Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We have a car, and it finally works well

First, let me share the fuel pump saga.  The little episode the other day was the second time that the fuel pump just decided to not start.  It's never stopped while running, but failed to start twice.  And both times it has mysteriously decided to get back on the job some time later, again for no apparent reason.  My presumption was a subtly faulty rebuilt fuel pump.  Perhaps a bur that caused it to jamb, or maybe a flat spot on the armature?  So I called a local fellow Volvo nut to see if he had another pump I could try.  He did, so I hopped in the car and went of to get it.  After a quick swap out, I discovered that the "new" pump leaked around the electrical connector, just like the original one that was in the car when I bought it.  Not as much, but it still leaked.  So back to the rebuilt one.  I'm getting good a swapping pumps.

Next I called Hans at H&R Fuel Injection.  They have rebuilt a couple of mechanical injection pumps for Mercedes for me, along with a variety of other injection parts, fuel pumps, etc..  My question for him was whether he could rebuild one of the leaking pumps that I have.  After hearing where it was leaking, he proceeded to tell me how to fix it myself.  He said the electrical connector is a common leak point, and all you need to do is clean up the area and epoxy around it.  That's how they fix them.  It's worth a try as a side project one of these days.

All this left me with a fuel pump that sometimes won't start, rendering the car inoperative, with no solution other than waiting around for magic to occur.  Other than that, it's all back together and runs great.  For better or worse, I decided to drive the car back to Gloucester which is about 180 miles.  I figured as long as I didn't shut off the car, I'd be fine, right?  So off I went.

The first stop was to get gas, and the car was running so well that I decided to shut it off while I filled.  And it restarted just fine.  So far so good.  Then about an hour later, hunger and nature called so I made a pit stop, and again shut it off.  Big mistake!  I got back in the car, realized it has no cup holder for my drink, but went to get underway anyway.  Key turn, and no fuel pump hum.  Crap!  Well, with no cup holder I figured I really should eat before getting underway anyway, so I chowed down hoping magic would occur while doing so.  Occasionally I'd turn the key to see what would happen, and every time there was nothing but a relay click.

After eating I decided to test the stuck-fuel-pump theory and got out a screw driver to rap the pump body to try to free it up.  Whack, whack, but nothing.  Then I decided to play with the wiring a bit and tried jumping the fuel pump lead right to battery power and guess what?  The pump ran!  Ummmm, sounds like an electrical problem, not a pump problem.  That's actually good news.  A little more screwing around revealed a bad connection in the little accessory fuse box that feeds the fuel pump power line.  Some scraping and a new fuse and the problem is fixed.  That was the most productive break down I've every had.

The rest of the drive was uneventful.  Actually, quite pleasant.  I'm really liking how the car runs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two steps forward, one step back

This morning we did a few things that were needed before a test drive.  I had started to install the rear window molding and we needed to finish it before the test drive.  What a pain in the ass.  You need to insert a 4mm cord in the windows gasket slot where the trim fits in.  It's mostly to hold the gasket gap open enough to insert the lip of the trim.  Once the trim lip is inserted, you pull out the cord and in theory the trim stays in the slot.  Theory definitely doesn't correlate with reality on this one, and it took several tries to get it installed.

Then the driver side door striker needed adjusting.   The door wasn't closing all the way.  I found the mounting screws only gently tightened, so I think that's the problem.  After some fussing, I got it working most of the time, but it's not perfect.

I started the engine and it ran like crap.  A quick check showed that #2 wasn't firing.  This was the first step backwards.  After confirming spark, I did the injector click test which involves slowly opening the throttle with the ignition on.  As the throttle rotates, the injectors click a total of 20 times through a full opening of the throttle.  I did this with only the #2 injector connected.  Nothing.  I tried other injectors and they were clicking.  I had trouble before with the ECU cable connection so took that apart.  After reinstalled things worked again.  That's good news, and bad news.  Good because it solved the problem, but bad because it means I still have bad connections.

With the ECU removed, I took a pencil eraser to the contacts and was able to clean them significantly, at least on one side.  I then went through the cable end once more and pinched the contacts a little bit to get more wipe force on the contacts.  After reassemble all works as it's supposed to  - at least for now.  One way or another I need to make these connections totally reliable, and it's not clear if I'm there yet.

With the car running properly, I then took a quick run around the yard, then down the road and all seemed good.  On return, we installed the passenger seat and went off for a longer drive.  Once out on the paved road, all I can saw is Wow!  It runs great.  The engine is very smooth, pulls smoothly, and responds great to the throttle.  I think my adjustment to the gap between the idle and throttle contacts in the throttle position sensor have made a huge difference.

On return, we parked the car and tended to a few other things, then Richard went to move the Volvo and it wouldn't start.  No Fuel pump.  The relay was working which said the ECU was working, but the pump wasn't running.  WTF.  This was the second step backwards.  Frustrated, we switched gears to other things.

After a break, I went back out and tried the car again and now the pump worked.  WTF?  I think the $350 rebuilt fuel pump that I bought isn't so good after all.  This is not the kind of reliability that I'm looking for, but I'll get there one way or another.

