Mar 29, 2014

Volvo 122S B20B engine - More tuning

Piston Drop Test SU HS6 carburetters

As you maybe know you may never swap the air chambers from your SU carbs. They (the air chamber and piston) are a factory matched pair. If you swap them or swap the pistons you'll probably get air leaks between the piston and the chamber which will result in an bad response to your throttle.
As I bought the Volvo 122s with twin SU HS6 carbies second hand I wasn't sure if the air chambers were on the matching carbies. But luckily there's a test which will determine if they're OK. This test is also known as the piston drop test.

  • Loosen the 3 bolts from the suction chamber and take it off
  • Remove the spring from the piston
  • Remove the piston from of carburetter and get rid of the ATF in it
  • leave the needle on the piston
  • close the two holes in the bottom of the piston (I used a piece of a round rubber seal and made it thicker by wrapping it in aluminum tape)
  • Remove the damper from the chamber
  • Put the air chamber up side down on the bench and put the piston back in
  • Hold the bottom of the piston flush with the edge of the air chamber (you can use the needle to hold the piston flush) and then let it sink in the air chamber
  • If there are no abnormal air leaks this should take between 5-7 seconds 
  • If it's faster there's something wrong / wear (hopefully they're only swapped)
  • If it's way slower clean the air chamber (you can use wax and grease remover and coarse polish to clean the suction chamber)
Most important thing is that the piston drop time is (almost) the same for both carburetters.
Measuring the SU HS6 carburetter piston drop time
Measuring the SU carburetter piston drop time 

Holes in the piston plugged for the SU-HS6 piston drop test Volvo Amazon
Holes in the piston plugged for the piston drop test

Part of Honda CB750 rubber oil filter seal used as plugs for SU piston drop test
Part of Honda CB750 rubber oil filter seal used as plugs

SU HS6 carbie Piston drop test

Synchronising SU carburettors

Another nice gadget tool is the Uni-Syn. With this tool is fairly easy to synchronise the SU carbies. I know that you can achieve almost the same results by listening to the "hiss" sound. But as I wasn't born as an experienced hiss listener this tool is helping me to become one..


Uni-Syn synchronisation tool

Instructions Uni-Syn

Instructions Uni-Syn

Tip: First check the airflow for both carbies without disconnecting the throttle, maybe they're already synchronised and it will save you the hassle. If there not synchronised loosen nut (1) and follow the instructions. If they're synchronised you need 0.3mm play between the lower tooth of the levers of the throttle spindles and rod on both sides. Because this is a hard to reach place for a feeler gauge I disconnected (2) and (4), let the rod rest on the lower tooth of the lever that's not loose en push the loose lower tooth of the lever softly against the rod and then fasten the nut (1) again. Now you can achieve the exact same play for both by turning (3) in or out. Another way to do this (when both levers of the throttle spindles are loose) you can find here:

Synchronising Volvo 122S B20B SU carburettors with Uni-Syn
Synchronising SU carburettors with Uni-Syn

Synchronising SU carburettors
You can also use the Uni-Syn to synchronise the choke on your carburettors.

Creating the right air/fuel mixture

In order to create the right mixture I turned the  mixture screws out a bit more then the specifications from Volvo/SU. This because the petrol nowadays has a lower octane (91-98) level than back in the sixties (100+). This will make the mixture a bit leaner. So turning out the mixture screws a couple of extra flats will compensate for the lower octane.
To check of the mixture is right, lift the piston a bit with a screwdriver or use the SU carburettors lift pin;
  • If the idle falls or the engine stalls, it's too lean
  • If the idle rises and stays high, it's too rich
  • If the idle rises a little bit and then falls back to normal, it's the right mixture 
Checking the air/fuel mixture Volvo Amazon B20B
Checking the air/fuel mixture

A nice gadget tool to check your settings is the Colortune. It's a spark plug with a clear glass window that makes it possible to have real look into the combustion chamber and see the explosions while the engine is running. Looks really nice in a dark shed ;)
The right setting will give the explosion a nice blue color. To rich is orange and too lean is white/ very light blue.
I like to set the carbie a bit rich (orange) and then turn the mixture screw back in until the colour changes to Bunsen blue with here and there a orange spot, especially when revving the engine..See the diagnostic chart with all the colours  (or must I say colors..) below.

