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Volvo Amazon Powertrain and Armament

Starting with the PV 444, Volvo introduced a new generation of four cylindered engines that up until only a few years ago were the very heart and soul of Volvo cars. Countless engines have driven Sweden's car park through the years, but few have been as robust and reliable as Volvo's cast iron engines B16, B18 and B20 (also B14, B21 and B23) which all were based on the B4 engine from 1944. Volvo Amazon was introduced in 1956 with the B16 A as only alternative but came through the years to include also the B18 A and B20 A in the standard edition (121) and the B16 B, B18 B, B18 D and B20 B in its sport editions (122 S and 123 GT).

Sections: Engines Engine outputs Trim kits Carburetors Gearboxes Rear axles Distributor Ignition settings




Engines

When Volvo Amazon is introduced the new B16 A engine is the only engine option. The B16 A is essentially a bored B4 B (from 75 mm to 79,37 mm) with a new cylinder volume of 1 583 cm3. The engine output is 60 hp (DIN) / 66 hp (SAE) at 4 500 rpm and the compression ratio is 7.5:1. The Zenith carburettor is bigger than on the B4 B and B16 A also has a direct oil filter. The sport engine B16 B is introduced in the spring of 1958 and Volvo states the output to 76 hp (DIN) / 85 hp (SAE) at 5 500 rpm (more accurate is 88-89 hp (SAE) at the same rpm). This is achieved by dual SU H 4 carburettors, different cam shaft, lead-bronze bearings, different inlet valves and valve springs. The B16 engines are found on Volvo Amazon model years 1957 - 1961.

When the B18 is introduced in May 1961 on the sports car P 1800 (on the Amazon with model year 1962) it is essentially a completely new engine, designed by legendary engineer Per Gillbrand. According to the history, the new B18 engine has only one single distance washer in common with the B16 engine, although the fundamental construction is ofcourse the same. The cylinder head has a different shape and each cylinder is fed from a separate inlet port (not via common pairs as on the B16). The crank shaft has five bearings compared to only three before and the cylinder dimension is 84.14 x 80 mm which gives a cylinder volume of 1 780 cm3. The B18 A is armed with a Zenith carburettor which gives an output of 68 hp (DIN) / 75 hp (SAE) at 4 500 rpm, after output increases in 1967 75 hp (DIN) / 85 hp (SAE). The sport engine B18 D is armed with dual SU HS 6 carburettors and has an initial (1962 - 1965) output of 80 hp (DIN) / 90 hp (SAE) and after output increases in 1966 86 hp (DIN) / 95 hp (SAE) and in 1967 90 hp (DIN) / 100 hp (SAE). The B18 B engine is reserved for P 1800 but comes to the Volvo Amazon in 1967 on the 123 GT edition (from 1968 also on the 122 S), but without oil cooler, and has an output of 96 hp (DIN) /115 hp (SAE). B18 B in the Amazon is identical with the B18 B in the P 1800 when it comes to compression, cam shaft and carburetors during the same model year. The output is different on these cars which, according to the workshop manuals, is due to differences in the exhaust systems. The B18 engines are found on the Volvo Amazon model years 1962 - 1968.

The new B20 engine is introduced also on the Volvo Amazon in August 1968 (for model year 1969). It is a development of the B18 engine that includes bigger cylinder diamter and a cylinder volume of 1 986 cm3. Zenith-Stromberg carburettors on the B20 A and dual SU HS 6 carburettors (dual Zenith-Stromberg on some markets) on the B20 B gives an output of 82 hp (DIN) / 90 hp (SAE) and 100 hp (DIN) / 118 hp (SAE) respectively. The compression ratios are 8.7:1 for the B20 A and 9.5:1 for the B20 B, the differences being achieved by different thicknesses of the cylinder top gaskets. The big difference compared with the B18 engine is not the output but the significantly better torque. The B20 engines are found on the last two model years of the Volvo Amazon, 1969 - 1970.


Per Gillbrand checks out the world's first B18 engine


Engine B20 B with fan clutch (S-5396)

Engine Outputs

Engine outputs are presented in official Volvo figures, showing both the DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) and the more optimistic SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) values in number of horsepowers. Output is measured in Watts, where one horsepower (DIN) equals 746 Watts. In other words, the engine output in Volvo Amazon has varied between 45kW and 75kW. Changes and differences in engine output between different editions (A, B, D) of the same engine has almost exclusively been achieved by Volvo through different carburettors, cam shafts and cylinder head gasket thicknesses.

The table is a complete record of the engines that were factory installed in the Volvo Amazon and is listed after the engine part number. Also listed are camshaft marking, gearbox and rear axis gear ratio.



