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Vintage Reconditioning a 142 to streetable...

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Don't go too hot with SU's. They get confused by reversion on a really snorty cam. And the heads don't flow all that well (almost all due to the exhaust ports), so a really hot cam might raise the power band up to a range where the head can't flow. Compromised low end power in exchange for high end power that the head doesn't allow.

But for sure, the 'C' grind cam the B20B probably has (it's almost certainly been replaced a time or two at 400K miles so who knows) isn't doing anyone any favors. A stock B20E (D grind) or B20F (K grind) cam will perk up an otherwise stock carbed B20 (or B18) very nicely. Maybe an Isky VV71/IPD 'Street Perf' cam.

Well, assuming it's a manual trans. The horrible BW35 automatic doesn't really like revs, so it's pointless to get a zippier motor going in front of one of those buzz killers.

Thanks again John, I will formulate a plan a little better once I get compression numbers.

Hey what would you do if you had this car and the gas had been sitting in it for several years. I made the mistake of topping off the old gas with new gas a couple weeks ago, but it smells turpentinish? and has the color of a Budweiser beer.

Would you go ahead and run that stuff out, or try to drain it all and start over?

Thanks again...it's a 4 speed btw, not sure about overdrive.

RR
 

JohnMc

PV Abuser
300+ Club
Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
St. Louis
It'll probably be easier to run it on through the engine. Half and half fresh/few years old gas shouldn't be that bad.

Is there a stalk that matches the turn signal on the right side of the steering wheel? That would be the OEM OD switch on that era of Volvo. Other than that, you'd need to take a peek underneath. not hard to spot, the M40 has a red metal case that sits in front of the trans crossmember, the M41/OD trans is the same in front but has almost as much 'transmission' hanging behind the crossmember, the Laycock OD is about the same size as the 4-spd trans.

OD's are very nice on these old cars, they were originally geared for 'smaller' roads, and they're spinning uncomfortably fast keeping up with modern 65 - 75 (+ ahem) interstate speeds.
 

59volvo

New member
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
That's one of the Achilles' heels of the pushrod redblocks. That pressed fiber timing gear. At 400K it's certainly been replaced before, but how long ago?

Another fun thing the fiber gears can do is become separated from the steel center that's bolted to the camshaft. That happened on my PV's original B18 motor not terribly long after I got it running again after it had sat for about 17 years. I think perhaps a lack of heat cycles let some moisture sit in the motor, which may have weakened the fiber gear?

...

Thats what happened on my 59, b16 after one of the tabs on the distributor broke off and the motor was sort of "surging" coming down the 5 from Berkeley, then the drive shaft came appart in Kettleman City, made it to LA, but a few days later driving over the sepulveda pass sudden loss of power - the cam gear cracked all around the steel center...
 

59volvo

New member
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Thanks again John, I will formulate a plan a little better once I get compression numbers.

Hey what would you do if you had this car and the gas had been sitting in it for several years. I made the mistake of topping off the old gas with new gas a couple weeks ago, but it smells turpentinish? and has the color of a Budweiser beer.

Would you go ahead and run that stuff out, or try to drain it all and start over?

Thanks again...it's a 4 speed btw, not sure about overdrive.

RR

suggest dont run that old gas if the car has been sitting a long time, drain the tank, remove it and take it to a radiator shop and get it boiled out. blow compressed air thru the gas line to blow the crud out. get a supply of the inline filters before the pump to keep the rust bits and coagulated fuel from fowling the pump and the SUs.

after my 59 pv had been sitting some years, i took out the tank, sprayed it out with a rubber hose, dumped the water out. then rinsed it with a gallon of diesel fuel to coat the tank with oil, then let it dry out. put it back in and the car would run with a full tank of gas but once it got to about 1/2 it could not pump the fuel thru due to crud that had plugged the fuel line and got into the carb bowls and fuel started leaking out of the carbs dripped on the generator and caught the engine on fire! luckly I put it out pretty quick but it burned the paint on the hood!
 
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JohnMc

PV Abuser
300+ Club
Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
St. Louis
Thats what happened on my 59, b16 after one of the tabs on the distributor broke off and the motor was sort of "surging" coming down the 5 from Berkeley, then the drive shaft came appart in Kettleman City, made it to LA, but a few days later driving over the sepulveda pass sudden loss of power - the cam gear cracked all around the steel center...

