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Volvo 240, Sedan
#1 of 220 Beginnings.
Jun 28, 2002 (4:55 am)
Per Mr. Shiftright's suggestion, I have decided to create a topic for this board devoted to the discussion of all '70s and '80s Volvos. Now the host and the rest of us can dig up some more dirt on these infamous (or famed, whatever you like) Swedish imports. Talking about them on the German car discussion wasn't all that relevant there.
#2 of 220 I don't think...
Jun 28, 2002 (1:08 pm)
those Volvos were as bad as Shifty is making them out to be. They will not become collectible, but were excellent for the daily transportation chores.
#3 of 220 Questions
Jun 29, 2002 (1:08 am)
From messages in the "USED German Luxury Cars" topic, I assume the Volvo 140 was the predecessor to the 240, correct? If so, what year was the 140 introduced, and what was the last year for the 140?
Also, wasn't there a 144 and/or a 244? How reliable were they?
What changes made the B21 engine better/more reliable than the B18 and B20? What were the displacements and horsepower of these engines? What years were they made? Were the B18 and B20 overhead cam or overhead valve designs?
#4 of 220 The 144 and 244...
Jun 29, 2002 (11:59 am)
...were simply internal designations to denote the four door models. This continued up through the 850 series (854=sedan, 855=wagon.)
I, too, will agree that our esteemed host might be shorting the Volvos of yore. As a 740 owner, I'll be first to point out its faults, such as the crack-prone dash (seemed to be a common thing in '80s European cars) and the falling headliner (again, certainly not unique to Volvos.) However, it's built very solidly, has a great paint job after 13 years, and it's the most dead-simple car to work on I've owned (granted, to this point they've almost all been front-drivers.) I'm not crazy about the sealed-beam headlights, though we can pin the blame for those on the DOT.
Is the car sexy? Hardly. If I wanted that I'd have bought something else. Is it fun to drive? Well, in the winter it's certainly interesting. Is it reliable? Hell, yes. I've only put in normal maintenance money (no actual repairs) thus far, which has been pretty much the case since the car was new (I have all the maintenance records.) Simply put, it's good, safe, versatile transport that I wouldn't hesitate to jump in tomorrow and drive cross country. It's not a Mercedes, nor did it ever pretend to be. It's a testament to the car's durability that I'm constantly getting surprised remarks from people (non-car enthusiasts, granted) thinking it's a much newer car than it really is. I can't think of a single American or Japanese car from that era that would have held up as well (my 1994 Honda Accord is starting to rust. My 1989 Volvo is not.) A GM car from the same era? Please.
#5 of 220 Thanks & Not So Fast...
Jul 01, 2002 (3:55 am)
Interesting, lancefixer. Your statements about your 740 are certainly believable, but represent what one would hope for from a premium priced family sedan; that is, one that cost considerably more than, say, a Camry, Taurus, or Accord from the same model year.
As one who grew up in the rust belt, and has had experience with rusting cars, your statements about your '94 Accord rusting while your '89 Volvo hasn't intrigues me. Like your Volvo, your Honda has galvanized steel body panels (most of the cars prior to the late '70s didn't, by contrast, which is the principal reason why they were more rust prone). That said, it makes sense that the amount of rust protection differs between cars. If the Volvo indeed has rust protection that's superior to the Honda, that would be a factor for justifying the price differential.
How do you account for your Honda's rust? Do you live in the snow belt or near the ocean? Did both cars reside in the same location since they were new?
Regarding your statement about GM cars, I've owned and own foreign and domestic brands, and am familiar with the reputation of GM cars. However, my experience with GM cars from the '70s and '80s was generally positive. For example, my '78 Pontiac LeMans (first year downsized intermediate) had 114,000 miles on it, and was going strong, when it was hit by a pickup truck and totaled. My daughter, the driver and only occupant in the car at the time, suffered only minimal and very temporary injuries, fortunately. My '86 Grand Am four cylinder went 188,000 miles before it died from head gasket failure. That's not bad. And we keep a '85 Olds '98 (first year for the FWD GM large body) around as an extra car. It has 148,000 on the odometer, and aside from needing the transmission rebuilt twice (the first time by the original owner, under warranty, the second time when I owned it, at 89,000), it's been low maintenance. Of course, we've replaced things that you'd normally expect to fail with age and mileage, such as brakes, exhaust, water pump, starter, headliner (once), plus one item that you probably wouldn't (the rack and pinion steering was replaced at 50,000, under the extended GM warranty, but needs to be replaced again), but overall it's been reliable. The Olds also is also roomy and rides well. The Olds is especially relevant to this topic because it was in the same price range as the Volvo 740.
