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Old 01-14-2018, 03:15 PM   #1
thatcher.hubbard
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Default Whiteblock in a white box

I bought this car three years ago as a cheap, reputedly reliable utility vehicle for Home Depot runs and such:



The picture and all the condensation on it makes look cruddier than it actually is.

I did do a little research here and other places on the Internet to help me identify what I wanted in a 240, and a couple months' of patient CL trolling got me everything on my list:

- Slick roof
- ABS
- Working A/C
- I like the white-on-tan combo for some reason
- Clean interior
- Virgos

I flew from Seattle to Oakland, CA to get it, drove it home the next day with no issues. The PO had taken pretty good care of it, and, thankfully, put a new stereo with Bluetooth in it.

Fast forward to now-ish, and I ended up with an actual pickup truck as a result of the VW dieselgate thing (long story). It's also been seven years since I've had a project car, and TB has plenty of inspiration for what you can do with these, so the transition from beater to, uh, something better than that begins now.
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Old 01-14-2018, 03:36 PM   #2
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Looks and sounds like a great candidate for a project! Looking forward to watching this one.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:45 PM   #3
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Default Whiteblock in a white box

The general idea behind this is to get the style of the 240 wagon with a more modern driving experience, essentially the updated daily driver that plenty of other listers have already taken a run at.

I only had three complaints about the car as it was when I got it:

1) Grip
2) Power
3) Lighting

I already took care of #3 by installing a set of new e-codes, and I've got a plan for #1 that's inbound that I'll wait until my parts show up until I say much about.

I considered both the 16V +T route as well as the whiteblock swap, and while the 16V is definitely more "bolt on" I've been leaning towards the whiteblock since the beginning. That question was put to rest last weekend when this popped up on CL:



I love the sound an inline five makes, but I've already had one, and I've never had an inline six, and I got a great deal on this one, so this car should provide the engine and transmission for the swap. The compression is great across the board, it has no lifter tick, idles so smoothly I can barely tell it's on and revs cleanly to redline:



I will likely go with an aftermarket ECU, I've done that conversion before and been really happy to have the control. I'm pretty sure this is the later version of the engine that had the less aggressive cams, so I may see about getting my hands on a set of the early cams. The big unknowns for now are the best solution for engine mounts and how well will faking out the TCU->ECU communication path work in terms of preserving shift quality.

Last edited by thatcher.hubbard; 01-18-2018 at 06:15 PM.. Reason: Spelling!
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:52 PM   #4
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I'll be following this closely Been thinking about doing something similar with my DD
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:03 PM   #5
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look up posts from da_butcher

he built a very well sorted 242 with a 960 drivetrain.

for mounts, he used the stock bottom half mount with a custom piece that bolts to the engine. stock ECU/TCU, set up with the stock 960 cluster and added the tone ring for the rear speed sensor. M47 crossmember works well with the AW30.

I am using his recipe, except the engine mounts [going with something more robust and styled more after the stock 960 mounting setup] on the 262c race car we are building.

if you do decide to use aftermarket EMS, look up posts from the poi. He converted his 960 to MS and built his own control unit in place of the TCU in conjunction with paddle shifters to work the AW30
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pat244ti View Post
look up posts from da_butcher

he built a very well sorted 242 with a 960 drivetrain.

for mounts, he used the stock bottom half mount with a custom piece that bolts to the engine. stock ECU/TCU, set up with the stock 960 cluster and added the tone ring for the rear speed sensor. M47 crossmember works well with the AW30.

I am using his recipe, except the engine mounts [going with something more robust and styled more after the stock 960 mounting setup] on the 262c race car we are building.

if you do decide to use aftermarket EMS, look up posts from the poi. He converted his 960 to MS and built his own control unit in place of the TCU in conjunction with paddle shifters to work the AW30
There are also companies in sweden that makes mounts for a whiteblock 6, in a 240.. Think they are around 200-ish usd
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:05 PM   #7
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Heh, I already have da_butcher, the poi's and also the Buchka's whiteblock swap threads bookmarked and have taken notes.

