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Used Cars for sale - Used Trucks for sale [1932193532] Buy Used Cars

240 Starting Problem

- Volvo-240

Forum Post
01/16/08 21:52
Morgan Bearden

240 Starting Problem

My 20 year old daughter has a 1993 240 (110, 000 miles) that occasionally won't start.

It seems that this happens most frequently when she is running around doing errands. She'll park the car, go into a store or restaurant, and then it won't start for 20-45 minutes.

A couple of years ago the car had a problem with cutting out(and occasionally stopping)at low speed/rpm. That seemed to be cured by replacing the distributor cap, presumably taking "distributor dust" and moisture out of the distributor - or so we were told.

I'll probably swap out the distributor cap, but does anyone else have a better idea?



Rolla, Missouri

Archived Replies

This post has a total of 76 replies. The most recent 25 are shown below, you can view the complete archive here: 240 Starting Problem archive. Your feedback, comments, opinions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

This forum post has messages dated from 01/16/08 through 05/17/11, please be sure to read all the messages. If you feel it is old or outdated, please follow up with a question or comment and someone may be able to update it, or reply with newer information if you have it.

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adam hammitt

i have an 85 245 GL that will not start. i just replaced the timing belt, distributor ( cap and rotor), ignition coil plugs and wires. i have spark and compression but it wont turn over. i pulled my #1 plug out to see if there was fuel on it and there was not so i figured the injecters were clogged or bad. but after what Bo Knutsen said im thinkin that i should look into the hall switch. but if thats not it what else could it be? all it is doin right now is just cranking like when you do a voltage drop test. im at a loss. please help.

thank you

adam hammitt

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My son HAD a volvo 240 GL it has been stalling and dying on him this morning he was on his way to work and it started missing he pulled over and when he got it started it made a noise and BURST into flames it can't be fixed it is totaled I just though alot of you all's problems sounded like his be careful.
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Super list of ideas for repair. Thanks for your note, Kim. Hope your son was ok. Too bad for the car. Good reminder.

My 87 245 GL just began this no start issue, thanks for sharing all. My daughter's car hasn't been starting and these ideas sent her out to try one or 2 of them before she pays the mechanic to try.

As a long time 240 owner I can say that a windshield leak led to some interesting issues with electrical, but that's "years" ago now. The fuse box was getting water in it. Thanks again for the information shared!

**/**/** **:**

My daughter tried the suggestion by Carl Hansen in #22 to clean and reconnect the secondary wire on the battery and that worked! to get her old car going and we'll try (she will? she loves cars) that on the '87 245 and hope that helps it, too. They both wouldn't start.

Seems there are a few extra little wires connecting the battery in the Volvo, so hope we can make it work. There really are more issues with that old car at this point. Easily has over 300, 000 miles, the odometer quit a long time ago at more than 260, 000, in '07, still a daily driver.

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What are they paying for steel right now?

I own a 89 240 wagon, it's my second one. This time around I have lost my luck with them. Will only shift into overdrive sometimes...when it was running. Never had a car go down for so long. It has been several weeks of replacing and diagnosing, with some help over the phone from a mechanic. The car was running well, but on occasion you would have to pump the pedal when you would put it into DRIVE form PARK. If it did stall, it would start right back up. DROVE it home one day, parked it in the driveway, couple days started for a few seconds, sputtered out, and would not start again. After a day it would slightly sputter the first time you would try it, and this remained the same after replacing several things. I have paid for an ALLDATA profile for this model. I feel like I have just poked at the diagnostic attempts in the wrong order. If someone would kindly provide me with some advice, as to an order of importance. How would you have approached the problem on the first day, when it wouldn't start back up after stalling.

Bosch pump still runs with power from the pump relay. Filter has been changed. Thanks for ANY help. I like my 240, I don't want to get her flattened.

