2 4 0 T U R B O . C O M
Motorized Vent Window Project
for the Volvo 242

     UPDATED: November 17, 2022                    CONTACT       
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242 C-Pillar Panel Project
Motorized Actuators
Infiniti Actuator Project Begins
Ball Socket Joints
Mounting the Motors
Glass Mount
Wiring Diagrams

I like the rear pop-out vent windows in my 242 . . .
but I realized I never used them.

I can't reach them while driving. I would need to stop the car to open or close them. So they just never get used.
I've been wanting to do a motorized vent window mod for more than 10 years.  Many years ago I bought a set of vent window motors with long fat actuator cables. Those originally came in a minivan (I can't recall now which minivan). I hoped somehow I could make those work, but those turned out to be pretty much hopeless.  
In 2022 I started on this project again with different actuators.

Here's a video of someone doing a power actuator mod on a VW Beetle vent window.
This guy uses motorized actuators from a Chrysler or Dodge minivan. I'll discuss different window motors further down.


Back to the Volvo.
Here are some views of the original Volvo 242 vent window mechanism with the window closed and open.

These manual latch mechanisms will be removed on my 242 to make room for this project.

NOTE that there are THREE mounting screws for each latch, not just two. The left photo ABOVE shows a THIRD mounting hole near the handle that you may not see initially.

Here's an outside view of the hole in the Volvo glass. It's 10 mm in diameter.

I began shopping on-line for some used vent window actuators. Here are some things I've learned about different actuators.

These seemed to be the most common. These are also usually the least expensive.
The 3-hole mounting base for this actuator is rectangular.
Some descriptions listed this type as being from 2001-2007 minivans.  Some listed identical looking actuators as 2008-2020.
If you're shopping for these, make sure you get them with WIRE PLUG PIGTAILS, unless you know where to find a plug that fits.
The BALL SOCKET on this actuator is FEMALE. The MALE BALL glass mount piece on the Mopar window is a GLUE ON type. No no hole was put in the glass on these vehicles.
I have more information on BALL SOCKET SIZES HERE.


This Mopar actuator was listed as being from a 2002-2006 Dodge minivan.  It's different from the first Dodge actuator above.
The 2-hole mounting base is shaped more like a trapezoid, compared to the first Dodge piece above, which has a rectangular mounting base.
Also this actuator has a MALE BALL on the arm.  Other Mopars above have a FEMALE SOCKET there. I haven't seen what the glass mount piece is like for this one.  None of the actuators I found on-line came with that piece.
This actuator above is the same one used in the above VW Beetle project video.

This actuator above is also available as a new aftermarket part from Dorman if needed. Dorman PN 948-302 (left), PN 948-303 (right).

This Mopar actuator seems less common. It was listed as PN 4673083 from a 1990s minivan. This actuator arm has a MALE BALL on the arm. Also take note that this one also came with a rubber gasket-isolator, which was mounted under it to reduce noise. Maybe others originally used a rubber gasket too.

Used Honda Odyssey actuators seem to be less common on-line, but they can be found.

There appears to be at two different styles shown above.  Both styles are mounted on metal brackets, making the actuator perpendicular to the car pillar, which looks awkward.
The arm on the actuator has a MALE BALL.

A Honda Odyssey vent window has a hole in the glass for the above glass mount. This glass mount has a FEMALE SOCKET.
It appears the hole in the Honda glass is about 14 or 15 mm in diameter. That is larger than the hole on a 242 window, which is 10 mm, so the female part above going into the hole from the outside might not work on the Volvo glass without mods.

Also keep in mind, compared to a Honda or most other cars, the hole in the Volvo 242 glass is much closer to the back edge and very close to the black seal you can see above. So the large Honda glass mount piece above may take up too much space to fit on the Volvo glass, unless you do some modifications to it.
Nothing is ever easy when doing custom stuff.

Used actuator motors for a Kia are not very common online, but they seem to be pretty decent, if you can get them with connector pigtails.
This one below is a left hand actuator for a 2006 Kia Sedona. The actuator arm has a MALE BALL. The glass mount piece is shown here too.

Used Toyota Sienna actuators seem to be very common on-line and they're usually the MOST EXPENSIVE ones.
Very few that I've seen on-line seem to come with a connector wire pigtail, so you may need to shop for a while if you need that also.

