Body Glass, Moldings, Water Leaks, Etc.                                           FAQ Home

 Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                      Version 5.0

Window Tinting

Bumper and Vinyl Trim

Water Leaks

Rear Window Defrost Wire Repair

Rear Window Defroster Failed

Replacement Mirror

Mirror Glass and Housing Removal

Heated Mirrors

740 Window Glass Shifts

Window Won't Close: Worn Tracks

Window Motor Slow

Power Window Motor Mounting Plate Broken

Preventive Maintenance on Power Windows

Replacement Windshield

Replacing Windshield Glass

Windshield Leaks: Installation Safety Tip

Vibration Outside the Car: Trim Strip

Window Tinting. I had two cars tinted; my current had tinting from PO when I bought it. If you go for it, do it top-of-the-line, or not at all. None of these jobs have bubbled (all professional), but the one in my 245 is much cheaper material than what I would have spec'ed: it's somewhat dark, and it scratches really easily. Higher-quality films have a higher ratio of visible/UV light transmission: that is, they reject more of the frequencies that heat your car and wreck its insides, while letting you see better. On two cars, I've had titanium film used. It gives the highest UV/vis filtration ratio, looks grey, and is available in three darknesses. Even Sue's car, which has the middle darkness, does not strike the viewer as obviously tinted. When her A/C works, (she has a white 244), the car, even in Florida, can be used as a meat locker. My tan 245, after sitting outside, on a hot, humid day, the A/C can barely keep up. But wagon/paint color make a difference. Also, a good, strong film is a safety feature. I have been emailed that even Volvo's side/rear windows are not laminated, as is required of windscreens here in the US, and of all windows in more advanced countries. A good film will stop bits of glass from flying about.

Bumper and Vinyl Trim. My 12+ year old 744 has been living in the sun in PA, FL and now in AZ all its life. Admittedly it is parked in the shade whenever possible but still has seen lots of sun. I have used some form of bumper treatment (armor all or such) and waxed the bumper covers with the same Nuskin or Meguiars that I have been using on the paint. To date the bumper covers, while scratched and scarred from use are still black. I think the answer is cleaning and waxing at least three to four times per year - on any car - and especially on one that is loved as much as our Volvos.

For tips on preserving rubber trim, see Rubber Trim Preservative.

Water Leaks. I too had wet floors and followed the last advice on the topic by checking the plastic vent covers at the sides of the footwells in the front seating areas. These were fine, so after careful observation and lots of water I found the cause of my grief. The wiring harness going from the body to the doors (electric windows, speakers etc.) has rubber protective sleeve. This had split open and since the entry point into the car is several inches lower than that of the door, and once it enters the car it no longer has the this cover, the split acted like an open funnel, and guiding water in. Open your doors and check the cover. Duct tape worked like a charm. Now I just need to dry out the carpets and rubber under-pad.

 [More:] I assumed the 740 had a windshield gasket leaking problem and I had the windshield reset. That did not stop the water leak and wet carpet in the 740. It turns out that it is leaking, as others have reported, from the unused left air intake behind the panel at the driver's foot. To discover it I ran a great volume of water through the air intake beneath the windshield and sure enough, after 10 minutes a small, but steady trickle of water was coming in. Unfortunately this has rusted the floor through to the outside. WARNING, if you have wet carpets, get it fixed, the floors will rust through in a very short period of time. The first thing that my mechanic attempted and fixed on mine was the air intake seal at the left bottom driver's foot well. It supposedly resides behind a small plastic panel which has an air grille on it. [Contrary note:] You may find a problem in this area, but the seal on the panel was not the problem. There's water getting in there, probably from the seal around the windshield, that's causing the problem. I'll bet if you pull the trim up, you'll find rust. Ever replace the windshield?

[Another Query:] How do I prevent water leaks in our 1986 740 GLE wagon, especially after moving to a house with a sloped driveway. The problem is water leaking into the interior in the front footwell areas. The problem only occurred when the car was parked facing uphill. It turned out that  runoff from the compartment housing the fresh air inlet to the heater and the windshield wiper mechanism was directed into the car by a plastic tab on the  plastic plates used to close off the footwell airvent openings.(Older models like my '69 164 and, I assume, contemporary European 740's without A/C have  fresh air vents in the sides of the front footwells.) After removing the plastic tab in the blanking off plates, the water leak stopped.   [Response:] Replace the cap for the fresh air intake with p/n 6848804; it comes with a new seal.  It is a common problem. Break the old one out and pop the new one in. It should click in.

