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Old 07-31-2008, 04:40 PM
derburger's Avatar
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Location: Saint Louis, MO
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Might be purchasing a Volvo 240, advice needed

I am going to look at this Volvo 240 soon. I've always wanted a Volvo, and they seem like a decent college car. This one's a 1992 and nearby. I would do the suspension work myself, any oddball things about the Volvo 240 suspension, or places to get a good deal on parts? Thanks for your input.

"Solid body and engine. 165000 miles. Gold color. AC and heater great, all glass intact, interior good condition. Automatic. Power windows all work. 4-door. Runs great. Needs about $900 worth of work on front end suspension (tie rod), rear shocks soft, front tires worn, rear tires fine, exhaust header hole so a bit noisy now and cat converter shot. But after that could be most excellent wheels. Don't bother with lots of questions, as the above are honest needs. Take it as is, if you want a gem once fixed up. Clean title. Otherwise will donate to charity by August 8."

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Old 07-31-2008, 05:56 PM
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Location: So. California
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I had a 740 turbo. Parts are more money than a Benz (at least at the time I had the car). Some of the aftermarket parts for the Volvo were complete crap and therefore you had to buy factory parts $$$. Strut mount bearings.

The 240 is a very basic Volvo, those 4 cylinder gas engines last quite a long time if you take care of them. They have some specific issues that need to be checked (cam shaft seals, wiring harness, couple of water pumps etc.)
84 300DT Puke Yellow. Totalled after 438,000
84 300DT Orient Red. 169,000 (actual mileage may vary)
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:07 PM
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Location: Sunnyvale, Texas (DFW)
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A '92 is the second to last year, and no worries on the wiring harness on that one.
I was looking for a Volvo when I stumbled upon my first MB. They are a solid car. The MB bullies don't need to start comparing them to MB's, but they do break a lot less......
Jimmy L.
'05 Acura TL 6MT
2001 ML430 My Spare

'95 E300 188K "Batmobile" Texas Unfriendly Black
'85 300TD 235K "The Wagon" Texas Friendly White
'80 240D 154K "China" Scar engine installed
'81 300TD 240K "Smash"
'80 240D 230K "The Squash"
'81 240D 293K"Scar" Rear ended harder than Elton John
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:40 PM
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I had an 86 740 GLE. It was a good solid car that I had for about 10 years. I sold it about two years ago because the repairs were going to cost way more than the car was worth. A new exhaust system was going to be around $800. The trailer arm was rusted out. The A/C was not working but may have just needed a charge. I had just put a new heater core in myself to get through the winter. The core was only around $100 but it was about an 11 hour job for an experienced mechanic. For me it was longer.

I would ask the following questions:

1) Has the A/C evaporator been replaced? If not, assume it will need to be soon. It is under the dash and expensive in labor to fix. (I am assuming this is the same as the other mid 90's Volvos. They are notorious for this problem.)

2) Has the heater core been replaced at any time? Probably not and you may have a few years to go on that.

Between the $900 front end work and figure $800 or more for exhaust system, you are looking at $1,700 on top of what you pay for it. Compare that to what they are going for on EBay or or Oh, and add $150 for new front tires and maybe more for rear shocks.

I would be looking to get this car dirt cheap if I was buying it and would have to sink another $1,700 into it. Like maybe $200.

I used to go to for parts. They are still out there and have some information about used car pricing. Find a volvo forum and ask some questions. I can't recall the forum I went to but there are some good ones out there. Google: "Volvo forum" and you should come up with something.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
85 300D 72K Anthracite Grey (Rutherford) 0-60 in 13 seconds
84 300D 331K Black (Rufus) 0-60 in 14 seconds (adjusted the ALDA)
00 Toyota Sienna 208K (Sold)
15 Subaru Outback 22K
98 Ford Taurus 62K (Gertie - Was Grandma's - drove it to church and shopping - really) Daughter's car now.
30 Model A Ford 2 Door Sedan (Sold) 0-60 in . . . Never reached 60
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:45 PM
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I had a 78 and an 87 (both wagons). These are great cars, and I always look at rust-free ones floating around. Rust is a key thing to look for. Pull up the carpets, look in the trunk under the carpets, look in the door sills and under the piece of trim that rides the seam between vehicle and bumper. You want to go on the brickboard and look up flame trap. IPDusa is a great source for parts and upgrades.

The $900 estimate seems very inexpensive unless you're buying and installing all of the parts yourself. Header replacement, tires, exhaust? The exhaust has a muffler and a resonator in addition to the cat, plus pipes, hangers, etc. Starla makes a good kit. Often, people install non-stock exhausts for $$ savings which then make emissions difficult to pass. Sometimes a muffler shop will chop out the parts and install something else. If the car you're examining is very cheap, you might not end up too upside down on it. An almost perfect example can probably be found in the $4-$6k range, and will already have tires, brakes, exhaust, timing belt, etc. I routinely see nice ones without major issues for less than $2500.