On my car, the cam gear came totally loose from the hub, but the motor kept running. At lower RPM's it sounded like a diesel, very loud clattering noise. But it would actually quiet down at higher RPM's as the cam got into a constant torque instead of being rattled back and forth by the cam lobes going past TDC and getting pushed forward by the lifters.

When I took the timing cover off to replace it, the cam gear actually fell right off. Rubbing and clattering against the cover was all that was keeping it in place.
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Sure, but that gets into the variability of compression tests. It's going to crank faster with all the plugs out, which will tend to have slightly higher readings. But like I said, worry a bit less about the actual number, and just see if there pretty consistent across all 4. And after you do the 'dry' test, follow it up with a 'wet' test after putting in a teaspoon of oil.

Doing the valves is simple, takes about 15 unhurried minutes, and it's something that an old pushrod motor needs at periodic intervals. That and gapping the points and setting the timing.

Hello John, thanks for the help here; and you were right about valve adjustments...couple videos and your help got them adjusted and compression test performed.

Verdict, every valve was out of adjustment, no gap at all. Using the rule of nines, got them all back into .020 spec.

Compression check done on cold engine, carbs off and 3 other plugs in...

#1 was 150 psi
#2 was 142
#3 was 148 and
#4 was lower at 135

I am thinking that engine has no major issues and will move forward with rebuilt carbs, timing, etc.

How does the test sound to you, on a 142 with 400k miles?

Cheers, Rick
 
Last edited:

142 guy

Member
Joined
May 31, 2014
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
Your average compression is 144 psi and your high / low numbers are within 10 psi which is super spectacular for a 400k engine unless it has already been rebuilt. Its a good thing that your compression tests are reasonable because if they weren't, your original budget of $1000 would be out the door.

Since you can crank the engine, I suggest that you hook up an oil pressure gauge to the port on the side of the block (where the oil pressure switch is) and measure your cranking oil pressure. No point in getting too far ahead with stuff if you can't generate reasonable oil pressure.

You had asked about parts vendors. The Volvo specialist vendors with the largest selection of 140 parts (that I have used) are
CVI - in Sweden
Scandcar - in Demark
Skandix - Germany
VP Autoparts - Sweden and US

I have used IPD and Iroll; but, IPD's selection of vintage parts is getting pretty small. Iroll is OK for parts that are shared with the 1800. High Performance Auto in Torrance CA has a lot of salvage parts when you can't find new and they can also access anything that VP has. If you need something that is out of production and High Performance can't find it, it is probably unobtanium. All of the preceding vendors have been reliable, unlike some others (beware VPD).

Rock Auto sells quite a few parts for the 140s at very good prices. They sell the aluminum Cloyes timing gear for a nice price.

When you checked the heads, did you inspect the rocker arm shoes (valve tip contact point)? At 400k they will almost certainly have grooves worn in them where they contact the valve tips making it impossible to set valve clearance accurately even with a narrow Vee tip feeler gauge inserted from the side. A machinist who has experience with vintage pushrod engines should be able to set up a jig and reprofile the shoes to eliminate the groove. I had all of them done on my B20E for about $40 - 10 years ago.

There was mention made of valvetrain wear. If your cam and lifters are original it is almost certain that there will be spalling on the contact surfaces requiring replacement of the cam and lifters. If you have a dial gauge you can check for this by measuring the valve lift on the valve spring retainer. The actual lift will vary with the cam in the engine; but, if there is significant variation in the lift you know that you have a cam / lifter wear issue.

If you are thinking about replacing the cam, the D cam is from the B20E. The D cam has a fair amount of duration with the result that if you try to idle around 800 RPM it idles with very poor vacuum. At 800 RPM the MAP on my MS2 equipped B20E with the D cam is around 60 kPa and the idle is a little erratic. SU carbs do not idle well with poor vacuum and you may need to crank up the idle speed close to 1000 RPM to get a smooth idle with a D cam. The F cam superseded the D cam. It has the same amount of lift; but, a nudge less duration. It will idle better with SU carbs and for regular driving you may find it has better performance because it has a slightly flatter torque curve. Tinus Tuning
https://www.tinustuning.nl/
grind some pretty nice cams; but, they are on the pricey side. You can email Ben at Tinus, tell him what you have and what you want and he will make some recommendations for you.

