240 Simba the Gold 240+T Wagon

edited September 2019 in RWD

Thought it was about time I put together a build thread for Simba! This is my 1990 Gold Anniversary 240 wagon. Aptly named by my girlfriend for his beautiful gold finish and lion-like roar (achieved by a combination of completely rusted out exhaust system and stuck clutch fan) Yes, this is a project car... and also my daily!

I used to own a 89 navy 240 Wagon (my first car) which had travelled +300,000km, overheated countless times, broken a timing belt, was rear ended and was probably serviced once all before I even owned it. The hand me down, rejected family car. I loved it.

I knew very little about mechanics when I was 18, so drove around in it for a year before the engine disemboweled itself due to chocolate milkshake coolant. ^ Here it is in 2011 just after that happened. I then bought an 89 Alfa Romeo 164 and learnt everything there is to know about cars and what can go wrong with them… but that V6.. oh my god.

Had a lot of fun with the Alfa for 7 years, until it also ruined itself. It’s replacement, a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer was horribly boring, so I decided to find my first true love again....

Yep, what the hell was I thinking!? ^

I bought this borderline parts car off Heino Nowatski October last year. 238,000km on the stopped clock. He seemed pretty happy see it go to clear some space for more Volvos - he had a few projects of his own on the go! He was very upfront about the work it needed, so for a good price and some spare parts to help get it back on the road, I drove it home very slowly on 20 yr old rubber and completely detached (rusted out) exhaust. Got some good looks.

My initial plan was to restore this car to factory. The AUS anniversary model originally came with electric windows, mirrors, chrome grill, leather seats and Bertone alloy wheels.

Well the mirrors were busted so I replaced them with manual ones. The wheels were shot, so I replaced them with Virgos, the leather seats were nowhere to be seen, so I planned to tackle them later. I found a nice set of roof racks at the wreckers and it was starting to clean up nicely. Basically, this car wasn’t quite going to be an Anniversary model anymore.

The initial work required for a roadworthy was semi-substantial and I tackled it over a couple weekends. New brake lines, rotors and pads all around, some replacement globes, tie rods, replacement catback stock exhaust by IPD and a new set of tyres saw it back on rego. I also had to rewire those annoying rear harnesses that go through the tailgate hinges for the rear middle brake light. (Good instructions on IPD for that one).  

The redblock was running pretty rough. Took my time to tune up and perform a major service and Nice time to clean up the engine bay too!

New belts, accessory bushes, timing belt, tensioner, water pump, plugs, wires, front seals, oil and coolant change, filters, radiator hoses, heater hoses, 940 MAF from the wreckers AND a replacement Nissens radiator, as mine had cracked at the plastic end cap when removing the top hose!

After cleaning out the throttle body and idle valve, I wouldn't say a Redblock purrs, but it sounds a lot less like a lumpy tractor!

The transmission seemed to be slipping badly into 3rd so I had Berry Motor Group inspect it and subsequently swap in another used AW70. At this stage I’d spent a few grand for a beautiful running 240 wagon. I ditched the boring old (new) white lancer, and this has been my daily car since! Cleaned up nicely!

Stay tuned for more restoration and turbo adventures!



  • Great read and a nice wagon! 👍

  • Surprisingly my suspension passed the roadworthy, but I knew it needed some serious work. Handled like a boat, and could see one of the rear shocks was blown. The diff also had quite an obnoxious whine at freeway speeds…

    I was beginning to get the feeling this odometer stopped working a LONG time ago :|

    Fixed with Dave Barton 240.com gears.

    I had some time off work and took the opportunity to overhaul the front and rear suspension;

    -       New Sachs struts, shocks and top mounts.

    -       Superpro bushings all around: front and rear trailing arm bushings, front and rear control arm bushings and torque rods.

    Cleaned it all out, nice to see it was full of oil. Inspected the backlash and repacked the wheel bearings. Had still done 200+K, but was in MUCH better condition then mine. The lower trailing arm bushes are a nightmare to get out. I went with re-using the original shells. Blowtorch, vice grips and a wire wheel will get you there eventually. Still arguably easier then making your own tool and pushing the whole bush out.