While pondering the fuel pump problem, I went about wrapping up other things.  These included:
  • Reinstalling the hood
  • Drilling holes and installing screws to hold together the two halves of the air cleaner housing.  The two halves are normally spot welded together and the whole assemble is replaced to replace the air cleaner.  I'm fortunate to still have the original housing which is plated where the replacements are painted black.  Someone at some time had broken open the spot welds to separate the two sections and replaced the filter element.  The replaceable element is a great idea, but the two unsecured housing parts was not.  The holes allowed me to screw the two halves together, yet allow for disassembly to replace the filter.  I also had to bend the mounting brackets back into their original shape to mount it properly.  The end result is real good.
  • Put the interior back together
  • Tracked down and fixed a problem with the blower fan
  • Tracked down and fixed a problem with the emergency brake warning light
  • Drained the gas and reinstalled the tank bottom plugs with teflon tape.  Both plugs were dripping slightly before.
  • Reinstalled the badges
Tomorrow I need to decide if I have the courage to take another longer test drive given the flakey fuel pump behavior.

Clutch problem solved

Fellow Volvo enthusiast, Richard, arrived Sunday around 1:00.  Back in the 70's and 80's we both had 140s.  He a '72 145s, and me a '70 142s.  It was like old home day.  We had the transmission dropped out in under an hour.

Transmission removed

With the clutch removed, the problem became immediately apparent.  In the pictures below you can see that there is a 1/4" difference in height of the stacked pressure plate and release bearing between the new (and old) Sachs clutch and the National Clutch replacement that I was supplied.  Despite National Clutch claiming their product is a direct replacement for the Sachs clutch, it appears to actually be a replacement for the alternate Borg and Beck clutch.  The Borg and Beck requires a release bearing that is 6mm taller/longer than the Sachs.  Guess what 1/4" converts to?  Yup, 6mm.  Clutch problem solved.  The new Sachs kit that I bough is ready to install.


Transmission Removed

3-1/4" on National Clutch


3-1/2" on Sachs clutch
 
Then on to the oil leak.  The seal looked fine with no signs of leakage around the crank end.  Same for the oil galley plug and the crank shaft bore end plug.  All the oil appeared to be around the pan seam.  First check was the pan bolts.  The book quotes ft-lbs, but my torque wrench is in in-lbs, so a little conversion is required.  The result is that all the pan bolts were loose!  Maybe it's a result of gasket compression, or maybe I miscalculated when I originally assembled the engine.  But they tightened up a bunch.



Oil leakage around pan seam, not seal

Now the tough question was whether to take apart the rear seal housing, or leave it in place hoping that tightening the bolts would do the trick.  Removing the seal housing meant risking damage to the pan gasket, and the pan gasket can't be replaced without removing the engine.  But not removing the housing means a risk of not fixing the problem.  The decision was to leave the housing in place, and goop up the seam between the pan and block with RTV.

After reinstalling the flywheel and clutch, we offered up the transmission and completed the re-installation before 4:30.  I guess there is a benefit to having done this before ;-)


Friday, July 12, 2013

Lots of little stuff done today

The clutch issue is set aside for a week while I wait for parts, so today I focused on a whole bunch of little things that will need to be done before I drive away into the sunset.  Here's the list:


  • Installed front IPD sway bar after painting it dark gray.  This is the one non-stock item that I have relented on.  But I painted the bar dark gray (the paint I had on hand) because I couldn't stand the bright blue color that IPD paints it.  I still have to suffer through the blue bushings, but I'll live.
  • Installed protective bracket over marker light behind spare tire.  The light protrudes into the trunk space where the spare tire sits, and this U-shaped bracket protects the wire connection on the light.  I over looked it when I put the lights in.
  • Tightened spade terminal on fuel sender.  This was a little loose, so I pinched the slip on connector a bit for a tighter fit.  This is pretty common with older spade connectors.
  • Wired in new license plate light fixture.  This is a new replacement and it wires up a bit differently than the original.  It also had no bulbs in it so I swiped them from the old unit.  Also, one of the lenses is not blacked out facing backwards so I grabbed a lens from the old unit.  All works now.
  • Checked marker lights and found two not working.  Replaced left rear bulb, and cleaned front right bulb to get them working.
  • Noticed light bleed-through from right rear tail light to backup light.  Removed lens and found a shield missing. Found part in my stash and fixed.  It must had fallen out when everything was apart.
  • Installed new wiper blades and reinstalled the wiper arms
  • Used RTV to seal a hole in the firewall/wheel well where the AC drain ran.  I've removed the AC so this is no longer needed.
  • Fixed horn.  Contact ring needed cleaning with emory cloth.  Now it works great.
  • Reinstalled washer jets, cleaned reservoir, installed and tested pump.  Works great.
  • Reinstalled the ECU.  I hadn't remounted it after getting the fuel injection working.
  • Installed new plastic mounting pegs for front grill.  3 of 4 were broken off.
  • Reinstalled the hitch mounting bolts to fill the holes in the trunk.  I removed the hitch some time ago.

