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-   -   Saving A 245 Turbo, or How Not To Do This Sort of Thing (https://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=345209)

snailmale 10-05-2018 11:08 PM

Saving A 245 Turbo, or How Not To Do This Sort of Thing
After years of being "the car guy" I decided to dive head first into the world of project cars. My cousin had an 850 when I was just a wee lad and my neighbor a 240DL 5MT so it was only a matter of time before I did a dumb thing like buy a scruffy <$2000 245 turbo older than myself and throw money (and parts!) at it. Did I also mention my father's brief foray into 140-series ownership? He hated it, so we can add rebelling against the parents to the list.

I work as a mechanical engineer and I don't quite have a project to hang my hat on. Just a lot of conceptual "well the CAD software said it works..." so I wanted a rolling portfolio of sorts, bonus points if it makes BOOST.

  • 1983
  • Turbo motor
  • 4MT + OD
  • Black? vinyl interior
  • Virgos all around

My goal is to have a rego'd running & driving car for weekend hiking trips and jaunts up along the Eastern Sierras since I am not ready to off-road my 2016 Miata nor can it haul a bike. I thought about doing a Jon Olsson-style roofbox, but that was already $1000 in bits & bobs and I didn't want to explain the inevitable accident to my insurance company (or the internet).

Also, Radwood in December and Rallycross school in February. Of course, this is all contingent on a few things I'll get into.

I hope this thread will exist as a way for me to get feedback, advice I can't be arsed to google because waiting ten seconds is too hard, and cry when things aren't working out. :cries:

  • Panels are straight and gaps even.
  • Power windows work, albeit slowly.
  • Free surfboard rack!
  • It makes boost and runs smooth.
  • OD works, if harsh in engagement
  • I got a nice chunk of the service history even if it stops off at 2005.
  • It still wears current tags and passed smog under the last mechanic, who put on a new cat.

  • There is a chance this car won't pass smog. Previous owner made this clear to me and said he left it up to his mechanic at the former Zen Volvo to tune it.
  • The interior and a lot of seals are tired. Previous owner did some light touchup work using fiberglass and it looks pretty good.
  • It likes to stall during cold starts and you have to give it a bootful to keep it running.
  • There's a pretty sizable hole in the right rear floorboard. Since this isn't a trophy-level car, I figured I would either see how much it would cost to get it patched up OR just use the ol' patch & rivets method. No rust elsewhere structural, it's pretty solid along the rockers.
  • Clutch pedal has a hair too much travel before engagement for my liking, though it isn't slipping.
  • Speedo cable is binding (stutters) and the boost pressure gauge & volt meter get a little excited.


1.) I just started researching the cold start issue. Warm starts are a-OK.

2.) The rust issue: how much is too much? I have been spoiled by California where my ten-year-old Camry's fasteners came on & off with zero fuss except for that drain plug that received 10 ooga-boogas from a mechanic. I looked head-to-toe on a lift and there was no other rust than on the rear floor boards. Non-sunroof car.

3.) Can I just register it as PNO right off the bat if it doesn't pass the smog test? I figured that had to be an option since people buy project cars in California and do god-knows-what to them. I mostly just want to tinker with it on the weekends. This car smells cleaner than my old Acura Integra, a car that still passed its smog test so I'm not super concerned, especially since it looks like the previous owner just kept sending it to a shop. The state will scrap it for $1500 so I wouldn't be out much, but this is the last resort. I want this car to terrorize Highway 14 and SoCal until the literal heat death of the universe.

4.) I need to remember to let the oil cool off before killing the engine. I did a long highway drive at medium speed, drove gently for about two blocks, and shut it off with 30 seconds idle. :oops:

5.) Should I disconnect the two hard lines in front of the oil filter during an oil change? It was harder to take that off than it was to remove the drain plug. I think they got jostled a bit so they leak a little, but the oil was black, so it could have been splash back from the oil filter popping off.