These actuators (and most others) are clearly marked as RH (right hand) or LH (left hand).
The arm has a MALE BALL on a Toyota actuator.
These actuators are also available as new aftermarket parts from Dorman
PN 948-801 (left), PN 948-800 (right).

The FEMALE SOCKET glass mount above (Toyota PN 62915-08020) might possibly be useful for a Volvo if the base was trimmed.  The thru-hole fasteners may be too large to fit in a Volvo window hole. The inner screw above is Toyota PN 9014960086. The rubber bushing is Toyota PN 9008438014. The outer glass retainer (female thread) is Toyota PN 62735AE010.

The below photo shows this Toyota actuator in the OPEN position in a Toyota Sienna.

(I used these actuators for my Volvo project)

I bought Infiniti actuators because they were cheap and had wire connector pigtails. They're identical to Nissan actuators.
Infiniti actuators look pretty close to the Toyota actuators. The set I bought SHOWN BELOW was significantly less expensive than Toyota actuators.
made sure to get a set with plug wire pigtails. These are clearly marked as LH (left hand) or RH) right hand.

The above left image shows an approximate position of the LH Infiniti actuator on the left C-pillar. The connector plug at the bottom clears the seat belt mount by about an inch.
The above right image shows an alternate position using the RH actuator. Putting a RH actuator on the left side requires it to be inverted. So this offers an optional mounting position of either actuator on either side.

It's not easy to see in this image, but the BALL on this crank arm (in the closed position) is approximately an inch from the closed glass.


I made the above diagram showing the OPEN-CLOSED stroke, which is about 1.25 inch (32 mm).
This crank stroke is regulated by the length of Arm 'A' above, which is 1/2 of the final stroke length.
Here's a short VIDEO showing the stroke motion of this Infiniti actuator.

All of these actuators from different cars all appear to function about the same way with all having about the same 1.25 inch stroke.
When I tested the Infinity actuator I found it had a self limiting feature, which means once it meets resistance, the motor stops turning. This seems similar to how your power window motor stops when the window reaches the top or bottom.  When testing these motors without any resistance, they will continue to spin the arm indefinitely. Reversing the polarity on the two wires will reverse the motor.

The original Volvo 242 mechanical window mechanism will open the glass about 1.5 inches (38 mm), so I think the electric actuator stroke of about 1.25 inches should be OK.

Ball and socket joints used by all of the above actuators appear really close to 10 mm in diameter (the Infiniti ball measured about 10.2 mm).
The 10 mm ball and socket parts below are available for lift supports used for various things.
Below I'll include some info on the specific parts I tried out or tested and then eventually used.

If you need to create your own ball-socket links or glass mounts, Lift Supports Depot is one place you can look for these: https://www.liftsupportsdepot.com/products/ball-sockets/

I ended up ordering some of these 10 mm BLACK ball sockets above with M6 thread.
The original Volvo fastener that goes through the glass is an M6 screw, so that seemed like a good size to go with.
From McMaster-Carr: https://www.mcmaster.com/ball-sockets/

I wasn't sure if I would use them, but I also ordered some 10 mm ball studs with M6 thread.
From McMaster-Carr: https://www.mcmaster.com/ball-studs/ball-diameter~10-mm/

Here are side by side close ups of the plastic ball on the Infiniti actuator compared to the 10 mm metal ball stud from McMaster Carr. The metal ball is precisely 10 mm in diameter, but the plastic ball is slightly larger at about 10.2 mm.

The above LEFT image is the 10 mm metal ball stud and ball socket from McMaster Carr. After removing the retaining pin (seen at right), the ball snaps into the socket fairly easily and they fit together snugly. This combination will pivot just fine, but the fit was too tight for this project. There was a lot of resistance. At this point I was not planning to use the metal ball stud, but you need to see it in case you do. I'll explain more about that tight fit below.
In the RIGHT image above I show how the plastic ball would not quite go into the McMaster Carr socket, because the plastic ball is a little too big at about 10.2 mm. So I tried using a file to slightly reduce the plastic ball. More on that below.