[Tip from Zee]  For tips on locating and fixing windshield leaks, see

Rear Window Defrost Wire Repair.  [Query:] An appropriate question for winter, and old stuff.  I've got only two of the defroster wires working in the rear glass of my Volvo.  What should I do to get the others back "online"?  I appreciate your advice.  [Response: Ceferino Lamb] I just fixed mine.  Volvo sells an inexpensive kit to fix it (also available from most auto parts places; one is marketed under the Loctite name), but the instructions are incomplete.  It's just a little bottle of metalized paint and a brush.  Here's what you need:
.  that kit
.  a DMM (digital multi-meter)
.  electrical tape
.  razor blade
Look over the wires very closely, with enough light outside to reveal any defects.  You're looking for breaks in the wires.  If you seen any, fix them with a few coats of the metalized paint.  typically, the breaks are often caused by corrosion near the sides, where we don't clean the glass as often.  Use the electrical tape to mask off the glass on either side of the wire where you apply the metalized paint.
If you fix all the defects you can see, and that still leaves wires that don't work, break out the DMM and test the resistance in those individual wires.  You're looking for areas in the bad wires that are "open" but the fault is not visible.  [Response 2: Ross Gunn]  Turn on the rear window heater, and with one voltmeter test lead on the heavy strip of conductor at one side of the glass, touch the other lead to the trace that you think has is a break.  The voltage will either read 0 or 12V.  Move the lead along the trace (towards the other lead if 12V, away from it if 0V) .  When the voltage flops over to the opposite reading, you have found the break.

[Rear Defroster Grid Repair Tips from Charles Cramer] I just repaired my rear window defroster on my '87 245 about 2 months ago ( I've actually done this on about 4 cars).  The job was relatively easy and the repair is working just fine.  Here are a few suggestions/comments:

[Tip from James Stoney]  I found an item that may be of help in repairing rear window defogger on glass wiring...The CircuitWriter a 7ml pen type unit that allows you to draw the line back in to being....part # S-CCW100P cost is $10.95 from Antique Electronic Supply   Also may be available at local electronic supply houses.

Rear Window Defroster Failed.  [Query:] Last year my rear defroster worked. This year it doesn't.  Switch light comes on and fuse appears good.  With radio on AM, turning the switch on causes static.   Is there away of checking the heat strips on the window?
[Response:] The static on AM is a good clue -- it says you have arcing somewhere. There's a relay that includes a timing function. Find the relay, pop the plastic cover and resolder the connections. Also check the contacts of the relay itself -- they may be burned. If it is the relay, at worst you'll have to buy a replacement. The resistive strips are all but bulletproof.  Check the resistance at the window connections; it should be less than one ohm but not zero and not 10 ohms. Runs on about 10 amps (12/X=10, X<1ohm). Sounds like you may also have a broken connection somewhere. Check for voltage at one side of the window connections and a ground at the other;  the voltage drop across the strip when it's switched on should be 12 volts.  Fix appropriately [see above]

Replacement Mirror.   [Query:] I stopped in a self serve wash today and in my haste to save another $1.00 I crammed the back of the wand into my passenger side-view mirror and broke the glass. Dealership price = $51.83. Talk about your deals!!! This has proven to be some return on investment, huh? Save a buck to lose $52. Anyhow...I need a replacement mirror.  [Response: Rob Bareiss] Most windshield shops should be able to replace this glass for you, for 1/2 to 2/3 of the price of the dealer. Of course, if the car's got mirror defrosters, you might be stuck with OEM Volvo. Typically you'll wait 1 day for them to order the glass.

