Wiper motor reinstallation

After rebuilding the windshield wiper motor the next obvious step was to put it back into the car. Two things conspired against completing this simple task. First, the weather has been crappy, and second, I needed to replace the sticky goop that was used to make the hole through the firewall water tight. I looked in a couple of auto parts stores and online for what I assumed was a widely available product but could never find what I needed. My recourse was plain old plumber’s putty. It’s not as sticky but it does the same job. I made a little donut about the circumference of the hole, placed it around, and bolted the wiper on.

I think that’ll do just fine. The results of the motor rebuild, however, were a bit disappointing. As you can see in the video below, while there was an overall improvement in function the wipers are still unacceptably lethargic. The low speed doesn’t work at all. I guess this means I’ll have to shell out for a new motor.

Light that plate

A tiny bit of work last night. I replaced the burnt out bulbs of the license plate lights with new ones. Also beforehand I cleaned up the assemblies themselves which involved scraping off the totally ruined gasket material. Replacements for those are around $8 per which seemed a bit high to me, so I just used black silicone adhesive sealant to do the job instead.

Rebuilding the wiper motor

The weekend rolled around again, as it always does, and I was looking to make some progress on the car. The obvious choice, the windshield wiper motor, was still in pieces on my work bench begging to be greased and reassembled, but the replacement carbon brushes were literally on a slow boat from China. So I did the only logical thing: reexamined the existing brushes and called them “good enough”. Honestly they probably are. As best as I can tell only a few millimeters had been worn off and they were still making good contact with the commutator. So I put the thing back together.

A Few Tips

  1. Use electric motor bearing grease. I’m not 100% clear on why this is a good thing because I don’t do a lot of greasing in my normal life nor understand the chemical properties of today’s space-aged grease technology, but from what I can tell it’s better for electric motors to use electric motor specific bearing grease.
  2. The best (and possibly only practical) way to insert the armature is by removing the brush spring mechanisms that push them against the commutator. Put the armature in first and then put the brushes into their channels and attach the springs.
  3. When you have the armature in and the brushes connected the next step is sealing it up by attaching the housing. That housing, though, has the two permanent stator magnets glued to its inside which will pull the armature straight up and out of contact with the brushes if you aren’t careful. While lowering the cover keep downward pressure on the armature until the cover is on.

The rest of the process is pretty straight forward. I tested the motor out and it definitely sounds quieter and less angry than before. The intermittent wiper mode now works too!

I didn’t actually reinstall and connect it to the wipers yet as I lost the wad of weatherproofing putty that was originally wrapped around the output shaft housing. Unless I want rain water leaking through into the passenger foot well I’ll have to wait until I get an appropriate replacement to do that.

Additionally, with the help of son #2, I got the rear window sprayer working.

See videos of both things by clicking the link below.

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Oh yes, the TPS…

I forgot to mention this, but after I found the list of supposedly defective parts in the glove box I took the throttle position sensor (TPS) off and tested it out. Having done this, I must admit that my previous description of the switch was inaccurate. The 240 is much more primitive in its engine control than more modern cars. It does not measure the exact position of the throttle. Instead it merely tells the ECU when the throttle is closed and when it is wide open. The connector has three wires. One is the ground, one is for “throttle closed”, and the remaining one is for “throttle open.” Testing it means making sure there is continuity on one or the other pin (depending on if the throttle is open or closed) and the ground, and mine was fine. So I feel OK with crossing that off the “glovebox list.”

Running nicely, so what’s next?

Now that (almost) everything in the engine bay has been cleaned up, reassembled, and in working order I’ve got to choose what’s next on the list of things to do, so I’ve decided to turn my attention to the windshield wipers. When I turn them on they only seem to function in “fast” mode. The “slow” and “intermittent” modes resulted in nothing at all. The motor obviously works to some extent, but not well enough. I uncoupled the motor from the mechanical parts of the wiper mechanism and turned it on. The results were not encouraging (see video below). So before buying a new one, which is a lot more expensive than I imagined given that we’re just talking about a simple DC electric motor, I resolved to try and rebuild the motor.

After disassembly everything looked pretty good in terms of physical condition. Nothing obviously broken or unusable. The switches that I assume tell the wiper relay the current position of the motor were not properly aligned which probably explains why the intermittent function wasn’t working, and the brushes did look worn. Those are easy to replace. I ordered a new set and, when they eventually show up, will replace them and put some new grease in. Hopefully this will improve the strength of the motor and also quiet it down.

Click the read more link to hear a nice, smooth cold restart of the engine along with the horrible sound of the wiper motor.

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New Hinge

“Hi, I’m New Hoodhinge. You may recognize me from such places as ‘eBay’ and ‘Some other white Volvo 240′”

Yes I got a new hinge to replace the broken one. I acted quickly on getting that because I didn’t relish the idea of my hood accidentally collapsing on me.

Funny Story Time

One part that I had been missing for awhile was part 1246561, the tailgate lock pin that coupled the outer handle latch to the inner one. Unfortunately they no longer make them. I had spent a long time looking high and low for this difficult to find part. I even used a common hardware store lock pin at one point. Thankfully a recent eBay search recently turned up a guy selling off his remaining stock of random 240 parts. As luck would have it this included the lock pin. I quickly bought it for $5, received it in the mail, and got it installed. However every once in awhile I would hear a clatter in the tailgate when I opened or closed it. Previously I had chalked those noises up to the unattached connecting rod rattling around, but all those parts were now tightly in place. What could be the issue? After hearing it one more time I reached into the innards of the door’s frame and rooted around in the dirt and gobs of butyl putty and came out with… a tailgate lock pin.

