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Old 01-09-2016, 10:48 AM   #1
iwannadrive
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Default 122 axle breakage

So,

I've got a 1968 Volvo 122s 2dr. Currently stock. I'd like to drive it hard.

(no, I don't think you understand what I mean. I'd like to drive it at 10 or 11/10's when I want to, without mercy.)

My 122 is on very sedate 165-width tires at the moment, and I don't see myself going to anything much more than a 185 or 195 width, if I were to build widened steel wheels for it. I like originality, along with having lower traction limits, so I can drive like an ass without killing myself.

SO, how much am I pushing my luck if I drive mine like this?



I'm not planning on shoving a ton of power in the car, likely not more than an honest 130bhp at the most. But I need to be able to manhandle the car when I want to, without worrying about wheels falling off and an axle stub digging into the ground. I'd also like to autocross it, for giggles.

I'd prefer to keep the standard 5x4.5 bolt pattern and original or widened amazon steelies, so I'd rather not go to an 1800 rear axle if possible. Plus, less time up on stands means I have more time to drive it... the car is my warm-weather daily.

On the other hand, I do need to completely go through the rear brakes, so now is a good time to address this question, before I spend money twice.

Does anyone race their 122 with the stock tapered rear axles? Just kind of looking for data points here.

Anything else I need to be aware of when pushing a 122 hard? I've seen the oil light flicker under hard cornering a few times, which is very scary. (I'm hoping this is mostly due to the ridiculous amount of body roll. Replacing every single suspension bushing is on the short list of things to do, which I'm sure is adding a lot of compliance. Then taking stock of what spring rates/shock damping I'd like to go with.)
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:36 PM   #2
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Nah the front crossmember is going to crack first, drive it like you stole it!
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Folks on here don't know a good deal when they see it.
how psi stock cna support?


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Old 01-09-2016, 07:57 PM   #3
classicswede
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You can manage to fit 195's to the original 4 inch rims (been doing so for over 15 years) and the only problem is that it is a two man job getting them on. 185's are less trouble to fit.

You can drive it flat out like that. A guy I used to work for his rally car had done around 100,000 miles of mostly motorsport use (had about 20,000 on it before he started). The body shell dig start cracking and needed re seam welding at least once. The front crossmember will need strengthening if being used hard on rough roads.

With some good springs and dampers on there you will drastically reduce teh body roll. The top wishbone bushes must be poly or nylon but the other bushes can be in rubber (good quality) if you dont want poly all around.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:00 PM   #4
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Once, due to a bald spare tire on the rear, and a slick pavement patch in the middle of a rain soaked country road corner, I stuffed my old 1963 122 sedan sideways into a ditch pretty hard. Bent the right rear wheel fairly well, and also bent the axle as well. Which was sort of good, I was able to take the wheel off and use its bend to counteract the axle stub bend and get it sort of going again, good enough to limp home.

But the axle stub didn't break, it bent.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:53 PM   #5
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Just for the sake of options, if I were in the same boat as you and wanted to keep it original, but with minor upgrades, I'd do the 1800 front hubs and rear axle, and get a set of early 140 or 160 wheels, which are identical to the 122 wheel except they have the late bolt pattern and are slightly wider.

Sounds to me like the type of minor performance upgrade you're looking for.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
Once, due to a bald spare tire on the rear, and a slick pavement patch in the middle of a rain soaked country road corner, I stuffed my old 1963 122 sedan sideways into a ditch pretty hard. Bent the right rear wheel fairly well, and also bent the axle as well. Which was sort of good, I was able to take the wheel off and use its bend to counteract the axle stub bend and get it sort of going again, good enough to limp home.

But the axle stub didn't break, it bent.

Just a guess but I'd say that axle breakage in a 122 would come from cyclical fatigue, not necessarily a single impact. The worst case scenario probably being repetitive high corner loading with stiff springs and really sticky tires.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:34 PM   #7
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^ This. A customer of mine (a former rocket scientist), used to race a 122 in SCCA GT3 class and would regularly have his axles and spindles x-rayed for cracks.