Mirror Glass and Housing Removal.  [Query:]  How do I remove the mirror glass on my exterior mirrors?
Earlier Mirrors.  [Response: Abe Crombie]  The mirror comes off by using a vary narrow blade screwdriver and going up through the oblong hole on bottom of mirror and moving the retainer gear to the right. [Editor:]   Reinstall by engaging the mounting lugs on the back of the mirror and moving the ring gear to the left.
Later Mirrors.  [Editor:]  Later Mirrors for 940/960/90:  I followed instructions in the manual for the later version of the mirror glass without the little gear mechanism in the bottom slot: "pull straight out." After not very much pulling, the mounting gimbal to the mirror motor cracked apart, leaving me now with BOTH a broken mirror heater and a broken mirror motor unit ($$$).
SO: If you have a later 940/960 or 90, here's how to remove the glass correctly. Activate the motor so
that one corner of the mirror is way out. Using a flashlight, look inside at the mirror glass mount. You will see a little conical locator pin with two locking tabs on either side. Each corner of the mount has a similar arrangement. Unlock the two tabs with a narrow screwdriver and pull that corner of the mirror just far enough to keep the tabs slightly disengaged. Move the mirror to the next corner and do the same thing, keeping the tabs just barely disengaged. Do all four corners and gently remove the mirror, removing the heater connectors after you can pull it far enough away. This procedure keeps the fragile circular positioning ring, tied to the motors, intact. To re-install, just re-connect the electricals, line up the locator pins and push the glass back in place until all the tabs lock. A little dab of grease on each tab will help.
Mirror Housing Removal.  [Query]  The paint on my side view mirrors is starting to chip away so I'm going to paint them the same color as the car I just need to figure out how to take them off first.  [Response: Dick]  Take door panel off (door panel does not need to be removed if mirror is manual adjust.)  Remove triangular portion covering mirror mount if electric and if manual, remove it including flex handle.  Unplug cable from mirror if electric.  Unscrew 3 8mm (I think) bolts holding mirror.  Mirror should be in your hands now.

Heated Mirrors. [Editor:]  Testing Mirrors.  To test the mirror electricals, activate the motor to expose the connectors on the inboard side of the back of the mirror. Use needle-nose pliers to slightly expose the metal connector on each. The blue one is powered when the rear defrost switch is activated: use a voltmeter to test at this point for 12volts and for no resistance on the ground tab (black wire lead.) If it is getting power and the ground is OK, then the glass heater is faulty; if not, then the relay or door wiring is bad.
Adding a Heated Mirror Kit.  Not certain about the 240s, but there was a kit offered for the 740 series. It included the heated mirrors (direct replacement) and a replacement switch for the toggle area, so that pushing the rear defrost button also cleared the mirrors. Put one in myself, and it seems to work very well on the driver's side (never did get around to figuring out why it doesn't work all that well on the passenger side). This was a Volvo option replacing the manual mirrors. Ran a coupla hundred bucks, if I remember correctly. [Editor:]  All electric mirrors are heated and the electrical connectors are inside the door panels.

740 Window Glass Shifts. [Symptom:]The electric window on the drivers side of my 1990 740 wagon shifts left and right a bit, and when you roll the window up, sometimes it does not fully seat on the back side, and I get a lot of wind noise. To fix it, I roll it down, and roll it back up while pushing the glass towards the back of the car. [Diagnosis:] I think the problem is the plastic roller in a plastic rail (the one which is more or less under the door lock knob).

Window Won't Close: Worn Tracks.  [Query:] The driver's side window just started not closing flush. If I open and close it several times it will finally close tight and in alignment and I will not hear wind noise. The motor seems to work great and there is no catching, just the window seems to be mis-aligned a little. What caused this and how can I fix it. The noise comes in right at the upper corner above my ear.  [Response: Rob Bareiss] Your forward window track has worn to the point that it's not guiding the window straight anymore. You can try putting the window down, taking apart the door, and bending the metal track a bit backwards. It's welded into the door. The other course of attack would be to replace the felt/rubber window guide, which is probably all worn right at the top front inside the door, just below the mirror. Also involves opening up the door panel. There is a little bit of adjustment in the regulators, but not much, and in my experience not enough to always fix this problem. It's almost like the door's too long for the glass.

Window Motor Slow.  [Symptom:] My 95 960 was recently parked outside in the cold and the next day the right rear window would only go down a few inches and very slowly. After a couple of days it would go down to where it's supposed to go but very slowly and it seems like the motor is struggling. I called the service manager at volvo and he said just to spray some lubricants in the window channels. Well problem is I can't see any channels. I took the door panel off  but the inside surface of the door had a cover glued on to it. Is there anyway to lubricate the channels without tearing the cover off. Also does anything else in there need to be lubricated? [Response 1: JT Charger and Gary Heston ] The window channels are at both ends of the glass, one towards the front of the car, the other towards the rear of the car.  With the window down, spray white lithium grease, a light penetrating oil or silicone spray, down inside the rubber seals,  then make the window go up & down several times.  [Response 2: H H Hansen]  With the window at its lowest point.  push the up button and watch the window to see if it tipping when it first starts up.  If it is you have a loose fastener on the window regulator. I have had this on two different volvos.  The paper or plastic that you referred to is stuck on with a tack strip, just start at a corner and peel up slowly.   Then check for any loose bolts or nuts. [Response 3: Steve Ringlee]  Remove the door panel, peel off part of the water shield and lube the window channel and mechanism with spray white lithium grease or Superlube.  Replace the water shield, which as noted is glued on with tacky adhesive at the edges.

