Author Archive

Quentin Pascal Cherry

May 5th, 2008

No posts recently, because I’ve been busy!   Laura, my wife gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby boy last Thursday.    I’ve been spending the days around the house helping out and occasionally purchasing Trög things from the internet.

Growing up with Trög, I like fact that he’ll find it perfectly normal for his family to own a red firetruck.


Brakes, Gentleman’s Work

April 8th, 2008


Brake work, ideally, should be gentleman’s work. Fussing and cussing shouldn’t be necessary. If you are doing things right, they sort of slip on with only a minimal bit of prying to fit the shoes. Not true for me, at least at first.

First problem is the copy of the service manual I have doesn’t have the best pictures of how to arrange the springs on the shoes. Do they go in front or back? I read wrong the first time. Here’s a color pic of how they should go (behind the shoes). Also included is a shot of my shop made version of tool 6118 which protects the boots on the wheel cylinders.


Once on, over the kingpin there are lots of configurations that are almost right, but aren’t. Lots of fussing and crying ensues.

Some needlenose vice grips are great for attaching the upper return spring:


Once you get the right position, the shoes slip right into the slots on the wheel cylinders prying with a screwdriver using the 6118 tool as a rest works well.

It’s a good thing Trog has four back wheels — I finally got good at it on the fourth wheel.

I didn’t install the front brake shoes, because I think I encountered a significant bug in the design of the Volvo brakes. The front lower wheel cylinders are fed wrong! Check out how the feed tube feeds to the upper port on the wheel cylinder. This should make bleeding air out of the system just about impossible. I am having new feed tubes fabricated to connect to the lower port.


Finally, I have installed Mintex brand brake shoes. Hopefully they are good — I have read good and bad things about them on the web.

The Volvo uses the same brakes as a Series 3 109″ LWB Land Rover. Here’s my order from

Item Description Weight ShippingQty Amount
STC2797G Brakes Rear 109 Mintex S/s of RTC3418 2 107.38
STC3944G Brakeshoe Set FRT 109 4 Cyl Plain Box S/s of RTC3417 8.19LB1 47.99   — These are the wrong part!!! I should have gotten STC3945 — update, 3945 might be wrong too.   Just get them re-shoed!
600200= W/CYL LH FRT 6 CYL DELPHI 2 107.90
600201= W/CYL RH FRT 6CYL DELPHI 2 107.90
243296D Wheel Cylinder – RH Lockheed 1.24lb2 40.22
243297D Wheel Cylinder – LH Lockheed 1.24lb2 40.22
548169D Return Spring Rear 109 0.1lb4 11.00
531893D Spring Shoe Return 109 Pattern 0.09lb4 7.00
234889 Spring Shoe Return 109 Frt 0.11lb4 9.00
RTC3386D Brake Hose Ser IIa Frt & ser III rear 0.22lb3 29.97
RTC5903D Brake Hose ser III Frt 0.224 39.96
RTC3353D Brake Hose 109Rear Patt 0.221 9.95
556508= Bleed/Screw W/CYL 0.02lb4 4.60
252621 Stud 6 2.16
252621 Stud 2 0.00
They seemed to have the best prices in the US.

I also ordered flex brake lines for the jumps from the frame to the axles as well as the front wheels. It turns out the RTC3386D and RTC3353D are too short. I ended up having a Brake and Clutch Supply, a very good local brake shop make longer ones for me. The RTC5903D hoses which go from the front axle to the front wheels are the right length. The studs were also unnecessary.

Finally, one other tidbit. The red return springs for the rear brakes need a little bit of the ends of the springs ground off for them to fit in the appropriate hole in the brake shoes.

Update: The front brake shoes aren’t exact matches. They are narrower by about 3/4″ and the tongue that slips into the wheel cylinder is about 1/2″ too long. I had to grind it down to size. We’ll see how stopping power is w/ less contact area. I’m getting the old shoes re-padded at a brake shop so I may need to swap them.   See above, these are the wrong shoes.

Update:  I got the old shoes repadded at Brake and Clutch Supply and they are now installed.


Possible Camper Designs

April 8th, 2008

This is an old post that I’ve been sitting on, waiting for a few more edits. Now I’m planning something somewhat different. My final design is hinted at at the end.

The Volvo, despite being rather tall has a relatively low roof inside the rear cabin. Floor to ceiling height is approx 4 ft. I played around with a couple possibilities for the camper roof. Here’s a couple fixed roof designs that would give me standing room (I’m6’5″)

With roof height extension of 30″ or so, that preserves the rotolights. Awkward…

(using an old pic of Trog, before the current paint job).


Full length, dressed up a bit by my designer friend Marshall.


I prefer this version, but I’m worried about the extra windage trogging Trog even more.

Another option is to use a Eurovan popup lid, with the hinge side reversed (Eurovans pop up with the high side forward)


Finally, not shown is to do something like Colby intends and pop up all four corners equally. This makes for a lot more usable space below, but greatly complicates the mechanism. Shear strength and coordinated extension of the four posts (or scissor lifts) can be tricky. If i go with a four post mechanism, I’m considering going with something scavanged from a popup trailer.



