1968 Volvo 1800S 


Here's the engine still in the car.  The first investigative procedure is to-as the queen said-"off with their heads".  On this simple cam in block-push rod engine the head comes off in minutes and reveals much about the health of the engine and what needs to be done to get it back to full function.



WOW!  These cylinder walls (bores) still have the factory cross-hatching which show here as fine diagonal scratches in the hole (cylinder).  This effect is from the factory honing process after the cylinders are bored.  It is designed to help wear in the piston rings.  When these marks are present there has been no wear on the cylinder surface.  If the surface is shiny (no marks) then wear has taken place.  This block will consequently not need reboring to a larger (oversize) piston.

This is the well in which the camshaft lifters live.






The lifters are very hard but get galled by the action of the camshaft.  These lifters will need to be replaced.





The camshaft lobes are worn by their running on the lifters.  The camshaft will be replaced with new.

The rocker shaft and push rods will be cleaned and checked and reused.  These parts get plugged but don't usually wear.

The camshaft bearings are soft and wear considerably.  These will be replaced.

New cam bearings are installed into the block before assembly...



The timing gears are made of fiber and steel.  These get replaced when the engine is rebuilt.  Typically they are replaced at 100K mile intervals as they are sacrificial parts.

This picture shows the refurbished timing gear cover which has an updated (not shown) silicone rubber seal which replaces the archaic cotton felt seal, a chronic leaker.

This badly corroded water pump will be replaced...

...with a Volvo OE new part.

All alloy parts are either nickel plated or clear coated to mitigate the kind of corrosion seen on the water pump.

This originally dealer installed after market 6 blade fan will be sand blasted and painted safety yellow in keeping with Volvo's practice circa 1980.  It's smart and looks fantastic.  This non-clutch meat cleaver needs to be a bright color regardless of stock.

WOW!  All new valves and stelite valve seats to take the higher heat and no lead fuel.  When this engine was designed the leaded fuel lubricated the older design valve train components.  Our new components allow everyday use of our remanufactured engines without the need for fuel additives.


The head was decked only .005" to bring it back to flat; not enough to dramatically increase compression.  High octane fuel was a design parameter of the engine and still is necessary to prevent knock.  There is no anti-knock system in this engine as there is in all other modern systems.

New valve guides were necessary and valve seals, and a fresh coat of...

...correct "red engine" paint complete this head job.

In 1968 all U.S. market cars were federally mandated to be emissions compliant.  What this meant for cars like this S.U. carb equipped 1800 was poor performance and runability, particularly hot starting problems.


This picture shows Volvo's miserable solution to early emissions.  Prior to 1968 the aluminum intake manifold (top of picture) cooled the incoming fuel allowing more fuel to enter the engine, similar to a modern turbo intercooler.  The 1968 manifold (bottom of picture) was a radical and fateful departure from common sense and reasonable functionality.  The hot exhaust manifold was combined with the intake manifold in one unit.


To make matter worse, secondary throttle plates were installed which directed the incoming fuel/air mixture to passages at the hot top of the manifold.  Only at full throttle did the incoming fuel go directly into the engine.  The net effect of this very short lived design (1968-69 only) was difficult hot starting and fuel starvation until the car was driven for some distance after starting hot to cool the manifold down enough that the fuel did not vapor lock on entering the chamber (of horrors).