Engine: Mechanical                                                                                      FAQ Home
 Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                     Version 5.0
Changing Engine Mounts

Headgasket Failure

Removing Spark Plugs

Spark Plug Hole Re-Threading

Spark Plug Installation

Burnt Valves in 740GLE Head with Hydraulic Lifters

Cylinder Head Valve Train Oil Holes

Valve Adjustment on B230 Series

Valve Adjustment Technique if No Shim Kit At Hand

Valve Adjustment on 95 960

Failure of Harmonic Balancer

Splash Shield Repair

Replacement Engine Splash Shield

Flywheel Position on Re-installation

Engine Mounted in Support Stand

Changing Engine Mounts.

Raising the Engine:

[Tip: Bill Aileo ]  Some folks carefully jack up the engine from below the short distance necessary to assert news one (after making sure at least one side of the old ones is not connected.   I prefer to use a 2x6 cut to fit snuggly over the engine compartment on top of the strut mounting area.  [See Dick Riess' lift design in Special Tools.] The 2x6 is positioned like a joist and a hole for a piece of threaded rod is drilled near the center to line up with the lifting hook on the front of the engine.  Put a piece of threaded rod about 12-18" long in place through the hole.  Figure out a way to attached one end of the rod to the lifting hook and slip a large washer and nut on the other end.  Then simply tighten the nut to raise the engine.  Replacing the mounts is then easy.
[Another Tip:] Instead of raising the engine by using a board between the jack and oil pan , I cut an angle at the end of a 2x6 and raised the engine at the front of the oil pan. The angled part of the 2x6 was pressed against the oil pan bolts at the front of the engine, the other end was square against the floor jack. I didn't want to risk damaging the oil pan. I also had to use a small hydraulic jack to help the engine raise straight. It worked fine and with new mounts my brick is running smoother now than it has in 10 years.

How to Change the Mounts:

[Procedure from Christopher Ascoli] Using the jack and wood block method should be sufficient for lifting the engine to remove the mounts. I did this procedure just a month ago and it worked just fine.
My mounts were the hydraulic mounts. As for tips, I have only 2. First and foremost, make sure you buy VOLVO or comparable HYDRAULIC mounts. Second, I remember not being able to reach all of the bolts from above which tie down the mounting bracket (that the motor mount sits on ) to the car's frame. Chilton's made it sound like all you had to do was unbolt the top and bottom of the mount and yank it out. If you haven't done this before, you must:
Driver's side

  1. remove the top nut on the mount
  2. raise the engine (the bracket that sits on the mount does not have to be raised all the way so it clears the top of the bolt. you will remove the entire lower bracket with the mount so you have some play)
  3. I think you can get to 2 of the 3 bolts of the bracket that the mount sits on, the last you'll have to get at from underneath the car
  4. once all 3 bolts have been removed, lift the mount out (with the bottom bracket still attached) and you'll have access to the last nut that connects the mount to the bottom bracket.
  5. if you find that there still isn't enough room to remove the mount, you can remove the engine top mount bracket (or remove 2 of the 3 bolts and swing it out of the way) and then extract the mount.
  6. installation is simply the reverse.
Passenger side
  1. same as the drivers except you don't want to mess with the upper bracket. It connects WAY too many things to be screwing around with it. I didn't have touch the top bracket at all. This side was definitely easier. You may have to reach 2 out of the 3 bolts from underneath on this side. The job is not technologically challenging, but depending on when the mounts were last changed, you could be in for some blood and sweat. I'm sure the Arizona heat will not help your plight. Just be careful not to strip the lower bracket bolts when removing (for obvious reasons), and some anti-seize compound on them when they go back in could make the next mount change a lot easier on you or the following owner. Good luck!
[Procedure from Joshua Block:]
  1. Before you jack up the engine, unscrew the top bolt on each motor mount. I also removed the bracket with each mount due to clearance. The bottom nut on right side mount by the turbo was completely unaccesible with the bracket attached to the crossarm. I took the left bracket off because of clearance. If the mounts are OEM the nuts are on rather tight. Have a piece of metal pipe to get extra leverage with your socket wrench or use the muscleman wrench trick with two wrenches.
  2. I used a 2x4 between my hydraulic jack and the oil pan to protect it. Jack the engine up favoring one side. The engine should lift off of the mount. Lossen the three nuts on the bracket. Remove the mount and bracket together. Loosen the mount's bottom nut and remove the mount from the bracket. (This was the hardest part on both sides) It may be helpful to use a vice to hold the bracket while removing the nut.
  3. Attach the new mount to the bracket using anti-seize compound on the bolts. (Anti-seize can be purchased in a tube at Pep Boys for about $3)   Install the bracket and bolt it in.
  4. Let the engine down making sure it sits on the mount correctly. DO NOT ATTACH THE TOP NUT YET!
  5. Jack the engine up on the other side. (repeat #2-4)
  6. Put the top nuts on both mounts. Make sure everything is tightly attached. Enjoy the smoothness of your ride.
I hope this helps. The procedure is pretty straight foward. Very little room for human error. Mainly a
muscle job. --

