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Old 03-28-2011, 02:32 AM   #51
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So, this time last month I had my first autocrossing experience in the 242. I've done several track days at Willow Springs & Buttonwillow, and raced in LeMons at Thunderhill and Sears Point, but up until this point I'd never done autox before. It's something I'd always wanted to try and some guys at work were putting together a "challenge" (friendly competition) at a low-key SpeedVentures event at AutoClub / California Speedway in Fon-tucky. Turnout from my co-workers was really good; there were about a dozen of us there.

The 242 was not the oldest car competing. That honor went to a '69 Triumph GT6+, but the Volvo had a lot of admiring fans surprisingly! I think people had a good time watching me cope with the extreme body roll.

My notes from that day:

SpeedVentures Autocross 2/27/11, Auto Club Speedway infield parking lot, Fontana.
  • Did about 25-30 runs on the course
  • Fastest drivers were around 35-36 sec
  • I was able to go from ~48 sec initially down to 43.4 by the end of the day - about on par with Aguilar’s Triumph GT6+
  • Massive amounts of body roll but car handled fairly neutrally. Inside tire spin on moderate to heavy cornering with any throttle application.
  • Needs an LSD, even now with making only ~100hp at the crank!
  • De-powered steering was fine in terms of effort, probably due to large OE steering wheel.
  • Understeered into final 2 corners which required heavy braking.
  • Brakes felt adequate for these speeds but will need to be upgraded as the car gets faster. Going into final tightest turns, sequence was: hard braking, understeer, back on throttle, inside tire spin at corner exit, slight oversteer, wait for acceleration... hooks up, understeer again.
  • Tire pressures were around 38psi hot. These are not extremely grippy tires. Need more contact patch to use them to their fullest.
  • Tires: Hankook Ventus V4ES H105, 205/55R16 94V XL. Treadwear: 420, Traction: A, Temperature: A, "ultra high performance all season tire" (they were cheeeap)

The most fun aspects of driving the Volvo were the extreme body roll and the ability to steer with the throttle, since the inside wheelspin caused by the open diff led to slight and controllable oversteer.

On to the choice pics...


There was quite the variety of cars in our group of co-workers.


photo by Kyle Snyder


photo by Kyle Snyder


Some of our motley crew of engi-nerds. Those handsome devils.


photo by Kyle Snyder


On track, with my friend Kyle riding shotgun. He said he had more fun in my car than in either of the two S2000s, because of the hilariously excessive amounts of roll.


photo by CaliPhotography.com


photo by CaliPhotography.com


Closeups of the beast


photo by CaliPhotography.com


photo by CaliPhotography.com


End of the day.






My awesome t-bricks approved GoPro mount, featuring everyone's favorite adjustable fasteners:



I might upload one of the vids, but for some reason the quality is super low. The GoPro is non-HD and it didn't like the extreme contrast of a dark interior and low sunlight angle.

And finally, drumroll please. The list of quickest times from our group:

36.197: Jim (early S2000 on wide "street" tires - Hankook RS3)
38.205: Vince (2004 STI)
38.2: Scott (Porsche Boxster S)
38.802: Khiem (late S2000)
39.327 Andrew (S195 Saleen Mustang)
39.4: Kyle (late S2000)
39.4: Willi (NA Miata)
40.1: Jon (?)
40.623: Damon (350Z)
43.241: Scott (Triumph GT6+)
43.49: Chris (Volvo 242)
45.0: Damon's wife (Smart car)

Fun was had by all. Hey, at least I wasn't slower than a girl in a Smart!!!
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:40 PM   #52
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Before Western Meet 2.0 I decided to get the 242 driving a bit more friendly on the highways by installing new ball joints and tie rod ends. Not a glamorous or particularly exciting job, but necessary to baseline the stock handling.

