been busy over the last few weeks, but finally heres the 242GT story-
Although my son had the 940, he was keen to get a 240 or similar. A 242gt would be ideal, but most likely out of his budget. Until Jan 2014. There was an ad on gumtree for a 242gt at a reasonable price, and it looked good. Refer this link-
From memory, the advert said the car was in good drivable condition and was low mileage and rust free. It ticked all the boxes, except that it was on the other side of Oz. We rang the owner and he advised that the car had about 250 000km on the clock, but that the odometer had just stopped working in the last month or so. He also confirmed it was a daily driver in good condition. He went on further to say that his dad is a Volvo mechanic so it was very well maintained. ( Of course, the previous owner could well be reading this, so as always, I am being careful to describe events as accurately as possible. )
A price was negotiated and we sent the money directly to the owners account. He agreed to drive the 242 to a local depot, once the transport was arranged. We found transport via a company that does weekly trips from Perth to Brissie using a fully covered truck. The cost was around $1300, but we had to wait a couple of weeks for a spot on the truck.
Whilst waiting on the transport confirmation we ordered the usual stuff from IPD that on older Volvo would need. Eventually we got the call from the transport depot in Archerfield, to confirm its delivery. We got a permit to drive the 242 to Bundy, and my son, daughter and I made the trip in my daughters 940. We loaded the boot with every tool, fluid and spare we could think of. In the comfort of her 940 we arrived at the depot and saw the 242 parked on the footpath. At this point there were mixed emotions. Having waited so long to see the car and take it for a drive to Bundy, we were excited, but then seeing the car and wondering if it was even the same one as the photos was a worry. A few checks did confirm it was the correct car, but the 8 year old rego sticker, flat tyres and spider webs made me start to think that we had been ‘misinformed’.
We had already paid for the permit, and we didn’t have a trailer, so there was only one option and that was to get in and drive. We checked everything as best we could, and I told the kids to follow me to the nearest petrol station. We would then take the freeway home to avoid being stuck in traffic and potentially having dramas ( I must point out that the previous time I did this was when I bought the kingswood, mentioned in the first Volvo 940 story. I will post the kingswood story below, to give some idea of why we wanted a ‘ daily driver’ and also why we wanted to avoid getting stuck in traffic). The GT drove ok to the petrol station, and having fuelled both cars, we checked the tyre pressure. It had less than 10 pounds in each. Strange ? anyway when we took off with normal pressure, I realized why the owner had no air in the tyres. The suspension compliance was like that of a piece of old cheese.
So we entered the freeway and I got it up to speed, first, second, third, fourth, and now the big test.... I depressed the clutch, flicked the overdrive switch with my thumb, released the clutch, and yey, it did its thing and we were overdriving. Cool. But just then, I looked at the dash and here was a really bright yellow light. Oh shite it’s the bloody oil light. I depressed the clutch and looked in the mirror, expecting to see smoke and oil and bits of Volvo bouncing over the freeway. But there was nothing.
Another look at the dash told the story. The bright light is marked OD, not OIL.
So I let the clutch back out and we continued along. I had noted that the gear shifter was getting very hot, almost too hot to touch. Then we found ourselves in a traffic jam that put us back into first gear for the next hour. In both the 242 and the 940 we worried about overheating, as several other cars succumbed to it and were parked beside the road. It was January midday and the temp was around 33. But we made it, and we stopped at the Burpengary service centre. After we fuelled up cars and bodies, I jacked up the 242 and changed the gear oil, using the correct type F that I brought with us. For the rest of the trip, and to date, the gearbox shifts nicely and does not run hot.
With a couple of more stops along the way, and at a steady pace we made it home without incident. However, once home, when we started to check things over we found out some facts that made the sellers comments appear somewhat less than accurate. Firstly, the car had all the service records from new. It shows that it did massive amounts of travel early in its life, and that the odo stopped at 250000 over 15 years ago. It shows that car had not been serviced for the last 8 or so years, and also the rego sticker indicated it had not been registered for that long either. We found why the ride was hard, because the shock absorbers were totally seized. The fact it was sitting outside for years was also shown by the spider webs, surface rust etc all under it. Well maintained daily driver, with 250000 km on it...NOT. However, it IS a Volvo 242gt. One of the few left, in original condition and worth fixing. So that’s what we set about doing.
We replaced everything that we figured needed replacing, and then got the road worthy inspection done. We even got brand new Pirelli P6 tyres. We now did have a reliable daily driver 242GT. Or so we thought.
