Saturday, December 25, 2010

Previous Work - First Half of 2010

I was laid of in late 2009, relocated back to Atlanta where I grew up, and had tons of free time.  Good thing I had an old car to play with.  By this point I was tackling significantly larger projects, like refreshing the suspension and brakes.  I also spent a good amount of time inside the automatic transmission trying to correct a no-shift issue. I had hoped to take the car to the Georgia Tech Auto Show in the spring, but I didn't quite have the brake system buttoned back up.
  • January 2010  
    • Automatic transmission valve body overhauled  
    • Replaced transmission filter screens
    • Replaced transmission pan gasketRepainted transmission pan
    • March 2010 
      • New stainless braided brake lines installed 
      • Rebuilt front brake calipers with new pistons and seals
      • New front brake pads installed
      • New upper ball joints installed
      • New lower ball joints installed
      • New lower front control arm bushings installed (rubber)
      • New upper front control arm bushings installed (rubber)
      • Repainted front spindles, springs, dust shields, caliper brackets, and calipers
      • Repainted upper and lower front control arms
      • Repainted front subframe
      • New front KYB GR2 shocks installed
      • New rear KYB GR2 Shocks installed
      • New or refinished hardware used for reassembly
      • Repacked wheel bearings
      • New dual-circuit brake master cylinder installed
      • New front brake hardlines installed
    • May 2010
      • Radiator boiled out, pressure tested, and painted by Riverdale Radiator
      • Installed Flex-a-Lite cooling fan
      • Repainted fan pulley
      • Coolant change
    • June 2010
      • New Fuel Filter
      • Sand blasted and painted battery hold down
      • Replaced rear pinion oil seal
      • Heater box cleaned out
      • Blower motor removed and lubricated

    All new rubber suspension bushings ready to install

    New balljoints, upper control arm mounts, lower shock mounts repainted

    Refinished springs, brake shields, brackets

    Upper and lower control arms stripped and ready to go back on car

    Fresh suspension parts finally getting installed

    Subframe was repainted (by brush, on the car) while everything was apart

    Early 1980's RX7 dual-circuit master cylinder

    Calipers rebuilt with new pistons, seals, and boots

    Refinished caliper

    Rebuilding the automatic transmission valve body

    So many parts to keep track of inside on of these things

    Transmission servos cleaned out and reinstalled


    Previous Work - 2009

    The Smallvo has seen a lot of attention since I bought it.  This car was already 15 years old when I was born, so it's been a learning experience working on it for sure.  It's the first car I've ever had with carbs and a choke.  Ironically it's also the first car I've owned with an automatic transmission.

    Most of the work I did in 2009 was in an effort to insure the car was roadworthy and reliable.  Common wear parts were replaced and some minor rust in the rear floor boards was addresses.  A lot of the first couple months was spent just discovering what was wrong with the car, how it worked, and how much fun it was to take it to dinner during fall in New England.

    I've got pretty exhaustive photos of what was done, but I'll pick and choose in the name of brevity.
    • August 2009
      • Swedish Embassy alternator bracket
      • Remanufactured Delco alternator w/ warranty
      • New battery/starter/alternator wiring
      • New fuel filler neck gasket
      • Horn refurbished
      • Interior floors stripped of sound damping, sealed with POR15, repainted
      • New rubber fuel line
      • New in-line fuel filter
      • New vacuum lines
      • New IPD seat webbing – both seats
      • Reconditioned fuse box
      • Reconditioned foot dipper switch
      • New Polyurethane Steering Coupler
    • September 2009 
      • New trunk seal
      • Carburetors tuned
      • Timing adjusted
      • Valve adjustment
      • Heater box removed, sand blasted, sealed with POR15 and repainted
      • New heater hoses
      • New heater/cowl gasket
      • New heater/firewall gasket
      • New heater valve gasket
      • New heater door seals
      • Sylvania Halogen sealed beam headlights
      • Battery box stripped, sealed with POR15, repainted
    • October 2009
      • Valve cover repainted
      • New valve cover gasket
      • K&N air filters installed
      • New air filter gaskets
      • New radiator cap
      • New upper radiator hose
      • New lower radiator hose
      • New overflow radiator hose
      • New thermostat
      • New thermostat gasket
      • Radiator flush/fill + water wetter
      • ATF flush/fill
      • Oil change w/ filter
      • New fuel level sender
      • New fuel level sender gasket
      • New fuel pump
      • New fuel pump spacer block and gaskets 
    • November 2009
      • Front door speakers Installed  
      • Underseat subwoofer installed
      • Head unit with USB input installed

    New Seat Webbing

    Heater Box Disassembled

    Heater box parts blasted and ready for paint
    Small rust holes in the corners of rear floor pans

    Floors sealed with POR15 and topcoated with ZeroRust Paint

    Friday, December 24, 2010


    I bought this car in July of 2009 while living in western MA.  The only good reason I can come up with is that I was bored and needed something to keep me busy.

    I found the car via Craigslist on Cape Cod.  The original ad is below. 

    The seller(s), who were also the original owners, used the car sparingly during the summers at their vacation home on the Cape.  It consequently avoided much of the road salt and deterioration cars see in the Northeast.  It's still a salty environment, being a couple hundred feet from the water, but these cars were built with thick steel and lots of undercoating so things have aged well.

     The car had just under 80,000 miles on it when I bought it.  Many (most) of these cars have had their odometers roll over by this point, but the sellers insisted this one had not.  There is supporting documentation, although during an annual inspection a couple years prior a service technician assumed it had rolled over and recorded the mileage as 17X,XXX. This gets reported to the DMV, so the car now carries an odometer discrepancy title. 

    I drove out and looked at the car one weekend, and bought a 1-way Greyhound ticket for the next weekend to pick it up.  Driving 150 miles home on the Massachusetts Turnpike was probably about as much use as the car had seen in the previous year or two.  The car made the trip fine, although in hindsight, I probably should have made sure the brakes and cooling system really were up to snuff before getting it up to 65 on a public highway.

    The sellers did insist I call them when I got home, so they'd know I made it home alright.  I still correspond with them via email and snail mail on occasion.

    This is the second day I owned the Smallvo, after it's first wash.

    The car was in good enough shape that I could drive it while tinkering with it, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I enjoy driving the car a lot more than I like working on the car.  The condition is good enough that it turns heads and provides a satisfactory driving experience, but not  so good that I'm afraid to put miles on it or get a rock chip in the paint. 

    First Post

    I needed a better way of documenting and sharing information about my little red Volvo 122s, so I created this blog.  Probably should have done it awhile ago, as I've done quite a bit in the ~18 months I've owned the car.