6.) The front pads are toast! The MC still works as it should, firming up with the engine off and holding firm. But it takes something like twenty thousand miles for it to come to a complete stop. I had to time my escape from LA so I hit zero traffic on 405 and I-5.

7.) This is the first "project" car I have really attempted now that I am not a broke student, so there's a bit of a mental leap to make. I need to understand that, despite what the TV says I don't have to make it car show ready in three days - but I do have to pay for the parts that go on it, so there's that to consider. This project will have been "successful" if I can keep it running for another two years.

See the next post for the next mis-adventure!

Redwood Chair 10-05-2018 11:23 PM

Doesn't sound rusty as these things go.

Rust converter it now to stop the spread and figure out how to get a floor section welded in down the road.

Your cool down regimen sounds fine, usually working your way back into the neighborhood from freeway running is plenty sufficient.

No don't fool with the other oil lines just change the oil normally, slightly warm oil and change it.

If you use an oil filter wrench it may be wise to disconnect the battery so the hot post on the back of the alternator doesn't arc at you.

Nice car, is it intercooled yet?

snailmale 10-05-2018 11:36 PM

As a perpetual over-thinker, I immediately decided to replace the oil with a fresh tank of [B]Rotella 15W-40 with 1/2 quart extra Mobil because it had a slight drip by those hard lines near the filter. I guess I'll go tighten those bolts there tomorrow.

Of course, things never go that easily. I put it on the lift for the first time and learned that somebody put on a PhD level of "ooga-booga" torque to the drain bolt. It was...difficult to remove. And the oil filter wasn't much easier, either. Still, needs must right? Did I mention that I showed up near the end of the shop hours? I do love me a challenge.

I also found a nice surprise: a big ol' rust hole on the floorboard that I never would have suspected. Oh well, youthful exuberance leads to interesting oversights. I was thinking I would cut, patch, and rivet. Or just not hold people there for the time being. As I said, the structure is still in tip-top shape. Solid as hell and the doors feel vault-like.

This is the desert, so future rust is a non-issue.


Oh well.

Total outlay [minus car]: About $40.

Planned purchases:

* Timing belt, tensioner, seals - $40

* New tires- $200+mounting

* Various tune-up components - $107

If smog passes, then I will patch the rust, fix the idle, and address the cosmetic issues.


Originally Posted by Redwood Chair (Post 5865201)
Nice car, is it intercooled yet?

Not yet.

Hacksaw116 10-05-2018 11:50 PM

I vote no on rivets and +1 on weld

Hacksaw116 10-06-2018 12:04 AM

What year is it?

snailmale 10-06-2018 12:08 AM


Originally Posted by Hacksaw116 (Post 5865220)
What year is it?

1983, which I should add to the title!

Also, as for the floor:

I think I'll just take the evening class at the community center. Might as well learn a new skill while I'm at it.

white855T 10-06-2018 12:22 AM

Those floors can be rotted for 2 reasons. Either the windshield leaks or the heater core does. Same places on my 83. I'm about to tackle this job but I plan on welding in new pieces as I'm pretty much doing a full restoration on mine. Check the carpets to see if they're moist. A dead give away would be a fresh coolant smell which is not pleasant in the least bit.

Hacksaw116 10-06-2018 12:23 AM

Don't waste your time with a class, get a cheap harbor freight welder and practice on some sheet metal or have your material prepped and buy your buddy with a mig welder a 12 pack.

Redwood Chair 10-06-2018 12:32 AM


Originally Posted by snailmale (Post 5865209)

* New tires- $200+mounting

Do yourself the Virgos and the car a favor and get some 195-65-15s.

Oh and don't forget to tell the tire guys to use the rim clamp and mount them upside down.


John242Ti 10-06-2018 04:27 AM

205/60R15's or 205/65R15's would be even better. Better protection for the rim, since slightly wider tire.