#6 of 220 Vintage Volvo engines
Jul 01, 2002 (5:16 am)
Are generally designated with a letter and number code. THe first letter can be either "B" for a gasoline engine, or a "D" for a diesel.
Then, there's a number, which indicates the displacement. I.E. a B21 is a 2.1 liter gasoline engine.
The last letter(s) designate the type of induction system:
"A"- Single carb
"B"- High output Dual carb
"D"- Low output Dual Carb
"E"- Fuel Injection
"F"- Low compression Fuel Injection for use with unleaded gasoline
So, a B23ET is a 2.3 liter gasoline engine with turbo and fuel injection.
The B16, B18, B20, and B30 engines were Pushrod OHV, while the B17, B19, B21, B23, B27, B28 were OHC.
#7 of 220 What did the numbers mean...
Jul 01, 2002 (5:47 am)
...back in the late '80's when they had the 740, 760, and 780? Without knowing anything, I'd guess they were all 7-series, but one had a 4-cyl, one had a 6-cyl, and one had an 8-cyl.
From what I've been able to look up though, it looks like the 740's were all 4-cyl, while the 760 sedans were 6-cyl, but the wagon had a turbocharged 4-cyl. The 780 was available only as a coupe, with a 6-cyl engine.
Back in 1991, our neighbors bought a slightly used 1989 7-series wagon (can't remember if it was a 740 or 760 though). It was a dark gray with (IIRC) a black leather interior. It seemed like a solid, well-built car, and even looked good in 1998 when they finally got rid of it and replaced it with a Legacy Outback. It had gotten to the point though, that every time it went back to the dealer they were looking at $1000+. Worse, the Volvo dealer was the only place that would service it...none of the local shops would even touch it!
One thing I'll say for it though...that Volvo always looked good. Their Outback is already starting to look a bit ratty!
Lancer, what are you doing to that Accord to make it rust already?
Just to throw in my experience with domestic cars of that era, I have an '89 Gran Fury. It's basically a 1976 Volare with more formal sheetmetal, a GM carburetor, and an airbag, so it doesn't exactly represent the forefront of Detroit technology of the time. Before I bought it, the camshaft went bad, around 73000 miles. Supposedly that was a common flaw with the 318's in 1989. The place I bought it from had thrown in a 318 out of a wrecked Diplomat, with about 75000 miles on it, and it hasn't given me a lick of engine/driveline trouble since I've had it...now up to around 117,000 miles. The suspension has also been solid. Don't ask me about starters though. Or the radiator that went bad. Power windows are a touchy subject too! It's also not the prettiest thing in the world, now that its metallic silver repaint is fading.
Jul 01, 2002 (7:04 am)
The carbureted 318's from the late '80s actually used GM carbs (both cars & trucks)?
#9 of 220 Actually...
Jul 01, 2002 (7:34 am)
...it was only the318-4bbl used in police cars, from '85-89. Older engines used a Carter Thermoquad, but in '85 they went to a Quadrajet. By that time I don't think you could get a 318-4bbl in trucks...probably just a 2-bbl, and then if you wanted something bigger you got a 360 or a Diesel.
I'd guess by that time, the 4-bbl carb, or carbs in general, were becoming pretty rare, so Chrysler probably had to go with what was available.
Jul 01, 2002 (7:39 am)
Yes, the model codes were messed up in the 80's. The 780 was the 2 door coupe with either the PRV V6 engine, or the Volvo B23FT inline 4. Not a V8 in other words.
There were 740's with a 6 cylinder diesel. Most 740's had the B23 engine, however.
There were 760's with the B23ET or B23FT. They also came with the V6, and the diesel 6.
In 1979, Volvo came out with the first 6 cylinder passenger car diesel.