Blower fan, evaporator core and heater core are all possibilities down the road if not already done.

As with MBs, there are enthusiasts who love these old 240-series volvos. That the guy/girl doesn't want to be asked questions would indicate to me that he/she isn't one of them. Care can suffer on cars owned by non enthusiasts.

Some suspension things require volvo-specific tools. Of course, most of the time there is a work-around, but it's easier with the correct tool.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 146
I have a 89 240DL wagon that I am in the process of parting out. I still have the HD springs, Bilstein shocks, and front suspension parts that were installed less than a year ago if you're interested. Send me a PM

The car itself was just OK. Nothing fancy, slow, got about 19 mpg around town. The engine itself will probably run for 300K. I had 170K and it used no oil between changes, I would call it "bulletproof", ran great, but not much power. Rust was the downfall of this car, and the price of gas. The OEM headlights really suck, so some people opt for the euro headlight package. The best thing about the car was the brakes. Throw you through the windshield, no ABS on the 89. It also had the tightest turning radius I have ever seen. I found that parts were reasonably priced. had most maintenence parts, good price.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:02 PM
RML RML is offline
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Originally Posted by djugurba View Post
Blower fan, evaporator core and heater core are all possibilities down the road if not already done.
Right. I forgot. I must have had that blower fan out five times. Replaced it twice. They collect water and rust where the motor spindle sits in a cup. Get some grease in there to prevent this. I remember drilling out the rivets on the housing and re-riveting to avoid buying yet another fan.

All in all, it was a good car but the MB's are more durable.

Oh yea, and the radio/cassette player went. I bought a replacement at the junk yard but that was a waste of $25. It lasted about 6 months maybe. I would have been better off buying a new radio/CD unit.
85 300D 72K Anthracite Grey (Rutherford) 0-60 in 13 seconds
84 300D 331K Black (Rufus) 0-60 in 14 seconds (adjusted the ALDA)
00 Toyota Sienna 208K (Sold)
15 Subaru Outback 22K
98 Ford Taurus 62K (Gertie - Was Grandma's - drove it to church and shopping - really) Daughter's car now.
30 Model A Ford 2 Door Sedan (Sold) 0-60 in . . . Never reached 60
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:08 PM
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I just sold my 87 240 wagon with 298,000 miles on it. I never had to do more than replace the tires and the timing belt once. That car was unbelievably reliable. I gave $1500 for it and got 60,000 very trouble free miles back.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:22 PM
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92 is a very late 240, so it will have better soundproofing and slightly nicer features than the earlier cars. Also airbag and ABS. It also has those horrible horrible US spec plastic headlights that yellow. If you drive at night you'll want to spend $300 on a set of cheap ecodes, and if you don't then grab some plastic polish and get rid of the yellow lenses. Lots of advice out there on that. In the midwest it will probably still have rust, see the advice above.
If it is a manual you will get high-20's to low 30's for mileage. Automatic not so great of course.
The AC rarely works on Volvos, but the 91-93 system was a big improvement and may still be working. As I recall you'll want that where you live. Clean the evap drain out every few years if the retrofit wasn't already done. Avoids water pooling up inside the box.
The heater motor will die eventually, but the job isn't really as hard as some say, and if you do it with a new ball-bearing motor you shouldn't ever have to do it again. I did mine with a standard replacement motor nearly 10 years ago and it has been just fine.
Suspension is pretty easy. McPherson struts up front and live axle rear. A spring compressor is about the only special tool required except the special tool for the rear trailing arm bushings (which are nearly always in need of replacement unless recently done). Info on homemade tools is available on brickboard and various other places, but I recommend just installing poly bushings.
Wheels for all RWD volvos from about 72-95 will fit the car. Since you have to replace the tires anyway that could be an excuse to get rid of the hubcaps.
I've never owned a NA B230 powered car, only the Turbo and V6, so I can't say how well it will go straight ahead. If you put some decent shocks on it and the swaybars off a turbo it will handle rather well. Larger IPD bars, some sport springs, poly bushings, chassis bracing and you'll have a 3000lb fridge on wheels that will corner far better than it should.
Rusty exhaust is common, but I haven't seen many NA exhaust manifolds crack. Not making stock power anyway. Regardless its easy to get to and easy to replace. 165k is barely broken in for these motors. Unless it has really been abused it should last for a long time, and even if it has parts and replacement motors are cheap and pretty easy to find. Keep oil and coolant in it, do simple tune-ups as needed, and it should last for longer than the body of the car will if you salt the roads there.

