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.



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.

What’s Next?

Now that my car can be used it’s tempting to stamp “done” on this project, but that would be supremely premature. There is still a lot to do on this car both in terms of maintenance and improvement. I’ll use this entry to list those out for future reference. 

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The Day Has Come

After nearly two years of on-and-off effort, the big day has finally arrived. In the days, weeks, and months leading up to this event I’ve laughed, swore, strained, and cheered. Most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about a subject about which I previously knew almost nothing. I can now proudly says that this car that I have put so much time, effort and not an insignificant amount of money into is now legal to drive the streets.

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Rear Shocks Installed

By last Friday I had all the parts I’d ordered for this final push to get the car registered in hand. This included major components like the rear shocks and also a few extras like new hatch lift supports and a trim piece for the interior hatch handle (one of which I had already broken). Unfortunately I managed to aggravate a pre-existing back issue from a sports related accident I had when I was 13. I could barely walk let alone change car parts. I had to take most of the weekend to recover. Fortunately I was feeling about 90% better by Memorial Day, so I was able to get all my planned work done.

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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.

Fixing the Central Locking Mechanism

Since my Volvo is effectively locked into my driveway by my other cars I don’t worry to much about it being stolen. As such I don’t often both to lock it. Recently after taking the front door panels off in an effort to fix the passenger side door switch and lubricate the window mechanisms I noticed that the driver side central locking switch, part 3540135 which I had previously fixed up, didn’t look right. Specifically the plastic part that connects to the door lock had fallen off. Closer examination showed that not only had it fallen off but it had come apart. Some bad wiring routing on my part had caused that side of the mechanism to get caught on the window as it rolled down, breaking it.

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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.

New Exhaust Plus Complications

After a few weeks of waiting there was finally an alignment of decent weather and the weekend. That meant as soon as a got done with a few household chores I was able to start the process of taking out the old exhaust and putting in the new one. This system includes the resonator, a muffler, and the various pipes that connect them.

First a quick note of resonators vs mufflers. They are similar to each other in that they are responsible for mitigating exhaust noise. The main difference is that the resonator does not quiet the exhaust sound. Rather it “tunes” the exhaust sound in a way that makes the muffler’s job easier. That way the muffler can be designed to muffle a much narrower set of frequencies which means a quieter ride with less of a hit on performance.


The whole process starts by jacking up the rear of the car onto jack stands. Next I had to remove the clamp that connects the resonator to the catalytic converter pipe. This clamp was hideously rusted and was almost just a clamp shaped lump of corrosion. I blasted it with WD-40 and used a breaker bar with a 14mm deep socket to get the nut turning. It took some muscle, and boy did that nut scream as it turned, but eventually I got both sides off far enough to be able to move it out of the way. I then got out the rotary tool and used a cut off disc to finish it off. I wasn’t going to reuse them, so this was the much faster and easier method.

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Uncooperative Weather

The last couple of weekends around here have featured some pretty uncooperative weather, so I haven’t had a chance to do anything with the muffler. Once things line up I’ll be right on it. In the meantime I’ve noticed a strange electrical issue. When I push the brakes my license plate lights turn off and the center brake light does not turn on. I’m guessing there’s a short somewhere. That’ll require some looking into.

Coming Soon

I got half of a big shipment of parts today. This is a big deal because it’s the last big bit of equipment that I need in order to get the car road worthy and inspected. Here’s a peek.

If you guesses “new exhaust system” then you are correct. This first package has only the mid-muffler/resonator and rear muffler. The various pipes, clamps, and hangers are coming in another. I’m hopeful that they arrive before the weekend and doubly hopeful I have the time to install it all.

Shifter Bulb, Door Switch Fix, and New Window Scrapers

The weather this past weekend was very pleasant which meant the opportunity for car work was there. It also meant that spring cleaning was in play too. In the end I didn’t spend a lot of time working on the car, but I did find some time to do relatively small but critical things. After I finished cleaning out the garage and installing a bell on my front door I moved on to the car.

First on this list was a simple swap of the dead bulb inside the shifter. This light is there to illuminate the position of the shifter when the headlights are on. This procedure was just a matter of unscrewing the shifter cover and moving it out of the way so I could access the bulb socket. The socket is pulled out of its holder, the bulb switched, and the cover screwed back in place. Now I can see what gear I’m in when it’s dark.

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Lug Stud Swap

Back when I changed my brake pads I found that one of the lug studs on the driver’s side rear tire had stripped threads. Or maybe the process of taking the tire off stripped the threads. I’m not sure. But I would need to change that lug, and that’s what I did this weekend.

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