January - December 2021

Jan to Mar 2021 were spent in another jolly old lockdown which allowed the garden, front bedroom and loft to be tidied up a lot, thankfully, for the first time in decades. I had noticed that the 360 had an occasional issue of idling too fast (2000 rpm) which I couldn't easily sort out. It turned out that the problem was due to the plunger at the side of the carb (which is to do with float chamber ventilation) kept getting pulled into the down position by the plastic lever. However, a couple of hours fiddling about revealed that it had a *very* simple cause - the choke cable had become a bit bent in all the previous shenanigans and was not allowing the carbie cams and levers to go fully back to ground-zero when the choke was pushed in. However, after a bit of straightening, I can sleep peacefully now.

In early March I found that the car started after 2-3 weeks standing with fuel level in the filter really low and on a fairly flat battery. This seem to suggest that the non-return valve seems to do the business. The mixture is a bit rich, though. Maybe, a tweak of that well-hidden screw is needed.

The 360 gear-change died on 5th April 2021 so she was brought back by the AA on the back of a lorry. The gear lever was incredibly loose but I couldn't see anything wrong apart from the fact that the rubber seal with the chassis beneath the two gaitors had given up the ghost. Turns out that its due to a well-known weak point in the linkage and it gets welded up by the garage for £531, which sounds like a lot but they had to drop the gearbox, so its not too bad really. All that remains to be done is to repair the waterproof seal with the chassis which sits under a plastic frame beneath the two rubber gaitors.

It turned out that the plastic tray can be removed by tapping out little plastic pegs which sit in the 0-shaped holes, one of which is visible in the above right picture. Removal goes quite well, although the rubber seal turns out to be unobtainable and not easy to duplicate. There's even a bit bona fide pigeon poo welding visible on the linkage below.


Mid-April 2021 and it's coming back together with Gorilla tape as a substitute for the original rubber moulded seal - just want a bit of waterproofing at that point in case I have to drive through floodwater again, although I have to make holes in the tape for the plastic pegs!


As can be seen, the pegs tap back into their holes to about the right depth quite well, I think. Now moving towards the end of April 2021 and the car is back in everyday use. 


Effort is now concentrated on Red Ness whose boot floor was given a hasty coat of red paint in the autumn that didn't match too well. However, a coat of black Humbrol enamel, diluted a lot with white spirit, has toned it down quite well.

Blast, it looks like a second coat overdid it.

Anyway, after much cursing and climbing in the boot, I got the back seat re-fitted, but my back was telling me I should not try this. Still a bit unhappy with myself over the colour so I went over it with some original Volvo touch-up paint, thinned-out with tons of acetone (shown below right). Dried very quickly so I am happy with the result, but now it's too red again, but I think its OK.

I then got the boot boards back in place, etc, so now (mid-May 2021) it's time to show off my latest restoration piece: a 3-compartment toolbox hand-painted to match, I hope.

Now, it's time to start freeing-off the rear brakes so the car goes up onto wooden blocks again and, thankfully, the drums came off fairly easily. You can see my slightly embarassing over-spray on the exhaust pipe and spring shackles from 2 years ago. I just assumed they'd be rusted-up by now ;-0

All came apart pretty well on the first side I tackled. The lever was totally seized-up since the garage had used brake-cleaner to remove all the copper-ease I had put on it to stop it seizing-up. However, it freed-up fairly quickly with some hammering and WD40.

A spot of copper grease and it's all gone back together on the driver's side. I think it's alright.

The other side came apart and the lever was found to have seized-up, but not as badly as the first one. Freed-up and copper greased, it's going back together in mid-May 2021.

Got it back together, adjusted the handbrake and back on the ground again. Seems ok now. All the while, the deep blue 1.7 soldiers on out to the wild bogs as reliably as ever, touch wood.

Next up, servicing Deep Blue herself. She needed a new fuel filter, but, as can be seen in the second picture, the dizzy cap was in good condition compared to how it usually looks (third picture), so, like the rotor arm, it was simply cleaned-up and refitted. Waste not, want not.

Oil change, plug-clean and air filter change all done. The current mileage on Deep Blue is 95k. There are a couple of jobs that need doing over the Summer, namely the speedo needle keeps jittering and the left-indicator does not self-cancel when the weather is hot!! However, it makes a loud enough click to tell me that it has not self-cancelled, Mr Insurer, so can be remedied by hand.

Everything went well with the 360 until the middle of May when the welded repair to the rear exhaust hanger broke, so limped home with piece of string holding the rear silencer up. Back to the newly serviced deep blue 1.7 for a bit. Meanwhile, the garage re-welded the 360 exhaust hanger and put on a new exhaust rubber but when I drove it back to its garage, guess what, the mounting broke again and the rubber O-ring went flying somewhere on the route. Need to find someone who knows how to weld. Hope the gear lever has been welded better, hmmm....


They also broke another mounting in their efforts, but thankfully the third one survived intact.


Needless to say, a day or so later, I was able to retrieve the new but, by now multipli-runover, O-ring (shown below) by carefully retracing my steps. Set against a backdrop of Murder Most Foul, the full enormity of these pigeon poo dramatics is plain for all to see, but a hole is a hole...

Tony Noble to the rescue with some super-high quality welding (below left). I managed to get a new exhaust hanger from Dafhobby and this was welded on by Tony who realised that the old one had been welded on in the wrong place, before it broke off!! The hanger should be bolted on but the captive nuts in the chassis box section were long, long gone, so welding it on was the right answer. The other mounting that was broken (below right) has been repaired quite innovatively, too. Could that be a bolt-on solution ;-?

So now its 12th June 2021, but lets call it 1st April, and all Red Ness needs is a new twin-tailpipe exhaust and some stylish alloys.

You might detect some failry rubbish pixel editing by a photoshop-style program there and you'd be spot on. Anyhow, the idea came from this which I remembered fondly from my mid-secondary modern school days. Yes, no 11-plus here, sorry! Well, I wouldn't be into 340's if I had the brains to pass ;-0

Anyway, the full enormity of my lack of IQ came to the fore when trying to locate where this item left-over by the welders two years ago should really go.

Finally, with help from the volvo300mania forum, I found it on the deep blue 340 next to where the radiator goes. So lets see how it looks on the red 340. OK its there, but hang on, its also different, facing forwards rather than backwards!!

Oh well, its definitely missing on the other side of the red one, so we'll fit the left-over one in its vacant slot.


All's well that ends well, but the niggling worry is whether it's really right? A look at the other side of the radiator on the blue 340 leaves me baffled in the extreme since its definitely facing the other way to cover over the air inlet. In one of those eureka moments (that rarely happen to me) I realised that the welders may have fitted the trim panels back on the wrong sides of the radiator, so off they come for a clean-up and a bit of a silicone sealant repair.

I then experimented with fitting them the other way round. Nice one, top one, sorted and I think that they are finally back in their right places.