1983 Volvo 240 DL Wagon 2.3L gas from North America


I could drive it forever if I didn't hate the performance


Poor acceleration performance after purchase was tracked down to a clogged fuel injector. This was inexpensive ($30) and easy to replace by myself.

No mechanical problems aside from injector. Numerous electrical problems with electrical accessories, mostly on the tailgate of the car. All were present before I purchased the car. All, save one, were easy to fix by rewiring.

Air conditioner blower motor failed and was extremely difficult to access. Accessing and replacement required over 10 hours of dash removal. If possible find a car in which the motor has already been replaced. Since I performed the repair myself, labor wasn't an issue, but were I to have it replaced at the dealer I would expect it to be horribly expensive.

General Comments:

I purchased the car for $850 which considering the amazing reliability of the car makes it a remarkably good deal. This car's engine is built like a tank. It has more mileage than most cars have in a lifetime, and it still runs like new, which is remarkable.

Unfortunately it is also the slowest car I've ever driven. 0-60mph takes over 12 seconds which is in line with its rated 111 horsepower. An engine this small should never have been taxed to haul a car weighing over 3000 pounds. I hate how slow it is. If you're at all interested in performance do not buy this car.

Handling is sub-par compared to anything made in the last 10 years. This would likely be significantly improved by new shocks and struts, but replacing all four of them would cost half the original purchase price of the car.

Ironically contrasting with the car's overall performance is the braking system, which is very very good. The tires are wide enough to not lock up under heavy braking and the 4 wheel disc brakes (well ahead of their time) stop the car very quickly.

Gas mileage is somewhat good, being 20-23mpg on average. Were I not constantly flooring the gas pedal to give it remotely acceptable performance, it would probably get better fuel economy.

The car is incredibly roomy. The back seat makes you feel like you're in a limosine. The legroom is very good. Leather seating is nice but the driver's seat is badly worn.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st June, 2001

16th Jul 2001, 16:33

If you think your Volvo is slow you should try driving an 83 Volvo diesel. That's what I have and, like you, the only reason I won't keep it forever is because its the slowest car I've ever driven. I bought it for a highway commute this summer and I will get rid of it in September.

1983 Volvo 240 GL 2.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


An amazing car


The air conditioning died many years ago. The electrical starter cables needed replacing. The radiator blew and needed replacing.

General Comments:

I am a young male and I have put this car through plenty. I have never had any real trouble with it except when the radiator went (although I had been driving at very high speed for over four hours straight).

I have replaced the radio with a CD player. Thieves cannot break the locks. It has always started. It is perhaps a little thirsty but it only cost me a couple of thousand 7 years ago and I don't think I could ever find cheaper, more reliable motoring.

I have crashed the car three times, quite badly too and every time I thank my starts for the 18 year old brick.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2001

1983 Volvo 240 2.1 from UK and Ireland


Comfortable indestructible work-horse, easy to work on


Very little.

Routine replacement items only.

General Comments:

VOLVO 240 - Not as Thirsty as Most People Think.

I have noticed a number of reviews and comments from people complaining that the 240 has poor fuel consumption.

I disagree, and having owned or serviced several over the years I would like to pass on my tips for ensuring economical running.

1) Everything assumes that the engine is in good condition mechanically. Check the compression. 150psi is good, 125 acceptable. Investigate any discrepancies of more than 10psi. Pour some thick oil down the bores to determine whether the wear is in the rings/bores, or the valves.

2) Set the valve clearances accurately. The engine is sensitive to errors, because it alters the timing if a gap is wrong.

3) Fit a new timing belt. Don't exceed 40,000 miles anyway, but an old belt stretches and alters the timing, also it causes the camshaft to dither if the belt is stretchy. Check that the marks etc are aligned correctly, including the distributor drive sprocket.

4) Clean out the carburettor thoroughly, and check all rubber bits for leaks or flexibility. Replace the the needle float valve, and check that the float pivot is not worn. Wear here can cause the float to stick momentarily, causing either a flat spot, flooding, or mysterious cutting out.

5) Clean out all flame traps, breather pipes, etc, and pass a suitable drill bit down the suction fitting in the inlet manifold.

6) Check that the idle bypass valve is clean, and operates with a snap when voltage is applied. Follow the book for checking the other electrical valves and vents attached to the carb or to float chamber breather pipes.

7) Check the operation of the manual choke. Make sure it really is fully off when the knob is pushed in, and that the fast idle screw bearing on the choke quadrant is set correctly. If necessary remove and file the quadrant to restore its progressive shape. (The first movement of the choke knob should increase the idling speed, but not give excessive enrichment)

8) If you have the version that injects air into the exhaust, disconnect it and block up the pipes. The valves are very subject to rust and sticking, and it is not worth messing with it trying to make it work. A symptom of it not working is popping in the exhaust, sometimes explosions that can blast the silencer to bits.

9) File and set the ignition contact points before every major journey, ie every few hundred miles. In my experience this is the bigest single cause of poor performance and increased fuel consumption. I strongly recommend fitting luminition, and then you can forget about this chore.

10) The second is forgetting to keep the carburettor dashpot filled with oil. Use engine oil, not ATF as advised, as it is thicker, and check it every hundred miles. Keep a little squirty bottle handy.

11) Fit an overdrive gearbox, and use it. It is so much easier than a 5-speed box.

12) Finally, remember speed counts. The most economical speed is 55-60 mph. Let the car slow up on hills, but give it its head going downhill. Over 60, the economy drops off sharply.

If you do all this you should get 27mpg on average, 30 or more on a long careful run.

I hope this helps someone.

Cliff Pope.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th March, 2001

12th Jan 2002, 05:23

All this just to get 30mpg? Far too high maintenance, I'll stick with my Bluebird which is the best built car I've ever had including the usual German stuff and volvos!

26th Feb 2007, 09:40

I totally agree that the car required maintenance. This does not mean over-zealous maintenance, but just the normal maintenance required to keep the car in running condition. My 1983 Volvo 240 GL gets 23 MPG city driving and 31 MPG+ Highway mileage (and the car is not maintenanced as much as I'd like it to be).

Maintenance is the key to a long, productive life.

Excellent cars!

1983 Volvo 240 GLT Turbo 2.1 Turbo w/intercooler from North America


Electric overdrive, small electric problems, heater fan, radiator, turbo, engine rebuild & clutch at 145K miles.

General Comments:

Very solid for a car with over 200K miles on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 1998

27th Feb 2001, 15:05

Is this car really that great?

28th Jul 2001, 00:59

Aside from the fact that repairing the turbo unit will be somewhat expensive when it dies, YES! these cars are that good.