My 242 has the same rust spot, but, in that car's case, it's due to time spent in New York. Was originally an east coast car.

snailmale 10-06-2018 07:51 PM

I suspect the rust had to do with a previous windshield leak. The previous owner patched it with some fiberglass and I live in the literal desert, so rust & salt aren't major issues around here. Still looking at the best course of action: any point to Flux core? My research suggests it's messy, but doable and very good if I do stitch welds (aww man, you mean I gotta do math on a Saturday!?). MIG/TIG is fine & dandy, but I don't have that much space in the house I share so there's a possibility I will take the course. It's not an immediate concern anyway.

After yesterday's inauspicious start, I decided to hedge my bets and run some Marvel Mystery Oil in the tank. Between that and the new oil, it started with less reluctance than before and it looked like the oil was really just splash back from me being careless with the filter removal as I saw zero drips. Oil was at the top notch of the dipstick and clear as day, so that's a big plus. I took it for a drive and everything other than the old tires & brakes seemed ok. No weird smells and I remembered to let the car idle for a minute after taking it nice & slow for the last few blocks. Fuel mileage since purchase has been about 23. Hopefully this is a good sign for the smog.

There was a mysterious rattle from the right side today. I thought it was maybe a bad mount or in need of a valve adjustment, but it was me not closing the passenger-side door all the way. That's a relief!

Hacksaw116 10-06-2018 08:13 PM

I have a welder. No class needed. ;) I'm in norcal tho...

Hacksaw116 10-06-2018 08:22 PM

Please elaborate on the originally described as cold start issue. That is the critical component. Rust and wheels can wait.

snailmale 10-06-2018 08:25 PM

The engine tries to stall when I start it unless I give it some revs (1.5k-2k) for a good second or two. It didn't seem to be as much of an issue this afternoon, but that was when it was a lot warmer.

Engine sits at about 1100 rpm when idling until it's really warmed up.

Hacksaw116 10-06-2018 08:39 PM

Does it start ok once it's warmed up?

nel621 10-06-2018 09:07 PM

Someone getting evicted in the background?

snailmale 10-06-2018 10:03 PM


Originally Posted by Hacksaw116 (Post 5865535)
I have a welder. No class needed. ;) I'm in norcal tho...

If only this were three years ago! I used to work up in Santa Rosa.


Originally Posted by Hacksaw116 (Post 5865551)
Does it start ok once it's warmed up?

That it does. I need to prime the pump for a second and then it fires up. It does take an extra second or two of cranking compared to a newer car, but I figured that was an old car thing.

snailmale 10-07-2018 06:06 PM

The cold start issue seems to have gone away. I started the car this morning around 9:15 AM in approximately 60 deg. F, and the car fired on the first try after 30 seconds of letting the fuel pump prime. Still fires on the first shot when engine is still warm.

It fired on the first try, sitting around 1000 rpm +/- 200 rpm when cold. Warm idle is still around 700-900 rpm. Car runs well though there is a bit of a fuel/exhaust smell at 45-55 mph. Engine still pulls strong in all gears and fuel smell disappears at higher speeds. No weird vibrations and sounds. Some oil still leaks after shut-off.

I also took this time to detail the car with a quick two-bucket wash and some Gummi Pfledge on the seals. The rear carpets & mats are bone dry, so I guess that rules out a leaky seal as the root cause of the rotted floor. As the previous seller was a surfer, I can't help but wonder if repeated prolonged exposure to gear covered in salt water could have eaten up the metal. I'm doing my homework by researching ways to cut & patch the floor. Many people seem to use 18 gauge for the floor, but is that the right thickness for the 240?

At the same time, I cleaned under the hood to see what really needed replacing/cleaning. The suspension is pretty much toast, but that's a secondary concern. It looks like the previous mechanic threw the IPD extended tune up kit on it based on the rubber Bougiecord kit and Bosch-looking ignition cap. Battery is wearing a 2009 manufacture date, so that's probably not helping the start issue.



Originally Posted by nel621 (Post 5865560)
Someone getting evicted in the background?

