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Old 10-15-2018, 04:09 AM   #1
Volvo owner in France
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Default Non-starting ignition problem

I'm writing to you from France, where I live, about a 1988 Volvo GL (European model) that has me perplexed. This summer the upper connector on the radiator exploded, leaving me stranded. When I realized what had happened, I went to shut off the engine. Before I could turn the key, however, the engine cut off by itself.
I had the car towed to my home, where I changed the radiator. Since then, the car has refused to start. It turns over, but will not start. I replaced the fuel relay (and main fuel pump), and I'm getting fuel in the return fuel line.
There was a weak spark, so I checked the coil's resistance (which was OK) and the distributor. Since then, however, the coil has died (I fear that in later rechecking the coil, I inadvertently touched one of the posts to a car fender, grounding it, (and primary resistance is 3 ohms and the secondary resistance is 0)), and I also fear that the Hall impulse sensor in my distributor is bad. I'm going to replace the coil and Hall sensor, but I have another problem, involving the ignition wiring, which is why I'm writing.
My father-in-law, who had purchased this car new, had someone install an after-market alarm in it. I suspected that maybe it was somehow related to the non-starting problem (I've since changed my view to believing that water traveled down the upper radiator hose, when the upper hose connector failed, and ran on top of the distributor, causing the Hall impulse sensor to fail), so I began removing this alarm system.
I disconnected the alarm sensors and bee-hive of wires that were connected to it. I'm stymied, however, by a blue wire and a brown wire that were connected to the alarm and which then passed through a grommet in the firewall. These run through a black rubber tube to the ignition coil (see photos). The brown one is connected to two blue wires that run to what appears to be a combination ignition control unit/power stage unit (I say "combination," because I have not found a separate ignition control unit on this vehicle) that is on the fender-well beside the car's battery. The blue wire is connected to two blue wires that connect to the coil's +15 terminal.
Now that I've disconnected the alarm, I have no power at the coil. I suppose that is because of these two disconnected wires (the blue and the brown wires that were connected to the alarm, and which obviously were used to disable the coil to prevent the theft of the vehicle).
I don't know if this coil was the origin of my non-starting problem, whether it was the old alarm system or the Hall sensor in the distributor.
I would appreciate if you could tell me how my coil was hooked up before the alarm system was installed, allowing me to put the coil wiring back to how it was originally so that I can get this car back on the road.
Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Tom (a new forum member from France)
PS: If I figure out how to post photos, I'll publish some of these mysterious blue and brown wires.
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:28 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. I want to know what fuel management do you have? From your description it seems like LH2.4 with the ignition amp next to the battery in the left inner fender. But I'm not familiar with the later kjetronic injection setup which might have something like that.

I will proceed if it is LH2.4. Then yes there is supposed to be a blue power wire to the coil terminal 15. I would think someone tied the coil wire to a switch or relay for theft protection since those wires go under the dash. Blue also supplies power to the ignition amp in the left fender. For wiring diagrams in print. I would check ebay or the forum classifieds. You can get a green book for your year wiring and have a good reference. There are also wiring diagrams in old Mitchel manuals, the Bentley service manual, and Haynes.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:54 AM   #3
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Default Which Bosch Jetronic injection system?

Thank you for your welcome to the Forum and advice about checking my fuel injection system. I'm unable to answer, as I'm unsure about whether or not it is the Bosch LH-2.2 or LH-2.4. It is a European model 1988 240GL. A U.S. source for 240 parts led me to believe that it should be an LH-2.2 (1985-1989 240s), but my Haynes manual says that the LH-2.4 Jetronic system was used on 1987 through 1991 models.
If I was able to post images here, I would publish a photo of my injection system. I read also on that U.S. website that the Bosch part number on the Mass Air Flow sensor could provide me with the answer, but I cannot see a part number on mine (or even see where it is located, for that matter).
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:12 PM   #4
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Hi Tom, welcome!

If you have a connector & wires coming out the side of the distributor, it's LH2.2. The LH2.4 setup uses flywheel teeth and a crank position sensor (CPS) instead of a hall pickup within the distributor. You can find a 1987 240 Volvo Greenbook (US version) at:
http://www.volvowiringdiagrams.com/
Page 20 shows the ignition wiring. I'd expect it to be similar to the European version.

