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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to do my very first valve adjustment per the Phil Singher description. Also going to retorque the head as I understand this should be done before the valve adjustment.

I have a B20 engine. The Haynes manual says two different things. Description says 58 lb-f-ft but specs say 61-69. Which is correct? Having never done it what size are the bolts? Should engine be hot or cold or does it matter?

I was going to do the valve adjustment on a cold engine. I see the intake and exhaust valve gaps are both 0.020-0.022 in. What size wrench do I need to tighten/loosen the valves. Do I need a special tool? If so where would I get one?

Thanks for the assistance. Looking forward to my first inside engine task.

Marcus
 

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Don't want to discourage you but I would not touch the head bolts. Unless the head is leaking (in which case you have a bigger problem), they almost definitely don't need it, and tightening the bolts just risks breaking something.

.020-.022 on a B20 sounds pretty good to me, if they're all in that range I also recommend you don't touch it.

What post are you referring to as the Phil Singher description? As for tools, all you need are a good flat-blade screwdriver, a short 1/2" closed box-end wrench and a selection of feeler gauges both below and above your targets ("go/no-go").
 

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You only need to retorque the head bolts once after breaking in the cam on a new engine. If yours isn't new, leave them alone.

Which B20 do you have? That is, did it come from the factory with carbs or with injection? The valve lash spec varies depending on what cam is in there. If it has the carb cam (the C grind), the spec is indeed .020-.022, although I think they run better set at .018. If it has the injection cam (the D grind), the spec is .016.

I'm not a fan of go/no-go gauges, because that .002" tolerance has more impact on valve duration than one might think. I use a regular feeler gauge and set the lash so I can slide the gauge back and forth while feeling a bit of drag.

There is no need to torque the locking nuts tightly -- just snug them down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The B20 has carbs so I am looking at the .020-.022. The procedure I was going to use is slip the feeler gauge into the valve slot, tighten it up so the gauge doesn't move and then back it off until I can slide the gauge with a bit of drag. That way I am not going back and forth.

The reason I asked about the retorquing is that it is common in MB engines, and they are torqued up to 80 lb-f-ft. Even at that torque they can tighten and loosen. I saw that this past weekend. Just have to make sure you relieve the coolant so it doesn't come up.

Are the Volvo's not metric? I'm surprised it takes a 1/2" wrench.
 

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Bring it to Saratoga...After I show you how, you'll be able to do it yourself in less than 20 minutes, with the most rudimentary of tools. I'll bring the feeler gauges...
 

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Emphasis on "mostly", as we know. ;)

Surprised on your opinion of go/no-go. I have had much better and consistent results on my engines with it. I find that it copes with the slight wear that the rocker faces always seem to show. Maybe I should go back and try again.

I would definitely suggest to the OP to not adjust with the feeler in place. It compresses the spring and knocks the valve off the seat slightly. Use feel and look for the slight drag when pulling the gauge out of tge gap.
 

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Not to weigh in on the in favor / not in favor of re torqueing the head bolts discussion - just be aware that if you attempt to do it, the rocker stand is in the way of some of the head bolts. You can't get a clear shot at the bolts with a socket mounted on an extension on the end of the torque wrench. You need to use the special offset Volvo wrench. A crows foot adapter may also work if the crows foot adaptor is slim enough.

The nuts and bolts on the B20 are definitely SAE standard up to at least 1972 (not sure when Volvo went metric). The exception that I am aware of are the Bosch parts which are sometimes metric. The intake manifold on my B20E has a mix of SAE and metric bits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all for the comments. I will leave the retorquing of the head bolts and just do the valve adjustment.

Maybe Volvo having a plant in Canada, before they converted to metric, was the reason for having imperial parts. Converting to metric in the 70's would make sense as that is the same time Canada converted.

Michael, unfortunately my wife would nix my taking the Volvo to Saratoga as she is coming with me.
 

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A crows foot adapter may also work if the crows foot adaptor is slim enough.
Careful with a crowsfoot on a torque application. It is offset from the torque center, and the additional moment increases the result. There are special "reacharounds" that can make do, but any nonsquare extension should be avoided if possible.

I've never seen an authoritative explanation of why Volvo went SAE for the 60's and 70's. The early models' (50's) fasteners were decidedly metric, but many dimensions were quoted in inches, pounds etc. With the B18, and I guess the growing US Volvo market, most of the fasteners went SAE but there are often surprises in the chassis, accessories, etc.

There was a Canadian (Halifax) assembly plant, but it did not produce the cars from scratch nor did it build anywhere near all the US/Canada cars. This was a corporate design decision, for sure.
 

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Also I didn't see it answered, but my Clymer manual says you can adjust the valves with the engine either hot or cold. I was always taught to adjust the valves with the engine warmed up.
 

