Up your Reliability and Safety! Presented here, are items no well dressed and maintained 122S or 1800S or 544 should be without. Listed somewhat in the order of importance, these items were developed out of a 30+ year first hand experience with vintage Volvos, and you'll see them referred to in some of the tech articles. Some of these kits are "made to order" and labor intensive, involving in some cases, time consuming, manual work, so thank you for your understanding of the time it might take to prepare them, and patience! Every kit and purchaser gets my personal attention...you can be certain of that! Also, since these kits are presented to help other vintage Volvo owners, if you can see any way to improve a kit, or its instructions, please let me know! Ron K. Link to Feedback, Testimonials and Thanks.
Last update: Oct 2022
Momentary Start Switch Upgrade for 122, 544, 1800 with Armored Ignition Power
Start/Kill Switch for pre '69 1800 (Armored Ignition Power Cable)
Restored Fuseblock for 122/123GT and 544 (12V systems, 6V available by special arrangement)
Upgraded Fuseblock 1800 (carbureted, injected available by special arrangement)
Alternator Upgrade Kit for B18/20
Brake Light Switch Upgrade Kit (listed by vehicle model)
Emergency Flasher (e-mail for availability!)
Service Switch (under Hood)
O'Ringed Clutch Slave Piston
Seat and Seatback Suspension Upgrade Kits
Intermittent Wiper Control for 122, 544, 1800
Fuel Injector Port Block-Offs for B20F
SW-EM PO Box Mailing Address
For Pictures of Kits,
Click on links!
| Prevent the well known
"Beatles Effect" (?) for vintage Volvo keys...you know...Twist and Shout...! Retain the security of your ignition key,
but don't break your key off again! Push the momentary button to start the engine. This kit
eliminates the typical cause of broken keys (turning the key to the momentary "Start"
position against a
Also, unless someone knows the location of the start switch, they won't be
able to start your car even if they had the
key. This means added security! The installation is simple, and
does not require messing with the armored cable. Installation time, about 20 minutes - the
122S even has a hole in the dash ideally suited to mounting the
$29 includes an industrial quality switch, wiring, detailed installation instructions.
Links to additional information: Ignition Switch Key Breakage Tech Article, Locks and Keys in Service Notes section.
Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.
Additional: Another advantage of the SwEm Start Upgrade is that power for the pushbutton is taken from the IGN power terminal (54), which retains the security of the key, but because the key is no longer turned to the momentary Start Position 4 (which disables power to this terminal) an electronic IGN upgrade like the Pertronics or Crane can simply be powered from that terminal, and NO diode OR'ing of power or additional complication like a "Toggle Relay" is necessary! In simple terms, this means that if you want to install an electronic IGN upgrade, combine it with the installation of a SwEm Start Switch upgrade, always a good idea, and you're DONE!
Link to Tech
123Ignition in a Volvo with
|START/KILL SWITCH KIT FOR 1800S (PRE 1969, with Ign located in Dashboard):||
broken keys in your ignition yet (see above)? If not, I’m surprised and I
suggest that its only a matter of time! If you have, here’s the
ultimate fix you're looking for…a combination Start/Kill switch, which both eliminates the
typical cause of the broken keys, as well as giving you an ignition
disabling Kill function in one discreetly located heavy-duty toggle
switch. No modifications to the ignition switch or armored cable are required for
installation (except some minor rewiring) so the appearance is absolutely
stock for the concourse judges! Installation takes about an hour
plus a certain amount of patience and agility…you will be working under
your dashboard…OK, maybe an hour and a half!
Start/Kill Switch: $49 (Note: The St/Kl Sw is compatible with originals points based ignition only...if ignition has been changed to an electronic type, order Start Switch only. See below!)
Start Switch Only: $41
Both kits include a new first quality switch, SS bracket, wiring harness and detailed installation instructions.
Additional: Another advantage of the SwEm Start Upgrade is that power for the pushbutton is taken from the IGN power terminal (54), which retains the security of the key, which must be used to enable the IGN, but because the key is no longer turned to the momentary Start Position 4 (which disables power to this terminal) an electronic IGN upgrade like the Pertronics or Crane can simply be powered from that terminal, and NO diode OR'ing of power or additional complication like a "Toggle Relay" is necessary! In simple terms, this means that if you want to install an electronic IGN upgrade, combine it with the installation of a SwEm Start Switch upgrade, always a good idea, and you're DONE!
Link to Tech article: 123Ignition in a Volvo with Armored Cable
FUSEBLOCK 122/544 (12Volt Electrical System),123GT:
[Note: 6v 444/544 Fuseblock refurbishing service available by special arragement also. Please e-mail!]
the charging system by preventing corrosion-caused excessive voltage drop across your
fuse block (it's part of THE reason your AMP Indicator glows lightly when the heater blower
is switched on...the more corrosion, the more glowing AMP light, and the
less voltage to run things on the vehicle -
beware!). See also: Gas Tight Joint tech
article. Core fuse
blocks are disassembled, terminals cleaned up, and reassembled with special brass hardware and soldered.