Other Ideas to Help the Work:

[Tip from Don Foster]   When I do mounts, I offset the jack to favor the right side, and do the right mount. Then offset it to favor the left side, and do the left mount. In this way you avoid tugging on a good mount as you lift the motor.   As you lower the engine onto the new mounts, you may need to "persuade" the stud into the bracket. Because of its angle, it doesn't naturally engage with the hole.
[Tip from David Steffy]   You don't say whether you have a turbo. Our '88 is, so the left mount was easy and the right was a very tight spot. I took the brackets off with the mount in both cases, but didn't really need to for the left mount--just take off the upper nut and jack away. On the right one, I had to move the oil lines to get access to the bolts. Messy on my old gunky engine, a bit slow, but not a bad job overall. Without the turbo it's probably a lot better.
[Accessing the Mounting Nuts: Dick Riess]  In my experience it is necessary to take off the belly pan to get at those front nuts on the drivers side. You also will have better access to the bolts, but a universal joint on your socket will help. I have had to attack from the front of the mount by the power steering rack and also from the rear.  On the pass side, for me it helps to take off the oil filter to get at things and you may as well take off top and bottom mount brackets. Believe one of the bottom is bolted through the crossmember and you have to unbold from under the car. Jacking up your engine a little at a time helps access. When reassembling, tighten the mount to the bottom bracket, but leave the top loose so you can move it around for alignment to the block.

Preventive Maintenance Tips:

[Tip from Ed Kucinski] Just a reminder, when changing oil, keep the oil off the rubber motor mounts.  Especially when changing the oil filter, some tends to get down there.  Wipe it clean.  Its the oil that deteriorates the rubber and speeds failure.

Headgasket Failure. In the entire thread re: blown head gaskets, there were a couple of really good answers on determining whether it was blown or not. I liked Steve MacSween's suggestion of a chemical analysis of the oil. However, there are times when the head gasket can be blown WITHOUT exhibiting any of these types of visible symptoms (oil in the coolant or vice versa). It all depends on where you have actually toasted the gasket. There are actually several diagnoses that can be done on the car that will nearly pinpoint the trouble spot. (And tell you if it is indeed a head gasket or something else) The first is a carbon dioxide test performed on the coolant in the radiator/cooling system. This little test easily tells you if you are getting combustion by-products into the cooling system. Again, there may not be any *visible* leakage but the excess CO2 in the coolant is a tell tail sign. The most likely culprit of a "too high" reading on this test is a bad head gasket. (This method does not necessarily indicate the location of the leak though.)- The second, usually performed after a "failing" CO2 test, is a leak down test of each of the cylinders. This is *similar* in nature to a compression test but this actually will measure close to the exact location of compression leakage in the cylinder. Often times, what might be construed to be a head gasket leak could actually be seepage past a bad valve guide/piston ring, etc. In this scenario, a test of the motor oil (as suggested by Steve M.) will usually reveal inordinate amounts of combustion by product in the oil. (Then again, if any of these are bad, the head gasket's gonna be removed anyhow.

