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1963 PV544 rat rod

Drove it to work this morning, and almost all the way there it started running on 2 cylinders. Schrodinger's misfire until I opened the hood! But it was idling fine, and one of the DCOE linkages had fallen off. The tiny little nut holding the arm to the rear carb had set off on its own entirely independent adventure. Looking through the glove box the best tool for the job was some electrical tape, so I wrapped that around the arm and carb lever to hold it in place, drove on into work.
I ordered a linkage kit. I've been using the one I got with the carbs 15 years ago, it has plastic ends on the throttle rods, and even little plastic nuts. That's what disappeared today. I've never liked them, but they've worked well enough so far.

Until they don't, and that's a good enough reason to put some all metal rods on it.
I gave the brake proportioning valve 5 turns counter clockwise, and was trying out the threshold braking on the way home (carefully, lol), And it was far closer. But the backs are still locking *slightly* before the fronts. Got home and gave it another 3-ish turns and it was topped out. I didn't get a chance to try it out on the way to work this morning, but it should be better.

The 122 discs just aren't quite as powerful per PSI of line pressure as the original drums were. Certainly better at handling heat and repeated hard stops, lol, but not as much bite.

I also adjusted the rear drum, manual adjusters on a PV, no automatic clickers on these. I'd been driving it around with the parking brake a few clicks up to take up some slack in the back drums. Because I'm lazy. Feels better with them adjusted properly, though.

I did notice a slightly loose rear wheel bearing while doing that. *sigh* It's nice and quiet, no noise at all when the wheel is turning, but the wheel will move sideways by a tiny amount, like less than 1/16" of an inch? Probably something to worry about later. It should make it to MM and back.

That back axle needs some attention, though. The pinion seal is leaking, and while I'm messing with that I guess I'll try to see how that Dana 27 LSD I've had in the basement forever fits in. I looked at it the other day, counted the splines (10), AFAIK it should work in the PV's axle. But new wheel bearings, new seals, new pinion bearings (while I'm messing about with it anyhow) and that LSD. The LSD came with a new set of clutches, guess I should slap those in before installing it as well.
Now with shiny all metal linkage. The old linkage had plastic ends and nuts on the rods from the throttle shaft to each carb, and plastic spherical bearings on the shaft. Old, heat cycled to death, yeah, they needed to go. I tried to replicate the geometry of the linkage I had, that was a bit of a quirky thing to work out originally. Unless you manage to slow down the initial throttle actuation, it's really hard to drive.

Don't know if this might help you but I increased the initial throttle actuation on the 1800s for racing and street use by making a new alloy throttle pedal and moving the hinge point at the bottom of the pedal forward. At rest the pedal is closer to vertical and you can get farther into the throttle faster. I don't know if a 544 has the same type of a hinged pedal arrangement, but if so it you move the bottom of it backward it should slow down the initial throttle actuation.
Started to drive it to work this morning, and after a minute or so, it started running on 2 cylinder with the pedal down. Let up, it would idle OK. Nothing looked amiss under the hood on a quick glance. I just drove it back home and took the Toyota in to work. Diagnosing it later.

I'm thinking fuel? It will run cleanly for alittle bit after idling, then the missing starts and gets worse, and it feels like 2 cylinders are still trying hard, and the other two DGAF.
I love how it's bulletproof until it hears you're planning to drive it halfway across the country in a few days. Typical old car crap.
At least it had the manners to do it a block from my house instead of out in the middle of nowhere along the side of a highway.
I thought I'd spotted the problem - when I was messing around with the throttle linkage, I moved the fuel hose slightly, and I had it going in a big loop to avoid the throttle linkage. And it looked sort of pinched and collapsed in the curve. Maybe it's just not getting enough flow to feed both carbs off idle?

So I spent a little bit of time changing the fuel hose, since this was 15 years old and a little stiff anyhow. And when that was all done, I noticed that the front carb linkage was loose on the cross shaft. Loose enough to slip back closed when you hold the throttle open for more than a second or two. Which *ahem* explained the symptoms I was seeing. Idling fine, pulling on all 4 for a little bit and then fading back to 2 cylinder power, then idling fine again immediately.

*facepalm* At least it was something easy. The old throttle linkage had a hex shaped cross shaft - nothing would slip on that, although your position choices were limited. This round cross shaft and levers need to be... tightened down. Yeah...
Fixed is fixed, I'd call that a win
Kinda sounds like I'll see atleast one other round fender Volvo at MM this year
did you have this care a long time ago in CA? Have you been driving it all these years or was it sitting for a while?
did you have this care a long time ago in CA? Have you been driving it all these years or was it sitting for a while?
Nope, i've owned it for around 25 years, in MO/StL the whole time. It's been more or less driving the whole time, with a few intervals where the motor was apart.
Great news! So this means you'll have time to wire-wheel the oil cap before MM. :lol:
should I bring carb synchronizing tools?
I'll toss my Unisyn in and bring it down, maybe we'll get some of the SU carbed cars to idle better....

