Greg S (@carnut222)(Greg S)
- Daylesford VIC
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- Greg S
- My garage
- 68 145S, 73 1800ES, 77 245L, 79 245GL, 87 240GL sedan, 91 240GLE wagon, 93 240GLE EV wagon, 2008 C30 T5 R-design
I've had this 79 245GL since December 2016, when my dad Gary helped me and the seller Neil pull it out of its barn storage with Neil's tractor. The car was located near Wangaratta VIC, but apparently was originally from Tassie early in its life (David Stewart Autos, Hobart - sticker on back glass). I'm not sure how long Neil owned it, but he said he bought it for his daughter and she decided she didn't want it...so it ended up in his shed when the rego ran out in 2001.
We moved the car to my partner's mum's house in Oxley and I cleaned off 15 years of grime.
Fortunately it must have had a decent paint job as the paint came up OK with no real signs of damage from years of bird droppings and grime.
OK, folks in the Volvo Club of Vic know about it already (mostly) but I guess I should do a build thread since a few people are interested. The short story...with more pics and details to follow when I have time:
Car: 1993 240GLE wagon converted to full electric in 2010/11
Motor: WarP 9 9-inch DC electric motor purpose-built for electric cars
Batteries: Sky Energy LiFePO (Lithium Iron Phosphate) prismatic cells - 45 in total for a nominal voltage of 144 volts
Transmission: Volvo M45 (4-speed manual) - clutchless
Range: 70 km max, with 30% reserve to protect batteries from excessive discharge
Conversion took about 6 months once we had all the bits - started in mid-2010 and on the road and engineered/registered as an EV in Feb 2011.
Making slow but steady progress...getting all the lights and wiring cleaned up, including the bulbs, bulb holders and connectors. Got the headlights, surrounds and grille cleaned up a bit, and rear panel around tail lights. Also removed and turfed all the old fuses, cleaned the fuse terminals with a tiny wire brush on a Dremel tool, and replaced with all new fuses. Unfortunately the heater fan still doesn't come on even after replacing the blown fuse...so need to do a bit more diagnostic work on that. The motor doesn't seem to be seized up as I was able to remove the floor duct and get a small tool up in and move the fan blade. Wiper motor is super noisy so need to check whether the spindles need lubrication or whether the motor is bad. Have a few spare motors so easy to swap out. Headlight switch seems a bit dodgy - no apparent detentes in the switch, so may just swap out the switch from the yellow 79 245 as I'll be using the later-style dash and switch in that car eventually. Still trying to decide whether I keep this car or sell it...body is so tidy I'd be surprised to find one as good as this.
OK answering a few questions...will continue the build thread as I have time!
Pack size: 17.4 kWh
12 v battery is for the usual car stuff, but there is also a DC to DC converter that steps down the 144 v pack to 13.6 v to keep the 12 v battery charged and power things while the car is "running"
Coolant reservoir is for the controller cooling, using a small oil cooler under the front bumper behind the 3 air dam holes. A small 12 v gaming computer pump circulates the coolant.
The heater core was replaced by 2 ceramic element heaters that run off the pack voltage. They're adequate for windscreen demisting in cold weather but not too effective for cabin heating compared to the original heater!
Performance is about the same overall as the original car. Quicker off the line but degrades as the motor RPM increases. Redline on the motor is about 6000 RPM but we never go above about 5000 as there is no point.
Weight before the conversion was about 1370 kg and now 1420 kg. Weight distribution went from about 53f/47r to 49f/51r. Handles well as I have ipd sway bars and Bilstein B6. Front is extra low using some donated springs from a fellow club member...probably a bit too low but looks good! Keep the questions coming!