Note: the above two tests are generally not shadetree mechanic things performed as the cost of the one time use equipment can be prohibitive. Well equipped shops can handle these types of tests. Sometimes it's worth it just to have a pro shop diagnose the problem, even if you are planning to do the r&r yourself.

[Note 2:]  There are several ways to detect whether your engine's head gasket is OK.  The best method is to have a service shop, or a friend who owns a block test kit test your system for a compression leak to your cooling system. If unavailable this test kit can be purchased from a Snap On dealer or contact the manufacturer for dealer in your area. This is a test unit and test fluid that changes color with the presence of exhaust gas in the engine coolant.  The kit costs about $40 to purchase and is good for many tests.. Ask for either Snap-On YA2000 "Head Gasket Testing Kit" or GA170B Block Combustion Leak Tester Kit.  The latter adds the ability to pinpoint which cylinder is leaking.  Another test that should be completed is a coolant system pressure test   Test your system for leaks with nine to twelve psi pressure. It should not show any appreciable pressure loss within 5 minutes.

Temp Gauge Acts Oddly: Leaking Headgasket?  [Query:] When I first get going, the temperature gauge will get into the middle,  and stay there for few minutes. Next, it will rapidly shoot for the “red”  zone. It will do this in seconds. The moment the red zone is touched,  the gauge falls just as fast to the middle, where it will stay for duration of the trip. Next day, same situation.  Should I be concerned, and replace the thermostat ?
[Response: Robert S.] You may have an air pocket during startup due to leaking head gasket or antifreeze leak. Try flushing cooling system to get junk out.  Pressure test your cooling system to eliminate the possibility of the blown head gasket.  When you first start your car leaking head gasket will introduce gas into the head cooling space. It will replace fluid from the area. The thermostat is closed so the gas has no place to go. The gas acts like an insulator so it will delay heat transfer to the thermostat. But other parts of the engine covered with the fluid blanket will heat the water up to the boiling point.  Finally engine is hot enough to cause thermostat to open and let the gas go into the radiator. After the gas goes the overheated water and that's what causes your needle to rise on the gauge. Further operation is normal because thermostat is open and the gas goes to expansion tank as soon as it gets into the system. You need to repair the leak as soon as possible if that's the cause or you will end up with warped head due to spot overheating.  [Response 2: Art] I might add a note to suggest you squeeze the radiator hose early in the warm up cycle. If it is a bad exhaust leak it will have pressure long before the engine is warm.

Removing Spark Plugs.  [Query:]  One plug is stuck and cannot be removed.  How do I get it out?  [Response 1: Steve McChesney] Penetrating oil.   [Brickboard penetrating oil preferences:  PB Blaster, Kroil, Liquid Wrench, in order of effectiveness.]  Soak the area, and run the engine.  Let the engine cool off, and soak it again before you go to bed at night.  Do this again and again and again.  30 or 40 times over the next few weeks would not be excessive.   No need to have the stuff dripping all over, just use a little bit at a time.  It's likely that the temperature cycling and vibratiion of the engine, with gradual penetration of the oil, will loosen the corrosion of the threads.  The stuff is magic, but only if you have plenty of faith and patience.

If the plug was cross-threaded, you have a different problem entirely. See  Spark Plug Hole Re-Threading.  The head will need repair.  Typically this mandates removal, but I have had good luck with high mileage cars by going ahead and using an impact wrench, starting off at a low ait pressure, and working upward as necessary.  Again, liberal penetrating oil is a help.  If you are commited, the ceramic insulator can be broken off the plug for better access.  Once the plug is out, setting the offending cylinder piston to BDC and filling the cylinder with a foamy shaving cream will catch all the chips made when you helicoil -- or possibly only re-tap if the threads are not too bad.  Crank the piston back to TDC slowly with a good shop vacuum covering the spark plug hole.

I always apply a thin coat of anti-sieze compund to plug threads, especially when dealing with aluminum heads. [Editor's Note: See Spark Plug Installationbelow for warnings about this practice.]  In addition, most folks put in spark plugs WAY too tight.  Check the specs, Volvo says about 9 ft-lbs on the six and 18-ft-lbs on the four cyclinder engine. (700 series).

