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Old 07-03-2018, 01:20 PM   #1
CRatcliff
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Default Volvo 144 Head Mods Questions

Hey All!

I'm doing some mods to the head for my 144 (F Head). Dropped it off at the machine shop yesterday and they had a couple questions.

First, the work they're doing:
Opening exhaust valves up to 38mm
Cleaning out bowls
Hardened valve seats
Unshrouding cylinders to the gasket lines
New valves
New springs 85lb/90lb rate
Possibly replacing valve guides
Milling the head to raise compression

The questions I have are:
-what should the Lifted rate be for the springs
-what is the desired compression for the head?

They're going to CC the cylinder and have me measure how far below deck the piston is, as well as the thickness of the head gasket, to calculate exactly. Advice on the best way to measure exactly how far below deck the piston is? I can snag a Harbor Freight tool, OR I have calipers if that's better.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:07 PM   #2
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Which cam are planning on using? The lift of the cam will determine which springs are suitable. They must have enough seat pressure at the desired installed height and not bind the coils at max lift.

The desired compression ratio will also depend on the cam and the type of fuel you have available. 10 - 10.5:1 is about the most you can run with today's fuel and a mild cam.

The best way to measure deck height is with a deck bridge and a dial indicator.

https://www.summitracing.com/search?...=deck%20bridge

The next best way is with a magnetic base dial indicator.

https://www.harborfreight.com/multi-...ent-63663.html

Obviously, you'll also need a gauge to go with your tool of choice.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:44 PM   #3
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Not sure which cam at this point - John V had recommended a custom cam from Sweden, but the company he was working with has had no luck getting the core for the cam. I would love to hunt one down, but if they're not available, I would also love any advice for an alternative cam.

Looking for something that will be fun to drive with a lower power band - not looking to go high-revving, more looking for something that has pickup at lower RPMs and more torque. I'm gonna throw on a T5 transmission as well, so hopefully won't be at 5k rpm at 60mph!
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiperfauto View Post
Which cam are planning on using? The lift of the cam will determine which springs are suitable. They must have enough seat pressure at the desired installed height and not bind the coils at max lift.

The desired compression ratio will also depend on the cam and the type of fuel you have available. 10 - 10.5:1 is about the most you can run with today's fuel and a mild cam.

The best way to measure deck height is with a deck bridge and a dial indicator.
The intention is to do "all the right things"---zero deck, thin gasket maybe, and carefully take into account intake valve closing after BDC ---dynamic compression...
The B20 having a cast iron head with a chamber very similar to other cast iron heads can very probably be perfectly happy with static comp edging towards 11.0 or so when combined with cams with somewhat more duration--or later intake valve closing---that is common in Merikuh.. Mayny Saab "ex-spurts" have claimed 10 to 10.5 "with todays gas" (30-35 years ago, but experience building ~~100 engines have shown with 92 octane and "middling" rally derived cams has shown that 10,8 to 11.3 comp working very well.
The cam we expect to source out of a shop in Sweden--if we find the right core ever--(which means if I go back and remember to note down which core they call for)

The guy does have a nice set of 2 x 45 DCOEs (same as works faultlessly on my widdle 1740cc V4)

The big issue I think overlooked is controlling ignition accurately...The dizzies are normal old Bosch JFUR4 fambly dizzies and thet DO wear in the V4s--so no reason to think they live any better in anything else, but ignition control is key to happiness.

The Oh Pea has lots of experience with carbs on high performance motorcycles and I have too with DCOEs--and making good linkage so the carbs is no worry.
And i did help do a B20 for a shop in Seattle "Apex Automotive" on the Carrerra PanAmerica open road rally Amazon.. worked gooooooood. (like 137mph shown on the super accurate rally odometer (with speed function) in an Amazon with 4,10 axle. But puttered around like a street car in town..
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:06 PM   #5
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Ok I went and looked--- they say
Quote:
Alla B20 kammar kräver 074 stomme i inbyte
All B20 cams need 074 core in exchange...

Is that easy? hard?
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:08 PM   #6
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Would y'all advise having the machine shop zero deck my engine as well?

Also, if you have a distributer / electronic ignition that you would recommend, I'm absolutely in. All my bikes have moved to electronic ignitions (Hall effect, full on advance ignitions - not just points replacements) and it's great!
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:29 PM   #7
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That's my plan. Plan to run a Yoshi cas adapter and ls coils. Of course I'd also like implementing a crank trigger as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRatcliff View Post
Would y'all advise having the machine shop zero deck my engine as well?

