Buying a C304.

Issues pertaining to the C30X, TGB series engine and driveline issues
Doccers
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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by Doccers » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:10 pm

Other than the steering wheel, I haven't had TOO much trouble finding parts - it shares parts with volvo cars and Land Rover 109's pretty extensively. The steering wheel was admittedly a bizarre problem to have, but I bought mine from a bizarre midget artist for about half what I would have paid for one normally, so, I really shouldn't complain. :)

I still need to run through and find exactly what size and spline count the wheel is (I admit, once I got the new one I stopped looking because I was pretty sick and tired of it at that point), just to add to a database of parts.

The new parts company Tatanka has been FANTASTIC with finding and shipping parts - I really cannot express just how great is is to have them around. They're also having some shops make runs of rarer parts (CV Joints for one), given another year or so and we'll have a pretty good parts network again. :D

I think I'm going to bite the bullet and convert mine over to 12v electric next summer, 24v parts (alternator, starter, ignition) are - not impossible to find, but nowhere near as prevelent, and if I want to go with an electronic ignition (123Ignition), it makes a lot more sense just to convert EVERYTHING over, particularly with radios, electronics I'd like to add, etc.

I'm going to keep all of the 24v components so I can retrofit it back to original military configuration if need be (I HATE making permanent modifications to a collector vehicle that would prevent it from being restored to it's original configuration), but it's just not worth it keeping it 24v for my use.




Top speed with the XZL's is about 70 MPH on flats/up very slight hills.

With smaller tires, it depends HOW small I want to go, at this point I'm saving up cash for other needed work first, tires are going to be quite pricey.



At this point it's running absolutely beautifully. Only problems I'm still having are all electric in nature (front circuit for external 24v ports is dead, can't seem to track it down without pulling the dash, ditto with left-front turn indicator, switches for interior cab lights are broken - the lights work, the switches have a spring that push the contact out that closes the circuit, the springs broke long ago and crumbled into dust, and the lamp assemblies are riveted, so I'm going to have to drill and re-rivet them to fix). I'm getting absurdly good fuel milage (13-15mpg so far), and the heater is working well, I just need to plug up some of the leaks in the system (again, removing the dash will be required to reach the area I need to fix). Same with the passenger side wiper squirter (aforementioned crazy artist got confused and dumped antifreeze into the windshield washer fluid reservoir, and then let it sit there, where it jellified and killed the pump and melted the squirter. Replaced the pump with the one for the headlight wiper system, since I don't have those yet, for the time being), so since I'm going to be yoinking the dash, where all the electrical systems live, I figure it's a good time to go ahead and take the 12v conversion plunge.

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by NM_Mogman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:56 pm

Your mileage does seem rather good, did you take into account the larger tire size which affects the odometer reading? Not trying to bust any happy bubbles, just curious. :mrgreen:

As for the top speed, I assume you used a GPS to clock it? That is really a good clip, WAY better than the Pinz that I used to have. I know there is a difference in gearing with a TGB-20 but I wonder how much difference there would be given the same variables with the only difference being the model truck? Any ideas? I have an opportunity to buy one so curious....

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by Jimm391730 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:08 pm

I think I'm going to bite the bullet and convert mine over to 12v electric next summer, 24v parts (alternator, starter, ignition) are - not impossible to find, but nowhere near as prevelent, and if I want to go with an electronic ignition (123Ignition), it makes a lot more sense just to convert EVERYTHING over, particularly with radios, electronics I'd like to add, etc.
This could be QUITE a job as all 12V loads require twice the current; this means that you might possibly cook the wiring harness somewheere, sometime.

I would recommend keeping the truck 24V and add a quality heavy duty 24 to 12V converter to run all the conventional 12V loads. Lighting can be retrofitted with 24V bulbs; 24V winches can be had; and most 12V only loads are usually pretty small and well within the range of 20-30A converters.

