Corrosion on 1800E and 1800ES Fuseblocks
First published: Mar 2020  R. Kwas  (Updates and comments on-going!)

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Four wire Low Resistance (Kelvin) Testing

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Fuseblock of a '72 1800E, located on the driver's footwell.
Picture by Allan H. and used with his kind permission.
 

On earlier, carbureted 1800s, the FuseBlock, is the terrible Lucas supplied FB, which, because of its construction, is particularly susceptible to developing ever-increasing in-line Resistance, and because of its location under the hood, is also under environmental attack, accelerating deterioration...really a two strikes against situation!

Thankfully, FBs of the later 1800E and ES models, are on the other hand, located the cozy passenger compartment, so they are certainly, under much less environmental attack.  These FBs are because of their location and less susceptible construction, only necessary or recommended to be reworked if they are actually exhibiting green copper corrosion, or voltage drops under load have been confirmed by measurements with test equipment (See:  Reference Information, Four Wire Low Resistance (Kelvin) Test) ...or if they are exhibiting indirect other symptoms of inline resistance, such circuit interaction or other whacky symptoms.  [Such as Lightswitch / Tachometer interaction!  See:  https://www.sw-em.com/electical_circuit_interaction.htm  Actually, this was a highly unusual Ignition Sys / Tach interaction!]  

E and ES FBs are of the same high quality, stacked, riveted brass contact construction as the 122 FBs, so they work well for a long time, but eventually can also develop series resistance in the same manner that the 122 FBs develop it (See:  https://www.sw-em.com/gastight.htm  ), only slower, as the deterioration is not aided by poor environmental conditions due to location...of course a poorly sealed Windshield can result in some water raining down on the FB also (if your feet get rained upon when driving in the rain, this water source is well worth investigating before your FB might suffer!).    

If an injected 1800 vehicle has experienced a Fuel Pump power supply failure, due to corroded contacts on the conical fuse-ends on F5 (spinning the fuse in its holder to cut through corrosion remakes the contact and restores function), that is an early indication the owner should most definitely clean conical ends of ALL fuses and reinstall them with ACZP, but again, unless there is a definite indication it needs it, I probably wouldn't advise a complete rework as a general rule.  FBs can certainly be reworked preventatively, if an owner insists, but I am writing this because I don't like being sold something I don't really need (for that, you can go to the dealer!), and I expect most people are of that mind...! 
 

See also:  https://www.sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm#ACZP_on_Eurofuse_ends

 

If you have confirmed in-line resistance (ideally made while passing high current, not just the minimal test current of the Ohms function of a Multimeter [See:  Reference Information, Four Wire Low Resistance (Kelvin) Test]), or simply decide you want your FB reworked as part of a detailed restoration, with the typical fully soldered, absolutely minimum in-line resistance on all connections with all gas-tight-joints, and permanent superior electrical performance(!) of the FB similar to what I offer for the other models, I can certainly offer this service for the 12 fuse 1800E/ES units at $140 plus $30 core charge (which I will be happy to refund core charge when I get your old FB, whole and intact, corroded only, back from you). 

 

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Reference Information:  


1800E Fuseblock, frontview.
 


Rear-view of FB.  Quality riveted construction similar to that of 122 FBs is apparent,
as are bus-bars, which electrically tie certain power input terminals and circuits together. 
 


Excerpt of Wiring Diagram ('71 1800E) with FB internal bus-bars highlighted,
 and showing their electrical function.
 

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Four wire Low Resistance (Kelvin) Testing:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-terminal_sensing

PLACEHOLDER FOR PRACTICAL FOUR-WIRE TEST OF 1800E/ES FUSEBLOCK

Low in-line resistance on the order caused by corrosion, starts at a very low magnitude, but will creep ever higher, and can/will at some point, result in the voltage drop becoming significant enough to negatively affect electrical function, but still be too low to measure with even a quality Multimeter.  A special technique is necessary, and should be employed to get a stable and usable reading.  This is called a Four-Wire Resistance or Kelvin Measurement.  It essentially measures the voltage drop while a high current is being passed (if this sounds familiar, good!...it should, because this test very much simulates the real-world high current situation, and is thus able to detect resistances a simple Ohm-meter would miss!).

I was going to write something up here, but there is no need...this outstanding presentation on YT covers it well: 

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Related:  

My answer to question of how to check for a poor chassis connection:  Ground/earth testing  "Which ohms setting is best to use on multi meter, high or low."  https://www.volvoforums.org.uk/showthread.php?p=2878752

"Short of it: Measure V! ...Long explanation follows:

Handheld DVMs typically run a minuscule current with which to make the Resistance measurements, so the low but significant resistance associated with poor chassis connections will likely not show up as a measurable number on one of those.

