The other day I was driving to the store and found myself in that common situation where the guy at the light in front of me was busy looking at his phone and didn’t notice the light change. I went to give him the little “toot toot” horn to refocus him but, to my dismay, found that my horn would not toot. When I got home I took the grill off to get access to the horn and see what the story was. The story was one that has become well known to me: everything was corroded to hell. Verdigris had eaten away at the copper connectors and the plastic insulation around them was falling apart
The horn on my car is a single horn type (some Volvos have two apparently) that connect to the horn switch with two wires that terminate in 3.5mm bullet connectors. Of course the only connectors I had on hand were the 3.9mm type. One trip to Amazon for a small kit of the correct size connectors and a couple of days wait later I was ready to fix it. I made two short pigtails and soldered them to female connectors. These went into the existing connector housing. The insulators that came with the new connectors were nowhere near thick enough to fit the space inside the housing so I ended up wrapping them with vinyl tape about 2 or 3mm thick. I clipped off the existing crappy connectors and soldered the new assembly in their place and zip tied it in place. The result was a working horn. TOOT TOOT!
I’ve had become tired of looking at the bare parking brake lever and seatbelt reminder wiring next to me when I was sitting in the driver’s seat. I decided it was time for a little cosmetic assistance for Gudrun, so I got myself a reproduction parking brake cover.
Over the history of this project I’ve found myself searching for bits of information regarding the sorts of materials and fluids that my car uses. I’ve had to comb through a lot of different sources to get this info, so I thought I’d include it here for anyone else who has a similar car and was wondering what sort of brake fluid or engine oil to use. Keep in mind that while this information is probably generally applicable to all 240s (at least all post-85 models) I was always keeping my ’92 model in mind when collating it.
To test my theory that my stalling issue was due to a failed MAF sensor I ordered a replacement. Since original Bosch sensors are pricey and I wasn’t even sure if this was the problem I went with a cheap aftermarket part this time. I know, I know… “Buy Cheap, Buy Twice.” I fully expect this part to die in a few years at which point I will replace it with a better one. Who knows? Perhaps this part will defy the typically shoddy workmanship and QC of these sorts of manufacturers and go the distance. Stranger things have happened.
For the record, the part I bought was made by Bapmic. I looked them up to see where the parts are made and found a corporate website that was doing its level best to look like the homepage of a German manufacturer. A little more digging told a different story. A story where Bapmic, which may have at one point been German, was actually a trademark owned by Shanghai Tongzhi Auto Parts. They also own the brands Topaz and Autopa. So, yeah, one of many cheap Chinese auto part manufacturers. We’ll see how well it does in the long run. I’m just happy that my car is running.
So I was sure that my problem was going to be the fuel pump. I had replaced and tested most everything else I could think of, so what else could it be? Lesson: it can always be something else. So obviously this entry is going to end in disappointment. A new fuel pump did not fix my stalling issue. It did give me an opportunity to try a couple of new things, so it’s worth talking about anyway.
About two years ago I tried to rebuild the original wiper motor with mixed results. In the end I just bought a new motor and that worked fine. For a couple of years. Then one morning I tried out the wipers and nothing happened. I took the motor off and brought it to the work bench for disassembly. Once the stator housing was off and the plastic wiring harness with the brush wires and EM suppression capacitors out of the way it became clear what had happened.
Like a lot of stories with my car and its problems, this one starts with an attempt to take a ride with my kids. One evening we all piled in for a short jaunt around town only to get nothing but cranking when I turned the key. Listening when the key was turned, I wasn’t hearing the in tank fuel pump priming as it normally does. That thing had been getting louder and louder over the last few weeks, so its sudden death was not a huge surprise.
On older cars, the ones from the days before RFID based ignition interlocks, ignition, starting the car usually involved a physical switch that would close the circuit to the starter motor. This switch was connected to the lock mechanism which would turn only when the key was inserted. Pretty simple. My car has one of these mechanisms, and ever since I bought her this switch, while functional, is touchy. “Touchy” here means that it’s possible to over and under rotate the switch and cause it to not fully make contact in the proper places. It’s annoying to say the least, so I decided to fix this.
