Harbor Freight Hijinx

Harbor Freight has a well earned reputation for producing garbage but garbage priced so low that a lot of people, myself included, just can’t help but buy it. Well if you have bought jack stands from HF recently you might want to stop using them immediately.

Road and Track writes

Back in May, we wrote about a selection of Pittsburgh brand three- and six-ton jack stands recalled by Harbor Freight because of a manufacturing defect that could cause them to collapse under load, potentially causing injury or death. Customers were asked to return the stands in exchange for a gift card, and affected units were pulled from shelves. Now, Harbor Freight has had to announce a second recall, covering the new jack stands that many folks purchased to replace those covered by the initial recall.

As a wise man once said “Buy cheap. Buy twice.” In the case of HF perhaps it’s “Buy cheap. Return recalled item. Buy cheap again. Still get crushed by your own car.”

Engine Bay Before and After

Recently I was inspecting my engine after I had gone for a drive. I wanted to know if any new leaks or other issues had developed. Thankfully there has been nothing like that so far, but my mind was cast back to when I first got the car and just how filthy the engine and bay were. I too a few new photos and present them here in contrast to the initial state to illustrate how far it has come along in both function and cleanliness.

Old

New

Not showroom clean, but I’m quite happy with the results.

Edit: I’m glad I made this post because it helped me realize that I had the check valve between the intake manifold and vacuum tank inside the dash backwards. Remember: it’s black side towards the manifold,  white side towards the firewall.

Back to Her Roots

Gudrun made her first run as a proverbial “Grocery Getter” and performed the task with style and grace.

Cargo space for DAYS!

Plus I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting a lot of admiring looks from people I pass. I guess I’m not the only one nostalgic for these cars.

So Close

Very soon after posting my last entry I took my car over to a local inspection station to start the process. I’m happy to say that while the car didn’t pass with flying colors, the outstanding issues were few. There were two to b e exact. First, my tires are in terrible shape with significant dry rotting. I suspected something like this would be the case, but I was hoping to squeak by for now. They’ll all have to be replaced and re-balanced. The second issue was with my rear shock absorbers which are apparently quite dead. I didn’t see this myself, but the car was not exactly riding like a cloud so I suppose it’s not surprising. Anyway I’ve ordered some replacements and installation is super simple. Once they arrive I’ll put them on the car, take it back to the garage, and I am set. Very exciting! I should also note that once the car has passed I will be christening her with a name, so stay tuned for that.

Tales From The Loop

“Akerhatten” by Simon Stålenhag

I’m a few episodes into Amazon’s Tales From The Loop, a science fiction series based in part on the art of Swedish painter Simon Stålenhag. It’s surreal and dreamlike and, like Stålenhag’s art, full of 200 series Volvos. I’m enjoying it for the stories, the atmosphere, and, of course, the Volvos. Consider it a BbG official recommendation.

Summer weather

Not much work has gotten done in the last week, and there is a reason. Two, actually. The first was that the back plate to my timing belt cover decided to spontaneously self destruct after I took it off. The two front pieces are still in relatively good shape, but the back piece was hopeless. I had to order a replacement set, and that was back ordered at iPd so it took a little show up. It has, in fact, shown up, but Mother Nature decided that we had been become spoiled with mild weather in the last month. This past weekend was in the triple digits. I am not a hot weather person in any way, shape, or form. That put a stop to my plans on reinstalling the timing belt, water pump, and accessory belts, but I assure you that as soon as the weather decides to cooperate I will be back at it. In the meantime enjoy a couple of pictures featuring my melted back cover and a side-by-side of the old and new covers complete with reproduction decal!

Volvo announces ‘Tow For Life’

Photo Credit: rat_fink (flickr)

Volvo will tow any Volvo in the world. For free. Have a new V90? They’ll tow it. A PV444 from the 50s? It’s getting towed! My ’92 240? SO TOWED, YOU GUYS!

Car and Driver reports

No matter what Volvo passenger vehicle you own, no matter how old it is or how clapped out it might be, it now qualifies for free roadside towing. Volvo is extending the free towing service it provides in-warranty customers via its roadside assistance coverage to every Volvo model, “no matter what vintage,” according to the automaker, which has dubbed the service Tow for Life.

Good on Volvo for not completely forgetting their older cars. I hope I never have to use this service.

Not a Volvo but still a wagon

And not just a wagon but perhaps the wagon of wagons. I give you the Wagon Queen Family Truckster!

This wagon shepherded the Griswolds from the suburbs of Chicago, throughout this beautiful country of ours, and finally to Wally World (wherever that is). Well, not this one because this is a reproduction, but it’s currently up for auction! I’m not sure how much its expected to go for, but if you think you have some extra money laying around this is a solid gold investment opportunity if there ever was one.

Happy birthday to me

The weather is still too terrible to work in. Today we were down in the single digits (Fahrenheit) and the wind cut straight to the bone. No fun. However it was recently my birthday, and my oldest son was kind enough to make me a shirt commemorating my 240.

On the shop clean up front, the status is currently at “getting there.” I have finally sorted all the wrenches and sockets I inherited and got them on a pegboard. I think I’m officially set for a long time on the socket front having pretty full sets of 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and even 3/4! We got Metric and SAE, shallow and deep, hex and twelve-point, extenders, breaker bars, universal joints… the works!

Wrench Heaven

The rest of the shop is a total mess, but I’m getting there.

A short review

I recently came across a short review of 240s on the website “The Truth About Cars” that I thought was interesting. This is mainly for the last part on how Volvos have changed since the 90s. I sort of resent the conventional wisdom that 240s are cars coveted strictly by hip millennials. I am decidedly neither hip nor a millennial. Other than that, I agree with the observations and conclusions of this article.

Capsule Review: Volvo 240GL Estate

WITNESS ME!

A guy out in the wilds of British Columbia, Canada took a ’79 244, rubbed a copy of Mad Max all over it, and came up with this mean machine.

Check it out here.

He also has an ‘insta’, as the kids say nowadays, showcasing his cars and his photography. That can be found here.

Adam Savage’s First Car

Adam Savage has long been a hero of mine. I used to watch him and Jamie on Mythbusters do all sorts of cool building, problem solving, trouble shooting, and blowing up of various things and would exclaim to my wife “These guys have the best job in the world!” I stand by that statement and wish that I could do something like that for a living, but fate being what it is, my main talents lay in the world of computers so I guess for now that’ll have to do.

Adam recently posted a short piece on his first car. Given his handy nature and seemingly limitless curiosity,  it is unsurprising that he went with a ’78 Volvo 245. As he says in his article, his precarious financial situation at the time more or less required him to learn how to maintain and repair it, and eventually he learned a new skills. This is very similar to what I’m trying to accomplish here. Go ahead and read Adam’s take on the subject. He offers some nice insight into the act of throwing yourself in somewhat over your head.