Junkyard Classics: The Volvo Alternator Hunt

Volvo 740

I found myself in need of a Volvo 240 series alternator and since I’m unwilling to pay retail for one this means a trip to the scrapyard. Even though the yard was pretty muddy due to melted snow hooking up a battery charger every night gets old mighty fast. The online inventory for this particular yard is a bit of crap shoot but they listed two 740s which, in theory, have the same alternator. When I arrived the yard actually had a few more Volvos but would any have the desired alternator?

Volvo 245 station wagon

The gold 740 at the top of the page was pretty complete except for a few bits of the trim and, of course, the alternator. The junkyard actually had a 240 series in the form of this 245 station wagon. The body was extremely nice on this one with no rust anywhere although the front fenders looked to have suffered a bit when someone removed the front end. Unfortunately the engine had been stripped of most of its accessories including the alternator. From what I gather they are a bit of trouble spot for these Volvos so tend to get harvested quickly.

1991 Volvo 940 Turbo 1

A 1991 Volvo 940 Turbo spotted in the distance looked promising but a closer look revealed that the whole engine and gearbox had been liberated. Perhaps an engine swap donor for someone’s normally aspired Volvo 240?

1991 Volvo 940 Turbo interior

The interior looked pretty decent if you could look past the rat’s nest of exposed wiring.

1991 Volvo 940 Turbo rear

The 940’s body was very solid looking with the exception of a dent on the rear passenger door. I was sorely tempted to snag those very nineties looking blade style rims for my car but one of them had a chip out of it and all the center caps were missing in action.

1987 Volvo 740

When all seemed lost I came across this rather plain looking 1987 Volvo 740. It was very complete but had some serious miles on it. Even brick like Volvos wear out eventually.

1987 Volvo 740 engine

Although the car itself was high mileage it had a shiny looking alternator and a brand new belt. Eureka! Due to its high mounted position the alternator was free within a handful of minutes. The internet sources I could find hadn’t been totally clear on alternator interchange but it looked identical to the 240 series one. Despite the very different mounting positions all the brackets were the same which was promising. There was enough left of the 245 wagon engine that I was able to roughly trial fit it before buying.

Volvo 740 Alternator

For forty dollars this alternator was much cheaper than a rebuilt or aftermarket new one. Exponentially cheaper than the massive amount a Volvo dealer wants for the same item.

240 Alternator

Comfortably in its new home (under the radiator hose in front the exhaust) fitting the alternator took much longer than removing it from the 740. Hopefully it lasts the life of the car although I’ll no doubt have another excuse to hit the junkyard soon enough.