To post pictures, you need to host them somewhere else (flickr, imgbb, etc.) and add the links here.
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Old 10-17-2018, 02:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for your welcome to the Turbobricks forum and for having clarified which fuel injection system is on my vehicle.
Thanks, also, for having pointed me towards those wiring diagrams. They've made me realize an important difference in my European vehicle's ignition system: my car's ICU control unit has 7 terminals; the U.S. model 1988 240GL ICU control unit has 10. I'm now better equipped to restore my wiring to a pre-after-market alarm system state.
I also now know how to post photos to the forum.
Now if I can figure out how to replace the Hall impulse sensor on my distributor, this car may be running again by springtime...
I'll have to see if my French village offers any blacksmithing courses that will enable me to successfully remove and replace the infuriating rivets that hold on this sensor.
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Old 10-17-2018, 02:47 AM   #6
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Before you go replacing that sensor post pictures of what you have

I had similar issues, the hall sensor tested bad and I replaced it. Then few months later it started doing the same thing. Turned out bad connector at ignition box
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Old 10-17-2018, 03:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for your advice. I'm not sure if I'm able to test the hall sensor with my failed coil and the problem that I'm having in reinstalling my ignition wiring after having removed the after-market alarm. I'm thinking that I need to get a new coil and repair the wiring before going to the trouble and expense of replacing the hall sensor. Is there a way, in addition, to test the ICU control unit to make sure that the problem is not with it or, as you mentioned, with the connector?
Here are photos of my ICU and Hall impulse sensor:

Distributor interior with impulse sensor by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr
ICU_Volvo 240 by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr

Last edited by Volvo owner in France; 10-18-2018 at 02:43 AM..
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:45 PM   #8
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Pop off the clips and look inside the distributor. Is there anything under the dust cover? If nothing it's going to be LH2.4. If there is a sensor under the dust cover the engine is using LH2.2 most likely.
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Old 10-18-2018, 02:18 AM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestion about checking inside the distributor. There is a sensor, indicating, as you said, that my fuel injection system is the LH2.2.
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Old 10-18-2018, 11:44 AM   #10
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Now that I can see your pictures, I'm not sure what ignition system you have. The distributor looks like a 3-pin LH2.2 distributor, but the Bosch 139 module is not the normal big Chrysler ignition box used in the USA Volvo LH2.2 240s. Some of the LH2.2 740s used a EZK117 box, and a Bosch 124[?] ignition module.

Maybe someone here is familiar with LH2.2 ECU and Bosch 139 Ignition module on a Volvo? A link to a wiring diagram/greenbook would be great.

[The 139 module is a smart module that will control dwell itself. There's lots of old info available on retrofitting this module as an ignition upgrade, for example: https://forums.tbforums.com/showthread.php?t=25737]
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Old 10-18-2018, 12:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvo owner in France View Post
Thanks for the suggestion about checking inside the distributor. There is a sensor, indicating, as you said, that my fuel injection system is the LH2.2.
Your fuel injection system is k-jetronic, not LH anything. Here in the US Volvo fans tend to identify our cars in terms of the fuel injection system, i.e. LH2.0, 2.2, 2.4 and extend that designation to the spark system as well, when it is only a pairing chosen for the market. Yours has mechanical fuel injection (k-jet) if it is injected at all. The ignition system is a separate choice.

The part-swap way to try to avoid drilling rivets or finding another distributor would be to replace the 139 module and maybe the coil. But you could prove the distributor and Hall-effect sensor OK by positioning the dizzy's rotor so the vane's window is exposed at the sensor, then using a feeler gauge attempt to trigger the sensor while monitoring the voltage at the blue/yellow wire, which should follow the feeler gauge placement. The most commonly reported trouble with these is missing insulation on the wires leading to the sensor itself from the connector.

