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So this is my project car. I bought a '92 940 GL 2.3L (non-turbo) from a friend who was going back overseas. It had a few things wrong with it so I decided that this would be my project car. It reports it has 130k miles, but since the speedometer works sometimes I have no idea of actual mileage and mileage is exempt on the title.

I've always had a soft spot for old Volvos because of the boxy look. The 940 is essentially a 240 with a newer body and interior. This is my first Volvo (and first RWD sedan) having coming from owning and driving a Sable and a Taurus for a decade. The Volvo actually drives quite nice for a 22-year-old car. It's surprisingly quiet and really comfortable. The 114 HP 4 cylinder gets it moving well and the brakes surprisingly stops the car quickly and effortlessly. The ABS in this car has to be the best ABS I've ever encountered since I couldn't feel any pedal pulsation nor tire squealing under emergency braking. It corners like a much lighter car, but there is still evident lean. It also has the original owner's manual and work receipts from when the car was new (it has missing paperwork from 2002 to 2011). I learned it was originally purchased in Houston, TX and stayed in Houston until the late '90s/early 2000s when the car made its way to Austin (where it is now).

There were a few things that needed work when I got the car:

  • Trans would not shift into overdrive. I replaced the overdrive relay and it's good now.
  • Passenger side strut mount was broken on my friend's watch. He drove it broken for a couple months at which time it impaled itself through the hood. I drove it like that for a month before I replaced both the shocks and strut mounts on the front with KYB strut mounts and Bilstein Touring shocks. The new struts make it handle bumps very well and I'm impressed with the results.
  • I replaced the front endlinks and bushings.
  • There is a hole in the hood from where the strut broke through. I pounded it out with a hammer and duct taped it (with color matching duct tape!) to keep it dry. I am on the lookout for a white hood.
  • Power antenna was bent and inoperative. I replaced with a unit from a 960 and it works great.
  • Changed the oil and power steering fluid.
  • Speedometer works sometimes. Odometer works when speedometer works. When it doesn't work it either gets stuck at 90 MPH or just drops to 0. I cleaned the harness and speed sensor on the rear diff and it did not help. I'm guessing the problem is inside the cluster.
  • The sunroof doesn't work. I hear clicking and it moving about 1/4 inch when I press the switch in either position. Not a big deal, but it is stick slightly open (about 1/4") so I duct taped that shut after I got dumped with a gallon of dirty rain water on the first left turn after a rain storm.
  • Spark plugs, wires, air filter, and flame trap were replaced in February 2012, two owners ago. Accessory belts look new. Haven't looked at timing belt yet.
  • It idles pretty low (~600 RPMs). I cleaned the IAC with TB cleaner and that didn't help too much. I replaced the dizzy cap and rotor (the dizzy cap and rotor definitely had a good amount of carbon) and that made the engine not shake as bad, but it's still at low RPMs.
  • Replaced the fuel filter and did a coolant flush.
  • Gear indicator on the shifter seems loose and doesn't match what gear the trans is in. I'll probably look into that when I get the chance.
  • My friend jammed a tape adapter into the tape deck and it got stuck. I eventually got the tape adapter out.
There is a DIY shop here in Austin that I visit to work on the Volvo. $10/hr for a flat bay or $20/hr for a lift. Both bays come with a 300 piece tool set, jack and jackstands, and minor help. There's a couple mechanics on staff that will help do the job for $40/hr or do the entire job for $80/hr. It's a pretty sweet deal.

 

On with the pics!

 

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Window got stuck down. It turned out to be the switch in the door.

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Strut replacement. Spring compressors are scary s**t!

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New headlight and fog light bulbs (Sylvania Xtravisions):

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No cupholder? The repair duct tape works wonders!

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Got the tape out:

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There was a toggle switch on the dashboard. It didn't do anything when toggled. So I investigated and it actually didn't do anything since the wire ends in the middle of the firewall.

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Cleanest it's ever been! Had to wash it because I parked under a tree for two hours downtown only to comeback with it covered in poop.

