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Reviving a barn find P1800ES

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Old Feb 22nd, 2021, 19:06   #51
142 Guy
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Progressing nicely.

I suggest that you do not bother with back flushing the radiator. Take it directly to a radiator shop and have them clean it in a caustic bath and then flush and pressure test it. My 1971 142 has a cross flow radiator which is different that the 1800. The lower 1/3 of the radiator tubes were blocked about mid way across the radiator. No amount of back flushing would dislodge the blockage and the caustic clean was the only way to restore the radiator..

On my 140 E, when the ambient temperatures are border line freezing the interior heater can reject enough engine heat into the interior to mask problems with the radiator. Be cautious about assessing the degree of impairment of the radiator when testing in cold weather with the heater valve open.

When it comes to bleed the brakes, be sure to follow the bleeding sequence in the service manual. This will reduce the amount of fluid (and frustration) you have to run through the system to get a good bleed. A pressure bleeder makes bleeding the Volvo dual diagonal brake system much easier and if your master cylinder is original avoids the risk of damage to the piston seals in the MC from running the piston past the wear ridge in the bore.

My 142 E is a low use car. As a result, I use DOT 5 silicon brake fluid in the hydraulic system. DOT 5 has the advantage that it is hydrophobic so does not absorb moisture from the air like non silicon fluids. This allows you to safely extend the flush intervals to at least 5 years. DOT 5 will not damage paint if you have a spill which may be a consideration if you anticipate some weeping at the connections after you do the repair work. DOT 5 is more expensive and must not be intermixed with non DOT 5. It is also not acceptable if you intend to go racing.

The problem you described with the brakes failing to release could have been due to sticky calipers. However, old flex lines are also noted for swelling with with age which slows release of pressure in the caliper and retraction of the pistons. New calipers and flex lines should eliminate those possibilities.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 10:15   #52
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Progressing nicely.

I suggest that you do not bother with back flushing the radiator. Take it directly to a radiator shop and have them clean it in a caustic bath and then flush and pressure test it. My 1971 142 has a cross flow radiator which is different that the 1800. The lower 1/3 of the radiator tubes were blocked about mid way across the radiator. No amount of back flushing would dislodge the blockage and the caustic clean was the only way to restore the radiator..

On my 140 E, when the ambient temperatures are border line freezing the interior heater can reject enough engine heat into the interior to mask problems with the radiator. Be cautious about assessing the degree of impairment of the radiator when testing in cold weather with the heater valve open.

When it comes to bleed the brakes, be sure to follow the bleeding sequence in the service manual. This will reduce the amount of fluid (and frustration) you have to run through the system to get a good bleed. A pressure bleeder makes bleeding the Volvo dual diagonal brake system much easier and if your master cylinder is original avoids the risk of damage to the piston seals in the MC from running the piston past the wear ridge in the bore.

My 142 E is a low use car. As a result, I use DOT 5 silicon brake fluid in the hydraulic system. DOT 5 has the advantage that it is hydrophobic so does not absorb moisture from the air like non silicon fluids. This allows you to safely extend the flush intervals to at least 5 years. DOT 5 will not damage paint if you have a spill which may be a consideration if you anticipate some weeping at the connections after you do the repair work. DOT 5 is more expensive and must not be intermixed with non DOT 5. It is also not acceptable if you intend to go racing.

The problem you described with the brakes failing to release could have been due to sticky calipers. However, old flex lines are also noted for swelling with with age which slows release of pressure in the caliper and retraction of the pistons. New calipers and flex lines should eliminate those possibilities.
Thanks for the tips. On the back of your suggestion I contacted a radiator shop local to me and they recommended back washing with a pressure washer and if that doesn't work then re-coring is about half the cost of a new rad, so that's also an option.

I've read up on the bleeding process and have a vacuum bleeder, so hopefully that will be successful. I've read other peoples frustrations with bleeding the brakes so hopefully it goes ok for me.

One thing I have been thinking about is whether I connected the lines at the front as they were originally?! Does it matter which circuit the flexi lines are connected to?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 12:46   #53
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Really enjoying this thread, what a find.

Can I ask peoples' opinions on changing the back axle oil? I have heard it said that this can sometimes make the diff noisy, but if a car has been standing for 20 years I guess it should be changed nonetheless?