[Response 2: Paul Grimshaw]  I suspect that jammed spark plugs would be a much more rare event if folks used a bit of anti-seize compound [see Spark Plug Installation below], started the plugs by hand (socket & extension but no ratchet handle), and used a torque wrench to tighten the plugs to specification.Strangely enough though, factory torque recommendations are based on a dry fit (ie. no lubricant or anti-seize)??!*!   Should one use some type of lube on the thread, try backing off a couple of pound-feet of torque to avoid stressing the thread in the cylinder head.
Heads with dirty or damaged spark plug threads can be cleaned up with a thread chaser.  Smear vaseline on the chaser.  Carefully thread the chaser in and out of the head. The chaser will clean the threads and capture any metal bits or carbon in the vertical grooves.

Spark Plug Hole Re-Threading.    [Query:] I finally changed plugs in my aluminum-head B230F to find that my number two plug was somehow cross-threaded by a previous mechanic ( the plug was tough to remove, and the new plug tough to install.) Using a plug hole thread chaser did not solve the problem. Any solutions?  [Response:] The best repair is to use a product called Time-Sert. This is an insert that can be installed without removing the head and also is a quality, permanent repair. Check with one of your local foreign repair facilities, they most likely will have heard of the product and can turn you onto where to get it. You will also have to have the kit of tools to install the sleeve. Kit consists of drill bit to presize the hole, a countersink  flycutter, step tap to create the threads for the sleeve and a roll tap to install the sleeve. The cost of the kit may exceed the justification to repair just 4 holes, so you might just have someone do them for you.

Hints for Sparkplug Hole Re-threading.  [Tips from Larry:] Here are a couple of things to watch out for:

  1. 1. When you tap in the new threads, you'll want to catch as many of the metal shavings as possible by completely packing the tap with grease. Scrape the shavings off the tap several times and re-pack with grease each time.
  2. Blow out the cylinder with compressed air. If you don't have a compressor, buy a can of "dust off" from a photography store--it's used to blow dust off of negatives. It's important to have #4 at the top of it's compression stroke--both valves will be closed, so you're less likely to get metal shavings into the intake or exhaust manifold.
  3. Clean the new threads VERY THOROUGHLY with carb cleaner (toluene) and starting fluid (ether). The carb cleaner will dissolve the grease and the starting fluid will wash away the carb cleaner and evaporate completely. If the threads aren't clean, the cement for the heli-coil insert won't adhere.

Spark Plug Installation.  [Tips from ACDelco]   Use the following four steps to properly install AC Spark Plugs:
STEP 1: Make sure that cylinder head threads and spark plug threads are clean (figure 14). If necessary, use a Thread Chaser and Seat Cleaning Tool.
STEP 2: Make sure that the spark plug gasket seat is clean, then thread the gasket to fit flush against the gasket seat. Tapered seat spark plugs do not require gaskets.
STEP 3: Use an AC Gap Guide to make sure new spark plugs have the correct gap setting.
            [Editor's Note:]  Volvo B230F/T and B234:  0.028"-0.032" or 0.7-0.8mm
                                    Volvo B280:  0.024"-0.028" or 0.6-0.7mm
STEP 4: Screw the spark plugs finger-tight into the cylinder head. Use a torque wrench to tighten spark plugs following manufacturer's recommendations. It is most important that spark plugs be seated properly for correct heat dissipation properties. Seat the spark plug too firmly and the shell could be stretched, allowing combustion blowby to pass through the plug. It will be difficult to remove a spark plug in this condition from the engine. Seat the spark plug too loosely and it will overheat.
            [Editor's Note:]  Volvo B230F/T and B234: 18 +/-3 ft-lb or 25+/-5 Nm  "not lubricated" per manual
                                    Volvo B280: 9 +/-1.5 ft-lb or 12 +/- 2Nm "not lubricated" per manual

NOTICE:   Do not use any type of anti-seize compound on spark plug threads. Doing this will decrease the amount of friction between the threads. The result of the lowered friction is that when the spark plug is torqued to the proper specification, the spark plug is turned too far into the cylinder head. This increases the likelihood of pulling or stripping the threads in the cylinder head. Over-tightening of a spark plug can cause stretching of the spark plug shell and could allow blowby to pass through the gasket seal between the shell and insulator. Over-tightening also results in extremely difficult removal.

