Fred (@Fred)(Fred)


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16 240 sedan, 91 240 wagon, 92 960 wagon, 90 740 GLE 16 sedan, 940 GL wagon 7 seater, 360 GLT 5 door, 84 240 GLT wagon manual, 240 sedan parts car


  • Building a high comp high revving NA 16v b230

    Gidday Aus Volvo lovers, and excuse the necrophilia on this old discussoin :-)

    I stumbled across this thread in search of data on the performance of the old-school B230F oil pump setup at high RPM - no such info in this thread, but after reading about 65% of it, I felt inclined to comment on a few things! :-D

    Given this is my first post I should supply some credentials to back my comments:

    First Volvo in 2009, drove it 21000km around the USA for 3 months, left it with a friend who sold it for half the 2k US I paid for it to the parents of his friend, who drove it around for their business for a year or two before scrapping it. Good car, great adventure, the Volvo bug partially bit. In late 2013 I was in Vancouver and had the pleasure and privilege of driving around a friend's early quad round 240 with custom fuel injection using my firmware and the ECU I started designing in December 2007 and that has since run 44 different engines in a dozen countries (but not Aus! yet). That manual snot-green 240 wagon stole my heart, head over heels. In early 2015 I had been watching NZ's "trademe" for a 240 wagon and found one in champagne gold and bid on it sight unseen paying a bit under 4k NZD for it with 290k km on it and some minor issues. I still have it, 310k on it now, and I currently own 8.75 RWD Volvos, 7 redblock, 1 whiteblock, and 1 940 caravan with double mattress that gave up its B234F for my first 240 sedan :-D That B234F in the 240 sedan is running on my ECU with 4 toyota COPs and is bone stock aside from mounts and chassis. Even bolted to the AW72L that it always was in the 940 caravan it came out of. In 2006/2007 I built my first custom turbo setup, surge tank, dual pumps, 3" plumbing hot and cold, R32 GTR intercooler, 2.0 4 cyl 16v non-vvt 80s/90s Mazda 4 cylinder in my 89 Ford Courier, making about 400hp at the crank, maybe 350rwhp or thereabouts. I did everything except balance the flywheel and tighten the LSD. I machined the flywheel and fuel rail and so forth, though :-) So, with that out of the way, my Volvo creds sorted, my ECU creds sorted, and my turbo/engine/build/mod creds sorted, my comments:

    I intend to build a "hot" NA 2.3 16v engine for my little 360 because it's light enough to make such an engine truly fun. Anyone that's driven a BEAMS 3SGE Altezza knows what I mean, spectacular 210ps 2.0 spinning 8k all day, but in a heavy chassis it's just not that fun, feels slow, isn't all that fast, etc. In the 360 with a 200kg weight advantage over a 240 or 740 and 50/50 weight split across the axles, a hot 2.3 would be excellent fun. My plans differ significantly from the information presented here as the only way to go, though.

    I see repeatedly "late squirter block" as the call for a high revving NA redblock - couldn't disagree more. Yes, these are less likely to be worn out, but any non-worn out B230 will do, and in particular the small-main-journal pencil-rod variant is a better choice, with or without the skinny stock rods, because it's far lower friction. The only caveat to this is that the thrust bearing design in them IS inferior and on a manual trans with the wrong driver that could present an issue down the line (if they sit with their foot on the clutch at the lights instead of in neutral). If using the stock skinny rods on the SAME rod journal size/bearings the lower mass of these rods is a benefit in every way - you won't bend them NA and they will happily spin higher than the 13mm rods will with the same big end cap bolts. Or go for something aftermarket and light weight like pauter titanium if you want to pour some cash in to TRY to get close to the figures posted early in this thread. I'll probably do that, because I can, but if I was on a tight budget I'd have no hesitation in building a hot NA 16v 230F based engine using the factory skinny rods.

