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    1. #1
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      B20 Head Choices

      I'm building a B20 and managed to come up with an E head out of a '72 140. At first I was excited about the E head since it seems to have a reputation for the best flow in stock form. Now I am wondering if the compression ratio will be too high.

      If I deck the block to get 0.035" squish, my compression ratio would be about 10.8 or 10.9:1 (assuming 45cc combustion chambers on the E head).

      I also have a late model F head ('74 I believe). Should I use this head and shave it down to get a little lower compression ratio? As I understand 10:1 or slightly below is a good target (any suggestions here?)

      I plan to use the Isky VV71 cam with SU carburetors, dual downpipe exhaust manifold, and 2" exhaust.
      Head work will be a three angle valve job and some mild DIY porting in the exhaust.
      I live at 7,000 feet elevation, so 91 octane is the highest I can get around here. I don't mind buying premium gas.

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    3. #2
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      Might be smart to confirm - 1972 B20 would typically be an F head if it's a US market car. Lots of time between then and now that things may have been swapped, though..

      Cameron
      Portland

    4. #3
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      It's definitely an E head.
      I was going by memory on the year, but it is actually marked a '71 when I double checked. I confirmed by the casting marks and measurements.
      It is stripped of valves and needs seats.

      The CR would be just under 10.5:1 if I don't deck the block. Then the squish is about 0.050.

      So, should I build with an E head at 10.5:1 or higher, or get my F head milled to something closer to 10:1?

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    6. #4
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      Wow, crickets chirping....

      Isn't someone going to chime in and tell me detonation will blow this engine up?
      I know what the safe answer is, but I sure would like to use the E head.

    7. #5
      Junior Member scaramoucheii's Avatar
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      This "Pushrod Performance Forum" is very sleepy,

      Swedespeed is an excellent Forum for restoring the old RWD Volvos to stock, and for the newer FWD cars.

      Have you read all the articles on Phil's website

      http://vclassics.com/archive/index.html

      Also there are some posts on TurboBricks regarding B20's, Rebuilding, and trying to optimize the head configuration

      JUst for laughs have a look at this thread, I wonder if that was a rental apartment and if he lost his security deposit for the soiled carpet

      http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...ght=B20%2AHead
      Currently: 2016 XC90 T8, 1973 1800ES Original D-Jet, 1973 142 B20B, 1977 242 B230FT
      Previously: 1974 144 B20B, 1974 142 B20F, 1989 740, 1981 242 GLT, 1996 740, 1999 V70

    8. #6
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      That stuff on vclassics.com is internet gold. Reading through that and all the forums is what got me this far.
      I'm having Rhys at Island Automotive rebuild some carbs, and he reassured me that the CR should be OK with my conditions. He suggested possibly going larger on the exhaust (2-1/4").

      Rebuilding in an apartment is probably better than where I did my first engine. At 16 I rebuilt an air cooled VW in my dads cabinet shop, dust everywhere! It only took me two tries to get it right, I put in the wrong size rod bearings the first time! It ran great, but clattered like a blender full of bolts on deceleration. I probably drove it at least 200 miles before pulling it out. It took me a while to figure out what was wrong. On the plus side, I got to the point where I could drop and tear down a VW engine in under two hours!

    9. #7
      Junior Member scaramoucheii's Avatar
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      Yes that is good stuff at vclassics.com He is a frequent poster here, Phil Singer

      Also the person that first replied to you here Cameron AKA VolvoRelix has quite a few articles on Phil's website, so seems you may pretty much be up to speed.

      I have a pair of Rhys Rebuilt HIF6's on my B20B powered '73 142.

      https://www.sucarburetors.com/

      Where are you located? In Canada ? I used to live on Vancouver Island, but now I've immigrated to the USA and live in Florida. A lot of guys in the USA use Joe Curto for service and rebuild of S.U. Carbs, however when you mentioned Rhys, made me suspect that you are a fellow Canuck.

      http://joecurto.com/
      Currently: 2016 XC90 T8, 1973 1800ES Original D-Jet, 1973 142 B20B, 1977 242 B230FT
      Previously: 1974 144 B20B, 1974 142 B20F, 1989 740, 1981 242 GLT, 1996 740, 1999 V70

    10. #8
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      I'm in Colorado, but I actually travel to Canada for work pretty often.
      I went with Rhys because of turnaround time, and I recognized his name from the Volvo forums.

