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Up your reliability!  Presented here, are items no well dressed and maintained 122S or 1800S should be without.  Listed somewhat in the order of importance, these items were developed out of a 20+ year first hand experience with vintage Volvos and you'll see them referred to in some of the tech articles.  Some of these kits are "made to order" and labor intensive, involving in some cases, time consuming, manual work, so thank you for your understanding, and patience!  Also, since these kits are presented to help other vintage Volvo owners, if you can see any way to improve a kit, or its instructions, please let me know! Ron

Click on links for pix.  
START SWITCH
UPGRADE KIT
FOR 122S:
Prevent the well known "Beatles Effect" (?) for vintage Volvo keys...you know...Twist and Shout...  Retain the security of your ignition key, but don't break your key off again!  Push the momentary button to start the engine. This kit eliminates the usual cause of broken keys (turning the key to the momentary "Start" position against a gorilla return spring).  Also, unless someone knows the location of the start switch, they won't be able to start your car even if they had the key. This means added security!  The installation is simple, and does not require messing with the armored cable.  About a 20 minute installation - the 122S even has a hole in the dash ideally suited to mounting the switch.  $18 includes switch, wiring, detailed instructions.  Links to additional information on Locks and Keys in Service Notes section.  
Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

Prevent this!  

 

 

Additional:  Another advantage of the SwEm Start Upgrade is that power for the pushbutton is taken from the IGN power terminal (54), which retains the security of the key, but because the key is no longer turned to the momentary Start Position (which disables power to this terminal) an electronic IGN upgrade like the Pertronics or Crane can simply be powered from that terminal, and NO diode OR'ing of power or additional complication is necessary!  In simple terms, this means that if you want to install an electronic IGN upgrade, combine it with the installation of a SwEm Start Switch upgrade, always a good idea, and you're DONE!  Link to additional information on  Ignition System and Armored Cable under Tech Notes section.  

START/KILL SWITCH KIT FOR 1800S (PRE 1969): Have you broken keys in your ignition yet (see above)?  If not, I’m surprised and I suggest that its only a matter of time!  If you have, here’s the ultimate fix you're looking for…a combination Start/Kill switch, which both eliminates the typical cause of the broken keys, as well as giving you an ignition disabling Kill function in one discreetly located heavy-duty toggle switch.  No modifications to the ignition switch are required for installation (except some minor rewiring) so the appearance is absolutely stock for the concourse judges!  Installation takes about an hour plus a certain amount of patience and agility…you will be working under your dashboard…OK, maybe an hour and a half!  Cost: $40

Start Switch Only:  $26

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RESTORED FUSEBLOCK 122/544: 

 

Improve the charging system by preventing corrosion-caused excessive voltage drop across your fuse block (it's part of THE reason your AMP light glows lightly when the heater blower is switched on...the more corrosion, the more glowing AMP light, and the less voltage to run things on the vehicle - beware!).  See also:  Gas Tight  Joint tech article.  The fuse block is  disassembled, cleaned up, and reassembled with special brass hardware and soldered.  All three areas of corrosion are addressed.  This is a labor intensive procedure and thus a bit expensive, but it is important, as it is The Permanent Fix for a marginal charging system due to terminal corrosion, and highly recommended when installing the Alternator Upgrade Kit.    $50   (not including a $15 core charge) easily installed, and anti-corrosive paste is included for reassembly.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

Euro Fuses:  Available now, to go along with your better-than-new restored fuseblock, we have a limited quantity of NOS, Euro fuse assortments (10 fuses total, in a handy little kit, which you'll want to keep handy in the car, made in Germany), which include 2 of the sometimes difficult-to-locate shorty 25A fuses (BGF 25) and a  little puller.  $16

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[Also available:  Reworked fuseblocks, specially modified to accept the more commonly available 3AG (1/4 dia. X 1 1/4 long, tubular ceramic or glass) fuses.  When modified like this, the cover still fits perfectly as before.  So, (with cover in place) the appearance is absolutely stock.  These are available by special arrangement only (please e-mail).  $60 (not including a $15 core charge)]  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

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WANTED! Dead or Alive:  Fuseblocks suitable for restoring!  We will pay $15 apiece, for intact (corroded only) 122 fuseblocks, so that we can restore then and keep ahead of the demand.  Please contact us.

RESTORED FUSEBLOCK 1800 (carbureted only): 

 

Replace the two fuse, original equipment Lucas fuseblock of your 1800 with  an upgraded  ULTRA-RELIABLE SwEm improved fuseblock, before you get nuisance symptoms or much worse!   This is important!  See:  SwEm Technical Bulletin No. 3  and also:  Gas Tight  Joint Part II tech article. 

