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  #1  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:11 PM
Hunter Hawk Hunter Hawk is offline
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Volvo 240 blower motor replacement: DIY-able for a newbie?

(Paging Rick...)

I have a 1992 Volvo 240 wagon, and I'm starting to run into the "dying blower motor" issue. The estimated repair cost is north of $1000, most of which I suspect would be a labor charge. Given the age of the vehicle, I'm pretty reluctant to pour that much money into it in one fell swoop.

So let's say that I have a free weekend--realistically, is this a project I should think about tackling by myself, or is it something that's really best left to the professionals? I'm not a guy who tinkers with cars, but I'm capable of following instructions if they're clearly written and printed in bright primary colors.

(I'm not sure if this is really a GQ vor IMHO issue.)
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:57 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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I think you would be wise to forgo this project.

My estimator gives labor "time" at 6.0. This means that in a time study, a reasonably proficient and properly equipped mechanic took six hours to do the job. A sharp mechanic who has done it several times before might do it in 3-4 hours. A beginner could take ten or so. A beginner who is not used to working on cars might not get it done in one weekend.

The best instructions are from Volvo. While they are step-by-step, they're written for pros and assume some knowledge of terms and procedures. I suspect they won't be as helpful as you'd like. They would be found in a factory repair manual. I would be very surprised if a DIY manual (e.g. Chilton's) had anything like complete directions. Heck, they might not have any directions -- they're typically useless for this sort of thing. If you're lucky, you may find something useful online.

It just sounds to me like you're facing a steep learning curve that would be better explored with a smaller task.

I'm sure Rick has firsthand experience and knowledge of the details here, which I do not. Maybe he can present a more encouraging perspective.

Last edited by Gary T; 12-07-2010 at 11:58 PM..
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2010, 01:17 AM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
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I renovated an old Volvo 240 with some friends a few years back, using a DIY book for that model. Even though the whole project fell to crap (the guy owning the garage we were working and thus hefting most of the weight being more obsessed about the paint job than getting the engine running), I'd say that picking it apart (and putting it back together again) wasn't above a bunch of amateurs (though engineering students).

I'd give it the full weekend, maybe more, but if money is more valuable to you than time and given a good and precise manual, I'd at least give it a try.
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2010, 01:50 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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You may be better off selling the car.

Over at Volvoforums, they make it sound like it would be easier to rebuild an engine blindfolded while wearing oven mitts.

This person managed to do it in nine hours and described it as "a tremendous, heinous ordeal."

This person strongly advises to use only a Siemens-branded motor, and to also replace the blower resistor and switch while you have the vehicle disemboweled. They also give some thoughts on how to make some new holes in the vehicle as an alternate to removing all of the panels and covers.

Just be glad that you don't have to disconnect refrigerant lines for the AC - I've had cars that buried the blower inside the evaporator, thus making it (legally, at least) impossible for a DIY-er to do the job - the proper replacement required having a licensed AC tech evacuate and properly collect the refrigerant, then you'd need a new accumulator/dryer on top of all that labor.
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2010, 04:51 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Here is the deal. When they built 240s if you went to the very beginning of the assembly line there was a heater fan motor hanging in mid air. As it moved down the line they built the rest of the car around it.
Back in the day warranty time was 3 hours. first one I did took me 6. After a while I got it down to about 1 hour 15 minutes. I probably did a hundred or more of these back then)
That was back in the 80s.
About 6 years ago I went to do one in my daughter's car. took me 8 hours. To top it off, they sent the wrong part number so the next weekend I got to do it again. Oh joy.
The job is not terribly technical, but very time consuming. Every wire and vacuum hose that go under the dash seem to run right across the covers so access is dificult.
Instructions are written to cover all years, 75-93 so they might not agree with your year. The good news is you don't have to modify the case or electrical like earlier years.
I have never replaced a fan motor resistor on one of these cars EXCEPT when doing the update to the new style motor (early cars had a 3 speed motor, later cars had a 4 speed)
So I would not replace the fan motor resistor.
If you decide to tackle this, you will need probably the whole weekend and lots of tape to label shit. A digital camera will be priceless on this job.
In short the job is not for the faint of heart, but if you do it and suceed, you will be an offical Volvo 240 stud.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2010, 04:56 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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One more thought!
Before you do anything else do this.
Go to the fuse box (just in front of the driver's door opening)
find the fuse for the heater blower motor.
Remove it.
Clean the terminals for the fuse with steel wool, get them nice and shinny.
either replace the fuse or clean the ends of it with steel wool also.
Inspect the center of the fuse and make sure the little piece of wire is not cracked or broken. If in doubt replace it.
After cleaning every thing up, see if the fan motor works any better.
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2010, 04:57 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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I know this is of absolutely no help, but here it is anyway...

By comparison, I changed the blower motor in my '56 Chevy in 18 minutes. Life (and cars) have become so very complex. Progress?
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2010, 11:32 PM
Hunter Hawk Hunter Hawk is offline
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OK, thanks for the reality check...and I have to confess that I have no particular desire to become an official Volvo 240 stud.

I got an estimate from a different place that does a lot more work on the older models--it's still very expensive, but not quite as gut-wrenchingly so. I think I'll wait till the blower starts failing more regularly, and then take it there.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2010, 11:37 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter Hawk View Post
OK, thanks for the reality check...and I have to confess that I have no particular desire to become an official Volvo 240 stud.

I got an estimate from a different place that does a lot more work on the older models--it's still very expensive, but not quite as gut-wrenchingly so. I think I'll wait till the blower starts failing more regularly, and then take it there.
Do the fuse box thing first. Those have a real bad habit of corroding and causing all kinds of gremlins.
If you are real lucky, it will fix your blower motor.
Stranger things have happened...
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2010, 03:42 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim
By comparison, I changed the blower motor in my '56 Chevy in 18 minutes. Life (and cars) have become so very complex. Progress?
Some makes and models are kind - when I needed to change the blower in my 2006 Ram 1500 truck, it took longer to go find the right size screwdriver. One plug, three screws, and it just drops out into the passenger footspace. Naturally, they compensate for this by making one-quarter of the spark plugs impossible to see, much less get a wrench on.

And Rick swipes my joke about how the blower motor and heater core are the first parts of the car rolling down the line, and everything else bolts to those parts, working outward like the layers of an onion.
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  #11  
Old 12-09-2010, 08:07 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
I know this is of absolutely no help, but here it is anyway...

By comparison, I changed the blower motor in my '56 Chevy in 18 minutes. Life (and cars) have become so very complex. Progress?
Every car has easy jobs and harder jobs. On a 240 I can do a water pump in under 20 minutes, a timing belt in 10 minutes and plugs in under 5 minutes.
I would like to see you meet or beat those times on you stovebolt.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2010, 08:58 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Well, I can handle the plugs in 20. Now that I've got A/C in the '56, the water pump is a 2-3 hour job. Gimme all day on the timing chain.
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2010, 10:53 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
Well, I can handle the plugs in 20. Now that I've got A/C in the '56, the water pump is a 2-3 hour job. Gimme all day on the timing chain.
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2010, 02:50 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Back when cars had LOTs of room under the hood, the heater core and blower motor were in a big square box. You undid the heater hoses, removed 4-8 screws, and the whole thing came out. It was about a hour (at most) to change the motor and/or the core, and put everthing back together.
Now, the blower and core are buried under the dashboard-the last time I did one, it took me most of Saturday-and a lot of skinned knuckles and cursing!
You are better off to find a good independent mechanic who does Volvos-it is a very hard and frustrating job.
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