I use an Astrodyne converter (relatively cheap) to power my fuel injection and distributorless ignition and have had no problems in 3 years; Jim L. has used similar converters in a few other FI conversions sucessfully as well.
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Doccers
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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by Doccers » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:41 pm

Yes, it is quite a job, and yes, it's DOUBLING the amperage, so I'm going to be replacing all wires, relays, etc.


Yes.

All of them.
(I realize what I'm getting into, if I go this route)

I picked up a 420 watt 24v to 12v rectifier as well, as initially I was going to do just that - build a 12v circuit for everything else and run the main system on 24v. But the more I worked on it, and the more I looked at what I wanted to do, the more I realized that it would be better in the long run to convert everything to 12v than it would to run a dual-system.

I initially argued from your side - it'd be easier to keep it 24v, and I can just run a converter/rectifier for the stuff I want, but as time went on, I've been more and more challenged to come up with a reason to keep it 24v. If I could actually find/get a hold of a higher amp alternator, that might help, but at the moment, I've heard tales that a 60 amp 24v alt exists, but I'll be darned if I can find one, just the 35amp one.

I'm not planning on doing this till next summer though, so I can still look around for a way to do what I want and keep it 24v. It's just.... at this point it's looking like the better path is to convert to 12v.

MogMan: GPS for both speed and fuel efficiency calculations. We're having some issues with the odometer's trip system, plus with these tires the odometer is completely miscalculating everything.

I attribute the better milage to my light foot - I've spent most of my life trying to coax every last drop of gas out of my 4.0 Liter Jeep Cherokee, which will vaporize fuel in a heartbeat if you put your foot down, so you learn to be light with the throttle.

And yes, it is a good clip. It was insane. I typically only cruise around at 45-55. It was more a "the road is flat and straight, there's no wind, and the limit is 75, lets see if we can get there" - I chickened out at 70. :)

The TGB-20's (C306) have an even lower gearing in the diffs than the C304 does, so it'd be even more difficult to reach that speed even with the oversized tires.

I think the 303 is 5.something, the 304 is 7.1something, and the 306 is 7.5, but I'd have to check.

I'm also looking into a 123Ignition or similar system, as well as possibly getting a standard B30 head, or having a volvo specialist shave this one down by 2mm to get a bit more compression/power out of the engine. Going up colorado rocky mountain highways is murder, as I'm sure you pinz guys know. :)

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by VinceAtReal4x4s » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:11 pm

These things should never see 70.

Pushing compression even higher will make you have to use 92 oct. fuel. It already needs 89 stock. I don't think you'd notice much difference anyway. The 30x series Volvos simply are not good highway cars and never will be unless you want to spend serious money for a full conversion/engineering nightmare.

That 123 ignition is fine but it wont do anything for power.

You can have any decent alt. shop build up a 24v 70amp unit for far less trouble than you will have trying to use 12v and that is enough amps for anything you could need. Also consider the trouble in dealing with wiper motors, fans, relays, etc.

24v winches are also much better than 12.
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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by NM_Mogman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:22 pm

Doccers wrote: MogMan: GPS for both speed and fuel efficiency calculations. We're having some issues with the odometer's trip system, plus with these tires the odometer is completely miscalculating everything.

I attribute the better milage to my light foot - I've spent most of my life trying to coax every last drop of gas out of my 4.0 Liter Jeep Cherokee, which will vaporize fuel in a heartbeat if you put your foot down, so you learn to be light with the throttle.

And yes, it is a good clip. It was insane. I typically only cruise around at 45-55. It was more a "the road is flat and straight, there's no wind, and the limit is 75, lets see if we can get there" - I chickened out at 70. :)

The TGB-20's (C306) have an even lower gearing in the diffs than the C304 does, so it'd be even more difficult to reach that speed even with the oversized tires.

I think the 303 is 5.something, the 304 is 7.1something, and the 306 is 7.5, but I'd have to check.