Definitely in need of attention:



Here too. Soaking with PB blaster loosened everything but the driver's side tie rod end



For which I had to bust out the 4.5" angle grinder w/ a cutoff wheel, and go to town:



I cut just deep enough to expose the root of the female threads but not so deep as to nick the male threads on the tie rod. The rod end was then "popped" open with the help of a hammer & chisel. This plus heating with a MAPP gas torch and soaking with penetrant was enough to loosen 'er up.

New parts went in easily:




And then I did a quick toe alignment with the help of a tool my Dad gave me, the "Ideal Wheel Aligning Gauge," made by Wheel - A - Matic of America, Inc!

It's deceptively simple but takes some skill to use. It's a big spring-loaded bar that you place between the front wheels at the same diameter on both sides. I chose the wheel lip where the tire bead tucks in since it was a nice groove to hold the tool in place.



Park the car on level ground, roll forward a few feet to get the steering centered, insert the bar ahead of the axle and adjust the height until the two chains just touch the ground. Zero the adjustable gauge indicator, roll the car forward until the bar is behind the axle and the chains are just touching again. The indicator now reads toe difference in inches. I converted the stock spec to the measured wheel diameter and came up with ~ 1/16" toe-in for Hydras on a 240, with the bar at the OD of the wheel. I adjusted the rod ends until the lengths were equal as measured with calipers and the toe gauge read 1/16". Steering wheel is now centered and the car feels much more stable and predictable.

At WM 2.0, Ryan tried using my gauge on his 242 but it was too low and we couldn't get accurate readings. Also the gauge kept popping out of the groove. I wrote all the details above and showed the pic to prove that it works (on a stock-height car with 16" wheels, at least)! The pic shows my asphalt driveway but it was just for demonstrative purposes. I did the alignment on the nice flat smooth garage floor. Yay, now I can align front ends for 1 out of the 3 relevant settings!
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:56 PM   #53
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Autocrossing pics are great!!! Looks the old girl had a great time 'rolling' around out there. And you have plans that will make it only get better from there.

FWIW - if you're not fond of stock bumper set up (too big and sticking too far out for my liking) and don't want to pony up for the later model bumpers - I took the stock aluminum forgings off - and used them as a mold to lay up replacement fiberglass bumpers INSIDE the stockers. The finished product is slightly smaller than the stockers since they were laid up inside the stockers. We pushed the shock absorbing mounts all the way back -- and then mounted the fiberglass pieces to the stock mounts. Sit much tighter to the body and are a bit smaller to boot. Knocks about 45 lbs. off the car. My front replacement weighs about 5 lbs. and the rear weighs about 3.5 lbs. Of course - no protection at all - but, a risk I was willing to take.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:15 PM   #54
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Thanks for the kind words. The fiberglass bumper idea sounds interesting. Do you have any pictures of the process and/or the finished products? Feel free to post them or link to them here.

I'm having an internal battle about the Commando bumpers at the moment. The devil on the left shoulder says "throw them out and use later skinny bumpers or something even lighter," and the devil on the right shoulder says "but wait, this is still a street car and those Commandos will save the sheetmetal in a pretty serious hit." Still haven't decided which way to go yet. Maybe some quick release pins to switch back and forth depending on street and track use would be cool. Maybe not.

And yes, they are both devils.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:41 PM   #55
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This was the first time I ever worked with fiberglass. There's not much to it. Remove the bumpers from the car and take the rubber pads off. Experiment with the fiberglass, resin and hardener to get a sense for how much you can mix up at a time, how quickly it sets, etc. Temperature and humidity make a big difference. Hot/dry sets up MUCH quicker than cooler/humid. Once you have a sense for how it works, clean the inside of the bumpers well. I lightly wet sanded them with 600 grit to create a nice smooth surface. And I lightly coated the inside of the bumpers with Pam (not a typo) to be sure the fiberglass didn't adhere -- not necessary probably as it doesn't want to stick to aluminum anyway.

