Archive for November, 2012

The Spirit of Granny II

Experts consulted, decisions made. Stock B20 all the way. Looking forward to my 118 hp @5800, 123 LB-ft of torque @3500, good fuel economy, and perfect drivability.

Excellent Volvo gurus that shall remain anonymous (unless they comment) gave me info on the mutant head. It’s a heavily ported B18 unit. My plan was to have hardened seats installed but the mutant’s valves are so close together that there is likely no room. That and experimenting with compression ratios and ill-advised thicker head gaskets isn’t really the direction I want to go in. So stock head it is- maybe with a little minor porting if affordable.

Mutant on top (seems smaller because it’s more distant). Valves are really crowded in there.

Here’s the porting on the mutant:

That looks like a fair amount of material removed.

Versus stock B20:

Still with locating ring in.

Now for the camshaft. The one in there has seen better days:

Has seen better days. Note pitted lobe tip on right.

I don’t think the lifters are supposed to look like this.

I considered an IPD Street Torque or Street Performance cam but that may have led to a slippery slope of heavier valve springs, more porting, and maybe a header (it already has a sport exhaust). I really like the way the stock B20 and B18 with the C grind run- so smooth and quiet- so I’m going with that. Cheap at ~$80. I had a D-Jet ’72 142 with a stock D grind and even that seemed chattery with .441 lift.

Readers bored enough to read previous posts might recall that the Granny motor got a steel timing gear set back when those were almost the same money as composite. Having that will save a few bucks:

And here’s a crappy picture of it.

Ok. Parts are ordered. Deves rings, Glyco rod bearings from Cam, lifters, and gaskets from IPD. Time to clean those ring lands! Oh, and find new head bolts.


The Spirit of Granny?

Helmer the 1800 needs help. Purrs like a kitten, nice quiet valve train, but poor power.

A compression test revealed something like 128-150-148-132 (if I remember correctly). A wet test brought all up to over 150. Time for an overhaul. But what do I do? I can either pull the original B18 (creating potentially lengthy disruption in my nicely refinished garage) or freshen up Granny’s B20.

The Nicely refinished garage. Floor epoxy in the spring.

Yes, I know I could marathon it and knock the job out quickly but what if I all of a sudden hit a patch of extreme laziness? And considering the path of least resistance leads right to my basement where Granny’s ~60k mile B20 sits on a stand…

How convenient.

The complete package. Brought down the stairs by beer-fed volunteer minions.

But honestly I am torn. I like the idea of the 1800 having its original engine, but 2 liters is attractive.

Well it won’t hurt to pull the B20 apart and check it out, will it? Nope. Apart it comes.

A nice father-son activity. Juice-fed volunteer Minkanic?

An 8-year-old Minkanic was actually really helpful. He took off all the externals.

Bores are perfect, no ridge at all. Just carbon.

Lots of cleaning and a little wrenching later, cylinders are revealed.

Looks ok. Oil pan was full of timing gear teeth. Every time I changed the oil a few would come out. : )

I’ve seen better rod bearings in my life but not a deal-breaker. It was a hard ~60k miles.

Now I need to decide on a head. I do have one that has been ported, shaved, and has big valves.

I think it started life on a B18. Can anyone confirm from the casting marks?

The pic is crappy but the intake porting is pretty dramatic.

Here’s the stock B20 head in front and the ported mutant out back.

The mutant’s combustion chambers are noticeably shallower and of a different shape. The mutant also has 44mm intake valves v. the stock head’s 42mm. I’m a little afraid of pushing the compression up too much. Maybe an IPD thick head gasket is an option. Maybe I just go with stock. I guess it will depend on whether the stock cam is any good. I’ll pull that apart next and post some detailed pics.

Farm Gathering 2012

Last weekend a bunch of us RI Quahogs and friends got together at Uncle Stephen’s Farm in Exeter, RI for an impromptu gathering. It was short notice but we had pretty good turnout.

Taken as the sun was leaving us. It was just warm enough to be fun- ~50 degrees.

Yeah, a little brick-heavy but Paul was down earlier with his Amazon. We’ll mix it up more next time.

Duck duck duck duck GT. You can barely see the twins in the background.

Paul got a nice grille set off the blue one and I torched a bumper off and grabbed odds and ends. We didn’t end up starting Stephen’s B16 in the red one. Next time.




Don’t laugh it works

Did you know that the bumper “hold down plates” or whatever you call them (the brackets used to secure the car while shipping) on a 122 make a perfect bumper bracket when your old one rots right off your car? Neither did I, but despiration is the mother of invention.

Obligatory Disclaimer: WARNING- do not try this at home with your own crusty piece of crap.

So sad

Not a great shot but here’s the rusty wreckage

The parts. Note scribed line. The bigger one needed to be pounded flat, and it’s one tough piece!

A little torching, a little grinding. Perfect!

A little welding, a little POR-15. Almost pretty.

Frame from spare tire well. Don’t ask how I measured. The truth is horrifying.

All done! Note the shortened side bracket. This setup offsets the bumper alignment slightly but after shortening the side bracket it lined up better than ever.

Ok I’m not exactly proud of this repair but it works perfectly, cost nothing, and is super-strong.


Well we pulled my blue ’61 out of the soggy barn the other day and pushed it around where Uncle Stephen’s red one is. Pretty cool to see them together.

I’ve forgotten what those hubcaps are from. Presumably Ford-product wheels.

Uncle’s car spent a little too much time in South Providence where it became victim of vandals. And the scrappers lifted his spare rear-end. Bastards.

That same day we found this antler in the woods. Lucky!