On mounts, we'll have to see. The ones available from KLR appear to be relatively low-profile as compared to using the stock 960 uppers, and I'm also a little worried that the design is pretty motorsport oriented and might pass more NVH into the chassis. I mean, the six is so much smoother than the B230 that it may not matter.

I'm intrigued by the mounts that homer came up with and sold a few years ago, they use a standard 240 motor mount, and mount low enough that you can build your own uppers for turbo/steering clearance.

I've also considered trying to adapt some fluid-filled mounts from the Audi 5000/200 series cars that I'm quite familiar with as well. This project is also supposed to be an opportunity for me to pick up some new fab skills. But something you can just pay for and bolt on makes a lot of sense on a project of this size.

I think I have a workable plan for the TCU if I go aftermarket. To the best of my knowledge, my car already has a 48 window tone ring in the rear diff because it's an ABS car. I also found an old thread somewhere about building a simple digital board that always responds immediately to the TCU (or even adjustably) that the engine timing has been pulled. I believe that's the big stumbling block in using the AW30-40, the rest of the signals don't come from the ECU as best as I can tell.

I think that the Microshift code for the MS GPIO board has also been made to work on an A340 transmission, but that's a step or two beyond what I'm interested in taking on right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pat244ti View Post
look up posts from da_butcher

he built a very well sorted 242 with a 960 drivetrain.

for mounts, he used the stock bottom half mount with a custom piece that bolts to the engine. stock ECU/TCU, set up with the stock 960 cluster and added the tone ring for the rear speed sensor. M47 crossmember works well with the AW30.

I am using his recipe, except the engine mounts [going with something more robust and styled more after the stock 960 mounting setup] on the 262c race car we are building.

if you do decide to use aftermarket EMS, look up posts from the poi. He converted his 960 to MS and built his own control unit in place of the TCU in conjunction with paddle shifters to work the AW30

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Old 01-18-2018, 06:40 PM   #8
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A few weeks ago, I bought a late model tach and small clock from fellow lister and local John242Ti (thanks man!). He also put the bug in my ear that there was a 1993 240 sedan in the Lynwood, WA Pick-and-Pull that had some goodies left on it, including the power/heated side mirrors. Having heated side mirrors is pretty nice in this climate, and I had never gone junkyarding before, so I made the trip up there.

I managed to score these:



Pick-and-Pull charged me $50, which I'm fine with given that working pulls tend to go for between $150-$250 either here or on eBay. They'll need a coat of paint, and the switches are a little gummy, but the harness is in good shape. It took me about 1.5 hours to get everything off of the car, but it was 34 degrees out, I forgot my Torx screwdrivers, and the junkyard savages had broken both of the side windows so there was glass all over the floor. I think somebody who was:

a) not a forgetful moron and
b) had been in the guts of a 240 interior before

...could get it done in about 45 minutes. I didn't have to pull the upper dash to get the harness out, but it would have been much easier to fish the harness out if I had.

I also was looking at the mirrors on the S90 today, and from what I can see, the mirror and housing are the same shape, it's just the part that bolts onto the door that's different:



When I take the S90 apart we'll see how similar the harness is. I know that the mirror heaters don't have their own switch on the S90, it's shared with the rear window defrost. I bet the motors and mirror glass are the same though.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:11 PM   #9
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The Aw30-40 can be shifted manually quite easily, and does not need a TCU. Google around for the Jeep guys solutions, since they use the same transmission. It's called the AW4 in the jeep world though.

The Homer mounts are designed to be used with the stock 960 fluid-filled mounts, but can be used with stock 240 stuff with a spacer.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:55 PM   #10
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Yeah, thepoi's build that he posted on this board featured him building a pair of paddle shifters and a logic box to control the AW30-40 in his 960 wagon, and it seems like he was quite successful with that.

For me though, if it's not got a clutch and a shifter, it might as well be an automatic. I've had a few cars now that featured "manual shift" automatics, including a DSG box, and on every single one of them I've used it for precisely 30s when I first got the car to try it out and then never touched it again. I know that manuals no longer have an advantage in shift time, power transmission or fuel efficiency on modern cars, but it's still what I'd want if practicality wasn't a concern.

