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unevolved SuperDork
8/20/16 10:54 a.m.

About 4 months ago, I sold our '86 Comanche, and ever since I've been without a project car. It's been killing me, only having two responsible vehicles (both mid-2000s Toyota SUVs). Every night, almost, I'd pour a tumbler of whiskey and browse Craigslist, the $20XX Challenge forum, and anywhere else randomly searching for a project. I thought I might want another Miata or E30, or anything interesting, really.

Earlier this week, I found this 1965 Volvo Amazon sedan on Craigslist, listed for $600.

Went by and looked at it after work, and it was more or less exactly as described. The only real problem areas are the rear panel under the trunk lid, the spare tire well, and some rust by the battery tray.

The interior is about what you'd expect for a 51 year old neglected car. It's mostly there, if you use the term "there" very loosely.

No idea how many times this odometer has turned over.

Today's goal is going to be to determine if the engine is seized or not. If it is, I'll start figuring out what's going in it's place. If it's not, then whoo! Party time, and we try and get it running.

It's got a pair of SU carbs, and the intake manifold is in a box. It's actually got a brand-new fuel tank in a box in the trunk, so that'll be easily addressed.

When I went to look at it a second time, I saw the spare tire well had been rusted through over the years. I think it had been sitting outside for the past 20 years or so without moving, and it just filled with water. I saw you can still buy replacement panels for those, so I wasn't scared off. It did allow me to talk the seller down to $500, though! The guy that had it was a tow truck driver, and since it was only 20 minutes away agreed to drop it off at my house for free. It just showed up this morning.

I'm so excited for this little thing. Hopefully I'll be able to breathe life back into the little B18D. It doesn't really appear abused, just neglected. I'll definitely be leaning on this forum to help me figure this thing out!

Brian MegaDork
8/20/16 11:10 a.m.

Nice score and good luck. I always read Amazon sedan as amazing Spider-Man

car39 HalfDork
8/20/16 11:47 a.m.

Accessory shift knob!

Streetwiseguy PowerDork
8/20/16 12:12 p.m.

You will want to get to know these guys. I have used them a few times, always good parts, good service. I was referred to them by a guy at IPD, since they don't do much with the older cars anymore.


unevolved SuperDork
8/20/16 12:15 p.m.
car39 wrote: Accessory shift knob!

Say what? Is it something special?

Streetwiseguy wrote: You will want to get to know these guys. I have used them a few times, always good parts, good service. http://www.vp-autoparts.com/main.aspx?guest=yes

I found those guys last week, that's part of the reason I bought this car. Gave me the confidence I wouldn't have to make everything from scratch to fix this.

unevolved SuperDork
8/20/16 3:35 p.m.

So, first things first, time to find out what condition the engine is in.

Pulled the radiator out and tried to turn it over by hand. Even with a breaker bar, that's not happening. So, off comes the head.

Pistons appear to be relatively healthy, but otherwise immobile.

The valves... less so.

Cylinder #3's exhaust valve has a nice little chunk missing. I'm willing to bet that contributed to the car getting parked however many years ago.

The head's stripped, with everything bagged and tagged.

Pistons are soaking in PB blaster. #3 drains down within about 10 minutes, while the other ones will sit there for much longer. Not sure exactly what that means.

Time to look for rebuild parts, I think. Current plan is get the bottom end un-seized, rebuild the head, and do a compression test. I found it interesting this head doesn't have valve stem seals.

Vigo PowerDork
8/20/16 4:07 p.m.

Moving right along! Cool project! Looks like the PO had some other interesting stuff sitting around too. I like finding those people.

Fitzauto Dork
8/20/16 4:22 p.m.

Thats a badass car! Got a great deal on it too

Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/20/16 4:24 p.m.

Cool car hope you get it going with the engine already in it

unevolved SuperDork
8/20/16 5:28 p.m.

Thanks guys. If I keep it under Challenge dollars, I may make the drive next year and enter just for E36 M3s and giggles.

Now to find some not-broke internals...

alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/20/16 7:00 p.m.

Very cool. For sure watching this one.

Nick (picaso) Comstock
Nick (picaso) Comstock UltimaDork
8/20/16 7:28 p.m.
unevolved wrote:
car39 wrote: Accessory shift knob!
Say what? Is it something special?

I don't know but it reminds me of a song.

"Me an' Earl was haulin' chickens on a flatbed out of Wiggins, and we'd spent all night on the uphill side of thirty-seven miles of hell called Wolf Creek Pass. Which is up on the Great Divide?

We was settin' there suckin' toothpicks, drinkin' Nehi and onion soup mix, and I said, "Earl, let's mail a card to Mother then send them chickens on down the other side. Yeah, let's give 'em a ride."

Well, Earl put down his bottle, mashed his foot down on the throttle, and then a couple'a boobs with a thousand cubes in a nineteen-forty-eight Peterbilt screamed to life. We woke up the chickens.