    Front control arm bushings are my second least favorite.

    Bought some newer second-hand torque rods to replace that annoying hourglass shaped bushing design on the earlier cars. These ones were a breeze to get out. Drill out the rubber, then hammer, chisel and hacksaw.

    I think around this time I also scored a shiny new bonnet from @carnut222! Cheers again!

  • Looks great! The Virgos really suit that colour! Well done and you’ve learned a lot I’m sure.


  • Installed an iPD adjustable cam gear + 5 degrees and a stock 'T' camshaft in place of the 'M' which gave a noticeable increase in torque down low and smile on face. After a taste of performance mods, I decided to start collecting required parts for a +T.

    Continue reading for another bloody bulk standard 240+T turbobrick conversion.

    Took me between 1-2 months to acquire everything needed. I wanted it to be a clean swap so as to not have the car sitting there waiting for parts to arrive. A donor car would have made things much easier, but logistically not possible.

    TD04-12B on -89 Manifold (I know I know, but it was cheap)

    850 Turbo Injectors (refurbed)

    940 Turbo Computers. The later the better - these are from a 1994 model. Not cheap, and probably the hardest thing to find for the build. I ordered these from the US.

    Fitted a -10AN fitting to a spare sump for the oil drain. I like to do things properly, so short of pulling the engine and drilling the block, I had it welded by a professional.

    Chevy red. Close enough!

  • edited September 2019

    Thanks to my mate Alan for all his help and letting me dump the car at his for the week!

    Feels weird pulling apart a perfectly running car.

    Old sump was a nightmare to get off. Hours of twisting and contorting. Had us thinking it would almost be easier to pull engine entirely.

    Ended up stripping the bung in the block and opted for an oil filter sandwich plate for the oil feed instead. Probably the smarter choice in the end, as I've got a couple ports for future sensors if needed. This was for Alan's MX5 build he was working, happened to fit perfectly.. interesting!

    Getting there. Took us two weekends from memory. Hit a couple snags along the way.

    Thanks to the legend master-welder @Samman88 for helping us with the 3" downpipe. This is the part of any RHD 240+T where you have to get creative. He did a great job! Doesn't look like it, but there's plenty of clearance between that and the steering column. With stiffer engine mounts from ClassicSwede, I haven't had any issues with it fouling.

    Little custom intake thingy we went and did to keep the left side looking clean. I'll probably try and find a 940T airbox at some stage, but this works for the time being.

    Fan shroud need a bit of angle grinder to keep things happy. Everything shifts once you drop the intercooler in.

    Alan's over-engineered intercooler mounting bracket standoffs. Love em. I was happy with a couple nuts.

    Done. I think we're up to date now. I've been driving the car for the past 4 months and it's a blast. I'm currently running 5-7psi boost. I've run 12psi for fun, but I'm yet to install a wideband and don't really trust my ears to listen for ping. It felt fine though. New fuel pumps and refurbed injectors. I can say that the car feels to have doubled in power. If the 740T stock is 160bhp, then I'd assume this is in the realm of 180ish? Dunno but it's a lot of fun!

    Special thanks to @Samman88 @Ghettobird @Vee_Que @iceton1975 and John at Voldat for all the help with bits n pieces. Also this forum is a GREAT source of information, thanks everyone.

    My future plans:

    3" cat-back back Exhaust.

    Upgrade to 16T turbo, 531 Head and later manifold. (I already have these but no time!!)

    Install the AW71 I have sitting in shed as the AW70 is having a hard time!

    Possibly larger injectors and aftermarket tune later later.

  • Have you done the accumulator mod to the AW70 yet? Some reports are that they will hold up to 300 kW with the mod.

  • Vee_QueVee_Que (@Vee_Que) South Eastern suburbs Melbourne.