Volvo 240 Bonnet Release Cable Fundamentals & Maintenance Tips
With the youngest Volvo 240 now over 25 years old, many owners are experiencing problems with the bonnet release cable requiring high pull efforts to release the bonnet latch. In extreme cases, the bonnet cable can become dislodged from the locking grommet in the dash panel resulting in the cable not releasing the latch at all. In most cases, high efforts are due to corrosion and lack of lubrication. On right-hand-drive (RHD) cars, Volvo used the same latch mechanism as LHD, but with an added cam to enable the cable to pull from the right side of the latch instead of the left side. This saved engineering expenses in that the bonnet latch didn’t have to be re-designed for RHD. However, the additional cam mechanism required for RHD is hidden under the front end panel behind the latch and is difficult to access when lubricating the latch mechanism. Therefore it often goes unnoticed and neglected. In the best case, the efforts would be higher on the RHD cars, and worst case, the cam can seize resulting in a non-functioning bonnet release. The early 140s have the bonnet release cable on the left side for all markets (LHD and RHD) but I guess moving the RHD cable to the driver’s side was a convenience feature. Some modern cars still keep the cable on the left side for all markets, but nowadays people don’t ever open the bonnet, do they?
Taking a step back, let’s look at the release cable. The effort required to release the latch at the pull handle is higher than the effort to pull the latch release mechanism at the latch itself. This is due to the mechanics of the cable. First, there is friction in the cable between the cable and the sheath. Second, the cable is not a straight run to the latch – and the more bends in the cable and the sharper the bends, the higher the frictional forces due to additional side loads between the cable and the sheath. The 240 cable is basically a straight run forward from the pull handle to the area forward of the strut tower, where it then takes a gentle bend 90 degrees towards the centre of the car and aims towards the bonnet latch. There are one or two small clamps to hold the cable in place – one just forward of the strut tower and the other just behind the headlamp. From there the cable passes through a rubber grommet in the headlamp/radiator side panel. At the end of the cable sheath, there’s another clamp attached to the bottom of the front end panel. This clamp prevents the cable sheath from moving towards the latch when the cable is pulled. It’s all about the opposing forces balancing out (in this case the cross-car forces between the latch mechanism and the cable sheath). The other critical element for the balancing of forces is the clipping grommet where the cable passes through the dash panel. This grommet is basically a one-way clip that is designed to be assembled into the car and never removed. First, the outer part (the moulded plastic grommet) is pushed from inside the car into the hole in the metal dash panel. The grommet has small clip barbs around its perimeter that snap into the hole. Then the cable is passed through the grommet (again from inside the car). At the handle end of the cable sheath, there is a moulded plastic feature with a conical shape that pushes through the grommet and snaps into place, while locking the barbs on the grommet so it doesn’t release from the panel. Quite simple, and virtually impossible to remove without breaking something! It’s this solid clip lock that reacts the pulling forces in the cable sheath in the fore/aft direction.
If the cable were dead straight, no sheath would be required and you’d be able to simply pull the cable to release the latch. Another option would be to have a small pulley just behind the headlamp, and have two virtually straight runs – one from the handle to the pulley, and one from the pulley to the latch. I suppose if you were in a bind you could rig up something like this, but it isn’t done in practice due to the cost and probably sub-par appearance and durability. In no case should you try to use the middle of the cable sheath to react forces. I’ve seen people put cable ties to hold the sheath to the front panel just behind the headlamp, desperately hoping that the sheath would hold after the grommet was pulled out of the hole in the dash panel. Nope! It won’t work, or if it does, it will probably destroy and kink the coiled wires of the cable sheath in short order. The sheath must act in compression, not tension, hence the critical end stops on the sheath (the dash grommet and the end stop up near the latch).
