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Old 09-11-2020, 10:57 AM   #26
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Until a very comprehensive rebuild (still the original block, crank, rods, head) at around 2.7 million miles.
That supposedly did not even need to be done!

I do however, question the rarity of the super high milage thing...
Look at, for just one instance, Egyptian Mercedes taxi's
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:21 AM   #27
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I think I remember Irv saying the car had started to really feel tired at that point. Losing some pep, etc.


And yeah, that Mercedes might have passed Irv's total, if Mercedes hadn't bought it and stuck it in a museum in 2004. But while Mercedes diesels of that vintage are pretty legendary in terms of reliability, he didn't put 2.8 million miles on the same engine: https://highmileclub.wordpress.com/2...mile-mercedes/
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It appears he used four engines in the car during his time as a drivers and rotated them. This is not too surprising given the sheer amount of miles driven. Still, even with engine replacement, the total distance of 2,858,307 Miles before it was retired.
Rotating the engines implies that they're getting major work done on them between turns at bat.

Irv's car (apparently) went the whole way on the same drivetrain, with 1 1/2 rebuilds.
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:41 PM   #28
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I used to use Warren oil 15-40w. It is a truck oil that has 'Soot Slayer' in it. Nothing can beat that for protection.

Irvs car never had the trans or rear axle rebuilt from what I've read. He was the true master of rolling up the miles on a car.
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Old 09-11-2020, 01:54 PM   #29
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Hemmings sports and exotic magazine did a excellent story on the car, with tons of info from Irv himself. If I recall they even listed consumables like tires and oil changes. Really miss that magazine, I’ll find the issue this weekend
Don’t know if Lucas oil additive is bad but I definitely wouldn’t add a whole quart of anything that wasn’t actual oil.
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Old 09-11-2020, 06:01 PM   #30
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Reason have looked for other supposedly longer lasting oils, whether correct or not, is it seems natural mineral oil seems to become darker sooner which I assumed with my lead foot meant it was breaking down.
Looking at Irv Gordon's habits would be a great starting spot, except that he used dinosaur bones and changed every 3k miles as has been pointed out. So it doesn't really tell us much about long life oil.

Longer drain intervals are more prevalent in Europe, mostly because their oil is designed for it. Or maybe vice-versa. (See here for a reasonably good explanation, though admittedly it's written like an advertisement.) BMW is explicit in the LongLife specs (LL-98, LL-01) and VW has theirs (5xx.xx) and Mercedes also. (See more on specs here and here.) If European 10k mile maintenance guidelines are followed while using oil available in the US which is formulated for different priorities, sludging can take place. (See here for a description, and here for interesting pictures.)

There are many oil choices that meet the Euro spec, and they typically proudly proclaim that on the bottle. None are cheap. But they work really well, and you can easily get away with longer drain intervals. I use the color of oil on the dipstick as a guide to determine what a particular engine / particular driving conditions calls for -- the less blowby, the more slowly it gets contaminated -- but most of my fleet seems to be happy with ~10-12k so I've settled on 10k because the odometer is really easy to remember. I change the filter more frequently -- I can tell when the filter can't handle it anymore by the behavior of the oil light / gauge upon startup, it changes very subtly at about 6k-8k depending on conditions, and a fresh filter brings back the almost-immediate extinguishing of said light.

Whenever I have a valve cover off, be it 150k or 250k miles, everything inside looks clean as a whistle. If I have the heads off (or put a borescope camera through a spark plug hole), I still see cross hatches on the cylinder walls. And every vehicle I've been in charge of maintaining runs like new. I'll take that as a win.
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:02 PM   #31
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Hemmings sports and exotic magazine did a excellent story on the car, with tons of info from Irv himself. If I recall they even listed consumables like tires and oil changes. Really miss that magazine, I’ll find the issue this weekend
Don’t know if Lucas oil additive is bad but I definitely wouldn’t add a whole quart of anything that wasn’t actual oil.
Lucas oil stabilizer is very thick and appears as oil and never had a Volvo mechanic or anybody warn of using a full quart, although I see your point.

That Hemmings article will be a very interesting read. Thanks to everyone for insights! Had not heard that zinc was reduced/removed for cat converters.