All three areas of corrosion are addressed. This
is a labor intensive procedure and thus a bit expensive, but it is important,
as it is The Permanent Fix for a marginal charging system due to terminal corrosion, and highly recommended when
installing the Alternator Upgrade Kit.
122, 544(12V) (FB1) - $57 (not including a $15 core charge) easily installed, and Anti-Corrosive Zinc Paste (ACZP) is of course included for reassembly, as is a reproduction of the Fuse ID Tab. (Only includes FB base, reuse your cover! Replacement (used, clean) covers are available, add $5) Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.
WANTED! Dead or Alive: Fuseblocks suitable for restoring! We will pay $15 apiece, for intact (corroded only) 122 fuseblocks, so that we can restore then and keep them in stock. If a FB is suitable as a core, see: Fuseblock Core Notes Please contact us.
123GT The second FB, as fitted to the GT model is of a different electrical configuration, but will benefit similarly from a full rework. Fully soldered, these will also give a long a trouble-free service. Reference: 123GT FB2 Rework
123GT (FB2) - $67 (not including a $15 core charge) easily installed, and Anti-Corrosive Zinc Paste (ACZP) is of course included for reassembly, as is a reproduction of the Fuse ID Tab. (Only includes FB base, reuse your cover! Replacement (used, clean) covers are available, add $5)
UPGRADED FUSEBLOCK 1800
Replace the two fuse, original
equipment Lucas fuseblock of your 1800 with an upgraded
ULTRA-RELIABLE SwEm improved fuseblock, before you get
nuisance symptoms or much worse! This is important! See:
SwEm Technical Bulletin No. 3
and also: Gas Tight Joint Part II tech
Shiny new, replacement fuse blocks are disassembled, cleaned up, and upgraded to replace the totally inadequate original fuse-clips, with standard industrial fuse-clips and the assembly is soldered to make it gas-tight. All three areas of corrosion are addressed. Once installed, without a detailed inspection, the improved Fuseblock is virtually indistinguishable from the original...especially with the cover in place, but electrically superior, and years down the road too!
This is the Permanent Fix for an intermittent electrical system due to terminal corrosion, poor fuse contact, weird electrical problems due to Lucas equipment (insert gagging sounds here!), and absolutely required when installing the Alternator Upgrade Kit.
$135 (pricey yes, but it really takes a lot of precision, manual work to
complete), easily installed, and Anti-Corrosive
Zinc Paste (ACZP) is of course
included for optimum reassembly.
Additional: Please read about a recently documented reliability weakness in the 1800 Ignition Power wiring. 1800 Ignition Wiring...Swedish vs. British Design
|ALTERNATOR UPGRADE KIT FOR B18/20: [Suitable for all Volvo vehicles with these engines.]||Probably
our most popular kit! I bet
you won't find a place in these 50 states or Canada, where you can't
easily get repair parts for the modern, high-output AC Delco alternator
that you install in place of your o.e. Bosch generator with this kit. This kit
also eliminates the mechanical voltage regulator with it, because the new
alternator has an internal, solid state type. Please see
Comparing Generators and Alternators.
Transform the electrical system of your oldie! You'll really enjoy your "new" whiter Headlights, more rigorous Wipers and appreciate a fully charged Battery, especially in winter! If your original generator is still working well, more power to you (no pun intended), but the next time your charging system fails, or its finally time to retire that original Bosch, you should really consider this upgrade. Please see separate Alternator Upgrade Kit Info page for answers to all your questions.
Do not be tempted
by uninformed recommendations to
"...just install a
Alternator Conversion Kit
is in stock!
...but its always advisable to
E-mail for availability and status.
BRAKE-LIGHT SWITCH UPGRADE
(Order by model, see details and options!)
| As found
on Volvo models after 1968, as well as every other car on the road, the "Hydraulic-Pressure-Sensing"
switch of the early design is replaced by reliable and a much earlier acting, mechanical "Pedal-Position-Sensing" switch. See also:
SwEm (Safety) Bulletin Number 4. Check the
proper operation of your Brakelights often! The early design (pre
'67 with variations!) is a known reliability weakness, especially if you don't stomp the brakes every time,
or on seasonally used vehicles which spend a lot of time in storage.
When you show Brakelights "late" when only gently braking, or fail to show them at all due to a sluggish "Hydraulic-Pressure-Sensing" switch, it can cause you to have a very bad day!