Y'know, that's a good question. I've lived here for the better part of two years and I haven't seen anyone enter or leave that house. I only know people live there because the old Toyota pickup outside sustained a dent several months after I moved in. There's also the chance it was an older person who passed on or moved to a retirement home, neither are uncommon occurrences here. You get listings for houses with all the furnishings and whatnot left behind. One house came with everything including a Mazda Miata.

nel621 10-07-2018 06:30 PM

Patch panel
this one is better

quillc 10-07-2018 06:44 PM

If you want a patch panel cut out, LMK. I still have what's left of an 84 wagon parts car that hasn't gone to the crusher (yet).

snailmale 10-08-2018 10:11 PM

Tried to get the car smogged, but the shop didn't have time today. Looks like I'll have to carve out a chunk of time tomorrow to do another Italian tune up and get it ready for all that hilarity. Again, the car fired up on the first try with zero hesitation though with a bit of an oil drip.

I did something of an Italian tune-up: ran it at 3-3.5k for about 10-15 miles and did a 90 second cool down after slowing to 25 for about a block. I noticed it stumbles at exactly 3500 rpm @ 40 mph the first time I put my foot down after the engine warms up. The issue has replicated itself twice, though it goes away if I do it any other time.

It's been fun so far, though the prospect of failing smog for whatever is weighing on my soul. That decides which road I will be going down over the next X months/years.

Might go redo some of the body work the right way if the car's out for an extended period. I just realized that doing body work on the airframes I help restore in my spare time counts as applicable experience, so I guess I know what I'm doing. Time to start piecing together equipment!


I scrubbed the rear carpet with a stiff-bristled brush with some water, bleach, and Resolve. It looks a lot better, though I didn't have a shop-vac to pick up all the loose sand. I cleaned out the area under the lid in the hatch area...man that was a mess. Need to give it a good wash, shampoo, and vacuum. One of the panels in the cargo floor to the right of the lid is done. Anyone know what that panel is called?

Rear & front passenger-side door cards look okay, though the rear passenger-side arm rest looks a bit tired. I think I will replace that, respray the front driver's side card, buy some vinyl from Joann fabrics to patch the front pockets, and then think about finding new seats from the many junkyards in town.

IPD has the window scraper mouldings for the outside doors, but are the ones in the back for the wagon NLA? How about the inside windows?

Redwood Chair 10-08-2018 10:19 PM

240 Outer Window Scrapers


Hacksaw116 10-08-2018 11:42 PM

My thoughts are new fuel pump and filter for sure, with a vehicle that old. Might total around 100 bucks, but well worth it to eliminate issues at this point. Make sure your fuel, spark, and air has a solid foundation. Also, there is an in-tank fuel pump that is really fun to replace, but I think the main inline pump does most of the work so if that's new you will be ok for a bit. Replacing the in tank pump will extend the new inline pump's life quite a bit. My kids are screaming and I need to deal with parent issues so I'm cutting this short.

snailmale 10-09-2018 01:56 AM


Originally Posted by Hacksaw116 (Post 5866453)
My thoughts are new fuel pump and filter for sure, with a vehicle that old. Might total around 100 bucks, but well worth it to eliminate issues at this point. Make sure your fuel, spark, and air has a solid foundation. Also, there is an in-tank fuel pump that is really fun to replace, but I think the main inline pump does most of the work so if that's new you will be ok for a bit. Replacing the in tank pump will extend the new inline pump's life quite a bit. My kids are screaming and I need to deal with parent issues so I'm cutting this short.

Appreciate the advice. Will look into it.


Parts car?

snailmale 10-09-2018 03:12 PM

Apparently the oil leak is bad enough that the shop doesn't want to smog it. The leak is coming from the back of the engine around the oil filter area. Oil drips onto the cross member and then drips on the ground.

I think it's a dud or a double gasket or maybe I dislodged something during the change. The car didn't leak oil when I brought it home. Any other suggestions?

What's a good non-Mann filter I could find at Autozone? I put on a Bosch 3402. Stick with it or go with something else? Goole only brings up results for a non-turbo.

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