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1965 Volvo 122 Motor Swap Ideas
Hello! I am new to Swedespeed, I've always gone on here and looked up miscellaneous information for the past few years since I got my Amazon. I'm sure this has always been a topic in here but I figured I might as well start a new one that I can pay attention to. I have a 1965 Volvo 122 4 door, in the process of resto-modding it. My dad has a 1966 wagon as well. Anyways, to my question. I've been trying to find a motor and trans that will give more power, maybe something with fuel injection instead of the stock B18. I have a Chevy 327 that I can piece together if I wanted to, but it's heavy, I'd have to do a couple things inside of the engine compartment to even make it fit, I think it'll give me too much power and I don't want to break the dang thing hahah. I've also been looking into a late 80's Ford turbo coupe 2.3 motor. That's my latest idea, I just want to know what you guys have done, anything you've heard of putting in, other than the simple answer of a B20 which I already have in there right now which I know has power but it's also only got the original automatic trans that's super sluggish and doesn't let the motor do what it wants. Hope to hear back! Glad to finally be on the forums!
Simple answer is put an M41 behind that B20. Otherwise if you go to far you'll need a different rear end and other modifications to handle the power. Maybe the 2.3 turbo wouldn't be too bad.
I would keep the B20 and mate it with an M40 or (as suggested) M41 manual transmission.
If your B20 isn't peppy enough, there are reasonable things that can be done to improve HP/performance.
If you modify this car with some other drivetrain, you'll not be able to sell it very easily IMHO. Why not keep it more or less original??
Last edited by ronin7; 07-07-2016 at 01:53 PM.
Well I don't really plan on selling the car and honestly, 90% of the 122's I see are stock, original, restored, etc. I just want something different out of the car, I love the body style and the reliability, the stock B18 motor is extremely reliable and it's proved itself but I want to have fun with the car, I want it to be mean looking and have some power behind it, something that'll make people be like "what the hell does that have in it?" Hahah the cars not perfect either and it won't be unless I spend thousands in body work which isn't the plan, the cars not perfect so I don't feel as bad taking original components out. Just a fun little car to mess around with
Originally Posted by mdrains
Here a link to a Amazon with B230FT, unfortunately the text is Dutch but the photos gives a good indication how it was done.
What's your budget like ?
I'm looking to spend less than 1000 for the motor and trans.
Originally Posted by bobbyz
Honestly 1,000 bucks will get you an unfinished project. Or worse a dangerous cobbled up mess you can drive.
Really just stick an M40 or M41 in it. You might get that done with something left over.
When I see penny pinching and engine swap in the same thread, I get a bad feeling.
The 3.4 V6 shown by ronin7 sounds like one of the best options that I have heard off. You could maybe find a pull out from an S10 that still has some life left in the engine and gearbox.
I seem to recall a project on this board that used a Miata engine and gearbox. Perhaps someone else recall that project?
When I started my engine swap project, I was warned that the Volvo 122 and P1800 cars did not take kindly to engine swaps. People were not kidding. I chose to ignore that advice and went down a deep rabbit hole that is going to take me two more years to finish.
Good luck with the project.
Solstice drive train with AR5 trans. 8,472 miles. Everything included. $1000/BO.
Ok you found him a perfect motor/transformer for his whole budget.
How's he going to, mod the tunnel, drive shaft, clutch linkage, speedometer, motor monts, wiring, radiator, and a bunch of other "little" things he's going to run into with no money?
This stuff takes time and cost money. There's no getting around that. I've looked at many swap threads that go on for years a few get done.
That V6 adds little to nothing to the excitement factor. And takes you backwards to reliability. Just been different is one thing, but been better is another. Few small engines sound as good as a B18 or B20, by the way.
You could find a used or beat up B20 and start building it up while the car is still driving. By building it slow, you can take your time, find best deals, and think out what you realy want.
One of the best improvements in accelerations you can do in these cars is replacing the differential ratio from 4.10 to 4.56. Accompanied by a n M41 improves also top speed and high speed acceleration. This can be done at low cost, assuming you can find the gears from an old wagon or an 1800. Better yet, you can get a 4.88 and with a good B20 bring your 0-60 down to 8.5 seconds, which will feel like flying in such a small car.
