940 & 960 1994 940GLE. The future daily

BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

I picked up this 1994 940GLE sedan yesterday to be used as a daily driver for work. I'd been searching for a few months for a 740 or 940. As usual when I started the search all the good ones were in NSW/VIC/SA (I'm in QLD). After a few months of fruitless searching this one turned up about 5 minutes drive from work on the I Roll Volvo FB page. A short test drive revealed a few issues to be addressed. This thread will hopefully be of interest to others and will help me keep track of what has been done and keep me motivated to get in on the road.

It has two weeks rego left and the seller was generous enough to let me drive it home as long as I return the rego plates to him by the end of the week. I had a play with it last night which turned up a couple of extra minor issues. I gave the interior a quick clean but I'll give it a more thorough going over on the weekend. The interior is almost perfect except for a small tear on the driver's seat and one small crack in the driver's side B-pillar trim.

The list of problems to be sorted (this will no doubt get longer as I delve into the car more):

The last service record I can find is from March 2019(!) so a full stage 0 service is needed. Engine oil level is way down and so is the coolant. Trans oil is a pinky/brown so not too bad. Invoice says the diff oil is dirty so that'll get changed too.

Needs new tyres and wheel alignment. This was mentioned on the last service invoice but wasn't done.

Hole in the exhaust which sounds like it's around the front muffler area. Piggy tail pipe at the back is also rusted through.

Steering wheel grip is smooth and can be twisted around so it's come loose from the rim underneath.

Trans selector knob has fallen apart.

Boot is pretty grubby.

Door seals in both front doors and LHR door are perished.

Centre brake light doesn't work. Could be bulb or connection.

Engine seems a little gutless (even for a 940). Hopefully the stage 0 service will sort that.

Brake pedal pulses and steering wheel has a slight shimmy under hard braking. That last service invoice says the front pads and discs were replaced. Could be that or suspension bushes?

Clear coat on the boot lid has lifted pretty badly so a respray will be needed. The rest of the car's paint seems to be fine but it needs a good clean and polish.

Battery tray has some pretty bad corrosion.


I'll update as things progress.



  • edited November 2020

    The front brakes were replaced but what about the rear brakes?

    Try replacing those which should eliminate the nastiness of the brake pedal pulsation sensation

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Good point. But would a problem with the rear brakes cause the steering wheel to shimmy side to side?

  • I wouldn't say so, you must have other problems to cause that

  • jamesincJames @jamesinc Oz Volvo Ice Fortress

    Those gear selectors are all coming apart these days, new ones are like $150 but honestly IMO it's worth it unless you happen to find a mint used one.

  • Steering issue may be rack related, but is likely front end bushes.

    Steering wheel issue is common - cheap fix is repair glue, expensive fix is order a NOS wheel from GCP.

    Trans selector knob on 92+ cars - heh, they all seem to do that.

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Yeah I've seen a lot of the selector levers on the later 940 doing the same thing. I saw FCP has them for ~$130 US so I may do that. I have to place an order with them anyway.

    The front control arm strut rod bushes could be shot causing the shimmy so I'll check them.

  • Regarding the bushes, id say definitely check the control arm (? i think thats what its called ) bush, and the big chonky one connecting the strut to the frame rails. That could cause movement front to back under braking, plus its good to replace them anyway, tightens up the front end nicely :)

    Or unless the pads/rotors haven't been bed in properly it could be that as well.

    With the steering wheel, mine was doing the same, so i replaced it with a momo instead ;)

    In regards to it being slugglish, definitely do your stage 0 service. Clean the maf of course with some CRC maf cleaner, and then clean the throttle body and maybe throw some injector or fuel system clean in it and take it for a good italian tune up to burn off some of the carbon deposits, if its a car thats been babied around on short trips!

    Have fun!

  • Nice! Should be a great base to start from!

  • My steering wheel was the same. Got a heavy gauge syringe (ask a someone in the medical field for one) and some super glue. Worked a treat.

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Thanks all

    I work as a clinical technician so I have access to plenty of syringes and needles to glue the steering wheel. I was wondering about what type of glue to use but if superglue does the trick then I'll use that. But I am concerned about the top of the rim being smooth and whether it might be an issue come roadworthy time. Anyone know - particularly in Queensland?

    I played around in the engine bay last night and removed and cleaned the throttle body, idle valve and breather system. Everything was reasonably clean although there was no filter thingy in the flame trap housing. I had a spare but I broke the housing when I tried to insert it. Age and heat made it brittle. I thought I had a spare housing somewhere but I couldn't find it last night. I'll have another look tonight.

    Checked the spark plugs and they were a little worn. But they had the usual carbon deposits on them so at least it seems the engine burns pretty clean.

    I was disappointed to find someone had screwed the rear rego plate straight through the decor panel and into the metal of the boot lid instead of using the car's existing plate mounting. The decor plate is broken through but it should be fixable but the crack will still be obvious. They did the same to the rego plate on the front and the bumper has about half-dozen holes all over the place so it looks like several attempts have been made to mount rego plates there. Annoying as hell but not the end of the world I suppose.

