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volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/10/19 2:25 p.m.

Lurking under a well-weathered car cover.  Waiting.

 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/10/19 2:37 p.m.

I know what that is!

 

What be the plan?

 

 

Pete

slowbird
slowbird HalfDork
10/10/19 3:02 p.m.

Take the body off it, put a Mustang body on there, and then swap a Miata engine in it. It will be the bizarro-universe version of the Molvo. cheeky

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/10/19 4:17 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

Who knows, such a unicorn might motivate a certain member who wont be mentioned by name to drag his P1800  ES out of the cabbage patch and into the shop.

 

Pete

Sine_Qua_Non
Sine_Qua_Non SuperDork
10/10/19 7:54 p.m.
NOHOME said:

In reply to slowbird :

Who knows, such a unicorn might motivate a certain member who wont be mentioned by name to drag his P1800  ES out of the cabbage patch and into the shop.

 

Pete

And his name is Iancheeky

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/10/19 8:06 p.m.

Believe me, nothing would make me happier than to start working on my ES, but right now it's a rare day I even spend the night in my own state.  Hopefully in the Spring I'll be able to start work on building a shop and that is the first step.

I'm wondering what VCH's plans are.

Sine_Qua_Non
Sine_Qua_Non SuperDork
10/10/19 11:22 p.m.
Ian F said:

Believe me, nothing would make me happier than to start working on my ES, but right now it's a rare day I even spend the night in my own state.  Hopefully in the Spring I'll be able to start work on building a shop and that is the first step.

I'm wondering what VCH's plans are.

Believe me. I know the feeling. I haven't done a thing in years to mine and it just sits. I did try to sell it a few months back but nobody wants a Volvo 1800ES with rust. I ended up selling my 1990 BMW 325i instead which I already regretted doing. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/11/19 6:16 a.m.
NOHOME said:

What be the plan?

Wait and see....  wink

Woody
Woody MegaDork
10/11/19 6:30 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

How "weathered" is the car that lurks under that well-weathered car cover?

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/11/19 6:43 a.m.

I picked up this car a couple of years ago, in November of 2017.  Like all needy 1800ES', it languished for sale, the online ad tempting me, poking at me.  Finally I hitched up a borrowed tow dolly to the old 240 wagon I used to daily and went to see it.  

It was rough.  Really rough.  "Run away, don't look back, go buy scratch off lottery tickets with the money instead" rough.  And it was an automatic to boot.  What happened next ought to surprise no one, then:

This was the fourth 1800ES to come into my possession, incidentally.  The first three were all needy ones, too (as ES's bought for 3 figure sums of money tend to be).  So, out of a total production of 8077 cars, I've owned 0.05% of them.  That's either startling or impressive, depending on one's perspective.

After lounging around my yard for a couple of years, killing the vegetation beneath it, I came home from work one day recently, took the kids out with me, and peeled off the car cover.

 

They immediately wanted to sit in it, as toddlers do when they see a rusty, decrepit car that has served as a rodent and stinging insect ecosystem for the past couple of decades.

I'm fairly certain that these kids have an immune system of stainless steel.  

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/11/19 7:46 a.m.

Mine has a similar story. Bought off eBay for $800 back in... 2005.  I stripped it to a rolling shell in 2009 and moved it into my back yard, with intentions of parting it out and scrapping it.  But as I tore out the decrepit interior, I found fairly solid bones. Yes, it needs a ton of rust repair, but the car is otherwise straight.  And other than needing to reconstruct the hatch lip, the needs aren't out of the ordinary and it's all been done before.  So I view the car as a blank slate - something I can build into the ES I would want to own and drive.  After many years of experience with my ex's stock ES, I know what I like and would like to improve about the cars. And having a car that many would run away from means I can make changes without feeling guilty or incurring too much wrath from the old crusties.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/11/19 7:52 a.m.

Looks complete if that is any consolation. 

On a scale of 1-10, how radical is this going to be? For reference, I would put the Molvo at 7.5 on that scale.

 

Pete

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/11/19 7:56 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

You've basically described this car- straight, complete, good bones, hatch rust, so nothing that I'll feel too guilty about not doing a Pebble-Beach-grade resto on.  I also paid $800 for this one.  Seems to be about the bottom of the market for a "parts car".

Mine also came with the Flintstone Floors feature, and completely sun-baked dash and front seats.  

I did put a wrench on the old B20 last night and the thing spun over.  So, you know, I've got that going for me.  

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/11/19 8:04 a.m.
NOHOME said:

Looks complete if that is any consolation. 

On a scale of 1-10, how radical is this going to be? For reference, I would put the Molvo at 7.5 on that scale.