Lubricating the latch and the secondary RHD pivot will often be enough to free up a problematic cable, and should form part of your yearly (or thereabouts) lubrication scheme. To lubricate the secondary pivot, undo the rear nut on the top of the latch, then undo the pivot bolt from underneath (remove grille first), being careful to note the correct orientation and position of the cam/pivot components. Clean off any corrosion and lubricate with grease. It’s also possible to get some oil down the cable by removing it from the latch and pointing it up (first remove the cable clamps and push it back through the rubber grommet in the headlamp side panel). Then push a length of hose (I use about 100 mm of clear vinyl hose just larger than the cable sheath) over the end of the cable and overlap the sheath and put on a small hose clamp. Then spray some WD40 or other light oil down and work the cable in and out. Then fill the short hose with some oil and let it soak down into the cable. You could also experiment with powdered lubricants like graphite but not sure how you’d go getting any into the cable. Assuming your cable has not come disconnected from the dash grommet, if you’ve done the above steps you should be surprised at how easy it is to release the bonnet! If it’s still a bit too difficult but everything is in good condition, then the bonnet catch pin may be screwed in holding the bonnet down too tight. This can be adjusted in small increments by loosening the large nut at the base of the catch pin, then using a flat-blade screwdriver to lengthen the pin slightly. Don’t loosen the pin too much or the bonnet may rattle or come loose.
Final steps – be sure to lubricate the safety catch pivot pin – it should freely spring back once lifted and released. If not, and the bonnet is not latched properly, the safety catch may not engage and the bonnet could fly open while driving. And as you probably already know, be sure to lubricate all the pivots on the bonnet hinges or your hinges will get so stiff that they bend the bonnet and/or the hinge links. The bonnet should be extremely easy to open and close if the hinges are properly lubricated.
Yup. We were cursing a bit at it.
The pressing/recess is still in the floorpan, it simply doesnt have a cut-out and a plate over it anymore like it would have had on earlier cars.
I would not do this one without a hoist. Even with half a tank of fuel, the tank was awkward to lug around.
Two of us made quick-enough work of it, but it was a pain.
This one now has 210K on it, Up until the fuel pump, it's been flawless aside from maintenance, but 200K(ish) seems to be the magic number where a lot of the maintenance items are due and simply need to be done.
I'll get something smaller once we've moved house next year.
So, we went into production with the hole(s) and cover(s)...then along came a “Let’s export VE to America as a Pontiac”. The US has some unique high-speed rear crash tests (IIRC it was 50 MPH car-to car, simulating a drunk driver running up the back of a stationary or slow-moving car)...of course no fuel leaks were allowed, and another thing they were looking at was potential holes in the passenger compartment where, if the impact speed were greater and there were to be a fuel leak and possible fire, it would take longer for any flames to get into the passenger compartment. So, based on that test/knowledge, the access holes were ruled out for the US...even though some cars do have them (i.e. it was something looked at internally, not a legal requirement). We did propose metal snap-in or bolt-on covers, and did some crash testing, but there was still a risk of deformation in that area that could lead to a potential body seam opening.
Finally, the access holes were fairly close to the seatbelt anchors. Some additional/different US seat belt anchor tests as well as the addition of lower child seat tethers (“ISOFIX” or “LATCH” as they call them in the US) meant that additional reinforcing was required around the seatbelt anchors. With space very tight for welding on the reinforcements, and having holes near the anchors reducing the strength, it was also not feasible to have the holes.
IIRC the service guys here in AUS developed a procedure (template?) for cutting the holes in the floor on later cars to access the pump/sender/filter and then retrofitting plastic covers, but not sure if this procedure was ever used. I believe the pump/sender/filter turned out to be a lot more reliable than previous cars, so it sort of became a non-issue from a warranty standpoint IIRC. Of course when you keep an older car past the warranty time period, these things start to need repair/replacement.
Here ends the history lesson for today. I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, the good old days of Holden!
A few progress pics. Waiting for rear SS brake hoses (should arrive today or tomorrow) then I can finish off the brake hydraulics. Been putting yellow paint marks on all the bolts/nuts as I torque them to spec. Getting older so best not to rely on memory! Still need to torque LCA bushes once I get it back on the ground. The rear ones aren't going to be fun to access!