1982 Volvo 244 GL 2.3 petrol


Affordable and economical motoring at a ridiculously cheap price


Just the usual wear and tear things, such as blown globes and the like, but bigger things include:

-The rear left seatbelt inertia reel failed completely. Replaced with a new one from the wrecking yard.

-Lumbar support in drivers' seat collapsed. $50 for repairs.

-End part of exhaust pipe rusted off - $80 for a replacement. I can hear another hole forming in the exhaust now.

-Didn't receive FM frequency. Replaced old radio with a new one from the wrecking yard.

-Air conditioning compressor seized after I left the key locked in the car overnight. Quoted at $700 for a replacement.

-Back brake lights failed completely. New brake switch: $100.

-Half the lights in the dash didn't work - new fuse I believe?

-New oil pressure switch needed after the car started leaking oil during the night (but not much).

-Started getting a very strong petrol smell in the car. As it turns out a hose disconnected after being knocked. Replaced the hose and has been fine since.

-Bonnet is now getting increasingly hard to open - a rusty cable is the culprit.

-The rest has been superfluous stuff like windscreen washers not working (another disconnected hose), scrapes (not so much a car fault as my fault) and topping up oil, coolant, clutch and brake fluid.

General Comments:

After 12 months of owning a Volvo, I am now hooked for life. Granted, it isn't the best looking or fastest car on the road, but once it gets up to speed, it stays there!

I'm surprised with how well it handles. For a big car, it's heavy kerb weight makes it stick to the road, and I've found a lack of power steering gives you a better feel for what's happening. The slightest tap of the brake slows you down; again very responsive.

It's also incredibly comfortable. After driving a Civic around for a week while I was on holiday, it was no comparison. The front seats are like a couch, and the back seats, while supportive, are also very comfortable and are the kind of seats that your kids would be zonked out on during long holidays. On that note, the boot is also incredibly large, which would make it very practical as a family car.

This isn't a plug piece for Volvo so I had better think of some faults. It's a high revver and most certainly needs a 5th gear. You can't really 'cruise' down a highway at 100 (65 for the imperialists here) because the engine in front of you does over 3000rpm (3500 if you want to do 110 - 70mph?) and this does affect fuel economy.

Being an '82 model, it also requires leaded petrol, which is sadly not available any more. To combat this, I have to purchase a lead additive replacement and octane booster every so often - otherwise the engine will ping and there is a noticeable loss in power. I use ethanol blended E10 in the Volvo and I haven't had any complaints so far. Main problem is cost, and in the booster's case, not knowing what the petrol:booster ratio is. Am I adding too much? Should I add more? You get my drift.

I'm also getting a surface rust attack on my sills; more unsightly than anything.

However, putting aside these inconspicuous faults in perspective, this Volvo would make a fantastic first car, second car, family car (a lack of trim would make it especially good for this purpose - not much for the kiddies to pull off), whatever. I don't feel safe in any other car and I know I'm a Volvo driver, as the motto says, for life.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 2008

3rd Nov 2009, 01:46

There is info at http://www.volvoclub.org.uk/unleaded.shtml that shows the 1982 Volvo 244 GLE with the B23E motor can use specific unleaded fuel without modification, and some unleaded fuel with modification.

14th Jun 2010, 09:50

Shortly after writing this review, I began to have chronic trouble with acceleration after starting the car cold - the car stopped dead in the middle of an intersection one morning, for example. When I took the car to the mechanic, he said the same thing you did - you don't actually need additive for the B23E motors (as, over time, the additive can accumulate in the fuel line and block the flow, which was happening in my car). Further to that, using an ethanol blended petrol was highly discouraged, as it would corrode the fuel system (or something like that). From thereon in, I filled the car with premium unleaded, although I still experienced the same problem when the petrol tank got below about 1/3 full.

Contrary to what I wrote in the review, I ended up giving the Volvo to my parents about three months later after it broke down at a carwash. I bought a Holden Commodore instead. It was a beautiful piece of machinery while it was running, though.

20th Apr 2014, 07:22

Sounds like the in-tank booster pump had finally failed on you. A common problem, and $200 fix. The pump is very quiet in comparison to the high pressure pump, which is in front of the passenger side rear wheel, which is why you hadn't noticed.

1982 Volvo 244 GL 2.3L petrol


Cheap, reliable, fast. Why ask for more?


- Nothing major as of yet - however I only bought it 4 days ago.

- It leaks a bit of something oily in the morning - however there is always only one drop and we think it might be from the gearbox.

- Coming home recently, the gearbox would not engage into gear. When it eventually did, the car ran extremely rough. After five minutes, the car ran fine again till I got home.

We think this problem might have been due to the reverse gear lock malfunctioning and locking the gearbox.

- The left hand rear seatbelt is terrifically reluctant to engage. It is stuffed.

- It idles both highly and a little roughly - this is nothing cleaning the points and plugs and changing the leads can't fix.

General Comments:

- This is an absolutely spectacular car. It is built like a tank. I feel very safe in it both as a driver and a passenger.

- Don't ever let anyone tell you this car is slow. The 2.3L engine goes like the clappers and accelerates like a dream, in the manual at least. It also has a go forever reputation, and I can testify for that so far.

- Economically wise, I can't complain. It is a family car, so consumption figures of around 10L/100km for city cycle and around 9-9.5L/100km highway is not to be sneezed at for a car this size. With prices at what they are, it takes around $50 to fill a tank.

- It is a good learning car. I found the clutch to be nice and light, as was the accelerator. Four wheel discs stop the car in a hurry.

- The lack of power steering is noticeable, but not annoying.

- I would recommend it as a first car, second car or family car for anyone who is seeking it - a reputation I am sure Volvo drivers everywhere could testify for.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd December, 2007