It's a lot of little stuff, but all needed before the car really goes anywhere.  But it's really coming together nicely.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fuel injection works, clutch doesn't

It's been a good news, bad news couple of days working on the Volvo.  The good news is that the fuel injection issues seem to be resolved.  I double checked all the wiring for the various solenoids and all checked out.  But when switching on the ignition, the fuel pump would run continuously when it should just come on for a second.  I had picked up a spare ECU and decided to give it a try to see if it made any difference, and it didn't.   That's good news because it means my ECU is OK, but it's bad because I still have the problem.  Next I took a closer look at the connector that attaches to the ECU and noticed a few of the contacts seemed more recessed than on the old connector.  I'm not sure if I mentioned that it's a new wiring harness for the fuel injection, so this connector is new too.

I picked at the contacts and found a few that were binding a bit in the connector shell, and I bent a few a little bit to give better contact force.  After that I reattached the connector to my original ECU and presto, it works.  The fuel pump now always runs for just a second when you first switch on the ignition.  And rotating the throttle gives the tell-tale 20 clicks of the injectors.

A while ago I played around with another adjustment which seems to have made a big difference and is worth considering if you have a car with the D-jet fuel injection.  The throttle switch does a couple of things.  It has an idle contact that tells the system that the throttle is completely closed and the engine is idling.  Then there are a series of contacts at different rotation points through the full travel of the throttle.  Each of these contacts causes an extra pulse of the injectors to give a little kick when you press on the gas.  There is also an internal contact to enable the pulses only when you are pressing the gas down, and disable them when you let the gas up.

There are procedures to adjust the throttle switch to be sure the idle contact is active when the car is idling, and that it releases as soon as you crack the throttle.  In theory, shortly after the idle contact releases the pulses should start.  If they are delayed then the throttle flap is open letting air in and there is no corresponding  pulse of fuel so the engine stammers rather than jumps.  It turns out this spacing can be adjusted, and it appears to drift over years of use.  After 40 years, there was a noticeable lag before the first injection pulse.  Inside the throttle switch there is a screw that holds the idle switch contact in place.  By loosening the screw the switch position can be nudged around to adjust the gap between the idle switch and first pulse.  It took some playing around to get it right, but I was able to take out the slack and now the injectors start pulsing just after the throttle comes off the stop.

With that side track aside, let's get back to the engine.  You may recall that I suspected a leak around the injector seals for the #1 injector.  It didn't go in easily when I first assembled it, and the hissing sounds I was getting earlier suggested the seal wasn't right.  So I pulled off part of the fuel rail, removed that injector, checked the seals, lubed them up, and reinstalled it.  This time is went if as expected.

With the fuel system back together, all that remained was to static time the distributor, put on the cap and wires, and fire it up. With static timing set to 10 BTDC and wires connected, I gave it a crank.  Cluck, cluck, cluck, zoom!  Off she fired.  It felt a little sluggish but ran.  Turned it off, did a quick check for leaks, then started again.  There was a reasonable amount of smoke burning off the exhaust manifold and header pipe, but that's normal after a rebuild, especially when there has been a lot of cleaning.  The sluggish operation suggested retarded timing so I hooked up the light and sure enough it was off by about 10 degrees.  With that adjusted it seemed pretty good, and the engine sounds nice and tight and smooth.

Next off for a little test drive.  I hopped in and pushed in the clutch and it didn't feel right - like it was bottoming out.  I then tried to get the car into gear and it wouldn't go.  Crap.  I figured all it needed was an adjustment to the cable so up on the lift she went.  I took all the slack out of the cable - more than I normally would - and lowered it down for another try.  It was a little better, but not right.  I was able to start the car in gear and get it out of the shop, then restarting in 1st I took a little spin around the yard, but the clutch clearly isn't right.  Double crap!

Back up on the lift she goes for a closer look.  After a better check, it's clear that the release fork is bottoming out on the bell housing before the clutch is completely released.  Something isn't right.  After a bunch of research I found that there are two different clutches that were used on the car, and they use different release bearings.  One is 36mm tall and the other is 42mm.  I was able to assemble a stack of washers 6mm thick and, tied to a string to prevent loosing them, I tested to see how things would be with another 6mm of release bearing and it looks like that will do it.  But it still doesn't make sense.  From what I can tell the 36mm release bearing goes with a Sachs clutch.  That's what came out of the car.  The 42mm bearing is for a Beck Arnley Clutch, but I'm pretty sure that's not what I have, and it's not what VP Auto Parts says the sold me.

The other possibility is that the release fork is bent, but it shows no signs that I can detect.  The way it's formed I think would result in cracks if it were bent, but you never know.  It's also possible that it's the wrong fork.

The bottom line is that the trans needs to come back out so this can be sorted out.  I've arranged for help weekend after next, and in the mean time will stock up on parts to address whatever we find.  I'll get a 42mm release bearing since I'm pretty sure that will resolve the problem, even if it doesn't explain it.  And I'll get a new release fork to have something to check against in case the existing one is either bent or the wrong part for the car.

In the mean time I'll work on a few loose ends, including running the engine for a while to be sure temperatures are right and that there are no leaks or other issues.