Just found this oil that has zinc, good for cold starts after sitting and 15 5 star reviews at ebay:

https://www.ebay.com/urw/Lucas-SAE-1...m=184027119991

Back label looks very appealing:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lucas-Oil-H...ss!49837!US!-1

Sounds good for the B20!

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Old 09-12-2020, 09:52 PM   #32
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Lucas oil stabilizer is very thick and appears as oil and never had a Volvo mechanic or anybody warn of using a full quart, although I see your point.

That Hemmings article will be a very interesting read. Thanks to everyone for insights! Had not heard that zinc was reduced/removed for cat converters.

Just found this oil that has zinc, good for cold starts after sitting and 15 5 star reviews at ebay:

https://www.ebay.com/urw/Lucas-SAE-1...m=184027119991

Back label looks very appealing:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lucas-Oil-H...ss!49837!US!-1

Sounds good for the B20!
Not so fast... "Not recommended for passenger car use... and (is for) Classic Car crowd with an increased zinc value of 2100(!) PPM."

Too much zinc can actually damage the lifters and cam. I'd recommend you stick to those with 1100-1300 PPM zinc and phosphorous, with detergents and other additives for daily drivers.

And relying on reviews on Amazon?
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:40 PM   #33
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Not so fast... "Not recommended for passenger car use... and (is for) Classic Car crowd with an increased zinc value of 2100(!) PPM."

Too much zinc can actually damage the lifters and cam. I'd recommend you stick to those with 1100-1300 PPM zinc and phosphorous, with detergents and other additives for daily drivers.

And relying on reviews on Amazon?

It says not for use in cars with cat coverters. Is this ppm at amazon? Link not at amazon, and regardless, I'm here. Utilize many metrics. How will zinc damage lifters and cam?

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Old 09-13-2020, 03:15 PM   #34
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The only thing that I am amazed at is that anybody believes Irv Gordon's story. IMO, he was a con that got caught up in his own story. The B20 carbureted engine would be lucky to make 300,000 miles before it was so loose it had almost no compression. I don't care what kind of oil you put in it. Carbureted engines suffer from fuel wash. The B20s were also known for flattening cam lobes. Not Irv's, B20. He must have had some magic Pixie dust he used to keep that engine purring like a kitten. I brought this up on the Brickboard 20 years ago and some of the folks on there went wild. Blasphemy, they said. Then, all the folks that actually worked on these cars back in the day chimed in and said, "he's correct, there is no way Irv's story is true". Believe what you will.
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Old 09-13-2020, 05:45 PM   #35
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The only thing that I am amazed at is that anybody believes Irv Gordon's story. IMO, he was a con that got caught up in his own story. The B20 carbureted engine would be lucky to make 300,000 miles before it was so loose it had almost no compression. I don't care what kind of oil you put in it. Carbureted engines suffer from fuel wash. The B20s were also known for flattening cam lobes. Not Irv's, B20. He must have had some magic Pixie dust he used to keep that engine purring like a kitten. I brought this up on the Brickboard 20 years ago and some of the folks on there went wild. Blasphemy, they said. Then, all the folks that actually worked on these cars back in the day chimed in and said, "he's correct, there is no way Irv's story is true". Believe what you will.

I call bull***t
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:15 PM   #36
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I call bull***t
I already beat you to it. The math doesn't lie. Break it down. Irv claimed he drove 1.2 million miles in the last 11 years of his life. That would require that he drove his P1800 7 hours per day, 5 days a week averaging 50 mph 52 weeks out of the year. No vacations. Long haul truck drivers barely do that. He also supposedly kept that up since he bought the car new in 1966. Apply a little simple math and you can see what a con man he is/was. He started with a lie and doubled, tripled, quadrupled down with it until the day he died.
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Old 09-14-2020, 02:30 AM   #37
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So you're saying 109,000 miles a year for 11 years is not true? There were days he would drive 600 miles a day. The man enjoyed driving
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Old 09-14-2020, 02:41 AM   #38
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I really doubt his story. Not only the number of miles driven, the magic P1800 that needs so few repairs. A bit of Swedish Mythology, perhaps?
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Old 09-14-2020, 06:03 AM   #39
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Found a thread on TB about a B20 with a failed cam lobe. Watch the video in the first post, and notice how there isn't oil flying around while the car runs with no valve cover. It does look like that cam lives a rough life.