With the modernized arrangement, you don't need to make pressure in the brake system to show Brakelights, just depress the pedal from its resting position, and give those behind you more time to react and keep your bumper (and neck) straight! This kit uses an original O.E. replacement switch type, mounted on a custom fabricated bracket specific to each vehicle model. Original hydraulic Brakelight Switch may be left in place, or removed and replaced with a plug, but this is optional and would require bleeding the Brake System.
Order by Vehicle
model. L or RHD and Option, see below!
After no small development effort (brake pedal and master cylinder arrangements are totally different from the other Volvo models), a Brake-Light-Switch Upgrade Kit for these vehicles, based on the same early-acting "Pedal-Position-Sensing" concept, is now also available.
$51, suitable for both 6V and 12V systems, the kit includes a new OE switch, SS bracket, wiring harness and detailed installation instructions. [In stock]
|EMERGENCY FLASHER SWITCH:||A
sensible safety upgrade, given the tiny lenses of vintage Volvos, because
turning on the E-flashers doubles your visibility!
122s and 1800s had them as OE, as did the the 140 series and every car since
then, so your installation will look just right. We occasionally have some of these style switch (used) available
(please e-mail for availability and price), and we are currently evaluating at other options. Please
availability before ordering! See also the tech
article covering the installation.
Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.
|SERVICE SWITCH (122, 1800):||Allows
you to "Start" or "Kill" the motor with a toggle
switch permanently mounted in the engine compartment...very handy when
doing maintenance under the hood (it certainly beats pulling the coil wire
and getting zapped to shut off the motor!). Also, can be used to
disable the ignition when the car is parked in a bad part of town. All
of my cars have one! It's really just a "Start/Kill" switch as seen
above, but when located under the hood, I call it a "Service Switch".
$39, for the switch, wiring and detailed installation instructions.
|O'RINGED CLUTCH SLAVE PISTON:||Philosophical
question: Where does the Girling fluid of the clutch hydraulics go
when the car is parked for an extended period, and you go to drive the
car... the reservoir is empty, but there's no wet spot under the car?
Answer: Upgrade to silicon fluid and don't worry about it! See also
in progress tech article: Amazoning with
Silicon Brake Fluid.
The number one cause of hydraulic system failure is a scored cylinder bore which allows fluid to bypass the seal. The next time your clutch hydraulics need attention, don't just polish the bore and replace the seal, replace the piston with an improved O'ringed piston that won't score the restored bore again. The old bore can only stand so much scoring before it goes beyond the point of rebuilding. Naturally, with an O'ringed piston is a great way for a new slave cylinder to start its service life. Two sizes were used in production, so don't forget to measure your piston diameter and include this dimension (3/4 or 13/16) with your order. O-rings are synthetic rubber and compatible with all (DOT3,4,5) brake fluids. O'rings...they can make you, or break you...ask NASA! See my analysis of what causes the scoring, and why this simple upgrade is "the cat's a** ".
$24/exchange ($5 core)**, 1/2 hour installation. Jump to Ordering/Payment Options info.
UPDATE: We have recently had a beautiful batch of clone 3/4" pistons with grooves for the O'Ring made up, so they will now be available outright, no core necessary! Please see tech article: Hydraulic Clutch Tech Article
SwEm replacement 3/4" pistons are dimensional
clones of the originals, made of A2 air hardened tool steel, but with the
important addition of a groove for an O’Ring at the dry end. They still satisfy
the “hardness difference requirement” between piston and bore, but with the
O’Ring preventing piston to bore contact, the bore will not be expected to
suffer from new scoring, so periodic “rebuilds” will be necessary only when the
seals wear out (and that should be a long time), and at the modest cost of a
replacement seal kit only.
Currently out of stock. Please e-mail for status!
Note: Pistons for
13/16" nominal bore Slave cylinder are not yet available, but we do
have these coming. Cost will be $45 also. Please e-mail for
|SEAT and SEATBACK SUSPENSION UPGRADE KITS 122/1800:||As
described in: Service
Notes section. Installing the Seat Suspension Upgrade kit will
allow you to see OVER the steering wheel again!
All metal wires and springs are superior to the O.E. rubber band
seat suspension and permanently replace these, as they probably have no
spring left and are likely totally sagged out by now (...and you thought
your spine was shrinking...). I suggest you check
under your seat cushion...you might
be surprised what you find! It's also highly recommended to replace
both driver, and passenger seat suspensions at the same time...so that
passenger doesn't feel like they're being looked down upon!
The factory also went to
all-metal Seat Suspensions with the later and injected chassis. See
Original Equipment All Metal
All Metal Seat Suspension:
$42 per seat,
1/2 hour installation.
Remember this ad?...this kit will help you get another 11 years from your seat - likely more!
[If this list was in order of importance, this could really be at the top!]
Update - Available now also; All-Metal Seatback Suspension Kit.