Burnt Valves in 740GLE Head with Hydraulic Lifters. [Problem Diagnosis by James Rothe] At about 90k miles, my 740 GLE started a recurring burnt valve problem. Three times (!) did I have valve(s) replaced before we found out what the problem was. I should add that throughout my ownership of the car it has burned oil -- slowly, so that you could not see blue smoke -- but as much as one quart per 1000 miles.   The previous owner reports the same. The dealer said that was "within normal limits."

What we finally found out was that early B234 engines, with their  "hydraulic valve lifters", had an infrequent manufacturing defect in  which the holes for the valve guides were made ever-so-slightly oval. The problem, as it was reported to me, is that the hole in the head itself, into which the guides are pressed, was oval. It's an infrequent defect that reportedly occurs in both 740 and 850 heads with hydraulic lifters. That's a very different situation from having defective valve guides or seals.This is not exactly a perfect fit for a circular valve guide, so it allowed a small amount of oil to seep onto the valve. The speculation is that this burned onto the valve, caking up the valve with carbon deposits, and prevented the valve from properly seating. Without proper contact with the cylinder head, the valve could not transfer its heat to the head and it burned.

My mechanic, a family friend who works as a mechanic at a Volvo dealership very nearby Volvo's North American headquarters in Rockleigh NJ, found out that Volvo is aware of this problem in the 89 740 GLE and in other Volvo engines with hydraulic lifters, like the 850 series, but that "the problem is not statistically significant enough to justify a [costly] recall campaign." Or so says Volvo Customer Relations.

We didn't find out about this manufacturing defect until after two top-end rebuilds, by which time the car had over 120,000 miles on it.  Needless to say, Volvo declined my request for "goodwill" service.  Part of their argument was that "this problem usually shows up  within the first 10,000 miles." My response was "perhaps, but if it's been going through oil for all of it's life, and that condition stops after the valve guide hole is corrected, doesn't it make sense that this oil control problem at the valve guide would adversely affect the valve, just like your 'statistically insignificant' manufacturing defect is known to do?" I also added that I was the first owner to do extensive hi-speed highway mileage with the car. The previous owner may have never got the head as hot as I do every day. "It didn't matter."

They finally put it to rest by saying that it may have been damaged or improperly serviced during one of the previous head rebuilds. I can't say for sure that it wasn't, but I'll stand by my mechanic's abilities. He's been a Master Mechanic for Porsche/Audi/VWs for years, and has a similar history with Bricks. I can't say I blame them for declining to service my car, but they did at least acknowledge that there is a problem with the heads in the hydraulic lifter engines.

For those of you who have experienced similar burnt valve problems to be able to check the valve guide holes in the cylinder heads. A fix can be implemented, if the "oval shaped guide hole" is suspected, by overboring the hole and installing oversize guides.

Cylinder Head Valve Train Oil Holes. I decided to clean the "basin" in the valve cover compartment; there are four compartments and two holes (finger size) per compartment. Inside these little basins & holes, the oil had hardened and coked up, I had to scrape it out with a dental-probe type tool. At first I was amazed, but then I realized that these little basins never drain. Every time you shut off the engine, the heat from the exhaust (which is right under it) comes up and does a little more cooking of what's there. I used a syringe to suck out the oil. I couldn't get everything out because there is a lot of dirt - almost solid particles that my syringe couldn't suck in, so I used a shop vacuum to finish cleaning it. I attached a small plastic hose to the end of the vacuum tube and wrapped it with a duct tape and it worked perfectly.