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Re: Saratoga...I understand.

I don't think a motivated enthusiast like you should treat working on these engines, or cars, like you were working on a live hand grenade. With thoughtfulness, patience, a Haynes manual and a gentle hand on decent tools, almost everything that comes up on here can be easily gotten through with very little danger of screwing things up...And a reasonable sense of satisfaction when you're done.

If you're not sure that whomsoever tightened your head bolts in the past got it right, if you'd sleep better knowing they were perfect, do it. Yes the rocker arm stand is in the way to do it right, so just undue the obvious 4 skinny bolts that hold it to the head and set it aside. Leave the pushrods in place (or take 'em out, look at 'em, and put 'em back in the same hole-you can't hurt anything).
Set your torque wrench to 65 lb.ft and just give those head bolts a squeeze to tighten, in the correct order. You'll be able to easily tell if they're right, they should barely move. Put the rocker stand back exactly as it came off (real hard to do otherwise) and make sure the pushrods are centered correctly (should be obvious) before you firmly but gently re-tighten the skinny bolts. You can do this, nothing there warrants a warning "I wouldn't touch this or that..." The only real danger is breaking stuff if you're way heavy-handed.

Some other thoughts: Setting valves...B20 I like 0.18 as well if they're not too quiet at that setting, I like to just barely hear 'em murmuring. Volvo shop manual says adjust "warm or cold", not "screaming hot or freezing cold". I believe 'em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Despite talking about this in September I finally got around to adjusting the valves last week. Never having done it before I wanted to make sure I didn't need the car for a few days in case I screwed something up. Also cleaned and repainted the valve cover while I was at it. As it turned out, it was much easier than I had anticipated and only took me about 45 minutes. I ended up using the "nine" method, for lack of a better term. I would slowly turn the engine and look for a valve that was rising. When it stopped rising I would see which valve it was from the front (1 to 8) and subtract that number from 9 and then adjust that valve. So if it was valve #2 that peaked, I would set valve #7. Was simple and worked really well. I set them to 0.020 as that was the middle of the 0.018-0.022 that everyone recommended. Car drives beautifully and I no longer hear that very slight ticking.

Thanks everyone for your assistance and giving me the confidence to tackle this. Never would have done it otherwise. :D
 

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Doing valve clearance adjustments on the B18 - 20 is kind of satisfying, particularly if the engine does not end up being nosier after you do the adjustment :). Welcome to the land of the initiated.

Now that you have the 'knowledge', go out and acquire a Ducati motorcycle from the mid 1970s or so with the desomdromic valve actuating mechanism . That will provide a definite challenge in the development of you valve setting skills (the newer Desmos may be better or worse - I have no experience). If you pass the Desmo challenge, I will get you to come over and do the valve clearance on my NSX which involves the use of special tools, mirrors to see what you are doing and Robaxacet to deal with the back spasms from leaning over the engine for so long.
 

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Ducati Desmo's...brings back great memories...

Now many years ago, my first piece of quality machinery, before the '53 Porsche 356, before all the Volvos, was a late '60s Ducati 350 Desmo Mark III Diana. Soon after I obtained it I called Berliner Motors in NJ, the sole importer of Ducatis at the time, to find out if they could steer me to a knowledgeable mechanic to help me maintain the bike.

I talked with Mario, or Angelo, can't remember which, the sole mechanic who set up and tested every bike that came through the importer. He had been a lifetime Ducati guy in Italy who was sent to USA to be the last word on making these bikes run well. Llived and breathed Ducatis...

He insisted I ride right over and he'd teach me everything I needed to know, which I soon did. I spent most of a day out there while he broke down and reassembled the carb and ignition, showed me how to maintain/adjust the Desmo head (9K redline), and over lunch even explained how to make the best pasta. Never needed a mechanic, or a recipe after that.
No valve adjustment since has seemed challenging, though never no NSXes...Thanks for the memories, 142Guy.

Marcus, I don't get the valve adjustment routine you used, though I've heard it repeated many times. I have always used the simpler sequence laid out in the Volvo factory workshop manual since the beginning of time.

Set crank to 0° at the crank pulley. One set of 4 valves will now be fully closed, which is when you want to adjust them.
Either #'s 1,2,3 and 5, or #'s 4,6,7 and 8 rockers will be fully loose (valves fully closed). Adjust the loose ones, correctly rotate the crank 360° to the next 0° TDC, and do the other 4...

It might be interesting to you to now check/compare your efforts with the factory method I described to see if it results in any difference. It never has when I've done the experiment.
Did you check/caress your head bolts?

Regards, Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Michael, no did not mess with the head bolts. I'll try it your way the next time, maybe next spring.
 
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