It's ok if the fiberglass protrudes a bit through the bumper pad mounting holes -- you can simply sand off those 'high' spots when you pull the bumpers out of the mold. I laid up about 4 plys -- and alternated glass weave layers with shredded glass weave for strength. You can buy the rollers you'll need at local hardware or tool store. Get lots of acetone for clean up and lots of rubber gloves (disposable) and LOTS of brushes/rollers - also disposable. So get the cheapest stuff you can. The front bumper has more curvature so it was tougher to get out of the mold -- actually had to fracture it a bit on the corners -- but once out you simply patch those places and it's good as new. I removed the mounting studs from the bumper, cut off the heads and tack welded them to a piece of sheet metal so they were the same distance apart as they were on the stock bumper. Then I embedded that piece of sheet metal under multiple layers of fiberglass in the right locations so the studs hit the mounting brackets. Piece of cake really -- and no experience at all before making these. They weigh about 8 lbs total and I like the clean way they look. They seem to enhance the 'brickness' of the car. ;)

Once you pull them out -- use filler and sand paper to achieve the finish you want. I also used some cardboard pieces dunked in resin/harder to build support bridges between the top/bottom of the bumper about every 10" going across - just fiberglass those into place with a bit of fiber weave and resin. I found that primed with red primer, painted them flat black with Krylon, and then lightly wet sanded with 600 grit - I could hit them with Eastwood Clear Satin -- and it produced a finish that's almost identical to the black plastic finish on the rear view mirrors. Looks like the factory did it. With aluminum heads on the 5.0L, a/c and power steering - the car weighs 2960 with about 1/8 tank of gas.

Cost maybe $30-40 in materials - also bought some 'used' pots/pans at garage sales that I could mix stuff in and then throw away. And keep the area WELL VENTILATED. The fumes are just plain not good for you - and neither are the glass fibers. Dust mask at least for the fibers - open windows and fans for the fumes.

Last edited by M.H. Yount; 04-20-2011 at 10:00 PM..
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:23 PM   #56
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^^ Awesome, thanks for the very thorough write-up. That's a good "composites 101" course for anyone who's interested. The bumpers look great and they do lend a certain Bauhaus-ish simplicity to the look of the 240, which is appropriate given the Scandinavian design aesthetic of clean lines, radiused bends, flat surfaces, etc. It works well.

Your pictures got me thinking, maybe a similar technique would work to make glass or carbon "skinny" bumpers from '83 and later. I have a set to experiment with so I can leave the Commandos on the car if it fails. Hmm...another sub-project to add to the long list! The skinny bumpers may be small enough to warrant making female molds off of them, and then laying up a dimensionally-identical copy inside of that. I met a t-bricker at Western Meet (ilikepinkcrayons) who is making a 'glass coffin hood using this technique. Not sure if he has posted anything about that though.

For what it's worth I do have a few years experience with composites so I don't see why I shouldn't try making some Volvo parts. The pic below is a "super mileage vehicle" that I helped build in college. The complete monocoque chassis/fairing weighed about 12 lb without any running gear, IIRC. The one in the pic came out the nicest but I helped make 3 cars the same way...build a male mold, layup a fiberglass female mold off of that, then vacuum-bag wet layup a few layers of carbon fiber with nomex honeycomb for stiffness in the lower chassis portion. I can attest to the sensitivity of resin set-up time varying with temperature and also with mixture proportions. When vacuum bagging, it sucks to find the first half of your part curing before you're even done laying up the second half!


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Old 04-21-2011, 05:19 PM   #57
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LOL - something tells me you'll have no problem with the lay-ups.....
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #58
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Ha, thanks for the vote of confidence. But it was a "team effort" and I definitely didn't build those cars by myself. Plus it has been almost 6 years since I've done any sort of composites work at all, so I'm sure there will be a re-learning curve if I pick it up again. Should be fun though!
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:59 AM   #59
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Time to catch up with recent progress...rust repair!

