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Old 07-21-2016, 08:39 AM   #1
babbit bearings
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Default Wire insulation

Can someone explain why random wires in the multiple areas of my 84 245 have wire insulation just fall off? Head lights harness, engine harness, under the dash... ??? One wire in a loom of 10+ will have over a foot of the insulation turned to mush or crumbling away, but all the other wires are perfect???
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:10 AM   #2
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The engine harness on the early 80's 240s are pretty well known to fail.

There's a bunch of people on here that have updated replacement harnesses for sale that are made from better wire that doesn't disintegrate.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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Can someone explain ...
The most common explanation you'll hear is the insulation plastic was formulated to be environmentally responsible. I won't say I subscribe to that, but rather believe the oil economy of the decade stimulated some cost savings experimentation in the plasticizer ingredient.

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Old 07-21-2016, 11:48 AM   #4
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Whatever caused Volvo to make such a terrible decision is long past evaluation. Just a mess to clean up. Must be the affects of the heat and petroleum products under the hood. Seldom see under dash wires fail.

Eighty-one seems to be the last good year until about '87. By far the simplest solution is to replace the engine wiring harness.

I rewired a '82 from scratch but as computers were added along with electronic injection that just became too complex to attempt unless you have nothing else to do.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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One wire in a loom of 10+ will have over a foot of the insulation turned to mush or crumbling away, but all the other wires are perfect???
Different amounts of current, possibly a varying signal vs. straight power, different color dyes, who knows?

Heat and oil sure do play a part.

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Old 07-21-2016, 01:35 PM   #6
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Dave Barton has a good writeup of this problem here:

http://www.davebarton.com/volvoharnesses.html

Scroll down to the section "What's the Story on Volvo Engine Harness Problems?," just below the yellow part # catalog listing.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:23 PM   #7
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I was told that the premature insulation deterioration was due to a plastic formula that's supposed to be non toxic when it burns.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:34 PM   #8
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Partly the 80's Volvo corporate push to be ecologically responsible, and partly to save a sh!t ton of money not using GXL wire.
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:24 PM   #9
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Got it.

Thanks

my car was in Phoenix, so I suppose the 120+ degree temps are the reason why some wires inside the car are having the problem. I am doing an LS conversion, but was hoping to keep the dash harness... looks like a racepak dash in my future...
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:33 PM   #10
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Several years ago, I completely re-wired (under the hood) all the engine circuits on my son's 82 model 240 B21F.
I used individual copper MTW conductors with soldered and heat shrink splices.

Man, that job took a lot longer than I had planned.
The further I went, the deeper I got.

If it was to do over again, I would have bought a new engine harness and installed it.

I saved money on parts and worked a lot of hours for free.

All of the 80's Volvo 240's that I've owned have had this problem with the defective wiring insulation, and a big majority of the problem has been under the hood.

I don't drive a 80's model anymore, but when I was driving one, it got to the point of fixing problems as they arose.....one or two wires at a time.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:49 PM   #11
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Got it.

Thanks

my car was in Phoenix, so I suppose the 120+ degree temps are the reason why some wires inside the car are having the problem. I am doing an LS conversion, but was hoping to keep the dash harness... looks like a racepak dash in my future...
I would just get a chassis harness out of an 89 or newer 240 and install it. Especially since you are going LS. You're not going to need any of the K-jet/LH injection portions of your existing harness.
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