I'm also looking into a 123Ignition or similar system, as well as possibly getting a standard B30 head, or having a volvo specialist shave this one down by 2mm to get a bit more compression/power out of the engine. Going up colorado rocky mountain highways is murder, as I'm sure you pinz guys know. :)
The TGB-20 I am looking to possibly buy is the one that Extreme Vehicles did the 2.8l 4cyl TDI conversion on so with some 39" tires should give me a bit more manageable road speed (not to mention cost more $!! :lol: ) I should be able to drive it later this week or early next week and make the decision to buy or not. Anyone by chance have any info on what all was done to that truck by X.V.?

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by Doccers » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:31 pm

VinceAtReal4x4s wrote:These things should never see 70.

Pushing compression even higher will make you have to use 92 oct. fuel. It already needs 89 stock. I don't think you'd notice much difference anyway. The 30x series Volvos simply are not good highway cars and never will be unless you want to spend serious money for a full conversion/engineering nightmare.

That 123 ignition is fine but it wont do anything for power.

You can have any decent alt. shop build up a 24v 70amp unit for far less trouble than you will have trying to use 12v and that is enough amps for anything you could need. Also consider the trouble in dealing with wiper motors, fans, relays, etc.

24v winches are also much better than 12.
I was already running 92 octane, as I wanted to avoid any issues until I had a chance to replace the valve seats with hardened ones as it was built for leaded fuel.

I'm only looking for a *BIT* more power to get up hills and hold 40 MPH instead of dipping down into the 30's, which can be kinda dangerous with the way people drive around here. - I'm certainly not looking to cruise at 70 - that was a religious experience on a flat, wide open road with no traffic around - I couldn't IMAGINE trying to take a curve at that speed, particularly not with traffic!

I'm thoroughly pleased with it's cruising speed as is, I don't need any more power to make it go FASTER, I just live in the rocky mountains, and going Up sometimes gets a little hairy- not that the truck can't do it, I'm just worried some inattentive driver is going to ram right into me because i'm going 20mph slower than him. If I could ratchet that back to 5 or 10 mph slower than him up a hill, I'm happy as a clam.

I hadn't considered having one built for me from scratch, to be honest, and yeah, 70 amps @24 volts would be more power than I know what to do with... More things to think about!

I wonder if I could have a 12v B30 starter rebuilt for 24v...

You are full of good ideas, Vince. :)

I'd still like a touch more power for going up the mountains.


Mogman: I contacted the owner of XV when I started looking for a volvo, by that point, due to the economy, he'd pretty much closed up shop. A real shame, IMHO. I need to contact him to see if he still makes/has some of his custom beadlock wheels, as well..

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by NM_Mogman » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:46 pm

Ooh....bead locks would be a great accessory!!! Only down side would be in buying 6 of them. LOL
When I go up to the mountains here there are a lot of inclines so having the diesel should, in theory, help to maintain a decent speed so as not to be plowed into from behind

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by VinceAtReal4x4s » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:38 am

The TGB-20 I am looking to possibly buy is the one that Extreme Vehicles did the 2.8l 4cyl TDI conversion on so with some 39" tires should give me a bit more manageable road speed (not to mention cost more $!! :lol: ) I should be able to drive it later this week or early next week and make the decision to buy or not. Anyone by chance have any info on what all was done to that truck by X.V.?
I personally wouldn't trust that conversion any further than I could throw it. I have never actually seen a complete conversion on a Pinz, Mog or Volvo that I would trust in any way. If the whole rig is mostly a toy to tinker with, then maybe that kind of thing is fine but I use my trucks for real trips and need stock style reliability. Anything that radical will be an endless nightmare.

And 39" tires is completely ridiculous!! There is no way on earth that will work properly or will be good down the road. You will break an axle at some point, plus some, guaranteed. Hec, 36"'s rub as it is. WTF does a Volvo need even more tire under it for? 16" under the lowest point isn't enough? Didn't those guys go out of "business" years ago anyway? Aren't they the ones that claim a 303 will do 75mph? Funny stuff.

Without investing a large sum of money ($15+K) into a properly engineered conversion I feel like the only way to add any power to a Volvo is to have a race shop build up your motor; balance/blueprint it, inject it (talk to Jim), go with electric fans and tune it up perfectly. That will cost enough as it is but it's the only way to notice a real difference without turning it into a true pile of junk, which you wont be able to resell to any collector.