Like a lot of people, I suspect, we recently got a “pandemic puppy” in our house. My daughter had been agitating for one for some time, and since we’re all more or less stuck at home most of the day we figured a dog would be an ideal companion in lieu of other kids. This has worked pretty well, but like most dogs he doesn’t like the sound of the vacuum cleaner. A week or so ago my wife wanted to vacuum the first floor and asked me to take the dog out. Knowing how much I love to drive my car she suggested I put the dog in his carrier and take him for a ride. I happily obliged. Puppy and I loaded up into the car and started tooling around the neighborhood. I contemplated getting onto the local highway to get some higher speed time on the engine, but as I was heading towards there warning lights started slowly popping up on my dash. Knowing that my ignition switch is touchy and can be put into a situation where certain lights on the instrument cluster turn on and off erroneously. As I pulled up to a red light, I turned the car off and attempted to restart it only to hear the sad sound of a struggling starter motor. My battery was dead. When the light turned I pushed it through the intersection and parked it on the curb.
Since I’d gotten her registered I’ve been driving my car around fairly regularly, or at least as regularly as the current pandemic lifestyle both requires and allows. Happily there’s been no real issues. The engine starts when asked, the car rolls, and it stops when I push the brake pedals. What more could one ask for? Well, consistency would be nice. That was called into question one morning when I climbed in, turned the key, and almost immediately stalled out. Rats.
It’s not terribly noticeable, but the driver’s side headlight on my car has always been a little wonky. Very early on in this project I had tried to clean the whole assembly up a little bit but it just never sat correctly. I mostly attribute this to the fact that the support frame for the lens is a Taiwanese made aftermarket part of questionable quality, but from the looks of it there also seems to have been a small amount of damage to the front end metal at some point. I don’t think it was crash related as nothing looked broken or buckled, but a few edges were bent almost like they had a hammer taken to them. It’s a bit of a mystery.
Harbor Freight has a well earned reputation for producing garbage but garbage priced so low that a lot of people, myself included, just can’t help but buy it. Well if you have bought jack stands from HF recently you might want to stop using them immediately.
Back in May, we wrote about a selection of Pittsburgh brand three- and six-ton jack stands recalled by Harbor Freight because of a manufacturing defect that could cause them to collapse under load, potentially causing injury or death. Customers were asked to return the stands in exchange for a gift card, and affected units were pulled from shelves. Now, Harbor Freight has had to announce a second recall, covering the new jack stands that many folks purchased to replace those covered by the initial recall.
As a wise man once said “Buy cheap. Buy twice.” In the case of HF perhaps it’s “Buy cheap. Return recalled item. Buy cheap again. Still get crushed by your own car.”
I’m a big fan of modular connectors. Nothing bugs me more than having to desolder or otherwise put in a bunch of extra work to undo a permanent wiring connection before I can even start to fix something. In the case of my headlights, over two years ago I used crimp connectors to wire up the bulb sockets.
This worked pretty well for awhile but I found that perhaps the crimps weren’t 100%. Road vibration would occasionally cause a bulb to loose contact. Obviously this was not ideal, so I decided to ditch the crimps and just solder the wires together. But that brought me back to the whole “I don’t like permanent connections” thing. So I got an idea.
This past weekend was mostly one for yard work, but I did do a couple of smallish things on the car. The most significant one was the replacement of the belly pan. The original pan was long gone with only a couple of small bits still held on by the few remaining original bolts. I reused those and supplemented the rest with new 20mm long M6x1.0 bolts. This pan was a Uro brand replacement part, and like many after market trim the fitment was not perfect. The eagle-eyed amongst you might notice that one of the bolt holes (out of the seven) in the photo below is empty. This is because I just could not get the hole in the plastic to line up sufficiently with the threads to get a bolt to “bite”. Instead of drilling out the hole a little to make this happen I decided that six out of seven bolts was good enough for now and called it done.
About a week ago I noticed that I was getting a 1-1-3 code from the computer which indicated a rich mixture condition. More recently I got the code 2-1-2 which suggested the computer wasn’t getting readings from the O2 sensor at all. Doing some research on these codes will take one down a rabbit hole of “maybe it’s THIS or perhaps THAT or maybe even THESE!” so I decided to skip all that and just replace the O2 sensor. The model I went with was a Bosch 13034 which I believe is the OEM component.