I know in this case you've got a leak so presumably not much choice anyway but to open it up.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 13:05   #54
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Thanks for the tips. On the back of your suggestion I contacted a radiator shop local to me and they recommended back washing with a pressure washer and if that doesn't work then re-coring is about half the cost of a new rad, so that's also an option.

I've read up on the bleeding process and have a vacuum bleeder, so hopefully that will be successful. I've read other peoples frustrations with bleeding the brakes so hopefully it goes ok for me.

One thing I have been thinking about is whether I connected the lines at the front as they were originally?! Does it matter which circuit the flexi lines are connected to?
If you follow the bleeding process from the manual and follow the number sequence of each nipple the job is very straight forward, I use an Eezibleed device and it's so much easier if doing the job yourself.

You must remove the screw-in switch from the brass junction block which controls the dual circuit failure warning light as this will 'centre' the shuttle valve to allow both circuits to be bled. Don't forget to replace it and reconnect the wiring afterwards.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 17:13   #55
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Thanks for the tips. On the back of your suggestion I contacted a radiator shop local to me and they recommended back washing with a pressure washer and if that doesn't work then re-coring is about half the cost of a new rad, so that's also an option.

I've read up on the bleeding process and have a vacuum bleeder, so hopefully that will be successful. I've read other peoples frustrations with bleeding the brakes so hopefully it goes ok for me.

One thing I have been thinking about is whether I connected the lines at the front as they were originally?! Does it matter which circuit the flexi lines are connected to?
Re-coring would be the expensive option. The radiator repair shop I used had a tank of heated caustic that they immersed the radiator in and let it soak. Upon removal they neutralized the cleaner and then washed the radiator. In addition to cleaning the core it removed all the paint on the rad and all the dead bugs in the fins. I would check other shops to see if they offer the dip option. Perhaps local environmental regulations are such that they are no longer able to use the caustic cleaning solutions in which case I would definitely try the back wash option.

I also have a Honda NSX for which I did not have a pressure bleeder adapter cap for the MC reservoir so I had to use a hand vacuum pump method to bleed the brakes. Whether it was because of the ABS system or just the nature of the beast, sucking brake fluid out the bleed ports was incredibly slow, taking about 30 - 40 min at each wheel before I started getting clean fluid. It was also painful - I ended up with an incredibly sore right fore arm and vowed to get an adapter. I have always used the pressure bleed on my 142 and from dry system to finished was less than 45 minutes.

Theoretically the line connection does matter. On the 140, one brake circuit is connected to the leading pistons and the other circuit is connected to the trailing pistons in the front caliper. If you mix the lines on both sides of the car then you have switched the primary and secondary circuits on both wheels. In that case you probably don't have a braking issue. If you switch the lines on just one wheel then you have the primary circuit going to the leading pistons on one wheel and the trailing pistons on the other wheel (and vice versa for the secondary circuit). Both circuits should operate at the same pressure so when everything is AOK that should not create a problem. However, if you have a failure on one circuit the leading / trailing piston mix may create a slight brake steer problem. However, put that in the context of a modern car with a dual diagonal brake system where a hydraulic failure on one circuit completely loses one front caliper and generates a whole lot of brake steer.

I think the bigger problem with switching the brake line connections may be the fittings. My exceedingly fuzzy recollection is that because of the little external hard line connection to the lower pistons on the front caliper, the fluid fittings are different - both at the caliper and the bulk head fitting mounted on the body. If you switch the hoses / hose ends they will screw in; but, they will not seal properly. Also, on the 140, depending on how you switched the hoses I think you can end up with hose bind if you run the suspension through its full range of motion.

On my 140, during its restoration I had a period of about 4 years from the disassembly of the brakes to final reassembly and I did not have a good picture of the hose arrangement at the bulk head fittings and did manage to reverse the front brake lines. The brakes worked; but, the fittings had a perpetual leak and I did manage to damage the flares on at least one of the fittings on the bulk head. It was only after another 140 owner provided me with photos of the bulk head installation and hose arrangement that I figured out my botched job. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt!