Power Window Motor Mounting Plate Broken.  [Query:] The plastic plate that the power window motor mounts to was broken in two places...Where can I get a new plastic plate and how much will it be?  Also what is the trick to getting it off of the regulator?  [Response 1: Bob Haire] You’re referring to a large heavy (not heavy duty enough) plastic plate that is the main part of the regulator in some 700s. Everything bolts to this thing. Strangely, on later cars some of these are metal and some are plastic as evidenced by the ones I took off an 87 740. Why it would be plastic, ever, I can't figure.  [Response 2: Sven]  To get the whole thing out...Once you get the door trim off… First, you have to remove the window. It is held on to the scissor-like appendage by two clips, facing the outside of the car. Having the window about 1/4 open helps, as does angling the window slightly, once you get the clips off.  (Gives you a chance to get that window nice and clean.)
Then, there are 3 or 4 bolts, plus one more clip, holding the entire motor-scissor-regulator (?) assembly to the door. With a little cursing and wrestling, the whole thing comes out through the big lower opening.
The motor is held to the scissor assembly by three more bolts. As far as I know, the rest (white plastic plate plus knuckle grinding scissors) is of a piece.
I asked at a local dealer, and was told that this was a common problem, (like rattling heat shields) and that Volvo switched to a metal assembly, due to the premature decrepitude of the plastic ones. From what I can tell, the reason these things break has to do with the bolts working loose over time. I was also told that the new ones were expensive. In the meantime, you can hold the window up (like I do) with a pen stuck into the pen-size hole in the top middle of the door and duct taped in place. (Scissor assembly in place, no motor.)

Preventive Maintenance on Power Windows. See also the information in Electrical: Circuits, Wiring, Relays, Switches Remove door panel (see Trim section). Using a light grease such as Superlube, grease the sliders on the window jack, and also grease the gears; hit the pivot points in it with good spray lube. There are some bolts which hold the window jack to the door - tighten them. They have been loose, to varying degrees, on every door I have opened thus far. You will be so amazed at how easily the window goes up, you may even be motivated enough to do the passenger side! See the Switch section for preventive maintenance on the window switches.

Replacement Windshield.  [Notes from Bernard Paulson:] It happened to me a few days ago. Saw that iron rod flying through the air, lifted by the rear tire of the car in front of me, right toward my head. It hit the hood and then went right into and half-way through my windshield. Even the glass shops believed that someone has shot at me. After all, this is L.A.   Didn't bother to check with Volvo. Used my brains and connections instead in my attempt to find the most reasonable QUALITY windshield. Interestingly, I found out that the windshields for 88 and up 765s are of a different size than the "regular" 700 windshields (no kidding).

 Finally found what I was looking for. A brand new, safety windshield, tinted, with shade, and European E11 seal etched it, certifying it as one that meets toughest European standards (yes, the DO check stuff like that). The parts number is FW575.   I paid $145.00 installed plus $8.25 tax, and having paid a total of $153.25, I once again cannot confirm that it is expensive to keep a "Luxury Volvo" on the road.