Part number
Output Output Output Camshaft marking
Rear axis ratio
Comment
Edition
Model year
hp SAE
at rpm
hp DIN
at rpm
kW
Gearbox
Type designation
495383 B16 A 1957 - 1960 66 4 500 60 4 500 45 H6, M4 4.56:1 P 1200, P 12104, P 12106
B16 A 1961 66 4 500 60 4 500 45 M30, M31, M40 4.56:1 12132V/HD, 12133V/HD, 12134V/HD
495387 B16 B 1958 - 1960 85 5 500 76 5 500 57 M4 4.56:1 P 12204, P 12206, P 12208
B16 B 1961 85 5 500 76 5 500 57 M40, M41 4.56:1 12234V/HD, 12244V/HD, 12235V/HD
495395 B16 A 1961 66 4 500 60 4 500 45 M30, M40 4.56:1 12132V/HD, 12134V/HD Saxomatic clutch
495396 B16 B 1961 85 5 500 76 5 500 57 M40 4.56:1 12234V/HD, 12244V/HD Saxomatic clutch
496801 B18 A 1962 75 4 500 68 4 500 51 A M30 4.1:1 12132x, 13132x
B18 A 1963 75 4 500 68 4 500 51 A M30 4.1:1 13132x
B18 A 1966 75 4 500 68 4 500 51 A M30 4.1:1 13121x, 13191x* Favorit
B18 A 1962 - 1966 75 4 500 68 4 500 51 A M40 4.1:1 12134x, 12138x, 13134x
B18 A 1962 - 1966 75 4 500 68 4 500 51 A M40 4.55:1** 22134x
496802 B18 D 1962 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A M40 4.1:1 12234x, 12238x, 12244x, 13234x, 13244x
B18 D 1963 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A M40 4.55:1** 22244x
B18 D 1962 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A M41 4.56:1 12235x, 13235x
496814 B18 A 1964 - 1966 75 4 500 68 4 500 51 A BW35 4.1:1 12136x, 13136x
496815 B18 D 1964 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A BW35 4.1:1 12236x, 12246x, 13246x
496816 B18 D 1962 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A M40 4.1:1 12244x, 13244x
B18 D 1963 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A M40 4.55:1** 22244x
496818 B18 D 1964 - 1965 90 5 000 80 5 000 60 A BW35 4.1:1 12236x, 12246x, 13246x
496820 B18 D 1966 95 5 400 86 5 000 64 B M40 4.1:1 12234x, 12238x, 13234x, 13244x
B18 D 1966 95 5 400 86 5 000 64 B M40 4.55:1** 22234x
B18 D 1966 95 5 400 86 5 000 64 B M41 4.56:1 12235x, 13235x
496821 B18 D 1966 95 5 400 86 5 000 64 B M40 4.1:1 12244x, 13244x
B18 D 1966 95 5 400 86 5 000 64 B M40 4.55:1** 22244x
496822 B18 D 1966 95 5 400 86 5 000 64 B BW35 4.1:1 12236x, 12246x, 13246x
496834 B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A M30 4.1:1 13191x* Favorit
B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A M40 4.1:1 12194x, 13194x
496835 B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A BW35 4.1:1 12136x, 13136x
B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A BW35 4.55:1** 22136x
496840 B18 D 1967 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B M40 4.1:1 12234x, 12238, 12244x, 12294x, 13234x, 13244x, 13294x
B18 D 1967 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B M40 4.55:1** 22234x, 22244x, 22294x
B18 D 1967 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B M41 4.56:1 12235x
496841 B18 D 1967 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B BW35 4.1:1 12246x, 12296x, 13246x, 13296x
B18 D 1967 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B BW35 4.55:1** 22246x
496852 B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A M30 4.1:1 13121x Favorit
B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A M40 4.1:1 12134x, 12138x, 13134x
B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A M40 4.55:1** 22134x
496860 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M41 4.56:1 13335x, 13395x
496861 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M40 4.1:1 12394x, 13394x W/o em. control
B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M40 4.55:1** 22394x W/o em. control
B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M41 4.56:1 13335x W/o em. control
496866 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M41 4.56:1 133x5x
496868 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M40 4.1:1 13344x W/ em. control
B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M40 4.55:1** 22344x, 22394x W/ em. control
496869 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C BW35 4.1:1 13346x W/ em. control
B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C BW35 4.55:1** 22346x W/ em. control
496871 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M40 4.1:1 13334x, 13394x W/o em. control
B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M40 4.55:1** 22334x, 22344x W/o em. control
496872 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C BW35 4.1:1 13396x
B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C BW35 4.55:1** 22336x, 22346x W/o em. control
496877 B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A xx1xxx Packed engine
496878 B18 A 1967 - 1968 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A BW35 xx1x6x Packed engine
496880 B18 D 1967 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B xx2xxx Packed engine
496881 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M41 4.56:1 133x5x Packed engine
496882 B18 B 1967 - 1968 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C M41 4.56:1 133x5x Packed engine
496890 B18 A 85 5 000 75 4 700 56 A Spare part***
496892 B18 B 115 6 000 96 5 600 72 C Spare part***
496893 B18 D 100 5 700 90 5 500 67 B Spare part***
496900 B20 A 1969 - 1970 90 4 800 82 4 700 61 A M40 4.1:1 131341S/T, 131941S/T
B20 A 1969 - 1970 90 4 800 82 4 700 61 A M40 4.3:1 221341S
496901 B20 A 1969 - 1970 90 4 800 82 4 700 61 A M40 4.1:1 131342S/T
496910 B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M40 4.1:1 133341S/T, 133441S/T, 133941S/T
B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M41 4.3:1 133351S/T
B20 B 1969 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M40 4.3:1 223341S
496911 B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M40 4.1:1 133342S/T, 133942S/T
B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M41 4.3:1 133352S/T
496924 B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M40 4.1:1 133341 S-5396
496979 B20 A 1969 - 1970 90 4 800 82 4 700 61 A M40 4.1:1 131x41 Packed engine
496980 B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M40 4.1:1 133x41 Packed engine
496982 B20 B 1969 - 1970 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C M40 4.1:1 133x42 Packed engine
496995 B20 A 90 4 800 82 4 700 61 A Spare part***
496996 B20 B 118 5 800 100 5 500 75 C Spare part***