    Secondly talk of decking blocks and cylinder seal etc are a mixed bag - yeah, it's better to skim the block to give a dead flat low RA finish to mate a gasket to, especially if MLS, or even if ordinary composite from Elring, but not mandatory. The block was decked at the factory 30 or so years ago and hasn't changed. NA engines don't make massive cylinder pressures, simple as that, fact. This is not overly expensive to do, either.

    Thirdly I see talk of 8k being sky high and scary and likely to wear out quickly and so forth - well, the more you rev, the more that's true, but practically speaking you won't be up there long and it's short stroke, so the average piston speed is pretty reasonable at a measily 8k. After all, my 89 ford courier can rev to 8k, why can't a Volvo? Spoiler: Maybe the oil pump! :-D But I'm not sure about that, just speculating, hence searching and hence finding this thread in the first place. 7000 RPM is fine all day on 86mm stroke, on an 80mm stock Volvo stroke, you guessed it, 8000 is just fine. For example the blacktop 4age revs 8k bone stock with 77mm stroke and can go higher reliably until the oil pump fails. To make power up past 6k though, you WILL need a regrind on the cams, no doubt. If you go too far with that, the bottom end will suck. If you don't, it'll be a great balanced street engine. For example, in that ute of mine torque is falling from 6500 up on bone stock cams, but power is pretty flat from 6500 up to 8k as torque falls - simple math to see that. Still worth revving it hard for *highest average power*, shift to shift. Will the oil pump supply good quality flow at 8k? No idea. But I intend to either find out the hard way or find out before hand somehow. Modern engines (80s up) use trochoid oil pumps that, when well designed (2jz, whiteblock, NOT RB) are happy to very high RPM just fine.

    Finally, the call for ITBs, how many factory Honda B16A/B18C/F20 engines have ITBs? How about BEAMs 3SGEs? That's right, zero. I love ITBs, but: they're about noise and response, not outright power. A good size plenum, well designed runners, and a decent size throttle will get you the power you want, no worries. ITBs, unless barrel style, or sliding plate style, make less power because the throttle plates are in the way causing turbulence and non-linear flow. Again, I love them, but you don't need them for power, just for looks, style, noise, and response if you're the sensitive type.

    So to do this on a budget what do you need?

    • The usual (gaskets, seals, etc) and 16v top end setup + yoshifab bits to make it work
    • Head skimmed for flatness and a minor compression bump
    • 16v pistons, new rings
    • Skinny rod/small main block in good condition - honed only
    • Stiffer valve springs - yoshifab sells some - not sure about the options presented here, but I'll look into them, too
    • Maybe solid lifters? But I've had that ute of mine with HLAs that people in the internet say pump up revving high with 18psi and no issues, so I'd try with stock lifters and if they float then sort it out, but I doubt it at a mild 8k
    • Reground cams for more duration and a smidge more lift
    • ECU - no need to spend 3k, you can do it for far less in various ways - for me it's under 500 bucks

    Probably looking at 2500-3000 all up including the donor engines and ECU setup, self tuned.

    Baller version? Skim block too, fancy coated short skirt pistons, pauter titanium rods, shim-under-bucket lifters, and some sort of custom manifold with shorter runners and bell mouths, non-ITB is fine. Then you're up around 6k doing it all yourself and 10k if you pay someone to do it, but you do not have to go that route. I will not, I may get pistons/rods, or I may rock stock ones, but the work will all be done by me. I'd rather spend the extra money on tools and great aussie red wines :-D

    Cheers, Fred! :-)

  • '91 240GLE - The Brapwagon

    I never got you that G80 mod photo, because I could not find my own one, but here's a friend's one, the one I copied. I think mine may have looked a bit better, but I have no evidence of that until I next pull the cover off which isn't any time soon.

  • '91 240GLE - The Brapwagon

    Yep, as an ECU designer I'm fully aware of fan strategies including high current PWM and stepped resistor banks like Volvo use on some cars and is often adapted around. I'm all four e-fans, mostly against e-pumps (can be done right, but not often), I was only commenting on front/back and the noise straight blades make relative to curved ones (and that noise being a parasitic loss that shows up as current draw and alternator load which is amortized over time by the battery.

