Volvo 240 Door Handle Repairs
Here is another page on door handles. What you see above is a
left rear handle that has sunken in and its shape has become bowed
toward an hourglass form. There are many possible problems with
240 door handles, but this is a common one caught before the handle
needs to be entirely replaced. In this series I will illustrate a
repair of the door handle return stop and its adjustment,
covering disassembly and reassembly. The example here is a rear
door, but the differences between this and a front door are few.
Remove the door panel
a front or rear door the armrest, unlock knob, and window control must
out the buttons covering the armrest screws and remove them.
There are three on a front door armrest; two on a rear. They will
be Phillips head in the older 240s and I found Torx T-25 to work on
this '91. On the front door armrest, the final attachment is a
keyed pin. With the screws removed and any window switches
separated from the armrest, rotate the armrest so it points straight up
to align the tabs on the keyed pin and wiggle it free.
With power windows, slide the switch assembly out of the slot in the
armrest. The driver's front switch module will fit through the
panel without disconnecting the plugs, but I found the rear door panel
was more comfortable with having the switch unplugged.
Manual window cranks are removed by pulling the plastic trim from the
crank handle and removing the retaining screw. Notice the plastic
glide washer has nubs that face the door panel material.
Fingers are all that is necessary to separate the panel from the
door. Care taken at this stage will keep the door panel from
ripping out where the fastener snaps attach. Experience helps,
but if you feel for the buttons and get your fingers directly behind
them, they should come out with the panel and not be left in the
door. Unsnap from the bottom up, paying attention to the last two
near the top on both sides. Carefully reach behind and disconnect
the speaker wires. Feed the window switch wires into the door
cavity. With all the buttons released grasp the edges near the
top and lift straight up to disengage the upper tabs under the window
scraper. Lift over the door lock and set aside.
You may find (should find) a vapor barrier made of kraft paper or sheet
plastic. The bottom of it should tuck inside the door
cavity. Remove this carefully from the the area of the door
handle and pay attention to where it is taped and sealed for
Remove the door handle
the panel removed the back side of the door handle is
visible. It is fastened with two screws, either Phillips or as on
the '91, Torx T27. Remove the handle screws and go around to the
outside of the door and lift out the handle.
Repair the handle
With the handle out, many problems may become apparent. The
mechanism can have obvious wear, loose rivets and pins, and bent
pieces. If the handle was usable before doing the repair, most
problems can be fixed by reforming bent parts, re-staking rivets and
pins, and dressing mushroomed wear surfaces with a file or wheel.
The hourglass shape to the cast body is a common problem if left to
worsen will make the handle bind and stick. I've been able to
knock them back in shape with a hammer and block of wood while held
end-wise in a vise. Be careful with this pot metal.
If the handle is beyond repair, there are many good ones in the salvage
yards. They are either right side or left. Front and rear
makes no difference. The common-sense thinking is rear door
handles might be in better shape.
The return stop is commonly broken. Either the pin breaks off or
the ear of the casting goes with it. Fortunately there is a hole
on the opposite side of the handle casting where a second pin can be
added. The hole was .157 which is ideal for a 10-32 machine screw
tap, so that is what replaced the stop pin. The orginal pin,
staked in place, was covered with rubber, so slide a piece of vacuum
hose over the repaired pin.
The flat black paint is easy to touch up, and a good cleaning of the
gasket surround makes it look like new. Now add some white
lithium grease to the moving parts.
Adjust the linkage
Misadjustment of the linkage can cause the premature wear of the
handle. The stop pin will be stressed if the linkage is too
tight. Too loose, and handle will wear and stretch from being
overextended. I think of it like a clutch adjustment. The
small spring visible at the top of the linkage is like the clutch pedal
spring. Disconnect that spring and test the free play before the
handle engages the latch release. Compare it with the free play
of the inside handle. The larger spring inside the latch
equates to the heavy spring in a clutch's pressure plate.
Allowing that to act against the handle stop will cause it to
fail. Using the bottom of the linkage, I gauged the free play to
be about 1/8 inch. Tighten the screw firmly and reconnect the
Re-install the door panel
are two things that deserve a mention in reassembling the door
panel. First, when hanging it on the door lock, press the scraper
close to the window to be sure the reinforced tabs in the panel engage
the door tabs. Second, take the time to feel each panel fastener
mate with the holes in the door, especially the first couple at the
Don't forget to reconnect the speaker leads and window wiring.
Hmmm, why did I have to mention that...