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The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Video: Tune up basics for 1976-2000 Volvo models

Created on 2012-10-30 by ipd staff, Last Updated on 2021-03-19

IPD walks us through tune up basics for rear wheel drive 1976-1996 and Volvo P80 (850 1993-1997, C70, S70, XC70, V70 1998-2000)   chassis Volvos and explains the commonalities as well as the differences.


Video transcript

Cameron from IPD here to talk to you about some basics of tune-ups and how things work. This isn't going to be a fully integrated guide of every single step but just kind of a basic thing to help you as the DIY person do your tune up in your driveway a little more confidently. Today we're going to talk about a couple different cars, Volvo 240 here on this side Volvo S70 on this side both of which are very different cars different chassis different motors but the basics of the tune-up and how those things work together are all the same so let's jump right into it. 

So starting with a Volvo 240 model we'll talk about the real basics here first so when we talk about a tune-up the main things usually do are going to be spark plugs, distributor cap, ignition rotor, and sometimes spark plug wires. Now we're not going to talk about spark plugs too in depth about how to install them and stuff like that we'll just kind of show you the main pieces locations and where they are. So first up let's talk about cap and rotor and what they are and what they do. The job of these is to take the spark and take it through here into each individual port into the spark plug wire into the actual spark plug to make it fire. Now how does that happen and how do these work together. It's actually very simple it's just a little drive on the distributor that spins the rotor around based on the auxiliary shaft in the motor and that just has a toothed gear on there that spins them together and that means this sits in there pops on the rotor sits inside the cap and just spins inside here and if you look at the cap and/or the rotor and look at the pieces here you can see the contact on the outside here and when it spins around it hits these little contacts on the inside of the distributor cap and energy has gone into the middle of it through here from the ignition coil and that connects to this little spot on the rotor. So really it's just a matter of this thing spinning it in there and as it goes by these contacts I need a spark through the spark plug wire.

Now common times you'll hear a lot of hear people talk about the number one cylinder, the number two cylinder, number three cylinder, and firing order and what that means is just a physical location. You're always going to have number one at the front of the motor so in 240 models and in 740 and any of the Volvos that are a rear-wheel drive that's always going to be at the front of the car so you got number one, two, three, and four. Now talking about firing order that just means at what rate and in what water does the ignition system fire the ignition signal through there into here and then out of here into which cylinder at which time. So it's a little confusing you can look in your service manual for what the order, is as far as the theory behind why they fire in that order that's not something we're going to cover here it's a little more advanced but doesn't really matter for what we're talking about. So one important note on this when you're replacing these is make sure that you do note that firing order if you're going to pull all the spark plug wires off so you know in what order to put them back on. Now if you're not sure about that and you just want to be a little more careful just simply do one at a time you can pull the cap off put the new cap on and then just replace the wires one at a time on here or same thing if you're going to run new ignition wires just replace those one at a time and it won't be any big worry. 

 

The last thing I want to talk about on this car real quick is just going to be about these spark plug wires and the end zones. Now if you look at these they've got this little metal boot on them some of them are going to have a rubber boot but the idea is the same is just there to insulate it. On the inside where it interfaces with a spark plug, there are a couple different styles and spark plugs come a couple different ways and most of our plugs like mgk's are going to have a removable end so it can work with either style plug. When I say that I mean at the end the spark plug there's either enough nubbed or a threaded end and your wires are going to correspond with that.

Now moving on to one of the newer model cars like this which is a 1998 S70 on the P80 chassis as its called even though it's much different like I discussed it's still a lot of the same pieces. Now, something to consider that we talked about firing order in the other car same thing applies here and what number one, two, three, four, and five-cylinder is. The part that gets more interesting on these though, if you want to look down this way these engines are what's called transversely mounted front-wheel-drive orientation. The motor actually sits kind of sideways so that means that the front of the motor is the timing belt side which is on the passenger side of this model. So in this car number one cylinder is here, two, three, four, and five. So think about it that way, just think about the motor being turned 90 degrees that way. Beyond that though the basics are the same it is a few different pieces that are kind of undercover on this so you have to remove that top cover and sometimes you have to remove your upper engine pipe depending on what's on there to get to your spark plugs and to get to your wires and stuff.

If you look down here you'll see that the same pieces exist on this. You have the distributor cap here, you have the ignition rotor underneath it, and you have the spark plug wires coming off of it. On this one actually ends up being a little bit easier than on the 240 models because everything is labeled and keyed on the distributor cap. It has both the screwed onto the clips that make it a little easier and same goes for the ignition rotor it screws on. So it really just goes on kind of one way and if you look closely here this is where knowing the firing order and knowing the position of each cylinder comes in handy. Each one of these terminals is labeled with which number cylinder it goes to further make it a little easier when you get into these cars the spark plug wire sets come from Volvo and from Bougicord core the OEM manufacturer pre-loomed together. Everything's really close together makes it really darn easy to get everything in the right spot because it kind of only lays out one way because the links that they are. Still, if you're nervous or unsure don't forget to label them if you want to but on these cards, they made it a little more foolproof. 

So that's about it for the basic tune-up on these cars. Well, it's not a very difficult task it can be a little intimidating if you don't have the right knowledge. So this should help you get the basic idea of what's involved and what your next steps might be for you being the DIY guy doing this in your driveway or out of your garage. Like always it's very important when you're doing a repair or any kind of service work to have a good service manual to refer to. Things like firing order are going to be in there things, like procedure if you forget, or have questions or anything will be in there so it's very important. If you have any questions on service manual which one's right for your car or if you have questions on applications prices parts of all the pieces involved in these tune-ups you can always call us.

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