**/**/** **:**

Well we have a 1991 Volvo 240 wagon and it just wouldn't do anything when you tried to start it from time to time. The dash lights would light up, but when you turned to key it just did nothing. We could not figure it out and were just about to spend the cash for a new started when my hubby figured it out!!! When the car is in park mode, he realised that when you wiggeled the gear shifter (automatic car) there was a electrical sounding click. You push foward it clicked and pull back and it clicked, there is only about 1mm of slack there but he realised that when pushed all the way forward it wouldn't start, then pull back past the click sound and boom it starts!!! So all you have to do in this case is make sure it is pulled back so the sensor thinks it is properly engaged in park mode... I hope this helps someone with the same problem, because it was a real relief for us!!
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I have a 93 240 that I purchased in 97 with 110k miles from original owner. The car has been great over the years with only rountine maintenance. The car currently has 295K miles. Some problems encountered over 10 yrs are 1)engine stall while driving and not restarting for 10-20 minutes. The problem was a fuel pump relay located under dash on passenger side mounted next to computer. The relay was $35 and is easy to is white in color plastic cover. Can possible repair by carefully removing cover and filing contacts with finger nail file 2)engine would not start but crank over. The problem was the power pak module located behind headlight on driver side inner fender well...cost $185. 3)Rear lights not working. Problem was the fuse. 4)battery kept going dead but was good. Problem was the headlight relay. There are under hood on left front inner fender well near headlight and on behind the radio...hard to get at this one. Guess which one was bad. 5)temp guage not working. Problem was the compensator board located in the dash cluster next to speedometer. 6)battery going dead again...problem was alternator even though alternator checked out ok. Hope this helps ...great car and still giving great service. Hope to see 500K miles. Engine runs great, doesn't use any oil...Mobil 1 10W30 synthetic, oil changes between 12-15K miles...honest, body in great shape, will need to replace struts and shocks soon.
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i just bought a 240 dl from a carlot it`ll start up and die they done some trouble shooting like the massair flow sensor throttle position sensor it`s getting plenty of fuel just wondering what it could be??
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I everyone, I have a volvo 240GL, running perfectly until last week. now that will not start. I have spark, and when i try to turn it on, it run just a few seconds and shut down.

It seems like there no fuel (tank is full).

could anyone help me?...

(sorry if my english speaking is not totaly clear, but it's impossible to find a good explanation in France...poor sad country...)

**/**/** **:**

This may help someone. I hit a bump on a highway in my 1992 240 and the engine shut down with a "check engine" light. The diagnostic code came up 214 (RPM signal missing or erratic). The plug for the crank sensor had been knocked loose by the bump and the computer shut the spark and injectors down. The engine still cranked, but that was it. The sensor is at the back of the engine where it meets the bell housing and the connector hangs on the fire wall.
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My 86 240 idles very shaky until I replaced the idle stablizer. When I took the old one apart I could see why: the more it ran shaky the more it shook the bad part and made it shake more. Take the stableizer out and see if the internal part rotates smoothly or is worn out. Quick and easy job. Photo the hoses before removal them from stableizer so you can easily clock them to the positions.
**/**/** **:**

Car (86 240) runs fine until shortly after shutting it off. At first it starts momentarily and then dies and will turn over but not start. Then I must wait 1/2 hour or 1 hour-maybe-I don't know. It gives me the impression that every time I try it and it doesn't start it resets the time, but I'm not sure about anything at this point except that so far it always does eventually start. I had pretty much the same problem once before and replaced the injection system relay and that fixed it. But the test for the relay indicates it is working. Put noid (Bosch fuel injector test light is inexpensive and simple test) on fuel injector connector and it indicates the injector is being sent a signal. Timing light on spark-plug wire indicates spark pulses being sent. So this is probably not the hall effect switch because I have spark pulse? Have experienced weeks of fog right around freezing. I'm wondering about condensation in the fuel tank/system but don't know what symtom this would cause. The good luck is I don't have a job to be at. The bad is I don't have income and live in rural area. I'm at a point where if I go to town I should leave it running in the parking lot. This car, like many others, has wire insulation issues probably exacerbated by a/c and high summer temps, but I don't see how this would make me wait and then work.
**/**/** **:**

I also tried disconnecting the air mass sensor and it didn't start. I think this means the air mass sensor is not the cause.
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When the car won't start if I reach under and pound with a gloved fist on the bracket that holds the filter, pump, and check-valve (in front of left rear tire) it starts right away. Probably the check valve is stuck open as has been suggested to me by an experienced Volvo mechanic.
**/**/** **:**

So I replaced the check valve and still have the same problem. It seems more consistantly to fail to start when the temps are around freezing. Now I think it is the main fuel pump.
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a friend off mine just bought a 1990 volvo 760 turbo. the story on this car is the previous owner was cruzing down the highway and it shut off would crank but will not start. then he tells me he bought it cheap. thats how i get into the picture he calls me at my shop and explains to me what its doing and what it"s not doing . so i stopped over there saturday just to give it a look see he said he replaced one fuel pump . with key on can"t hear pumps running. pull fuel pump relay and jump wires pumps come on , check no 11 fuse not blown check for power at fuse none has power at fuel pump relay.squirt gas in to engine fires right up then will dye when it burns that fuel off no power to injectors .checked with noid light now ive been reading these forms all morning and it seems to me every fix that ive read is try this or replace this with the exception of a few . now iam not a volvo mechanic buy all means i mainly work on gms. but replacing this and that is costly and beings its electrical once you try a relay a pump there not gonna take it back anyway so if its your mechanic doing this he dosn, t care because your footin the bill so i guess what i want to say is what is the correct way to trouble shoot this system there has got to be a way with out replacing half your electrcal system and just maybe you might fix it
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I have an '86 240 wagon that I love. Until now.