Originally Posted by Dimitri
Here are some other things I learned about our cars recently:
The B20 was actually derived from a bilge pump found in Odin's long ship.
Part of the reason B20s are so reliable (especially compared to GM's V6) is that Volvo used unicorn blood as a break in lube from the factory
In addition, the B20 blocks and crankshafts are infused with Adamantium found in an extremely rare meteorite thought to have originated in Uranus.
Also, the factory used ultra rare dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) as a coolant. This chemical is so dangerous that ingesting large amounts can kill you.
The B20 engine, having been derived from the ancient Norse Gods represents the pinnacle of engine design- in fact non-cross flow heads and pushrods are used in every race winning formula one engine
For only around 11 million Krona you can rebuild your B20 to make 240 kW and 8 lb-ft of torque at 15000 rpm. This might get your Amazon to 60mph in 9 seconds (which is blisteringly fast as we all know). Once.
Dimitri is an insufferable bigot......
Only one of the above statements is true!
Rebuilding a beat up b20 is not cheap. I did a complete rebuild on my B20 E - oversize pistons, new bearings, new cam and lifters, modern crank seals, some new valves, 3 angle valve job with inserts on the exhausts, bronze valve guides, new water pump, reprofile rockers and a balance job. With the machines shop work the all in cost was over $1000. I did that when IPD sold their B20 rebuild packages for less than $400. IPD doesn't have those kits any more. Check out the price on the similar packages from VP - you are not doing a rebuild for $1000 unless you own a machine shop and the labour is free.
Originally Posted by Dimitri
I have a B20E with an M41, 4.56 rear end and 185/65 -15 tires. I would not rush off and recommend the 4.56 rear end to anyone. The Dana rear end does not yield to home wrenching. You need the proper tools to do a ring and pinion swap and If you are spending the $ to have someone do the swap I would not be putting a used ring and pinion in. With my tires and the 4.56 rear end its great around town. Makes stop and go easy and starts are a snap. No rev - just let the clutch out. Its an absolute drag on the highway at 110 kph. B20s are not quiet engines (or particularly nice sounding) and traveling on the highway with the 4.56 rear end gets really old really quick. When it comes to sound quality, I will take my Honda C32B, the K series in my son's RSX or the B230 FT in my old 745T over the B20.
If I were doing a swap, the S10 engine might not be my first candidate; but, if its an easy fit, that offers a whole lot of charm, particularly if somebody has done the swap and laid out the path already. It is probably no less reliable than a B20 and based upon the numbers provided, would make for a pretty relaxed driving experience with its broad torque curve.
Last edited by 142 Guy; 07-15-2016 at 09:56 PM.
I agree. A high probability of ending up as one of those entrants in the 'ran when parked' photo spreads that Classic Motorsports magazine runs, or used to run, on occasion.
Originally Posted by bobbyz
Wow some people really get their panties in a wad over this engine swap stuff.
Calm down fellas!
Is the B20 the best motor ever? Maybe not but it's not a Chevy Vega engine either.
Is a B20 expensive to rebuild? Here's the deal there Scooter. Unless your daddy owns the machine shop EVERY engine is expensive to rebuild. That's a cold hard fact. Unless your idea of a rebuild is a hone in a drill, new rings and some lapping compound on the valve faces.
DON'T FORGET The guy asking IN THIS THREAD has a budget of $1,000 !
New battery $100
New tires $400 or so without new rims.
Brake work is at least $400 on a 59 year old car. (Haven't touched mine yet last guy did that)
That's $900 and we haven't done anything fun yet.
I'm ok with guys that know what they're getting into swapping engine. But huge amounts of time and lots of cash are required to even get it half way right in an Amazon.
I just like to point that out in these threads. If the guy still wants to do it that's ok too. It's his car after all.
Sometime when I've got nothing better to do. It'd be fun to read through the old build threads and see how many got done vs how many just stopped posting updates.
Rember the 305 and 5.3 threads for instance?
Speaking of the 1,000 bucks I spent a big chunk of that on new rear springs, the rear rubber bushings, a new windshield and gasket the other day. With shipping around 800 bucks. That's just some things a 50 year car needs in maintenance. Zero "cool factor" in maintenance.
