Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fuse Labels.

A while back, I saw a picture of a fusebox lid with the original cardstock insert.

I thought it'd be handy to have one, since I can never remember which circuit is on which fuse without referring back to my Haynes manual. I fired up the desktop publishing suite and got to work.

Aside from adding an "R" (for "Reproduction") to the Volvo part number, I tried my best to match the original, including the perplexing reference to "Saxomat" on fuse #1 (possibly an electric clutch mechanism on automatic transmission equipped Amazons?).

For best results, print on 80lb or heavier cover stock, and use a 1/8" punch for the hole in the center.

I've uploaded a template for 8.5x11 paper here and one for A4 paper here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dome Light.

I'm cheap and I refuse to pay $70 for a proper dome light. Cringe if you will, but I don't care that much about keeping my Amazon completely stock.

I'd searched far and wide for aftermarket dome lights, and found nothing that looked appropriate. It's also surprisingly difficult to find an aftermarket dome light with a three-position (off-on-door) switch.

Shamir and I were at the wrecker's last weekend, where I poked my head in a first generation Suzuki Sidekick and spied the perfect dome light. Modest, minimal, with a three-position switch. I boldly drilled a couple of mounting holes for the new light in the original dome light mounting plate (not through the roof), and installed it with self tapping screws.

It's not original, but the new light is functional, and more or less fits the mid-century styling of the car. I think it actually looks quite dapper. (I just hope Jan Wilsgaard doesn't find it an offense to his sensibilities.)

Next, I need to shampoo that headliner...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Headlight Flasher.

I'd read on Ron Kwas's website that the Amazon was originally designed so that a pull back on the turn signal stalk would flash the high beams (as on most modern cars), but that the feature was disabled for the American market during the 60's due to Department of Transportation regulations.

With wiring already in place, the addition of a three-terminal relay is all that's needed to reactivate this feature. Three wires (red, black, and grey) are wrapped into the wiring harness together near the reverse light relay.

I couldn't find a three-terminal relay, so I picked up a standard 30 amp, 12 volt, SPST relay from Radio Shack. The Radio Shack relay has four terminals (coil power, coil ground, and two poles of a normally open connection). I made a "y" harness and split 12V from the black wire to supply power to both the relay coil and the headlight. The grey wire is the "control" wire (grounds when the turn signal stalk is pulled back) and connects to the coil ground terminal. Red connects between the headlights and the other pole of the relay.

I mounted the new relay next to the reverse light relay using an existing screw. A pull back on the turn signal now activates the high beams momentarily, while the foot dipper next to the clutch still switches between high and low.

As Ron Kwas cautions, this setup isn't designed to deal with continuous loads (would need a heavier duty relay, and a dedicated wire from the battery to power the headlights), but works fine for momentary signaling.

Valve Adjust.

Along with an oil change, valve adjustment is probably something I should have done sooner, and certainly before I started messing with my carbs.

Having never done a valve adjustment before, I was a bit intimidated, but I faced my fears and delved under that valve cover.

It seems that every Amazon junkie has his or her own favorite method for adjusting valves, but after reading various articles I decided to go with the "Rule of Nines" method which seemed to be the best balance between accuracy and simplicity:

"To adjust any particular valve, take its number, then figure out the other number you will need to add up to nine. Turn the engine so that valve is wide open, then adjust the one with the first number. For example, to adjust number one, turn the engine so that number eight is open all the way, then adjust number one. Moving on to number two, turn the engine so that seven is wide open, then adjust number two, and so on."

Interestingly, all of my intake valves were 0.018" (cold), and the exhaust valves were all 0.019". An early warning sign of valve recession, perhaps? I set everything so that a lubricated 0.020 feeler gauge would pass, but a 0.022 would not.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oil Change.

I'd been reading some articles about lubrication that gave me a newfound appreciation for regular oil changes and their profound effect on prolonging motor life. Since I hadn't changed the oil in my Amazon since I got it, it was time.

The old oil was looking positively tar-like and, as my buddy and auto-guru Shamir pointed out, smelling pretty tired, too. It had a heavy odor of fuel that probably meant its lubricating properties were thoroughly broken down.

Out came the old oil and filter...

looking pretty sludgy.

In went fresh 10W-40 and a new Mann filter. Mann filters were Volvo's OEM choice, and have an anti-drainback valve to prevent oil starvation during starting. I also installed a magnetic drain plug to catch errant metallic particles while I was at it.

hoping I don't find a piece of a valve stuck to this the next time I change my oil

See you in 3,000 miles! (Unless I switch to 20W-50 full synthetic before then...)

Monday, July 14, 2008

End Link Bushings.

The Amazon was clunking a bit over bumps, and a quick glance at the suspension revealed some wear in the sway bar end link bushings. Removing the old bushings revealed just how fried they really were.

I swapped in a set of poly bushings from iPd. I found that, because the new poly bushings stand a little taller than the stock rubber bushings, I had to use a longer end link bolt. End link bolts aren't listed in iPd's catalog, but I was able to order a pair by calling them.

I still had to compress the bushings slightly to get the nut on. You could probably get an even longer bolt from a hardware store - just make sure you get one that's strong enough (Grade 8?). I gave the bushings a good dab of Aqua-Lube waterproof grease while assembling

I was able to do the whole job in under two hours using only a socket and wrench. (Didn't even require jacking up the front end, or removing the wheels.)

The car rides 100% better. The results were so inspiring that I ordered the full control arm bushing set from iPd.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Breather Filter.

The crankcase ventilation system on B18 and B20 motors came in a variety of flavors. My 122S happens sport a breather built into the oil filler cap which is supposed to draw fresh air in though the air filters.

Unfortunately, the non-OEM air filters on my motor don't have a hookup for the oil cap breather, so I decided to add a filter directly on the oil cap to prevent airborne nastiness from getting sucked into the valve train. Besides, there appear to be some advantages to disconnecting the oil cap-to-carb connection.

I initially used an air filter from a .21 R/C car engine, which worked perfectly well, but I couldn't resist picking up some "bling" the last time I was at the auto parts store (a K&N replica that set me back about $11).

Chrome makes you go faster, right?