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Old 11-05-2014, 07:04 PM   #1
Hoggster
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Default LeMons 544

My team just acquired a '60 544 to be our next LeMons car. I don't know much about the older models. What should I be preparing for? Can I use 240 wheels on it? Is there a disc brake conversion available?
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:12 PM   #2
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Neat car, but not an easy build.
240 wheels are a different bolt spacing.
You can bastardize some brake parts from the 122/1800 parts, but I don't remember all the conversions right off hand.
The rear suspension will need some reinforcement on the mounting points, they are flimsy.


Honestly you might be better building something else, like a 240.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:13 PM   #3
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Just cage the **** out of it and hang a 240 suspension on it.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:23 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm not going to be "building" a race car out of it. We will be solidly class C and might compete for the IOE. My plan is to put a cage in it, fix the obvious stuff, get fresh fluids in it, and bring a lot of zip-ties. I might even run it with four wheel drums.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:38 PM   #5
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bring an oil can and buckets of grease
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:09 AM   #6
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Old mopar wheels are correct bolt pattern I beleive
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:04 AM   #7
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Check before buying, Mopars had 2 bolt patterns on their 5-lug cars for many years.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:17 AM   #8
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Yeah, I'm not going to be "building" a race car out of it. We will be solidly class C and might compete for the IOE. My plan is to put a cage in it, fix the obvious stuff, get fresh fluids in it, and bring a lot of zip-ties. I might even run it with four wheel drums.
bring lots of brake fluid then.....

Is it B18?
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:17 AM   #9
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Is wheel bolt pattern different from the 120?
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:47 AM   #10
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It's the same as a 120. 4.5X5. Same as many old Mopars, old Fords. Some newer ones as well. It's a pretty common bolt pattern.

I'd be *very* leery of running the front drums, once my car was a little pepped up and I started driving it a bit more spiritedly, I discovered how easy it was to toast the front brakes. They'd get a little stinky, and they'd fade, badly. Pedal was still nice and firm, but it just did practically nothing. You'd be *jamming* the pedal down, and very little braking. After they'd cool back down they'd work normally again (i.e. pretty nice feeling brakes, really).

122 brakes swap on fairly easily, just drill 2 1/2 holes (the half hole is a bitch, obv) into the caliper mount, and some minor fun with brake lines. It also helps to move the shocks to the front side of the A-arms, but some people put the calipers up front. Mix and match, have fun with it.

There's also some guy over on Brickboard who made some adapters for 240 front calipers and some cheaper modern discs (I forget the application) - this might not be a bad idea as 122 calipers are harder to find now (and pricey), and the rotors even more so.

I don't think the rear suspension is that weak on a 544, they got used *hard* back in the day in rally racing. It's a little on the weird side, but it's as solid as it needs to be on the light end of a 2200 lb car.

I'd also be a little concerned about safety. The PV was built before Volvo had any care about safety. Designed a decade and a half before they started caring. That's one reason it weighs 2200 lbs, it's lacking a lot of the passenger compartment structure that a 122 got. It also doesn't have crumple zones, there's no designated area for the front structure to crumple, and if/when it does, it's likely to do so in a dangerous manner. And the steering column is straight, solid, and aimed right at your chest. Collapse the front end in and... yeah, you get the picture.

But they're very light, and as long as the speeds aren't too high (aerodynamics are HORRIBLE, it's all vintage aero styling, not one bit of 'engineering) they are very nimble cars, once you put some roll bars on. Without roll bars, it's got a LOT of vintage lean. Like a sailboat going crosswind on a windy day.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:51 PM   #11
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We will probably be parading more than racing. Shifting below 4K and staying out of the line the fast cars take. If we blow the motor, we're screwed, where would we find another one of those in rural SC on a weekend? So we need to preserve the car and just keep turning laps, even if they're slow.

Some of the other hopeless class C cars run all drums. It would be nice to have real brakes though. 122 parts are all but gone around here. I guess I need to see about adapting something more modern.

I'm thinking about an eventual rotary swap, maybe a 12A. I would need real brakes on it if I did something like that.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Some of the other hopeless class C cars run all drums. It would be nice to have real brakes though. 122 parts are all but gone around here. I guess I need to see about adapting something more modern.
https://www.brickboard.com/RWD/volvo...sc_brakes.html

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I'm thinking about an eventual rotary swap, maybe a 12A. I would need real brakes on it if I did something like that.
TDi swap. Then stay out there for a LONG time per stint. lol

Actually, thinking about it, that brings up another point. My PV has about 7.5, maybe 8 usable gallons in the stock fuel tank. That's a rather limited range.

The things with the drums is that not only do they stop working when hot in a way that discs almost never do (unless you boil the fluid, lolcrypucker), but they heat up more easily, and they cool down a lot slower. The rotor is all 'outside' in the breeze, the drum is all sealed into a little closed dutch oven.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:01 PM   #13
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TDi swap. Then stay out there for a LONG time per stint. lol

Actually, thinking about it, that brings up another point. My PV has about 7.5, maybe 8 usable gallons in the stock fuel tank. That's a rather limited range.
TDi would need a toyota transmission adapted to it. With the rotary I could drop a whole JDM engine/trans in together.

That's hilarious about the fuel tank, I had never considered its capacity. We'll have to come up with a solution.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:08 PM   #14
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In addition to the capacity, mine (I'd assume others are similar) also has no 'reserve' capacity. Pretty much as soon as the needled gets to zero, the car dies. The needle doesn't go under the line, you don't have time to belatedly start looking for a station, it just dies. No gargling and gasping for the last few sips of fuel either, the first sputter is when it stops running.

It has a goofy 'direct' gas gauge too, one that shows all the fuel sloshes. Basically, the sloshing is your reserve. Once the needle stops sloshing around as the car wiggles, you're on very short notice.
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:59 PM   #15
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We thought about a 544 after we stuffed our 1800E into a K wall at Thunderhill in September. I think you should go for it! It is a parade car. Definitely IOE territory. Don't skimp on safety! Don't even bother with the stock fuel tank; ATL fuel cell all the way. Put 122 front discs on with a dual circuit master. I would want a collapsible steering column too.

We chose a 122 to replace our 1800 instead of the 544 because we can bolt up so many parts directly from the wrecked 1800. The 544 would need a ton of work to make it competitive in any class. Our goal is to beat E30s with a 48 year old Volvo...

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