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Volvo 444 Project - August 2005


2/8

Send the engine back to klint today.

5/8

Temporarly fitted the suspension to the car today. The car is still at the body shop, but as it's now movable again it shouldn't take to long to have the engine bay sprayed.

8/8

Engine bay sprayed already, car is ready to be collected

9/8

Towed the car home today. Hopefully the project will advance a bit faster from now on…

10/8

Fixed the front suspension today. Up till now is was only temporarly fitted with a few bolts. Some older bolts were broken and had to be drilled out, but no other problems were encountered.

Also fitted to front left brake disc and caliper mounting. As we already testfitted them to check clearance with the shock, no mayor problems here neither.

11/8

Fitted the left front damper with the modified lower pin, front left suspension is now completely ready.

Things didn't went that well on the other side. Apparently there are 3 different types of steering arms on the volvo pv: one type for the 444 (smaller diameter) and 2 different types for the 544 (one with a halfmoon, the other with a small bar to prevent the steering arm from turning around). And event more important: shapes of the arms were not identical either. So using 2 differerent types of steering arm (and there matching upright) probably isn't advisable if we don't want to mess up the steering geomtry.

To make a long story short: Even from a pile of old suspension parts, we didn't find the parts we needed to have a matching left and right side. Fitting the 444 suspension again was possible, but as the 544 uprights seem stronger (larger diameters), we phoned Booi and ordered the correct parts.

15/8

Now the car is parked home, we have the possibility to start looking for some sollutions for the drivetrain problems. As this 444 pv was originally equiped with a 3-speed gearbox, mayor modifications are needed.

First up is the gearbox itself. The best sollution for us seems to be the M47 gearbox (5-speed gearbox from volvo 740 mainly). Athought an M46 (volvo 4-speed with overdrive) seems to have a reputation for being stronger, an M47 seems more suitable for us. First of all, its a lot smaller (the overdrive is quite long on the M46) and therefore a lot heavier also. A 5-speed also seems more appropriate to an old car than an electrical overdrive, but I guess that's a rather personal opinion.

The mayor problem when fitting another gearbox, M46 or M47, is the restricted space available. The original tunnel will have to be cut away and replaced or modified. As the car and chassis is in very good chape, it's a bit hard to just start cutting…

Another sollution would be to fit an M40 4-speed gearbox. These were installed in the later volvo pv's (also in amazone, 140,…) an should therefore be a lot easier to fit. No other bell housing would be needed as they were originally mated to a B18/B20 engine. Mayor disadvantage would be the lack of 5th gear on the hiway... Currently this seems to be the best sollution, especially if we want to have the car running by this summer (Current planning of the project...)

27/8

Tried to find a sollution for the rest of the drivetrain. As we don't have any idea of the strength of the 444 differential and axles, it might be safe to make some modifications there. Speed and torque will be quite higher with the new engine than what the rear axle was designed for.

Best sollution for us seems the 240 rear axle. Differential should be strong enough as the engines in that car were more powerful already (volvo 240 turbo…). Also, this type of differential is rather well known (Dana 30) which can will be a mayor advantage if we ever decide to fit a locking differential. Another mayor advantage would be the disc brakes. As the volvo pv rear brakes have a rather bad reputation, a modifying them would be necessary anyway.

As we had an old 240 rear axle availably, we tried to test-fit it today. Mayor problem is the completely different suspension system, which means welding 4 brackets (and reinforcements) to the pv chassis. Some cutting would be necessary also to clear the suspension arms. Conclusion: seems possible, but do we want to start cutting up the chassis? Modifications will be a lot more serious than modifying the tunnel to fit the M47 gearbox... Guess we'll have to think about some more...

28/8

Made the decision to install the M47 gearbox anyway. If we would install the M40 now, chances are small we will make this modifiction afterwards once the car is running. Probably will be thinking "what if…" everytime we drive the higway in 4th gear. Also, some cutting is required even to fit this smal geabox to our 444. So better do it right the first time on, and install the M47 anyway.

So after a few hours of discussing how, we started cutting. Hardest part probably was getting over the idea of using a cutting disc on a perfectly good chassis, but once started it was rather straightforward. About half an hour later we finally ended up with a hole large enough to fit the gearbox. From the inside of the car the hole was quite large, but on the side of the engine bay, it's not that obvious. Once the new tunnel installed, it will be hard to detect the modifications from the engine bay I guess.