Oct 122012
 
Left Front

Volvo 240 Build underway!

Project:

1980 Volvo 240 DL   2 door
230,000 miles
2.3L  with K-Jet  - mechanical fuel injection
4 speed manual with electric overdrive
4 wheel disc brakes
14″ wheels
$200 Cash

     Phase 1:  June 2012

Get stock engine running and if possible drivable.  The car had been sitting for approximately 10 years when I picked it up.

Left FrontRight FrontMileage

So, after getting the car home I got the power washer out and started cleaning things up.

There was decades of grease and oil from a leaky engine and the car looked like the previous owner hauled hay for a farm in it.

I found that the engine wiring harness had dozens of wires that the insulation was crumbling away from (common problem for Volvo).  So my next step was to start sorting out all of the wiring.

 

Once the wiring was repaired ( I made a new harness to replace the factory one), I was able to figure out that the fuel pumps were not working.

As it turned out, the in tank pump was bad and need to be replaced ($30.00).

The Main (high pressure) pump was just gummed up from years of sitting with fuel in it.  I was able to clean it up and get it running again.

Drain and cleaned fuel tank.

New Fuel filter. ($15.00)

New Spark plugs ($4.50)

Used battery installed

After all that – the engine would crank and if I sprayed some starter fluid in the intake, it would run for a few seconds.

Checked the fuel pressure – Still Nothing.

This required removing the intake manifold to get to the fuel distribution block. So, I pulled the injectors and soaked them in Sea Foam while I attempted to clean and rebuild the distribution block.

A new intake manifold gasket ($12.00) and about 12 hours of soaking parts.

The engine will start and if you keep it floored, it kind of runs.  Smokes like hell though.  After driving it around the driveway and having to restart it a half dozen times I decided I wanted a better injection system.

 

 

 

      Phase 2:  September 2012

I have been throwing around the idea of changing out the injection system for a electronic fuel injection system, 5.3L GM engine swap, turbos or a Volvo 5 cylinder engine swap.  I finally decided to go with a Volvo 6 cylinder engine with twin turbos.  The engine I picked is known as a White Block inline T6 (B6284T) which is a 2.8 liter twin turbo from a 1999 Volvo S80.

T-6 Engine

T-6 Engine

 

 Follow this project at: Volvo Build

Mar 122012
 

THE PLAN

I’ve been thinking about what the topic should be for this month’s article, and I’ve kicked around several ideas for stories I could tell about the different builds I’ve done. I could write down any one of my many experiences as a car builder,

Daily Driver / Factory Correct Restoration?

Daily Driver / Factory Correct Restoration?

 

throw in some humor or, maybe a little drama, and you might read it once, and think, “well, that was a neat story,” and that would be the end of it. Nothing wrong with that.

However, I thought it might be more interesting to start a series of articles that span a time period of multiple weeks or months and cover the different problems with, and methods for building a vehicle. The idea would be to canvass the build process with generalized information applicable to any restoration, and add some detailed articles on specific parts of a build, concluding with the issues involved in finishing up and getting the vehicle on the road or track.

The best place to begin with any project is to make a plan. Before the first turn of the wrench or the first spark from the grinder, you should establish a solid plan by asking yourself some crucial questions. Start by figuring out the answers to the following questions.

  1. What do you want from your vehicle? Do you want a street car that you can race or a race car that goes out on the street? Do you want a factory correct restoration, a rock crawler, etc? The time to decide is before you start!
  2. What vehicle will you purchase? Be very sure you have answered question #1 before deciding on a vehicle. For instance, if you have a 1969 GMC Pickup in your shop and you really want a road racer, you probably don’t have the right vehicle. It may be better to sell the truck and buy a Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, or any number of imports. Conversely, if you have a ’69 Charger that you are driving to work everyday, and you want a factory correct restoration,
    you may need to rethink your commute because I see you being late a lot!! Also, keep your level of skill in mind. Don’t save money buying a rust bucket because it’s cheap if you don’t know how to
    weld or do body work. Take the time to find the right car, truck, motorcycle or wagon that truly fits your plan. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Chevy, VW and Ford probably have the most parts available from the aftermarket. A Helica or Tucker are going to take a lot of looking. If you choose an obscure project vehicle, you are going to spend great amounts of time looking for obscure parts, not to mention the money it will take to purchase or refurbish those obscure parts. If you have the time and the money – go for it! If not, you should probably rethink.
  3. If you’ve already got the vehicle, have you assessed its condition to determine the level of restoration needed?
    1922 Helica – Only known running Helica – Owned by Jean Francois Bouzanquet of Paris – Photo by Photo France
  4. What is your budget? How much can you spend – TOTAL?
    WRITE IT DOWN! This isn’t Congress, so don’t plan to spend what you don’t have!
  5. How much time do you have to invest; weekly, monthly, yearly? Estimate the time you think your build will take … then TRIPLE it!
  6. Do you have the space to garage your project, or are you renting, or even borrowing? If you are renting space, be sure to subtract the cost from your total budget amount. If you are borrowing space, be sure to discuss with the owner how long you will need the space. Be Honest! There is nothing worse than being half done and in bare metal when you get kicked out into the rain!
  7. Have you had a rendering of your project created? If you are going with a factory correct restoration you could skip this step, but I like to have a rendering as it is a visual of my ultimate goal. It also allows you to play with
    colors, wheels, modifications and so many other options. If you are not artistically inclined (like me), there are many artists available to do the rendering for you.

