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Volvo 240 DL No Start

Q. Hello Vincent Ciulla, would you be willing to answer a question about a 1982 Volvo 240 DL? In case the answer is yes, I'll give you details: it sat all summer in a closed garage (damp climate) (battery disconnected). Started up last month, ran fine, drove fine. suddenly won't start.

Volvo 240 DL No Start

Turns over and wants to catch but either backfires and quits or runs for one second and quits (it's not exactly a backfire, it's more of a sneeze, or a loud "poof!"). Plug wires on cylinders one and three were bad, the connectors stayed attached to the plug ends when I pulled the wires off, and inside the ends had a black dry powdery carbon. Also the plugs smelled like gas, but look fine (light brown and smooth).

I got new (Bosch) plug wires and coil wire but the symptom remains. Still won't start for more than one second. I checked for spark, which seems okay. what next? This is a 1982 Volvo 240 DL wagon, 4-speed with o/d, the B21F engine (I'm pretty sure), fuel injection, lots and lots of miles on it. Anything you can suggest I will be grateful for.


A. Well Arline, I think the best approach is to start at the bottom and work up. I suspect your timing belt may have slipped throwing the engine out of time. So that's the first thine we have to check before anything else. I see you seem to be fairly comfortable working on your engine. So I will give you the procedure and you should have no problems. If you aren't comfortable with this, then you should have a professional look at it.

Okay, here we go. Take the number one spark plug out and hold a finger over the hole. Turn the engine until you feel air pushing back at you. That indicates it's on the compression stroke. Now look at the timing marks and keep turning until the timing pointer is pointing at 0°. Now take the distributor cap off and look at the rotor. It should be pointing at the number one spark plug wire tower.

If it's not, then the timing belt has slipped. What you will need to do is tear it down and replace the timing belt. You can remove the timing belt covers and check the timing belt alignment using the pictures below. This will confirm the slipped timing belt.

Volvo 240 DL No Start

Volvo 240 DL No Start

Volvo 240 DL No Start

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