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Old 02-27-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Checking out an 1800es

I've lusted after an 1800es since I first saw them on the road in Europe in the early 70's. I'd have bought one then, but they were way too pricey for my pay as a Spec 4 in the US Army...after all, I had to buy some of that good German beer, wine and wurst!

I'm going to look at a restored 72 this week. The FI has been removed and it has dual carbs now. It looks great in the photos, I've talked to a mechanic that has maintained it for the past few years and had a friend check it out for me.

I don't know what areas on these cars are prone to rust...where should I look for rust repairs? I've also been told that the car has very stiff steering and it takes a lot of pedal pressure to stop the car. With no power steering, I understand the car will not steer like a modern car. I think the 1800es had power brakes and I would not expect undue pedal pressure to stop the car. My other old car is a 65 Ford Falcon so I understand the effort to stop a manual brake car but I'd think the es would take less pressure.

Any advice on what to check out for stiff steering and high brake pedal pressure? Any other items to check carefully before I turn over my hard earned $$?

I don't have any pictures yet. If I buy the car, I'll post some here.

Thanks for any help you can give this novice Volvo owner.
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Old 03-01-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Unfortunate that the FI was removed. Will be worth a bit less because of non-originality.

The steering is heavy. Always was and always will be. Factory tire pressure recommendations are fairly low too so that doesn't help. The wheel should return to center after driving around a corner, if not some front end service might be needed. There are lots of arms and joints, none of which are grease-able, that may need to be replaced. Also, steering box fluid should be checked if too stiff. Another area to check while your at the front-end is the suspension bushes. The uppers are visible through the wheel opening and the lowers from under the front valence. The rubber should be within the bushing, not squeezing out. A simple way to check is; parked on flat ground, look at the front wheels and any excessive negative camber (wheels tilting in at the top) would indicate worn suspension bushings. Any problems here would help negotiate a better price.

Brakes on an 1800 should be great. 4 big discs, power assist - a perfectly modern system. If the pedal is hard, it's probably seized calipers. They can be re-built. Another possibility is that when they swapped over to carbs, they forgot the vacuum for the brake booster. This car is getting cheaper all the time.

Rust. There can be lots of it. Other than the obvious places on the lower side of the body, here are a few key spots;
1- inside front floor areas above the jacking points (under the car) about 10" in front of the seat bottoms.
2- further up the firewall, on the inside. There is a captive channel that runs across the front of the footwell about 12" up from the floor.
3- engine compartment lips. The area that runs the length of the inner fender, up high near where the relays are mounted.
4- you can lift the L&R outer trunk floor lids to look inside the wheel wells. Good place to look for accident damage too.

Make sure any work was done well. You can get a paint gauge from Eastwood, or borrow one from an restoration specialist friend to see how much Bondo there is.

Anything else, make sure everything works. Electrical, door locks, window winders. Check the overdrive (shift into it with the clutch like a 5th gear - usually a little slow to engage 1-2 seconds, not instant). Accelerate from stop at full power - any driveline shudder would indicate u-joints or hanger bearing problems. Drive slowly in 4th gear, then floor the gas pedal and note if the engine speed rises equally with the speed of the car. If the motor speeds up before the car accelerates it could be a worn clutch.

Make sure the trim is complete. Some of the chrome/stainless, glass, rubber or plastic parts are no longer available and could be hard to find used. Mechanically they are simple - everything is based on a 120 or 140 series.

Check values on-line. Nice cars get a premium price but it's not in the league of most classics of that era - the Volvo name holds it back. Decent, driveable car, not entirely correct should run 6-8000. Good, original, unrestored 8-10,000 and concours examples 15-30,000.

Don't let your heart guide your final decision.
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Old 03-02-2011   #3 (permalink)
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BHart

Thanks for the info...now I've got a little more knowledge. I'll let you know what I find.
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Old 03-04-2011   #4 (permalink)
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"Don't let your heart guide your final decision."

Didn't you read my first post where I said I'd been lusting after an 1800es for 40 years!

Well, I'm going to have to change my user name to Gotta1800es. I bought the car even though it needs some work to make it as nice as I want it. The floors seem good, there's some plastic in the body but I'm still checking that out. The bumpers and headlight rings need rechroming, the trim is complete but has several dings that need straightened out. There is a vacuum line between the intake and the brake booster but I haven't pulled it off yet to check for vacuum.

The biggest problem I have right now is the car is hard to start...turns very slow but will eventually start. The engine will sometimes run on after you turn the key off. I'm thinking the timing needs to be reset but don't know what the factory timing was and I don't know where to find the timing pointer. Any "pointers" on those items?
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Old 03-04-2011   #5 (permalink)
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Is the seller the one that converted from FI to carb? Did you get the old FI parts? Can you find out what model the carbs came off?

Run-on with carbs could just mean the float levels are set too high. Slow starting, probably a bad battery, possibly a corroded ground strap to the engine.

A full tune up would be in order, just to set a correct base line so you can better trouble shoot any issues.


Resource links;

Volvo P1800 club of Sweden
PV, 120 (Amazon), 1800 General [Archive] - Page 3 - Volvo Owners Club Forum
VP Autoparts
Performance Parts - Vintage Performance Developments
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Old 03-09-2011   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry for the long delay...had to get the income taxes done. Plus, I've been reading some on the sites you gave me links to. Even though I'm retired, I don't ever seem to have enough time to get everything done.

The PO did not do the FI to carb conversion. I'm not sure exactly who did that. The PO was going to try to get me contact info for the guy he bought the car from but the PO had brain surgery yesterday so I suspect he'll be out of commission for awhile. I did not get the FI parts and do not know if that will be possible in the future or not.

The carb on the car is a 2 bbl Weber. I didn't pull any part numbers off it so I'm not exactly sure what model it is.

I had the battery checked and it is good...only 12 months old and no problems. The battery ground looks fine...I cleaned it up a little and added a star type lock washer under the cable to try to improve contact. Should there be a block ground on the car? I did not see one but I don't know exactly where to look.

There is an 1800ES owner a few miles from me that I'm going to try to contact when he gets back in town. He has a fully restored stock ES and may be able to give me some advice and I'm anxious to compare my car to his to learn more about what might have been changed over on mine.

Bill
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Old 03-09-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Check with your local 1800 guy about a good shop that knows older Volvos. They could be invaluable if things get overwhelming.

Webers are good carbs with lots of adjustment possibilites. Can be a challenge to the novice though. Make sure it's running well, too rich will wash down the oil, too lean will burn a valve. Contacting the PO would be smart. Personally, I would have gone for a Volvo, dual SU setup....no I'd stick with the FI.

My 1800 is in winter storage across town right now so I can't check for the location of the engine block ground strap. Make sure it's there though, you don't want to send the ground through the throttle cable!

There will be lots of little things to sort out. It can be tedious, don't rush anything.
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