Gunson Colortune Diagnostic Chart
Gunson Colortune Diagnostic Chart

Bunsen blue colour first cylinder Volvo 122S B20B engine
Bunsen blue colour first cylinder

Colortune tuning tool Volvo B20B engine
Colortune tuning tool

Blue colour (sometimes whitish --> a bit lean)

Yellow / rich colour

Mar 26, 2014

Smiths tacho in Volvo Amazon

The Volvo 123GT was the first Amazon with a tacho (see the genuine 1968 Volvo 123GT brochure I got with the car :-)). Back in the late sixties this 52 mm revolution counter became an accessory for the Volvo 122S.

Genuine Volvo 123GT brochure 1968 (cover)
Genuine Volvo 123GT sales brochure 1968 (cover)

Genuine Volvo 123GT sales brochure 1968 page 2 + 3
Genuine Volvo 123GT sales brochure 1968  page 2 + 3 with
 Smiths Volvo revolution counter RVI 5411/00A
Tip: if you right-click on a pic you can choose to open the pic in a new window which allows you to view it in full size.

accessoire Smiths Volvo Amazon tacho (RVI 5413/00)
Original  accessory revolution counter in Volvo Amazon

The original 123GT Smiths Volvo tacho (RVI 5411/00A) has an orange needle, chrome bezel and a 7000 rpm dial scaled from 10-70 (x100), the accessory Smiths Volvo tacho (RVI 5413/00) has a white needle, matte silver/grey bezel and is scaled 1-7 (x1000). In the genuine Volvo accessories catalogue, Volvo placed a picture of the GT model which wasn't the one you could buy as an  accessory. Both of these rev counters are hard to find nowadays.
Genuine Volvo accessories catalogue Smiths revolution counter
Genuine Volvo accessories catalogue

The letter RVI on the Smiths tacho's indicates that it's a current impulse triggered tacho. You also have the newer  RVC (voltage triggered) Smiths tacho's. I've heard that if you put electronic ignition (eg 123) in your car your RVI tacho wouldn't work anymore... But if you change the wiring you could fix this problem: connect the tachometer with the two white wires in series between the 123ignition distributor ground wire and the ignition coil negative. That should solve the problem.

A couple of weeks ago I found a nice 60's/70's revolution counter on Internet.  This one (RVI 5414/00A) has the same shape but doesn't have the Volvo brand on the dial.

Smiths rev counter  RVI 5414/00A
Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A

Smiths revolution counter  RVI 5414/00A
Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A with 8000 rpm dial

Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A with 8000 rpm dial
Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A inside

In order to install the tacho I had to drill a 12mm hole in my dashboard, all the way trough the metal. It's a bit hard to drill a vertical hole from the top with the windscreen in the car so I drilled a very small hole with a small battery drill from the top to mark the position and drilled the big hole from underneath the dashboard.

The rev counter has 5 wires:
  1. white/red = light
  2. black = ground
  3. white = coil
  4. white with green label = distributor 
  5. white with red label = power
How to wire the RVI tacho RVI 5414 Volvo Amazon
How to wire the RVI tacho
Before you start connecting all the wires, disconnect the battery! Make sure you completely remove the (black) original wire between the coil and distributor. Keep in mind that, when your tacho (wiring) is broken, you cannot start your car. If the rpm counter is acting funny swap the wires from the coil and distributor.

Smiths rev counter  RVI 5414/00A Volvo 122S
Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A

Smiths revolution counter  RVI 5414/00A
Smiths rpm counter  on top of dashpad

Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A in Volvo Amazon
Smiths tacho  RVI 5414/00A in Volvo 122S 1969

After a couple of hours the tacho was installed and everything worked like it should be.
There's only one little thing and that's the white light in the Smiths rpm counter...  this was originally a green light like the rest of the dashboard lights. But that's easy to fix.

White tacho light - green dashboard lights Volvo Amazon
White tacho light - green dashboard lights