Latest updates

Volvo Adventures is an independent New Zealand based resource for the older Volvo models

Project  Amazon  Updates

Picture 006.jpg (98662 bytes) 31 July 2005 - Our situation has changed and the Amazon would have had little use in the future. Therefore we have decided, reluctantly, to let her go. She could not have better owners I believe, the new owners are local Volvo Club members with a long history of Volvo ownership.
jh3_251103_1.jpg (44132 bytes)

jh3_251103_wheel.jpg (33830 bytes)
24 Nov 2003 Alloy Wheels - Finally I purchased the Minilite type alloy wheels for my Amazon. Although I quite liked the widened to 6"steel rims that were specially made for me locally,  I love the look of the new alloy wheels, they suit the car very well. These are the Superlite type made by Performance Wheels in Australia, they are also 6" wide with an offset of 24mm=1" which is the standard offset for 122 wheels. My steel wheels originally were made with zero offset, that did't work, too much bumpsteer and the wheels were redone with 20mm offset. Although I quite liked the look of wider wheels with zero offset, the car behaves best with on offset as close as possible to standard 1". The new mags weigh 8.7kg and the steels 10.3kg
trailingarm.jpg (26410 bytes) 15 Jan 2003 Not a lot has been happening with the Amazon, of course I have been using it and enjoying it but no problems at all, however there have been some noise coming from down under somewhere and it has been irritating me because I couldn't get rid of it, it was a sort of clunking noise at low speed from the rear-axle area. I had the Amazon on stands a number of times but couldn't find anything. All the bushes had been replaced during the restoration. After reading some postings on the Brickboard about clunking noises was motivated to solve the problem this time. I had the car up on stands again and found that there was a little play in the upper trailing arm bushes. I removed the arms and checked. The bolts and bushes which were all in excellent condition and I came to the conclusion that there must have been play between the bolt and the steel inner tube of the rubber bush. Only tightening of the bolts would stop that. I put everything back together with some very heavy washers and tightened the bolts very well.....and yes the annoying noise is gone. You wouldn't think that this could create so much noise in the body of the Amazon.
122dashlightfitting.jpg (23730 bytes) 22 Oct 2002 On a evening return trip from visiting friends, we noticed that the dashboard lights were not working (I couldn't see how fast we were going :-) I stopped to investigate and found that the tail lights weren't working either and found that the one of the four fuses was blown. It started to rain and it was also getting dark, not a good condition to drive without tail lights. We drove to a nearby fuel station and parked under the dry canopy with plenty of light, a much better situation to sort out an electrical problem - we had an 100km trip ahead of us over rural roads and highways. Quickly I had blown my two spare fuses but the petrol station had plenty new ones for sale, so I bought 10. With faultfinding one has to be systematic, which is not always easy when under pressure to get home, so I disconnected several connectors and tried and tried. It was clearly a fault in the light system because the fuse blew whenever I switched the lights on. The main lights and indicators were OK. I had established that the fault must be in the wiring under the dashboard somewhere. I had removed and checked the dashboard light fittings but they looked fine, (my little torch was handy) I just couldn't find the fault without having a wiring diagram. In the meantime petrol station staff were preparing to close for the night, so I had to act quickly and looked through the shop for items that could help me getting home, and there it was: two torches and a packet of sweets in a red plastic bag....... the bags were cut to provide red lenses over the torch and presto....  two working tail lights. So my wife was positioned in the back of the Amazon pointing the two torches through the corners of the rear window, that worked really well and in the end we only switched them on whenever there appeared a vehicle behind us. And we had quite a bit of fun with it too. However while driving, we found that the brake lights were working as normal and it occurred to me that I could have just put a jumper over the two contacts on the brake switch, installed on the fire wall with good access........instant tail lights.