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On the lift being worked on:

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I'm glad to see a 940 still going.  I don't see them around anymore.  RWD and solid platform.  Not a bad backup car at all, something fun to tinker with.  Enjoy man, keep on working on it.  Blue interior FTW

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I love old Volvo's too. I love almost all Volvo's, actually. That cluster is beautifully simplistic. I would love to have an old Volvo AWD wagon.

 

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There's something alluring about that era of Volvo. Sounds like a fun project.

 

There is a DIY shop here in Austin that I visit to work on the Volvo. $10/hr for a flat bay or $20/hr for a lift. Both bays come with a 300 piece tool set, jack and jackstands, and minor help. There's a couple mechanics on staff that will help do the job for $40/hr or do the entire job for $80/hr. It's a pretty sweet deal.

 

Wow... that's nice. Never heard of that before.

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Our Taurus wagon would have been a 240 wagon, but they violate my OBD2 and R134A rule(AKA 1997 or newer). My wife loves the 240. I owned 2 of them years ago, and a 122S, and an 1800S(parts car).

Edited by 2000_Gold_Taurus
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There is a DIY shop here in Austin that I visit to work on the Volvo. $10/hr for a flat bay or $20/hr for a lift. Both bays come with a 300 piece tool set, jack and jackstands, and minor help. There's a couple mechanics on staff that will help do the job for $40/hr or do the entire job for $80/hr. It's a pretty sweet deal.

There are shops like this on the Army posts where I was stationed. I tried to convince my buddy in Austin who owns a shop to start one about 15 years ago but he felt the risk was too great.

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Yeah, this shop is pretty awesome and it's the only one I know of here. I've heard these kind of shops are somewhat common in the northwest (WA/OR). This shop seem to get a steady amount of people.

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Your seats look just like those in our 1990 240 4DR sedan we inherited when Dad died three years ago. I've fixed quite a few things. If your speedo is analog as I suspect, you may have the same plastic drive and driven gears in the cluster that are in the 240, that are notorious for chipping teeth and preventing proper operation. The fact that your odometer stops with the speedometer confirms that for me. Volvo wants an insane amount of money for the pair of gears (there are two driven gears, you need to know which one you have - the 25-tooth or 26-tooth. One will work in place of the other, to the detriment of accuracy.)

 

Pull your cluster when you get the chance and post a photo or two of the side view. If it's the same as mine is, I'll forward a source for the gears (I paid $44 for both, it was a 45-minute fix) and a detailed set of instructions with photos.

 

Have fun with it! Mom had a 960 4DR in the garage next to Dad's 240; my brother got that. He thought he was getting the better of me. Schmuck. :D He still can't get it to run right, while we've had the 240 (same B230F engine as you have, bulletproof) up to Virginia and out to Washington State and back. It'll cruise at 90mph all day if you let it.

 

BTW, one more thing, I just read the bit about the sloppy shifter. There are two rubber bushings in the linkage assembly that disintegrate and allow for really loose shifter feel, and inaccurate gear range indication. I don't have a lift so I paid our Volvo mechanic to replace those for me. $74 by a rabid Volvo fanatic and mechanic here in Fort Myers. Well worth it to me. Shifter now is taut and crisp.

Edited by Lgbpop
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Yeah, this shop is pretty awesome and it's the only one I know of here. I've heard these kind of shops are somewhat common in the northwest (WA/OR). This shop seem to get a steady amount of people.

Nothing like that around here. :( I would patronize the s**t out of such an establishment....

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Nothing like that around here. :( I would patronize the s**t out of such an establishment....

 

So would I.....

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Strut pains, Matt? ;)

I need to replace the entire suspension, replace the entire brake system, replace the muffler, probably some other stuff I forgot....

A lift would be helpful right now...

Maybe I should trade the bull for a Volvo.....

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Your seats look just like those in our 1990 240 4DR sedan we inherited when Dad died three years ago. I've fixed quite a few things. If your speedo is analog as I suspect, you may have the same plastic drive and driven gears in the cluster that are in the 240, that are notorious for chipping teeth and preventing proper operation. The fact that your odometer stops with the speedometer confirms that for me. Volvo wants an insane amount of money for the pair of gears (there are two driven gears, you need to know which one you have - the 25-tooth or 26-tooth. One will work in place of the other, to the detriment of accuracy.)

