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Volvo Mechanic shop talk discussion about 240 and 260. 200

Yesterday I found myself near the local Volvo dealership (which is a 45 minute drive from home) so I thought I'd stop in and check on some parts and prices. After nice long talk with the parts manager, he brought in one of the certified Volvo mechanics to answer some of my harder questions. The following excerpts are from a conversation that took place on Thursday, May 28, 2003 from about 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Betten Imports in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Please use the information below at your own discretion, and please don't blame me if it's incorrect, etc. I'm not a certified Volvo mechanic and I'm trying to remember the conversation as best as I can per my notes. I’ve separated some of the main topics and titled them. I hope this will answer a few of the questions that came up on this board recently, -and it would seem that I was incorrect about the interference issue in a B230.

----------Piston Issues in 85-87 engines and ‘lifter’ noise-----------

Fitz: “I’ve got an ’87 240 wagon with a rebuilt B230F with about 20,000 miles on it. It makes a very soft tapping/knocking sound after I start it, -about 30 seconds if it’s a warm start, and 2 minutes if it’s a cold start. It almost sounds like lifter chatter but I’m pretty sure it’s not. Is this a case of oil starvation?”

Volvo Mechanic: “No, it’s not oil starvation. The ’85 through ’87 engines used a new lightweight type of piston rod that caused some minor noise issues. What you’re hearing is piston slap, but don’t worry, it’s not damaging the engine. I’ve seen them go for 400,000 miles and still run just fine. It could slap all day long, but it’s not hurting anything. Eventually, Volvo did issue a new type of piston set to deal with the noise issue in those engines. You’re familiar with the ‘C’ and ‘D’ bore marks on the engine block, right?

Fitz: “Yes.”

Volvo Mechanic: “Well Volvo introduced a new type of ‘G’ piston to replace the ‘C’ and ‘D’ pistons when the engines came in for rebuilds. This was to address the piston-slap problem. Did the shop who installed your engine rebuild it themselves?”

Fitz: “I hope not. They messed up a lot of stuff while they were in there and they didn’t fix the issues that cause the first engine to fail. Both the Flame Trap and the IAC valve were clogged and the timing was set at 25 degrees BTDC at idle.”

Volvo Mechanic: “Ok, they probably just bought a rebuilt engine from a company that rebuilds them. That company probably didn’t know about the new piston series when they put it together so they just ordered ‘C’ and ‘D’ pistons as needed per the stampings on the engine block. There was a notice sent out to all the Volvo shops, but many of the other companies who rebuild engines don’t get these and are not informed of the improvements.

Fitz: “Is there anything I can do to help alleviate the noise?”

Volvo Mechanic: “No. Not without spending $600 on a new set of pistons. However, there is one other possibility. There are a set of cups under the cam that could be causing the problem.”

Fitz: “You mean the shims under the cam lobes?”

Volvo Mechanic: “No, and don’t call those black things shims or we’ll laugh at you. They’re called ‘Pucks’ and no, those aren’t what I’m referring to. If you pull your camshaft out, remove the pucks, and pull out the remaining lifter assembly, you should be looking straight down on the valve stem. On top of the valve stem is a little cup-shaped object that sits on top. When 3rd party shops rebuild these engines, they typically put the old cups back in and have no clue what they do or what specs they should measure against. We see this a lot and it’s a good idea to replace them when rebuilding your engine if they don’t have the proper tolerances. This could be the source of your soft lifter chatter, and again, it’s probably not going to hurt you. If you want to, you could change these.”

Fitz: “How long would it take? How much time should I set aside for a job like that?”

Volvo Mechanic: “15 minutes or so. Just pull the cam and keep your lifters and pucks in order of where they came from. If you mess any of them up or put them back in the wrong place, you won’t be able to start your car when you’re done.”

(Note from Fitz: I forgot to ask if I needed to check the ‘puck’ clearances when I’m done with this operation.)

-------------Electric Fan conversion and body roll----------------

Fitz: “I’m in the process of converting the car to an electric fan. Any suggestions?”

Volvo Mechanic: “Yes, -don’t do it. If the electric fan dies on you, you’ll never know it until you engine temp gauge is in the red, and by that time you’ve warped your block. There is a reason that Volvo used mechanical fans as long as they did, they work great and keep the engine cool. When a mechanical clutch dies, it still keeps the engine cool. When an electric fan dies, you’re screwed. The only reason that Volvo used electric fans in some of their late model rear-wheel drive cars was only due to the fact that there wasn’t enough room to fit a mechanical fan and clutch assembly in there. Be safe, stay with your mechanical fan. One trip into the red on your temp gauge and it’s all over. –you will have warped the head and should expect an expensive repair bill.”

Fitz: “How about saving horsepower?”

