1991 Volvo 240 Wagon Automatic Transmission Wiring

During the process of trying to get the starter motor out of our 1991 Volvo 240 Wagon, we managed to break the seal that attached, to the top of the transmission, an electrical wiring harness coming from the gearshift lever.

Today, after putting everything back together except for that wiring harness, we found out what that wiring harness does.  At highway speeds (e.g., 60 mph or above) the car is in high gear with, presumably, the torque converter locked up.  A button on the side of the shift lever would, when pressed, make an orange arrow appear in the instrument cluster, and cause the engine rpm to increase as if the torque converter has stopped locking up (which is probably the entire purpose of the button).

Now that the cable is not longer attached to the transmission, the button just lights up the arrow. It doesn’t cause the engine rpm to increase. Probably it no longer telling the torque converter “don’t lock up.”

Aside from that, the transmission seems to be working perfectly.


1991 Volvo 240 Wagon Automatic Transmission Service

My tech did an automatic transmission service on our 1991 Volvo 245 today. By the looks of the pan gasket she’s of the opinion that the car might well never had have had its pan gasket changed, and perhaps not the filter, and perhaps not the fluid either.

She cleaned the bottom of the transmission somewhat, and put a large drain pan underneath the car.  She removed the 14mm drain plug and drained most of the fluid. She removed the 18mm lower starter motor bolt that was holding the dipstick tube in position, and undid the 24mm nut holding the dipstick tube against the transmission pan.

She removed fourteen 10mm pan bolts, and the five 8mm bolts that held the filter on. Fair warning: removing the filter (more a strainer, really) caused another deluge of fluid – sideways to some extent.  Next time we’ll take a knife and poke a hole in the filter, since we’re replacing it anyway. That way the fluid drains more predictably.

She inspected the magnets and saw much sludge, and some metal slivers (perhaps ¾” long). She cleaned the pan and magnet.  Brake cleaner works well.

She installed the new filter. Due to its shape it’s impossible to install it the wrong way.

The pan gasket was not flat, so she first re-inserted the pan bolts into the gasket and pan, so as to hold the gasket in place. The smaller size of the bolt holes in the gasket make this viable. She moved the pan-and-bolts-and-gasket assembly into position and started threading and then gently torquing the bolts.

She reattached the dipstick and starter motor bolts, and poured about ¾ of a gallon’s worth of Dexron/Mercon down the dipstick — what the manual recommends, and also approximately as much as had come out when draining.

We went for a test drive – perfect behavior.

After that, with the engine and transmission at operating temperature, she stopped the car, moved the shifter through its various positions, waited two minutes, and with the engine running, checked the fluid level again, topping up as needed.


ATF for Volvo 240

The automatic transmission fluid was low on my 1991 Volvo 240 Wagon, and I should find out why. Regardless of the cause, I needed to top it up.

I did so with the engine running and warm, and after shifting into each gear for a few seconds. I used the tube with the yellow-handle dipstick near the firewall, and tested the level again. Yep, too low.

Into the tube, I inserted a small funnel that I’d bought for this reason. I made sure that the funnel was clean, and I avoided cleaning it with cloth that might leave lint that might contaminate the transmission oil. I wasn’t too happy about my chances of not spilling so into that small funnel I put a larger funnel, and into that I poured the fresh automatic transmission fluid.

I would prefer to read the official Volvo opinion as to what type of ATF I should use, and I don’t recall reading that recently or at all, so hearsay and common sense are my fall-backs. On those premises, I used Dexron/Mercon III.

It’s easy to overfill, so it’s good to pour in some fluid, check the level, then pour some more. It’s easy to pour more in a royal pain to take some out if you’ve overfilled the transmission.

Volvo 245 Tailgates over the Years

I own a Volvo 1973 145, and a 1991 245. It’s interesting to me how little the tailgate has changed (which to me means: has needed to change) over the years.

A big modernizing-look style change occurred when the shapely chrome handle such as on my 145 was replaced by a square, matt black handle such as on my 245.

I recently analyzed a 1983 245, and discovered that its shapely chrome tailgate handle looks the same as on my 1973 145.

The tailgate hinges, on the other hand, were still chrome until at least 1991, and quite possibly after that too. I have yet to analyze a 1993 car, to make sure.

The tailgate struts and attachment parts seem to be identical through 1991.

The lock and wiper mechanisms, however, are different on the 1983 vs. 1991 cars.

The 1983 car has its washer fluid nozzle on the side of the body; the 1989 and 1991 cars that I analyzed has them at the top center, with a hose running along the top of the tailgate lip to feed the fluid to the nozzle.


Torx vs. Not on 240 Series Volvos

I have analyzed enough 240 Series Volvos to conclude that there is a trend, in later years, to use Torx fasteners. There is an interesting write-up on Torx, on Wikipedia.

On my 1991 245, the tailgate attaches to the hinges with Torx T40 fasteners, but on a 1990 car that I analyzed, 12mm hex bolts were used instead.

It’s not as if any one year was the magic cut-over year to start using Torx. On a 1990 model that I analyzed, the side panels to the front center console were attached with Torx screws, whereas on an 1983 model, Philips screws were used instead.