1990 240 won't start sometimes, now all the time

Discussion in 'Volvo 240' started by julianne.corey, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Help -- I know nothing about cars...I have a 1990 240 w/180K on it - I
    bought it 1.5 years ago and have had no work done to the car. End of
    last winter, it would often not re-start if it had been turned off for
    less than one hour. Then the weather warmed up and the problem went
    away. Since it's cold again, this intermittent restart problem has
    returned. This week, my husband drove it to work in order to open her
    up on the highway, and after about 15 minutes, all the power went out
    -- lights, dash, radio. He parked it at work and would not restart for
    several hours. The next day (yesterday) it would not start at all. Dash
    lights come on but won't even turn over.

    Is this an electrical problem? Could it be the fuses and if so, is it
    easy enough for us car dummies to DIY clean them? Battery? I'm afraid
    to bring it to a mechanic due solely to my ignorance and lack of cash.

    julianne.corey, Dec 8, 2005
  2. julianne.corey

    James Sweet Guest

    It's likely to be something simple, battery cables, engine ground strap,
    something like that.

    What's your approximate location? Someone here may be able to recommend
    a good mechanic. If you know nothing about cars you probably don't have
    much in the way of tools anyway so a mechanic is probably the way to go,
    but you do have to find one you can trust. A local independant shop that
    specializes in European cars and has been around for a long time is
    usually the best way to go. They wouldn't survive long if they were
    ripping people off.
    James Sweet, Dec 8, 2005
  3. What's your approximate location? Someone here may be able to recommend
    I'm in the Boston area. Medford, Somerville, Cambridge side of the
    river is more convenient. Any recs would be greatly appreciated.
    julianne.corey, Dec 8, 2005
  4. It's been along time but, 15 years ago, when I lived in Arlington, there was
    no doubt that the best repair shop around for my old Volvos was Cinderella
    Motor Carriage in Alewife (right behind the rotary). All they fix is Volvos
    and they know more about the old ones than any dealer. They weren't cheap
    (except compared to dealers), but they always found the right problem and
    fixed it on the first try.

    Note that I have no connection with Cinderella except as a satisfied
    customer (long ago), and don't even know if they're still in business.
    Robert Lutwak, Dec 9, 2005
  5. I think it is two separate problems. The first is the "crank but no start"
    problem which sounds like a classic failure of the fuel pump relay. The
    solder connections on the circuit board inside crack and it doesn't like to
    work when warm.

    The other failure - all lights going out and now won't crank - is very
    likely at the battery. It could be the battery itself, but I suspect the
    cable connections to the battery. Cleaning those (take it apart,
    clean/scrape, and put it back together) is a real good place to start.
    Batteries made since about 1980 have a frustrating failure mode where they
    will become intermittent. Whacking the posts with a hammer, about like
    cracking a hard nut (flick of the wrist, not a heavy blow), will often make
    the connection inside come together enough to get to someplace the battery
    can be replaced.

    Michael Pardee, Dec 10, 2005
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