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240 Yet another yellow wagoon build

edited February 10 in RWD

I've had my 1980 245 for a little while now and I've come to the conclusion that it may not have been the best purchase initially. But, as with all things in life, sometimes you simply have to suck it up, have a spoonful of cement and get on with it. So, without further adieu, I give you Eric-a, a banana yellow 1980 245 GL B21E with BW55 autotragic transmission. This is my story of her (?) resurrection.



  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    Eric Bana...na

  • My journey started about 18 months or so ago when I asked my dad to check out a wagon near him. Keen as he was, he decided to buy it and get it going for me. After several weeks in his shed, a few essential parts and a little bit of time elsewhere he managed to get the old k-jet going enough to drive the old girl to registration. But... there were a few gremlins to deal with. Things like the seats being broken, wipers working on 1 speed, no blower fan, brakes squeeling, suspension being clunky, gearbox vibration, the engine being so feeble that it wouldn't pull the skin off runny custard and the back seat needing a bracket welded back on. And that is the start of things.

    Anyhoo, time passed, the old girl was on transport and eventually ended up in my driveway, landing in late 2019 (I think!). I immediately got to work on the seats, sourcing some wrecker ones and rebuilding the soft parts, while paying attention to the broken plastic bits. Now they are so much better. Likewise, thanks to Greg S, replacement wiper relay was installed and, hey presto, the wipers work!

    Like most of us with old Volvos, I've spend many hours upside down, inside out and twisted like a pretzel in wrecked shells pulling parts that will be useful. Through that time I decided that the journey would include:

    * Conversion to manual. (sourced 2x M46 transmissions + conversion equipment for $150)

    * Upgrade to a more modern fuel system. ($50 for LH2.2 conversion and who knows what for a cat equipped exhaust).

    * Whatever is required to get more hp. ($100 for B230F circa 170k use. 0$ for K cam from a B23)

    * New wheels. (I can't remember the price)

    * Central locking and other extraneous stuff to make life more comfortable (like a fan) ($0!!)

  • edited February 10

    Eric Bana-na, I wish. More like Eric Wimp (aka Bananaman) (or is that reserved for others?)

  • With the seats now acceptable I started to daily the old girl to find out what was required. Soon enough I had changed out the steering rack with a good refurbished one and found that a clunk had developed/worsened in the right front strut area. Starting was difficult when cold, so I found a working cold start valve and then found that the fuel economy was worsening steadily. Shortly after this the turbo in the LoLux went, so all expenditure on the old girl was suspended and she was laid up for the winter in my next door neighbour's driveway.

    I gave the old girl a compression test and nearly fell over at the needle position on my el-cheapo compression gauge: 120-130 psi cold, with little change with oil. Head or bore issues. Either way it was more work that I could attempt during winter in a driveway. That gave me time to get the $100 B230F refreshed a little with new gaskets, oil pump clean, new seals, new belts and water pump, K cam and new clutch. I also set to work on creating a LH2.2 engine harness from a harness I pulled from an 88 240 that had nice clean ports and all of the conversion components. This completed, I started on the M46 refresh. As I stated previously, I was lucky enough to have acquired 2x M46 transmissions, one from an 83 244 and one from the back of a lone B23E. One opening the first box, the first thing that hit me was that familiar smell of burnt oil. My heart sunk a little right there. Further investigation identified that the sunwheel was toast, with the hard facing having worn off the teeth. This thing must have been whining worse than a two year old at the checkout. Queue M46 number 2.

  • Following! Good to finally see some pics!

  • To get over my disappointment of the first M46 box, I tackled the dreaded heater fan job. So after spending a bit of time hunched over an 88 internals to pull the heater fan, I found out that the 80 heater fan is unable to be removed from the unit until it is fully disassembled. Feeling the bushings I surmised that the bushings were ok and it simply required lubrication in the car.

    Step 1: Spray in lots of brake cleaner to dissolve the old bentonite based grease. Once rotating, keep going until the fan spins freely.

    Step 2: Spray in INOX MX5 Plus and listen for the fan to pick up in revs. Keeps spraying in pulses, checking that the MS5 Plus penetrates into the rotating shaft and bushing.

    Step 3: Reassemble and relax with a good spinning fan.

    For those that don't know what I'm talking about, this is MX5 Plus, lubrication spray with PTFE. Inox MX5 PTFEE Plus Lubricant 300g | BCF. It has become my new favourite lubricant for everything that moves, like door latches and locks and hard to reach parts.