Colby got his new roof panel at (warning, site requires Internet Explorer)  The panels are slick aluminum honeycomb core units that are very strong and relatively lightweight. Even lighter are Nida-Core panels which are plastic.


Brake Drums

April 5th, 2008

Yesterday I got my rims and brake drums back from sandblasting at FlameSpray Northwest. I told them not to blast the inner races of the drums since I was going to have the drums turned. However, they blasted them anyway. I took them into a brake shop and they said I don’t need to turn them, that the new pads would just fill in the pocks left by the sandblaster.

The drums came from the sandblaster with rust in some of the pocks. I don’t know if that happened while they were sitting at the sandblast shop or if it’s an artifact of how cast iron rusts. The sandblast guy indicated it was normal.

So, I had to remove the rust before priming and painting them. Harbor Freight and Eastwood sell a rust remover that I’m pretty sure is the same stuff — I mixed them and nothing exploded. It works really well too.   I dropped a very rusty light reflector in it and the next day it was completely free of rust, with no damage to the chrome or brass parts. trog-brake-drums-312.jpg

Rusty, the guy I share the shop with took offense.

The Oly beer, being damn near water, seemed an appropriate displacer to raise the liquid line.

The drums, with the races masked, hung up and painted with a high temp engine paint



More Footroom!

April 3rd, 2008

While fixing the rust in the driver footwell, I realized that I could easily create a little more room for my foot there. I have size 13 feet and they are quite cramped when driving. By cutting out a portion of the footwell, I can create some heel-room.



So much better!


Only 2-3″ of the cutout is in the wheel well. This shouldn’t cause any interference with the tires.

And new stainless piece welded in. After cutting the stainless and bending it into shape, I TIG welded the seams together. Inside Trog TIG welding would be nearly impossible so I just MIG welded it in. I had to make a kajillion tiny welds because I couldn’t remove the undercoating behind. Every weld I’d have to take off my mask, dive to the ground, get on the creeper, grab a wet towel and weave my hand thru frame, steering and brake parts to make sure that Trog wasn’t burning on the other side. This made for some not so pretty welds and a rather sore Wes.


Modifications, Trog

Camper Design Final

April 1st, 2008

So I’ve been scratching my head a lot in the past few weeks. How can I best do the camper conversion on Trog? I’m really tall (6’5″) so even adding a popup gets difficult engineering wise. I really want standing room, even with the bed set up. Finally, I had an aha moment and figured it out. The answer was parked in my driveway! Trog was going to replace my Eurovan camper when I finished, but this way it can just subsume it!


So simple. I don’t need to worry about sealing seams, popup mechanisms or anything. All I have to do is cut the Eurovan in half and then cut the roof of Trog and then simply weld the two together!

Of course I’ll paint the Eurovan part to match Trog’s red.

You know the best part about all this. I’m going to the Euovan’s motor as the drive motor. It’s a sweet 3.0L V6 that puts out 200HP and loves to rev fast. I just need to couple the output via some shafting to the Volvo’s drive system. Maybe use a diff locked portal axle? It’s almost the right size.

Some may laugh at my idea, but I spy a droll oaf.


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)


Service and Parts Manuals

February 28th, 2008


Service and parts manuals arrived today. I used the personal bookprinter service to print them up. Lulu is pretty cool — you upload a PDF and can get single quantity copies of hardbound books for $30 or less. Colby did the same thing, but his layout of the service manual layout was a little wonky. Not all chapters began on odd pages so sometimes 2 page layouts wouldn’t span facing pages. The C30x manuals also have some not-so-useful chapters, such as extensive unit conversions as well as a treatise on petroleum engineering. I moved those to the back of the book. I also changed the cover to include the pic from the original brochure for Trog. I ordered Colby’s parts manual as is because it isn’t referenced as often.

My service manual is here

Colby’s parts manual here

Neither Colby nor I make any money off the manuals.


Stripping the Undercoating

February 28th, 2008

I’m going to have the interior and bottom of the rear box sandblasted at Puget Sound Coatings sometime next week. Unfortunately, PSC recycles their sandblast media and the undercoating ruins the media. So, I gotta strip it. It’s some sort of goey-tar like substance. I tried a number of techniques to get rid of it:

  • Strip with adhesive remover I bought from Home Depot. This worked pretty well, but unfortunately it worked really well on my skin. Any drippings burned like acid.
  • Chisel bit in an air hammer. Too gooey for this to work
  • Air needle scaler. Also too gooey, though it does work to get bits out of the corners
  • Heat gun and a scraper. Worked pretty well. It gets really old working with hands above with sticky gooey stuff dripping on you.
  • Paint thinner with a rag. This works ok to get the last bits the scraper doesn’t get

The process would go pretty quickly if the underside was a flat piece of sheet metal, but unfortunately the panels have channels pressed into it to give it strength. Most of the time is spent working the channels. I’m two days into the project and almost done.

Undocoat stripping

Update:   A propane torch works a bit better than a heat gun (away from fuel lines, that is)


Trogdor the Burninator

February 26th, 2008