Valve Adjustment on B230 Series.  [Tips from John Kupiec]
Frequency of Valve Adjustment. [Query] How often should the valves be adjusted on a B-230F non turbo and should they be adjusted hot or cold?  [Response: JohnB] They should be CHECKED every 60K or so and adjusted as necessary.  I've used synthetic oil on both B230FT engines and haven't had to have either one of them adjusted in 150K on one and 50K on the other.   So check valve clearance yourself with engine hot when you have to do a cam cover gasket replacement (which works out to about every 3-4 years and 30-40K on my cars or when I do a timing chain/seals replacement, whichever comes first) and adjust as necessary.  Changing shims is trivial with the IPD rental kit.  [Response: Paul Seminara] I have found that Volvo valve adjustments don't "drift" much. Unless there is a serious wear issue, and after a good "initial" adjustment, some cars have gone over 100K miles and the valve adjustment is still in spec. [Response] You are correct in thinking that B230FT engines rarely need valve adjustment. Valve adjustment on B230 engines is done via shims. It is easily within your ability to check the valve lash on your engine. All you need is a feeler gauge, a replacement valve cover gasket (about $20 or so), some BF pliers and the procedure.

Valve Clearance Adjustment Procedure. Summary of valve lash check procedure on B230 engine appears below. While Volvo says the procedure can be performed when the engine is hot, I am in agreement with the late Joh Muir (How to Keep Your VW Alive...) who wrote that the only way to get a correct reading on valve lash is to check the engine when it is stone cold.

  1. Remove spark plugs. Remove valve cover.
  2. Use LARGE pliers (e.g, Channel Lock makes a great set for this) to turn the engine clockwide. The grab point for the pliers is the outside surface of the mount for the cooling fan on the end of the water pump.
  3. Timing order is 1-3-4-2. Number 1 is at the front of the car, number 4 is back by the firewall.
  4. Turn engine until TDC indicator on timing gauge (down near the crankshaft pulley) is around zero degrees. Number 1 is at TDC when mark on crank pulley is at zero on timing gauge AND cam lobes for number 1 point out and slightly upward in opposite directions. Think perky ;-) and you'll get the idea.
  5. With number 1 at TDC, use the feeler gauge to probe the gap between the cam lobe and the lifter. Volvo says the valve lash should be between .3 and .4 mm when the engine is cold. If a feeler gauge setting of .4 won't go, and one of .3 will go easily, the valve lash is within spec. If your feeler gauge doesn't have .3 and .4 mm, use what you have, and interpolate accordingly.
  6. Turn engine 180 degrees so that the cam lobes from number three are perky and pointing in opposite directions. Repeat step 5 for Number 3.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for cylinders 2 and 4, taking note of any readings that are out of spec. If they are out of spec, use the feeler gauge to determine the actual gap.
  8. Reseal valve cover, using new gasket.
  9. If one or more of the valves is out of spec, you will need shims. Some dealers and independent shops will sell individual shims. Find a shop a give them your readings, and they should be able to give you the correct shim. You will need a shim removal tool. KD sells one for about $30. Or, you could have the shop replace the shim.
  10. You may wish to re-tighten the valve cover nuts after a few days. I find that doing so helps stop any leaks. Torque on the valve cover nuts is not that high. 10-12 lb-ft should do it.

Valve Adjustment Technique if No Shim Kit At Hand.  [Great Tip from Jim Bowers] I assume the technique is the same as on my former diesel. Shims of different thickness set between the cam lobe and the top of a tappet on the top of the valve stem & spring assembly and adjust the clearance. Its important not to go too long as the valve seats usually wear faster and reduce the clearance which will lead to burnt valves! A shop assortment is very expensive at several $100!
   Here is the technique I used. First buy the valve depressor tool and the shim pliers from your Volvo dealer. Then take off the valve cover and measure and record the clearance between the cam lobe and the shim, (assuming you know how to properly set the cam for this) Then using the tools, take out each shim in turn and read or measure its thickness and put it back, also record these values. Now put the valve cover back on using the old gasket for the few days you will need to get the new shims. Use the data recorded to determine the new shim value needed at each valve. (Always err on the loose side or more clearance if you must err!)  Compare the new determined shim numbers to those available from other valve positions and allocate your existing shims to as many locations as possible. The missing values are the ones you need to order from your Volvo dealer along with a new cover gasket. Once the new shims arrive, go back to the car and move the existing shims to their new locations, install the new shims in the proper spots and save the leftovers for some other time. The next time you can probably guess which shims are likely to be needed and order them before starting the project. Good luck. I got a lot of satisfaction in doing the job and saved the cost of the tools the first time.