* 13191x refers to Volvo Amazon Favorit assembled abroad.
** Please refer to the section on Rear Axis below regarding the 4.55:1 ratio.
*** Spare part engines are delivered without flywheel casing, flywheel, thermostat, water pipes, manifolds, fuel pump, starter motor, distributor, generator and crankcase ventilation.

Trim Kits

Volvo was very successful on the international competition scene in the early and mid 1960s. Gunnar Andersson, successful Swedish rally driver, was convinced in 1962 by Volvo CEO Gunnar Engellau to head Volvo's new Competition Service department. This was no easy decision for Andersson who was at the peak of his career with a European Rally Champion title, but was made somewhat easier when Engellau pointed out that Andersson at Volvo would be working full time with what had been his private hobby for several years. Volvo built a series of 1,000 Volvo 122 S that were very capable for sport and competition use. Some 800 units were built in Gothenburg and the remaining 200 units were finished at assembly plants abroad. The competition version of the 122 S quickly became both popular and competitive, and was very appreciated among rally drivers. This was the reason why Volvo started selling a trim kit for Volvo Amazon also directly to customers. The cars that left Volvo Competition Service with theses special trim kits were often referred to as Rally Sport or R edition by the customers, a name and a feature that Volvo use still today.

Competition regulations required that at least 1,000 units per year were completed as competition vehicles. Volvo Competition Service was located to Jannesson's smitty (a smaller forge shop of around 3,200 sq.ft that came with the property that Volvo purchased near Torslanda in November 1959) and at most Volvo delivered 30 - 50 cars a day there. The cars - all 122 S - were taken finished off the assembly line, were driven to the smitty and got the parts that were included in the trim kit replaced. Some 8 - 10 people worked at Volvo Competition Service at the time and there was room in the smitty for five or six cars. The competition cars were more or less only modified mechanically. No badges were added or replaced, but a tachometer was added to the dash. Editions that were not sold to the public in Sweden until several years later, such as P 130 in 122 S edition, left Jannesson's smitty for Swedish rally teams already in 1962 (and then with 115 hp SAE compared to the standard 90 hp SAE of the 122 S). Trying carefully to balance their reputation as a market leader in terms of safety with the goals of strengthening their position on the international rally scene, Volvo did not market the trim kits to the public to any larger extent but kept their resellers informed to give interested customers special information.

An estimated total of 4,000 - 5,000 cars were equiped with trim kits from Volvo Competition Service. The trim kits had part number 419398 and contained the following (major) parts:

  • Leveled cylinder head with reduced combustion chamber (compression 11.1:1)
  • Bigger inlet valves (1.65 " compared to the previous 1.57 ")
  • Bigger valve springs
  • Bigger washers for the valve springs
  • Cylinder head gasket
  • More powerful camshaft
  • Lighter flywheel (17.6 lbs instead of 25.4 lbs)
  • More powerful ignition coil
  • Different needles for the SU-carburetors
  • Special manifold
  • More powerful springs for the clutch
  • Oil cooler

These modifications would give the car an output of approximately 124 hp (DIN) / 135 hp (SAE). Later editions of the Volvo trim kits would allow outputs up to 180 hp (SAE). These included specially made cylinder heads, valve sizes of up to 1.81 " and revolutions of up to 8,500 rpm. It was not only the engines that differed from the original cars - the suspension could also be modified upon request. Volvo had, for instance, cars that were to be sold on markets with poor road conditions (for instance Africa) rebuilt and equiped them with progressive suspension ("Safari suspension") and also replaced the regular shock absorbers with gas absorbers. Gunnar Andersson retired from Volvo in the summer of 1983.

Carburetors

The carburetor armament has also varied during the years, but the cars were consistently delivered with single carburetor setup on the A engines and dual carburetor setup on the B and D engines. The makes were with few exceptions Zenith and Zenith-Stromberg respectively on the A engines and Skinners Union (SU) on the B and D engines. On some markets the B20 A engine was fitted with one SU HS 6 carburetor, but this may have concerned only the 140-series. On some markets (North America) the B20 B engine was fitted with dual Zenith-Stromberg carburetors.