New, replacement fuse blocks are disassembled, cleaned up, and upgraded to replace the totally inadequate original fuse-clips with a standard industrial fuse-clips and soldered to make a gas-tight assembly.  All three areas of corrosion are addressed.  Once installed, without a detailed inspection, the improved fuseblock is virtually indistinguishable from the original...especially with the cover in place, but electrically superior, and years down the road too! 

This is the Permanent Fix for an intermittent electrical system due to terminal corrosion, poor fuse contact, and absolutely required when installing the Alternator Upgrade Kit.    $140 (expensive yes, but it really takes a lot of manual work to complete), easily installed, and Anti-Corrosive Zinc Paste is included for optimum reassembly.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

Additional:  Please read about a recently documented reliability weakness in the 1800 Ignition Power wiring.  1800 Ignition Wiring...Swedish vs. British Design

ALTERNATOR UPGRADE KIT FOR B18/20: Probably our most popular kit!  I bet you won't find a place in these 50 states or Canada, where you can't easily get repair parts for the modern, high-output AC Delco alternator that you install in place of your o.e. Bosch generator with this kit.  This kit also eliminates the mechanical voltage regulator with it, because the new alternator has an internal, solid state type.  Please see also:   Comparing Generators and Alternators. 

You'll really enjoy your "new" whiter headlights and appreciate a fully charged battery, especially in winter!  If your original generator is still working well, more power to you (no pun intended), but the next time your charging system fails, or its finally time to retire that original Bosch, you should really consider this upgrade.  Please see separate ALTERNATOR UPGRADE KIT INFO page for answers to all your Qs.   $100 for the kit, 2-4 hours installation time.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

BRAKE-LIGHT SWITCH UPGRADE KIT FOR 122/1800 (444/544): As found on the later 122S and 1800, the "hydraulic-pressure-sensing" switch of the early design is replaced by a much earlier acting, mechanical "pedal-position-sensing" switch.  Check the operation of your brakelights often!   See also:  SwEm (Safety) Bulletin Number 4.  In the early design, when this switch fails, and they do, especially if you don't stomp the brakes every time, or have converted to silicon fluid which seems incompatible with the O.E. switches (I've never taken the time to figure out why, but you are  welcome to send me a failed switch for a post-mortem, see below), it can cause you to have a very bad day!  With the upgraded arrangement you don't need to make pressure in the brake system to show brake lights, just depress the pedal a slight bit, and give those behind you more time to react and keep your bumper (and neck) straight!  This kit uses an original Volvo switch, or O.E. replacement type, mounted on a custom fabricated bracket functionally similar to the later Volvo design, except not as difficult to retrofit.   $39, includes a new O. E. switch, bracket (as of June 2005, made of 304 stainless steel), wiring harness and instructions.  Don't forget to include model vehicle, and if it has automatic or manual transmission (pedals are different).  See also:  Brake Light Upgrades

After no small development effort (brake pedal and master cylinder arrangements are totally different from the above models), a Brake-Light-Switch Upgrade Kit for the 444/544 vehicles, based on the same early-acting "pedal-position-sensing" concept, is now also available.      $39, suitable for both 6V and 12V systems, the kit includes a new O. E.  switch, bracket (as of June 2005, made of 304 stainless steel), wiring harness and instructions.   Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

WANTED, Dead, not Alive!  Failed hydraulic brake light switches for investigation.  If you send a failed hydraulic brake light switch along with your order and payment for an Upgrade Kit, you may deduct $6 from the total.  I will then cut the switch apart, try to learn more about the failure, and add any new info learned, to the Tech Article:  Hydraulic Brake Light Switch Failure Investigation

EMERGENCY FLASHER SWITCH:  A sensible safety upgrade, given the tiny lenses of vintage Volvos, because turning on the E-flashers doubles your visibility!  Late 122s and 1800s had them as o.e., as did the the 140 series and every car since then, so your installation will look just right.  We have a few o.e. switches (used) available at $30 each.  See also the tech article covering the installation.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.
SERVICE SWITCH: Allows you to "Start" or "Kill" the motor with a toggle switch permanently mounted in the engine compartment...very handy when doing maintenance under the hood (it certainly beats pulling the coil wire and getting sorched to shut off the motor!).  Also, can be used to disable the ignition when the car is parked in a bad part of town.  All of my cars have one!  It's really just a "Start/Kill" switch as seen above, but when located under the hood, I call it a "Service Switch".  $34, for the switch, wiring and instructions.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.
O'RINGED CLUTCH SLAVE PISTON: Philosophical question:  Where does the Girling fluid of the clutch hydraulics go when the car is parked for an extended period, and you go to drive the car... the reservoir is empty, but there's no wet spot under the car?  Answer: Upgrade to silicon fluid and don't worry about it!  See also in progress tech article:  Amazoning with Silicon Brake Fluid.