The time came for my son to go back to uni at Townsville. So we loaded up all his gear and headed off. I was going to pick up a vehicle up there for someone and bring it back, so I went along. We left about midday, thinking we might get as far as Mackay for an overnight stop ( Bundy to Townsville is just over 1000km and takes about 12 hours non stop, normally). All went well until about 40 km out of rocky. The car started to just die, not wanting to rev, and just dying more when you add throttle. We stopped a few times to gather our thoughts and let it cool down, but we had no answer. Ultimately it was dark and we decided that to break down on the return to Bundy was better than to do so up near Marlborough, so we reluctantly turned around. We got home at about midnight, so it was a 12 hour trip to rocky and back.
Whilst my son was back up north doing the first term of uni ( with his 940 ), I went about ‘fixing’ the 242. The main things I changed were the ignition distributer and the fuel distributer. After some testing I also changed the coil. I gave it a run to 1770 and back, non stop, which was further than it had gone before, and it was all good. We still believe there are issues with both the fuel system and the ignition system, but for now it goes ok. Its been to Townsville and back several times, one trip in 10 hours 45 mins. There’s not many 1980 cars that you would want to do that in. We have since put extractors and a noisy exhaust on it, and currently it’s getting a few repairs done over the summer break. Unfortunately my son has expressed interest in stealing the motor and gearbox from my 240, as it has ‘only’ 275000 km on it. Currently the 242GT is sitting in my garage, whilst my son is at uni, using his 940. tempting.
To sum up, this is a great car to drive. Like a fiat or alfa, but bigger and with Volvo solidity, and without the rust. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flicking the overdrive switch, or listening to the crackle of the exhaust. It turns heads, which is surprising, as it IS a boxy Volvo. But it’s a 2 door boxy Volvo, with stripes, and that’s not something you see every day.
Kingswood story. Not Volvo related, read at your own peril.
I bought the kingy on fleabay in 2010. I contacted the seller to ask if it was ok to drive from Brisbane to Bundaberg. He said yes it could be driven that far. I bid & won the auction.
Before I paid for the permit to drive it, I rang the seller and again asked about driving it home. He said he would fuel it up, and take it for a test drive. He rang me back and said that it drove well on the freeway and now had a full tank of petrol.
We had combined the trip to brisvegas with another task, and therefore had a trailer attached to our car. This meant there was no ability to use a car trailer for the kingy. It just HAD to drive home under its own steam, or be dumped in the river.
Because the seller was at work when we went to pick it up, the key was left on the sunvisor. We popped the bonnet. WTF and OMG, the fan belt was loose & investigation showed that there were mice nesting in the aircleaner, and that the dizzy was also loose. De-moused the air cleaner and tightened dizzy, but no spark. Found the dizzy was 180 degrees out. Second try and the kingy came out of its slumber.
So off we go, out into the 3pm Friday traffic on Brookfield rd. Idle was rough, so I had to keep the revs up and keep the other foot on the brakes.( it was an auto ) After about 1km, I had to pull over as it was spluttering. We originally thought the fuel gauge must not work, as it showed empty, even though the seller had assured me it had a full tank. He lied, the gauge does work. So, we get fuel to put in the empty tank and we try to start up again. No go. We then pulled the lid off the carby float bowl. To our surprise and amazement, there was a bee stuck the feed to the main jet. Now how does a bee get into a float bowl ??? At least that explained the rough running. At this point it was obvious that the temp gauge did not work. So as a substitute we rigged the radiator overflow pipe such that it protruded up over the bonnet. This way, if it got hot we could see the steam.
With bee removed, and a full tank of fuel, the kingy pulled onto moggill road as it got dark, into heavy traffic. Up onto the western freeway, and then onto Milton rd. Then, at the traffic lights, outside the XXXX brewery, with a police car beside me, and many pedestrians walking in front, the engine overheated, blowing a big cloud of steam everywhere, out of the pipe we poked up from the bonnet. The cops just laughed as I turned on the wipers. Wipers work !
Our agreement was that if the kingy failed, the car behind would just push it off the road. I was prepared for a big shove any time. Luckily it kept running.
We pulled into Milton rd maccas, and ate some sugar/ fat /wheat, while the engine cooled. It was now around 6.30pm and we removed the thermostat, flushed the coolant, and retarded the timing. Off we go again, but with the timing retarded, we could only do 50kph max. Things went well to Aspley. We pulled up and advanced the timing, so now the kingy would do 80kph, but not want to go either faster or slower. So, 80 it was, all the way to Bundy. I nearly froze though, as it was winter and the heater did not work and the vents would not close. I taped up the external vent holes, but still it leaked cold air. But, as it turns out, the seller was accurate, it WAS capable of the trip. ( even if he did lie about the fuel, the mice, the fanbelt, the dizzy the overheating and the bee)