  • 740 now officially RARE

    Black diamond is right, they still go cheaply, got a whole 240 sedan with some issues for 700kiwi the other month, haven't seen it yet, but should have it on the weekend to start pulling down. That one was publicly listed. A guy got a 240 wagon for free (or scrap value at most) with 7 seat and good running engine/trans etc with rear bumper rust, parted it out and tried to quadruple his money from the small nz community - wanker :-D POHM. Cough. Most of these cars get listed through the kiwi FB group before they go on our trademe site. Recently a clean 242 GT went for 15k that way, never saw the public market, just 100 regulars and 2000 "never visits". They're definitely thinning out, but they're still mostly not valued by anyone except us enthusiasts, who are not who originally own them or mostly sell them, that's old guys who gave up and moved on and don't understand any more.

  • '91 240GLE - The Brapwagon

    An important consideration on whether to suck or blow (outside the bedroom) is that air has inertia, and air blown goes in a direction and doesn't want to turn sharp corners, whereas a vacuum pulls from all directions. If you have a seal around your shroud as you should, then suck beats blow any day (outside the bedroom), but without a seal blow will cool the area in front of it pretty well regardless thanks to that inertia and suck will draw air in around the radiator instead. You might have noticed the monstrous shroud on the 240 stock, that's Volvo ensuring the fan works on the entire surface of the radiator equally and good frontal protection at the same time :-D Also - be ready for it - straight blade fans are noisy AF. I thought that on your first post but didn't want to ONLY be negative, so now I'm being helpful and negative and the world is in balance :-D

  • Battery Acid and Water Corrosion

    Allow me to share my solution to:

    • self discharge
    • sulphation during even slight discharged states (read short trips, especially infrequent)
    • limited life span with close to full starting performance of 2-5 years if treated well, months if not
    • acid fumes eating car chassis and other parts
    • excessive weight, 2.8kg for 4S2P shown below
    • environmental hazard of lead

    The DIY Headway 38120HP 4S2P pack will easily start any of my 4 and 6 cylinder engines, and quite likely the 8 litre diesel in our boat which I already started (only just) with a similar pack with only 4 cells and half the capacity. These should see me to my grave given thousands of full discharge cycles before 20% degradation in capacity and no full discharge cycles being applied to them.

    That's wired into my 360 with the original rusty tray removed. And this is in another car:


    • cannot run them flat, flat = dead
    • should not run them over 14.8
    • should not run them unbalanced
    • balance circuits for alternator and starting currents not easy to come by - alternative arrangements needed
    • low capacity comes with small size/light weight despite high starting ability

    In summary, I plan to run these in my cars using an isolator switch on the firewall to keep them safe and a balance circuit that is not in series with the pack and the car such that it can balance the cells but not prevent over charging or over discharging - that's up to the regulator in your alternator and your isolator switch or frequent use. Having said that, the 16AH pack above has spent two periods of 1 month unattended in my 360 on the side of the road and started like a CHAMP with no sign of being drained after each period, so the switch may be paranoid, but I have a lot of cars so none of them are daily used, weekly to fortnightly for the frequent ones.

  • Aus-only 360 chassis brace pictures request

    Interesting - thank you! :-)

  • Building a high comp high revving NA 16v b230

    I would like to add that if you're building a turbo B230F based 16v engine, then the squirter is definitely the way to go, hands down. The benefit of the squirter setup is not lost on an NA engine, but is in cooling the pistons with high thermal loads (read boost). A turbo engine with squirters is in a better position to be tuned tightly and be reliable than one without which will have higher piston temperatures that both promote detonation and reduce the strength of the piston under high cylinder pressures.

    Does anyone know if the OP ever built a screaming 16v redblock? Did anyone else in Aussie do it? I'm not aware of any on this side of the Tasman, but you never know what's lurking in a shed somewhere :-D