    11. #9
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      Who would you all use to build a B20 head? It seems that Unitek is no longer operating or at least, that OJ Rallye isn’t importing their stuff. A John Parker head perhaps? I’m trying to build a MPPE type engine and am unable to do a tear down at this movement. I wanted to start with a head and cam.

    12. #10
      Junior Member scaramoucheii's Avatar
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      Do not send any money to JP, lots of threads here and elsewhere on the internet as to why

      for example

      https://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...Parker-Warning

      So having said that, I asked around a few years ago and it seems that all the good Volvo B20 Head guys have sailed into the sunset.

      You could contact Eric at HiPerformance in Torrance California and see if he knows anybody,

      http://hiperformanceautoservice.com/

      or perhaps Cameron or Phil know someone that they can recommend.

      Yes, there are some specific things that can be done with the exhaust port floors to squeeze out a few extra HP's but ...

      ... any GOOD shop that is familiar with OHV 4 cyl Engines (MG, Euro Fords, Lotus) can Deck the head, put in hardened seats, new valve guides and clean up the ports. Restoring to stock (+ hardened seats) will result in a great step forward.

      Some information here http://volvo1800pictures.com/sweden/...IES_VOLVOS.pdf

      That along with induction and exhaust improvements will give you a sporty experience.

      One note on the Exhaust, using the stock manifold and twin downpipe, some document from the period recommends extending the twin down pipes past the bend and into a 2" tube and flange to mate with the new 2" exhaust.

      So have a browse through this old Competition Performance document and look at the exhaust downpipe (item 13) in the beginning of section 2

      http://volvo1800pictures.com/documen...17-6%20_sm.pdf
      Last edited by scaramoucheii; 12-27-2018 at 12:25 AM.
      Currently: 2016 XC90 T8, 1973 1800ES Original D-Jet, 1973 142 B20B, 1977 242 B230FT
      Previously: 1974 144 B20B, 1974 142 B20F, 1989 740, 1981 242 GLT, 1996 740, 1999 V70

    13. #11
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      I can’t do the longer headpipe as I need the collector closer for my oxygen sensor bung. I’m having a twin port manifold ceramic coated now and the first two lengths of a Don Thibaukt 2” sport exhaust done as well. There’s currently a no name header that I don’t care for, that seems to do little for performance and lots for leaking and hitting speed bumps.

    14. #12
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      Anyone have direct experience ordering from KG Trimning?

      They offer some pretty awesome sounding heads, but they aren't cheap: http://www.kgtrimning.org/tuning-spe...der-heads-etc/

      I'm thinking of ordering some pistons and rods from them for my build.

    15. #13
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      Ordered a camshaft from them about 8 months ago. Fairly quick and easy transaction, had it in under two weeks. TinusTuning is another to look into.

    16. #14
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      How was the cam? I’m looking for a built head and cam. It seems that most grinds are older designs. There’s a roller cam, but you have to get the block machined to fit the oversized bearings.

    17. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by 4runner View Post
      There’s a roller cam, but you have to get the block machined to fit the oversized bearings.
      Who is making and selling these cams? I have a line boring machine and can do my own block here in the shop for a new racing motor I'm building.
      1967 1800s and 1968 122s Station Wagon.

    18. #16
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      Google "kgtrimning" and "tinus tuning".
      kgtrimining has a nice English translation. You can find your away around tinus tuning with google translate.
      Both have a ton of incredible pushrod Volvo parts. I don't see a roller cams anywhere, but they both have high performance lifters.
      I ordered some forged pistons and H-beam rods from kgtrimning.

    19. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by blazink View Post
      Google "kgtrimning" and "tinus tuning".
      kgtrimining has a nice English translation. You can find your away around tinus tuning with google translate.
      Both have a ton of incredible pushrod Volvo parts. I don't see a roller cams anywhere, but they both have high performance lifters.
      I ordered some forged pistons and H-beam rods from kgtrimning.
      I've ordered from both, Tinus has especially great customer service, just mind the time zone delay.

