A tale of two wagons

I've never got around to posting my 245s on here so I thought I'd better put something down before I forget the details.

My first 1988 245 was bought from a lovely old couple in Longford in early 2012. I needed something for driving 600km return trips to work on the west coast and I didn't want to use a 'nice' car I had at the time. I think it had 333,000km on it at the time. Auto, completely stock except for a massive alloy bullbar. A friend thought I was mad for buying something with such high km on it for $1500. I thought he might be right.

I drove it back and forth for years and it never left me stranded. I did buy a Dellows manual conversion kit of this forum to get rid of the auto and fit a Toyota W55 5 speed manual. I really like the ratios compared to the M46 and it dropped the fuel consumption a couple of L/100km too.

Bought some used BBS RS 16" x 7" wheels for it at some stage. A bit of guard massaging to get them under with a 225 tyre. A few suspension parts too as it was scary on the stock stuff on a fast twisty road. I think it stated with Koni yellows on some Eibach springs from Kaplhenke. Then got some Gaz adjustables from Ash at DVS a few years later. Wheels got widened to 8.5" rear and 8" front.

Engine got a freshen up a few years later. The water pump started leaking everywhere so it as good a time as any. It didn't really need this but pulling the engine was a good learning experience.

It's still my daily drive car and has about 430,000km on it now. In all that time it's only died twice. Once it burnt up a fuel pump relay but thanks to this forum I had a spare in the glove box. Plugged the new one in and it was back on the road in a few minutes. Second time the clutch slave died and that was a tow truck fix unfortunately. Happy with how solid it's been over the last 10+ years though.

This is how it looked a couple of months ago on a 4 hour road trip up north. It looks good from 5 to 10m away but not really any closer. This reminds me I have to get new headlight reflectors to fix the brown situation happening there.

I'll post up my other wagon in a bit.

timboChrisrado240Joebgpzfm142VolvoHordzBradUglydeNs242GTand 4 others.


  • Nice dude, love the way she sits. 😎

  • NIce wagon.

  • Thanks. Over many years of throwing parts at it the thing has just got lower and lower. I'd like it to be about 20mm higher for daily drive comfort but with the combination of parts underneath this isn't possible. Ooops.

  • Yeah I was hoping mine would get the same ride height but ended up with an extra 20-30mm clearance.

    I’ve found when something wears out i always replace new or rebuild the part rather than second hand bits.

    keeps mine as well reliable.

    nice wagon

  • edited May 27

    In mid 2015 a friend sent me a link to a B230FT swapped 245 a few hours away. OzVolvo member @volvodriverman was selling it after buying it off @GUE555, and although I didn't really need another wagon, it was too good to pass up.

    I don't really have any good photos from early on but I threw some 16 x 8" Rial wheels and 215 tyres on it shortly after buying it. The tyres that were originally on it were hilarious in the wet. Sliding everywhere just trying to drive normally. So fun but super sketchy. I threw a heap of old parts from the other wagon on it too. Lots of adjustable suspension bits and a Falcon anti roll bar. Much safer on wet roads.

    Threw a couple of bike racks on the roof and it became the weekend fun car and sometimes daily drive if the other wagon was in pieces on the weekend. This was turning out to be a very sensible investment.

    The engine and ecu swap on this thing was probably best described as quick and dirty. Just enough work to get a mod plate. To its credit this thing only died once when the MAF let go. As the gremlins took over it would make you think it was going to die, make your heart skip a beat, running on 2 cylinders and other shenanigans but it never dared leave you stranded. I even drowned the engine bay after hitting a massive puddle on the highway in torrential rain. It coughed and steamed through peak hour traffic for 30 minutes before making it home somehow. Gold star for the janky wagon.

    It soldiered on for a bit but with a blown turbo, cracked manifold and wiring that needed major work, it got parked for a bit. Thankfully at this point a mate with a workshop offered to help fix this situation. They were used to working on things that made real power though, LS, JZ, Barra etc. This weird redblock thing wasn't really their jam. Worst of all, it's a skinny rod and M46 combination that they wouldn't be able to turn right up. They still ripped into it though which was great.

    The end result shown above was a custom T3 manifold, Pulsar GTX3071 .63 turbo, Turbosmart 38mm external gate, Link Atom ecu and sensors in a new wiring harness, lots of Yoshifab ecu parts including the DSM CAS adaptor, TPS adaptor, LS coil setup and a 3" dump pipe. A lot of time on the dyno getting it running for a whopping 150kw at the tyres. No point blowing the skinny rod engine to pieces or breaking the M46.

