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So you want to T5 a 240 - The guide on what you need to know

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Old Feb 18th, 2014, 20:56   #1
No I'm not the redhead
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Last Online: Jul 7th, 2020 14:50
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: North Yorkshire Coast
Default So you want to T5 a 240 - The guide on what you need to know


So, you decided that you need the 5 cylinder rumble in your life and that the old tractor engine of a redblock no longer satisfies you. You want an all aluminium, DOHC, turbo chick magnet? Well you've come to the right place. But first, a speedy run down on what exactly a Whiteblock is:


The Whiteblock series of engines is the next generation Volvo powerplant after the tried and true SOHC redblock. The engines aren't really white, more like cast aluminium silver. I'm not sure why they are called Whiteblocks, maybe the name just sounded cool.

The Whiteblock was designed as a modular inline engine in four, five, and six cylinder versions which could all be machined on a common production line to save time and money. Things like water pumps, oil pumps, valvetrain components, ancillaries, pistons and rods are all common to many different types of whiteblocks. Volvos typical engine codename procedure carries over to the new whiteblocks with one twist. The first digit of the engine code designates the number of cylinders of the engine. For example, the B5254T (found in the S60R/V70R) is a gasoline powered five cylinder with 2.5l of displacement and 4 valves per cylinder.

-- Mark Twain

The main focus of this guide will be the 5 cylinder, as it is the most common but the same rules apply for the 6 cylinder T6 variants in many cases. Five cylinder whiteblocks come in all sorts of configurations, anywhere from 2.0l to 2.5l in displacement with power output anywhere from 126hp to 300hp. The most common high performance Whiteblock we are interested in is either the 225hp 850 Turbo engine (B5234T) or the 240hp S70 T5 powerplant (B5234T5). They are quite common, provide a healthy power increase over even a modified turbo redblock, and respond well to modifications.

Disclaimer: Even though I am trying to be as comprehensive as possible, there's no way to cover all the bases of this swap in a single article but this should get you well on the way to starting your own journey into Whiteblock ownership. Another critical factor here is that you cannot, repeat cannot, get through this swap without doing some welding and metal fabrication. If you're not equipped for this then I recommend you either keep it redblock or find someone with the skills.


You'll need an engine, preferably as complete as possible. That is to say, with accessories, manifolds, turbo, and maybe even ECU and harness. I recommend you find something from a 94-97 850 T5. Basically, anything older than '99 will be your best bet when keeping it simple, since they don't come with VVT or e-throttles. The 97-98 S70 T5 is also a possible choice, but going with this motor may cause some issues with engine mounts (see the motor mount section).


This is where the first of two high-dollar decisions is going to get made. The first choice to make is if you want an automatic or manual transmission.


This is the cheapest and easiest choice. Nine times out of ten, the motor you just bought will have come stock with an automatic, so you're already setup in terms of torque converter and flex plate. Just pull a transmission out of any Whiteblock 960 and bolt it up. The electronics are trickier, but theoretically, all the 850 hardware should plug right in and work plug and play. This is unconfirmed though.


The easiest manual alternative is the Whiteblock M90 since it bolts up (The redblock does not!). It's a 5-speed transmission that came in 2.5 24v 960s. You MUST get the starter motor bracket with it or you're knackered. They're un-obtainable from Volvo and a pretty crucial piece to the jigsaw. Its easiest to use a 240 manual gearbox crossmember and rubber mounting which might need slight re-location within the crossmember depending on how your engine is mounted. The gear lever arms will need shortening to fit inside the standard 240 tunnel and a small bracket to hold the lever in place at the back of the tunnel will need to be made. The stock 240 reverse light wiring will fit straight onto the M90.

Nothing stops you using the Borg-Warner T5 gearbox or a Getrag unit from a BMW. They will need adaptor plates for the bellhousing though and additional work.


I recommend going with a single-mass flywheel from a manual Whiteblock car. I don't know when they swapped from single mass to dual mass but the single is far more reliable..

If you went with the M90, then finding a pressure plate and clutch disc is as simple as buying an 850R clutch kit which will set you back about 280 from Volvo direct but its a good upgrade over the stock T5 clutch. You'll need to add a 4mm spacer behind the pivot ball inside the bellhousing otherwise the clutch will be super low and it'll make the car almost undriveable.


No matter what transmission you choose, a custom propshaft will be required. I had my old 240 unit lengthened and balanced by Dunning & Fairbank in Leeds for roughly 80+VAT.

-Engine mounts

If you're using any flavour of 850 motor, 960 upper mounts will bolt on. These will greatly simplify hanging the engine. The mounting bosses are already present on the block and three out of the four holes on each side are threaded. If you are not comfortable drilling into your engine block, it is not absolutely necessary to tap those two holes - the mounts will hold fine with just three proper bolts. If you choose to tap the holes, they already have pilot holes drilled and need to be tapped to M8x1.25 thread. If you instead opted for an S70 motor, you may have issues with the drivers side mount, in which case you can add a plate onto it to pick up another hole in the lower black that you'll need to tap.. If you are building custom upper mounts then this is a moot point, but it's critically important if you're looking to cut down on fabrication work.