A few useful sites:
brickboard as said above is great for repair info (though I find the board hard to read) ( really) (gets you discounts on parts and service at the dealer, and a decent magazine)
Parts: (cheaper parts can be found, but their customer service can't be beat)

I have found the parts for both my Volvo 200's to be cheaper than the Mercedes parts for my sister's 240D for the most part. Not much is available at the dealer anymore beyond standard maintenance parts, but the aftermarket stuff is generally good, though the Scan-tech stuff is of spotty quality.
The Mercedes w123 and the Volvo 200 are actually pretty similar cars in my opinion. Lots of little differences, but they're both basically 70's european tanks.

And just because I never get to show it off on this forum, here's my 81:
1971 280 SEL
1981 Volvo 242Tic | 1980 Bertone Coupe
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Alberta
Posts: 266
The Volvo parts I've bought tended to cost more than Mercedes parts. But the Volvo is simpler in many ways and needs parts less often.

I find the Volvo to be more crudely engineered and I don't look forward to working on it. The Mercedes is (usually) a pleasure to work on in comparison.

Regarding the tie rods, the rubber steering rack boots often fall apart and then the inner tie rod ends are destroyed shortly thereafter due to dirt. If you see torn rack boots then count on replacing the tie rod ends (and the rack boots).

The B230 engine is reliable and durable (I've had two 240 wagons, my first had over 270,000 miles and still never used any oil between changes).

My '87 wagon was $800 and needed $175 worth of suspension and brake work. The wagons are usually more popular than sedans, so you should be able to get the sedan you posted for a low, low price considering the amount of work needed (or look for one that needs less done to it).

1989 250TD Wagon 5-speed, 160,000mi ::: Dark gray metallic / black cloth
1984 190D-2.2 5-speed, 287,000mi ::: Silver-blue metallic / black MB-tex ::: SOLD
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:38 PM
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Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 133

Thats a good car. I have had six of seven Volvos over the years. That is a non-turbo b230 motor. I did not catch what transmission it had. Both were good then. I have a 88 with the five speed and it can get 33mpg on the itstersate. Pretty good for a heavy car! They are very reliable and drive very nice. Check for rust see what it might need suspension wise, but I would not have an issue spending that much money on that car. I have driven my 88 for six years and have no intention of getting rid of it.

Also check A lot of parts for these cars can be had at the junk yard for a pretty good price. Keep us posted. Good luck.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:41 PM
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Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 303
I never liked the printed circuit paper whatever deals for the tail lights and the tail light lenses themselves especially in the south. The plastic deteriorates and the cubes like to collect rainwater and burn out the bulbs. I know my old Volvo hated me wanting me to get pulled over for tail lights out. I got in the habit of checking my lights every night with that car. I had other problems with mine and ended up giving it to a friend of mine, who drove it another 8 months before junking it. I would not buy another one. MB's are much better cars for the $$$.

Former owner of a few diesel MB cars
1998 Lexus ES 300 In Chicago We Trust
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:46 PM
derburger's Avatar
Evil Servo Conqueror
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Location: Saint Louis, MO
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Thanks for the info everyone, I'll likely look at the 240 this weekend. Had a lengthy conversation with the owner, the car was for his daughter for college. They replaced sensors, relays, hoses, trying to find a stalling issue, it was the timing belt a few degrees off, a new one fixed everything. Working A/C and heat, new CD player. Good exterior and interior, no rust. The $900 quote was from his mechanic to fix everything, the tie rod ends, rear shocks, and exhaust issues. He originally listed it for $2000 but got no bites, now he wants it gone. Seems like a good deal to me, as I can do the work myself on it, save a boatload on insurance compared to my MB. The Volvo is automatic unfortunately.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:42 AM
derburger's Avatar
Evil Servo Conqueror
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Location: Saint Louis, MO
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How about a 1988 740 Wagon? I imagine the price could be talked down a little.

My 87 year old Dad no longer drives. Selling his 1988 Gold Volvo 740 Station Wagon, 2.3L 4cyl, automatic, A/C AM/FM radio, sun roof, black leather interior. 161,951 miles. Body is excellent, garaged in Clayton high rise, black leather interior is good, cloth interior roof is poor, needs tune up and valves click, but absolutely no burning of oil, Kelley blue book is $1405. Will sell for $1250 as it needs registration."
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Old 08-01-2008, 09:05 AM
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It's funny you should start this thread. I just purchased a '89 240DL last night. Paid $1250 for it, 189,000 miles on it. It has a new muffler, new brakes, no rust at all. It needs some minor stuff like the center console is missing, the bolster needs new carpet otherwise it's a great looking car. AC works though it has been changed over to 134A.
We bought it for my GF's daughter, she's 16 and we figured it will be a great first car for her.
We washed it and waxed it last night, it came out looking really good. I took some pics and I'll post them maybe this weekend.

1984 300SD Turbo Diesel 150,000 miles

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