Found more information on B18/20 longevity:
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A Volvo B18/B20 engine should cover over 200,000 miles without major rebuilding – although camshafts, valve guides and fibre timing gears may need replacement at around 100,000 miles.
I saw one other claim of a 250-300,000 mile lifespan in my search results, but the page was different when I went to it.

2-300,000 before a rebuild isn't bad at all for a car from the 60s, but the more I look into it the more I doubt that 3.5 million miles is possible.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:42 AM   #40
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I think he was a bit OCD about driving. Supposedly he picked his car up new from the dealer on a Friday, and came back the next Monday morning for his 1500 mile service. As documented by the warranty booklet.

And he got unusual service life from his 1800 because he didn't drive it 'normally'. He drove it gently. And most of the time, it would get one cold start in the morning, and he'd drive it all day long, through multiple tanks of gas, multiple warm stats (with oil still in the bearings).

ANd once he retired from his 'day job' - I think Volvo paid him to drive the car around.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:16 AM   #41
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wow, He parked it outside every night
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:26 AM   #42
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I think he was a bit OCD about driving. Supposedly he picked his car up new from the dealer on a Friday, and came back the next Monday morning for his 1500 mile service. As documented by the warranty booklet.

And he got unusual service life from his 1800 because he didn't drive it 'normally'. He drove it gently. And most of the time, it would get one cold start in the morning, and he'd drive it all day long, through multiple tanks of gas, multiple warm stats (with oil still in the bearings).

ANd once he retired from his 'day job' - I think Volvo paid him to drive the car around.
this, coupled with some luck from being assembled by sobered up workers on a wednesday, and perhaps the car being on the opposite end of the lemon bell curve.

Since it was babied, and became famous, the dealer service department would have treated the car with care and respect too. Irv probably would check their work and there was little chance for errors to cause harm.

Naysayers: This isn't typical, tehis was the perfect storm.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:28 AM   #43
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And he got unusual service life from his 1800 because he didn't drive it 'normally'. He drove it gently. And most of the time, it would get one cold start in the morning, and he'd drive it all day long, through multiple tanks of gas, multiple warm stats (with oil still in the bearings).
I wish I could drive like this. But people get pissy when I feather the throttle, and I get sent to the store for stuff after hours of not driving.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:38 AM   #44
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I've certainly never ridden in Irv's car, but I did own two 1800E's. And they have a completely effortless freeway cruise. I don't think they're particularly aerodynamic (Cd) - but the do at least have a lot less frontal area. Get up to speed, click the OD on, and you're just barely tickling the throttle to keep it rolling along at 55 - 60 mph. And then just putter along like that for the next 250 miles until you fill up with gas again. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

I'm not saying Irv was nuts, but I think he compulsively drove. A lot.
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Old 09-14-2020, 04:54 PM   #45
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Also, I don't see the point in lying about anything, he doesn't seem like the type. I'm not sure what he would get out of doing so
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:02 PM   #46
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ANd he'd take it into dealerships along the way for the servicing, AFAIK Volvo was footing the bill. So each and every dealer that serviced it would have needed to know what fictional mileage to put down to make the service records support the mileage increase over the years.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:14 PM   #47
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Also, I don't see the point in lying about anything, he doesn't seem like the type. I'm not sure what he would get out of doing so
Notoriety. Guinness Book Of World Records. I suppose you guys believe you can stack Volvos 7 high and not have the roof collapse on the bottom car as well? Who was responsible for that mega myth? Volvo themselves. Car companies lie to the public all the time. The most recent example is Volkswagen with the emissions test faking software. The simple math just doesn't support the story. It would be a full time job to drive as many miles as Irv supposedly did. There are traveling salesmen/women that put that kind of mileage on their vehicles. Irv was a school teacher. That by itself is a 50-60 hour a week job. I know, I was raised by a school teacher and school principal. He must have gone on 48 hour non-stop driving marathons during his weekends off. I'm not saying Irv didn't put an incredible number of miles on his P1800. I just think he spun the tale into a much bigger tale to the point it becomes ridiculous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9NRDfDIxcc

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