Lower mounts need to be fabricated. In the past Homer on Turbobricks did do a small run of bolt on kits but I unsure of these ever being made again. A couple of other ideas are pictured below. For engine mount rubbers its easier to use a pair of the taller 240 rubbers as they are easily available and fit the 960 mounts. Hanging the engine in this fashion will provide a very stable mount. You can easily get away with using the cheapest 240 rubber mounts. Polyurethane versions are completely unnecessary.

It's important to note that since a Whiteblock is normally mounted to tilt 11 degrees toward the drivers side, 960 mounts will offset that and provide perfectly horizontal mounting surfaces.


Its worth nothing here that the stock 240 Anti roll bar will not fit. It'll foul the front edge of the sump so you need a 260 V6 anti roll bar.

-Oiling system

This is one of the trickiest parts of the entire swap. The stock oil pan from a five cylinder mounted in a FWD configuration will absolutely not clear the crossmember in a 240. It is simply too thick - the sump stretches the entire length of the pan. The 960 however, does have a perfect oil pan with a generous relief for the crossmember and a nice and large rear sump. The 960 is equipped with a six cylinder Whiteblock, so the cast aluminium pan needs to be cut, shortened and welded back together in order to fit the shorter five cylinder. Here's a photo of a shortened 960 pan next to an untouched one.

The pan halves should ideally be jigged to a 5 cylinder block girdle before welding, but securely clamping it to a flat surface like a chassis table is also acceptable. In any case, the mounting surface should be machined flat before installation. The added expense of doing it right the first time is absolutely critical if you want to avoid headaches in the future.

Use a 960 oil filter housing for ease here. It'll bolt straight up and clear the V6 anti roll bar with no issues.

The 960 pickup tube will also need to be shortened to fit the shortened pan.

A 960 dip stick and dip stick tube are required to properly read the oil level.

-Cooling system

The main problem here is the steel tube that connects to the input of the water pump and provides several barbed connections to the radiator, heater core, turbo, and overflow tank. The 850 transfer tube has the radiator return passing under the exhaust manifold and exiting by the firewall, which makes it completely unsuitable. The 960 version can be used, but still requires modification to fit, as it hits the upper engine mount, its too long and is missing a couple of outlets.

This is simply a case of using both an 850 pipe and a 960 pipe to fabricate up something that works for you. Everyone's solution I've seen was different in their own way so there is no set way to do it. I used the front half of a 850 pipe with the shortened rear section of a 960 pipe.

A few 90 degree brass elbows and some heater hose allow for a tight but problem free heater core hook up.

A "low and wide" 940 radiator is the easiest adaption here. It slots into the 240 radiator slots after the plastic feet are removed from the radiator and it even bolts up on the 240 radiator bracket. 960 radiator hoses line up with it but you may need to lengthen the hoses or do88 do a silicone hose kit for a 940 T5 conversion but its the same hoses for the 240 conversion. A 940/960 electric fan setup will fit straight onto the radiator.

Intercooler. A large universal eBay item does the job. The large intercooler from Autosiliconehoses fits fine in front of the radiator with some brackets and if needed, the lower front plastic valance holes for cooling can be enlarged to increase flow.

The stock T5 water temp sensor will control the ECU without issue but you still need a second sensor for your temp gauge in the car. Either machine one into the block or the easiest way is to tap a thermostat housing for the 240 sensor and wire this in.


If you buy a five cylinder built after '99 you already have this intake manifold, so you're mostly in the clear. For everyone else, the early five cylinders had a dual runner length intake which 1) is absolutely massive and adds some unneeded weight, 2) doesn't really work that well, and 3) effectively places the throttle body inside the firewall. With the throttle body removed, the throttle body flange on the intake manifold lands about 1" from the firewall. Some people have fixed this by welding the hole shut and making a new one on the opposite side. Most of us don't have the resources to do this, so it is easier to get the newer intake manifold from an ME7 car which places the throttle body underneath the runners. The issue (because there's always an issue) with the newer manifold is that it comes on cars with electronic throttles so your throttle body probably wont fit on so no bolt-on hook up for a cable spool exists. I used a 960 Throttle body as its a good upgrade but it does require a spacer block to sit on the manifold and the inside posting slightly to let the butterfly operate freely. I cant really comment on how I got round this as I delivered a manifold and selection of cable spools to my fabricator friend who made something that worked.

If you are using PAS then you'll need to chop the front edge off and weld a plate on it. This allows clearance for the PAS lines.

