Frequently Asked Questions

Just bought an 1800, what should I do to improve the performance on a limited budget?

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Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 6:52 PM
Subject: Volvo 1800

I'm looking for some advice/guidance on how to address some issues with a 1964 1800S. I'm the new owner of this car, and my plan is to get it to a daily driver status. It is very original and just about everything works (except the water temp gauge, oil temp gauge, clock and odometer). Currently, it runs well, but has a hot start issue (any driving for more than 20 minutes results in about a 45 minute wait before I can start it again--I think I'm going to get a temporary water temperature gauge so I can monitor if I'm running too hot).

Any advice would be appreciated,   Darren


First I would do some testing to see what the problems are. On most of these cars the performance is way off what it should be just because parts are worn out.  On the engine, first adjust the valve lash. Check the valve stem lengths and see if they are relatively even - this will check for valve seat erosion. Check the cam lobe lift to see if they are even. Worn cam lobes are very common on these engines. Do compression tests, and then go to a leakdown test if the equipment is available - this will give you an idea of the condition of the rings, cylinder bore and valve seats. Check the distributor by pulling the cap and trying to move the rotor shaft back and forth - if it moves much then the distributor is worn and needs to be replaced. Put a timing light on it and check the timing. If the mark moves around a lot, then that is another sign the distributor is worn out. The SU carbs are usually worn out and leak air around the throttle shafts. Take the radiator out and to a radiator shop that can check its flow.
Once you have done the above your will have a better idea of what is going on with the engine.
Next look at the suspension and brakes.
Please let know if you have specific questions.
Vintage Performance Developments