Volvo Mechanic: “It’s not worth it. You’re gaining what? –almost nothing. If you’re really after horsepower, come take a look at Tim’s (head Volvo mechanic) 240 that’s sitting behind the dealership with the 5.0 liter V8. It’s a pretty popular conversion and will give you some serious horsepower.”

Fitz: “Is he using strut bars on the V8 240 for reinforcement?”

Volvo Mechanic: “No, I don’t think he’s to that point yet. But really, what are you going to do to improve the handling of a 240?”

Fitz: “Well, I just picked up a set of turbo sway bars from the parts yard. A few weeks ago I was cruising down the highway at 65 mph and had to swerve hard to avoid a raccoon. I thought I was going to tip the car over on its side.”

Volvo Mechanic: “They tend to give a lot in corners, but you shouldn’t need to worry about flipping the car. The turbo bars will help a bit. There’s not a whole lot that you can do, especially for a wagon. The 240s have a lot of roll, the 740s have a lot of roll, but take an 850 down the S-Curve on US-131 and there’s a car that will hug the corners and feel like a true machine.”

-------------Timing Belt Tensioner and B230F interference issues-----------

Fitz: “How often should I replace the timing belt tensioner? -Ever other timing belt change?”

Volvo Mechanic: “They’re pretty durable and they tend to last awhile. When you’re changing your timing belt, check to make sure that it rolls easily/smoothly and isn’t making noise. If it makes noise or there’s resistance then change it. I’ll be honest, in the last couple years, I’ve replaced only one timing belt tensioner on a customer’s car.”

Fitz: “You’re not worried about an older one failing while driving?”

Volvo Mechanic: “No, and you look like a pretty handy guy with your tools. I’d expect you could change your timing belt at home in 15 minutes. Let’s say that your tensioner fails while you’re driving down the road and tears the belt. If you can’t change your timing belt and tensioner by the side of the road in 45 minutes, you shouldn’t be doing this at all.”

Fitz: “Is the B230F an interference engine? You mentioned that it was ok for the timing belt to fail while driving. Wouldn’t this cause damage to an interference engine?”

Volvo Mechanic: “Do you have a 16 valve head?”

Fitz: “No, it’s the regular stock engine and head with no mods.”

V-M: “Then no, it is not and interference engine. The 16-valve version is an interference design. You could be going 90 miles per hour down the highway and have it fail and you’re not going to have any damage.”

-------------Thermostat longevity------------

Fitz: “How long does a typical Volvo thermostat last in the 240?”

Volvo Mechanic: “If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be working here.”

Fitz: “Seriously, how often do you change them? Do you do it at every coolant flush or every other?”

V-M: “There’s no real way of knowing when it’s going to die. Two years, ten years, there isn’t any way to predict it.”


-------------Discussion on PRV-6 engine-----------

Fitz: “I’m curious, why does the PRV-6 engine have such a bad reputation? I’ve seen the schematics and it looks like a good design.”

Volvo Mechanic: “It is a good engine, but only the 3rd generation. Before that, there were issues with timing chains failing and camshafts that would wear down. –Not to mention that it was a pain to replace the camshaft. You had to cut a hole in the firewall from inside the car, unbolt the cam cover, and pull the camshaft into the car to remove it without having to pull the whole engine. This is a miserable operation to perform.”

Fitz: “How do I know which ones are the 3rd generation engines?”

Volvo Mechanic: “Volvo started making the first generation engines, the B27, back in the 1970s. The design was a joint venture between Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo. It had some issues and was succeeded in 1980 by the B28 version (second generation). The B28 is actually worse that the first generation B27 and they would typically run for about 80,000 miles and then die. The 3rd generation engines finally had the bugs worked out of them and they ran great. I think the end of production of the 3rd generation engines was 1987 or 1988 and these were pretty decent.”
(Side note from Fitz: I think the mechanic was referring to the B280 engine as the 3rd generation, which had a production run from 1987 to 1990. The 2nd generation engine, the B28, was produced up until 1986.)

Fitz: “If they got all the bugs worked out by the 3rd generation, how come there aren’t a lot of them around?”

Volvo Mechanic: “By that point, the PRV-6 had developed such a bad reputation that they couldn’t give them away. Nobody trusted them, and thus nobody was buying them. It was unfortunate because this was the best version of the engine. Overall, the PRV-6 ran excellent at highway speeds, but it had serious problems keeping a stable idle. If you wanted a car that runs well only at highway speeds, the PRV-6 will do just fine.”

Fitz: “If there were known problems early on in the production of the PRV-6, why did they use this engine in the Delorian?”

V-M: “I think you just answered your own question.”

--------------------------
--
'87 Blue 245, NA 214K

 





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New 1 Volvo Mechanic shop talk discussion about 240 and 260. [200]
posted by  FitzFitzgerald  on Thu May 29 12:38 CST 2003 >

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