Valve Adjustment on 95 960?  [Query:] Seems to be some valve clatter in my 960 wagon.  It has 50 k on it.  Do these engines need valve adjustments?  [Response: Zippy] No, hydraulic lifters as used in Volvos are not adjustable.  You might be hearing some lifter noise as the lifters pump up with oil. I wouldn't worry about it as long as it goes away once the engine warms up.

Failure of Harmonic Balancer.
1.  Operation and Construction of Harmonic Dampener.  [Tip from Tim] The front pulley on the crankshaft is made up of three parts. The inner part is bolted to the crankshaft. The center part is a rubber ring. The outer part is the one with the timing marks and pulley cuts for the belts. These are all attached when it is new.

When this part fails, the rubber part becomes dry, the two metal parts are then able to "slip" around this rubber part. The timing marks are able to "walk" around the inner member. This does not affect the timing, as the inner part is keyed onto the crankshaft. Problem arises if you start to time the motor. The normal marks are then chasing each other around the crank and make no sense at all.

You can hear a squalling from the pulley. There can be a vibration from this part at times, cold start etc. If the timing is not changed, you can wait for the part to fail to the point that the belts to AC/PS and alternator all stop doing their thing. Another approach is to just replace the part at the time you are already doing the timing belt, seals, water pump and tensioner/idler. I know it costs more, but are you in it for the long run or short run?

2. Symptom:  Crankshaft Pulley Shakes.  [Query:] I've got a '85 760 Turbo with a B230 engine and I've been noticing a rattling noise in the front of the engine. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the crankshaft pulley seemed to be vibrating somewhat and shaking intermittently while idling, in comparison to the other pulleys such as the water pump and alternator. It appeared that the rattling noise is linked to the vibration of the pulley. However with higher RPMs, the rattling seems to go away. Currently I can grab the crankshaft pulley with the car off and slide forward and back on the crankshaft with my hand.  There is about 5 mm of play in direction of the shaft forward and back just applying hand pressure and with all the belts fully tightened, much worse with the belts off. The metal portion doesn't move at all, its just the pulley that’s moving. This results in its shaking during idle. The center bolt is still there and tight so I guess it is the damper unless anyone else has a suggestion. Or am I looking at the possibility of excessive crankshaft endplay and faulty main bearings (the car does have over 120K miles)? Or could it be just the pulley itself?   [Response 1: Burton] It's probably the pulley. It is a wear item, and I have replaced a few on my cars. It's made by GM, and it has a rubber damping sleeve that comes loose or otherwise goes bad.  Usually it just allows the pulley to spin on the shaft, making the timing marks inaccurate.  I've located the part $155 at the dealer (part num: 9135194)  [Response 2: Don Foster] Is the center bolt still there, still tight? Is the pulley actually sliding on the crank, or has the pulley started to separate -- and you're pulling the pulley apart? If the pulley is loose from the crank and spinning, then it's likely the key is beat. The pulley will probably need to be removed for repair (or maybe replacement) and to replace a battered key.  However, it sounds like you (and others) have it pegged -- unfortunately, to a new front damper.

3. Symptom: Timing Marks Drift.    When the harmonic balancer fails, the timing marks drift. B230F's have solid dampers, only the turbos have the two piece deal. The harmonic balancers on both my 745T and 765T have a hard rubber cushion between the hub and the outer grooved ring. Over time, this cushion will deteriorate -- the rubber will dry out and crack, and will separate from the metal sections, leading to a condition where the outer grooved ring will spin independently from the hub. Once this occurs, it will have to be replaced -- for obvious reasons. I had to do so shortly after buying my 765T. And from what I've learned since, this is a relatively common repair on Volvos with 100k+ miles on the odometer. Thus, it's a good idea that one inspects the harmonic balancer for signs of deterioration when the time comes for that 2nd timing belt change.