Lately, it has a start problem, hot or cold. Randomly, it will decide to start, or not... Once running, it goes like a champ, no faltering or failing. But once again, it lately just decides not to start.

It is a fuel problem, but I don't know where the problem is occurring. Somehow, the car is not telling the fuel pump to work. And then, randomly, it will decide to work again. Chasing after parts seems futile, it could be a relay, fuel pump, black box... The thing that gets me is the way the car runs so good when it runs. The problem is starting, and it is intermittent and RANDOM.


Any suggestion is welcome...

**/**/** **:**

Thanks to everybody who has posted as to Volvo 240 not starting. I made up a list and went out to apply them to my brick. Sure enough, I spun some fuses in the holder and found that #5 was blown. The diagram on the cover said this fuse controlled the carburettor solinoid. Voila, replaced the fuse and she's purring like a kitten. Question is: What caused the fuse to blow? Could even be a short in the turn signal which uses that same fuse.....a mystery of sorts!
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This car is in great shape not rot or rust anywhere my brother inlaw gave up on fixing it and i was helping him fix it. We replaced the timing belt, and gave it a complete tune up, coil changed the fuel pump and filter, power steering, altenator but no thats not the prob. It will start up and run good but when it gets hot it will then start to stall and give it gas then it pops and backfires through the throddle body area then stall it will start back up but will stall right away. Its getting gas also checked it. Any information on this problem? I'm going to buy a fuel pump relay today and hope this corrects the problem. I just hate to see this car go to the junkyard cause its in such good condition.
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i bought a 1988 volvo 240, the ignition switch had previously been removed, im having problems inserting a new switch, cant seem to figure out where the wires go... if someone can tell me what colours go where..?

**/**/** **:**

OK wow...a lot of people on this forum with similar problems....which ones to address first....there are so many of you on here. well... I'll start with shaking...

1.vacuum leak...bad one too. check ALL vacuum hoses..there are not that many in the 240's so don't cry about it..just take your time and go through all of them. there like 4-5 hardly anything if you ask me.

2.wiring problems...not too bad to fix if you know how to splice/repair or just use electrical tape to "re-coat" bare wires...this wiring annoyance was apparently because of some government mandate back in the day when they were made to make some weird sort of bio-degradable wiring for environmental reasons....ya right so much for mother nature i honestly don't think some wire insulation is the cause of natural disasters, but hey, i could be wrong. sounds like a way to screw us all over if you ask me...

3. if its electrical and you plan to keep the car...(its actually a really well-built car if you take care of the electrical crap;-) then spend the money on an aftermarket harnesses...they'll save you a whole lot of trouble and you might actually love this ancient 240..its a good car.

4. either your fuel filter is clogged or the in-tank or external tank FUEL PUMP is starting to die down...get the specs for your model and do a fuel pressure test....if you don't have the the fuel filter first and then move on to the expensive stuff...(i personally don't like that method since its pricey and a seemingly waste of good-Possibly-original parts.

5. dirty me when i tell you are way way way better off spending the money on a small ultrasonic cleaner on eBay, taking the injectors out and ultrasonically cleaning them.. and a number of other parts.. and then reinstalling them...they'll be basically brand the way, its less then 100 bucks for a good ultrasonic cleaner and you need to read reviews to buy a good model...that counts for alot.

ok now for subitems to ultrasonically clean to make BRAND-NEWISH

a.fuel pressure regulator

b.Fuel injectors

c.throttle body

d.distributor cap/rotor

e.whatever else you think you need to clean that is SMALL ENOUGH to be cleaned in your machine.

remember a good ultrasonic cleaner makes all these thing like BRAND NEW almost and you only have to use water...its awesome, cheap, and very cool to work with.

6. ignition wires are loose or leaking current... you don't need to buy a new cap and rotor and all that...back in the day we use to just wash them with soap and water and check to see if there were cracks and carbon tracking and if all was good and corrosion was little to none then we'd just dry it off(compressed air is good) and put it back on.. the OEM like wires and many many after market wires have SCREW ON CAPS for all the spark plug wires. go through them one by one and make sure they're screwed in all the way. otherwise its like extending the gap in your plugs way beyond spec, which is bad news.

7. OK OK..easy and simple...ENGINE MOUNTS...although even if they were completely broken(and you car ran perfectly) it still would not shake that much... but trust me when i tell you that it makes a world of difference from bad mounts.oh and BTW they're right around 6 dollars a pop. if they charge more then 8 dollars a mount its a rip off. they're not too bad to replace their should be 3 of them on the car one transmission and two engine mounts... simple.

man this is so sounding like a rant. but really I've done this long enough to contribute back to society.