None of these trucks are simple Jeeps or Chevy's and can't be treated that way without some surprising consequences.
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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by Doccers » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:33 am


I personally wouldn't trust that conversion any further than I could throw it. I have never actually seen a complete conversion on a Pinz, Mog or Volvo that I would trust in any way. If the whole rig is mostly a toy to tinker with, then maybe that kind of thing is fine but I use my trucks for real trips and need stock style reliability. Anything that radical will be an endless nightmare.

And 39" tires is completely ridiculous!! There is no way on earth that will work properly or will be good down the road. You will break an axle at some point, plus some, guaranteed. Hec, 36"'s rub as it is. WTF does a Volvo need even more tire under it for? 16" under the lowest point isn't enough? Didn't those guys go out of "business" years ago anyway? Aren't they the ones that claim a 303 will do 75mph? Funny stuff.

Without investing a large sum of money ($15+K) into a properly engineered conversion I feel like the only way to add any power to a Volvo is to have a race shop build up your motor; balance/blueprint it, inject it (talk to Jim), go with electric fans and tune it up perfectly. That will cost enough as it is but it's the only way to notice a real difference without turning it into a true pile of junk, which you wont be able to resell to any collector.

None of these trucks are simple Jeeps or Chevy's and can't be treated that way without some surprising consequences.
Yeah, I was originally looking into a diesel conversion, but the only way you're going to get away with that is to completely strip it down to the frame and re-engineer it from the ground up, it's quite the undertaking.

yes, XtremeVehicles stated a C303 can reach 75. I believe them in that it physically *CAN* do it, but you'd have to be insane/suicidal/retarded to do so. The C304 is longer (and thus more stable) but I felt like I was going to die at any moment just reaching 70. I don't want to even think about what would happen in a 303. One hiccup and you're going for a tumble and roll.

I've got basically 39's on mine right now (the michelin XZL's rate in at like 38.5"), and while I will admit it does increase the top speed you can reach and give you yet more ground clearence (I'm sitting at about 18" to the diff), I wouldn't reccomend it. It does terrible things to your turning radius, robs the thing of power going up hills/getting started from a stop, noise, etc.

And there's always the fear of overstressing the drivetrain.

I've seen "Fast" C304's in things like the Team Havast truck, but they're an automotive shop that have dumped likely near a hundred THOUSAND dollars into custom building it for that purpose, and they *STILL* snap differentials.

I am going to be replacing the mechanical fan in mine for an electric, a little extra power would be nice, but dropping the NOISE would be even better. :D The C3 series is VERY LOUD in the cab, and it will ALWAYS be Loud in the cab, but that mechanical fan on it's ridiculously long shaft isn't helping matters any.

The custom volvo shop I'm looking at is a race shop, but I'm not looking at doing anything ridiculous to my B30A, I just want to get it converted over to use regular gasoline (valve seats mainly) and re-tuned back up to default B30A specs rather than the military spec. (it normally put out about 127 or so, military de-tuned it down to 110 with a lower compression head.)

The engine's known to be extremely reliable in it's stock configuration, so I'm not worried about that.

To reiterate, I'm not building a rally/race C3 series. I'm just looking to help it up a hill. The C304's extra weight does drag it down a bit compared to the 303. Ideally i'd like to get the engine up to 130/140 if I possibly can, but if I can't, ohwell. It's not a sedan for highway cruising, it's a dedicated off-road beast of a truck. :)

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by NM_Mogman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:25 am

Wow, who would have guessed that there would be such hostility toward a larger tire :shock: Get a sense of humor & don't lecture me about stock in one breath and talk about hopping up a motor and doing a fuel injection conversion in the next because you sort of lose your high ground.....oh, and by the way, the guy originally dumped over $17+k into the complete transplant (engine, tranny, transfer, prop shafts, fuel system, brake lines, etc...) I know a littleabout what was done but I am not sure I trust it myself, I plan to take it to a reputable shop to check out things before I decide. I would much rather have a nice truck like Doccers (mostly original) and just have it tuned up for unleaded gas and my elevation and just run it as is with as close to stock size tires as I can but it is not like these things are for sale on every used car lot....The truck I am looking at is local, decently priced and owned by a guy who is not the one who had the conversion done, and could not tell a foreign military truck from a U.S. Military truck.....and he needs the $ 8)