Lots of potential! - If you can handle the rust repair

 

This is probably a good stopping place for now, since I’ve given you so much homework to do. Obviously, this is the least enjoyable step in the build process, but this is the best way to foresee and prevent costly mistakes, which may save you enough that you’ll be able to afford the leather rather than the vinyl interior! Now, go to work!

 

Oct 232011
 
Bench build - NO

I like “Bench Building”; which, much like “Bench Racing”, is a time honored method to waste hours of time and has nothing to do with building benches or anything else useful. 

For those of you that have not been initiated, Bench Racing and Building are all about laying down the tools, picking up your favorite adult beverage and day dreaming,  preferably in your shop with a few friends, the smell of gasoline, burnt clutch, and Orange scented hand-cleaner filling your nostrils.  By the way why do all hand-cleaners smell like oranges?  But I digress.

The act of Bench Racing involves leaning back against your work bench and ruminating on how fast you were, could have been or will be.  Still unsure?   It’s the fish that got away.  It’s the dog fight demonstration with the fighter pilot “shooting his watch”, or the 12 point deer that you are sure you hit – “the blood trail must be around here somewhere!”

I like to dream up some rather unlikely car and drive train combinations and see how far I can get in the design process before I decide I must just be completely crazy.  Bench build - NO

Now many of you know I work for an airline and I drive 172 miles one way to work each week to Albuquerque or if I have an odd trip for the week I drive all the way to Phoenix, AZ (about 425 miles each way).  That works out to about 3 hrs for the short trip and 6.5 hours for the long one, spent in my hoopie car. (I don’t know where the name came from, but every small car my family ever owned got that name – on lives the tradition!)  All that time spent on the highway lead me to decide that I need a good, comfortable, smooth running, smoothing driving car with reasonable fuel mileage.

Can you hear my cranial wheels turning? – Bench Building time! 

Currently, I drive a 2006 Nissan Sentra. (BECAUSE IT IS GOOD ON GAS!  SO LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY!)  It is getting a little worn out, and I am getting tired of driving a roller skate.  I would like a little more space and a smooth ride that can also hold its own on an on-ramp. 

With that criteria in mind, I bought a 1981 Volvo 242. The purchase of this particular car was partly influenced by nostalgia.  I had a 244 in high school and part of college, and have always missed it. (Difference is 2 vs. 4 doors)  It was a GREAT highway car. 

Volvo-242-TurboMy “new” Volvo will need a few things; a new Ford Coyote V8, 6 speed trans., and a full up air bag suspension for the smooth ride and the ability to carve corners.  A little paint and interior, sound system, Nav, and – well you get the idea.

In the meantime, a good friend of my suggested I buy his Town car and just drive it.  He maintains it meticulously and hey it only has 150,000 miles on it so it should be good to go.  Of course, we all know nothing stock is EVER “Good to Go”.   As my mind wonders about the possibilities with the Town car I remember that I have a set of turbos I bought (cause I couldn’t live without them), and they would fit real nice under the hood of my new cruiser.   You know 8 psi, twins, intercooler should be up and running in like a week – Right?

Wait. I already have the Volvo – Town car is out.  So, I start thinking – (yes, there was smoke) what if I pick up a C4 Corvette (No, not to drive)? Would the 242 body fit? As it turns out, they almost fit, which is close enough to send me off on another tangent.  I could flair the fenders like Volvo did in the 80′s for their racing teams and shorten the C4 frame and WALA.   Presto! Magico! –  I have a real corner carver! 

But wait!  You know what would be even better?!  I know where I could get an early (small body) International Scout!  I bet that would fit the C4 almost exactly.  How cool would that be?  A Scout that can go fast and turn?       

ScoutRRRRRRRRTTTTT (sound of brakes)

 I am not driving an old Scout (Corvette underneath or not) to and from PHX or ABQ every week!

Back to the Volvo.

Last weekend, my Dad comes for a visit; and, while he won’t build a car himself, he does like Bench Building with me.  “A Scout” he says. “Son, we had one when you were little. Can you really get one cheap?  UNOE (“You Know” for those without the southern accent) with a good straight 6 engine and a 4 speed transmission with a granny gear and maybe a Gear Vendors overdrive unit, that would be fun up in the Mountains.”  So I reply, Well Dad, yes, I can get the truck and UNOE (I regress when we are together) I have the original engine out of the Impala.  It ran great before I pulled it and I think I have a 700r4 trans., which, with the use of an adapter kit would fit.  Then we wouldn’t need to deal with clutch linkage or an external overdrive. “ – “ How long to build it?”, Dad asks.  “Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe a month or two.” (read a year or two, nothing for Me ever gets done in a timely manner)  “How much would it cost?”  

 Thanks Dad – Way to ruin a perfectly good Bench Building session.   Reality – who needs it?

Where is all this going you ask?  I don’t know.  I am just daydreaming and spewing my thoughts out on to this keyboard.

The upshot of all this is – if you try enough scenarios you will eventually come up with at least one you really like. Then, you should get out there and build it.  You only live once.  To have a great life, you should work hard, be the friend that you would want to have, love like it all ends tomorrow and, most of all Enjoy it!  Build it!

So let’s hear your ideas.  What Benches are you Building?

 

~  Jeff