You mentioned ignition timing and 16 deg as a static timing setting. If that is 16 BTDC measured at the crankshaft there is no B20 engine that will tolerate that amount of static advance without generating a ping fest. A better starting point would be 10 deg BTDC and depending on the cam, octane rating of the fuel and compression ratio you may need to run less than that. I assume the reference to B20E was just for the distributor? If so, as has been mentioned the B20E distributor does have a negative vacuum advance. The distributor can be run just fine with straight mechanical advance with the vacuum retard port plugged. On an unknown engine I recommend that you disassemble and inspect the mechanical advance mechanism to make sure that the cam and the springs and weights move freely. For what it is worth, some vintages of the B20B engine also ran a distributor with a negative vacuum advance.
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Thanks for the great info...

Your average compression is 144 psi and your high / low numbers are within 10 psi which is super spectacular for a 400k engine unless it has already been rebuilt. Its a good thing that your compression tests are reasonable because if they weren't, your original budget of $1000 would be out the door.

Since you can crank the engine, I suggest that you hook up an oil pressure gauge to the port on the side of the block (where the oil pressure switch is) and measure your cranking oil pressure. No point in getting too far ahead with stuff if you can't generate reasonable oil pressure.

You had asked about parts vendors. The Volvo specialist vendors with the largest selection of 140 parts (that I have used) are
CVI - in Sweden
Scandcar - in Demark
Skandix - Germany
VP Autoparts - Sweden and US

I have used IPD and Iroll; but, IPD's selection of vintage parts is getting pretty small. Iroll is OK for parts that are shared with the 1800. High Performance Auto in Torrance CA has a lot of salvage parts when you can't find new and they can also access anything that VP has. If you need something that is out of production and High Performance can't find it, it is probably unobtanium. All of the preceding vendors have been reliable, unlike some others (beware VPD).

Rock Auto sells quite a few parts for the 140s at very good prices. They sell the aluminum Cloyes timing gear for a nice price.

When you checked the heads, did you inspect the rocker arm shoes (valve tip contact point)? At 400k they will almost certainly have grooves worn in them where they contact the valve tips making it impossible to set valve clearance accurately even with a narrow Vee tip feeler gauge inserted from the side. A machinist who has experience with vintage pushrod engines should be able to set up a jig and reprofile the shoes to eliminate the groove. I had all of them done on my B20E for about $40 - 10 years ago.

There was mention made of valvetrain wear. If your cam and lifters are original it is almost certain that there will be spalling on the contact surfaces requiring replacement of the cam and lifters. If you have a dial gauge you can check for this by measuring the valve lift on the valve spring retainer. The actual lift will vary with the cam in the engine; but, if there is significant variation in the lift you know that you have a cam / lifter wear issue.

If you are thinking about replacing the cam, the D cam is from the B20E. The D cam has a fair amount of duration with the result that if you try to idle around 800 RPM it idles with very poor vacuum. At 800 RPM the MAP on my MS2 equipped B20E with the D cam is around 60 kPa and the idle is a little erratic. SU carbs do not idle well with poor vacuum and you may need to crank up the idle speed close to 1000 RPM to get a smooth idle with a D cam. The F cam superseded the D cam. It has the same amount of lift; but, a nudge less duration. It will idle better with SU carbs and for regular driving you may find it has better performance because it has a slightly flatter torque curve. Tinus Tuning
https://www.tinustuning.nl/
grind some pretty nice cams; but, they are on the pricey side. You can email Ben at Tinus, tell him what you have and what you want and he will make some recommendations for you.