As mentioned above, the fit between the metal ball stud and metal socket was too tight. There was significant resistance when turning the ball in the socket and I believed this would make moving a vent window difficult. The reason for this tight fit is the spring metal tension ring inside the socket as seen in the above images. If that ring had less tension, it would had been better for this purpose.  I simply removed it, but that turned out to be a bit tricky.

A bench vise is a good thing to have.
After I secured the socket in a vise, placed a sharp pick inside to gently pull the ring slightly out of the groove. Force isn't needed for that. Then I used a small flat screwdriver to forcibly pry the ring up and out.  This methods worked really well.

Removing that retaining ring will not make the socket go onto the plastic ball. The plastic ball was still 0.2 mm too big, but the fit between the metal ball and socket was no longer too tight. Progress is coming in small steps.

The above left image is after about 10 minutes with a file. I reduced the ball diameter slightly and I also found I needed to remove some plastic between the ball and the arm to clear the wire retainer when it gets inserted into its hole. This is beginning to look successful, however I recognize that filing or grinding on that plastic ball has risks.  It would be possible to go too far and ruin the plastic ball.

If the plastic ball could not be used or if a different ball is needed, I think it would be fairly simple to cut it off and then drill and tap a hole for M6 x 1 mm thread. Then thread the metal ball stud into the arm. Also if necessary, I could grind down the bolt hex head so I could insert the metal ball stud in further, which would make it would be about the same distance from the arm as the plastic one is.

Changing direction on the Ball.

After playing with re-sizing the plastic ball, I gave up and chopped it off. It didn't fit as well as the metal one.

  I drilled and tapped the arm for the metal ball stud.

Much, much better.


The C-pillar plastic panel has been removed. I'll be installing a new C-pillar panel I made. The C-Pillar Project Page is HERE.
Here's the approximate position for the left side actuator. The ball and socket is lined up pretty well with the hole in the glass. The ball socket doesn't quite reach the glass (more on that HERE). It's about 1/4 inch from it, so a spacer may be needed to bridge that gap.

The two red dots are the approximate locations for thread inserts to be installed to hold the actuator. There's a problem: There's no sheet metal behind the top location where that top red dot is. Keep reading.

Here's a piece of sheet metal. It's approximately 1/16 inch steel (about 2 1/4 by 1 1/4 inches). It's to be mounted behind that hole. That piece of metal will hold the top thread insert.
If you have a rivet gun, that would be a good tool to mount this. I do, but I used sheet metal U-clips instead. The U-clips are from an assortment I bought on Amazon years ago: https://www.amazon.com/KCRTEK-170Pcs-Automotive-Assortment-Interior/dp/B09536BFLS/. The holes were drilled about 1 7/8 inches apart on this piece.

Here's the new metal piece mounted in place. Try to not disturb that connector. It's the power supply for the rear glass defrost heater. If you find the plastic connector becomes damaged, you should make sure it's well insulated so it doesn't short when touching the car metal.


The original 242 vent window uses the above short screw and fat washer, along with a thin plastic washer touching the glass. The original screw is an M6 x 1.0 x 12 mm long OVAL HEAD screw. The longer screw above is an M6 x 1.0 x 25 mm long screw I bought from McMaster-Carr. A selection of metric oval head screws can be seen at their page: https://www.mcmaster.com/screws/metric-phillips-oval-head-screws/

As I mentioned earlier when mounting the actuator, the ball socket didn't quite reach the glass when closed. It was about 1/4 inch from the glass, so a spacer was needed to bridge the gap on the inside. I didn't think a spacer needed to be fancy. To mock this up on the car I used a piece of 4 or 5 mm vacuum hose as the spacer, which is what you see in this photo ABOVE. This was quick and easy.The new longer screw matched the look of the original Volvo screw on the outside perfectly. That thin black washer seen ABOVE next to the original outer metal washer is an M6 rubber washer. I thought I'd try that instead of the old brittle original white plastic washer that I found next to that outer washer originally.