Going over your original post, I suspect the alarm system had an immobilizer feature which served to interrupt the power to your coil terminal 15. This should arrive at the coil from the wiring harness through a solid-color blue wire.
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Last edited by cleanflametrap; 10-18-2018 at 12:57 PM..
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Old 10-18-2018, 02:49 PM   #12
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Ah that makes sense. Your engine is version of the B230E which we didn't get over here. The ignition is a setup that we also didn't get here in the US or Canada. There should be a control module for your ignition either next to the window wash tank or under the dash behind the glove box. Not sure where since we didn't get that engine and ignition system. The control module is triggered by the hall sensor in the distributor. Then the control module switches the amplifier in your picture to make the coil produce the high voltage. Look for ignition system B230E on the wiring diagrams.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:00 PM   #13
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Please post a pic of the engine bay of your 240. In Germany they are all B230F at this year of production. In the UK, and maybe France, they are 3 versions of 4 bangers of a 1988 240: B200E, B230E, B230F and the turbo ones.
Without a pic of the inlet manifold we don'the know what kind of engine your 240 is with.

The "dust cover " isn't a dust cover, still obligated and should be inside the dizzy.

Good luck , Kay
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:20 PM   #14
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Thanks Art, K-Jet fueling with non-USA ignition makes much more sense (the "couldn't find the MAF comment" should have been the clue).

The 139 ignition module connects directly to the distributor, there is no other ignition control box. This means that it's a mechanical advance distributor (spring loaded weights that chance ignition advance as rpms go up). The 139 module will control the dwell time.

For USA models, this setup is closest to the k-jet breakerless ignition, but with a small 139 module instead of the paperback book sized control box.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:30 PM   #15
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Art, you give me hope that this old gray mare might run once more. I've got to lick this alarm system problem first, however. You're right about a solid-color blue wire arriving from the alarm to the coil's terminal 15 (see photos). The photo of the blue wire and accompanying brown wire shows the bare wires that I pulled through the firewall after cutting them off at the back of the alarm (the four other wires next to them went to the alarm siren that was attached to a front fender well in the engine compartment). The brown wire connects to two blue wires that run into the ignition control unit. The coil's negative, #1 terminal has two stripped wires that connect to the ICU's No. 1 circuit, which, if an article that I read today is relevant to my vehicle, is the "Output circuit for the ignition coil's switching signal." Tomorrow, I'm going to try to determine which ICU circuit connects to that brown wire.
I really need to locate an ignition wiring diagram for this vehicle. All of the ones that I've looked at have been for LH2.2, LH2.4 ignition systems. Now that you've pointed me in the right "K-jet" direction, there is hope. My car is fuel injected, by the way.
If you have any leads on where I can find the proper European model ignition wiring diagram, I would be most thankful. Or, if you can advise me on how to connect my coil and ICU the way it was before the alarm was installed, even better yet.
blue-brown wires by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr
wires & grommet by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:36 PM   #16
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You guys are great. Thanks for stopping my futile search for the other ignition control box that I saw identified on the LH ignition wiring diagrams for 1988 240s. Tomorrow is going to be devoted to better understanding this K-jet breakerless ignition.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:53 PM   #17
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Hi Tom,

Your ignition system's wiring is shown in grids C1 and C2 on p. 91 of 94 here: http://volvowiringdiagrams.com/volvo...20Diagrams.pdf

Your pictures give me an answer. See where the blue and brown wires from your alarm terminate in some rubber-covered dual terminals at the coil #1 and to a pair of blue wires exiting the black vinyl sheathing along with the white/red wires? Pull off and plug that pair of blue wires with the plastic-covered connector on coil #15. I think that is how it is supposed to be wired.
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Old 10-18-2018, 04:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobxyz View Post
Thanks Art, K-Jet fueling with non-USA ignition makes much more sense (the "couldn't find the MAF comment" should have been the clue).

The 139 ignition module connects directly to the distributor, there is no other ignition control box. This means that it's a mechanical advance distributor (spring loaded weights that chance ignition advance as rpms go up). The 139 module will control the dwell time.