You mentioned ignition timing and 16 deg as a static timing setting. If that is 16 BTDC measured at the crankshaft there is no B20 engine that will tolerate that amount of static advance without generating a ping fest. A better starting point would be 10 deg BTDC and depending on the cam, octane rating of the fuel and compression ratio you may need to run less than that. I assume the reference to B20E was just for the distributor? If so, as has been mentioned the B20E distributor does have a negative vacuum advance. The distributor can be run just fine with straight mechanical advance with the vacuum retard port plugged. On an unknown engine I recommend that you disassemble and inspect the mechanical advance mechanism to make sure that the cam and the springs and weights move freely. For what it is worth, some vintages of the B20B engine also ran a distributor with a negative vacuum advance.

it is very helpful on this project...I have done several 240/740/940 rebuilds and this is my first 140 pushrod rebuild. I got the registration transferred here in CA, (lien sale, registration lapse...) so,
I am now considering pulling the engine and replacing camshaft, cam gears, lifters, rockers springs and machine the head.

I know I have shot my budget, but was making sure I could register before committing to the engine rebuild. I am also going to take the opportunity to lose the shifter slop, and clean up the engine bay, etc.

This decision came after yesterday's long attempt to restart the car, all new fluids, SU rebuilds, ignition attention, etc.

Off I go into 140 land!

Cheers and thanks again. Rick
 

JohnMc

PV Abuser
300+ Club
Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
St. Louis
Absolutely no reason to pull the engine for that work. The heads come off very easily, maybe an hours work (well, stuck exhaust manifold nuts could be an issue, depending). And the cam comes out of the front with the engine in the car, remove the radiator and grille. They made sure on all the pushrod cars to make clearance for that, it works on PVs, 1800's, 122, 140's,

Of course, maybe you want to do other stuff while the motor is out of the car. Is it leaky around the oil pan? Any oil drips coming out of the bellhousing?
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
No oil leaks...

Absolutely no reason to pull the engine for that work. The heads come off very easily, maybe an hours work (well, stuck exhaust manifold nuts could be an issue, depending). And the cam comes out of the front with the engine in the car, remove the radiator and grille. They made sure on all the pushrod cars to make clearance for that, it works on PVs, 1800's, 122, 140's,

Of course, maybe you want to do other stuff while the motor is out of the car. Is it leaky around the oil pan? Any oil drips coming out of the bellhousing?

out of the bellhousing or anywhere else I can see. I feel like the head work is going to happen, and a cam plus the cam gear which I believe to be my restart problem....

RR
 

JohnMc

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Joined
May 10, 2004
Location
St. Louis
Did you ever get it started?

If you've got compression, then the cam gear and cam are working. About the only thing to look out for from that point are any valves with less lift than the others. Generally, cam lobes are fine until they get a little wear, then they wear down quickly. So really, what you're looking for are very obvious problems. WIth the valve cover off crank the motor over and eyeball each valve, one by one, if they all look like they go down roughly the same amount then you're good.
Or measure them if you like writing numbers down, but the chances are slim that you'd catch one in the extremely early stages.

Gas, spark (at the right time, ahem), and compression, all it needs to run.
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Well...

Did you ever get it started?

If you've got compression, then the cam gear and cam are working. About the only thing to look out for from that point are any valves with less lift than the others. Generally, cam lobes are fine until they get a little wear, then they wear down quickly. So really, what you're looking for are very obvious problems. WIth the valve cover off crank the motor over and eyeball each valve, one by one, if they all look like they go down roughly the same amount then you're good.
Or measure them if you like writing numbers down, but the chances are slim that you'd catch one in the extremely early stages.

Gas, spark (at the right time, ahem), and compression, all it needs to run.

When I started adjusting the valves, there was no clearance at all. I adjusted them all to spec.

The timing has been addressed, though found out I have a b20E distributor cap on my B20B; but believe after plenty of rereading, and fiddling, have the timing correct.

Fuel delivery may be an issue, though I did drain the old gas out and SU's rebuilt on east coast. I may still have some SU learning to do.

Thinking the valve and headwork is mandatory...this car is straight and rust free.

Thanks again John.
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Noted,

On a high mileage pushrod engine. I'd want to inspect the cam gear for wear as that can catastrophically fail and leave you stranded. You can get a basic idea of the wear by slightly turning the motor over and watching the distributor. You can rock the crank back and forth slightly to see how far it moves before it moves the distributor. If it's a lot of slack then the cam gear is worn.

thanks again.
 

142 guy

Member
Joined
May 31, 2014
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
I know I have shot my budget, but was making sure I could register before committing to the engine rebuild. I am also going to take the opportunity to lose the shifter slop, and clean up the engine bay, etc.

