Here is the 240 headlight step relay that came in every 1978-93 240. The
original relay, PN 1307991, is still available
as a new part, however as the years go by, they
are getting to be more and more expensive.
As original Volvo 240 headlight step relays
become more expensive or less common, here I am
offering an alternative that you can assemble
yourself to completely
eliminate the Volvo 240 Step Relay and connectors.
method uses two commonly available relays to
accomplish the same functions.
<<< For those of you that
are new to this, the step relay is found under your hood on
the left inner fender.
|Here's a quick
little rabbit trail for owners of SOME OTHER
|760 and 960
example of what can happen to the
availability of 240 step relays,
which I hope doesn't happen, these
images below are of the headlight step
relay found in a 1988-94
Volvo 760 and 960 series.
This relay is PN 1392900 and has been
longer available new for many years.
relays are showing up online for
If YOU can help, I would be happy to
work out a similar solution to eliminate
TO THE 240 STEP RELAY
is a bottom
view of the 240 step relay plug connectors.
Beginning in 1986, Volvo added the in-dash headlight relay that was
wired between the dash ON-OFF switch and the step relay. This extra
relay was added to take the high-current load off of the dash
switch because the dash switch plug would melt from the heat.
To keep this as simple as possible, I have not included the bulb failure sensor in these
diagrams. If you need to know, the bulb failure sensor is wired between the step relay (pin 56b)
and the low beams.
240 1986-93 (with dash relay)
|Factory 240 Step
Wire colors may vary slightly
depending on year.
(common with 81a).
(common with 15).
high beam lever (negative ground
|12V output from
dash headlight switch (or from headlight relay
in 1986-93 240).
beam indicator light (RED/WHITE).
High beam headlamp (RED).
failure sensor. Then from bulb failure
sensor to low beam headlamp.
|<<< The first thing you'll need to eliminate the 240 step relay is one of these. They are easy to
find. You can search for "LR35 relay"
or “VW latching headlight relay.”
This is basically a copy of a VW headlamp
dip relay. Cost will be around $20. This is
a special mechanical latching relay. It's
latching function will be identical to what the Volvo
240 step relay does.
NOTE: I have found no available
connector plugs that will fit this
relay. Those pins are standard .250 inch
(6.3 mm), so simple 1/4 inch crimp spade connectors
will be fine.
|<<< You will need one
standard mini "cube" relay for this project.
This relay can be an
SPST type as shown in these images. 40A
capacity is recommended.
SPST means Single Pole,
Single Throw. An SPST relay will usually have 5
pins, with the center pin marked 87b (or sometimes
With this type of relay, pins 87and 87b
are common and both give power at the same
time. You may also use pretty much any other
standard relay, since for this project, the center
pin is not being used. If you need a relay like this, I offer this brown
relay in my relay page at: https://www.240turbo.com/volvorelays.html#1324749-006brown.
To help you understand how this new
device will work, let me show you a
simplified diagram showing the functions of
the two replacement relays involved. This is a
of the new latching relay and new mini relay. Beginning in 1986, Volvo added the in-dash headlight relay
that was wired between the dash ON-OFF switch and the step relay. This
extra relay was added to take the high-current load off of the dash
switch because it would melt from the heat.
I have not included the bulb failure sensor in these
diagrams. The bulb failure sensor is wired between the latching relay
(56b) and the low beams.
|When this mod is done, the original step relay and connector plugs are eliminated, but for illustration value, here's a diagram that shows the pins in
the original Volvo step relay connector and
how they relate to each circuit on the two new relays.
The latching outputs in
the new latching relay are poles 56a
and 56b. These two outputs will alternate power with each tug
of the high beam lever.
|Here's a link to a page created by a 245
owner who did this mod for his car in 2017. He
also added relays for his high and low beams, as
well as driving lights.
a printable PDF document that
covers the above step relay modification.
the image for 2-page PDF.