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Volvo 240 Starting Problem

I have a 1989 Volvo 240 that has starting issues. Sometimes it starts right away and sometimes takes a long time or won’t start at all.

The starter is turning over and I’ve replaced the plugs, fuel pump relay, distributer cap and rotor. The gas isn’t “old” and once it does start it runs flawlessly. The problem occurs whether it’s cold or warm - you might drive for an hour and it won’t start 5 minutes later.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Fuel pump, ignition coil?

I need someone else’s inout - otherwise I’m on track to replace everything.

The first thing you need to do is take an old plug and plug a wire on it and ground the threaded end to the engine and have someone crank the engine when it is misbehaving. You need to know if the problem is lack of fuel or lack of spark.

Do you know if your car has ever had its crank position sensor replaced?
Also known as Engine Crank Angle Sensor, Engine Speed at Flywheel, or Ignition Impulse Sensor depending on which parts catalog you look at.

If it has not been replaced, it is about 10 years overdue, and I would replace that as preventative maintenance if nothing else.

Also clean the connections at the top of your coil.

Also, if the '89 has the main ignition fuse in a fuse holder atop the driver side fender, make sure the fuse holder connections are clean. Better yet, stop by a boat shop and get a waterproof fuse holder like Volvo should have used in the first place.

You say that you have replaced the fuel pump relay, but do you year the fuel pump spin up when you turn the key to On? If not, take a paper clip and short between the two fuel pump fuses (I think they are #4 and #6 but I am not sure about that, the fuse cover will tell you). If the jumper causes the fuel pump to spin and the car starts, and you have a known good fuel pump relay, the ignition module behind the passenger side outside kick panel is failing and is not providing a ground to the fuel pump relay. Rebuilt ignition modules are available from several sources, just be sure you get the correct one for your model year and transmission option. Look at the label on the existing module. If the problem is the module, and you are really handy, you can replicate the work of the failed circuit using junk parts off a Saab, but you need to know what you are doing because that circuit is there for safety reasons.