Replacing the Seat Suspension bands goes a long way toward a much improved and comfortable seating position, but if you are doing a First Class and Complete Job, and are restoring the well engineered Seats fully and back to their original effectiveness, you should consider including an upgrade of the suspensions of the Seatbacks, which also have the rubberized bands.
How can you tell if the Seatback suspension is in need of replacement? If Seat Suspension bands were sagged out, you can be quite certain Seatback bands are in a similar condition, but if you can feel the hard internal Seatback frame when seated, or can simply push on the cushion and the suspension is not strong enough to keep you from feeling the Seatback frame, that confirms the need for restoring the Seatback Suspension. Beware: Replacing these is much more involved than the Seat Suspension, as it requires removing the (partly glued) cushion from the frame, and replacing it after the Suspension has been renewed...no small task! It's not absolutely required, but know that a well fitting, one-time replacement, all-metal, Sw-Em Kit is now also available. Note that the Seatback Suspension Kit also restores the Lumbar adjustment function, present on many (but not all) seatbacks!
Note: While cushion is removed from Seatback frame is the time to check for, and install receiver tubes for Headrests, if they are not already present (see: LINK).
Restore your seats to their original comfort and glory!
All Metal Seatback
Suspension: $49 per seat. Installation time: >1 hour!
available for 544,122, and 1800:
There are many variations for the various vehicles in Wiper Motors, and
Wiper Switches, which need to be carefully considered when installing an
Intermittent Wiper Control. It's really tricky!...more tricky that one might
Windshield Wipers Tech Article
BLOCKOFFS FOR B20F
It's well known that the B20FI heads breathe the best. So when fitting a Fuel Injected head for its better breathing, but using it with Carburetors, the FI ports must be securely blocked off to prevent what would otherwise be a major vacuum leak.
I've heard of some pretty rustic methods of sealing the ports...and that would be OK if they were located somewhere out of the way. But after all, the ports, and whatever method you use to block them off, are in full view of anyone inspecting the engine compartment. So if you are looking for a clean, professional appearance that shouts "ATTENTION TO DETAIL", look no further...
This kit seals the ports perfectly, and is compatible with fuel and temperature extremes it is exposed to. It can also withstand the manifold pressures of possible backfires.
The set includes four
laser cut 5052 aluminum block-offs, silicon polymer seals, socket head cap screws
, insulators and washers (identical to original injector mount securing hardware).
Installer supplies gasket sealer and threadlocker... $38 for the set.
(Yes expensive, but Laser cutting the AAV Block-off of Stainless Steel is,
Update and Notice (Dec 2016):
The FI Cylinder Head also had a mounting provision for the
Auxiliary Air Valve of the injection system. Since this component is not installed when
using this Head with carbs, this opening into the Cooling System must
also be closed off! An additional Block-off has been designed and
included in the kit for this purpose. It is produced of 304 Stainless
Steel to prevent galvanic action. Install using original hardware
from Cylinder Head plus gasket included in the standard Head Gasket sets.
|Other specialty items:|
|PVC Harness tubing (black):||As used for the harnesses of the above kits, and matching that originally used by Volvo. UL rated for 105ºC (Not to be confused with "heat shrink" tubing!). We stock 3/8" and 1/4" ID sizes. Perfect for protecting additional or restoration wiring, and having it look absolutely stock! Please contact us!|
|304 STAINLESS STEEL REPAIR PANELS:||As described in: DeLorean had it Right tech article...(availability on hold!)...please e-mail for current status.|
|CHOKE-ON REMINDER KIT:||As mentioned in: Check your Choke Article. By special order only. Please contact us!|
NOTES: The term Volvo is used as a reference only. I have no relationship with this company other than to keep its vintage vehicles working for me, and to help other enthusiasts do the same. with quality engineered and produced kits. Installation times are estimated. All kits consist of quality components and engineering as applicable, so you will NOT find one of these stupid little stickers (which virtually guarantee disappointment by knock-off, shoddy goods) on ANY SwEm kit...isn't that part of why we restore and drive these cars? Incidentally, I didn't buy anything to get the sticker above for a picture, I picked it off some cheap-as-dirt product at the store...is that considered stealing? Sorry, but that's the way I feel. Someday, just like Japan, maybe they'll get their act in order, but for now, I'll pass on their products!
You may order by (e- or snail-) mail. Normal stateside shipping is included. Kits typically go out shortly after receipt of order, but please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery, as some items are made to order. Non-US orders, please contact us for additional shipping information. We do try to keep a stock of the popular alternator upgrade kit, so if your need is urgent or you need more information, please e-mail us, and we'll try to help.
New for our visitors: Now you can pay for your Swem Kits using PayPal, the electronic funds transfer service that works through your credit card and our e-mail. Easy, secure and fast. When you use this service, it enables us to process your order that much quicker!
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Finally: Thank you for your support, and in many cases, kind words to these kits!