I knew there were a few "bubbles" around the windshield frame all along, which were getting more obvious with time and not fixing themselves unfortunately. I was prepared for the worst:




Peel back the trim and seal. What do we find?




30 years of terrible crud.



This stuff was packed in all along the lower edge of the windshield seal. The aluminum trim and a large void under the rubber seal both helped to capture dirt and water. The crud sat in there like a wet sponge, slowly eating into the steel.

Once I had cleaned out the channel and started grinding lightly at the "bubbles," it became obvious that the metal was gone in a few spots, and getting pretty thin in others.



Instead of trying to weld or fill in the holes and thin spots individually, I wanted an OE-quality patch panel to make the repair.

Junkyard time! I went to the local Pick-Your-Part during my lunch hour, after Ecology turned me away for trying to bring in an angle grinder. "We don't want no sparks" was their line of reasoning. Pick Your Part didn't check my bag, and lo and behold I found a beige '81 242 without any rust on the passenger's side windshield frame. Coincidence...???

The car had been sideswiped and was definitely on its deathbed so I didn't feel too bad about turning it into a tissue donor.



It was a bitch cutting that big of a piece out, but I wanted to take way more metal than I knew I'd need to be sure I had enough to work with.

Last edited by Duder; 05-09-2011 at 06:50 PM..
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:11 AM   #60
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A small cut-off wheel on my Black & Decker "dremel" tool and a steady hand gave me a nice hole in my car. What a reward for 5 minutes of work.

I spent at least an hour cutting and then grinding down the patch panel with a bench grinder, until it fit the hole perfectly with about 1/16" gap all the way around.




It fits! Measure 500 times, cut 499 times.



I intentionally left the spot-welded flange intact to preserve dimensional integrity of the frame and also since it was not rusted through yet - only pitted.


A little bit of "cold" zinc galvanizer was applied to the back side of the patch panel to act as a weld through primer.




I broke out the MIG and started tacking it in slowly, moving around a lot and making sure not to warp the steel. This stuff is 18 gauge and is not super sensitive; lucky me. Yay for thick Volvo steel.




Keep moving around, tacking between the existing tacks, and you end up with something like this:



Which was not its final fully welded state, but it illustrates the point.


Magically results yielded from some careful grinding using the edge of a cut-off wheel in my "dremel," plus cartridge rolls and some good old hand sanding with 80-grit:



Not perfect but pretty smooth to the touch and shouldn't require any filler.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:29 AM   #61
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I got the metal ready for painting with POR-15 "Metal Ready" (go figure). I'm not sure if this is phosphoric acid or something else, but it neutralizes any remaining rust and turns it into a black-oxide-like substance. Paint was the Master Series moisture curing urethane that I used in the sunroof tray. I like this stuff; it's nice and thick and levels out well so applying with a $0.69 foam brush is no problem.




Three coats of rust preventive paint for now, color matching later.




Final results are promising. There were several other pitted areas on the flange but nothing else rusted through, so these were all ground, sanded, prepped and painted like the main trouble spot. The big strip on the passenger side is all that will be visible with the new windshield installed.

I'm going to upgrade to the later flush-style windshield seal to prevent future crud buildup, and get new glass to spoil myself a bit. That, and the original glass broke upon removal.

The old tenacious black sealant goo was cleaned out of the rest of the frame with "Goo Gone," paper towels, and a tongue depressor that I cut at an angle to make a scraping tool.

Next up: dash replacement.
Status: in progress.



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Old 04-26-2011, 03:38 AM   #62
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amazing job, well from waht i know.. and i do know that you spent hours sanding :(
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:54 AM   #63
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Nicely done. Is there a tutorial in the threads anywhere about upgrading to the later model flush mount windshield? I'd like to make that move for mine. Time to search I suppose...
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:52 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by project volvo View Post
amazing job, well from waht i know.. and i do know that you spent hours sanding :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by M.H. Yount View Post
Nicely done. Is there a tutorial in the threads anywhere about upgrading to the later model flush mount windshield? I'd like to make that move for mine. Time to search I suppose...