 

Pull your cluster when you get the chance and post a photo or two of the side view. If it's the same as mine is, I'll forward a source for the gears (I paid $44 for both, it was a 45-minute fix) and a detailed set of instructions with photos.

 

Have fun with it! Mom had a 960 4DR in the garage next to Dad's 240; my brother got that. He thought he was getting the better of me. Schmuck. :D He still can't get it to run right, while we've had the 240 (same B230F engine as you have, bulletproof) up to Virginia and out to Washington State and back. It'll cruise at 90mph all day if you let it.

 

BTW, one more thing, I just read the bit about the sloppy shifter. There are two rubber bushings in the linkage assembly that disintegrate and allow for really loose shifter feel, and inaccurate gear range indication. I don't have a lift so I paid our Volvo mechanic to replace those for me. $74 by a rabid Volvo fanatic and mechanic here in Fort Myers. Well worth it to me. Shifter now is taut and crisp.

Yeah, the inline 6 in the 960 aren't exactly reliable engines. I'm glad that mine's the classic redblock.

I'm pretty sure the speedometer issue is electrical. TurboBricks and BrickBoard have extensive write-ups about 900 series cluster failures and it's usually a bad capacitor. I just haven't pulled the cluster yet since lately it's been working almost 90% of the time. Same story with the shifter. I haven't pulled the console yet, but I think it's an easy fix once I see it.

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In other news, I was involved in a traffic collision in the Volvo Thursday morning. Can't discuss too much details since there's an investigation going, but I was hit from behind on the expressway which caused the car to spin. It stopped with me facing traffic head-on. My car was the only car able to drive away (the other two had to be towed). No air bags were deplyed for all involved. Everyone walked away just fine, but my back started hurting when I got into work. I then spent half the day waiting in urgent care to get my back checked out. The doctor said there are no serious injuries and that I'm just going to be sore for a few days.

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I bought a 960 about 8 years ago for my sister. It had almost 150k miles at the time. She put another 65k on it before she traded it in. Only real problem were leaky seals on the top end on the engine. Expensive job to fix. She was involved in two collisions (she rear ended them) and took the oil pan off by flying over a sunken cattle guard (and continued to drive another 5 miles home). The car was a tank.

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Sorry to hear about the traffic accident. Glad you are ok. FWIW my buddy and his mother were involved in an accident about a year ago in Austin and used Lorenz and Lorenz to recover damages. He's been pleased with them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Haven't heard much from the insurance companies over this since they still can't get the police report for some reason. Anyways, I figure it'd be OK to share a pic of the damage to the Volvo. The bumper filler panel was damaged, along with some slight scuffing, a slight bend in the sheetmetal under the taillight, and the exhaust was pushed forward.

 

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I stopped driving the Volvo for a couple of weeks because the exhaust leak was pretty bad (although it did sound badass). Exhaust was just coming out of the exhaust header where it mates with the cat because the impact sheared a couple bolts on the flange and knocked the cat's alignment off so that it was shifted into a position where it wasn't sitting straight on the gasket. I picked up some new bolts and a set of metric combo wrenches, and I crawled underneath to realign the cat and rebolt the exhaust flange. Now I can drive it without worrying about carbon monoxide poisoning.

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  • 1 month later...

Out of the blue I get a text from a friend about wanting to go to the junkyard. She was looking for some Camaro/Firebird parts for her son's Firebird so I tagged along to get some stuff for the Volvo. The junkyard we went to had slim pickins for 900-series, but had quite a few F-bodies.

Picked up a blank panel for the panel with a hole in it:

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The dome light was missing the lenses:

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Replacement buttons for the front seatbelt buckles:

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And a new dipstick with intact handle:

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Only spent $5. B)

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That's one of the best kind of junkyard runs. Fix a lot of little things for next to nothing.

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Nice upgrades. :) It feels good when I find those little finishing touches that can help mask how old Scarlett really is, since replacing those kinds of typically missing or broken trim items gives the illusion of it being less old...

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I love a complete interior :wub:

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