Design, consulting, and fabrication

Posts tagged “volvo 242

The Swap

I’ve been working on the Volvo again. This is what I have been building up to for the last couple of years, a turbo motor swap into my ’79 242. The donor? An ’89 744 turbo with intercooler. The car is actually in really good shape, needed a new turbo and a brake booster and was a little cosmetically challenged but overall not to bad. But I needed an engine and the car was only $250 so I bought it. As I make the swap, I am replacing its turbo with a larger one, a 16t, out of an s70, and also upgrading the cam, cam gear, and doing all the “level 0” stuff like new wires, seals, plugs, and filters. I am also replacing the transmission with a t5 WC out of a ford mustang cobra.

T5 with adapter

T5 with adapter











This trani swap is very well supported with adapters and instructions/recommendations from the Volvo community. It is also the only way to handle the power the motor should be putting out with the upgrades I’ve made.

Engine with Turbo

Engine with Turbo











Now I just have to sort through the wiring harness, cut some rust out, get my clutch installed and bolt the trani to the motor and then I will be ready to drop the motor into my freshly painted engine bay.

Sorting the 89 harness

No problem.

Minor adjustments

I spent all day Saturday at the Misfit’s car show in Bonner Montana, it was fun to see all the great cars and tons of rat rods that frequent Missoula’ s streets.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon trying to wrestle a fuel line apart so I could pull the in-tank pump out and replace with an IPD upgrade. I’ve been wrestling with fuel problems since day one. What happens is that when the tank is below about ¾ full and I corner hard the engine will starve for fuel so I suspect either a weak pump or a split pickup line. So I’ve been racing this and last season with nearly a full tank every race. IPD makes an upgrade kit that comes with all new lines, etc. so I went that route. I should probably also replace the main fuel pump with something that sprays like a fire hose but the wife has informed me that I am over budget on expenses and it’s time to stop spending. I also wired in a different stereo out of the ’76 parts car I had and I replaced the turn signal clicker which had been shorting out.

I also found a much desired and rare Zender rear trunk spoiler on Swedespeed, and that should be showing up in the mail on Thursday. The third MT challenge race is this weekend in Helena, so hopefully the pump and spoiler will be in and good to go.

The racer gets, um, racier.

I spent the better part of two weeks, and with huge help from Steve Nelson and Jimi Willett, installing all new suspension parts into the 242. I spent quite a few months researching suspension upgrades. There are quite a few for the 240, and many are very similar to stock parts but better built, and many are completely different parts that can be adapted to fit. Obviously you could spend a small fortune on this stuff, and serious racers do, but I wanted to make sure my money would be well spent and would last quite a while. I’m one of those people who will definitely spend more up front to get something that will last and also be able to adapt with me as I progress. So I ended up going with a company called Kaplhenke Racing that is located on the east coast. The owner has been racing Volvo’s since 2000, and from what I could tell from countless hours of searching on forums and websites, he makes high quality well engineered products. I didn’t go for his high-end stuff which is mostly all different components and involves lots of suspension geometry knowledge and commitment.

I went with coil-overs in the front corners with an adapter he calls the quick steer roll corrector. As you lower a 240, and really any car, it will change the geometry of the suspension and how those parts work, so the adapters compensate for the lowering of the car while increasing the quickness and response of the steering rack.





In the rear I went with new firmer springs that essentially just bolt into existing spring location, and Koni racing shocks. I also bought some reinforced rear unequal arms and replaced all the rear bushings. I also replaced the torque and panhard rods with adjustable ones from IPD.


Of course while doing this I ran into a number of existing parts that were completely worn out and needed replacing. This included: ball joints, front bushings, front rotors, pads, calipers, and a tie rod end. I also put new to me seats in along with a new steering wheel, now I won’t be sliding all over the place in the car. Its really hard to drive    from the passenger seat.

So now the car sits 2 inches lower in the front, 1 3/4 in the back, and it turns super flat and smooth. There is hardly any body roll or brake diving. So what’s next? Putting the 15″ wheels and Toyo RA1’s on. My wheel spacers shipped yesterday and will be here in time for this weekend’s race, so I will finally get to try out some sticky rubber. Now all I need is some power. A 2.3 liter turbo motor out of a 90 or later 740/760 or 940 Volvo.