RWD - armored cable tactics, misc. update

Volvo RWD 444-544 Forum

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armored cable tactics, misc. update 444-544 1963

Hello all--It's time I finally learn what's going on in that armored cable...I'm planning to upgrade my ignition (new distributor and coil) and would like to retain my current ignition switch if at all possible. Studying the Volvo manual hasn't helped much: the wiring diagram shows a drawing of an inscrutable armored cable, and a switch housing with three terminals on the back!

I've always assumed that the terminal on the end of the coil (from which a wire runs to the condenser on the the dist.) is the negative terminal, and that the wire carrying positive current from the switch must be the one wrapped in armor....can anyone illuminate the true contents of the cable for me? I have a dead coil attached to a presumed good switch which I can cut up as part of the experiment, just want to know more about what I'm doing.

Also for your consideration: I read somewhere that there's an unused terminal on the back of the switch which allows bypassing said armored cable. This would be nice for a guy installing a new coil. However, all three terminals on my switch seem to be spoken for...and anyway this would seem to make the armored coil useless as an anti-theft device. Any takers on this option? Since the original coil will be coming out anyway, I don't mind taking hacksaw to armor eventually, but I wouldn't mind being able to test the whole setup before I start cutting.

The misc. update part, pull up a chair:

The 544 is coming along nicely, thanks all who provided advice on my timing/octane/pinging queries earlier in the summer. Engine tuning is just about sorted out--I'm anxious to see what effect a 40-years-younger distributor and coil will have on my inconsistent idling situation, but under load the motor, now effectively a B18B with D cam, is behaving admirably. The addition of a one-piece iron intake/exhaust manifold and accompanying twin-tube header has made a profound difference across the powerband--thanks Rhys for that suggestion, goes nicely with the SM needles.

I had an unnerving experience which served to underline the importance of inspecting new work, and not reusing locking hardware: one of the (reused) lock washers on the upper threaded pin of the newly rebuilt RH front suspension failed at some point over the last month--the pin must have started rotating along with the travel of the upper control arm because its nut rotated right off...and then the pin started unscrewing itself...only discovered it when the pin, now projecting 2 in. or so out of the control arm and completely disengaged on one side, hit the wheel rim so hard under (thankfully low-speed) LH lock that the right front wheel seized...on top of all of which my brave and forgiving wife was driving at the time, as is usually the case when things go wrong with the 544. All better now, a lucky break.
As I was replacing the pin and hardware, I discovered that the one remaining grease seal (the one that looks like a 1/2" section of hose) on the pin was fairly shredded, and on the other side of the car, a similar situation. Every 544 I've had was in a similar state, but not 2k miles after a rebuild. Are these just prone to disintegration? Am I installing them wrong? Certainly not a robust seal but I expected a little more life out of them. Lack of lube on the pin probably contributed to its unscrewing itself...

Gearhead snapshots from a recent two weeks on the road in Europe (if June is still recent): somewhere in Holland, our Fiat Ducato cargo van found the only two cars it could pass: an immaculate PV followed by an equally shining Duett, each towing a 60's-vintage camper in matching paint. Thought it was a mirage among the VWs and heavy trucks...later that night in Utrecht, a white 444 lurking in a shop window seemed to make sense, at least as much sense as being passed the two days later in Germany by a fleet of twenty or more Fiat Cinquecenti in every possible color. Like being passed by a big handful of M&Ms. 95-plus degree heat in the Ducato was briefly forgotten.

All best--Nathan


New armored cable tactics, misc. update [444-544][1963]
posted by  nmcbride  on Fri Aug 1 04:37 CST 2003 >

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