SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just picked up a 1962 Volvo PV544 and joined the forum because I know I'm going to need advice on how to progress with it.

My wife and I were looking for an older car that we could drive and work on slowly. We wanted something a little different and something didn't require a fortune to buy for a reasonable starting point. We were actually looking at studebakers and stumbled across this Volvo for $500. It seemed like it was almost too good of a deal to pass up. It runs and drives, but needs some work, but that's part of the fun and why I'm here now.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
That was like a great deal for $500! According to the insignia on the grill, it has the B18 engine. It looks like it's real straight and not very rusty. Are the floors solid? These old Volvos are unusual and fun cars. You'll have people ask if it's a Volkwagen, and tell you it looks like a miniature 47 Ford. Are you missing any parts? Mechanical stuff is mostly available, body and interior parts are not always so easy to find.
I am working on a 1960 544, and also have two 1800's. My 544 was rougher than yours when I got it, my floors were rusted away and one rocker panel gone. ( I paid more for mine too!)
Jim S.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,953 Posts
Just picked up a 1962 Volvo PV544 and joined the forum because I know I'm going to need advice on how to progress with it.

My wife and I were looking for an older car that we could drive and work on slowly. We wanted something a little different and something didn't require a fortune to buy for a reasonable starting point. We were actually looking at studebakers and stumbled across this Volvo for $500. It seemed like it was almost too good of a deal to pass up. It runs and drives, but needs some work, but that's part of the fun and why I'm here now.

Welcome to Swedespeed.

Your new 544 deserves a heated workshop - you got?

George Dill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a two stall garage with a wood burning stove in it.... Nothing spectacular, but I'll make due.

The Good-
Good running B18 with the twin sidedraft carbs. Transmission and drivetrain seem to be good also. Interior is not terrible, but needs some work.

The Bad-
I haven't got a chance to look everything over in depth, I'm sure there are more problems, but so far I've found: Floorboards have some rust issues, haven't tore it apart yet but it appears somewhere along the line someone put plywood over the floors. That would be the first time I've seen that done. Windshield is cracked, brakes are soft (could just need to be bled), the heater fan doesn't work, wipers don't work, headlights work on low beam only, blinker switch is a lost cause,bumpers are bent.

The Plan-
For starters I want to fix all the electrical stuff. Will probably be converting to an alternator as well. I would like the make the car a daily driver, not going to be a show car, but would like to run it up to "Back to the Fifties" in the Twin Cities. Would like to make a few upgrades on the engine. Thinking cam swap, 10:1 compression, and a little port work couldn't hurt anything. It should probably have a valve job at the very least anyways, so I may as well do the head work while I have it off.

--I've always driven V8 cars made by General Motors. This volvo is completely new to me, so don't be afraid to tell me what I'm thinking is wrong... I'm kind of hoping all you volvo enthusiasts will point me in the right direction.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,953 Posts
I have a two stall garage with a wood burning stove in it.... Nothing spectacular, but I'll make due.

The Good-
Good running B18 with the twin sidedraft carbs. Transmission and drivetrain seem to be good also. Interior is not terrible, but needs some work.

The Bad-
I haven't got a chance to look everything over in depth, I'm sure there are more problems, but so far I've found: Floorboards have some rust issues, haven't tore it apart yet but it appears somewhere along the line someone put plywood over the floors. That would be the first time I've seen that done. Windshield is cracked, brakes are soft (could just need to be bled), the heater fan doesn't work, wipers don't work, headlights work on low beam only, blinker switch is a lost cause,bumpers are bent.

The Plan-
For starters I want to fix all the electrical stuff. Will probably be converting to an alternator as well. I would like the make the car a daily driver, not going to be a show car, but would like to run it up to "Back to the Fifties" in the Twin Cities. Would like to make a few upgrades on the engine. Thinking cam swap, 10:1 compression, and a little port work couldn't hurt anything. It should probably have a valve job at the very least anyways, so I may as well do the head work while I have it off.

