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Wiring Harness Repair Volvo 240 Wagon Tailgate Chomped My Wires

240 DL Wagon Wiring HarnessA common problem on 240 estates (wagons) is breakdown of the wiring to the rear lights and heated rear screen due to bad design. The wiring runs around the hinge on the tailgate and eventually wears through.

This is a clear, easy to follow write-up on how to repair/replace the wiring if it does happen to you.

“I found the wiring harness for the gate at IPD, but opted to perform the repair myself without the harness. The connectors were still in place, so I just cut the wires in the appropriate places and patched them with new wire.

I figured I would have to run the new electric wire through the hinges and behind the tailgate with the assistance of a long, thin piece of non-electric wire. This worked to some degree, though it was rather difficult getting everything through. It took a couple of hours, but eventually I managed to get the upper/center brake light and the defrost wires through. On test, however, I was having some problems: the brake light didn’t work, and the defrost only seemed to work by way of a voltmeter. The dash lit up like a Christmas tree when stepping on the brake. I knew that some of the wire had gotten torn in the process, and knew that I was going about things the wrong way. I tested the upper/center brake light bulb at the chassis of the car not directly connected to the tailgate, and saw that it lit up. I knew I had a ground problem.

A couple of days ago, I was impatiently trying to get the torn wires out of the tailgate hinge and in the process had torn one wire that was larger than the rest. Experience and common sense told me that this was a ground wire, but I could not find it coming out anywhere either in the tailgate or the rest of the chassis. I broke down and finally decided to remove the tailgate and hinges to inspect what had happened to that wire.”

The back gate chomped my wires

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This is fine if a) you’re only running one or two wires through, and b) if the ground wire running across the hinge gap is not spliced.

If it is, you’ll have to remove the tailgate and hinge(s) to repair the wire or simply replace the hinges.

Also, it’s much easier to run four wires through the hinge and tailgate when they’re not connected to the rest of the car.

However, even if only one or two wires are spliced, and the rest of the wires remain intact, you’re better off removing the hinges and tailgate because a) four gauge 16 wires and one gauge 10 wire in the hinge provide very little space for maneuvering, b) you don’t want to risk damaging the existing wires with whatever you are using to pull the new wires through (such as a guitar string), and c) you don’t want to damage any of the wires with tools such as needle-nosed pliers when attempting to remove the old, damaged wire.

In short, removing the tailgate and hinges is not a difficult job. In all probability, doing so will probably save you time, money and patience if you decide to perform this wiring repair.

Jim McKenna says:

240 tailgate wiring. I ‘re-wired’ the tailgate through the hinge by pulling the wires individually through the hinge, using a wound guitar string looped onto the wire and pulled through using the hook on a Swiss Army knife. I fed the wires down the side of the window and connected up to the relevant posts. Worked fine. Wish I still had that car.

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