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'72 1800 ES restoration questions 1800 1972


It has been quite a while since I posted on this site. Life and generally good running Volvos have kept me away. Now I am trying to get back to a project car I bought several years ago, and have not been able to do much with. It is a 1972 1800ES, with an early chassis number (#650 I think). Has the B20F engine that most likely has not run since the early to mid 90's, and the car was last registered in 1986. Yes, there is rust. Got the needed body parts for a body shop to do sheet metal and paint work (skills, patience, tools, facilities I do not have). I have the suspension assemblies in my basement where I have been media blasting the parts, got the front cross member reinforced, and hope to get all the parts powder coated this winter. Once the suspension assemblies are back under the car, and the car is on wheel again, I plan to strip the body down to just sheet metal and glass before turning it over to the body guy.

I have been resisting the urge to dig deep into the engine (the fun part of the job) until the body work is well under way. But, can't help to do some of the planning work. The engine has about 138,000 miles, and from my initial inspection it looks to be in reasonable shape. Still see honing marks on the cylinder walls from manufacturing. Will want to take it apart to do a more complete inspection, maybe have it dipped to remove all the old gunk and flaking paint. Depending upon budget, I may have some "enhancements" done while I am in there.

I live just and hour and a half from Syracuse, NY, and was thinking of talking with John Parker of VPD about having the work done. However, I recently stumbled upon numerous reports on multiple forums concerning his "reliability". (I am trying to be polite here.) Noting that most of the comments I found were from the late 2000's to mid 2010's, I was wondering if there have been any recent experiences to be reported. Maybe (I am being hopeful here) his situation has changed and service has improved. If this is not the case, then I am inclined to look elsewhere. Which leads to the question, are there other reputable shops that understand these old tractor engines, and know how to bring out the hidden potential in them? If so, who/where are they. Obviously, I would like someone in upstate New York or western Pennsylvania since that would make shipping of engine parts so much easier. But, if I have to create up the engine and stick it on a truck, well, I do have a wood shop....

The second question deals with the head/rod/main bolts. Since it is generally accepted these bolts are not to be reused, I have found only the head bolts are available form Volvo. ARP does not have a kit for this engine, but it looks like a head stud kit is available through VP Autoparts. I figure that when I pull the mains out, I may be able to find a comparable bolt from the ARP catalog for the mains. The rod bolts apparently have a non-standard head, and what ARP makes available through VP is a bit short. The recommendation is to mill the pockets of the con-rod and cap a few millimeters to get full thread engagement of the nuts. I personally do not like that idea. I have a couple ideas on how to get around this problem, but not sure how realistic they are. Was wondering what others have done to get around this problem.

That is enough for now. Thanks for reading through this long post and offering suggestions as I finally dig into this project.


'72 1800ES
'99 V70
'04 XC70 (261K)
'07 XC70
Gary D


New '72 1800 ES restoration questions [1800][1972]
posted by  Gary D  on Thu Nov 8 09:20 CST 2018 >

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