When it came time for finally mounting the actuator to the C-pillar, I drew a paper template of the actuator base.  Then when I held the actuator it up to the C-pillar to decide on the final position, I taped the template to the back of the C-pillar. Then I taped the paper template to the car and removed the actuator. in the FIRST PHOTO ABOVE you can see the paper template in place. Then I drilled the first TOP hole into that new sheet metal piece I added. Since I was using a thread insert, M6 x 1.0 mm, I found the drill hole needed to be 9 mm, so I used a 9/32 inch drill bit (same as 9 mm), first beginning with a smaller bit and slowly stepping up to the final size. Then I installed the top thread insert into the sheet metal piece.

If you're new to installing thread inserts, the kit I used was a Blind Rivet Nut Threaded Insert Kit M3/M4/M5/M6/M8, which can be seen at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G5Q2BLD/.
Here's a video showing how it's used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8sy_Glha28

's the RIGHT SIDE C-pillar and the sheet metal piece I added to that side.  Also here on this side you can see the GROUND connection for the rear glass heater.
When it's time to drill the bottom hole for the actuator (PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT), keep in mind that I found the sheet metal in that area (not far from the big seat belt anchor bolt hole) to be around 3 times thicker than other places. So Volvo put some some extra metal reinforcement in there, which seems to extends at least a few inches from that seat belt hole. This means this bottom hole location may not need a thread insert. Instead of a thread insert, I drilled a 13/64 inch (5 mm) hole and tapped the hole with an M6 x 1.0 m thread tap. There are inexpensive kits available that include one metric thread tap and a drill bit for under $10.00.

Here's a test video below I made showing how this looked when testing for the first time. The first thing I noticed (and didn't like) was how much the actuator arm was twisting the glass mount at the end of the travel. This could probably be worked out with a lot of fine adjusting, but ultimately the idea of a glass mount that moved that much was not going to work out.     


I abandoned the above glass mount idea and tried a few different things. I eventually settled on the below mount, which is designed to be rigidly attached to the glass, but will still allow some limited movement at the end of arm travel.  The result works very well.

These parts were all painted black before final installation.

Here's a NEW SECOND test video below I made showing how the above new parts looked when testing. 

For more detail on how I created this new C-pillar panel, see my C-Pillar Project Page.

During final installation, after installing the new C-pillar, I found that the C-pillar slightly changed the positioning of the actuator, altering how the actuator arm lined up to the window glass mount. So to compensate, I made a shim using 3/16 inch thick PVC plastic. The shim allow the actuator to pivot slightly. Plastic like this can be found in small sheets at McMaster Carr.

Here's the completed installation.  I thought about making some sort of cover, but so far I have not found a good way.  A 3D printer would come in handy, but I don't have one. Either way, I don't really think it's all that unsightly.  It's almost invisible from the outside.  The making of the new C-pillar panel can be seen at https://www.240turbo.com/242cpillar.html.

And a CLOSE-UP below

Wiring Diagrams
Here are a few wiring options for these actuators if you want to use some window switches to control them. These diagrams below are meant for power windows, but they will work perfectly for this purpose.
I considered using power window switches for this projects, but I later changed my mind.

This diagram above is a simple method if you prefer to use two Volvo window switches. The switches can be placed anywhere you prefer; on your dash or one switch on each door. The presence of the relay as shown here will be a good idea, since this provides the most direct battery power.

This diagram was originally meant for a later 2-door, which has window switches on both doors; two on the driver door and one on the passenger door.
If you are using 240 door window switches for the actuators and if you prefer to eliminate the switch on the passenger door, I have added an option for that in the diagram above.

Here are the pins for a 5-pin 240 window switch.

6-Pole Momentary Mini Rocker Switch

If you prefer to use mini rocker switches on the dash or somewhere else, this 6-pole rocker is a good one. Front dimensions: 0.55 x 0.77 inch (14 x 19.5 mm). Male spades on the rear will fit 0.187 (4.7 mm) push-on terminals. This switch found at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PNHALS/

The above diagram details how to wire 6-pole switches, such as the above rocker or 6-pole toggles like I used below. Using a relay to and fuses is optional.  

6-Pole Momentary Toggle Switches
I had originally planned to use a couple of the above mini-rockers, but I wasn't sure if the rockers could comfortably handle the electrical load of the actuators over long term. So instead I bought a couple larger toggle switches. The wiring for these is exactly the same.

These switches can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082QVQJXM

Before mounting them, I simply taped them together before drilling mounting holes in my dash.

The final switch installation is shown above. 

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