andxx0r New Reader
11/9/15 9:15 p.m.

I bought this car not quite a year ago from a Volvo mechanic who runs a repair shop with his brother out of what used to be his dad's small new Volvo dealership.

It had sat for a couple decades in a showroom somewhere in GA so he had to do quite a bit of work to make it roadworthy. His wife drove it for a while and then I bought it. All I had to do to drive it all summer was replace a broken negative battery cable, replace the air filters with an ebay kit that allows you to use small engine air filters intead of $60 OEM ones, and replace the headlights. I also replaced the fuel filters to get rid of the last of the crap left over from having the tank boiled and re-sealed.

But now summer's over and the car's gone into the garage. Time to get to work!

No trackday special here. This is purely a nice-weather driver, and my plans are merely to improve daily driveabiity.

I haven't made much progress yet. So far I've pulled the old York AC compressor and Lone Star AC unit. I could've gotten some R12 from work, but the system didn't have a whimpering fart of R12 in it. Lots more room. All the AC stuff has been packed away. Someday someone will want that. I still need to get the old drier and condenser coil out though. I accidentally broke the heater valve so I just looped the heater.

The next step is going to be swapping the generator out for a GM alternator. I've already got all the parts to do that.

The car has a wobble in the drivetrain when accelerating away from a stop. The engine and trans mounts are pretty mushy, as are the suspension bushes. I'm going to swap in heavier 164 mounts in those places. I'm going to be using IPD urethane bushings and KYB Gas-A-Justs. I've got the rear suspension stuff already.

The last thing I hope to get done before next summer, but may not is to try to alleviate the car's vapor-lock issues. It does not like to re-start on hot days. GRM's project 122 had carb spacers on it, and I might do something similar. Improving the SU's heat shield, getting an electric pusher fan to replace the direct-drive fan it's got now, and swapping out the mechanical fuel pump for an electric pump with a pressure regulator is also on the agenda.

I used to subscribe to GRM and I've got the issue with the last article on that car in it...I plan to steal other ideas from it too.

The car is surprisingly cancer-free everywhere I've looked, even the floors. But, the trunk has a small hole and surface rust. I plan to POR15 that when the weather warms up. Temporary measure until it gets more thoroughly fixed.

Compounding all this is the fact that I'm turning in a 2-week notice on the 20th and going back to school. We'll see how much of this stuff I actually manage to finish My winter beater is ready to take over driving duties.

Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
11/10/15 8:46 a.m.

Both at sure is a clean ooking winter beater..... Love me some Volvo..

trucke Dork
11/10/15 9:49 a.m.

That's Fantastic! Keep us posted so that we may live vicariously through you.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
11/10/15 10:12 a.m.

How the hell does a Volvo rust out on the showroom floor? !

andxx0r New Reader
11/10/15 5:03 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13:

It did accumulate about 90-95k miles before it was parked as a showroom display. The only spots it got trunk rust is where Volvo put that weird tarry fiber insulation/sound-deadening material. The floors somehow avoided that fate.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
11/10/15 5:25 p.m.

Ah. Ok.

I read it as it never left the showroom.

Which makes this a fantastic find!

andxx0r New Reader
1/5/16 3:03 p.m.


Actually no, I haven't gotten squat done on this thing. Blame a combination of me being busy, cold weather, and just plain not working on this thing even when I should be. I need to move to a place where winter isn't a thing.

I have gotten one thing that the car desperately needed done though. New seat webbing!

I didn't realize how bad they were until I sat in the seats with the new webbing in. Night and day. I also got the seat brackets adjusted so my fatty self isn't crowding the wheel so hard anymore. Cat is also very disappointed that she can no longer sleep on my seat cushions.

I was going to use Pirelli strap again, but since that stuff turns into nasty lasagna noodles extremely quickly I went with modern Elasbelt and speedy rivets from amazon. This was the state mine was in:

Fun factoid about me - when I first graduated from college, but before going to trade school, I had a job hand-assembling bondage gear and toys out of speedy rivets and leather strap. My friend was the foreman at the shop and got me the job. I haven't done that work in nearly a decade now, but it all came back while I was getting the seat straps riveted together. I guess you take something useful away from every job.

While on the subject of my car's interior, I took a look at my car's data plate and found that my interior code is 167-502

Which means the correct interior color scheme is supposed to be red upholstery and trim with a black floor, as this very cool 1960s business dude demonstrates:

I already knew that the blue cloth and blue carpet weren't original as all of these cars came with a rubber floor and vinyl seats, but I'd assumed that the car's original interior color was blue and the cloth was just to cover up worn seats, but sure enough I looked and found ruined red vinyl under the blue. Somebody went to a lot of effort to make this car's interior blue. VP Autoparts sells all of the stuff I'm going to need to set that right, which I'll probably get to after I've sorted the mechanical stuff out.

Acme Lab Rat
Acme Lab Rat New Reader
1/5/16 3:39 p.m.

Beautiful car. Time for a boosted Red Block! we mustn't think these things.

andxx0r New Reader
1/5/16 4:44 p.m.

I used to have a boosted (well, factory low-pressure boost) redblock Volvo! It was a pretty fun car.

But, I'm afraid the 122 is going to remain slow :D

EvanR Dork
1/5/16 6:25 p.m.

If you want to spend a lot of cash, Genuine Classic Parts - - can get you every speck of original upholstery.

maschinenbau Reader
1/6/16 3:26 p.m.

A $15 phenolic carb spacer did wonders to the drive-ability of my 350 El Camino. I always had trouble re-starting the warm engine on a hot day until then.

andxx0r New Reader
1/6/16 3:55 p.m.

