My Black Brick: 1992 Volvo 240 Wagon

Purchased 04/28/06: 124,063
Mileage as of 01/04/11: 165,303

  • Black exterior / Tan interior
  • Power Windows & Locks
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Driver-side airbag, disconnected
  • Third seat
  • IPD Anti-sway bars
  • IPD sport springs
  • Boge Turbo Gas shocks and struts
  • Yokohoma Avid H4S tires
  • Pleasantly bent 15″ Virgo rims.

Vehicle History

2006: I found the car on E-Bay but didn’t go through the trouble of doing the auction; I just drove up to check out the car and bargained from there. The seller had bought it from a charity a couple months earlier, which means the previous owner had given the car away as a tax write-off. The seller had replaced the passenger-side headlamp, screwed in some molding and put it up for sale.

He sold used Volvos and parts from his home so I had some good options. I traded out the 14″ Corona wheels (which looked impossible to keep clean) for a set of 15″ Virgo mags. I swapped out the floormats and door pockets and was able to drop the price by $200. He said he could get good money auctioning the parts, but a year later I scored an unbroken set of door pockets for $10 at a junkyard.

2007: Wish I’d tested the AC before leaving. I don’t know if it ever worked, but what I do know is that at some point in the first month the power steering belt snapped because the AC had seized. I was driving down a hill and all of a sudden the steering felt really heavy. I muscled around without power steering for a few months before I found a local Volvo mechanic to route a bigger belt to bypass the AC. I wasn’t ready to spend $900 to replace the entire system, which would be an upgrade from 1992 to environmentally friendlier 1993 coolant.

In doing reserach online I began to realize how easy these cars are to work on so with my next trip to Pep Boys I picked up the Haynes manual. My job the first year was to refresh the neglected maintenance. I had no records, but couldn’t imagine a car that had been given away with over 100k miles would have been kept up to date. So far I’ve flushed the transmission, replaced brake pads, rear shocks, exhaust, fuel pump filter and rear wiring harnesses. I cleaned the throttle body, installed a CD player, pulled dents and patched chips. It looks and runs much better than when I bought it and I plan to keep it until at least 200K.

2011: Did a lot of driving in 2010, almost 11,000 miles. Car feels good with the addition of sport springs and new tires. Front of the car squeals when it’s cold and drips oil. Want to replace seals and belts and clean everything up. Too bad it’s so damn cold out.