SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 1972 P 1800 ES manual, and we recently purchased another from the same year that has an automatic transmission. Always drove stick, don't know a thing about the B20 automatic. The shifting pattern seems like it will take some getting used to. Any thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of this transmission? <br>Thanks...<br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jenrabES)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>jenrabES</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"> ...Any thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of this transmission? <br>Thanks...<br></TD></TR></TABLE><p>I have a 164E now, and had a 144S years ago with automatic, In my experience there are no thoughts about the strengths of the BW35 because there are no strengths. It just wasn't a very good transmission, and it represents a significant drivetrain power loss. However, it does work and usually does not fail catastrophically, so maybe that is a strength.<p>If it isn't shifting readily, you might try pouring in some of the transmission sauce (STP or other brand) that you can buy in the auto parts stores; that can help free up sticky valve bodies. It should start shifting better over then next 20 miles or so. Then take it for a proper flush and an adjustment by a competent transmission shop - it will work much better after adjustment of the bands. The old cooling lines to the radiator may be deteriorating and leaky, and/or may give up if they are disturbed during the flush service - I've had good luck getting replacements made up by a local hydraulic hose shop. The shifter mechanism uses "dogbone" shaped linkages with plastic inserts that deteriorate over time. Check that linkage if you have trouble with accurate gear selection or problems with correct function of the Park/Neutral starting safety switch. And, I had the switch itself go bad on one car, and I bypassed around it with a wire jumper to enable starting (no more safety switch feature!). There are two plastic grille covers on the bottom of the bell housing that are sometimes missing - better to keep dirt and rocks out if they are there.<p>I am unhappy enough with the BW35 that I bought the parts to convert the 164 to the M410+OD - but not so unhappy that I've actually completed the project! (If you want to do this, you have to establish whether your car has a 6-bolt or an 8-bolt crank). Interestingly, the 1800ES (most of them) also used the M410 like the 164 did; I think all the other 4-cylinder cars of that era used the M40/M41.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,953 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jhalbert)

Welcome to Swedespeed, Jen.<p>The Borg Warner T-35 automatic transmission has a bad reputation among followers of classic Volvos due mainly to the huge difference in performance when compared to a manual trans with overdrive.<p>The B20 engine in your auto ES has enough torque to give ok performance in daily use especially in stop-n-go traffic. During highway cruising the car with a manual and OD will be much more pleasant than the AT car.<p>BTAIM, the AT car can be a fine ride with a few changes in driving habits.<p>First, and as noted above, be sure the engine, trans, and drive train are in good shape including motor/trans mounts and driveline components.<p>When driving away forward from a stop press the go pedal 'til it just touches the full travel limit and hold this until the engine gains rpm's and the car gains speed. At this point let up on the gas just enough to cause a shift to the next gear then immediately press the pedal down to near-limit again. Repeat as needed to reach desired speed and gear.<p>This will take some practice but done just right will keep the engine in the best power/torque range and the trans in the optimum gear.<p>The mpg will not suffer.<p>The same technique can be done using the gear shift to hold the desired gear but the first shift from start can't be controlled using the shifter - only the gas pedal.<p>Another option would be to drive the car as you would any other AT vehicle and ignore the sluggish performance or redefine "sluggish".<p>Enjoy those Volvos!<p>George Dill<p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (gdill2)

Thank you for the dose of harsh reality <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://www.vwvortex.com/vwbb/smile.gif" BORDER="0"> She will be getting a rebuilt engine put in next week. It's very tempting to hold off until we can find parts to convert to a manual. <p>The manual is so much fun to drive! Keeps up with the fastest traffic on the LA freeways.<p>As per your suggestion,I'll trying dumping some lubricant into the gear box and work the shifter a bit to loosen it up<p>Thanks again...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jenrabES)

"Sluggish" is a relative term...sounds like this transmission is compatible with my DH's style of drivingt!<p>It's great to hear from folks who know these cars. I drove a '63 Amazon for 13 years until someone rear ended it, (I received minor pains) and had Volvos ever since. Classic cars have their own personality that you learn to work with<br>Thanks for your insights into the personality of this transmission, and thanks for the welcome!<p>Jen
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jhalbert)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>jhalbert</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Interestingly, the 1800ES (most of them) also used the M410 like the 164 did; I think all the other 4-cylinder cars of that era used the M40/M41.</TD></TR></TABLE><p>Not quite... the M410 was used with a B20 only in the 1800E throughout '70 and early '71 production, and it's not the same M410 used with a B30. Volvo went back to the M41 mid-'71 in B20 cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (Phil Singher)

So now we know what kind of animal we're dealing with.<br>Would you suggest turning an AT into a manual?<br>What kind of headaches are we looking at if we do?<p>BTW, there are a couple of super clean P 1800 beauties on e-Bay at the moment,<br>a white and a red. We saw a red one for sale up in Ojai last week, the price<br>tag was $15,000. It's sad that this economy is forcing people to part<br>with these treasures.<p>Thanks, Jen
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jenrabES)

