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Old 10-01-2020, 12:08 AM   #1
kizu7su
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Default 1966 1800S, my entry into the Volvo scene!

Hey all!

First time Volvo buyer and classic car owner. And first time mechanic. And interior detail guy. I have a general understanding on some of this stuff but haven't rebuilt a starter or changed oil since shop class. Yikes.

I have a wiring diagram from Karl (volvo1800pictures.com) and a Haynes manual on the way to help me get started.

I've owned this car for a about a week, and while it's in pretty good shape, it needs some work before I can take it trippin':
1966 Volvo 1800S - dropoff!

1966 Volvo P1800S

1966 Volvo 1800S - in my garage!


It's already been a little "quickly" redone here and there by the last two previous owners, which I hope to clean up along the way. By that I mean the carpet kit is poorly finished, there's fresh paint over some imperfections and on some of the trim... It's beautiful from 10ft away. It does have front disc brakes, power steering and a couple upgrades that seem OK.

I'm not sure if it qualifies as a project, but here is a list of goals I've set to make it drivable and a bit more safe - it'll probably take me a few weeks or months.

Adjustable seats with headrests! The stock seats are in good shape and will be kept (as with anything stock that I happen to remove, hopefully minimal, it will all be packaged as soundly as possible and held on to). I just want it as safe as I can reasonably make it for now. They flop forward to access the back seat, with no locking mechanism, and no headrest. I've been rear-ended by someone who didn't look up from their phone to see us stopped at a red light, so I don't trust people on the road, lol.

Retractable seat belts! The 3 point setup that is in there now is really neat but loose. I'm hoping I can keep these buckles - I can't tell if they're stock or not yet, but they look crazy:
1966 Volvo 1800S - seat belt


Aftermarket side mirrors have been put on by a previous owner. I've got a line on some of the larger later model mirrors from Don (p1800.com). I saw a convex version of the later model mirror too, I might get that and see if it helps with visibility while retaining the right look.

On the dashboard, there's one crack in the top of the dash, so I'll probably try to repair that:
1966 Volvo 1800S - dash crack


As for the instruments, the tach, oil and fuel temp gauges need rebuilding (I have a quote from Nisonger), and there's an aftermarket speedometer that I need to replace. I've got a line on a non functional one, so that might have to go to Nisonger as well. Also, the speedo needle bounces around, gotta figure out if that's the aftermarket speedo or cable, etc. There's also a cd player that's been crammed into the dash, and the panel has been brutalized a bit during that install:
1966 Volvo 1800S - butchered radio install

1966 Volvo 1800S - butchered radio install 2


The dash is in overall good shape but I'd like to make it "pop" the way it should. It feels a little dim somehow, so I'm going to see if I can find some techniques to freshen it up, maybe polish will bring out the contrast between the black and silver or something. Also, some odd switches have been installed under the dash, as well as the horn button has been relocated there as well.
1966 Volvo 1800S - dash & speedometer


I'd love to find backup camera that looks like the stock dash-mounted rearview mirror, since that's aftermarket too. I saw some that record 24/7 video front and rear, and had great options but only velcro on top of your existing mirror... Might be ok for putsing around but I'd like to have it as discreet as possible. Hard thing to find, so I might have to get creative.

Handling! I've read up on sway bars & suspension, and IPD said they would sell me the front bar by itself over the phone. I keep reading that the rear bar isn't as helpful and that it can cause unpredictable behavior. The body roll is already... interesting... at 40mph or so - it's *very* floaty, and it feels like it might slide right out of the lane you're trying to keep it in. I'm not sure if other suspension components need attention after I figure out how to mount the sway bar. Tires are new, so I don't think that's part of it.

I'd love to source an A/C upgrade, because NC summers are hot. The car history says there was A/C with a compressor removed, but no reason why.

I'm researching sound deadening and heat dampening for a more user-friendly ride experience. Carbuilders in the AU are friendly and have good quality, but the shipping isn't exactly cheap for their heavier mats. Looking at doing every panel, so probably Dynamat and some lighter Carbuilders on top of that - they have professional-looking and fire resistant hoodliner.

I'm looking into some anti-theft measures, for peace of mind and maybe an insurance discount. Maybe a trunk monkey? Not sure what's most effective yet.

I noticed that my blinkers are weak with the head lights on, and some lights inside don't work, so I'll have to get used to that wiring diagram.

I'm hoping to only have to tear things apart once, so I'm trying to plan all of this stuff out. Any comments or tips by restorers on how to make things go more smoothly would be most welcome.

Thanks for looking, let me know if any more pics are wanted. I can't wait to get it on the highway, lol.

Last edited by kizu7su; 10-01-2020 at 07:54 AM..
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:45 AM   #2
PaddyGarcia
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Those are definitely factory seatbelts, and they are cool. My 122 was upgraded before I got it and I miss those latches.

Floaty feel when going down a straight road is probably not a sway bar issue. Maybe alignment, ball joints/other joints, steering box, steering linkage, shocks, worn/crappy tires, or a combination of all. Carefully going through the front end of any old car is usually worthwhile.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:15 AM   #3
kizu7su
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Hey PaddyGarcia!