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    The million dollar decor panel!

    Rare iiirc....

  • carnut222Greg S @carnut222 Daylesford VIC
    edited November 2020

    That rego plate mounting thing annoys me too! In the US they (Volvos) all used to come with a metal frame (see pic) that mounted to the 2 original central holes on the bumper (or boot lid), then the number plate mounted to that over the 4 studs - IIRC all the US number plates had those same 4 stud holes/spacing. I haven't seen anything like that for the Aussie number plates so it seems the only option to use the factory central mounting holes is to drill thru the number plate (may not be technically legal?) or come up with your own mounting bracket. Unfortunately the US-style bracket doesn't really work as the US plates are taller than the Aussie plates...EDIT: I made a custom mount similar to the one below to mount the club plate on the rear of my 1800ES...used some thin aluminium extrusions about 20 mm wide IIRC.

  • jamesincJames @jamesinc Oz Volvo Ice Fortress

    I use these type things on both front and back, the backing plates work with virtually any mounting hole configuration https://www.carshine.com.au/number-plate-covers/

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    QLD Transport says holes can be drilled in the rego plates to mount them to the car as long as the plate isn't defaced and doesn't interfere with the readability of the characters....

    Sound kind of contradictory to me. I thought drilling holes would be defacing.....

    Whatever, I drilled holes in the personalised plates I put on my blue 940 about 20 years ago. I've never been picked up on it.

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Did some more poking around tonight. I still can't find the spare flame trap housing I thought I had so maybe I don't have one...

    I put the throttle body, idle valve and breather system back together - just need that darn flame trap. Anyway I can still drive out of the garage to wash it on the weekend.

    I removed the battery to have a closer look at some corrosion I could see around the battery tray. Turned out to be worse than first appearances suggested (typical cars). The photos below show it after I used a wire brush to remove the loose flaking metal.

    The holes in the next 2 photos go through to the wheel arch:

    I need some advice about the most appropriate way to tackle this. Hit it with some rust converter, bog up the holes and paint over it and hope for the best? My preference would be to get a body shop to fix it properly but I'm certainly open to suggestions from anyone who has dealt with this problem before.

    Hopefully this is the only corrosion problem I will find. I hate body work. I'd much rather do mechanical stuff instead. 🙄

  • @VolvoHordz did an excellent job of welding up a battery tray on a 740T wagon I had at one time, although turbos have their battery on the other side of the car from NAs. He may be able to offer advice. It appears Seven and Nines all seem to have problems in the battery tray area if they've had spillage.

    Another area to check for rust are the front foot wells, especially on the passenger's side. You will need to remove the carpet and the underfelt to get a good look at the top of the floor pan. The problem is caused by water getting trapped in the chassis rails and failing to escape via the drainage holes in the bottom of the rails.

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Thanks Ledfoot.

    I'm planning to remove the seats and carpets and some stage to give them a clean so I'll check the entire floor while I'm in there.

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    I've spent some time going over the 940 the last couple of weeks. As expected the list of maintenance & repair jobs has increased beyond the original list.

    Despite being advertised as having no leaks there are 2 coolant leaks. One at the thermostat housing and the other at the heater tap. I'll deal with both when I do the stage 0 service. It had new heater hoses last year but I'm always nervous about tightening clamps on the heater valve as I've busted one before doing just that.

    I found the spare flame trap housing I thought I had (actually found 2 of them :) ). After I put it all back together the engine idled around 1300rpm. As the engine temp rose the idle increase until it reached around 2000rpm at operating temp. I checked and rechecked all the adjustments. Turned out the coolant temp sensor connector had some crap in it and my fiddling around nearby with the oil separator, etc must have dislodged some of it causing a bad connection. I unplugged and replugged it a few times and the idle went back to normal. I need to get some contact cleaner to give them a good clean though.

    I've given the interior a clean and treated the leather to a clean and conditioner. They still feel a bit dry so another going over is in order.

    I removed the upholstery from the boot and went over it with a carpet shampooer. This got rid of a lot of dirt. The water was virtually black but as the photo below shows there are still some grease stains. Any suggestions on how I might get these out, assuming it's possible.

    The brakes are all in good condition with plenty of meat on the pads and the discs are all within thickness limits. The flexible hoses look as though they've seen better days so they're up for replacement.

    The list of jobs now includes:

    Fix coolant leaks

    Replace LH tie rod

    New engine mounts

    New brake hoses.

    I've placed an order with FCP for a heap of parts which should hopefully arrive next week.

  • RoinikIan @Roinik Mount Gambier, SA.

    With grease stains try dry cleaning fluid or similar.

  • BradBrad @Brad Sunshine Coast, QLD

    Thanks Ian,

    I'll give it a try.

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