The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Tune Up Basics for Volvo 200, 700, and 900 with 4 cylinder engines from 1976-1995

2013-08-22 - ipd staff

Cameron gives an overview of the "basics" of tuning up your redblock Volvo. This includes Volvo 240, 740, 760, 780 and 940 with 4 cylinder engines from 1976-1995.

Tune It Up Right With IPD

What do people say when you tell them you drive a Volvo? It’s usually something like, “Those things last forever right?” Or, “Aren’t those the super reliable square things?” The answer of course is yes to both, depending… It’s true that these models have a well earned reputation for reliability and longevity. However that is not to say because of this they don’t need care and attention!

There seems to be a couple different philosophies around maintenance with these Volvo models in particular. First there’s those that follow the school of thought, “My Volvo is built to last and has a reputation for reliability and because of that I will maintain it as recommended and always pay attention to its needs!” Next there are those that think, “My Volvo is built to last and has a reputation for reliability and because of that, I don’t need to do a thing to it!” Somewhat similar outlooks that typically net much different results.

No matter how well built a car is, it needs maintenance! Redblock powered Volvos are very sturdy and can take abuse and poor maintenance much better and for longer than many other cars. Eventually though, poor care will inevitably affect your Volvo. It might rear its head as poor fuel economy, misfires, rough running or even no starts. The more miles you pile on your Volvo the more critical this all becomes. Luckily, these cars are for the most part, very simple to work on and most maintenance and tune-up items are all things you can do yourself.

Now that you’re with me on the importance of proper maintenance, let’s talk about what tools you will need. First – ALWAYS first – is a service manual. Without that, you’re just guessing on a lot of things. It’s like driving around a new town without a map. You might get there eventually, but not without a lot of wrong turns along the way. Don’t guess, just do it right the first time. Your service manual will show you procedures, give you torque specs, install order, etc. All things that help you do the job right. A nice feature of these cars is that you can do most all repairs and maintenance with just standard hand tools. Your hand me down Sears tool set will work just fine!

Equipped with your service manual and tool set you’re ready to get down to business. So how do you know what services your Volvo needs? There’s a few ways to determine that. If you’re not sure on the history of the car or have mileage markers written down for each service it’s safe to bet it needs EVERYTHING. The best place to start for recommended services is your service manual and your Owner’s manual. Both will show Volvo’s recommended service schedule. This is not the end all be all, but it’s a perfect outline to start with. As these cars march on past the couple hundred thousand mile marker it’s going to vary some, dependent on the individual car. It’s up to you to use your best judgment (and your service manual) to decide when you should carry out some of the less frequently needed services.

We offer everything at IPD needed to follow your new found service schedule. Check out our basic tune up kits for the more frequent service needs, our 60 thousand mile extended tune up kits for those more in depth tune ups and our other items like trans flush kits and fuse kits that all help to keep your Volvo healthy and happy for the long run.

What’s a Rex Regina?  
Some 1989 through 1995 740 and 940 non turbo models were equipped with Rex- Regina engine management systems. These models use different tune up parts than the Bosch equipped versions, such as the spark plug wires, distributor caps, fuel pumps and filters. You can easily determine if yours is a Rex Regina model by looking at the ignition coil. Here are pictures of the Rex Regina and BOSCH coils.   

The BOSCH system is identified by the conventional style ignition coil mounted on the passenger side of the firewall near the strut tower. The REX Regina system is identified by the solid state ignition coil mounted on the driver side strut tower.