The other day I was driving to the store and found myself in that common situation where the guy at the light in front of me was busy looking at his phone and didn’t notice the light change. I went to give him the little “toot toot” horn to refocus him but, to my dismay, found that my horn would not toot. When I got home I took the grill off to get access to the horn and see what the story was. The story was one that has become well known to me: everything was corroded to hell. Verdigris had eaten away at the copper connectors and the plastic insulation around them was falling apart

The horn on my car is a single horn type (some Volvos have two apparently) that connect to the horn switch with two wires that terminate in 3.5mm bullet connectors. Of course the only connectors I had on hand were the 3.9mm type. One trip to Amazon for a small kit of the correct size connectors and a couple of days wait later I was ready to fix it. I made two short pigtails and soldered them to female connectors. These went into the existing connector housing. The insulators that came with the new connectors were nowhere near thick enough to fit the space inside the housing so I ended up wrapping them with vinyl tape about 2 or 3mm thick. I clipped off the existing crappy connectors and soldered the new assembly in their place and zip tied it in place. The result was a working horn. TOOT TOOT!

Solenoid Blues

The following weekend I took a crack at that damned overdrive solenoid again with no progress made. I actually got my welder out and tried welding a 5/8″ socket onto the end of the bolt but there just wasn’t enough “meat” there to make a meaningful bond. This was disappointing, but ultimately the whole exercise was a useful one because while under there I found a couple of important things. First, the shifter linkage rod had lot the retainer clip on one end. That’s not good as I like my shifting lever to remain connected to the transmission. I also found two holes in the exhaust downpipe. More importantly I saw that the exhaust pipe “donut” flange had cracked. I went to the local AutoZone to look for all these parts and of course they didn’t have them in stock, so I settled for some epoxy patch tape and ordered the parts online instead from Tasca which was the only retailer that had both the donuts and the retainers available. They claim shipping within a week, but we’ll see how accurate that is. Until then Gudrun is on jack stands in the driveway. After I fix these issues I’m hoping she’s less noisy and stinky than she’s been up until now.