Actually, all these statements are correct ... if you are in the mind set. But if you are in this mind set, why are you even involved with Volvo Amazons. You need to get involved with a type of car that fits your personality better. Not sure what that would be. may be one of these low riders that jump up and down?
Originally Posted by ronin7
But lets' add some more reasons. These engines have gigantic bearings, very large piston skirts, very thick piston rings, and for the most part they are built with the same (or similar) standards that modern heavy duty engines are built. Let's not forget the 2M mile P 1800. There may be other reliable engines out there, but why clearly the engine is not the weak point of the car, so why bother with an engine swap. Spend your time and money to something more useful. There must be something on your car that could use the time and money, and there may be a real improvement after you are done.
I rebuilt my B20 for about $650. About the cost of new bearings and pistons and a used crank. There are lots of core engines out there, many of which may need minimal work, simply because there are enough idiots out there that do not know how to work on them. But the beauty of this is that there are no hiding surprises, you more or less know what you are getting into.
Originally Posted by 142 Guy
Differentials are always tricky. It may be best to swap the whole rear axle. But if you want performance, you have to shed some sweat. If you want to "personalize" your car by writing a $1000 check and keeping your finger nails clean ... forget it.
As for the sounds ... in my opinion any engine with carburetors, especially one with twin carburetors sounds better than anything modern. But yes, if you want a nice long distance highway cruiser, the Volvo Amazon is not ideal, and will never be ideal. Trying to modify a car into something that will never be is silly. In the modern US driving conditions, the Amazon offers a nice, super long lasting, safe, economic, easy to maintain around town car, with some freeway capability, and may be with an M41 a slightly better. The additional benefit is wonderful handling and lots of fun around corners. And yes, good sound that can bring some excitement. But you are not going to win drag races with Porches and Corvettes, and you are not going to cruise at 100 mph effortlessly. Trying to modify the car for that is silly, because you will spend too much money, lose the above advantages of the car, and will get mediocre results. If you live in the USA, best way is to have multiple cars. Have a highway car for long distance and speed, and an Amazon for around town.
Last edited by Dimitri; 07-16-2016 at 11:52 AM.
I've got a 122s as well and I'm restoring it with the original b18. Just joined swedespeed.
Always wondered though, how hard would it be to stick a honda motor in it? Probably very hard and expensive what with turning the transverse engine 90 degrees, you would either have to use the AP2 trans from an s2000 or go after market. Sounds cool in theory, to me.
if you look around youtube you'll find the guy who stuck a Nissan sr20DET into an amazon.
So, who's still looking for a winter project?
Engine choices wide open...
'62 Amazon Original 65K mile time capsule
'94 MBz E320 wagon 120K miles '92 MBz 300CE 2Dr 180K cold weather miles
'94 MBz E420 120K miles '86 BMW 635CSi 2Dr 180K warm weather miles
If you go to the 1800 forum, about 1- 2 years back you can find the thread of an individual who did a very nice S2000 swap into an 1800. I think the bigger issue might be that s2000 wrecks are not really abundant so you might end up paying premium $ for a salvage engine. The Miata and Nissan 200SX engines may also be good options just because the orientation is correct. The engine out of the Pontiac Solstice might be viable as well as some of the earlier Quad 4 engines. A B230 FT transplant should be viable although the tilted engine might complicate things a bit.
Originally Posted by Victor_Marrone
However, even if you get the donor for free, its still going to cost significant $ to do the swap well.
Looks like a parts car to me.
Originally Posted by northNH
Unique, as in one off - should not be repeated, front and rear suspension modifications. It would be interesting to know what the original 'vision' for this creation was before it ended up as a 'dead forum thread'.
That Amazon "project" is what happens when you got a rusted out Jeep CJ5, a welder, lots of beer, an Amazon and a family tree that goes straight up. . . .
Any swap is a Royal pain. Everything you do will require fabrication skills, money and time. Most people lack at least one of those things.
If you possess those things go for it !