But Seattle is hilly AF, especially where I live. My wife uses the car from time to time, and while she is more than capable of driving a manual, she would never choose to do it in a pair of heels. So I'll stick with the slushbox for now. At least it has a lockup clutch for highway cruising.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:33 PM   #11
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Gonna keep my eyes on this one.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:59 PM   #12
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I had ordered some parts from Josh @ Yoshifab late last year to address the fact that the car rides like a bouncy castle, and they showed up a couple of weeks ago:



I had originally talked to Josh about just getting a set of GAZ shocks/struts for the car, but he convinced me a set of coilovers in the front would be cooler I got a set of Kaplhenke Select top mounts to go with them.

Apologies for the poor pictures, I have a small garage with no lights (it's 100 years old) and it's grey pretty much any time it's not dark this time of year in Seattle. I pulled the front suspension apart:





Installed a new set of ball joints while I was at it:



Then bolted them up:



It's a little lower than I expected:



I had to dial quite a bit of preload into the springs to get it up this high, and the car definitely has some rake to it, but even with an eybeballed alignment it feels good. Josh sent me these with 350lb springs on the front, so not too stiff, and I'm using a set of IPD wagon springs that came with the car with the GAZ shocks in the rear:



I had to bleed the brakes twice to get my pedal back where I wanted it, and in an abundance of caution I used the less aggressive caster setting on the top mounts, when I should have just gone for it and raked them back as far as the mounts would go.

Next step is to rent the tool and replace my rear TABs with a set of Ben's spherical bushings and then get this thing aligned.

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Old 03-15-2018, 09:44 PM   #13
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:40 PM   #14
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I can't believe it's been almost two years since I updated this thread. I ended up getting a new job in spring of 2018, which was good since the one I had was trying to kill me. Love the new one, but I end up working more hours, so that hasn't helped.

I have done a couple of things to the car. First was a set of Ben's spherical TABs to battle the rattle coming from the rear of the car. Whoever had replaced them last had pushed them in the from the outside, and I didn't realize it was incorrect until I had one side partially pushed out and up against the back of the dust cover. It provided an opportunity for me to use what is perhaps my most favorite power tool, the Sawzall:



I also put Ben's hybrid torque rods on it as well, and I'm pretty happy with the improvement, you can definitely feel the added articulation when cornering.

I think that Sharingan19's 240 wagon looks pretty fantastic with the 16" BBS basket weaves on it, so when a set came up on CL locally, I went ahead and picked them up. I ended up going with a 25mm adapter for the rear and a 19mm adapter on the front. I'll have to get a better pic of the whole car with the wheels on it, but here's the back:



That brings us up to a couple of weeks ago, which I'll pick up in the next post.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:04 PM   #15
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The S90 donor car I'd bought had been moldering in my other garage bay (so old it was actually for carriages) for better than a year, so it was time to kick things in the ass.

Even though I still hadn't sorted out not having any power in the garage, I grabbed an engine hoist from Harbor Freight and got after it. I had pulled and labelled most of the connectors beforehand, then removed the front bumper and cut the core support out (again, Sawzall for the win). A couple of hours later, I had this:



...and also this:



It actually wasn't too bad. The position of the two lifting eyes on the engine is far enough forward that even with a balance the engine and transmission wouldn't stay level, but with the core support and bumper gone it was fine. The transmission got set down on a cart and separated:



I started pulling stuff off, and found a couple of interesting things:



The first is that like the transmission, the rear of the engine has a lot of oily gunk on it. The flame trap was completely clogged up, which gave me some fear about the condition of the engine. If you look closely at the photo (maybe follow the link to a bigger version), you'll see an 'LKQ' sticker peeking out from behind the heater hose on the transmission flange.

I've been told that LKQ mostly sells (and warranties) salvage parts to professional mechanics. So whatever was in this car originally isn't what's there now. It looks like maybe there's a '97' on the sticker, but it's barely there so it's hard to tell. We'll have to see what I've gotten myself into here.

I also took the time to remove the entirety of the engine bay harness. It probably wasn't necessary, but I figured it would make it easier to figure out what went where and maybe I'd even be able to re-use some of it. The picture doesn't do the thing justice, I felt like hanging it on a hook and taking a picture next to it like a fisherman or something:



Getting it through the firewall took a bit of doing, but in the end I only ended up having to cut the wires that went to the OBD-II connector.