Replacing Windshield Glass.  [Tip from Zee on replacing windshield glass in 240 series cars; 740 are similar.  Note the cautions) As for "special tools" to remove the old glass, I use a length of thin piano wire. Simply remove the chrome trim & rubber gasket combination. The glass "floats" on the buytl-rubber sealant. Slice through the plastic clips along the edge of the window. (Some clips you can pry out using a small screwdriver.  Most you can't. Just don't twist the tool, or you'll crack or chip the glass) Insert a strong wire or thin screw driver at the top and bottom of the window, near the centerline. Poke through the sealant, making a pathway for inserting the piano wire. Pass the piano wire in, then across the inside of the glass, then out the opposite hole. Now you have the wire inside the glass, through the sealant, with two ends sticking out, top and bottom, center.
Use vise grips (and gloved hands) on each of the wire ends. pull the wire toward you -- from the center of the glass toward the side -- while working the wire back and forth, like you're doing an upper body workout on a ski machine. Repeat on the other half. This method is cheap, reliable and effectively separates the glass from the sticky sealant.
Now, to take out the window, push evenly with gloved hands from inside the car. Begin near the top of the window, and it will naturally stand up for you. Have an assistant waiting to hold it steady until you come out to help lift it clear of the vehicle.
As for installing the new glass, I have read where others used acetone to remove the old, now offending, sealant. I found with "pinching" off as much as I could using paper towels, followed with gently "smooshing" using a putty knife, I was able to rub off the rest with a rag or paper towel, and paint thinner.
I also removed the thin plastic interior trim piece at the top of the window opening. This piece covers the front of the headliner. It is help in place with 5-6 spring slips which are facing forward. You will get the headliner soiled from your sealant removal, so mask it off.
In fact, to avoid getting the sealant goo and particles from falling into the car, I found it useful to mask off the entire window opening from inside using newsprint or craft paper taped to the interior.
Inspect and correct any rust using a rust stopping paint, like POR-15.  Many glass shope nowadays recommend using urethane glue to fasten the new window. It comes in tubes, like caulk, and costs about $12 per tube.   The 3M brand buytl-rubber "rope" sealant is also available at most car parts stores for about $10.
I am at the point of installation with salvaged glass for my '84 GL project. From what I see, the pinchweld area on the 240 series is nearly 3/4" wide all around the window opening. It's also about 1/2" deep along the outer radius. Now, I am debating whether to use the 3M buytl-rubber, because it looks easier to lay down. But the urethane might fill in the width and height of that pinchweld recess. Even
using a caulking gun, this looks precarious, to me. I may stick with the 3M tape.
There are considerations of "height" of the sealant which looks easier to accomplish with a pre-made "rope", than an unsteady hand with a caulking gun! By my guess, I'd say you would need two tubes of the glue, one of the "ropes".
One suggestion I received privately from a glass shop pro who saw my installation question here on the RWD forum (check the archives, too!), was that you would be better off to install the clips and install the chrome trim to the glass and install everything as a unit. He said to dry-fit the assembly first, marking the outline of the trim onto the body to aid in centering things for real. It will take a couple of shims along the bottom during the dry-fit. You can use masking tape around the chrome trim such that by carefully slicing it along the outer edge, the excess will remain on the body of the car, giving a perfect outline for centering the assembly.
Another idea someone had was to get a couple of those rubber suction cups and an assistant to help position the glass. Evidently you only get one chance to do it right.
The only question I still have is exactly where in the width of the pinchweld do I lay the sealant (either kind) so that it keeps water out of there. On one hand, it seems good to place it along the inside radius of the weld to assure no water penetration behind the glass to the interior.  This looks like it would leave a considerable gap between this caulk and the outer radius. (I don't know how much the window flattens out the sealant when it is pressed onto it.)
On the other hand, it also seems good to place it along the outer radius, where the weld curves up 90 degrees to meet the body surface. (Looking at this, you'll see what I mean). This troubles me because I am less confident the sealant will adequately fill toward the inside and seal the glass against water penetration.
It was not much help to look at the old window for help. Someone had put two more sealants around the edge, while leaving the original Buytl-rubber in place.
Before I actually do mine, I plan on stopping off at my local glass shop and asking some questions.

Windshield Leaks: Installation Safety Tip.  [Tip from] If you have replaced your windshield and have noticed water or air (wind noise) leaks, a serious safety deficiency may exist on your Volvo. In the past some windshield installers have incorrectly used aftermarket butyl tape to reseal or install replacement windshields. This material can fail leaving the windshield no longer securely bonded to the body of the car. In an accident or even an emergency stop any contact with the windshield can cause it to separate from the body of your Volvo. Newer technology urethanes correctly installed using primer on both the glass and body flange, produce a bond as good or better than the original factory installation.

Vibration Outside the Car: Trim Strip.  [Query]  I have a 1990 740Gl standard transmission, 174,000kms. Perfect car, EXCEPT for the high speed rattling noise that seems to come from the area around the dash, but outside. It sounds like a new year's eve noisemaker, except the sound is metallic. It occurs only at speeds above 60kms. per hour, and is intermittent- could happen several days in a row, then not for weeks/ It could last a few seconds, or an entire highway trip. Sound can be almost imperceptable, or quite deafening.  [Response: Dave Stevens]  This is a known problem area for circa-1990 740's addressed in a Volvo TSB. The "official" explanation is that misaligned plastic clips holding the window trim allow the trim to get caught by the wind and vibrate at high speed. You can isolate which piece of trim is the culprit by temporarily covering with a strip of tape to see if the vibration goes away. The passenger side trim seems to be a common area. The "offical" solution is to rotate the rectangular plastic clips a little with a trim tool to improve tension. It might also be a good idea to shoot a little RTV under the clips to hold them in position in case any of the clips have broken fingers.

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