4. Replacement Tip [from Zippy] Regarding overtightening of the harmonic balancer bolt, as a Volvo Master Tech for 10 years, in all of that time I have seen one (1) ruined crank and balancer due to improper tightening.  As for using an air wrench on the front crank bolt, that is the hard way to do it, the simple holding tool Volvo has (PN 9995284 @ around $35.00 for those interested in making the investment)  is a much easier way to do it. Most harmonic balancer failures are due to the rubber giving up, allowing the outer part of the balancer to spin on the inner.  The only fix is to replace the balancer. It is a common repair on Volvos with ten years on the engine, regardless of miles.

Flywheel Position on Re-installation.  [Query:] I didn't mark the position when I removed the flywheel to replace rear main oil seal.  How do I replace it?  [Response: Abe Crombie] Turn the engine to #1 TDC (timing marks in line on crank pulley to pointer on timing belt cover), then install the flywheel so that the two rivet-like pins that are on flywheel inboard of ring gear about 1+ inch are on the exhaust side of block roughly at 2 o'clock and 3:30 while the engine is at TDC. You might find that at this position you will see a faintly stamped arrow pointing at the crank sensor. Not all flywheels had this arrow for the first couple of years, so you might not find it on yours.  One bolt hole in either direction puts them way out of this orientation.  The spot on edge of flywheel where the holed surface is interrupted will be mostly lined up with starter when it is correct.

Splash Shield Repair. [Problem: Cracked belly pan; they get brittle and crack pretty easily at sub-zero temp. here in Ottawa. Repair or replace?] I have had great success heat welding cracks in these things. I just refurbished the one off my '84. I used a butane pocket torch and an old metal putty knife to buffer the flame, heating the crack slowly and using the hot blade to puddle and draw the plastic to the crack line. I also tried a regular propane torch on real low, that also works. It's quite easy, no great skill required. Do it outside though; it smells a bit like real hot wax. The repair is as strong as original, if you do it from both sides. I was missing a couple of corners and actually welded a couple of pieces in from an old very cheap black plastic garbage pail, must have been the same stuff, as it melted similarly, and was compatible. Don't know what it is, but it has a low melting temp. and flows before it ignites.  [Tip from JoeB:]  I cut pieces of galvanized sheet metal into the appropriate shapes, and pop-riveted them into place. Then I drilled holes. The repair is holding well!

Replacement Engine Splash Shield.  [Tip:] A mechanic friend showed me a new heavy duty variety he began stocking a few years ago.  It is much heavier gauge plastic than the original.  Sorry, I don't remember what they go for...  The mechanic friend's name is Carl Drennen and he is located in Ravenna, Ohio.  SE of Cleveland and E of Akron   330-297-1297 I gave him a ring and he tells me they are sourced from RaMac in Nevada and SAVE in California. Note: Both these suppliers do NOT sell to the general public. They list as a belly pan speed fit heavy duty.
They are vacu-formed and have a reinforcing rib in them... Both the 700 series and 200 series lists from $74.68 to $78.04 Carl sells them for $50.00 and shipping costs... Shipping UPS would probably be around $5 for most places in the continental U.S.

Engine Mounted in Support Stand.  [Qeury:] Ok, so its a basic question but I would like hear from those who have placed their B21/23/230 in an engine stand. Whats the best way to go about this? Can the threaded engine/bellhousing holes support the weight of the engine? What about the aluminum reinforcing bracket at the bottom? [Response 1: Dick Riess] I use an engine stand with 4 arms, two attatching at the top two holes where the bellhousing mounts to the block and the bottom two at the lower end of the block. One goes to a starter bolt hole and the other opposite side. Have to use nut-bolt combos on the bottom two. This works nicely for me rebuilding all but the clutch. You can do a complete engine with no problem re weight and balance. [Response: John Laughlin] I usually put one starter bolt through the upper starter bolt hole and attach a nut to that, then attach two bolts to the top bolt holes on the block, and one to one of the right (passenger) side bolt holes on the block. I've supported two B23's that way and they both stayed in position.

Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                     Top of Page