--I've always driven V8 cars made by General Motors. This volvo is completely new to me, so don't be afraid to tell me what I'm thinking is wrong... I'm kind of hoping all you volvo enthusiasts will point me in the right direction.
Before you make major investments get (safely) under the car and check for major structural rust. If all is ok run compression/leak-down tests on the B18D and if all is well mods will indeed add pep.

The '62 USA 544 should have 12 volts - yours?

Alternator converion is an easy do but first decide AC or no AC.

Electrical - start with the fuses then check all grounds after confirming the battery and cables are solid.

Does this car have the foot headlight dipper switch?

George Dill
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
Your engine will definitely benefit from head porting, particularly the exhaust ports. 10:1 CR is fine with premium gas, and a good match for that is the Volvo "D" grind cam, or the "K" if low-end power is the priority (although the "D" is not peaky at all). Be sure to have exhaust seat inserts fitted so you don't have seat erosion from unleaded gas.

Something that's easy to overlook is the cam retaining plate behind the timing gear. There's a spacer ring on the cam nose that stands off the timing gear from the front bearing journal, and it's a few thousandth thicker than the retaining plate. This is what sets the cam end play. The plate is a thrust surface on both sides, and as it wears, the end play increases. BOTH sides of the plate have to be flat for this to work, so you pretty much always want to replace that when changing out a cam. If you understand Chevy V8s, there's nothing about a B18 that won't come to you right away.

SU carbs are really simple, and work really well once you understand how to tune them (they will want different metering needles to go with the engine mods, which we can come back to). Their weak point is that the throttle shafts eventually wear egg-shaped holes in the carb bodies, which is a variable vacuum leak that makes the carbs impossible to tune, not that this prevents people from tinkering with them at every parking lot they pull into. Once you have the carbs rebuilt with bushings in the bodies, they essentially never wear out again, and require almost no attention.

Once you get the electrical gremlins sorted out, an alternator is a nice upgrade. Brackets are available to mount either a Bosch alternator (with an external regulator), or a Delco-Remy that's internally regulated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
As long as the motor runs ok, I think it would be better to work on some of the other stuff first. If the floors are rusted, are the seats fastened to just wood? Mine were loose and one was held up with a brick!
Check to see if you have power to the fan motor with the switch on. My fan motor was shot and I haven't found a replacement yet. Someone said a motor from a Chevy S10 pickup was a close match, but I haven't found one of those either. The blinker switch is available new, as is the windshield as I just found out. The UPS truck brought mine today (got here in fine shape). My car had been converted to alternator and I found enough parts to put it back to generator - I guess I just like the old stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for all the help and making me feel welcome guys.

gdill2 - yes, it is 12 volt. My windows roll down just fine, no AC. For the fuse box I will probably be replacing it with an aftermarket fuse box that uses mini fuses. Yes, it has the foot operated dimmer switch, I'll probably start tearing some of the electrical apart and hopefully a multimeter will be able to help track down some of the problems.

Phil - I'll probably do the intake port matching myself, the bowl work and runner work I'll have done by a guy I work with that went to school for it. I haven't decided on what cam to go with yet. (I may start a new thread so cam stuff doesn't get lost in here and others can benefit from the discussion). Good info on the thrust plate, I will definitely replace, cheap insurance. I will probably rebuild the SU carbs for now, sounds like they have the same problem quadrajets have in the throttle shafts. In the future may switch to mikuni flat slides... good or bad idea? I will definitely go with the Delco style alternator, my only reason is that I have a couple and don't have to buy one, and they're easy to change to a one wire. Haven't decided if I want to buy a bracket or just fab one up myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
Czech out the "usual suspects". I'd recommend either the D or K cam, or the Isky 7001. All 3 are eminently streetable and wind up well.
If you are anywhere near Howard, SD you should get to know R Kent Thompson who spends a lot of time there. Miner County Bank may help you find him.
I'll be less help since I got rid of my last turtleback Volvo in 1970 or 71... Still have fond memories but all my turtlebacks were B16s. Still have some B18/20/30 Volvos.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top