 

Pete

If we're calling '0' a complete, back-to-stock resto, and a '10' a 1800ES shell on a completely custom everything else, I'd say somewhere between a 3 and a 6.  I still haven't completely figured everything out in my head yet.  The main goal at this point is to get the car bagged and tagged, stripped down to a bare shell, and fix the rust.  I have a 302 and a T5 sitting on my garage floor I pulled out of a cougar a few years back, and I thought about going that route....but I also have a pretty warm B20 sitting on an engine stand that speaks to me. 

Whichever way I go, it's going to be carburetors and electronic ignition, manual transmission conversion, stick axle rear, and since the interior is a complete wreck, a custom job inside.  I also plan on fixing the exterior faux paws made in the same of federal requirements- i.e., ditching the battering ram 5mph bumpers, the side marker lights, and probably some other stuff, too.  

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/14/19 8:13 a.m.

The fun part about buying a car that's sat for several decades is that cars, when stationary, tend to become impromptu junk collection facilities.  Buying an old car can sometimes be like buying an old storage unit auction.  Not only is it a potential treasury of neat stuff, but quite often they offer a peek at the car's (and previous owner's) history.

So what did this crunchy old Volvo sportwagon contain?

The center of the rear seats made a perfect location to mount a CB radio.  A magnet-mount antenna was stashed in the rear seat well.  

The previous owner apparently preferred obeying anti-littering laws over vehicle traffic laws.

Various detritus.

Found several quarts of this.  I'm guesting the engine either burned it or leaked it.  

More junk.  The sketchiest set of jumper cables I'd ever seen (the wires were aluminum!).  And...what's in that box?

Whoa.  "Made in Japan".  Circa early 80's, I'm guessing.  Cool. 

1980's computing newspaper.  5-1/4" drives!  Get yer 5-1/4" drives here!

This accurately describes the interior of this 1800ES.  

A....tractor inner tube?

At the risk of chewing up more bandwidth with pictures of junk, I'll just list off the rest of what I found:

  • At least a dozen partially-eaten rolls of Lifesavers
  • Four (4!) ice scrapers, that my kids fought over, because they both wated to use one of them
  • several PA-VA-MD maps
  • A large booklet on construction techniques for model airplanes
  • Matchbook for the US Air Force
  • Several unmarked cassette tapes
  • Best of Blondie tape
  • Some cardboard cans of Kendall 10W-40 (leaking)
  • LOTS of rat poop
  • Two dimes, and 4 pennies
  • Dash plaque from some sort of Saab/ Volvo club gathering
  • Owner's manual and old registrations/ insurance cards.

Some times, when sorting out a car's past, the reason for the car being taken out of active duty is unclear.  Other times, such as the case of accident damage, it is readily apparent.  In this Volvo's case, sorting through the paperwork in the passenger seat revealed this:

April 27, 1994: A REJECTION ticket from Virginia's state inspection.  

Some lights apparently didn't work, but I'm guessing the box ticked "FLOOR PAN" was more of a cause of concern.  

1973 to 1994.  And then....it sat...

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/14/19 9:33 a.m.

I bought my car running and driving from a Volvo mechanic in NJ. While it looked like hell, it ran perfectly.  Started instantly and idled smoothly.  The center support bearing bushing was shot, so the driveshaft banged around like crazy during the drive home. But after I replaced that bushing, it could have been driven anywhere.  However, at the time getting Classic or Antique registration in PA required sending in photos of the car and it would not have been compliant, so it would have needed to stay with regular tags - that technically still require annual state inspections. However, I learned a few years later than when in comes to old cars, cops in PA really don't care that much about that and generally don't seem to look for inspection stickers.  If I'd known then what I know now, I never would have taken the car apart - I would have just kept driving it and repairing bits as I got the time and money for parts. Which would have annoyed my ex- to no end as while her car looks great, we've never been able to get it to run well (and it's one 

Engine wise, I plan to stay with the B20, but with some upgrades and Stealth EMS (Megasquirt). Converting to something else is just too much of a PITA.  I do plan to install a T-9 instead of the M41 and I want to get the taller BW35 rear end gearing for better highway driving.  I'll probably go with a EZ-Steer power steering system along with a custom HVAC set-up (one thing about watching Project Binky is they really reinforce the idea that anything is possible).  Interior will be custom, although with an eye towards the 1800 heritage, although I was never a fan of the ES seats, so it'll get a set of BMW E30 sport seats to start and maybe Volvo 850 seats later.  Otherwise, I don't plan on any huge changes.  If sometime after I am gone and someone wants to take the car back to 100% original, it won't be too much trouble for them.  Paint color - I really want to paint it with Volvo V90 Maple Brown Metallic.  Tan for the interior.