Carburetor
Number
Engine
Model year
Edition
Body
Zenith 34 VN 1 B16 A 1957 - 1961 Amazon (121 from 1958) P 120
SU H 4 2 B16 B 1958 - 1961 Amazon Sport (122 S from 1958) P 120
Zenith 36 VN 1 B18 A 1962 - 1966 121 P 120, P 130, P 220
Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD / 175 CD-2S * 1 B18 A 1967 - 1968 121 P 120, P 130
SU HS 6 2 B18 D 1962 - 1968 122 S P 120, P 130, P 220 **
SU HS 6 2 B18 B 1967 - 1968 122 S, 123 GT P 130, P 220
Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD-2 1 B20 A 1969 121 P 130, P 220
Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD-2SE 1 B20 A 1970 121 P 130
SU HS 6 *** 2 B20 B 1969 - 1970 122 S, 123 GT P 130, P 220

* Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD on early editions, Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD-2S on late editions (not related to markets).
** P 220 in 122 S edition from model year 1963 (some markets, including USA).
*** Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD-2 and CD-2SE on cars sold in the USA and Canada. Both markets are mentioned in the B20 spare parts catalogue.

Gearboxes

In the beginning the Volvo Amazon inherits a lot of its mechanics from the predecessor PV 444 and this includes the gearbox, which for the first model year is a three gear transmission labeled H6 with unsynchronized first and with reverese gear. The H is an indication of how the gears are placed inside the gearbox and unsynchronized first means that the driver has to step on the clutch twice in order to put in the first gear. Already when introduced, there are complaints about the missing fourth gear. The Amazon is priced 25% higher than a PV and with that comes expectations, expectations that the H6 box simply could not meet. Volvo probably sat on an overstock of H6 boxes and felt a need to reduce this stock to a more acceptable level and hence used the same box also in the Amazon. In February 1958 the first Amazons with the new and fully synchronized four geared gearbox are produced. It is initially labeled M3 but this is changed just in time for the introduction (but some shop literature had already been printed with references to M3). M stands for manual. The M4 is fitted in both Volvo Amazon and Volvo Amazon Sport. The M4 was developed and used as base for the major transmission changes that came with model year 1961, when gearboxes M30, M31, M40 and M41 replaced the M4. The three first were available on the standard edition while the two latter were available on the sport edition, with a few exceptions (see below). The first digit states the number of gears (three or four) while the last digit state overdrive (1) or not (0). The body was adjusted on model year 1961 cars to fit the new gearboxes, which are bigger than the predecessors, and consequently it is not possible to retrofit them on earlier model years. Customers in North America early demands an automatic transmission option but it isn't until model year 1964 that Volvo could meet these requirements. This automatic gearbox is manufactured by Borg-Warner, labeled BW35 and is a three step automatic tranny notorious for the high fuel consumption it causes.

Överväxeln är spärrad till tvåans och treans växel

Overdrive came with the new gearboxes M31 and M41 in 1961 and are found in combination with the B16 engine and 6V electric system only that model year *. Overdrive is like a fifth gear, and is so adjusted that it is ideal for driving in high speeds on flat roads (in other words, it is not designed for acceleration). The overdrive units for M31 and M41 were manufactured by Laycock de Normanville and are a smaller and separate gearbox fitted behind the regular gearbox, i.e. on the outgoing shaft from the gearbox on the propeller shaft. The overdrive is locked to the second and third gears on the M31 and to the fourth gear on the M41 using an electric breaker switch on the gearbox lid, and is not an ordinary gear controlled by the gear shift lever but toggled by an electric switch. On the Volvo Amazon, this switch is located on the steering wheel pole cover on the opposite side to the turn signal switch (the switch also has an identical design as the turn signal switch). A red indicator lamp placed on the instrument panel between and above the lighter and the fan knob indicates the position of the switch (on or off). The electric switch on the gearbox lid prevents the overdrive unit from being engaged on other gears than what it can handle (the torque will be too high on low gears and the overdrive unit would break completely should it be engaged together with the reverse gear). The overdrive units were of type D modely years 1961 - 1968 (in combination with the B18 engine) and of type J in 1969 - 1970 (with the B20 engine). Type J is a more robust and reliable construction while type D has a higher rpm reduction (0.756:1 or approximately 24 % compared to 0.797:1 or approximately 20 % for the type J). Type J also comes with an improved hydraulic system that provides smoother kick in/out and is less sensitive to polutions thanks to an added fine particle filter in the pressure line. Type D is wired with a relay in the engine compartment while type J is wired directly to +12 VDC (after the 25 A fuse). Overdive was not available on all markets and can not be found on export cars to the USA, and also not on all bodies (not on the Estate, P 220). M41 with overdrive in combination with the B16 B engine came late in the model year 1961 and only on 199 cars, between ch.-no. 80683 and 82239.

The Laycock de Normanville type J overdrive unit is found on M41 and M46 on about two decades of Volvo cars and is a significantly stronger construction than the earlier type D, but the gearbox itself still has the same flaws as earlier M40 and M41 boxes. Especially the M40 was developed much during the Volvo Amazon era and is found under several different part numbers. The M31 disappeared after only one model year (1961) and is found on 1 120 Volvo Amazons (mostly either slate blue or black) up to and including ch.-no. 80258. Also the M30 was only available for a short time (1961 - 1963 and later on the Volvo Amazon Favorit 1966 - 1968). It is obvious that most customers preferred four or more gears and the M30 is very rare today. Gearbox changes to M40 or M41 are probably two of the most popular modifications among owners of Volvo Amazon.