    Aw70s have less clutches than the aw71 does and aw71s don't handle more than 200rwkws if you actually intend to use more then 50% on a daily driver, they are on borrowed time even above stock. The accumulator mod is for holding the clutches together at higher than stock power levels, but there just isn't room in the boxes to handle higher power.

  • I plan to mod the AW71

  • Upgraded the exhaust system last week. 3" JT Tuning 'Superflow' bolt-on twin muffler system. Ordered through Martelius Exhaust, Finland. They are very reputable in Sweden and design all sorts of performance systems for Volvo's. It fitted nicely with no fitment issues etc. They were super helpful via email and had it shipped to me in just over a week for $615. I've paid similar amounts in the past for custom work locally, so highly recommend them if your keen for a hassle free bolt-on option.

    After cutting the reducer off my custom downpipe, it fitted perfectly. Nice strong clamps to hold it all together as well. A couple hours work with 2 people.

    Most importantly, it sounds great. Nice low rumble without any annoying drones on the highway. Sounds like a vintage V6 and opens up nicely with higher revs. 👌

    Nice plain angled cut tip to replace the big squiggle. I do miss that ultimate sleeper status!

  • Looks great!

  • Ex850RSnoopy (@Ex850R) Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    Leave the squiggle on there and dump pipe out rhs ...

  • edited September 2019

    Finally got around to an E-Fan conversion to make the car just that bit more unreliable. Volvo 850 Fan and relay in 740 fan shroud with a 2 speed BMW 88C switch.

    Works surprisingly well and sounds great.. Just can't stop watching the temp gauge rise like a nervous wreck!

  • Hello Tommy, I'v been looking for a reasonably priced bolt on option for my B230ft into GT242 swap that I am very slowly in the middle of. The JT exhaust looks like it will do the job fine and my initial email to Martelius was answered within the day. My car wis unregistered and will need an engineers report so I ned to do it right the first time. I'm wondering what you did regarding the catalytic converter? The one I got of the donor car is the standard turbo exhaust width. I can save some money by reusing but I suspect it will restrict my exhaust flow. Any recommendations or tips would be much appreciated. Congratulations on the build.

  • Thanks @Paul_Roodenrys! Yeah re-using the stock cat would negate any benefits of the 3inch system. My plan is to buy a high-flow magniflow (or similar) cat and weld or clamp it up to the front of the large mid pipe that comes with the JT system. It would involve removing a section of that pipe. At the moment I'm running without a cat and it really does suck. Not just for the environmental factor, but the fumes are gross for anyone close by.

  • Thanks Tommy, I'll have a look at the cat you mentioned. I won't get an engineers certificate without one. I'd also like my car to run as cleanly and efficiently as possible. I've just purchased a Haltech 550 Elite ecu which I hope will also do a lot to improve efficiency.

  • edited November 2019

    Ahhh the old head gasket strikes again.. this would be the third time its happened to me. Second time on a redblock :( Engine currently consuming coolant at an increasing rate as well as bubbling out of the cap... A 5hr return trip to a music festival this weekend saw me go through about 2-3 litres! Oh well, more impetus to finish my 531 head rebuild and slap it on with the 90+ manifold and 16T turbo!

    Scored this 531 a few months back when I stumbled across a '92 940 with B230FB in pick a part. So far have thoroughly cleaned it, had it pressure tested and decked .3mm. Have also just finished lapping the valves. Wondering whether to upgrade the springs and retainers, or just slap it on and go?!

  • Also scored a triple gauge pod and am re-wiring a new harness for some VDO oil pressure, coolant temp, volts and boost gauges. I think I've found my new favourite repetitive cathartic job thingy. The results are so satisfying!

  • Nice work on the wiring. Just did that on my yellow project and yours looks like a surgeon did it, not a butcher!

  • edited November 2019

    Haha! This is thanks to the many stressful experiences I've had dealing with mountains of spaghetti patch cables when setting up audio gear. Nicely ordered cables put my mind at ease!

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