Anyway, the next morning I found the fault very quickly with the circuit diagram - it was a faulty dashboard light for the heater controls, the one I didn't check. The wire connection inside the fitting had failed and caused a short circuit (photo). These light fittings are not the best of design. Well this is a long story for just a failed light fitting, but maybe you can learn from this too. I carry a circuit diagram in my 122 from now on.
keybroken.jpg (38229 bytes) 23 Sept 2002 We all have read stories about broken 122 ignition keys, but this a slightly different story. My wife who has never driven our Amazon and therefore didn't know that the Amazon has one key to unlock the door and one for the ignition, used the ignition key to open the door to get something out of the car while we were at a motorsport event. The ignition key looked very much like the key to unlock her 240. I could see from a distance at her body language that something was wrong. She had forced the key in the lock to open the door, which she achieved, but the key was broken in the process and we couldn't start the car. My wife managed to get a ride back home to pick up a spare key and we were off home again in two cars. I spent many hours to get the broken key parts from the lock with all sort of tools, even a vacuum cleaner but in the end I had to remove the door handle which was a major job and the key parts came out very quickly after hitting the handle on the workbench a couple of times. I now have access to spare keys wherever I'm going.
122fan5blade.jpg (45414 bytes) 10 May 2002 A Volvo friend lent me a 5-blade, plastic, Volvo cooling fan. These cooling fans are more efficient than the original steel 4-blade fans, because the blades are better shaped, there are 5 of them, and the fan is installed slightly closer to the radiator, so close in fact, that I had to drain the cooling system, and remove the radiator to install it, there is no room to bolt the fan in with my 3-row radiator core in place. The first impressions are that it certainly moves more air, the temperature doesn't increases when stopping for a traffic light and also when shutting down the engine in the garage, the temperature rises only a quarter on the scale and the needle doesn't go into the white (hot) area on the temperature gauge. I still believe that a thermostatically controlled electric fan of the right size is the way to go, however I haven't been able to locate the right fan. My "emergency" electric cooling fan is too small and too noisy and because of the space available, there is only room to fit an 12" size electric fan in front of the radiator.
holesworth3.jpg (45756 bytes) 12 Feb 2002  All the engine problems were sorted and our Amazon was ready for the big test, a trip to the South Island of New Zealand. We live in the Bay of Plenty area on the North Island. The idea was a camping holiday to keep the cost down a little, so the car was packed with a small tent, foam mattresses, blankets, gas cookers, and all the other usual stuff for a holiday. The Cook Straight Ferry was booked a week earlier so the only worry was to have fine weather because it can be very rough in Cook Straight, we had booked the Lynx, the fast ferry, which only takes two hours for the crossing. Click on Photo for more details.
fuses1.jpg (23063 bytes) fuses2.jpg (26377 bytes)21 Jan 2002 On the return trip from a Volvo club meeting, I found that the indicator control light wasn't working and I fiddled the wiring under the dashboard to make it work again, however I must have caused a short circuit because all panel lights, overdrive ceased work. I found the little 25 Amp fuse in top of the fuse board had blown. NO spare of course for this unusual fuse, so I made one up at a petrol station using another fuse link and the original holder which worked very well (left photo). In my efforts to make the Amazon more reliable I modified the top contact in the fuse box to take the standard type of 25A fuse by bending the contact out and drilling a new small 3mm hole in it to fix the fuse in position. This works really well and takes only a few minutes to do. I recommend you do it now before it happens to you on a cold, rainy day.
seatbackold.jpg (32548 bytes)
Worn webbing
seatheadrestmount.jpg (32853 bytes)18 Jan 2002 The webbing in the backs of the seats finally gave up after 34 years, not bad that it lasted that long. I found that the old webbing material was brittle and disintegrating. It wasn't hard to replace it, and they are fine again. Huke Basart, in Holland is selling new bands of very good quality. He actually sent me a set of bands over a year ago, he knew I was going to need them sooner rather than later. I also found that my seats have the mounting hardware for headrests in place, see photo.
coolingfan1.jpg (30322 bytes)
Electric fan
4 Jan 2002 Although the radiator was upgraded some time ago, my 4-blade mechanical cooling fan is not very efficient, a more efficient cooling fan is the 5-blade plastic fan. I haven't been able to locate one in NZ, although they are available from In the meantime I have installed an electric (blowing) cooling fan, in front of the radiator, just in case I need it as a back-up. I have wired it from an existing fuse with an on-off switch under the dashboard, a simple manual control. The water temperature gauge points to the hot area just after the engine is switched off (no forced circulation when engine/water pump is switched off) At a later stage I may control the electric fan by a thermostat and delayed switch off after shutting down the engine. The electric fan came off a Nissan Exa (US$10), it's a very compact 11" fan and installation was very simple by using the existing mounting brackets, drilling 3 holes was all that was required.
distributors.jpg (47469 bytes)
30 Dec 2001 Fine-tuning of distributor was necessary because I'm still using the original distributor from when the engine was a B18A with only on carburettor, now it is a 2 Litre with two SUs and B20F (fuel-injected) head. During a Dyno test we found that the ignition advances too much too quickly, so the springs of the centrifugal advance unit needed adjustment (by bending the spring attachments out a little), it was a matter of adjusting, installing, trying, testing the ignition advance with the stroboscope at different revs, etc, over and over again to get it right. There is a lot more to distributors than most people realise. I think I' have got it right now, good torque and power, although I haven't revved it over 4000 rpm as yet. Basic timing is now set at 10 BTDC at 800 revs. No pinking at any speed and no dieseling after shut-off. Vacuum advantage has been disconnected. I have also tested an electronic distributor out of a 1975 Volvo 244.
flasherrelay.jpg (35647 bytes)
Headlight flasher relay
24 Dec 2001. Faulty foot dim switch, replaced the existing flasher relay and foot switch by a step flasher relay out of a Volvo 264, this is a relay common to all Volvos built after 1975. Photo shows relay installed in Amazon. This 6-terminal relay is slightly larger than the original 3-terminal relay. The relay has two sets of contacts, one is a change-over contact to change between high and low beam when the lights are switched on, the other contact flashes the high beam lights when lights are switched off, a very smart relay and reasonably easy to wire if you have a wiring diagram.
20 Dec 2001. Engine has been rebuild, cylinders de-glazed, new piston rings installed. Although the actual cost of deglazing was only NZ$40, when you add up parts such as rings, gaskets, labour for putting the engine back together again it was a costly exercise. Gearbox/overdrive unit bolted onto motor and put back in the car as one unit. I do that on my own in my own garage. Engine started straight away and sounds good, no leaks. I had a leak in the Overdrive unit which was very difficult to locate, it was the actual coil that wasn't screwed-in properly, I needed a very thin 1" open spanner for that, so I made one out of 22mm open spanner that I attacked with my angle grinder. Now I'm running-in the engine again. 
engineoutagain.jpg (40540 bytes)
Engine out again
3 Dec 2001. Taken the engine/gearbox out again, to solve a few problems. Engine was burning too much oil. probably glazed cylinders caused by too rich carburettors during the running in period, also oil leak between bellhousing and gearbox (M46). I'm getting quite experienced now in taking the unit out on my own, the key is patience and preparation. I use a trolley jack under the cross member, remove front wheels to create more clearance to get the unit over the front of the 122S, slowly lift the unit and push the car back. The fact that I have a removable gearbox tunnel is a plus. I can remove the driveshaft bolts from inside the car and support the gearbox from the top (hanging from the floor) while removing the gearbox support underneath. Tomorrow I will deliver the engine to the engine builder, I can't wait to find out what the problem is.
tandembrakeincar.jpg (38829 bytes)
 Tandem master Cylinderbrakes.jpg (15977 bytes)
Brake Diagram
Nov 2001. Replaced the single circuit brake master cylinder by an original second hand but re-sleeved tandem brake master cylinder out of an US market Amazon. The 122S has now two brake circuits, one controlling the front brakes through the booster and one for the rear brakes with no booster. This will make the car a bit safer. This system was actually used on some of the USA/Canadian 122S in 1967/8. The Diagram is from a Volvo manual.