Two sources of shifter slop on the original style long swan neck shifter. One sort of easy to fix, the other more involved.

The technically easy to fix problem is deterioration of the two rubber bushings inside the shift lever. If you can easily twirl the shift lever knob those bushings are almost certainly history. Easy to replace (just yank the shift lever outer chrome part off); but, the bushings are / were out of production. Contact Hi Performance Auto in Torrance CA. They were making Poly reproductions. That is where I got mine.

The other slop point is wear in the shift lever pivot points in the top cover. You can find threads on different Volvo forums describing the repair. You essentially have to find bushings to fit over the two pivot pins on the shift lever and then grind out the slots on the top cover opening to accept the larger bushings.

Check the rubber bushings first because it is a more common problem than the worn pivots.
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Thanks again

Two sources of shifter slop on the original style long swan neck shifter. One sort of easy to fix, the other more involved.

The technically easy to fix problem is deterioration of the two rubber bushings inside the shift lever. If you can easily twirl the shift lever knob those bushings are almost certainly history. Easy to replace (just yank the shift lever outer chrome part off); but, the bushings are / were out of production. Contact Hi Performance Auto in Torrance CA. They were making Poly reproductions. That is where I got mine.

The other slop point is wear in the shift lever pivot points in the top cover. You can find threads on different Volvo forums describing the repair. You essentially have to find bushings to fit over the two pivot pins on the shift lever and then grind out the slots on the top cover opening to accept the larger bushings.

Check the rubber bushings first because it is a more common problem than the worn pivots.

for your help here. Rick
 

spock345

Active member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Location
Livermore, CA
Two sources of shifter slop on the original style long swan neck shifter. One sort of easy to fix, the other more involved.

The technically easy to fix problem is deterioration of the two rubber bushings inside the shift lever. If you can easily twirl the shift lever knob those bushings are almost certainly history. Easy to replace (just yank the shift lever outer chrome part off); but, the bushings are / were out of production. Contact Hi Performance Auto in Torrance CA. They were making Poly reproductions. That is where I got mine.

The other slop point is wear in the shift lever pivot points in the top cover. You can find threads on different Volvo forums describing the repair. You essentially have to find bushings to fit over the two pivot pins on the shift lever and then grind out the slots on the top cover opening to accept the larger bushings.

Check the rubber bushings first because it is a more common problem than the worn pivots.

That said pretty much every M40 top cover I've seen is somewhat worn.
 

c1800

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Location
A small village of one.
When I started adjusting the valves, there was no clearance at all. I adjusted them all to spec.

The timing has been addressed, though found out I have a b20E distributor cap on my B20B; but believe after plenty of rereading, and fiddling, have the timing correct.

Fuel delivery may be an issue, though I did drain the old gas out and SU's rebuilt on east coast. I may still have some SU learning to do.

Thinking the valve and headwork is mandatory...this car is straight and rust free.

Thanks again John.

Don?t all B20 engines use the same distributor cap?
 

RR

New member
Joined
May 15, 2003
Location
Northern CA
Well, yes...

Don?t all B20 engines use the same distributor cap?

and no. My B20B replacement cap had a recessed alignment notch, instead of a protruding alignment notch; aligning cap with distributor. I found this out after ordering what I thought was the correct cap, but no...IPD dude said part number I gave him from the old cap was proper for 1974 B20E...go figure.

Lesson I learned was that this car, like many older cars may have been fitted with cobbled parts.

Cheers
 

spock345

Active member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Location
Livermore, CA
and no. My B20B replacement cap had a recessed alignment notch, instead of a protruding alignment notch; aligning cap with distributor. I found this out after ordering what I thought was the correct cap, but no...IPD dude said part number I gave him from the old cap was proper for 1974 B20E...go figure.

Lesson I learned was that this car, like many older cars may have been fitted with cobbled parts.

Cheers

Yeah, given that rebuild parts for those distributors are hard to come by most folks just use whatever they can. Also I've noticed a difference between caps that have the clip surfaces slightly rotated with respect to the wire connections and those that don't. I made the mistake of ordering the wrong cap that way once.
 
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