Moss Motorsports sells HS6 spacers for a prettyy good price, so I'm probably going to end up ordering a couple of those. I'm pretty sure I saw ones for 1.75" HS6's over there.

Nashco UberDork
1/6/16 4:21 p.m.

Neat AC unit! Any chance you'd be willing to part with it? Shoot me a note if you would. I've got long-term ambitions to add AC to our 122 wagon.

I've been meaning to do the seat webbing on ours. Even if the upholstery is in tatters, at least my back wouldn't hurt so bad! Thanks for the build info, keep it up.


andxx0r New Reader
1/6/16 5:09 p.m.

I'm afraid the AC stuff will be staying with the car :) I'm pretty sure it was dealer-installed when the car was new so I'd like it all to stay together.

I thought of trying to get it going, but when I hit it with nitrogen and predator blood, literally every place where refrigerant could leak out DID leak, so I just said eff it.

CarLava New Reader
1/7/16 1:53 a.m.

the exterior looks nice. the surface rust can be quite an eyesore for the interior but after you fix that it'll look great. subscribing at your thread to know more updates. good luck!

andxx0r New Reader
1/7/16 4:17 p.m.

I'd like to say I didn't see this coming, but I saw this coming.

Trying to get the steering wheel off so I can then get the column trim off so I can THEN change the turn signal stalk/switch. It seems to be totally seized and none of the usual wheel removal tricks are working. Right now it's soaking in PB and will continue to soak in PB and hopefully I can get it out this weekend. If not, I move onto Kroil and a puller. And maybe heat.


A-HA! Apparently the first six hours of PB soak wasn't enough. It just needed another 30 minutes or so

Progress is stopped for the night though. Some yahoo was in there before me and left the screws so stripped I could barely remove them. I'm going to get some new ones tomorrow.

andxx0r New Reader
2/27/16 4:21 p.m.

Finally got a decent-enough day to work on this thing.

Oil changed, finally.

Spark plugs changed, finally.

Engine and trans mounts changed:

I used heavier Volvo 164 mounts for those. IPD says that mount doesn't work for the trans, but they do. I'll take slightly more vibration instead of having to change these things every 2 years. The engine mounts weren't THAT bad, but the trans mount was toast. Glad they're done.

And after that I got tired of working on it and called it a day. I did discover that my driveshaft support bushings are #REKT:

as are my front swaybar bushings, so I placed an appropriate order with IPD. There's seriously no resistance in those bushings. The driveshaft is just flopping about all willy-nilly. Thankfully the bearing itself is looking good.

Tomorrow's plan is to get the shocks in and maybe get started on the rear bushings. Everything is soaking in PB as I type this. Not that I'm having much trouble with rusty fasteners on this southern car.

andxx0r New Reader
6/3/16 6:09 p.m.

Suspenders are totally done now, and has been for a while as is everything I wanted done to the drivetrain. I forget to take pictures while I'm working so you'll have to take my word for it. I've basically been driving it every day since then.

One thing I did document was the trunk. The only real problem spot for rust was in the trunk, thanks to water being trapped under the crappy insulation stuff Volvo used. One new trunk seal solved the water-in-trunk problem. So then I ground down the insulation/surface rust and hit it with POR15.

Nothing cancerous, just surface rust.

Not concours ready, but should keep things tidy in the trunk.

One thing I did do was get out my screwdrivers and wrenches and tighten/adjust every single item inside the car. That, along with a few plastic washers, has completely eliminated all of the rattles from the car's interior. Combining that with the new suspension makes for a much more pleasant ride.

So now it's basically just a functional car. Next orders of business will be carb spacers and starting the alternator swap. But since the car works it's hard to find the motivation to do those tasks.

andxx0r New Reader
7/29/17 4:52 p.m.

Thread necromance, go!

The first thing I did was install a set of rebuilt SU's with spacers. I installed the spacers 90 degrees off, which makes me feel like an idiot, but in my defense I did this late at night after a long day.

I'm not totally happy with the rebuilds I bought. The guy did a poor job on the throttle shafts (one sticks, the other is already loose) but they're still better than the carbs I had. They sat on my shelf uninstalled for the whole time they were under warranty so live and learn.

I also pulled the generator and regulator for a GM 63a alternator swap. I'm very happy with this mod.

I also put a voltmeter on in the extra space in my ancient gauge cluster, a new fuse block, and a MegaFuse between the alternator and battery.

The car's washer pump didn't work, the hoses were rotten, the nozzles weren't actually held in place by anything, and removing the bottle made installing the alternator easier, so I yanked the whole system out and just put plugs in the nozzle holes in the cowl.

I'll reinstall that stuff when I have a working pump and new hoses.

My points and condenser were old, so instead of just changing those I swapped in a FAST (crane) XR700 ignition. You can also see the MegaFuse and new fuseblock.

I also replaced the plugs, wires, cap, rotor, and coil. New Bosch Blue coil is visible there.

The starter took a dump, so I bought a brand new one for $50 on (appropriately)

I removed the AC condenser and the resulting airflow increase to the radiator has definitely resulted in cooler temps:

The steering was getting sloppy, so I adjusted the steering box adjuster nut and replaced the rag joint:

I'm going to get an original style one (fiber and rubber) instead of this EMPI VW piece, but it'll do for now. It was $8 and delivered in a day from Amazon prime, which is why I bought it.

And finally, I installed the most important piece, an old Swedish license plate

I'm casually trying to sell this car, but interest isn't there locally. If it doesn't sell in the next month or two, the next step will be making the interior the correct color again.

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