Thanks; it was a good deal of work. I started last month, working on it nights & weekends and just got the final coat of paint on a few days ago. Slow and steady paid off for this project.

As for the late model 240 flush windshield, Redwood Chair installed one in his '82 wagon and has detailed postings showing all the steps. Start at post #545, and keep reading onto the next page: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...198069&page=22

I'm planning on calling around to various mobile glass shops to see who has the nice OE-quality Pilkington glass. I'll let the pros do the install while I watch & learn.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:54 PM   #65
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I should add that the new style windshield will install in the older cars with no problem. The steel frame didn't change enough through the years to make a difference apparently. Hooray for Volvo stubbornness!
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:49 PM   #66
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I've also heard that the new windshield 'footprint' is larger than the old one which means that there shouldn't be any areas that were previously covered under trim that would be exposed after the move to the newer windshield. But -- not sure about that - hopefully the thread referenced above will address that.

Suppose if I were going to add some dynamat/generic sound deadener to the roof - the time to do it would be with the windshield out - so I could take the headliner out through the front glass opening.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:04 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.H. Yount View Post
I've also heard that the new windshield 'footprint' is larger than the old one which means that there shouldn't be any areas that were previously covered under trim that would be exposed after the move to the newer windshield. But -- not sure about that - hopefully the thread referenced above will address that.
I believe that's correct - I know the new style seal is thinner, but to me it looks like they overlap the body by approximately the same amount as the old style seal when installed. Some of the black gooey sealant and other crusty stuff is still stuck on my car around the windshield frame so if it shows with the new glass & seal installed, I'll just need to use a little more elbow grease getting it off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M.H. Yount View Post
Suppose if I were going to add some dynamat/generic sound deadener to the roof - the time to do it would be with the windshield out - so I could take the headliner out through the front glass opening.
Yup, that would be a perfect time. I popped out the rear glass for my headliner replacement, which was easy to do. I would've waited until now to do the headliner if I would have known I'd be pulling the windshield though. Should work fine either way. I suppose you could also just drop the headliner down into the cabin and work around it, if you don't want to remove any glass to install your dynamat.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:11 AM   #68
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A few weeks ago I bought a gorgeous brown dash from Dave Barton, with no cracks and very little fading. Decided to splurge a bit since having the windshield out was the perfect time to do a dash swap for easy access.

The typical Volvo wiring spaghetti mess was obvious once I pulled the old dash out:



So I did a bit of cleanup, re-routing some wires and vacuum hoses and zip-tying everything together that I could in order to reduce rattling noises while driving. The zip-tied wire pictures are more boring than a bag of rocks so I won't share them here.

Once the new dash was in I called around to various mobile glass distributors until I found one with access to the OE-quality Pilkington glass, so I went with that since it was only $20 more than the cheap stuff.

Getting the pinch-weld / flange ready for glass installation with a final cleaning:



(the old black gooey butyl tape is the stickiest stuff I have worked with in a while and didn't come off without a fight)

Mr. Glass Man painted the pinch weld and the inside edge of the glass with fast-drying primer, squirted a bead of urethane windo-weld with his nifty electric caulking gun, and set the glass in place.




One-man operation:



This guy said he has been installing glass since the year I was born. He did a good job.


Viola.





Back to the dash swap... for comparative purposes here's a "before" shot of the original dash, formerly brown, cracked, painted black with a blue glove box:




Aaaand...here's the spanking-new (looking) awesome crack-free brown dash installed with matching glovebox. Also please note the matching center console & kick panels that I found in the junkyard a few months ago, and the inside of the new windshield:




My reversion back to nice brown-interiored beige sleeper mobile is almost complete. Mwa ha haaaa...
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:04 PM   #69
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Nice.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:09 PM   #70
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Thanks - I'm happy with the way the dash & windshield turned out. Really ties the car together. I ordered some touch up paint in the "Artesia Beige" code which I'll use to finish over the silver primer that shows at the bottom corner of the windshield frame.

