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Old 05-31-2017, 05:32 AM   #1
volvo240skunk37
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So I recently picked up a low mileage 86 240 for very cheap. I could've sworn it needed u-joints as it has a low-pitched sounding vibration that only comes when it's in gear and doesn't get worse when taking corners, etc. However my mechanic looked at it and said the u-joints are fine and they're nice and tight which leads me to think it either needs an output shaft bearing or it's something much worse. I'm having flashbacks to when I had my Plymouth Valiant and it started making almost the same type of low pitched vibration after being rear-ended that progressively got worse and the transmission let go a month later. Did I just completely royally screw myself buying this car and it's going to eventually need a transmission???

Edit: The vibration is still there when I put it in neutral. It remains the same and doesn't get better or worse.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:30 AM   #2
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Motor mounts? Tranny mount? Stage One...?
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:13 AM   #3
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Output shaft bushing feels like a pretty nasty vibration / noise from around the shifter area on acceleration and it will also be leaking trans fluid past the seal. You should be able to shake the driveshaft at the transmission flange and feel play if it's bad, but the leaking atf is the tell.

Also, u-joints don't have to feel loose to still make some awful noises in my experience.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:32 AM   #4
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Also, u-joints don't have to feel loose to still make some awful noises in my experience.
Yep, tight as is just as common a failure mode, as the rollers rust and freeze.
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:08 AM   #5
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Yeah, tight doesn't mean good. I'd just replace them, but maybe you could try greasing them?
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:10 AM   #6
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I'd think it was motor/ trans mounts if it's still there in neutral.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:14 AM   #7
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I just checked the motor mounts and they're nice and tight. Of course I stupidly didn't check the tranny mount when I was under the car lol. It's not leaking trans fluid and there seems to be a little bit of play at the front u joint by the yoke but nothing too bad.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:50 AM   #8
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Transmission seems unlikely, but even if it does need a transmission, why the fear? Transmission swap is no big deal, transmissions are cheap, especially if it's a slushbox. Swapping is an afternoon if you stay focused or a weekend if you take your time. No special tools needed.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by volvo240skunk37 View Post
So I recently picked up a low mileage 86 240 for very cheap.

Did I just completely royally screw myself buying this car and it's going to eventually need a transmission???
You bought a 30 year old car for very cheap and are worried about screwing yourself out of the cost of a transmission??

Screwdriver to ear, make sure nothing is rubbing on anything else and transmitting vibration.

It's an automatic transmission?
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:00 PM   #10
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Does this sound only happen when the car is moving at, or above, a certain speed?
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:05 PM   #11
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It's a big deal for me because it's my only car and I can't just replace the transmission. A) I don't have the money B) I don't have the tools and C) I always have my son on the weekend. The car vibrates even at idle but the vibrating is different and I'm pretty sure that has to do with the exhaust.

This vibration I'm talking about vibrates as soon as the car is over 20mph and stays the same until I'm up to 70mph and above. Yes this is an automatic transmission.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:09 PM   #12
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Carrier bearing?
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:11 PM   #13
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Even if it does have a bad tail shaft bushing, replacing one is easy. You would most likely have to take the transmission tail shaft housing down to a machine shop to have them press the old bushing out and the new bushing back in. If you have the parts on hand ahead of time, your car will be down for 4-5 hours.
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:49 PM   #14
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Given it only has 90K on it, I'm going to guess rusty universal joint. Tailshaft bushing is obvious even to the newbie, which you obviously are not, when you grab the flange and shake. If it is bad enough to shudder, it should have by now ruined the seal and leaked all over. So, I'll go with the next safer assumption, which is, universal joint.

Before you drop the driveshaft to find out, grab the torque arms and be sure the bushings haven't dry rotted to kingdom come, but that scenario doesn't jibe with your location.

I hate guessing, but here on this board it is the sport with most fans.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:44 PM   #15
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If you don't have the money, don't have the tools, and don't have the time to work on it then a 31 year old car is probably not for you. 240s are great because they're rugged and simple, easy to work on and parts are generally reasonably easy to find although that's getting harder. Let's be realistic though, this car is more than three decades old, it legally qualifies as a classic collector car. It's going to need a bunch of work, and you're going to have to work on it yourself or find someone who can help out. It's going to cost more than a few hundred bucks, although a lot of things you can probably do piecemeal. Depending on the age of your son this could be a good father-son project, I have some good memories of working on a '79 242 with my dad.