One advantage of stripping the car out is since there is basically nothing inside to hold water, the rust hasn't gotten much worse.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/14/19 10:01 a.m.

Guessing you have seen this build, but will post anyways. The E30 chassis is a much smarter swap under the car than the Miata with the complexity of the 302 swap. 

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/14/19 10:13 a.m.
NOHOME said:

Looks complete if that is any consolation. 

On a scale of 1-10, how radical is this going to be? For reference, I would put the Molvo at 7.5 on that scale.

 

Pete

Really? A 7.5??? 

 

What the hell would a 10 be? Casting your own air cooled engine for a completely hand formed titanium body????

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/14/19 10:59 a.m.
Ian F said:

I bought my car running and driving from a Volvo mechanic in NJ. While it looked like hell, it ran perfectly.  Started instantly and idled smoothly.  The center support bearing bushing was shot, so the driveshaft banged around like crazy during the drive home. But after I replaced that bushing, it could have been driven anywhere.  However, at the time getting Classic or Antique registration in PA required sending in photos of the car and it would not have been compliant, so it would have needed to stay with regular tags - that technically still require annual state inspections. However, I learned a few years later than when in comes to old cars, cops in PA really don't care that much about that and generally don't seem to look for inspection stickers.  If I'd known then what I know now, I never would have taken the car apart - I would have just kept driving it and repairing bits as I got the time and money for parts. Which would have annoyed my ex- to no end as while her car looks great, we've never been able to get it to run well (and it's one 

Engine wise, I plan to stay with the B20, but with some upgrades and Stealth EMS (Megasquirt). Converting to something else is just too much of a PITA.  I do plan to install a T-9 instead of the M41 and I want to get the taller BW35 rear end gearing for better highway driving.  I'll probably go with a EZ-Steer power steering system along with a custom HVAC set-up (one thing about watching Project Binky is they really reinforce the idea that anything is possible).  Interior will be custom, although with an eye towards the 1800 heritage, although I was never a fan of the ES seats, so it'll get a set of BMW E30 sport seats to start and maybe Volvo 850 seats later.  Otherwise, I don't plan on any huge changes.  If sometime after I am gone and someone wants to take the car back to 100% original, it won't be too much trouble for them.  Paint color - I really want to paint it with Volvo V90 Maple Brown Metallic.  Tan for the interior.

One advantage of stripping the car out is since there is basically nothing inside to hold water, the rust hasn't gotten much worse.

I didn't try to start the engine in this one; while it might have run, the hoses and wiring were in such a state that there's no way in hell I'd trust it to leave my driveway.  I have 2 or 3 known good B20's in my shed, so if this one turns out to be an oil-drinking slug, swapping in a better one will be trivial.  

Likewise, I've got plenty of SU carb setups; I like them, I can tune them, so that's the easy button for me.  IIRC Volvo for some reason used points along with it's EFI; those points will be going in favor of a Perktronics setup (which I've used on other Volvos, and like).  

I may be in the minority here, but I like the manual steering on these cars, and plan to leave that stock.  Along with much of the suspension, though it'll probably get lowered a touch.  

Brakes will see a major upgrade/ change, along with the clutch (because there currently isn't a clutch).  Will probably go hydraulic on the clutch, with a 122 type setup.  

I do plan on incorporating possibly one Miata component- the seats.  I have a pair obtained for $25 in nice shape.  They're small, light, and sort-of fit with the rest of the car.  

I prefer the gauges and dash on the earlier 1800's, and would go that way if money were no object.  But as it is, I may do a full custom dash layout.  I plan on going clean-sheet with the heating system.  Probably won't bother with A/C though.  

Luckily, Maryland has no inspection laws for historics.  wink

This car, being an automatic, has the taller gears (IIRS 4.1 for the automatics; 4.3 for manual trans cars).  I may have a 4.1 rear stashed in my shed from an automatic car I parted a while ago.  I could check, if you're interested.   Haven't decided if I'm going to stick with the 4.1 in this car or go with the 4.3.  Depends on which way I go with the transmission.  I had a 122 I DD'd for awhile that I'd swapped a 4.3 rear from an 1800E into, and it had no overdrive.  It was fun as hell, but first gear was sort of pointless.  And 3,000 RPM on the highway at 55 mph was a bit much.  Our 122 LeMons race car had 4.88's and no overdrive, and tiny wheels.  Top end was about 90 mph, but it would sure get there in a hurry!

One benefit of the Automatic 122's is they used a larger hump in the floor pan to fit the BW35.  I think the 1800 was done similarly, so there should be more room under there for transmission options.  The M40/41 is really narrow. T9's are somewhat rare on this side of the pond, too.  

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/14/19 12:21 p.m.