* Volvo 122 S / Volvo Amazon Sport with overdrive (B16 B + M41, 12235V/HD), for instance ch.-no. 80701, 80756, 81361 och 81362.



Gearbox
Type
Model year
Engine
Edition
H6 Three speed manual transmission with reverse and unsynchronized first 1957 B16 A Amazon
M4 * Four speed fully synchronized manual transmission 1958 - 1960 B16 A, B16 B Amazon, Amazon Sport (121, 122 S)
M30 Three speed manual transmission 1961 - 1963 B16 A, B18 A 121
1966 - 1968 B18 A Favorit
M31 Three speed manual transmission with overdrive 1961 B16 A 121 **
M40 *** Four speed manual transmission 1961 - 1970 B16 A, B16 B, B18 A, B18 D, B18 B, B20 A, B20 B 121, 122 S
M41 type D Four speed manual transmission with overdrive 1961 - 1968 B16 B, B18 D, B18 B 122 S ****, 123 GT
M41 type J Four speed manual transmission with overdrive 1969 - 1970 B20 B 123 GT
BW35 Three step automatic transmission with steering wheel lever 1964 - 1968 B18 A, B18 D, B18 B 121, 122 S

* The M4 was called M3 during early development and some shop literature had already been printed when the name was changed.
** The M31 is found as option only on the 121 and only in 1961; examples include chassis numbers 61167 and 67458.
*** Sometimes called M40GV where GV stands for floor lever. Also available with steering wheel lever on P 120 cars as M40RV.
**** The M41 is available as option on the 122 S until 1966, from 1967 exclusively on the 123 GT. Not on cars sold in the USA. Together with B16 B only late 1961 cars.

The gearboxes have the following ratios per gear:

Gearbox
First
Second
Third
Fourth
Overdrive
Reverse
Comment
H6 3.13:1 1.62:1 1:1 2.66:1
M4 3.45:1 2.18:1 1.31:1 1:1 3.55:1
M30 3.13:1 1.55:1 1:1 3.25:1
M31 * 3.13:1 1.55:1 1:1 0.756:1 3.25:1
M40 (B16, B18) ** 3.13:1 1.99:1 1.359:1 1:1 3.25:1 1961 - 1968
M40 (B20) 3.13:1 1.99:1 1.362:1 1:1 3.25:1 1969 - 1970
M41 type D 3.13:1 1.99:1 1.359:1 1:1 0.756:1 3.25:1
M41 type J 3.13:1 1.99:1 1.362:1 1:1 0.797:1 3.25:1
BW35 2.39:1 1.45:1 1:1 2.09:1

* The M31 has overdrive on both second and third gears and is, in principle, equiped with five gears. The second gear with overdrive has the ratio 1.17:1 (= 1.55 * 0.756).
** Includes steering wheel lever M40RV (only on P 120).

Automatic clutch of the type saxomat, a.k.a. saxomatic clutch, is available as option for both 121 (B16 A) and 122 S (B16 B) model year 1961, probably only in combination with the gearboxes M30 and M40 (i.e. not with overdrive). Saxomatic clutch is available in combination with floor lever and steering wheel lever, and is found also on the PV 544.

Cars with saxomatic clutch do not have a clutch pedal. Instead the clutch is controlled by a servo cylinder connected to the clutch (see illustration to the right). Engagement and disengagement is done via an electric impuls from a switch in the gear shift lever. The engine is disengaged as long as the gear shift lever is touched.

Saxomatic clutch does not affect the gear ratios.

When starting the engine in a car with saxomatic clutch the gear shift lever needs to be in neutral. With the engine running at idle, the desired gear is engaged and then some gas is given upon which the car will move.

When shifting up, ease the accelerator and move the gear shift lever to the desired position. Release the gear shift lever and give more gas with the accelerator.

When shifting down during acceleration, keep the accelerator in an unchanged position and quickly move the gear shift lever to the lower gear. When shifting down during deceleration, release the accelerator and thereafter put the gear shift lever in the lower gear.

The car can be brought to a full stop without having to touch the gear shift lever. Before the engine is stopped, the gear shift lever should be moved to neutral. It is important never to touch the gear shift lever except when shifting gears and to always release the gear shift lever as soon as this has been completed.

Cars with saxomatic clutch has a different part number of the engine with differences in both the cooling system, with a different thermostat casing and different thermostat (205° vs the normal 195°), as well as in the electric system with a different type of generator (that also later came in the other cars) and different type of temperature gauge. Naturally also in the gearbox. There are also smaller differences in the heater system, on the carburetors and in the brake system.

All gearboxes are listed below per part number. Please note that not all combinations were available on all markets.