Thanks for the info! I've watched a couple YouTube videos on keeping an existing belt buckle when using a retractable belt upgrade. I hope to keep them at all costs.

For the front end troubleshooting, I hope the manual has all of that info, and YouTube has some guides on what proper condition of the components looks like, etc., lol
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:31 AM   #4
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Toe settings can certianly make a car feel floaty.

Rear bars help dial out some of Volvo's factory setting which feature lots of understeer. Most people like understeer (i.e. the front end goes in the ditch first, not the rear), but a properly matched set of bars will dial that back some and bring it closer to neutral handling. You may or may not like that, depending on your driving habits and skill/experience level.

I never even thought about keeping the 'lobster claw' latches on my PV when I replaced the belts with retractables. I think it would have involved unsewing/resewing the ends of the belts I used, and I certainly wasn't going to try that. I did find some cool looking belts that fit in pretty well - a sort of black/white herringbone pattern that looks gray-ish from a slight distance, with vertical locking reels, from a Range Rover. And replaced the simple metal loop the lobster claws use with a buckle set from a Volvo wagon 3rd set.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:38 AM   #5
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Oh, and try to force some lube into the hood hinges! A lot of 1800's have funky panel fit around the front of the hood because the hinges get stiff from neglect and exposure, and then proceed to bend the hood a bit.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:55 AM   #6
kizu7su
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Hey JohnMc!

The buckles are a little odd to get fastened the first couple of tries, but they're just so neat lol.

I don't plan on driving it on the edge too much, and I wouldn't call myself an experienced driver on the edge anyway. I'm not opposed to installing both bars (besides never having done that and not wanting to destroy anything), I'm just not sure how to test and adjust everything once they're in. I'm still trying to find a place close by that I can test the handling without being a nuisance or ditching either end.

I'd say I prefer a bit of oversteer for some innocent fun, but the unpredictable snaps of it that I've read about are not something I would feel qualified to handle in a non-test sort of scenario.

I foresee lots of fiddling about with that part lol
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:02 AM   #7
kizu7su
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I hadn't heard anything about the hood hinges! Should I pick up a grease gun for that? I think I'll need one for the sway bar install anyway. Off to read up on that, lol

Edit: just ordered some shop towels and white lithium grease, I'll have that hood lubed up this weekend. Thank you for that tip!!!

Last edited by kizu7su; 10-01-2020 at 10:09 AM..
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:23 AM   #8
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I don't think there's a nice grease fitting on those hinges, partly why they end up neglected and frozen.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:29 AM   #9
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Also - on the subject of A/C - it wasn't integrated with the heater/ventilation unit on older cars like this. If it had A/C, it would be an obvious add-on unit hanging under the dash on the passenger side. I don't see anything like that in your pics, but can't be sure. I'm guessing if it had A/C, it probably wasnt' an original (dealer-installed) Volvo(ish) unit, I don't think those were available back then. Probably something more aftermarket, and by now completlely removed.

Last edited by JohnMc; 10-01-2020 at 10:40 AM..
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Old 10-01-2020, 11:50 AM   #10
kizu7su
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There isn't any under dash A/C, so your guess is right - they did add some switches and the horn button, and the fan controls are moved all the way over to the right, so who knows what went on.

I just bought a Smith's speedometer from a 1960, said to be in good working order! I hope I can find a way to test it without putting it into the car. That's one more step done, lol
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:55 PM   #11
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Nice car! My wife and I had a ratty 66 for a few years that was great fun to drive.

I think your speedometer is a stock part from a later 1800E or ES.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:08 PM   #12
kizu7su
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Hey Duder!

Thanks! I love it so far. My wife can't wait to take some longer trips, she loves it!

I didn't know that about the current speedometer! I would have put parts like that in a bin and tried to find good homes later, but that saves me a bit of time.

You didn't want to restore the ratty one?
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kizu7su View Post
You didn't want to restore the ratty one?
Wanted to, but weren't able to because of a new baby at the time. The wife also decided that her classic fun car should have a more upright / normal driving position and a real back seat, so we sold the 1800S and she got a 1973 BMW 2002 in its place.

Headrests are definitely a good idea for whiplash safety. We did a seat exchange with Don Thibault, getting new bottom cushions and '68+ seat backs with headrests, but upholstered in the '66 style. Worked out nicely.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:01 PM   #14
kizu7su
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duder View Post
We did a seat exchange with Don Thibault, getting new bottom cushions and '68+ seat backs with headrests, but upholstered in the '66 style. Worked out nicely.
I was thinking about this same thing - but were there any issues with the seat back not locking in place? If slamming on the brakes, I don't fancy the seat weight pushing me forward lol.

I love those old BMWs too! Anything mid 70's rally style just has a good look. Lancia Fulvia, BMWs, Audi, all so neat looking.

Last edited by kizu7su; 10-01-2020 at 05:40 PM..
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