I think gearing choice also depends some on the intended use.  My goal (dream) is long distance touring with the car during retirement. Acceleration is of less a concern than relaxed cruising. These cars were never really great sports cars (at least compared to the other cars in my fleet), but as a pure GT they were well ahead of their time.  So if you have a rear from an BW35 car, I may be interested. Although I am severely lacking in storage room right now.

All of the E/ES cars were fitted with the larger tunnel to make room for the BW35, so fitting a different transmission isn't difficult. I want the T-9 because it keeps the same "up-left" reverse location.  And I don't plan on building a B20 that would really tax the T-9 to the point where a T-5 would be better. Fortunately, I already have a T-9 that I bought from Nonack when he converted his rally car to a T-5. I also have a bin full of T-9 bits bought from Foxtrapper some time ago - apparently enough to assemble into one transmission. When I run out of projects (ha ha ha!) I'll spread the parts out along with a manual and see what I can put together.  I am planning to install a T-9 into my GT6 (already have it ready to go). That should help performance in that car a bit as the T-9 has a shorter first gear than the OE 4 spd which should help make up for the 3.27 rear gearing.  But the 3.27 and 5th gear O/D should make it a good cruiser.  From what I can tell, the T-9 also has a shorter 1st gear than the M41 (3.65 vs. 3.13), but also a slightly shorter O/D gear (.82 vs. .77). So the taller BW35 gearing would be welcome with a T-9. 

A/C is a must for me. I want A/C in all of my cars. Even the Spitfire and GT6. The heater in the ES works well, although without A/C and its dehumidification ability, the defroster isn't the best.

PA doesn't have inspection for Antique cars either (Classic gets annual Safety, but not emissions), although you have to register the car that way. 

I like the wood dash in the 72 & 73 cars, but would prefer real wood. I also plan to figure out some way to blend the dash into the doors. The center console, HVAC controls and radio location will also get re-worked. 

 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/14/19 1:48 p.m.

In reply to Ian F :

I think your car and mine will have *slightly* different intended purposes.  Hee Hee Hee.

devil

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/14/19 3:10 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Probably. I want a somewhat understated "resto-mod" more or less. In most ways I still want it to be an 1800ES since it's great car, but with a few upgrades that didn't really exist when the car was designed.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/14/19 3:23 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:
NOHOME said:

Looks complete if that is any consolation. 

On a scale of 1-10, how radical is this going to be? For reference, I would put the Molvo at 7.5 on that scale.

 

Pete

Really? A 7.5??? 

 

What the hell would a 10 be? Casting your own air cooled engine for a completely hand formed titanium body????

Carbon tub. Original design alloy body; polished not painted finish. 

How hard can it be to build an autoclave? Was thinking may be start with a big culvert. Not that I am thinking of doing this.

Pete

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/14/19 5:00 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

(warning: tangent on)

I have worked on installations of some fairly big autoclaves, although none big enough to fit a car tub into. Some of the difficulty is not the actual device itself (although building one that big and also strong enough to withstand the pressures required would be no trivial task), but the equipment to support it and then the controls to make it all work.  You basically end up with two rooms - the process room where you feed the parts in and then the utility room where all of the dirty stuff does its thing.  Your actual chassis construction area would need to be fairly clean as well to avoid impurities in the weaves. 

(tangent off)

The funny thing is I had thought of stuffing a Miata chassis under the ES body before NOHOME started his thread, based on what Keith had done with his MGB. But as I worked it out in my head, a number of packaging and interface issues didn't add up. Many of them NOHOME encountered and overcame, but in ways I'm not sure I'd want to live with.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
10/15/19 6:58 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

DIGRESSION!

wink

After removing 25 years worth of accumulated debris from the inside of the car, and determining the cause of death (or, at least, decommissioning) of the ES, the next step was to begin systematic deconstruction.  Since the car was sitting outside, and the floors were apparently a concern back in 1994, why not start there?

Rusty around the edges, but the bit in the middle over the unibody frame member is pretty solid.  The rockers are soft in spots, too.  

Moving back to the other area of major concern, removing the weatherstriping (well, what remained of it) and trim around the Gremlin-esque rear hatch revealed some pretty pernicious tinworn.

A friend of mine, who is as afflicted with old Volvos as I am, likes to refer to the portion of the ES aft of the front doors as "the juicy bits".  "Juicy Bits" means these are the rare parts, the stuff that makes the 1800ES unique from all other 1800-type cars.  And, the stuff that's expensive, and hard to replace.  I sent him the above two pictures, along with the caption, "Rust in the Juicy Bits", to which he replied, "Looks more like Kronchy Bits to me."

I've henceforth begun referring to the car (in jest...mostly) as "Kronchy".  

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