Archive for March, 2008

Rust, always awake

March 31st, 2008

What I thought was a little bit of rust in the front footwells turned out to be a bit more severe. It’s about the same on the passenger side too.


An air chisel made short work of the rusty bits


I just need to form a piece of stainless steel to fit and weld it in. Luckily this is almost all non-visible bodywork so I don’t need to grind and fair it perfectly.


Another firefighter in the Netherlands

March 31st, 2008

Colby sent me the link to this today.    Looks like a nice one.




I am planning on adding a similar step to help getting into the main cab.

Listing here


New Plates

March 29th, 2008

Plates came today.


Too bad it’s the new digitally printed plates. I was hoping for old school plates made by hammer blows of a hardened convict. Washington residents may also note the great love taken in choosing the font for the red text. State law says plate designs have to change every seven(?) years and it has been getting worse every seven(?) years…


Bumper Crop

March 28th, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Easter took it’s toll as it does. The Easter Bunny may giveth eggs, but he also taketh away my fabrication abilities. As a break from other work, in the spirit of the Bit o’ Bling, I decided that the rear bumper could use some fixing up. Here’s the old bumper, which I think is unique to the civilian versions, and maybe to the firefighters.


It had been bashed a bit with some popped welds and some rewelds by Swedish firefighters with a 12V battery and a coathanger. I initially intended on beating it into shape and putting it back on after getting it powdercoated. However, after taking it off and trying to straighten things, more drastic measures needed to be taken.


The new bumper, with the old huge ball hitch removed. The center horizontal part between the diamond plate is the only original part, the rest is fabbed new. I really should have made it all new as I spent way too much time cutting off the old ball and support bits. Way too much time really. Really. Stupid Easter Bunny. Anyway, I added a flip down step to make it easier to get in. It will be held in the upright position with a pit-pin when driving around so it doesn’t get banged by passing rocks.

After doing all this work on the bumper, I realized that it wasn’t standard equipment on C30x’s and hurts my exit angle. With the C30x’s high ground clearance, it encourages getting into challenging situations and it’d be double-plus bad to have the bumper clip on something. So I’m going to add a hinge so the entire bumper assembly can flip up. The hinge is the two horizontal cylinders above the bumper.

Here’s the step flipped up with diamond plate on the other side, so it also functions as a mini-step when up and held in place by the pit-pin.


With Volvo logo that I pulled off a 740 at a junkyard. I still need to weld in a standard 2″ receiver hitch.

Modifications, Repairs, Trog

Unleaded fuel inlet

March 21st, 2008

I like the look of the peanut-butter jar military style fuel fill inlet. However it’s a real pain to use because you have to stand there holding the fuel nozzle as you gas up. Others have deleted the existing inlet and put a Jeep inlet on the side of the truck.  I’m trying to keep the original look as much as possible though.

I pulled an unleaded fuel fill inlet off a Mitsubishi at a junkyard. It took a while to carefully cut the military inlet in such a way that I could weld the new one inside, being sure to hook up the overflow to the unleaded inlet.


I had to cut a lot of little hose pieces to fill where it cracked on the unleaded inlet and mate the overflow tubes. Lots of fill welds to get everything leakproof.


With the unleaded cap inside and welds mostly ground down.



Here’s the painted gas fill.   I’ve also welded in a screen at the bottom to prevent ne’erdowells from syphoning the tank.   With gas only increasing in price from now on, gas rustling will become more prevelant.


Stripping Exterior

March 21st, 2008

I’m removing most exterior components so they can be powdercated.     Trog looks mute and blind here.

Rear bumper off — I’m going to deck it with diamond plate (also powder coated most likely — there’s no shiny metal on Trog and I don’t think it’ll look good.   Then again fire trucks have lots of diamond plate and pull it off).    I’m going to add a flip down step to make getting in the back a little easier.


and here’s the rub-rails being stripped and sanded.   They are oak and in surprisingly good condition for 30 years old.



Electric Fan

March 17th, 2008

 The mechanical fan in C30x’s is really loud.   Especially when cruising at 50+mph — and that’s when you don’t need the fan running at all.   I got a Flex-A-Lite 12V DC fan — It’s rated at 3000cfm.   I also got Flex-A-Lites variable speed controller.    This controller will run the fan at 60%-100% speed depending upon coolant temp.    It has a number of other cool features, such as soft start, variable temp threshold, and running for a brief period after the ignition is turned off.


The 3″ thick civilian radiator was pretty beaten up — various impacts had smashed the cooling fins.   Also some impact had split the welds on the frame.     It turns out that a cheap plastic scraper from Harbor Freight was the perfect tool to realign the cooling fins.


I had to fabricate and weld some brackets to the radiator to attach the fan.    The whole assembly barely fits after rerouting the air intake snorkel.   There really isn’t a lot of extra space in the front of the C30x.


I can’t test it out until I get the CV boot installed and the brakes fixed…


Six isn’t enough

March 14th, 2008

Too bad Volvo didn’t produce the 8×8 version. The four front wheels turn to steer. Power steering would be a necessity. Check out a video of the 8×8 at


An amphibious version was also prototyped as well.



On Jackstands, Lots of Brake Work

March 12th, 2008

I finally pulled Trog into the shop to begin some major unplanned work to the brakes. This puts the sandblast work on hold for a bit.


The other day, I attempted to bleed the brake lines, but both right rear wheel cylinders didn’t bleed. Turns out rust had clogged the bleeder valve. Seeing this, I decided to investigate the other wheel cylinders and found lots of rust, scored cylinders and even a couple rust-seized cylinders. The front cylinders could be honed because they are cast iron. The rear are aluminum and honing would destroy the hard anodized layer. However, I think I’ll just buy new wheel cylinders all around and completely revamp the brakes. I’m also upgrading the flex lines to stainless braided lines. Luckily, C306 brakes are the same as the 109 LandRover so parts are available.


Brake shoes have approx 3mm of pads left — Volvo recommends replacing them at 1.5mm.


More worrisome is the oil leak on the right front axle (and the middle left axle). Hopefully this just requires getting a new boot. Worst case is some greater damage is lurking in the portal axle.


Sibling hero

March 9th, 2008

 C306’s are also good for rescuing horses from the deep end.


(I’ve spent the last week scraping the bottom and most recently figuring out some horrors with the brake system).


Trog’s original home and missed chance for glory

March 4th, 2008

View Larger Map

A reader sent me the following:

Yours was retired from service from a town on the west coast at the top of a sea inlet called Kungsbacka with a vehicle service number of O36-505, this is a standard radio and vehicle identifier that enables the identity of all SDF vehicles for all of the Swedish Kommunes – communities).

Kungsbacka’s official English website is here.

Interestingly, Kugsbacka was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1846. In late 2006 another major fire affected the town centre. Trog probably left Sweden sometime in 2004, so he missed his chance for glory. (According to the internet Wayback Machine, the first reference to Trog at is Feb 2005)