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by Doccers » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:41 am

NM_Mogman wrote:Wow, who would have guessed that there would be such hostility toward a larger tire :shock: Get a sense of humor & don't lecture me about stock in one breath and talk about hopping up a motor and doing a fuel injection conversion in the next because you sort of lose your high ground.....oh, and by the way, the guy originally dumped over $17+k into the complete transplant (engine, tranny, transfer, prop shafts, fuel system, brake lines, etc...) I know a littleabout what was done but I am not sure I trust it myself, I plan to take it to a reputable shop to check out things before I decide. I would much rather have a nice truck like Doccers (mostly original) and just have it tuned up for unleaded gas and my elevation and just run it as is with as close to stock size tires as I can but it is not like these things are for sale on every used car lot....The truck I am looking at is local, decently priced and owned by a guy who is not the one who had the conversion done, and could not tell a foreign military truck from a U.S. Military truck.....and he needs the $ 8)
He's hostile agianst the larger tire because it's a REALLY BAD IDEA. :)

I'm having to hold off on doing much "fun" with mine and take it really, REALLY easy until I can afford some new smaller meats on mine. The system was designed around a 34" tire, putting 38's or 39's on there really stresses the *HELL* out of the axles. And axles are going to cost you 3 grand a pop to replace, being portals.

It's a lesson I'm glad to learn from other's mistakes instead of my own. :)

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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by VinceAtReal4x4s » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:35 pm

Hostility? Uhhh, ok. You'll find me more laid back than anyone you've ever met. You read the typed words like you want to... not my problem.

People can play games of theory until the end of time but a larger tire than a 36 on a 303 is a stupid idea, sorry but that's the facts. Nothing anyone can do about that short of $100,000 in time and re-engineering costs, and you still won't have anything worthwhile unless you are racing like was noted above. The biggest issue for me on this subject is WHY do it? People who think more ground clearance makes a better 4x4 are the same ones who think more sugar makes a better cake!

People can screw things up trying to reinvent the wheel all they want. God knows I've seen that done countless times and it has never, never, worked out well but some people have fun with that kind of thing and going broke over what wasn't broken to begin with, for whatever reason. I sometimes get a little annoyed though, I will admit, because I have seen a lot of ultra rare trucks ruined that will never be right again. The dumbasses who jack up Volvo Suggas with Chevy motors is a good example. (There are less than than 500 Suggas left on earth)

And by the way, making the stock motor run well has nothing to do with insane tire size and suspension mods. Let's keep thing on track.
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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by VinceAtReal4x4s » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:39 pm

Doccers wrote:

yes, XtremeVehicles stated a C303 can reach 75. I believe them in that it physically *CAN* do it, but you'd have to be insane/suicidal/retarded to do so. The C304 is longer (and thus more stable) but I felt like I was going to die at any moment just reaching 70. I don't want to even think about what would happen in a 303. One hiccup and you're going for a tumble and roll.
I'm not sure that's even possible. If so it would be in the extreme red-line and you'd be getting around 6-7mpg at most. The engine wouldn't last long at that speed regardless.

Yeah the electric fan conversion is more about sound for me than anything. With properly applied sound-control materials, the cab can be as quiet as an older pick-up truck at least.
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Re: Buying a C304.

Post by NM_Mogman » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:39 pm

I do appreciate the point of view and honestly the only reason that I mentioned the larger tires is that the euro Volvo people who seem to be more into the diesel conversion seem to think larger tires help when you lose the higher revs (OK, I admit it was partially because of the earlier ranting :lol: ). IF I do buy this truck and there is no need to go bigger because they replaced the whole drive train then I won't. Can you run tubeless?

The truck also runs an electric fan so hopefully the noise will be manageable.

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