It had been in there all this time and had been intermittently stuck in said putty. I have to admit that I felt kind of silly, but in my defense it’s not too strange to think after all those openings and closing the pin would have fallen out or at least been visible awhile ago. So now I have two pins. I guess I’ll resell the old one on eBay and call it even.

Interesting glovebox finds

When I bought my car I knew it had problems. As I’m slowly working through the issues I’ve begun to wonder what the previous owner (and those before him) had known about what the various bits and pieces of the car needed attention. This is not to say I think the PO was hiding anything or being dishonest. The car was represented as needing attention, and indeed that was a big part of the reason I bought it as well as why it was priced the way it was. I’m sure happy with the car thus far. It’s been a blast figuring it out and learning how it’s put together. But then I looked more closely at what was in the glovebox.

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to look through the box before I started working. I knew there were some original items in there like the owner’s manual and such, but I guess I didn’t think to much further than that. Having been the owner of a glove box or two in my day I know that they can be sort of a garbage dump. I’m glad I took the time to look yesterday because amongst all the old receipts for tires service and window tinting I found a list of what I assume were pre-identified issues.

Potential Problem List

The list was hand written, presumably by a mechanic. Among these were some I was already familiar with like the broken odometer and overdrive solenoid. Others weren’t. They included:

  • Throttle position switch
  • Fuel pre-pump
  • Fuel pressure regulator
  • Front passenger side ball joint
  • Blower motor

I’m a little surprised to see the TPS on the list. It’s a simple potentiometer device that limits a 5v input signal. 0 to around 1.5V indicates to the ECU that the throttle valve is closed and a value of ~5v that it is wide open. That should be pretty easy to test if not a bit expensive to replace. The fuel in-tank pre-pump sounded like it was working but that’s not always a 100% indictor of good health. Given the idle issues I’ve been seeing there is a chance it is functional but underpowered and might merit replacement sometime soon. The fuel pressure regulator is also a bit of a surprise. The limited tests I did on it suggest it’s working fine. It’s easy to replace, but as it’s a $30-$50 part I’ll hold off until I’m sure it’s no good. Ball joints are not expensive to replace but require a bit of effort and a torque wrench. The blower motor I more or less know about as I was told the AC did not work. Replacing that is complicated and was always towards the bottom of the to-do list.

Overall I’m glad I found this paper as it gives a bit more of a handle on the list of known issues I’ll have to solve. Plus it doesn’t list anything horrible or insurmountable, even by inexperienced, shadetree me.

She lives! Sort of!

Last night I got my new fuel pump relay. Installation is easy. Unplug old. Plug in new. Done. Except my engine didn’t run any better. I couldn’t even get it to idle. Since it was evening and I had kids to feed I left it for the night and went back inside dejected and sad. This morning I decided to try again. My first attempts had the same results. The engine started, sputtered, and shook itself into a stall. I decided to get the engine up to operating temperature to see if that’ll make a difference, so I fed the engine gas when it came close to stall until the temperature went up. Lo and behold when warmed up the engine didn’t stall! She lives! It idled very roughly for a bit but eventually sort of smoothed out. It’s not ideal nor optimal but for now I’m calling that a success. I think for now I’ll move on to fixing the rear wiring harnesses to get everything back there working as it should. After that I will revisit the engine to try and figure out why it’s running so poorly.

After I got the car to idle I took a short video. I also noticed that my kickdown cable has come loose from the throttle, so I’ll obviously have to reconnect that. A new set of hood hinges are on their way so I won’t need to use an old rifle stock to prop the hood open forever.

Click continue to see the videos.

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Timing a 1992 240 with a B230F

So after a little looking around a little it would seem that on “newer” 240s that use the Bosch LH 2.4 ECU the timing of the ignition is a function of the computer rather than the position of the distributor. This means the timing light is not going to help me out. So why the rough idle? It could be a leaking intake manifold gasket as demonstrated by this video. After I install the new relay this evening I’ll try this carb cleaner “trick” to try and find any air leaks and see if that’ll help.

The good with the bad

The weather this past weekend was just glorious. After a disappointingly warm and wet September we had our first real run of crisp, sunny autumn days. I made sure to carve a little time out to start the tests of the fuel system. The results turned up both good and bad things.

The Good

I began by sorting out the fuse panel which, for some reason, had a couple of fuses of the wrong amperage in the wrong places.

With those sorted I decided to test the fuel pumps for basic operation. Using a small jumper wire I had made I removed the fourth fuse from the top, which is for the primary fuel pump, and connected the right side of that terminal to the left side of the sixth fuse down. This brought power to the in-tank pre-pump which started right up with a faint hum from the rear of the car. I put the fuse I had removed back in and applied attached the wire to its left side. This powered the primary pump which also began to hum nicely. With the pumps running I tried starting the car. Success! The engine started up and this time didn’t immediately stall. After some warming up it did sustain itself at idle, albeit roughly. This tells me that the fuel pump relay is kaput. I immediately ordered a replacement, thankful to only be buying a relatively inexpensive relay rather than a much more expensive new pump. The rough idle is probably due to bad timing. A friend has a timing lamp which I’ll use to correct that.

I also got around to attaching the rear windshield spray nozzle. I’m not getting any spray out of it right now, but like the front I’ll just have to clear the line. Unlike the front one the routing of that hose is a bit less accessible so hopefully this won’t be too difficult.

The Bad

While clearing the front windshield spray nozzles my driver side hood hinge decided that it would much rather start hinging sideways rather than up and down.

With my daughter’s help I attempted to straighten and reattach it, but the damage seems to have been done. The next attempt to close the hood resulted in the same sideways movement. I’ll have to get a new hinge. Interestingly, when I looked on eBay I saw plenty of hinges for sale but most of them are for the passenger’s side. I wonder if this means the driver’s side has a tendency to break more often resulting in a glut of single passenger’s side hinges for sale.