If you're just going with the stock turbo, then the stock exhaust manifold will work fine. It's not the greatest performer and the firewall clearance is tight, but it works. Since the turbo is effectively pointing 'backwards' from the factory, some minor drilling is required to allow the turbo to be flipped around. Unthread the two studs from the turbine housing's flange and drill out the threads so a bolt can pass through. That should allow you to "clock" the turbo slightly so the intercooler pipe points in a nice direction. A bracket will need to be made to hold the actuator in place.


The intake side 960 motor mount interferes with the 850 crankcase breather box. The top side of the mount has to be notched a little bit. 5 minutes with a cut off wheel solves this. Either keep the PCV or ditch it and vent to a catch tank to atmosphere. Its up to you.

-Power steering

Really simple. A stock 850 PAS pump will be fine and the 240 pipes hook up to this.


Keep it simple. Throw away the stock pumps, both in-tank and external. They aren't up to the job and its far easier to fit a single decent in-tank pump. Something such as a AEM 320LPH unit will flow far more than you ever need and its quite simple to fit into the stock in-tank assembly.


This is the 2nd high dollar decision. You have many different options for actually getting the engine running but here are a few examples to consider.

-Stock Management

This is a good choice if you cant stretch on cost to an aftermarket system. The issues are getting the wiring right and solving the distributor problem. Wiring is pretty straight forward, but requires a lot of work. Find yourself some 850 wiring diagrams, some 240 wiring diagrams, and get ready for fun times.

The distributor on an 850 is mounted on the back of the head and is driven by the intake cam. As you may have guessed, this creates some serious clearance problems with the 240's firewall. Your options are to either make a big-ass notch in the firewall, move the distributor to the front of the engine or ditch the stock management. Moving it to the front of the engine requires you to make some sort of mounting bracket that will allow the distributor to float in front of the intake cam gear. This has the added effect of making the rotor move backwards through it's rotation, so the plug wires will need to be installed in reverse order but it does look rather ugly.

If you're using an ECU originally from an automatic transmission equipped 850/S70, then ditching the transmission computer entirely will not cause any major problems. The older Motronic versions (pre-99) will simply throw a code/CEL and deactivate the boost control solenoid. Adding a manual boost controller will get you back up to speed. Companies who offer chip tuning services can also 'convert' the ECU to a manual transmission version when they add their performance maps.


Running a 5 cylinder with coil on plug is about as complicated as you're likely to get with Megasquirt. It requires a modified cam trigger and some fancy pants trigger settings. A very important fact that has yet to be added to the thread is you can't use the 4-pin ignition coils with Megasquirt. They cause constant resets and general mayhem. Switching over to two-pin 960 coils with external igniters is your best bet.


This seems to be the system of choice as a few people on Turbobricks are running it. Hardware wise it is extremely capable, but the software is confusing and the documentation is even worse. It would be best asking on Turbobricks about this one.


This is the system that Chesh is running on his 750R.


I know the most about this one as this was my choice. On the positive side of it, they are UK based and all products are made in-house. Being in the UK they are handy to phone if you get any questions but on the downside their wiring diagrams are very vague and not easy to read at all.


Any decent system can be used but you need to make sure it supports all the bits you need. Such as 5 cylinders. A few systems only support 4 or 6 cylinders which would be no good.

-Summary Shopping list

This section is intended to be a quick check list of the necessary bits you need from other cars. The easiest option is to buy a 850/S70/V70 T5 and a Volvo 960 (ideally with manual gearbox) to raid for parts but that's not always realistic so you need the following parts for the conversion irrelevant on which transmission you choose. (other parts not listed like starter motors, fuel rails, turbos are also needed but Im not going to list every single item that's common sense...just the main conversion parts)

T5 Engine
T5 Water rail
Coilpacks (any post-99 Whiteblock car will have these. You'll need 5 and a good length of loom with the connectors to help wire them in)
T5 Single mass flywheel
850 engine bay loom (handy for chopping lengths of loom off to join into as it saves on making new connectors)
S70/C70/V70 ME7 inlet manifold
960 Sump & pickup pipe
960 Dipstick & tube
960 Oil filter housing
960 Water rail
960 3" Throttle body (be rude not to upgrade)
960 Engine mounts
960 Radiator coolant hoses
960 Electric fan
260 V6 Anti roll bar (Whiteline sell 24mm versions of these)
Throttle cable spools. Its handy to have a few to choose from to help work a solution out. A 240, 960 and 850 one will give you enough parts to think of a solution.

Now you're ready to go. Scrapyards can provide a huge selection of the parts you need and above all else. Don't be afraid to give it a go.

Original article from Turbobricks Karl Bucha - adapted with my own info and experiences. Original thread here:

Edit: Link to thread
1988 Volvo 240 GLT T5

Swap a T5 motor into your RWD Volvo:The Guide

Last edited by cumbrianmale; Feb 18th, 2014 at 21:02. Reason: link back to thread
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