I would instead suggest using the same (but less costly) technique as a "Four-Wire Resistance" or Kelvin Measurement test instrument, which runs a high test current through the low R in question, and measures the resulting voltage. Simply turn ON the Load (in this case Headlights), and with Neg probe of DVM tied direcly to Batt Neg, probe what is supposed to be a good chassis connection. If any more than a few tenths of a volt are measured, a VDrop is occurring, decreasing the V available to the load...which in this case would result in a dim/yellow Headlight...locate and minimize this and any other VDrops on connections!

See also: http://www.sw-em.com/Corrosion_on_18...elvin)_Testing

You asked about checking for a poor chassis connection...of course, this same technique can be used to check for a poor power connection! Simply reconnect Pos meter probe to Batt Pos, and check power connection of Load in question with Neg probe...if more than a few tenths of Volts are measured, there is a significant R is series with the power path, which needs to be located and minimized. Remember, the source (Batt) V should only be measured at the Batt and Loads where it serves to drive current through the Load to do the work...any VDrop elsewhere High Side OR Low Side means Load is getting less than it should, so not able to work its best.

See also: http://www.sw-em.com/High-Side_Switc..._Switching.htm

Good Hunting! "

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My response to a Brickboard posting:  Modern fuse box replacement for P1800E 1800 1970 and a responder suggesting ATC fuses as "the secret":  https://www.brickboard.com/RWD/volvo/1690226/1800/modern_fuse_box_replacement_p1800e.html

 BB;

I have no problem with ATC fuses (what secret?!?)...they are easy to handle and make good connections because the use a continuous mechanical preload principle at the contact (I do recommend a dab of ACZP on the fuse tabs to prevent surface corrosion and lube installation)...what I do have a major problem with is cheap and inadequate connections and wire terminations underneath and in back of those chinashit fuseblocks connectors which the fuses are pushed into! I have inspected such fuseblocks and was appalled at their cheapness and electrical inadequacy, and wound up returning them!! By replacing the OE FB with one of these, you are doing yourself NO FAVORS Rick! 

...and I'm not the only one who has had issues ...see link to Tom Bryant's remanufacturing of an inadequate fuseblock which was likely produced you know where: https://thosbryant.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/saturn-fuse-box-1998-1999/comment-page-1/#comment-9815 

Regarding your "Plan B"...you have the first part...to "shine up old fuses and holders and carefully lube with Penetrox-D"...mostly right...lubing is a secondary benefit...the primary is chemically protecting!...and you should be using Penetrox-A, I don't know what -D is...maybe a typo? See: https://www.sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm#Comparison_of_ACZP_from_diff_Manuf

...and NO grease is conductive (although they may be described even sold as such undoubtedly by the non-technowizes in the marketing department). See: https://www.sw-em.com/anti_corrosive_paste.htm#Is_ACZP_conductive 

Sorry to pick your posting apart like this, and I commend you for knowing about the benefits of ACZP, but I feel its important to get these details right!

Cheers

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Links: 

Brickboard Thread on Tach and Lightswitch interaction: https://www.brickboard.com/RWD/volvo/1590735/1800/73_es_tach.html 

SW-EM Tech Article:  Voltage Drops Cause Inadvertent Circuit Interactions!

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Related: 

https://www.sw-em.com/Fuses, Allocation and Troubleshooting.htm#1800_(E_ES) 

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External material sources are attributed.  Otherwise, this article is Copyright © 2020.  Ronald Kwas.  The term Volvo is used for reference only.  I have no affiliation with this company other than to present my experience, and highly opinionated results of the use and care of their products, for the purpose of helping other owners keep their vehicles on the road, safe and reliable.  The information presented is my own carefully considered experience, and can be used or not, or ridiculed and laughed at, (or worshipped!) at the readers discretion.  As with any recipe, your results may vary, and you are, and will always be, in charge of your own knuckles, and future! 

You are welcome to use the information here in good health, and for your own non-commercial purposes, but if you reprint or otherwise republish this article, you must give credit to the author or link back to the SwEm site as the source.  If you don’t, you’re just a lazy, scum sucking plagiarist…so The Boston Globe wants you!  As always, if you can supply corrections, or additional objective information or experience, I will always consider it, and consider working it into the next revision of this article...along with likely the odd metaphor and maybe wise-a** comment. 

 

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