A 240 that old with only 90k on it is a real gem, if you got it cheap and the body is in good shape then it's probably worth considerably more than you paid for it, to the right person. It's still going to need a few things though, first thing I would do is check that the engine wiring harness has been replaced because the original ones have insulation that crumbles off. If you see insulation crumbling at the exposed places like the coolant temperature sensor under the intake manifold then there is a lot more hidden crumbling. Most of these have already been replaced by now but with such low mileage yours may not have been. Dave Barton sells good non-crumbling harnesses. When I buy an old car I just kind of assume it's going to need around $2k invested in it right off the bat to catch up on all the deferred maintenance and fix all the random accumulated problems. Fluids, filters, belts, hoses, seals, bushings, AC, suspension, tires, brakes, etc.
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James10952001 View Post
If you don't have the money, don't have the tools, and don't have the time to work on it then a 31 year old car is probably not for you. 240s are great because they're rugged and simple, easy to work on and parts are generally reasonably easy to find although that's getting harder. Let's be realistic though, this car is more than three decades old, it legally qualifies as a classic collector car. It's going to need a bunch of work, and you're going to have to work on it yourself or find someone who can help out. It's going to cost more than a few hundred bucks, although a lot of things you can probably do piecemeal. Depending on the age of your son this could be a good father-son project, I have some good memories of working on a '79 242 with my dad.

A 240 that old with only 90k on it is a real gem, if you got it cheap and the body is in good shape then it's probably worth considerably more than you paid for it, to the right person. It's still going to need a few things though, first thing I would do is check that the engine wiring harness has been replaced because the original ones have insulation that crumbles off. If you see insulation crumbling at the exposed places like the coolant temperature sensor under the intake manifold then there is a lot more hidden crumbling. Most of these have already been replaced by now but with such low mileage yours may not have been. Dave Barton sells good non-crumbling harnesses. When I buy an old car I just kind of assume it's going to need around $2k invested in it right off the bat to catch up on all the deferred maintenance and fix all the random accumulated problems. Fluids, filters, belts, hoses, seals, bushings, AC, suspension, tires, brakes, etc.
I guess you didn't see my signature which shows I've had 14 of these. I own tools. I own a lot of tools. No I don't own tools to do a transmission job. I can diagnose and repair someone else's car very easily but when it comes to mine my anxiety gets the best of me because I am a single father. I'm confering with other people because I don't like to throw parts at the problem.

Anyways I noticed some things when I drove home:
The grumble starts at speeds past 30mph and grumbles loudest when coasting at a high speed which is steering me in the direction of a worn u joint. Oddly enough the grumbling lessened today at higher speeds?! Although I hate throwing parts at the problem I'm wondering if I should just replace the front u joint this weekend and see what happens
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:32 PM   #17
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Although I hate throwing parts at the problem I'm wondering if I should just replace the front u joint this weekend and see what happens
Why guess? Conferring with others about which parts to throw at it?

In the time you could try a front u-joint, you could pull the whole driveshaft and check them all out. I know you're thinking you want to have the parts ready so you don't have to "pull it twice" but you know where that leads... you just throw those parts at it. And by now you know pulling it a second time is always a third of the effort the first time was, so you can find the (likely rear u-joint), get it ordered, and replace it the following week.

Then again, you could be a Brown student living in a spot with only a lucky on-street parking crosswise to the hill, I don't know. You know best. We can't be there. But I don't have much faith you'll solve it with the front u-joint unless you know something I don't.
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:40 PM   #18
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I guess you didn't see my signature which shows I've had 14 of these. I own tools. I own a lot of tools. No I don't own tools to do a transmission job.
You've had 14 Volvos and you don't own a rack of metric wrenches, a jack, and a pair of jackstands?
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:03 PM   #19
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This vibration I'm talking about vibrates as soon as the car is over 20mph and stays the same until I'm up to 70mph and above. Yes this is an automatic transmission.
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Anyways I noticed some things when I drove home:
The grumble starts at speeds past 30mph and grumbles loudest when coasting at a high speed which is steering me in the direction of a worn u joint. Oddly enough the grumbling lessened today at higher speeds?!
A "rumble" makes me think wheel or diff bearings (drive shaft carrier?). But they don't usually "vibrate" as far as I know. Maybe raise the nose and check for excessive play at the front hubs? Tires aren't cupped or anything?

Good luck.

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Old 05-31-2017, 06:09 PM   #20
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It's not leaking trans fluid and there seems to be a little bit of play at the front u joint by the yoke but nothing too bad.
you already diagnosed a bad u-joint. any play you can feel is too much and it is definitely bad.

they're like $15 and you need a hammer, snap ring pliers, and some sockets to replace it. lots of youtube videos.
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Old 06-11-2017, 01:42 PM   #21
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Well I replaced the U Joints and the sound is still there. When I had the driveshaft out I checked the output shaft bearing and it's worn as there is play in it. At least I found the problem.
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Old 06-11-2017, 01:53 PM   #22
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A U joint will be a high speed vibration that varies with speed.

A center bearing will do all kinds of wierd stuff.

A wheel bearing will growl.

A diff bearing will show metal in the oil (change it).
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Old 06-11-2017, 07:54 PM   #23
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I guess you didn't see my signature which shows I've had 14 of these. I own tools. I own a lot of tools. No I don't own tools to do a transmission job. I
Jack, jackstands, 24 inches of extension, 19mm socket, 12mm socket, 14mm wrench, 17 for the converter bolts.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:09 AM   #24
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How about checking the exhaust system? Front muffler maybe pushed forward making the hangers rub.
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