240 Volvo 245 Extremely high Fuel Consumption

Hello everyone - This is my first message in the forum so quick intro: Proud owner of a 95K miles excellent condition Volvo 245 with auto transmission. I live in Argentina.

The problem: My Volvo 245 consumes 25L/100 KM ... yes, you are reading right and I can do maths :)

I have no Check Engine light on, and I know it works because some months ago it lighted on and after replacing sparks it went off.

I have an exhaust manifold leak and that long flex pipe with a hole. Additionally, I remember using starting fluid back in December when I bought the car (from a friend) after 5 years seating (wanted to check if the engine was locked). I shot it from the air filter box so it went through the MAF Sensor :(

What it really confuses me is the no Check Engine light on. Every time I measured the consumption I did after refueling it and 100% of the trips were city trips and high acceleration pretty often.

When the car starts it idles high but goes back to normal after it is warmed up and the car moves from Park to Drive. However, sometimes when I go back to Park, it idles high again.

I believe first step is to clean MAF sensor just in case. Any tips will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Regards, Nacho.



  • What year model is the car? What is the engine number code? How long have you owned it? Are there any fuel leaks? How does the engine run? Are there any drivability concerns?

    A 240 will typically be in the 8-12 l/100km range, on average

  • 1971_144GL1971_144GL @1971_144GL Launceston, Tasmania

    Hi Nacho,

    Nice to hear that there are 240 Volvo cars in argentina. I didn't see any when I was there!

    I would start with new spark plugs, followed by a replacement oxygen sensor if you have one in the exhaust system. I had a similar problem that this fixed years ago. The exhaust leak won't cause the fuel consumption issue, and the long tube is just a warm up system for cold weather starting.

    Cleaning the MAF would be good. It sounds like you may have air intake leaks causing your idle problems. Look for split vaccume lines, and possibly cracked intake gaskets that are letting air in. If the car has been sitting, then the intake throttle body mechanism should be cleaned, especially if you are having idle problems.

  • Hi ramrod! The car is a 1990 DL wagon. I have owned it for less than a year. A friend of mine had it parked for 5 years so I had to put the fuel tank down, clean it, replace the internal fuel pump and a couple of etcs. I have pending changing fuel filter.

    There are no fuel leaks I had noticed so far. I can only smell strong fuel odor when I complete the tank to the very top. I attribute this to my own mistake most likely when putting back the rubber o-ring from fuel filler neck. It drives perfectly, and smoothly. The only 2 indications of something not being perfect is that top speed is 145km/h (makes no sense) and sometimes it idles high, but normalizes when the engine warms up. I have no Check Engine light on and I know it works.

    The exhaust was rotten so I changed the last half and I currently have an exhaust manifold leak (waiting for some gaskets to arrive to amend this (is very small, when engine warms up its hardly noticeable).

    Thanks for your response!

    Regards, Nacho.

  • Hi 1971! They are VERY rare here. This one is from a former US embassy employee that imported it privately. My friend gave it to me almost for free since I love 'vintage' cars (my first car was a BMW 518 1979) and this was his third car.

    The oxygen sensor is my first guess as well. I'll have to import it, but still concerns me that there's no Check Engine light on.

    Perfect, will take care of cleaning everything from air filter to the intake manifold.

    Thanks for your response!

    Regards, Nacho.

  • Before you buy anything and possibly waste money changing good parts, test them first.

    The O2 sensor can be tested.

    The spark plugs (NGK BPR6ES) are cheap and should be changed anyway if you don't remember when they were replaced, spark plug leads also

    What is the acceleration like? For example 0-100 km/h should take roughly 10-12 seconds

    If you fill the fuel tank to the top, how much leaks out? Also how many kilometres do you reach before the fuel gauge reaches the red zone? I ask because this could have more to do with your driving style than the car.

  • fix the exhaust problem as it will make the o2 go ballistic.

  • GhettobirdJulian @Ghettobird Melbourne - SE Suburbs

    Check the fuel pressure regulator asap.

    These can leak and pour fuel straight into the intake via its vacuum line.

    Everything else still applies

    Good luck!

  • I'll test the O2 sensor as suggested. Spark plugs were replaced and that put the Check Engine light off (that's how I learnt that that works. I haven't replaced Distributor Cap and Rotor yet. I was waiting to get new cables. I haven't tested acceleration but responds really well. I've been accelerating it more than normal because I'm about to take it to the yearly legal safety checkpoint and I've been accelerating and braking hard to make sure I get rid of brake disc/caliper oxidation.

    It doesn't leak at all or it leaks just a couple of drops and stops after 10/20 kms of driving the car. I wish I had fuel gauge. Although the car is in excellent conditions the fuel tank was so rotten that when I replaced the in tank fuel pump the floater was already lying rotten in the tank ...

    May be driving style given is a heavy car, only being driven roughly and in city traffic. I'll check in a 100 KM road trip at 110 km/h to discard that (it still surprises me the 25l/100 km mark ...)

    I'll try to upload some pictures of the car because I'm describing it as if it were a piece of junk but it is actually in very great conditions, it is just still being tuned up after 5 years seating.

    Thanks for the advises!

  • Hi Julian - Yes I have already checked it some months ago and the back line was dry. I'll recheck just in case.

    Should the pump below the car (the main one) operate continuously while the car is running? I know it sounds silly mine never goes off since the moment you put the car in contact.


    Regards, Nacho.

  • 0-100 took me 13.5

    Self-measured. I believe that's acceptable and normal.

    Regards, Nacho.

  • Ok, now repair the non-operative fuel gauge, fill the tank to the top and drive. You should get at least 500 kilometres and possibly more at 11 l/100km

  • Little weekend update. As I said in the first message I used starting fluid the first day to make sure the engine was not locked and now it idles a bit high in revs. Today I cleaned the MAF sensor with a specific cleaner and replaced the air filter just in case. The car started to idle normally immediately. I'll be able to test fuel consumption again, after this maintenance, closer to next weekend.

    Some pics of my beauty ...

  • Little update. Today I passed the legal yearly emissions and operational safety testing. I believe I have to retest consumption because if consuming double than normal should pollute double than normal as well ...

    Regards, Nacho.

  • Nice car, hard to believe it sat for 5 years

  • Thanks Wayne! Yes, it was the third car of my friend. One day he wanted to start it and the battery was dead, months after he charged the battery and same thing and before anyone could tell, the car had been seating for a long time. He finally abandoned it and was 5 years completely unattended.

    When I bought it, the main issues were around rotten gas in fuel tank, spoiled in-tank pump and the floater attached to it completely rotten. After some months of good care and love, it is like that.

    In the driver side, the 2 doors have huge white stains. He started to apply polishing cream to it and realized it was too much work and abandoned the task without cleaning it ... unbelievable ... I'm now carefully getting rid of it but of course the paint is going out with it ... will have to paint those 2 doors at some point.

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