  • M46 number 2 turned out to be in much better condition than number 1, except that the OD was well and truly STUCK onto the main box (hanging it didn't do anything). In the end I made up eight little jacking screws out of 6mm bolts and thread couplings. Carefully I manipulated each bolt by 1/4 turn, slowly removing the OD from the mainshaft. Two days later the OD was separated from the main box.

    Pulling it apart I found that the overdrive is a replacement unit that is in top condition. I was going great guns working through the kit until I got to the operating pistons where, to my consternation, I found that the operating pistons were different. Normally the operating pistons have a small o-ring and a short piston. The story goes that factory replacement overdrives and the later p/j type overdrives have larger pistons with larger o-rings and a higher clamping force on the cone clutch, therefore can tolerate more torque without slipping. The first image is the older type and the second image is the newer type. BEWARE: the older pistons are shorter and have the cylinder hole drilled shorter. The large o-ring versions are drilled deeper to accommodate the taller piston. The two are not necessarily compatible.

  • Over the Christmas break I diverted my attention to being Santa's chief elf to restore my son's bicycle. It has been a series of firsts for me on that project:

    * First bicycle painted.

    * First time painting with auto paint.

    * First time using my Preval sprayer.

    * First time painting metallic.

    * First time attaching decals.

    * First time laying lines (yet to be completed).

    So, he now has a (almost) fully restored 1977 Malvern Star Schoolstar.

  • After NYE this year I decided to see whether the low compression was due to head issues, so off came the B21 head. As you can see, the head looks pretty good with no gasket issues or valve problems. On the other hand, the bores have a big ridge around the top that would be somewhere close to 0.015". This is the head from the B21E. Funnily it wasn't burning oil, however the oil went black very quickly. I'll be removing the head temp sender and the thermostat before it goes to Valhalla, unless anyone wants a reasonable condition E head or some B21/23 shims or whatever. I also have a complete working k-jet system as well.

    Now the decision was easy, remove the B21E and BW55 and do the swap to B230F + M46 + LH2.2 while retaining the breakerless ignition from the k-jet. Other things that swayed my mind were:

    Dodgy engine wiring:

    Dodgy fuel pump relay (and a burnt out plug).

    And general k-jettedness.

  • I'll go through the change to M46 and LH2.2 later. In the meantime, it almost looks like it belongs (and no I've not bled the clutch or brakes and that grey wire is one of a dozen superfluous wires that is about to go). It starts and runs fine. I've got to work out the mounting of the power steering pump and changing over the A/C compressor from the piston version to the rotary version. Idle is a bit hairy, but I'm not sure whether the IACV is fully functional or whether it is simply the LH2.2 not being able to cope with the K-cam. The beautiful thing is that it starts easily after less that 2 revs and goes straight to idle.

  • Doesn't LH2.2 have a knock sensor? If so, that would have interfaced with the ignition system to retard spark when knock is detected. Will that work with the early breakerless ignition system that you're using? Or maybe the knock sensor was integrated and stand-alone with the early LH2.2 ignition system...can't recall.

  • The 2.2 system is split. The 240 without the knock sensor and the Chrysler problem and the 740 with the stand alone EZK 117 (?). The B230F from the 240 doesn't have the sensor hole tapped. All the LH2.2 requires is a signal from the -'ve terminal on the coil, hence the ability to use the breakerless ignition from the k-jet.

  • Hmm, for some reason I thought our 88 240 with the B230F and LH2.2 had a knock sensor...maybe not. It did have the funky ignition computer with vacuum hose, mounted up on the side of the washer bottle (I assume that's the "Chrysler" one?)...never gave us any problems.

  • That's the Chrysler ignition module that everyone complains about.

  • edited February 14

    Ok, now for the LH2.2 swap details.

    To fit the manual gearbox I fitted a pedal box out of a donor 83. Sometime between 80 and 83 there was a change to the vacuum system whereby the vacuum hose to the manifold downsized and the hole in the pedal plate downsized a couple of mm. That has meant that I've used the small vacuum hose to the manifold and used a manifold connection on the internal reservoir too.