The comment about removing the contact portion of the brake failure switch is valid and absolutely necessary if you use the pedal pump method to bleed the brakes. If you use a pressure bleeder or a vacuum bleeder the pressure differentials you create in the two circuits are small (less than 14.7 psi) and the actuating piston in the brake failure switch will not move. However, it only takes about 1 min to unscrew the switch contact from the distribution block so easy to do if it makes you feel better. I have never removed it when using the pressure bleeder to flush the system on the 140.

Last edited by 142 Guy; Feb 23rd, 2021 at 17:25.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 18:19   #56
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I think the bigger problem with switching the brake line connections may be the fittings. My exceedingly fuzzy recollection is that because of the little external hard line connection to the lower pistons on the front caliper, the fluid fittings are different - both at the caliper and the bulk head fitting mounted on the body. If you switch the hoses / hose ends they will screw in; but, they will not seal properly. Also, on the 140, depending on how you switched the hoses I think you can end up with hose bind if you run the suspension through its full range of motion.
I think I need to properly research and make sure it's all connected correctly in that case.

You are correct in thinking that the calliper has different fittings, but there's hard lines which connect to the calliper and I know these I connected these correctly. The flexi lines connect to these hard lines and run up to the inner wing and they're all the same fittings. I guess as long as i have them the same way on each calliper i should be alright.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 20:39   #57
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On the 140, there is a short little section of hard line that connects to the front caliper lower pistons and is mounted right on the caliper. As I recall the fitting on that little section of hard line that mates up with the flex line is a flare fitting. However, the flex line for the upper pistons screws directly into the caliper body and it is not a flare fitting. The fitting on the hose for the upper piston connection is male NPS. I can't remember whether the other hose for the lower pistons has a male flare fitting or whether it is female (which would prevent interchange). You can force the correctly sized male NPS and flare into the female fittings; but, they won't seal.

I know I did manage to mess up the threads on the fitting on the bulk head connection where the flex line joins the hard line on the body. It wasn't damaged by simple sloppy cross threading. It was caused by flipping the ends or switching the circuit 1 and 2 hoses. However, that was in 2014 so the specifics of the botched job are now kind of lost; but it is possible because I did it!

Last edited by 142 Guy; Feb 23rd, 2021 at 21:02.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 04:12   #58
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“ I think I need to properly research and make sure it's all connected correctly in that case.”

I went through the same exercise of doubt. Referred to the illustrations in the Haynes manual/Green book to determine the correct orientation of the hoses and lines. 142 Guy’s experience of his 140 configuration matches up with mine on my ‘71 1800E.

After I replaced all the calipers and hoses, I gave it a very hard pedal push test (while stationary in the garage) to ensure all was right, and a steel brake line in the front burst! My 1800 had previously sat for years and the line was corroded through, not sure if from inside or outside the line, but probably both.

On to phase 2, I replaced all the hard lines with cupronickel, learned how to flare brake lines. Mostly used the old fittings, as pointed out by 142, there’s different fittings and not readily available.

Last edited by c1800; Feb 24th, 2021 at 05:19.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 05:36   #59
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“ We then want to pull the radiator out, back flush it and refit with a new water pump.”

Suggest you aggressively back flush the block too. You can remove the drain spigot just to the rear of the oil filter. Garden hose with nozzle through the thermostat opening and the spigot. You’ll be surprised with what comes out. See picture below.

As to the water pump, there’s 2 kinds, look for the one with a cast impeller (OEM), reportedly provides better circulation than the aftermarket one with the stamped sheet metal impeller. Certainly the case with my experience. Also pay attention to the 2 o-ring seals that connect the top of the water pump to the the underside of the head. There’s 2 sizes.

Following with interest, you’ve got quite a “barn find” there. And good progress to date!

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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 08:24   #60
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Thanks c1800. I can't find any images, but I found this on the skandix site which shows my setup.

The brown lines are hard lines and you can see on each front caliper two hard lines which then attach to two flexi lines, which then run to hard lines on the inner wing.

The fittings on the end of the calliper hard lines and the fittings on the inner wing hard lines are all the same.

Hope that makes sense. I'll try get a photo of this on the car when I'm next there.

As for back flushing the block, I'll give that a go also. That's an incredible amount of debris that came out of yours!

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