The number one cause of hydraulic system failure is a scored cylinder bore which allows fluid to bypass the seal.  The next time your clutch hydraulics need attention, don't just polish the bore and replace the seal, replace the piston with an improved o'ringed piston that won't score the restored bore again. The old bore can only stand so much scoring before it goes beyond the point of rebuilding. Naturally, with an o'ringed piston is a great way for a new slave cylinder to start its service life. Two sizes were used in production, so don't forget to measure your piston diameter and include this dimension (3/4 or 13/16) with your order. O-rings are synthetic rubber and compatible with all (DOT3,4,5) brake fluids.  O'rings...they can make you, or break you...ask NASA!  See my analysis of what causes the scoring, and why this simple upgrade is "the cat's a** ".  $24/exchange ($5 core)**,  1/2 hour installation.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.

**NEWS:  I just had a beautiful batch of clone 3/4" pistons with grooves for the O'Ring made up, so they will now be available outright, no core, but they were not cheap to have made, so there will be a bit of an increase shortly...also, please see tech article:  Hydraulic Clutch Tech Article 

SwEm replacement 3/4" pistons are dimensional clones of the originals, made of A2 air hardened tool steel, but with the important addition of a groove for an O’Ring at the dry end.  They still satisfy the “hardness difference requirement” between piston and bore, but with the O’Ring preventing piston to bore contact, the bore will not be expected to suffer from new scoring, so periodic “rebuilds” will necessary only when the seals wear out (and that should be a long time), and at the modest cost of a replacement seal kit only.  Piston outright cost:  $45, two O-rings are included.  Assemble with grease compatible with the fluid which will be used in the system (Girling red hydraulic grease for DOT4, OR silicone Grease for DOT5). 

SEAT SUSPENSION UPGRADE KIT 122/1800: As described in:  Service Notes section.  See OVER the steering wheel again!  Metal wires and springs PERMANENTLY replace the rubber bands which have no spring left and are probably totally sagged out by now (and you thought your spine was shrinking...it is maybe, but not that much!).  I suggest you check your seat soon, you might be surprised what you find!    $36 per seat, 1/2 hour installation.  Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.  

Remember this ad?...this kit will help you get another 11 years from your seat - likely more!

[If this list was in order of importance, this could really be at the top!]

 

INTERMITTENT WIPER CONTROL
available for 544,122, and pre'69 1800
:
At last...after an extended gestation, further prolonged when I blew up my prototype during tests, and additionally complicated because all of these models were different from the factory, I have finalized design of the Intermittent Wiper Upgrade Kit for 544, 122, and 1800 applications.  This upgrade kit gives a variable rate of wipes (from once in a blue moon, to just less than slow speed).  Not that we're expecting (or hoping for) a steady drizzle, but sometimes, a wipe every once in a while is just fine...and your wiper system - which isn't getting any younger (would you like to guess how many times the wipers have swept through their arc...no wonder they're a little sloppy!), could use the rest between occasional wipes!  

This upgrade consists of a small interval adjustable circuit (which gets mounted under dash), wiring, and instructions.  Since these vehicles had a few different switch and motor and washer combinations over their production years, final price is a function of a couple of options, so if you are interested in this upgrade...please see additional info page

 
Other items:
PVC Harness tubing (black): As used for the harnesses of the above kits, and matching that originally used by Volvo.  We have 3/8" and 1/4"sizes.  Perfect for protecting that additional or restoration wiring!  Please contact us!
304 STAINLESS STEEL REPAIR PANELS: As described in:  DeLorean had it Right tech article...panels should be available soon...please e-mail for current status.
CHOKE-ON REMINDER KIT: As mentioned in:  Check your Choke Article.   By special order only.  Please contact us!
 
 

NOTES: Installation times are estimated.  All kits consist of quality components and engineering as applicable, so you will NOT find one of these stupid little stickers (which virtually guarantee disappointment by knock-off, shoddy goods) on ANY SwEm kit...isn't that part of why we restore and drive these cars?   Incidentally, I didn't buy anything to get the sticker above for a picture, I picked it off some cheap-as-dirt product at the store...is that considered stealing?  Sorry, but that's the way I feel.  Someday, just like Japan, maybe they'll get their act in order, but for now, I'll pass on their products!

 

Ordering/Payment options:

You may order by (e- or snail-) mail.  Normal stateside shipping is included. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery, as many items are made to order.  Non-US orders, please contact us for additional shipping information. We do try to keep a stock of the popular alternator upgrade kit, so if your need is urgent or you need more information, please email us, and we'll try to help.

Please don't forget to include year and model of your vehicle, make your check or money order payable to Ron Kwas and send to:

Intelab/Swem
P. O. Box 370193
West Hartford, CT 06137-0193

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Last update: 28 November, 2010

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