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    21. #19
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      Which cams/head did u use? The Tinus tt3 sounds great, the tt4 has a YouTube vid and it sounds like it idles a bit rough.

    22. #20
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      I ordered a TT4 and sold the engine before I had a chance to enjoy it but the new owner put it in a P1800 and really likes it. The B20 block/head were very mild, 9.5 to 1, nothing too crazy.

    23. #21
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      Did you get the E-head figured out? For what it's worth, I was a dealer line mechanic when the '71 142-E came out. It was a half-year car IIRC, and had high performance creds at the time. Seems like compression was something like 11.5:1, but don't take that to the bank. The cars only came in gold with black leather, and I ended up buying one later on. The things were a treat to "road-test" because they really moved out and handled stiffer. Wider tires and wheels, heavier sway bar, maybe?
      Anyway, if the head is a '71 "E" there could be a lot of pre-detonation issues with the high compression ratio. I think they were specced for 100+ octane. The 1972 models were de-tuned, but ran strong. That's what I remember about that period, except for what an ordeal it was to finally identify the dying while driving issue, that turned out to be the E-system temp sensor.
      2009 XC90 FWD 3.2, 2013 S60 T5
      In the past: '89 745, '91 940, '82 242, '67 122S, '67 123GT, '71 142E, '62 PV544.

    24. #22
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      You had a tt4 but sold the engine. Did you run it before you sold it? How did it idle? I’m thinking 9.5 as well. Did tinus do the head as well?

    25. #23
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      The combustion chambers on my E head are 45cc, so the static compression ratio will be about 10.8:1. Maybe a little high, but my research says it will probably be OK. The truth will come when I get this put together and on the road.
      I live at 7000 ft elevation, so the extra compression will help regain some power. My cam has some overlap too, so dynamic compression will be a little lower.
      In the end, I won't mind if I have to run some octane booster. This isn't a daily driver and it would be more likely at lower elevations.

    26. #24
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      Quote Originally Posted by blazink View Post
      The combustion chambers on my E head are 45cc, so the static compression ratio will be about 10.8:1. Maybe a little high, but my research says it will probably be OK. The truth will come when I get this put together and on the road.
      I live at 7000 ft elevation, so the extra compression will help regain some power. My cam has some overlap too, so dynamic compression will be a little lower.
      In the end, I won't mind if I have to run some octane booster. This isn't a daily driver and it would be more likely at lower elevations.
      45 cc is on the money. That is the same chamber volume as I measured for my 1971 B20E. My pistons sit 0.020" below the deck and allowing for a 0.047 " gasket height (al fuel injection gasket kits now come with F gaskets) and the fact that my engine is bored 0.030" over, my static compression ratio comes out at 10.0:1. If I yank the head and retrofit a B20B head gasket my CR will end up at around 10.5 which is what stock would be.

      With the 10:1 CR and running 92 octane with the D cam grind, I get a slight amount of detonation right around 3200 RPM at high MAP values. I am running MSExtra with spark control, so its very easy for me to flatten the advance curve a tad while allowing full load advance to return to 32-33 deg above 3500 RPM. The fact that my pistons are 0.020" below the deck and I have the 0.047" F head gasket means that my quench clearance is probably ineffective. If I decked the block to have the pistons flush with the deck and installed a 0.027" Cometic gasket, I could probably run the 10.5:1 CR with more aggressive advance at 3000 RPM with no detonation. Based upon the experience of others with the B20 running tight quench clearances I might be able to run 89 octane with no detonation.

      The exhaust port is the primary restriction on the B20 engine. It would also help Ve if the intake was on the other side of the head so it does not get preheating from the exhaust manifold; but, that is a little beyond the scope of the average engine builder. The photo below is a cross section of the exhaust port.

      B20 exhaust port cross section cut - 2.JPG

      The top of the port around the valve stem presents a significant restriction. You will also note that the port necks down just above the valve seat. Received wisdom is that the safe thing to do is to open up the area above the valve seat to the same diameter as the valve seat - removing some of the material on the right edge of the port in the photo. More aggressive porting involves smoothing the boss around the valve guide (in effect shortening the guide) to create a more uniform port along the top. In addition to having the boss smoothed out this port has been opened up above the seat to match the ID of the seat.