    I decided to locate the LH computer on the firewall just in front of the passenger, allowing me to cut out about 2m of cable from the harness. Fitting LH2.2 to a k-jet car is relatively easy, especially if you want to keep the contactless ignition system (LH2.2 owners take note). Part of the process can be used to retrofit k-jet contactless ignition and remove the Chrysler ignition system. I reused the old 80 vacuum hose grommet by boring a 30mm hole in the left hand firewall plate, using this grommet for my LH harness. This negates having to pull the $#!tty Volvo cable grommet to pieces and forcing new wires through.

    Here is a list of the mods that are required for the change that aren't documented well elsewhere.

    * Thread the fat green O2 sensor wire through the grommet first. This cable can be looped to take up the slack. It is a PITA to re-terminate due to the shielding, so save yourself some heartache.

    * The red-black wire from the back of the speedo is just for 12V power when the ignition is in the ON position (position II and position III). It supplies power to the main+fuel pump relay for the LH and to the ECU. I've wired this to fuse 12 (fuses may vary from model to model).

    * The yellow-red wire from fuse 7 that powered the k-jet fuel pump relay is redundant. Pull this out from the fuse box, but leave enough to connect in the LH relay. Power to the fuel pumps is taken directly from the battery via a fat red cable (6mm?).

    * Purchase a waterproof blade fuse holder to replace the old Volvo one down by the battery. I found mine at Jaycar, but I'm sure you can get them at a good auto store.

    * Cut the red-white wire on the old k-jet fuel pump relay and join it to the grey wire to the ECU. This is your pulse signal to the ECU to tell it the engine is running.

    * Pull all of the wiring for the Chrysler unit plus distributor and turf it.

    * Don't worry about the blue and pink wires for the hall effect sensor, they can stay in the harness and won't cause any issues.

    * Do not try to connect the tacho into the computer. For some reason the early tacho is not compatible with the ECU signal. Retain the existing tacho wire that is already in the k-jet harness and connect this to the -'ve terminal of the coil for signal.

    * The fuel pumps are powered by the yellow-red wires at the fuel pump relay. Cut these across to the LH relay. IIRC the other wires (sans the red-white one) are now redundant and can be removed from the harness/fuse box.

    * Lastly, you will end up with two surplus k-jet wires at the bulkhead plug. I chopped mine off, but you can do what you like with yours.

    Le Fuse Box from an 80 145 with central locking and M46.

    LH2.2 ECU mounted in front of the passenger footwell. That red wire that is cabled onto the harness on from the top right is going to be replaced with the original tacho wire from the coil.

    Oh, and buy yourself a lot of joiners and a decent set of crimping pliers. This was a box of 100 when I started and I only made a few bad joins here and there (until I upgraded my crimper pliers).

    For those that want to convert from Chrysler ignition to k-jet contactless, simply rip out all of that Chrysler harness and other stuff, source the dizzy and control unit for the contactless unit, plumb it all in, connect the grey wire from the harness plug under the throttlebody to the -'ve side of the coil, plumb in the vacuum line to the dizzy and start the old girl up. You will require a power source from the key to the breaker module. This is usually from the key. Simples.

  • Nice! Do you have any idea how the ignition maps compare between the "Chrysler" ignition system and the older Bosch contactless ignition systems? I assume they may be somewhat different between the various years/engine configurations (B21E/B23E/B230E/B230F)...I wonder if one or the other gives better performance? Pre-unleaded vs post-unleaded catalyst cars?? Hmm, interesting!

  • I'll find out, however the K cam gives a lot of leeway, with some from over the pond running 14-16 degrees on 87-89 octane. I'm running 95-98 octane (same price here) and have base set the timing on 5 degrees for now. I'll do some research and let you know. The B21 has a D cam anyway, with a setting of 8 degrees in the book, so I may be able to play a bit.

  • Ok Greg, from what I can deduce is that the profiles of the B23E and Chrysler ignition are similar. It appears that the Chrysler curve finishes somewhere around 46-50 deg btdc. The B23E dizzy, with vac advance peaks at around 36 deg btdc. Base timing on a B23E is 10-14 deg btdc, taking the total to 46-50 deg btdc. I've yet to find anything on the B21E, however I'd expect the B21E and B23E curves to be similar, primarily because they share similar cams. The setup for the D cam which, from my B20 experience, is a poor detonating cousin of the superior K, is different and may be due to the dynamic cylinder pressure of the K being lower for longer compared to the D. Interestingly my B21E had a little check valve in the vac line to reduce the impact of the vac advance. I can only surmise that this is due to control of detonation issues on the autotragic. I may remove it once I'm satisfied that the ingition is performing.

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