Well, we roared up offa that shoulder sprayin' pine cones, rocks, and boulders, and put four hundred head of them Rhode Island reds and a couple a' burnt-out roosters on the line. Look out below; 'cause here we go!

Well, we commenced to truckin' and them hens commenced to cluckin' and then Earl took out a match and scratched his pants and lit up the unused half of a dollar cigar and took a puff. Says "My, ain't this purdy up here."

I says, "Earl, this hill can spill us. You better slow down or you gonna kill us. Just make one mistake and it's the Pearly Gates for them eight-five crates a' USDA-approved cluckers. You wanna hit second?"

Well, Earl grabbed on the shifter and he stabbed her into fifth gear and then the chromium-plated, fully-illuminated genuine accessory shift knob come right off in his hand. I says, "You wanna screw that thing back on, Earl?"

He was tryin' to thread it on there when the fire fell off a' his cigar and dropped on down, sorta rolled around, and then lit in the cuff of Earl's pants and burned a hole in his sock. Yeah, sorta set him right on fire.

I looked on outta the window and I started countin' phone poles, goin' by at the rate of four to the seventh power. Well I put two and two together, and added twelve and carried five; come up with twenty-two thousand telephone poles an hour.

I looked at Earl and his eyes was wide, his lip was curled, and his leg was fried. And his hand was froze to the wheel like a tongue to a sled in the middle of a blizzard. I says, "Earl, I'm not the type to complain; but the time has come for me to explain that if you don't apply some brake real soon, they're gonna have to pick us up with a stick and a spoon."

Well, Earl rared back, and cocked his leg, stepped as down as hard as he could on the brake, and the pedal went clear to the floor and stayed there, right there on the floor. He said it was sorta like steppin' on a plum.

Well, from there on down it just wasn't real purdy: it was hairpin county and switchback city. One of 'em looked like a can full'a worms; another one looked like malaria germs. Right in the middle of the whole damn show was a real nice tunnel, now wouldn't you know?

Sign says clearance to the twelve-foot line, but the chickens was stacked to thirteen-nine. Well we shot that tunnel at a hundred-and-ten, like gas through a funnel and eggs through a hen, and we took that top row of chickens off slicker than scum off a Lousiana swamp. Went down and around and around and down 'til we run outta ground at the edge of town. Bashed into the side of the feed store... in downtown Pagosa Springs."

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/20/16 9:04 p.m.

Start checking copart for 2.3L EB mustangs

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/20/16 9:33 p.m.

I will just leave this here.

2.3 turbo with trans and k member

Gary Dork
8/20/16 9:38 p.m.

You are soooo lucky. And fortunate. Vintage Volvos are great cars. And it looks like you found a good one. I had a P1800 before it was vintage. Wish I still had it. Anyway, nurture the one you have. Bring it back. And above all, enjoy it!

(Send the SU's to Joe Curto to refurbish, and appreciate the quirkiness of them. They do function well).

Streetwiseguy PowerDork
8/20/16 10:16 p.m.

Re ring it. You'll hate yourself if you don't.

unevolved SuperDork
8/21/16 12:18 a.m.

I know, I know. In the interest of being cheap, if the bottom end unseizes and seems otherwise fine, I'll probably rebuild the head first and run a compression test just to see. I would definitely rather rebuild the B18 than swap something else in, at least for now. A new set of valves from VP is only $150, so I'll probably go that route.

calteg Dork
8/21/16 8:06 a.m.

I'm jealous. Plus it's beige, for extra irony.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/21/16 11:00 a.m.

Have you got the bottom end freed up yet?

unevolved SuperDork
8/21/16 1:09 p.m.

Nope, not yet. May try some more PB Blaster, and some MMO.

Anyone else have some suggestions?

unevolved SuperDork
8/21/16 1:11 p.m.

Hey, how do we change a thread title? My wife has dubbed the car "Augie the Amazon."

markwemple SuperDork
8/21/16 1:12 p.m.

B20 from a later Volvo. Whatever you do, please don't shove a pos sbc in there.

unevolved SuperDork
8/21/16 1:25 p.m.
markwemple wrote: B20 from a later Volvo. Whatever you do, please don't shove a pos sbc in there.

I don't think B20s are that easy to find, or I'd consider it. None available anywhere close to me.

If it gets a swap, it's going to get a 3S-GE. I'm avoiding that as long as possible, though, because I don't think the trans will fit without some major surgery. That M40 is a pretty compact unit.

Speaking of transmissions, won't a B20 require a new transmission, too?

tester New Reader
8/21/16 1:40 p.m.

In reply to unevolved:

Paging Volvoclearinghouse.

Seriously, send him a message. He knows these cars inside and out.

outasite Reader
8/21/16 2:04 p.m.
unevolved wrote: Nope, not yet. May try some more PB Blaster, and some MMO. Anyone else have some suggestions?

Do you have any movement in either direction? Were the cylinders walls that clean when you removed the head? If so, you may have a major problem with crank/rod destruction. How difficult to drop the pan?

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