Gearbox
Part number
Engine
Model year
Gearbox type
Body / Edition
H6 254122 B16 A 1957 Floor lever P 1200
M4 254161 B16 A, B16 B 1958 - 1960 Floor lever P 120
M30 254200 B16 A 1961 Floor lever P 120
254240 B16 A 1961 Floor lever and Saxomat P 120
254248 B16 A 1961 Steering wheel lever and Saxomat P 120
254252 B18 A 1962 - 1963 Floor lever P 120, P 130
B18 A 1966 Floor lever 13121x *
254211 B18 A 1967 - 1968 Floor lever 13121x* ch.-no. 216950 - 296542
254583 B18 A 1968 Floor lever 13121x* ch.-no. 296543 - 312499
M31 254238 B16 A 1961 Floor lever P 120
M40 254306 B16 A, B16 B 1961 Floor lever P 120
254250 B18 A, B18 D 1962 - 1966 Floor lever P 120, P 130, P 220
254498 B18 A, B18 D, B18 B 1967 - 1968 Floor lever P 120, P 130 ch.-no. 216950 - 296128, P 220 ch.-no. 44600 - 53956
254539 B18 A, B18 D, B18 B 1967 - 1968 Floor lever P 130 ch.-no. 296129 - 312499, P 220 ch.-no. 53957 - 70299
254584 B20 A, B20 B 1969 - 1970 Floor lever P 130, P 220
M40RV 254307 B16 A, B16 B 1961 Steering wheel lever P 120
B18 A, B18 D 1962 - 1966 Steering wheel lever P 120 left hand drive
254514 B18 A, B18 D 1967 Steering wheel lever P 120 left hand drive
254297 B18 A, B18 D 1962 - 1963 Steering wheel lever P 120 right hand drive ch.-no. 84300 - 129999 excl. 129901 - 129903
254381 B18 A, B18 D 1963 - 1966 Steering wheel lever P 120 right hand drive ch.-no. 129901 - 129903, 130000 - 225049
254515 B18 A, B18 D 1967 Steering wheel lever P 120 right hand drive
M41 type D xxxxxx ** B16 B 1961 Floor lever P 120 (122 S)
254322 B18 D 1962 - 1967 Floor lever P 120, P 130 (122 S)
B18 B 1967 - 1968 Floor lever P 130 (123 GT)
M41 type J 254570 B20 B 1969 - 1970 Floor lever P 130 (123 GT)
BW35 254410 B18 A, B18 D 1964 - 1966 Steering wheel lever P 120, P 130
254525 B18 A, B18 D, B18 B 1967 - 1968 Steering wheel lever P 120, P 130, P 220

* Volvo Amazon Favorit. Also 13191x (Favorit assembled abroad).
** Part number not known. With adjustments for the B16 engine (including 6V electric system). B18 gearbox does not fit B16.

Rear Axles

The two splines in the drive unit called pinion and crownwheel define the ratio on a rear axle. The number of splines on pinion and crownwheel and their relation to eachother sets the ratio. Take for example the ratio 4.1:1 in which the entering axle (pinion with the propeller shaft) has 10 splines and the exiting axle (crownwheel with drive shaft and rear wheels) has 41 splines. The pinion will then rotate 41/10 (=4.1) times for every round the wheels rotate.

Both the rear axles and their ratios have varied with model years and editions. The rear axle ratios found on Volvo Amazon are 4.56:1, 4.55:1, 4.3:1 and 4.1:1*. The first model years, with the B16 engine (1957 - 1961), have rear axles from ENV and Spicer (model 23) with the ratio 4.56:1. The cars were randomly fitted with rear axles of both brands without any apparent order, although the spare parts catalogue lists what chassis numbers got what brand. With the B18 engine (1962) the ratio is changed on cars without overdrive (both 121 and 122 S) to 4.1:1* while cars with overdrive (122 S ordered with M41) keeps the ratio 4.56:1. The brands are still ENV* and Spicer (now model 27); again the spare parts catalogue lists what chassis numbers were fitted with what axle. The rear axle mantle is changed on the ENV axis during model year 1964 to fit the drive units from the Spicer axle. The Spicer 27 rear axle (and later Spicer 30) was also manufactured by Hayes from late model year 1964. The American axle and driveshaft manufacturer Spicer Corp. was renamed to Dana Corp. in 1928 when the company relocated from New Jersey to Toledo, Ohio while many of the products kept the name Spicer for several decades. Spicer 27, 30, etc. are in other words identical with Dana 27, 30, etc.

When the Estate (P 220) is introduced during 1962 it comes with a rear axle from Salisbury with the ratio 4.55:1. Later during the manufacturing of the Estate (about 1965) Volvo starts buying rear axle drive units from one additional supplier, and this drive unit has the ratio 4.56:1. Both drive units are kept on stock under the same part number and are mounted randomly in the Salisbury axle latest up to and including model year 1968. The new Spicer 30 is mounted in the Estate during model year 1965 (from chassisnumber 26228) but only comes with the ratio 4.56:1. The practical difference between the ratios 4.55:1 and 4.56:1 is ofcourse limited, and Volvo has different data on what ratio the Estate had 1962 - 1968, for instance several sales brochures state 4.56:1 1962 - 1968 while mechanical shop literature state 4.55:1 1962 - 1967.