Other than that, I think I'll just adjust the valves this evening for peace of mind and just hop in it Tuesday and drive to TN, so I can get nice mid-day drives Wednesday on Cherohala Skyway and Dragon's Tail.
I have 2. A unisyn and one that actually works. (I kid.. i can do good things with a unisyn..)
Fun story time. Wait.. maybe tomorrow on a laptop. My thumbs are tired.
A little over 1400 miles later, the PV is back home.

Suffered two issues along the way. One was a problem with the valve cover gasket that happened halfway through the return leg on the Dragon. Well, the valve cover bolts got loose somehow. It's an aluminum cover, hadn't touched it lately, and I've been using it for a really long time and never had an issue. I was thrashing the car hard on the Dragon, maybe the sustained and repeated 7K+ RPM zings just buzzed it loose. Just blasting along when smoke appeared, inside and out. Opened the hood and oil was EVERYWHERE!

This was an IPD nitrile gasket ( https://www.ipdusa.com/products/5349/Valve-Cover-Gasket-Buna-Nitrile-IPD-Volvo-419678 ) - and they say it's less prone to shrinking and cracking. Well, the problem here was that once the gasket escaped the cover, it seemed to have expanded by 10%. Hung out over the area it needed to seal by a fair amount in all directions. And it was hot, slimy, and the consistency of fresh gummi worms.

An amusing (to watch) period of time ensued where I tried to stuff it in and clamp the cover down on it. Very obvious it wasn't going to work well, just a matter of how badly. I sort of got it slowing the oil down slightly before it leaked out and drove the last 1 hour to the lodge from the Dragon. And then @MikeJr. was a life saver and brought out a new cork gasket. THANKS MIKE!!!

Second failure was ignition related. Ignition setup is an ancient Allison XR700 optical unit I'd bought used on eBay 20 years ago. I installed it, and it's worked without fail since. About 7 or 8 years ago(?) I put an MSD box between it and the coil for even MORE zaps. Dangerous sounding zaps. Arc welder zaps.

So only 38 miles from home, it started sputtering occasionally, showing up clearly on the tach so obviously an ignition issue. It rapidly progressed from an occasional sputter to running worse and worse. So I passed one exit thinking I could limp it home the last few miles, but then barely made it to the next exit, and as I looked for a good place to park and look at it, it died. OK, working on it HERE. Oh yeah, and I'd forgotten to bring a multimeter, so I had no good diagnostic tool at all. I assumed the MSD box had failed, they have a rep for that. Bypassed that and hooked the Allison directly to the coil. Still no sparks (coil wire disconnected and set next to a ground).

15-ish years ago I'd gotten worried that the old Allison unit would fail at some point, and bought a new spare when they were on sale somewhere, now called the Crane XR700 (they still exist, but they've been sold again and are now branded as the Fast XR700). Anyhow, the new 'spare' unit has literally sat untouched on the garage shelf ever since I bought it. And when grabbing random spares for this trip (generic electric fuel pump, spare coil, random old spark plug wires and plugs, etc) I had tossed it in as well.

So next step was to plug the new Crane box on, quickly wire it up (3 wires, and since I didn't trust and could reasonably test the 12V supply, I wired it straight to the battery because THAT WILL WORK FOR SURE), and hook it up to the old Allison sensor in the distributor (same gray/white/black 3 wires). And... nothing. The LED on the Crane didn't blink, no sparks, no running car (the old Allison had no LED).

So even though I didn't really want to mess with it, I replaced the optical sensor inside the distributor as well. And.... SPARKS! Slapped the rotor and cap back on and STARTING RUNNING MOTOR! W00t. I electrical taped things randomly so they wouldn't fall and took off for home. And damned if the motor didn't run better than it had been all weekend. It had seemed slightly off to me. Just a bit flat feeling somehow. And with no MSD, no ancient Allison, just the NIB/NOS Crane wired directly to the coil (and battery, lol) it was pulling more cleanly, running more smoothly, etc. What? Why? Heck, I don't know.

I'll tidy up the install later. And try hooking up the MSD again to see if it was part of the 'slightly flat' issue or not. I could feel it making the engine run a bit better (cold starts, low RPM response were noticeably improved) when I first installed it a while back, maybe this was all the ancient Allison slowly getting weird before it finally died.

If it had lasted another 4 or 5 miles I'd have been pulling over into East St. Louis to tinker with it for an hour, so... good timing? (terrible pun)
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Glad you were able to repair it w/parts on hand! I sat shotgun for a short rip with Jared at the wheel and this thing was hilariously fun. It felt like I was in an OG rally car and I loved every second of it.
Glad you enjoyed it! There's a reason I still have it after 26 years. It was fun even when it had a tired B18 and a stock suspension that LEANED A LOT and drum brakes that were easy to fade. And when I fixed all that, lol, it's just a hoot.