Diy Maintenance | My Black Brick - Part 2

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

My Jump-Started Week

battery-oldThree circumstances worked against me this week:

1. Cold weather in NJ.

2. Oily alternator belt.

3. Ye olde battery.

I needed a jump start twice. The first was from parking in front of my apartment with the hazards on. I was away from the car for only 20 minutes and it wouldn’t start up. I looked under the hood at the Volvo logo on the battery and figured it was probably an 18 year old original. After losing the charge when I moved my car for a street sweeper, I figured I needed a new battery. Got a $100 Bosch at Pep Boys and now we start like a champ.



Overdrive Relay Check

Below is a sketch documenting how I checked the over-drive relay after I lost the use of over-drive last winter. It follows a technique I’d seen posted on the Brick Board, probably by Dave Barton. It took a while to troubleshoot but I eventually sucked it up and got the $40 Over-drive Solenoid Bypass kit from IPD and it’s worked great since then.

UPDATE: Added photo of the bypass kit install at bottom of this post.



Ramps vs. Jackstands

RhinoRampTM12000I have a confession to make. I let the car go over 11k miles between oil changes. The first time I did the job I had gotten so fed up with an overtightened filter that I’ve had garages to do the job since then. I’ve been wanting to do the job myself lately since I’ve been nursing some oil leaks. I just procrastinated.

Back when I had my 740T I used to do my own oil changes. I made a few mistakes out of inexperience (and lack of internet resources in 1994), including opening the plug over my bare hand while the oil was still scalding hot, and dropping my wagon over the end of the ramps. Since I got the black brick I’ve been using jacks and stands to work under the car. This makes sense for suspension work but adds extra labor to what should be a quick job. So last week I finally got a new set of ramps and it made the oil change a breeze. No Dukes of Hazzard jumps off the end this time. Just a quick twist of the plug, a twirl of the filter and 4 quarts of Castrol GTX high-mileage at 10W30 and in 20 minutes it’s over. I’ll easily be able to do that 3-4 times a year.

I recommend oil filter pliers over the universal or strap type. There’s just not a lot of room to maneuver so it’s easier to just claw the thing and twist. After trips to AutoZone I was unable to get a new drain plug washer so I flipped the old one and have no problems. Now I’ve got to get a case of  drain plug washers.


Troubleshooting Overdrive


Finally pulled the glovebox out and checked the Overdrive Relay switch. It looks fine but, after trying Art Benstein’s test of the current at the relay, it didn’t give a response. I’ve read that the circuit boards often need to be resoldered, so I’m thinking I need to bust it open and check, before springing $43 for the part.


Brake Job Video

I documented the installation of new brake pads and rotors with my buddy Andy last month. I edited the footage and here’s the video.

The brakes have held up well. No squealing, solid feeling, quick stopping.


Interactive Brake Job

I created an interactive how-to for changing the brake pads and rotors on a Volvo 240. Below is the step-by-step instructions. Consult a manual for more detail. I can’t be held responsible if you screw up and plow into your local 7-11 while stopping by for a 44oz Super Big Gulp of Cherry Coke.



Installing New Brakes


The Brick now has new brakes. I ordered rotors and pads from FCP Groton and was pleasantly surprised to find the vented ATE discs I purchased for the front were upgraded to ATE Premium slotted. I’m still breaking the pads in, but from the brief ride back home I can tell I’ve got a safer car. I’ll be posting video of the install soon.

My buddy has a set of 17″ rims for his Saab that we fitted on the Brick after doing the brakes. They look awesome, but they rub in the rear. The offset is wrong and I’d need to get wheel spacers. I was excited about the rims but now that I see that spacers will set me back $300 I’ll have to reconsider.


The Maintenance Never Ends

I brought the Brick in for an oil change last week and got the inevitable list of problems that always happens when the car gets put on a lift at a garage. I knew I needed new wheel bearings and tires, but didn’t count on needing new brakes.

I changed the pads about 20k miles ago with some nice PBR Deluxe Organic pads. At the time I decided against changing the rotors. Now I need to go in and change the pads again because the rotors are worn out and need to be replaced.

The garage quoted $695 for pads, rotors and front wheel bearings. This included $180 for labor. I’m looking at parts costing about $250. Since I’ve done the pads before I know what to expect. Hopefully it’ll be easier this time because I cleaned the rust off. I’ll be sure to document.


300,000 mile maintenance service

volvo 300,000 mile badgeA great thread on maintenance needed to keep a brick running for another 100-200k miles once it reaches 300k. I wonder if I’ll ever get there. I’m coming up fast on 150k.