The Spicer 30 axle starts replacing the older Spicer 27 on the four door version (P 120) and two door version (P 130) from week 5 1966, still with the ratio 4.56:1 on cars with overdrive (some 122 S 1966 - 1967 and all 123 GT 1967 - 1968) and with 4.1:1 on all others. During model year 1967 (week 48 1966) Volvo starts mounting a their own version of Spicer 30 in the P 130 that they also produce themselves, mixed with Spicer and Hayes manufactured axles. This axle is called Volvo 1030, where 10 indicates Volvo, but is identical to Spicer 30 and Hayes when it comes to parts. The 1030 axle stuck around until the late 1980s on the 240- and 740-series (ofcourse with different suspension and brake equipment). With the model year 1969 the ratio is changed again in the Estate and on the few cars delivered with overdrive 1969 - 1970 (123 GT) when it is reduced to 4.3:1. The other cars keep 4.1:1 to the bitter end.

Body
Model year
Edition
Engine
Gearbox
Rear axle
Ratio
P 120 1957 - 1961 121, 122 S B16 A, B16 B H6, M4, M30, M31, M40, M41 ENV, Spicer 23 4.56:1
1962 - 1965 ** 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D M30, M40, BW35 ENV *, Spicer 27, Hayes 4.1:1
1962 - 1965 ** 122 S B18 D M41 ENV, Spicer 27, Hayes 4.56:1
1966 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D M30, M40, BW35 Spicer 27, Spicer 30, Hayes 4.1:1
1966 122 S B18 D M41 Spicer 27, Spicer 30, Hayes 4.56:1
1967 *** 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D, B18 B M30, M40, BW35 Spicer 30, Hayes 4.1:1
P 130 1962 - 1965 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D M30, M40, BW35 ENV *, Spicer 27, Hayes 4.1:1
1962 - 1965 122 S B18 D M41 ENV, Spicer 27, Hayes 4.56:1
1966 ** 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D M30, M40, BW35 ENV *, Spicer 27, Spicer 30, Hayes 4.1:1
1966 ** 122 S B18 D M41 ENV, Spicer 27, Spicer 30, Hayes 4.56:1
1967 - 1968 *** 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D, B18 B M30, M40, BW35 Spicer 30, Hayes, Volvo 1030 4.1:1
1967 - 1968 *** 123 GT B18 B M41 Spicer 30, Hayes, Volvo 1030 4.56:1
1969 - 1970 121, 122 S B20 A, B20 B M40 Spicer 30, Hayes, Volvo 1030 4.1:1
1969 - 1970 123 GT B20 B M41 Spicer 30, Hayes, Volvo 1030 4.3:1
P 220 1962 - 1964 121, 122 S **** B18 A, B18 D M40 Salisbury 4.55:1
1965 - 1968 121, 122 S B18 A, B18 D M40, BW35 Salisbury, Spicer 30 4.55:1, 4.56:1
1969 121, 122 S B20 A, B20 B M40 Spicer 30 4.3:1

Simply put: P 120 with the B16 engine (1957 - 1961) has the rear axle ratio 4.56:1. P 120 and P 130 with the B18 engine (1962 - 1968) and overdrive transmission has the ratio 4.56:1 (including the 123 GT). P 120 and P 130 with the B18 or B20 (1962 - 1970) engines that do not have overdrive has the ratio 4.1:1. The few P 130 with the B20 engine and overdrive (only the 123 GT) produced 1969 - 1970 has the ratio 4.3:1. P 220 Estate 1962 - 1964 has the ratio 4.55:1. In 1965 - 1968 it's mixed 4.55:1 and 4.56:1. The last model year (1969) the P 220 gets the ratio 4.3:1.

Volvo Amazon was available with limited slip differential ("anti-spin") on the rear axle on all editions, but this was an option that the customer had to pay extra for. Volvo Amazon in Swedish Police edition has limited slip differential on all cars (P 120, P 130 and P 220). The 123 GT came with limited slip differential as standard equipment on some markets (not Sweden). See for instance this specification from a reseller in Canada (concerns 123 GT assembled at the Halifax plant, type designation 133951). Limited slip differential was sold as accessory by Volvo and can be retro-fitted.

* The ENV axle with stated ratio 4.1:1 actually has 45/11 (i.e. 4.09:1) but has been rounded off to 4.1:1 by Volvo. This lacks practical meaning, just like the Salisbury axle's 4.56:1 or 4.55:1.
** ENV was fitted in the P 120 up to chassis number 182155 (roughly half of model year 1965) and in the P 130 up to chassis number 149917 (early model year 1966).
*** The axles get a more stable attachment on the P 120 and P 130 from model year 1967 that does not fit on earlier model years.
**** P 220 in 122 S edition from model year 1963 (only on some markets, including USA).

Distributor

The distributors used in Volvo Amazon are all manufactured by Bosch, but have varied with different editions of engines.

