This and other videos below led me to reach out to Headlight Revolution to ask more about things like how good the LED H4 beam pattern looked in an E-code headlamp housing and how bright the latest high-end LED H4 replacement bulbs were. I was interested in how it would compare to my already pretty awesome hi-watt H4 (100 watt) halogen bulbs. They offer some pretty good responses, so I took a chance and I bought a set of LED H4 bulbs (below) to try out in my round E-code headlamps.
I tried the GTR Lighting Ultra 2.0 bulbs shown below. These are not cheap bulbs that you'll find all over the internet. These were over $200 for the pair. The performance is definitely exceptional.
I also tried the S V.4 LED bulbs shown below and at the link below. These are equally exceptional. These were over $200 for the pair as well.
So then I did my own visual comparison. These two photos were taken a little after sunset using low beams.
The top image shows the 80/100 watt HALOGEN H4 bulbs.
The bottom image shows the LED bulbs.
My observation is the LED bulbs are noticeable brighter. They have an equal or better beam pattern, a great beam cut-off at the top, and the light color is a bit whiter than the yellow-white color of a halogen. The LED color is 6000k white.
After driving for a while, I really liked them and I'm keep the LEDs.
Here are a series of installation photos in an E-code Housing.
Here's the S V.4 LED bulb, which I'll show being installed into the below Cibie H4 headlight housing.
The collar shown below can be removed from the bulb. It just pulls off.
Since the rear fan part on the bulb is a bit wide, removing the collar will make it easier to lock down those wire retainers below.
Then this rubber dust boot, which came with these headlights, gets installed over the collar. The center opening needed to be stretched a little to fit over the raised collar center.
Then the bulb is inserted and just clicks into place.
It must be oriented so that the low beam CUP faces straight UP. the bulb can easily be turned in the collar if needed for perfect alignment.
All done. Pretty slick setup.
This is a good project for anyone with any older Volvo, especially if you have or want to to upgrade to brighter headlights with bulbs that use more wattage than factory.
For some good old-school info, have a look at Daniel Stern's page on this subject. He also has several useful diagrams for understanding how to design and build your own headlight relay harness.
Here is a Volvo 240 specific diagram showing how an upgraded relay harness can be made. The relay triggers (relay are connected to and triggered by 56a and 56b) can be taken from the fender harness connectors or if you want to bypass the bulb failure relay, you could take those triggers from terminals 56a and 56b directly from the 5-pole headlight step relay connector.
This diagram assumes you would use one relay to control both low beam headlights and another relay for the high beams.
The above 9004 bulb socket came on all 1986-93 USA 240s. A European E-Code headlight will typically use an H4 bulb.
Wagonmeister is offering ready made 240 headlight relay harnesses, like this one below.
I found these
driving light diagrams below in some OLD Volvo
242 GT literature. I modified them for simplicity
and I decided to share them here. These diagrams
below will show you two different methods of
wiring; one for driving lights and one for fog lights. It uses a
dash switch in conjunction with the 240
headlight step relay and with an added cube
The relay diagram above is an SPST (Single Pole, Single Throw) type cube or mini relay. An SPST type relay is one that uses a center 87 pin (AKA: 87b) which has power when the outer 87 pin has power. Using this type relay is not critical if you're not using the center 87 pin like in these diagrams. If you're looking for a relay like this you can find one here.
There is a reason for wiring the circuit to the step relay.
For Driving Lights, the diagram below allows the lights to be automatically cut off when you switch OFF your HIGH beams.
For Fog Lights, the diagram allows the lights to be cut off when you switch ON your HIGH beams.
The battery power is drawn from the inner fender battery junction box or it may be taken directly from the battery.
A FUSE is recommended somewhere between the battery power source and the relay.
AUXILIARY DRIVING LIGHTS:
With this method, the AUXILIARY DRIVING LIGHT switch receives power from TERMINAL 56a on the headlight step relay. 56a on the step relay is the high beam output, so this means these lights will be configured as auxiliary high beam lights that will only come on when the dash headlight switch is turned on AND when the high beams are also on.
When the driving light switch is turned on, it sends power to terminal 85 on the cube relay, turning the relay ON.
So then turning ON your high beams will turn ON these driving lights, as long as the driving light switch is in the ON position.
If the switch has a bulb as this one shown does, then it will light up when the driving lights are on if wired this way.
I modified this diagram to demonstrate a method for fog lights. With this method, the fog light switch receives power from TERMINAL 56b on the headlight step relay when your headlight switch is turned on. The switch sends power to terminal 85 on the cube relay, turning it ON. 56b on the step relay is the low beam output, so this means the fog lights will only come on when the dash FOG LIGHT switch is turned ON and when the low headlight beams are also ON.
So then with this wiring, turning ON your high beams will turn OFF the fog lights.
If the dash switch has a bulb as this one shown does, then it will light up when the fog lights are on if wired this way.
Additional relay uses can be found in the Relay Guide posted HERE.
Detailed pinouts for a 240 step relay can be found HERE.
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