The ECU and the TCU are both in the driver's footwell, each in a carrier tray that bolts to the body. Things are packed pretty tightly in there and at odd angles. I still think I came out ahead on time by not pulling the dash.
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:27 AM   #16
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I’ll be following your build closely, as I’m doing the same 960 engine donor to a 240 project. Glad you’re a few steps ahead of me!
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:40 PM   #17
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Well, I owe you guys some pictures, which I'll get to, but in the short-term, I need the wisdom of the forum.

Long story short, despite a lot of care and caution, one of the head bolts snapped off when I was removing them. I knew this was a possibility, so I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed, but of course, it's *way* down in the bore, not up at the shoulder. Far enough that I don't have any left-handed bits that will reach down that far, and I'm not sure I could even get a big enough easy-out into a hole with an extension.

I was not going to tear things down any further, but getting the assembled block to a machine shop would be a total pain the @$$ too. Should I bother trying to fix this myself or just buck up and find a machine shop and deal with the hassle?
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:21 PM   #18
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In an attempt to figure out just how long a bit I'd need, I realized that the broken top of the bolt wasn't as far down the bore as I thought it was, and in fact I was just able to get one of my left-handed bits down to it. I wrapped the bit with electrical tape in a couple of places so it couldn't walk around and slowly started drilling into it, blowing the swarf out every few revs. I'd had some penetrating oil sitting in the bore for a couple of days too, and sure enough, after a couple of minutes it started backing out. I didn't even up needing to use an easy out.

F this guy:


The good news is that the cylinder walls are nice and smooth, the hone marks are still even and apparent:



The Pick 'n Pull had a 92 240 sedan show up that looked like it had an intact black grille, so I went up to check it out. Grille was trashed, and somebody had already torn the interior out, so the 240 was a bust. I did pull the front of a 940 Turbo driveshaft, which should mean the only part left on the list of things I need for the swap is the throttle cable from a B21 car.

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Old 11-23-2019, 10:12 PM   #19
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Haha. Good feeling to get it out I’m sure. Nice work!
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Old 11-24-2019, 10:15 AM   #20
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Those head bolts are a real mf’er sometimes. Everyone sounds like it’s about to snap when you break them loose. Good job on getting the broken part out.
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:05 PM   #21
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I'm not looking forward to ever having to pull the head on my swap. Glad to see you got it!
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:54 PM   #22
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I might need some wiring from your S90 to finish my swap if you would not mind pulling it.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:15 AM   #23
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I've had a few engines apart before and I don't think I've ever had head bolts take so much effort to remove. I'm not a small guy, and it took an 18" breaker bar with a cheater on it and all of my weight.

And yeah, every single one of them gave way with a noise that sounded like they'd broken.

I used a plumber's torch to head the bolt heads up, and I didn't want to cook a bunch of sludge in the head while doing it, so I didn't leave the heat on them very long, but in a couple of cases the bolt didn't want to move so I hit it again and then it came free. So heat is your friend.

Got the head on the bench today and measured the warp on it, which is quite low, so there's no reason to have it machined. I am a little concerned about getting the gasket mating surface cleaned up though, I rubbed at some of it for a good while with some mineral spirits and it didn't seem to be coming up at all. I removed the exhaust studs because they were super crusty, fortunately they all came out with no issues.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:28 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatcher.hubbard View Post
Long story short, despite a lot of care and caution, one of the head bolts snapped off when I was removing them.
Was it on the exhaust side between cylinders 4 and 5? I've broken around 7 or 8 bolts(or more) on that spot. Some B6254, most B6284T and might be one B6304. All of them were opened the first time since leaving the factory.

18" breaker bar sounds about the same I open the bolts with. Mostly a loud snap, I like to wear ear plugs while opening.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:33 PM   #25
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Yes, that's *exactly* the one that broke. And I have reason to believe this engine has never been opened before too.

Lankku, have you found that an engine that's had the head off and the bolts replaced are less likely to snap?
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