He currently races the only Volvo to run in the Monterey Historic Races.

<--- That's him in the corckscrew at Laguna Seca.
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Old 01-10-2016, 01:20 PM   #8
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Lots of questions here...the first thing that strikes me is that if your oil light is coming on you need to baffle your oil pan. It's not rocket science, just weld in a plate that keeps the oil near the pump. Photo's of this mod are everywhere on google. Regarding the rear axle. I'm in the process right now of developing a set of brackets to adapt either a 240 rear axle or a Toyota 8" rear to the '67 forward chassis.

Things that would go bad on long stints are brake fade for both front and rear brakes. Solutions abound. I personally don't like the sensation of brake fade. I also don't like driving a "street" car on track and have to pull off every 4 or 5 laps to cool things off. That sucks. So I overbuild engine cooling and braking.
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
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Hello,

I have baffle plates and baffle boxes in stock.







And here is a picture of both installed in an oil pan.


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Old 01-10-2016, 05:56 PM   #10
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I'm curious as to where you'll be driving so hard. Is there a class to run it in at Brainerd International?
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Old 01-10-2016, 06:58 PM   #11
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Lots of factors come into "if it will break".

Too tight or too loose of torque on installing the center nut. Too loose (characterized by chirps), and there is cyclical fatigue. Too tight and you might over strain the metal (very scientific I know).

Apparently switching axles side for side increases the likelihood of them breaking.

There is a Dutch machine shop making new axles. Write Tinus and ask for clarification. I read of this using a online translator so there's a 10% chance I misunderstand. Have your wallet well stocked & open.

Street tires generally have slip angles and "scuff" enough vs slicks that grip-chirp&re-grip in harsher ways. Slicks are where the axles break. My local guy who races Gt3 in an 1800 has broken and barely not rolled. Back in the 80's. Tires are stickier now, and the axles older.

In a few years you will grow out of adolescence you seem mired in and understand that beating up on an old car is a sign of emotional problems, not something to brag about.
It's not a matter of if, but when you wreak your car, hurt yourself, wreck other's property or hurt them.
If you have real ambitions to race there are venues. And no current race car/class has much in common with the feedback and motions of a 1960's car, so don't BS us it is practice.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:12 PM   #12
iwannadrive
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Thank you for all your info!

For those questioning why I'd like to drive so hard - I just want the peace of mind to know that I can. There is something special in knowing that you can drive your car as hard as possible, and it will not bite you in the ass. This is why my miata was the best driver's car I've ever owned. I'm not interested in turning this car into a miata, but I'd like the confidence to put it through it's motions.

I do drive hard on the street occasionally, but in circumstances where I have a near-zero likelihood of putting someone else at risk. I'm also interested in autocrossing it, not because it will be competitive in any way, but because it's a fun exercise.

It seems like baffling my oil pan is the first step. I might try overfilling the oil by half a quart or so. I've heard that B20 oil pans are already baffled, is this true?

I remember checking the dipstick after I saw the oil light, and I was about half a quart low. Not optimal oil level, but still very disconcerting, considering I was only cornering at 6-7/10's or so. Normal oil pressure is fine, 20+psi at hot idle, 50-60psi driving around at operating temps.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:06 PM   #13
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:56 PM   #14
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I was curious because any road I've seen around Brainerd that might be fun to drive hard on is by a lake. With lake homes every 50 to 500 feet apart.
On a nice day there's always old people walking and trophy wives jogging. They don't seem to mind pulling out the cell phone and complaining.

What sort of racing do they have at BIR these days anyway ?
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:38 PM   #15
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Sorry - anyone else having Fargo flashbacks?...But seriously, baffle the pan and if you're racing, use 15W40. Also, there is no reason you can't be competitive at cone crushing. Depends on your class and PAX. Get the stickiest tires, and corner it on the door handles.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:53 PM   #16
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More information and photos about this problem @ HVRRS - Historic Volvo Racing & Rally Society https://www.facebook.com/groups/2329...4175165238183/

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