Engine
Part number
Serial number
Manufactured
Distributor
Designation
Part number
B16 A 495383 0 231 112 031 VJU 4 BR 20 233347
495395 0 231 112 031 VJU 4 BR 20 233347
B16 B 495387 0 231 112 031 VJU 4 BR 20 233347
495396 0 231 112 031 VJU 4 BR 20 233347
B18 A 496801 1 - 158324 - Jan 1964 0 231 112 046 * VJU 4 BL 33 238731
158325 - 256813 Feb 1964 - Jan 1965 0 231 115 043 VJUR 4 BL 33 239457
256814 - Feb 1965 - 0 231 115 026 -- 240214
496814 1 - 606 - Jan 1964 0 231 112 046 * VJU 4 BL 33 238731
607 - 1893 Feb 1964 - Jan 1965 0 231 115 043 VJUR 4 BL 33 239457
1894 - Feb 1965 - 0 231 115 026 -- 240214
496834 0 231 115 026 -- 240214
496835 0 231 115 026 -- 240214
496852 0 231 115 026 -- 240214
B18 D 496802 1 - 76574 - Jan 1964 0 231 112 046 * VJU 4 BL 33 238731
76575 - 86205 Feb 1964 - Aug 1964 0 231 115 043 VJUR 4 BL 33 239457
86206 - Sep 1964 - Jan 1965 0 231 153 002 ** -- 240208
496815 Sep 1964 - Jan 1965 0 231 153 002 ** -- 240208
496816 1 - 7853 - Jan 1964 0 231 112 046 * VJU 4 BL 33 238731
7854 - 15589 Feb 1964 - Aug 1964 0 231 115 043 VJUR 4 BL 33 239457
15590 - Sep 1964 - Jan 1965 0 231 153 002 ** -- 240208
496818 1 - 501 - Jan 1964 0 231 112 046 * VJU 4 BL 33 238731
502 - 1707 Feb 1964 - Aug 1964 0 231 115 043 VJUR 4 BL 33 239457
1708 - Sep 1964 - Jan 1965 0 231 153 002 ** -- 240208
496820 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
496821 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
496822 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
496840 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
496841 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
B18 B 496860 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
496861 0 231 153 003 -- 240208
496868 0 231 153 009 -- 241298
496869 0 231 153 009 -- 241298
496871 0 231 153 009 -- 241298
496872 0 231 153 009 -- 241298
B20 A 496900 0 231 146 077 -- 241529
496901 0 231 146 077 -- 241529
B20 B 496910 0 231 146 078 -- 241530
496911 0 231 146 078 -- 241530

* Replaced by 0 231 115 043.
** Replaced by 0 231 153 003.

Ignition Settings

The ignition order is 1-3-4-2 clockwise on the B16 engine and counter-clockwise on the B18 and B20 engines. There are different recomendations for the sport engines (B and D editions), but Volvo has been consistent on the A editions. The settings below are valid for an engine that has reached its working temperature, has the vacuum regulator disconnected (if present) and at 1,500 rpm, unless otherwise is indicated. Keep in mind that a lot has happened since these settings were defined by Volvo. The octane ratings (or rather the definition for them) have changed, the engine is worn, ignition parts have been changed over the years and a lot of other things that can affect the ignition settings. Don't be surprised if the ignition needs to be set according to other values than those listed here in order not to ignite too early (spike) or too late (excessive fuel consumption). Turn the distributor counter-clockwise for an earlier ignition and clockwise for a later ignition on the B16; the other way around for B18 and B20.

Engine
B16 A
B16 B
B18 A
B18 D (90 hp)
B18 D (95-100 hp)
B18 B
B18 B *
B20 A
B20 B
Idle speed 500 - 700 rpm 500 - 700 rpm 500 - 700 rpm 600 - 800 rpm 800 rpm 700 rpm 800 rpm
Ignition order 1-3-4-2 CW 1-3-4-2 CW 1-3-4-2 CCW 1-3-4-2 CCW 1-3-4-2 CCW 1-3-4-2 CCW 1-3-4-2 CCW 1-3-4-2 CCW 1-3-4-2 CCW
Ignition setting 19 - 21° BTDC 21° BTDC 21 - 23° BTDC 22 - 24° BTDC 17 - 19° BTDC 17 - 19° BTDC 3 - 5° BTDC ** 21 - 23° BTDC 10° BTDC ***
Contact gap 0.0157 " 0.0157 " 0.0157 " 0.0157 - 0.0197 " 0.0157 - 0.0197 " 0.0157 - 0.0197 " 0.0157 - 0.0197 " 0.0157 - 0.0197 " 0.0157 - 0.0197 "
Electrode gap 0.0276 " 0.0276 " 0.0276 " 0.0276 - 0.0315 " 0.0276 - 0.0315 " 0.0276 - 0.0315 " 0.0276 - 0.0315 " 0.0276 - 0.0315 "
Cam angle 50° ± 3° 50° ± 3° 62° ± 3° 59 - 65° 59 - 65° 60 - 64° 62° ± 3° 62° ± 3°

* With emission control.
** At maximum 850 rpm.
*** At 600 - 800 rpm.



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