You might try just living with the automatic for a while and see how you like it. Unless L.A. traffic has gotten a lot better since I lived there (I had a business on Burbank Blvd. throughout the '80s), it might be nice to have an automatic rush hour car as well as a manual road trip car.<p>I converted an ES from auto to manual w/ OD a few years back, and the sane way to do it is to find an E or ES parts car. There's a lot of stuff to swap over and some wiring to sort out, but it's all pretty straightforward.<p>Note that the manual cars have 4.30 rear gears, while the automatics have 3.91 to partly compensate for the lack of overdrive. It's no big deal to swap the entire rear axle over as well as the trans.<p>There's also another option: convert to a more modern and efficient automatic, such at the AW70 or 71. I have not done this myself, but I've seen it done twice, and it looks to be simple enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (Phil Singher)

"Unless L.A. traffic has gotten a lot better..."<br>I think you know the answer to that!<p>It's worth trying the AT out. The previous owner<br>said that the tranny was rebuilt recently.<br>The car is in very decent shape, with a slight<br>mold problem. (She came from a rainy climate,<br>her tail end had a mishap with a tree branch and<br>the interior flooded) a couple of days ago I pulled<br>out anything removable and disinfected it.<p>You may know the car...two tone Black and<br>Silver. Originally a CA car (the Gold Standard<br>for classic cars) very worth the time and effort<br>to clean up and keep going.<p>Thanks...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jenrabES)

Aha, so you're the one who bought that car -- good for you! I didn't know about the tree branch thing... I believe there were some engine issues the sellers were asking me if I'd be willing to address for you, so feel free to contact me off the board if I can be of assistance there.<p>editor AT vclassics DOT com<p>Look for a product at your local hardware store called Damp-Rid, which will help dry out the interior.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,953 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (Phil Singher)

"I drove a '63 Amazon for 13 years..."<p>You are in good company.<p>Phil Singher has had a daily-driver Amazon on-hand since Babylon and I drove '62 4-door, '66 4-door, '66 wagon, '67 wagon, and '68 wagon from 1968 'til a few months back when I sold the '68 to Matt (volvostud) and Jen Harold in Austin, Texas.<p>As to converting from AT to stick - Al Ringle is back in TX from a brief retirement to TN and is now building a new shop at his new home here in central Texas. He has a gold ES into which he installed a manual-OD and would surely share every detail of the "ordeal". The part I remember best were the words Al used when he realized that the heater box had to be removed to allow for the installation of the pedal shaft. Whooowee, and this guy is a retired Baptist Minister of Recreation!<p>Another gentleman with deep ES experience is George McDonald of Houston, TX. If you ever want an Orange ES in perfect show condition (manual/OD) gather up $25,000 and I'll put you in contact with George.<p>Neither Al nor George McD play on the www but their spouses have email and I have their mobile phone numbers.<p>As to mold elimination - consider removing and disposing any and all materials that absobed water when the car was "inundated".<p>For a quick dry-out of the interior try a wet-dry vacuum on "EXHAUST".<p>Is this fun or WHAT!?<p>George Dill<p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (gdill2)

Yes...yes it is fun!<p>My daughter and her husband and kids live in Mesquite TX. His hobby is fixing up rusted out old Chevys, Fords, whatever and selling them for way less than the time and materials he put in. He's a resourceful and stubborn guy who can figure out how to make, build, weld, and fix anything.<br>Must be something about how they raise them in Texas. <p>To convert the AT I figured at least a new steering column (for the OD shifter) and a hole in the floor for the clutch pedal. Sounds like it's not that simple!<p>Definitely a labor of love...<br>Before I could afford to take the Amazon to a mechanic, I learned how to rebuild a carburetor, install a generator, and put new seals in a brake master and slave cylinder. <p>When my kids were little and the slave cylinder was leaking a pint every couple of days, the brakes went out going down a hill.<p>At the bottom was a block retaining wall with a truck parked next to it.<br>We had a choice of hitting one or the other, but somehow ended up between the two.<br>My daughter started to cry, and my son just laughed and said "let's do it again!" <p>Do you belong to a Volvo club back there? I heard there's a pretty good sized one in TX. We have an informal one that meets once a month at a local drive-in.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jenrabES)

Jen, there's no cutting involved in converting to manual, nor do you need a new steering column, just the bezel behind the wheel. Everything bolts up. I know I didn't have to pull the heater box to change pedals, although I remember that part being finicky.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (Phil Singher)

Converting her to manual will be next year's project.<br>Ordered the engine...I misunderstood, it's used (they said 86,000 miles) that explains the price difference between this one and your rebuilds.<br>They guarantee that it's been thoroughly tested for compression,<br>heating evenly, performance under stress, etc. We'll see!<p>Thanks again...<br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,015 Posts
Re: Automatic transmissions in B20 engines (jenrabES)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>jenrabES</b> »</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">"Sluggish" is a relative term...sounds like this transmission is compatible with my DH's style of drivingt!<p>Jen</TD></TR></TABLE><p>There is an Alternative, replacing the 3 speed with a 4 speed AW70/71 as mentioned before. The 4th is an overdrive gear and cuts down the rpm's at highway speeds and increases the mpg's. It's a fairly simple mod but does require an adapter and some machine work.<p>look at <A HREF="http://www.v1800reg.org/pages/AW70%20CONV.PDF" TARGET="_blank">http://www.v1800reg.org/pages/AW70%20CONV.PDF</A>
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top