      B20 exhaust port 4.jpg

      Whatever you do, do not open up the port near the exhaust flange opening. In the cross section of the port you will note that on the right side of the port above the exhaust valve seat the path takes a sharp 90 deg bend. Not good for flow. Opening up the port by grinding out the lower portion of the port floor makes bend this worse. Very aggressive porting involves filling in the bottom of the exhaust port with welding rod or brazing, in effect making the exhaust port smaller at the exhaust flange; but, resulting in less disturbed flow. I have some pictures of B20 exhaust ports that have been raised in this manner and will post them if I can find them. I have also heard of a non welding / brazing approach that involves welding a tongue on to the exhaust flange and this tongue fits into the exhaust port filling in the floor area. I have not seen one of these tongue arrangements. Doesn't bear thinking about what would happen if the tongue came loose!

      Received wisdom is that improvements on the exhaust port get you a high initial return. Even with no cam change the improvement in Ve increases power and better flow helps with heat build up in the port area - presumably with reduced tendency to detonate when using higher CRs.

      As an aside, if you also have an F head you might want to have a look at the exhaust ports. I have read internet chatter that the F head ports have more material on the floor of exhaust port so may have a better shape. I have never seen an F head and I haven't seen any photographic proof of this so it may just be chatter. If the exhaust ports were a better shape it might be better to machine the F head to increase its CR to the same as a E head although, unless someone can tell you exactly how much to take off to yield a 45 cc chamber volume having to do multiple passes with measurements between each pass could be a rather expensive venture.
      Last edited by 142 Guy; 03-01-2019 at 07:43 PM.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    27. #25
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      Thanks for the very informative post 142 Guy. It sounds like I am on the right track with my slightly hotter cam, tighter quench, and high elevation.

      My block is decked for zero piston clearance, with a 0.036" head gasket to help with quench.
      I may open the combustion chamber a little to get my compression ratio below 10.5:1 (needs about 2CC more volume). I will also do some mild porting in the exhaust. Any photos of B20 port work would be appreciated.

      I can confirm that the F head has significantly more material in the floor of the exhaust port. I haven't measured, but it looks almost twice as thick.
      For now, the F head will be stored with hopes of someday building a forced induction engine with lower compression ratio.

    28. #26
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      So having said that, I asked around a few years ago and it seems that all the good Volvo B20 Head guys have sailed into the sunset.

      "You could contact Eric at HiPerformance in Torrance California and see if he knows anybody,

      http://hiperformanceautoservice.com/

      or perhaps Cameron or Phil know someone that they can recommend."

      Phil S. is back to rebuilding heads using his own "secret sauce." PM me if you want his contact information.

    29. #27
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      Not to take this too far on a new tangent, but just for everyone's info: Phil has retired from engine building. Swedish Relics has acquired Phil's design specifications and full rights and access to all proprietary custom components. Through this collaboration, all future Singher spec engines will be the result of consultation with Phil directly while the engines themselves will be assembled by Swedish Relics.

      Aside from that: I've done business with Eric and Ian at Hi Performance, with KG Trimning, and with Tinus Tuning. I highly recommend each of these companies.

      Thanks,

      Cameron
      swedishrelics.com

    30. #28
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      FWIW, Cameron is building a B20 (yes, I'm keeping the original B18) for my 123GT. It's going to incorporate the usual go-fast goodies, including 45DCOE Webers, forged pistons, 123 distributor, lightened flywheel, and more, plus a head modified to Phil's specification. I am told that I should expect to be impressed.

    31. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by dcthompson View Post
      FWIW, Cameron is building a B20 (yes, I'm keeping the original B18) for my 123GT. It's going to incorporate the usual go-fast goodies, including 45DCOE Webers, forged pistons, 123 distributor, lightened flywheel, and more, plus a head modified to Phil's specification. I am told that I should expect to be impressed.
      Looking forward to comparing notes, my build is nearly identical specifications.

      Cameron, good to know that Phil has entrusted you and that you stand by those in the industry that I've come to trust myself.
      Last edited by R32rennsport; 06-12-2019 at 12:50 PM.

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