Something to think about. I have two wagons ones a 66 Amazon and the others a BMW 5 series. I drive one or the other to work and wherever based on my mood or if I have a date. (BMW) It takes me EXACTLY the same amount of time in either car.
Of course the BMW is faster, handles better, stops better you name it. It's a just superior driving machine no question.
However they both have to drive somewhere close to the posted speed limit. Otherwise one of my fellow state employees will pull me over and write me an expensive ticket.
I drove my '66 Amazon from Charlotte to Asheville last weekend. First "longer distance" run for the old gal after full restoration. 2 hours straight through. OMG!
The trip was a bit nerve wracking if only because every resonance, sound and vibration is fully presented to the anxious driver. Couple that with opened back wing windows that transmit all noise from oncoming vehicles AND a chirping/screaming speedo gear that I thought had largely disappeared for good revealed it's ugly face in spades at highway speed.
Still, all things considered, it was much more enjoyable than watching any of the Presidential debates or even my last colonoscopy (all good there so I've been told).
I didn't baby her on the trip. We drove with traffic which resulted in 4K on the tach and a loud, throaty boast from the SU twins. I believe I even heard the dizzy spinning noise, but can't be sure. My differential behaved as I hoped after full rebuild in Raleigh by a Jeep/Dana 30 shop but I still had an occassional whine, of which I can't attribute a source.
The car pulled the main mountain climb up to Asheville in 4th with never a wimper and at 60 mph. Entire trip was a respectable 24 mpg considering the speed of idiot traffic.
All things considered, it was quite the trip and great motivation to install the M41 that I have almost ready in the wings.
Would that be the same thing as 'too many first cousins' in the family tree? When I saw that Amazon special, the theme from Deliverance started going through my head.
Originally Posted by bobbyz
It looks like an unfinished low cost version of Iam's creation to me. It will likely drive the same way, and it will attract a lot of attention from idiots. We have lots of these high cost versions been built in this forum, and the 1800 page.
Originally Posted by northNH
Glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read those last few posts. LOL !
I may have to start driving the Amazon on dates. Since young woman prefer them to the BMW.
Actually my 28 year old daughter liked driving it over the BMW this summer. Guys would ask her about the "cool old car".
In the BMW they'd say "BMW makes a wagon? How many kids you got?"
Needless to say I made her drive the BMW ! Didn't want her getting mixed up with some local redneck that drives a loud jacked up pickup truck.
She's back in LA now.
"She's back in LA now."
So, nothing more to worry about, aye...
Nice Painting! Is that a greeting card or the original art? It's a cool image I'd frame!
I have been studying up on 60* V6's I would go with a 3.5 LM9 (I think) MG guys have been doing it for years. Great gas mileage and a big increase in power over a B20.
Originally Posted by ronin7
But the ones I have heard don't sound as good as a B20.
ronin7 do you have a build thread? Love to read up on your car. Thanks
I think you mean LX9? (The non-vvt 3.5L). That would be a good choice but there are issues in getting that engine to fit in the amazon due to the front cover and some accessories (AC compresser etc.) wanting to be where the steering box is and the cast aluminum oil pan would have to be sectioned and shortened to get the engine and transmission low enough to fit under the hood and the in the trans tunnel and clear the suspension cross member.
The RWD 2.8L iron block motor I am using (from and S10) fits under the hood (including AC compressor) without ANY modifications to the engine. I am using the stock S10 engine mount ears and mounts with new pedestals for the S10 style mounts welded to the 122 crossmember.
One thing to consider with the LX9 is that unless you go aftermarket the wiring is considerably more complicated (and you have to deal with things like the EGR and Catalytic converters). The S10 engine I have uses the stock Throttle Body Injection and computer, takes about 6 wires to get it running and is dead reliable.
While the LX9 makes considerably more power, the S10 engine at ~ 120 hp and 170lb-ft offers a huge increase compared to any B18 or B2 that has not had thousands spent on performance parts and machine work. I have a flowmaster 80 Series muffler on mine and it sounds great. I don't have any sound clips for mine but this Fiero has basically the same setup (GM 2.8L 60 degree V6 and Flowmaster 80 series) and you tell me how it sounds!
Last edited by ronin7; 11-05-2016 at 07:49 AM.