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Replace a Cambelt  and front engine Seals on your 240 series Volvo
(This was done on a 1988, 240GLT B230E)

240cambeltjob.jpg (57981 bytes)
Preparations are important.
A good working area !

Cam-belts or Timing-belts need to be replaced after a certain mileage, depending on model. For the 240 series that is every 36,000 miles or 60,000 kms. If you find that your engine is leaking oil, it may be prudent to replace the front seals (camshaft, intermediate and crankshaft) when you are at it, this may save work and cost at a later stage. You may also consider to replace the belt tensioner after 200,000kms and/or the waterpump.

Before you start this job, make sure that you check the Flametrap. If it's blocked, it was the cause of the oil leaks. Replace the flametrap at a cost of only US$0.50 from FCP Groton.

My B230E engine has been leaking oil lately after towing a heavy furniture trailer (next time I hire a truck) and I noticed to come from the crankshaft seal. (The end seal of the Transmission is leaking too, but that is a next project) All parts required; belt, seals and tensioner were ordered from FCP Groton, USA. Parts were delivered within 5 days, so that was excellent.

I always take my time to prepare this type of jobs and won't rush into it without doing some homework first. The internet is an excellent source of information and at the bottom of this page you can find a link to the Brickboard for additional information. When you have a spare car like me (1968 Volvo Amazon - actually, that is my main car) there is no need to rush this job. In some publications people boast "this job took me 3 hours to do" but it all depends on your technical knowledge, experience, tools available, work area and urgency to finish the job. My advice is take time and when not sure about part of the job, ask others, there are plenty of good Volvo Forums around.

Here is the description on how I did the job: 

  1. Put the front of the car on ramps or axle stands and handbrake on.
  2. Disconnect the Battery.
  3. Remove the cooling fan, pulley, 4 nuts and remove the fan shroud, two small screws
  4. Remove the alternator belts and A/C compressor or P/S belt and airfilter box.
  5. Remove top section of cambelt cover. 
  6. Using a 24mm spanner on the crankshaft bolt to turn the engine to TDC, the white dot on the cam sprocket will point to the mark on the cambelt cover at 12:00. 
  7. On automatics, you cannot lock the crankshaft while undoing the bolt on the crankshaft pulley and although there is a special Volvo crank holding tool available for around $40 at ipd and Swedish Engineering, there is an other way. Get under the car and remove the reinforcement bracket between engine and transmission, 6 bolts. This will expose the flywheel, now place a screwdriver between teeth of the flywheel and the bellhousing on one side of the bellhousing to lock the flywheel and the crankshaft. This allows you to loosen the crankshaft pulley bolt.
    Note: when it comes to tighten the bolt again, move the screwdriver to the other side of the bellhousing. 
  8. Remove the crank pulley, you may need a puller, I did !!!!
  9. If you are going to replace all three front engine seals, as I did, loosen the camshaft and intermediate sprocket bolts at this stage. This can be done with a strap wrench to hold the sprocket in place. However I have done this with the old cambelt in place and the "screwdriver in the flywheel trick" to lock the sprockets. Note: use the old cambelt also to tighten these bolts later.
    If you are not replacing any seals go to 22
  1. Loosen the nut on the belt tensioner and pull on the old belt to compress the spring so you can insert a nail in the hole of the shaft to take the pressure off the belt. See photo on the right

240cambelttensioner.jpg (34334 bytes)

  1. Remove cambelt and all three sprockets.
  2. Use a "Seal Pick" to pull out the old seals, you may have to drill two small holes in the seals to pull them out with the seal pick. Another way is to put a self tapping screw in the hole and pull the seal out with the screw. Be careful not to damage anything when drilling !
  3. Install the new seals. Clean up the areas first. You may like to use a special tool to insert or press the seals properly. Take all care not to damage the seal. Use plenty of oil or grease to lubricate the seal, especially where it goes over the shaft. The factory fitted seal is usually flush with the outer surface. It is recommended to fit the new seal 3mm deeper so that it contacts on a smooth, fresh surface.
  4. Install back of belt cover
  5. Install the cam sprocket and tighten the bolt by hand.
  6. Install the intermediate sprocket and tighten bolt by hand.
  7. Install the crankshaft back guideplate facing away from belt, then install the sprocket.
  1. Ensure that all sprockets are set to their marks, cam sprocket to 12:00, 
    intermediate to 3:00 and 
    crank sprocket to 12:00. 
    See image on the right, click to enlarge

240cambelttimingmarks.jpg (16059 bytes)
Timing Marks

  1. Install old cambelt in any position and release tensioner spring by removing the nail. Tighten the tensioner nut.
  2. Tighten the cam sprocket bolt to the required torque setting as per manual. 37 lbf-ft or 50 Nm. 
    Ensure belt doesn't slip.   See photo on the right.
  3. Tighten the intermediate sprocket bolt to the required torque setting as per manual. 37 lbf-ft or 50 Nm. Ensure belt doesn't slip. 

240cambeltjob2.jpg (63752 bytes)
Use of old Belt

  1. Loosen the tensioner nut. Pull on the old belt to compress the tensioner spring so you can insert the nail in the shaft hole again to take the pressure off the belt.
  2. Remove the old belt and install the new belt, ensure all sprockets are on their marks and belt marks line up with sprocket marks. Double line on belt should line up with crank mark. Start installing belt from crank sprocket and work upwards.
  3. Remove nail from tensioner to put the tension on the belt. Tighten the tensioner nut.
  4. Install front guideplate on crank sprocket facing away from belt.
  5. Install belt lower cover.
  6. Install crank pulley. Tighten the bolt to the required torque setting as per manual. 
    44 lbf-ft or 60 Nm. and turn an extra 60 degrees.
  7. Install upper belt cover.
  8. Remove screwdriver from flywheel and install reinforcement plate.
  9. Install fan, shroud, new auxiliary belts, airfilter box, etc.
  10. Disconnect HV coil, reconnect battery, turn engine over on startmotor 2 times and loosen the tensioner nut 1 turn, through the hole in the belt cover (remove rubber plug). so tensioner spring can stretch timing belt. Re-tighten nut to normal settings. Reconnect HV coil.
  11. Start engine and warm up for 5 minutes. Repeat this re-tensioning of the belt and install rubber plug in cover.
  12. Repeat this re-tensioning of the belt after approximately 600 miles (1000 km) because the belt will stretch a little.

Note: After running the engine on a new cambelt, the marks won't line up again, don't worry the belt hasn't slipped, this because of the different diameters of the sprockets.

Jim Hekker


Brickboard FAQ - very detailed information, questions and answers about cambelt and seal replacement on B23/B230 engines 1999 - 2016