    Now that the turbo side looked good it was time to clean up the intake. I bought a DIY intake kit from Scimec Motor in Norway (check out their FB page for redblock not safe for work) and got to work moving things around to make it fit. This was a lot more work that I anticipated but I'm happy with the final result. I had a local performance workshop run fuel lines as I was a bit scared of high pressure leaks and fire to run them myself.

    This intake manifold is mainly cosmetic I'll be honest, as the car makes stock power at the moment, but I wanted to get everything setup and running reliably before putting a stronger late model block in. I've had to learn a lot about the Link software so I can work on the hot start, cold start, idle, and low rpm tuning for it. That's been really interesting and a lot of fun when you get it right.

    At this stage it runs really well, makes great turbo noises and still makes for a good weekend runabout. I've been collecting a lot of parts for the next few upgrades. The M46 gearbox is coming out and a Ford T5 from an EB V8 is going in. I have a Deeworks adaptor kit, Yoshifab clutch and flywheel, Tilton hydraulic clutch release bearing and Wilwood master cylinder to hopefully make the pedal feel light while holding decent power.

    I bought a '92 long block off Mark at Berry Motor Group but the gearbox and open diff need the attention first.

  • man that turbo set up looks super nice

    i was planning to sell my wagon but reading this and looking at ur wagons from afar makes me wanna keep it,

    ughh ive got too many cars rn need to reduce the herd

  • Yeah that’s a sweet turbo setup.

    some primo ideas.

    yeah we have three cars (blacked out Subaru xt forester (last of the turbo foresters 😢), vw r32 which is a blast and runs huge rims with flared guards. And the 240 wagon which I’m slowly building up..

    my wife was like we really should have just two cars. I looked at here sighed and said it will be said to see the r32 go…. 😂 lol

  • Seeing you turbo setup makes me want to pull this engine and do the full recon rebuild right…

    then in future do the bigger turbo and intake like yours. As that looks so pro..

    As that looks sharp, what’s the thing on the leads?

  • edited May 30

    There are lots of easier ways to have a fun wagon. I had planned to just add a 15G or 16T turbo and keep most of it fairly stock. Things just got out of hand a couple of years ago.

    Sounds like your turbo Foz or R32 would be an easier way to have a quick car without a heap of work. This way is fun in its own way though. I like working on these relatively simple old cars. The look of an 8v redblock engine with a big turbo on the side is part of the fun for me.

    The things on the leads? The top of the valve cover holds the coils for the spark plugs. Yoshifab sells a lot of nice parts if you want to convert your redblock to a programmable ecu. Lots of those parts came from there.

  • Nice pair of wagons!

    You seem to have a thing for non Volvo manual boxes, are the Toyota and Ford options really that much better than the M46&7?

  • MUCH MUCH stronger

    better gear ratios too

  • Yes.

    Because you can still get new gears, syncros, and bearings for T5 boxes which are rated up to 300+ lb/ft /100,000 miles, and without the need to mortgage the farm to pay for them.

    M47 is known to fail even on NA cars driven hard. There is a reason they built the M90.....

    M46 with J/P or P-type overdrive doesn't have provision for a speedo drive; M46 with J type and beyond factory +t boost.... lol, but still stronger than M47.

  • edited May 31

    Thanks. My daily n/a wagon would have been fine with an M47 or M46 but a full conversion kit popped up with everything I needed to bolt the Toyota W55 gearbox in. It has a full cast Dellows bellhousing to bolt the W55 straight to the redblock. No adaptor or anything. It's pretty neat but you can't get them anymore.

    The turbo car has a different problem to solve. As others have said, it's the torque. I'm only running 8psi at the moment and that's to keep the M46 and skinny rod engine alive. T5 box seems to be one of the easier ways to go although you can use Volvo M90, BMW ZF 5 and 6 speed, Nissan CD009 and even some kits the adapt BMW DCT transmissions to redblocks. I would have liked to go with a BMW diesel 5 speed as they will hold an insane amount of torque but I can't find many here.

  • adrianwRusty @adrianw Nowra, NSW

    I have to admit as slow work in progress 245 rework in my garage, these wagons give me a little fire in the belly to keep going to move forwards with my white 88 245. self induced scope creep seems to drag out things, i should be more roadkill orientated to get it moving along as opposed to try get the perfect finish. Thanks for inspiring.



  • volvodrivermanvolvodriverman @volvodriverman Redcliffe Queensland

    Bloody nice work, the blue car is one of my car sale regrets!

Sign In or Register to comment.