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Project Amazon Part 2

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The Engine Room
with alternator installed

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Engine out again

Sourcing parts for my Amazon was not always straight forward. I have ordered most parts such as bearings, oil pump, rings, gaskets, seals, frost plugs, camshaft, rubbers, nuts and bolts, etc. from: Brookhouse Volvo in the UK

Brookhouse Volvo is specialised in Amazon and 1800 parts however recently they extended their service to later Volvo models. I found their prices most competitive, up to two-third of the prices quoted by American companies. One reason is that UK companies do not charge GST (VAT 17.5%) for orders outside the European countries. However you will be charged GST on goods when they arrive in NZ, if you are lucky, not. I have placed several orders and they arrived by air within 7-8 days, one order within 4 days, that is better than some NZ businesses can do.

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The original B20/M40 Bellhousing on the left and the new B20/M46 on the right

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B20/M46 Bellhousing, arrow shows where two sections have
been welded

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Shortened driveshaft

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New gearbox support

Because I'm running on lower 60 series tyres, the engine revs higher. An overdrive was desirable. I have been investigating the option of installing a 5-speed Volvo M47 gearbox out of the 200/700 series. It would be great to have a 5-speed in an Amazon, however that is not so straight forward. Firstly the 200/700 series are using a different bellhousing. That means getting a special bellhousing made, although they are used in the USA for racing and cost US $350. 

Huke Basart, a Volvo enthusiast in Holland made this special bellhousing for me by cutting both the B20 and B23 bellhousings in two halves and welding the B20 engine half onto the B23 gearbox half. Aluminium welding is specialised work and the installation of an M46/47 gearbox in an Amazon requires a wider tunnel to be welded in the floor. Also special supports for the gearbox and shortening of the driveshaft. The 4-speed manual with electric overdrive (M41) were not available in NZ. Finally I got hold of a rebuilt M46 overdrive box from Ian Priestly in Rotorua, a local overdrive specialist.

Because I already used a top tunnel out of an 142, I got away without having to widen the tunnel further, however it is very, very tight. The making of the new gearbox support was a process of several trips to a workshop and trial and error. They made an excellent job of it, and it is so well built that it could support a truck gearbox.

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B20 - M46 unit

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View of the M46 installed in the Amazon, with removable tunnel cover from a 142. Good access to limit switches gear mechanism and driveshaft flange. 

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Overdrive switch
on dashboard
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All covered up

I installed an illuminated switch on the dashboard, handy to the gearlever and steering wheel, in the location of the Fan switch, which was moved to the cigarette lighter position, which was removed.

The installation of the M46 gearbox was a very costly exercise, all the specials had to be made and to be honest, I wouldn't recommend anyone to follow this process. Try to get an M41, that's my advice.

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Alternators, on the left one out of a 140 and on the right one out of a 1982 244GLE

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Integral Voltage Regulator

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Blue arrow showing location of generator, green arrow, mounting for alternator

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Alternator in position

My Amazon had a standard 240W generator (dynamo) with external voltage regulator mounted on the RH wing. Alternators with a higher output are a desirable modification, especially with added accessories, like driving lights. I got a Bosch alternator out of a 140 which needed an external regulator, however I preferred one with an integral voltage regulator, so I got a 55A (770W) Bosch k1>14V55A20 alternator out of a fuel injected 1982, 244GLE from a wrecker for NZ$50. The mounting of that alternator is quite different from the earlier models so I had to make up a special adjustable bracket for it. 

In the RH drive Amazons there isn't a lot of space on the RH side to install an alternator (steering box) So I used a standard lower alternator bracket from a later B20 in combination with a new top bracket to install the alternator on the left hand side of my B18 (now 2 litre) block.

I re-directed the existing wiring from the old voltage regulator to the new alternator on the other side of the engine. 

Although the alternator has two pulleys, only one belt is used. Electrical connections were straight forward, the 2 wires that were connected to the regulator were now connected to the alternator. I may have to upgrade the main output wire from the alternator at a later stage.

A new full 2" exhaust system was built by a local garage, which turned out to be quite expensive but it is very well built and it sounds great.

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 In the spray booth

The exterior of the Amazon has now been painted by a local spray painter and all the small dents are now gone, the car looks great ! This was just what the car deserved.

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Bonnet on garage floor to install insulation
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To reduce the noise levels in the car a little, I installed 20mm thick special black foam on the inside of the bonnet. 

This job was a good opportunity to clean the inside bonnet and paint the remaining exposed metal. It is quite a tricky job to cut the sheet of foam in the right size and glue it to the bonnet. 

The result looks good and works well.

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New Carpets
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The interior was improved with new carpets and some noise control - what a difference that made !! The Amazon is a lot quieter and therefore more pleasant to drive. The exhaust sounds still very good inside the car though. McDonald Motor Trimmers in Tauranga have done an excellent job for reasonable money. Money well spent, I reckon. The carpets are all removable in case water is leaking into the car for one or another reason. The carpet over the gearbox is also removable for easy access to the gearbox. Now all that's left is to tidy up the seats.

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I bought a second-hand period rev counter and mounted it under the dashboard. 

The gearbox tunnel was an ideal location to create some extra storage place for camera, phone, pen, coins, etc. in the form of a small plastic basket which was fitted with Velcro strips

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Finished ?  My plan was to build this Amazon into a “fast road” car. I have achieved that, however I'm not finished as yet. Lots of small improvements to be made......... Photo shown my Amazon at Tauranga Bay, Northland, New Zealand during a 1300km "test drive".

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