Also, if you have a distributer / electronic ignition that you would recommend, I'm absolutely in. All my bikes have moved to electronic ignitions (Hall effect, full on advance ignitions - not just points replacements) and it's great!
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:34 PM   #8
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That might be a step down the road for me I'm thinkin head work with carbs first, then ignition. I was looking at the 123ignition
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRatcliff View Post
Would y'all advise having the machine shop zero deck my engine as well?

Also, if you have a distributer / electronic ignition that you would recommend, I'm absolutely in. All my bikes have moved to electronic ignitions (Hall effect, full on advance ignitions - not just points replacements) and it's great!
Yes, have the block decked to 0.

123 ignition has a nice self contained distributor programmable via a USB and laptop for the B18/B20 engine.

http://123ignitionusa.com/volvo-b18-...sold-sepatate/

They also have one that's BlueTooth compatible.

http://123ignitionusa.com/blue-tooth...lly-aspirated/
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiperfauto View Post
Yes, have the block decked to 0.

123 ignition has a nice self contained distributor programmable via a USB and laptop for the B18/B20 engine.

http://123ignitionusa.com/volvo-b18-...sold-sepatate/

They also have one that's BlueTooth compatible.

http://123ignitionusa.com/blue-tooth...lly-aspirated/

(cough) .004" pos (cough)
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:50 PM   #11
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The E head gasket has a compressed thickness of .028".
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiperfauto View Post
The E head gasket has a compressed thickness of .028".
Any stockers around 036?
This particular motors on stock B20 rods which some people say hain't the strongest...
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:09 PM   #13
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John, you saying the 123ignition is a POS? Either way the ignition is the next step after head/cam/carb
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:10 PM   #14
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So we're on the same boat, are we thinkin to deck the block and get a thinner head gasket, and don't mill the head?
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRatcliff View Post
John, you saying the 123ignition is a POS? Either way the ignition is the next step after head/cam/carb

No! just bleed 'spensive but ignition control is vital...We didn't even pop the cap on your dizzy but I'll betcha its all worn to fawk...Lobes all janky and advance weights dodgy..and maybe gummed all to poo. Betcha a whole nickel.

If you can afford it good.
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRatcliff View Post
So we're on the same boat, are we thinkin to deck the block and get a thinner head gasket, and don't mill the head?

No you're jumping ahead..
if the pistons are down the bore say 008 that ain't much, decking is more about quench than raising comp--although there's a 1/10 of a point there maybe..But quench is a big deal especially with those 2 xzorst valve right next to each udder.

Quench to lower det threshold
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:24 PM   #17
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Hahah, yeah, $$ is definitely going to be a bit of a problem right now. Probably a few months out for the ignition step. Just found out I need to replace the fork tubes on one of my motorcycles as well, so definitely just took a hit.

So for the compression, are we on hold for the cam?
If we can't get one out of Sweden, any advice on an alternative?
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V, outside agitator View Post
Any stockers around 036?
This particular motors on stock B20 rods which some people say hain't the strongest...
The F gasket is .039" compressed.

The B18 rods are notoriously weak. 6 bolt B20 rods are reinforced in the problem area and aren't a problem under 6500 rpm. 8 bolt B20 rods can be swapped for M rods if you don't think they're up to the task.

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Old 07-03-2018, 04:27 PM   #19
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OK, John, you've been 100% spot on thus far, so what would your next steps be:

Deck block or mill head? Start by measuring how far below deck pistons are?
Start with cam?
Thinner head gasket?
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:30 PM   #20
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As you know I'm looking for the simplest way to get the power boost, so decking the block might be a bit of a bigger step than milling the head.
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:33 PM   #21
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Currently running a K-Cam if that's worth anything.
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiperfauto View Post
The F gasket is .039" compressed.

The B18 rods are notoriously weak. 6 bolt B20 rods are reinforced in the problem area and aren't a problem under 6500 rpm. 8 bolt B20 rods can be swapped for M rods if you don't think they're up to the task.

I do have seveal sets of B21/B23 M rods and I don't think it is possible to harm those..but are we 100% on his pin being 24mm?
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:57 PM   #23
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No, he didn't specify the year of the engine although the crank/rods can be swapped into any year block.
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:08 PM   #24
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Bottom end of the engine was Volvo factory rebuilt in the 80s, BUT it's a '71 engine.
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:24 PM   #25
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Are you sure? How many bolts hold the flywheel onto the crank?
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