DT Project Car Update: It’s Alive!

by CFlo

Just over two days after rescuing the DT Project Car Volvo 242, we are glad to say that as of Tuesday night, it runs! We had been doing some fuel & spark troubleshooting after replacing the spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor on Sunday shortly after the purchase. The investigation was fruitful and uncovered fuel pump power wiring that needed replacement. Once that was done, it started – and after a check of vital signs we took this sweet honey out on the road and are happy to report that it drives very well for its age. Big thanks to our readers for the comments and suggestions on the intro post. This car holds a ton of promise and we can’t wait to keep going with it!

Back to the repairs…when replacing the broken plug wires didn’t fix the starting issue, we turned to the fuel system. Jumpering fuel pump fuses and powering the pumps directly in several ways, we discerned that the in-tank “transfer” fuel pump is dead. However, this alone will not usually cause a 240 to stop running, although it should (and will) be replaced.

We applied 12 volts directly to main high-pressure fuel pump under the car and found it to be in good working order, yet we could not hear it prime when the engine was cranking. A functional check of the fuel pump power circuit showed that there was an issue with the wiring to the main pump, however, and it was not getting power. We replaced the pump connectors with a fresh set, crimped and heat-shrunk the wiring – and while we were double-checking for spark with a timing light, the engine fired and settled into a healthy idle. Great success!

Out on the road, our initial observations were:

  • Almost everything works! The electric overdrive, horn, all lights, and even the air conditioning system are all healthy and functional.
  • There are no major vibrations from the wheels or suspension; it’s a smooth cruiser.
  • The high compression, pulsed-EFI B23F engine is a peach and a big improvement over earlier K-Jet engines. It has plenty of low-end and midrange torque that will make this white refrigerator a fun daily turismo.
  • The M46 manual transmission shifts very well, and the clutch is smooth with no chattering or slippage.
  • It’s easy to induce oversteer with these little stock tires on 14-inch wheels – lack of grip and neutral balance make it a natural low-speed drifter.
  • It has no problem maintaining 85 mph on the highway.

All in all, we are excited to dive further into the project and have respect for the car already. Stay tuned for more DTPC (Daily Turismo Project Car) updates to come.