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Questions and Answers

Volvo 240 Hard Start, Rough Idle

Q. Vince, I have a 1987 Volvo 240 DL sedan. It stalls when I stop the car at a light or stop sign, especially when it has just been started and when it is cold out, but this happens in the summer time also. Normally it will fire right back up, but sometimes it won't start for around five minutes or so. The idling seems to go up and down when I stop the car also. Can this be a problem with the timing belt?

Volvo 240 Hard Start, Rough Idle

Can the idling speed be adjusted? I have heard that this is a common problem with older Volvos, but nobody knows how to solve it. I have taken it to two different mechanics who have experience with Volvos and other european cars and they have never had a problem with it and could not get it to stall out on them. They say it "runs great." Please help me.

Thank You,
Christian in Pennsylvania

A. I have a friend that has a 1987 Volvo 740 and whenever he pulls into the shop I hang garlic all over the place, put a large cross on the front door and fill my water pistols with Holy Water.

There was a drivability kit that could be installed to eliminate this problem. It was in TSB 23204, Dated 04/01/1989 and titled "Engine - Cold Starting Problems".

You can buy the kit and have your mechanic install it. However I think you'd be better taking it to the dealer to have it done.

But before doing that, give the throttle chamber a good cleaning. A lot of problems like this can be cleared up this way. Check out my article Cleaning Throttle Bodies for information on how to do it.

Here is how to adjust the idle speed when you are done.

Check/Adjust Idle Speed

  • Warm-up engine.
  • Run engine at 1,500 rpm.
NOTE: Warm-up engine until radiator thermostat opens and then for a further 10 minutes.

Volvo 240 Hard Start, Rough Idle

  • Ground blue-white wire to close idle air control valve.
NOTE: Switch off A/C as applicable.
  • Check idle speed.

Volvo 240 Hard Start, Rough Idle

  • Adjust engine speed with idle adjustment screw to 700 rpm .
  • Disconnect ground from test point. Engine speed should increase to 750±20 rpm
  • If values are incorrect: check/adjust throttle controls.

Additional Information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

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