The later flush-mount rubber seal ends up overlapping the body by almost exactly the same amount as the earlier seal did. There are only a few small spots where rubbing/grooves from the old seal are showing on the paint.

The Beige abides.
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:44 PM   #71
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Small update with a few pictures. The 242 is seeing daily driver duty right now while I rebuild my pickup. I installed an older Blaupunkt head unit in the lower spot, and two late model 240 door speakers with the black plastic shells and steel perf grating (HT-204 I think) after spotting some in the junkyard. Mainly just an experiment but it gives me tunes for now and the housings should easily accept better speakers down the road.

Went to Davis and had a great time at the autox and the show, despite the rain/cold/hail. Had dinner & beers at Sudwerk on Saturday night but somehow missed all the other tbrickers that were there at the same time.


Recent picture of the beige barge, after the cowl rust repair and new windshield:




Oh yeah, I also scored an awesome set of 5-panel taillights in the junkyard. They have '78 date codes but look brand new; no fading at all. The reverse lenses are nice and clear, and the rubber gaskets are still fresh. They must have been recently installed, because the donor car wasn't that nice. 60 bucks!

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Old 05-27-2011, 05:52 PM   #72
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Also thought I'd steal some pics from the Davis autox thread just to keep them here in case they go down at some point. These are not mine, just re-posted!













Obviously, I have done nothing to the suspension recently.


Apparently I hit 5 cones on one run, which was a 1:19. I think my best overall counting cones was 1:21 +1.



There it is!
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:49 PM   #73
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Non-eventful update on this car, only since it has been so long since I've posted anything:

It's still performing daily driver duties as I rebuild my Toyota pickup. The Volvo has been ultra reliable for such a high-mileage car that had been neglected for at least 10 years. Clutch is very close to the end of its life though; very shudder-y on takeoff. Usually a quick clutch dump at just above idle speed will engage it without any drama. Still jumps out of 3rd gear sometimes but I haven't replaced the trans mount and won't, until I do the driveline swap.

Removed the rear muffler since the tubing at the bend just before it had almost completely rusted out, giving me a free 16 lb weight loss in the rear and a nicer throaty exhaust note. It's loud enough to hear but not excessive. Makes me wonder why it was there at all.

Passed smog a few weeks ago with no drama. HC's were higher than average and NOx were lower than average, making me think it's running a bit rich. Also the burbling and popping from the exhaust on overrun between shifts could be explained by a fat mixture. It's not spewing unburned fuel or anything so I'm leaving it as-is. I probably won't bother with a wideband O2 sensor until after it's up and running with the B230FT.

Before the engine swap though I need to get some baseline numbers: weight, 0-60 times, braking distances, skidpad speed, and so on. Basically the stuff I posted on the first page of this thread. I want to get a real quantitative value of the major improvements I make to the car which requires some initial data...no matter how laughable that data will be.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #74
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #75
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Apparently I have too many projects. 7 personal cars, a Lemons car, and 5 motorcycles will do that to a guy. You could call it automotive ADD.

My pickup is done and running great. Our E36 Lemons car took months of my free time and now I don't want to even touch it for another year (even though it is incredible to drive; late braking passes after apexes were way too easy and fun with 275 RT-615Ks). A micro-turbo Honda bike project is on the front burner at the moment, but might be pushed aside in favor of the 242 very soon.

And speaking of the 242, I just ordered a ton of parts to finally do the suspension on this thing. I'm going to upgrade in stages with baseline testing, then re-testing after every phase of upgrades. It would be easier to go all in and do coilovers immediately but I'd like to compare & contrast. And of course I'll do writeups along the way.

As you can see by the pics I posted above from the '11 Davis Autox, anything would be an improvement!
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