For USA models, this setup is closest to the k-jet breakerless ignition, but with a small 139 module instead of the paperback book sized control box.
Exactly correct, in my opinion.
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Old 10-18-2018, 04:34 PM   #19
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I'm not sure it helps at all, but here's an easy to read wiring diagram for a similar Bosch 137 module in a Ferrari Dino: http://www.dinoplex.org/PDF/Wiring_F...cal_Pickup.pdf
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:45 AM   #20
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Thanks, Kay (it's obviously not only the 'guys' who are great on Turbobricks . Here's a photo of my 1987(88?) Volvo 240's engine bay. Can you tell if it is a B230-E or a B230-F from this photo?
Volvo 240 engine bay by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:10 AM   #21
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Art, your wiring diagrams for the 1987 Volvo 240 (which leads me to wonder if my father-in-law was correct when he referred to this vehicle as a 1987; I only started to call it a "1988" when parts dealers, selling me replacement parts, told me that the VIN indicated that it was the latter of the two) are a revelation. And your suggestion to switch around those blue wires at the coil is the most elegant and simple solution imaginable. I smacked myself on my forehead with my hand when I saw that they connected just as they must have when someone undoubtedly named Lars connected them over 30 years ago in the factory. Thank you for helping me to solve this mystery of the after-market alarm.
Now, I just need to wait until next week for the replacement coil to find out if that elegance is matched by efficiency, and the coil begins to function with the rest of the ignition. Speaking of which, I have photographed two unidentified ignition components--a silver and black box attached to the side of the engine bay which are located behind the power steering fluid reservoir. Can anyone tell me what they are, and if they should be tested, along with my ignition control module when the coil is working?
And, finally, the car of my dreams when I was just starting to get grease under my fingernails from working on my 1969 VW Beatle and a 1968 Mercury Cougar with a 289 V8 was a Ferrari Dino that Fritz, a German mechanic who helped me import to the U.S. a 1982 BMW 635i from Austria (but I digress too much here), had under a dusty car cover in his garage. Knowing that I have a similar ignition control module as that Ferrari will bring newfound respect to my Volvo if she ever runs again.
Volvo ignition? by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr
Volvo coil wiring by Tom Fiorina, on Flickr
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:44 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvo owner in France View Post
Art, your wiring diagrams for the 1987 Volvo 240 (which leads me to wonder if my father-in-law was correct when he referred to this vehicle as a 1987; I only started to call it a "1988" when parts dealers, selling me replacement parts, told me that the VIN indicated that it was the latter of the two) are a revelation.
Tom, that 1987 manual is just the closest to yours I could find on line, but the ignition system wiring matches yours. Yes it is hard to read, but accurate regarding the wire colors and pin numbers. The interior of the manual is for North American market, but the fold out drawings which I referenced apply to all markets.

The only components in your primary ignition system are the distributor, electronic module (the 139) and the coil. That's it. If your car were mine, I would make sure I now have 12V battery at the coil terminal 15 with the key turned on. I would not expect the coil to be damaged by any "accidental short circuits" but that could have happened to the 139 module for sure. Be sure the module is good before replacing any other parts, especially the distributor Hall-effect sensor. The voltage to "run" that sensor comes from the 139 module.

The black box you see is distribution for battery voltage. Under the cover are wires and terminals bussed together. The silver box is the step relay, or hi-lo relay, which is responsible for switching between high beam and low beam headlamps.

Be sure the power is getting to your coil #15 before moving on.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:29 AM   #23
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Hi Tom
100% a K-jetronic engine. B230E

Stay with this, the best engine Volvo did ever.
The black box is a power supply box.
If I remember right: the silver one is the safety relay which will cut of the fuel pump if the engine stalls / got switch of
/ stopps running ( by stupid drivery or accident)

Kay, if got this mistake by name in my gender very often

I believe my parents didn't know about this.

Good luck, Kay
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:32 AM   #24
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At the " this is still not a dust cover" inside the distributor. The wiring inside will be much happier with this
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:19 AM   #25
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Like cleanflametrap wrote. Check if 12V is at the blue wire with ignition on and even if you turn the key to the start position.
Do a short cut between the batteries and 15+ at the coil. If the engine will start now the problem is inside the alarm system or the ignition switch behind the key.

At two stroke oil to the fuel if you like to store the car more than 2 month. 1:100 will be good enough. Never use E100/E85/E100 or E5 stuff. Be aware of the alcohol mixed at the fuel. It will kill the fuel distributor.
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