Had the exhaust system raised by the Tauranga Pitstop (excellent service) workshop, some cutting and welding was involved to get it right, now I can safely drive over the traffic humps without hitting the exhaust pipes.
coilnew.jpg (51350 bytes)
New Coil
Oct 2001. Removed the original ignition coil, and replaced it with a standard coil, readily available from any NZ car parts supplier. The reason was twofold, first to prepare for the installation of solid state "contact points" (PerTronix Ignitor) and secondly to make it considerably easier to replace the coil if it ever fails.

It is quite a difficult job, I cut the armoured cable completely at the coil and removed the coil, it is hard metal, two layers of armouring ! Then I cut the armour only without damaging the electric conductor inside, half way the cable under the dash while leaving the lock in place, and extended the coil wire to the new coil installed on the fender (just a standard coil from any autoshop) and connected the wire from the ignition key to + of the coil. The existing wire from the distributor was connected to the - of the coil, that's all. The armour is very hard to cut with a hacksaw, very hard metal, it was a security cable !  Then I made a cover plate and installed with a seal over the hole where the coil was. On Ebay I saw a new original coil, ignition key and cable set advertised for over US$600, so unless you are an "Original Freak" it is not really an option.

Installed new bands in the driver's seat, much better now. The original seats are actually quite comfortable but I'm still on the look-out for other seats with built-in headrests. 1999 - 2021