OK... now for the rich mixture.....for many 240's the fuel pump relay operates both the injectors and the fuel pump...if its big and has more then four prongs on it...then it does both. if it gets jammed, corroded, or internally shorted it will cause all hell with your car...its an easy fix. just buy a new one and be done with it....otherwise check each injector with carb cleaner compressed air and a 12v power supply via jumper leads...if you sonically clean it chances are it'll be fixed like CONSIDER THAT INFO.

OK I'm starting to forget what i read and what i'm responding to so I'll post more techniques after i read more posts.

GOOD LUCK... Be patient...and go through everything slowly.

and YES electrical problems are the DEVIL with all European cars. They should employ the Japanese when it comes to wiring.

**/**/** **:**

OK now for the ignition problems...

so you have the following...

1. spark

2. fuel pressure

3. fuel spraying in cylinder "on-time".

4. injector and fuel system (includes fuel pressure regulator) check out OK. check the fuel pump relay cause it does both injectors and fuel pump

5. Compression is compression test if you don't know how to do one. remember must be 100 psi or above to be good.

6. gaskets to intake manifold, throttle body and all vacuum hoses are all good.

7. Catalytic test..just unbolt it and try to start the car...if it starts.. your CAT is clogged and needs to be either "burned" out or replaced with a new one....this is a pricey thing to go if its the problem.

so you went through all of the above and it still wont start...hmm...fuel pump relay should be working good if all of the above is working...then guess what the problem is....

MASS AIRFLOW SENSOR, ECU, or TIMING BELT....yes takes only being off one tooth to kill your car with a timing belt. look at the specs and make sure your timing belt is not off or bad. replace it if you've never done it. ECU...go to a dealer to test, if a used or new one...although i highly stress NEW electrical parts...but i have never seen one go I've never seen a hall-sensor go bad...anyway..chances are its a bad MASS AIRFLOW SENSOR or bad Throttle Position sensor...for these things your just going to have to buy a good manual w/specs and go through it all one by one and test it completely.

BTW most hard or no start problems are not ECU or timing belts they are typically the MAFS. I hate these things.. I've seen several go bad. they're expensive and they typically can't be returned...use caution.. or buy a cheap used one that WORKS, BEFORE you spend 120 plus on a new one. i hear some manuals actually have a test method to see if they're resistance is in spec. that's only if its the platinum wire type MAF if its the small heated circuit chip then try to clean it with a tooth brush or throttle body cleaner, and DRY IT COMPLETELY before putting it back in the car and starting it.

If you have more questions...I can try and provide testing methods..although I am no professional veteran who's been in the field for decades...I do a lot of things with cars and motorcycles.

**/**/** **:**

I forgot to add to my last post there...

test the oxygen sensor if you have the equipment.

you supply a 12 power to the heater wires if you have the heated type or you use a propane gas torch.

you can also use the "brake parts" cleaner test with a multimeter.

If you don't know how to test them then just do a youtube search and try it out...

If the oxygen sensor is out of spec then it will cause fuel delivery problems since it greatly controls the amount of fuel you have in your cylinder.

so remember....MAF and Oxygen sensors control fuel amount sprayed in cylinder.

Ignorance is harsh for a lot of people...mechanics typically are told to look out for gullible and ignorant people to take advantage of them if they look like they can afford the bill...sad to watch...SO BE CAREFUL with the MECHANICS.

**/**/** **:**

Hey MOE!

What a wonderful compilation of 240 info!

Just last night my 87 240 wagon 5-speed manual died while I was driving. It just had a tune-up, the alternator was replaced about a year ago, new ignition coil, and it has a new fuel relay that I put in about a month ago.

My regular Volvo dude was having trouble starting it after he did the tune-up (about a month ago). But he was able to get it going after cleaning off some corrosion somewhere...he wasn't specific.

So when I got the car back it started to idle high after a couple of weeks. It never had that issue. (May be unrelated)

I noticed that before my car died last night, it seemed to delay in getting fuel for just a second when I was going up a hill. It just kind of hick-upped briefly. This morning when I went to fire it up just to see if it would, it turned over but would not start. The last time I tried, it made a sort of grinding sound when it turned over.

What do you think I should attack first? I checked the fuel pump fuse and although it is old, is still in tact.


**/**/** **:**


I have a 85 volvo 240 gl.Car just shut off on me a few days ago. I gave it a jump, didnt work, replaced internal/external fuel pumps, relay. sounds like the batt is dead, but its not, just wont crank over. It would just shut off as im driving, now it's just sitting in my at a lost in need of some help.

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    Archived Replies

    This post has a total of 76 replies. The most recent 25 were shown above, you can view the complete archive here: 240 Starting Problem archive. Your feedback, comments, opinions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

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