FAQs about 544 Series.

  • What would a 544 be like as a daily driver?

  • What would a 544 be like as a daily driver?

    From: jjoy@akamai.sps.mot.com (Jennifer Joy)
    Subject: Re: 544
    To: wiegman@orion (Herman L. N. Wiegman)
    Date: Thu, 12 Aug 93 13:31:11 CDT

    > Jen, can you field this one for Dave?

    I'll do my best!

    My background - two 544s. Never driven a super one. Both of mine have not been driven around in a good while. Jim McDonald drives his a lot. Swears by it. Many modifications: 1800 seats, B20 engine (enhanced), replaced brakes with 122/1800 series disc brakes(at least some, not sure if back are drum), sway bars. That is a real cruising 544 -- stock, though, should be adequate, I think. More below!

    I'll cc: Jim, just in case he has something to add (hope I have some of this right, Jim!).

    > herm

    > > From bever@erim.org Wed Aug 11 18:36:15 1993
    > > Date: Wed, 11 Aug 93 18:32:00 EDT
    > > From: bever@erim.org (Dave Beverstock)
    > > To: wiegman@orion
    > > Advice time again Herm....
    > > What would a 544 be like in a daily driver ?? A 62 with B18.
    > > Am I committing a big sin ? Apparently this one has little, little
    > > rust. I was kinda thinking of driving it for a year or so and then
    > > selling it Summer of 95. Hoping for a break even...
    > > All dependent on the Colt selling.
    > > dave

    Well, my experience so far has been with fairly cheesy 544s. Is this one running? No rust is fairly remarkable. I have one that grew up in Texas and there are some very typical spots for rust -- namely, back trunk area: where the spare tire goes, and the silly trough they put at the very end of the trunk (next to the bumper) that would catch every drop that leaked though the back trunk lid. Other usual spots are the floor pans (rear and front) the headlight cups/holders. Granted, I did see one out of 5 so far, with pratically zippo rust. All I could do not to buy it, but mechanically, it was a total loss, and too expensive for the asking price.

    There are so many things to consider. If I was going for a 544 as my daily driver, and not wanting to dork with it overly much before putting it on the road these are the things I would want to be in really good shape:

    suspension -- kingpins in the front (Oh boy!). More of a challenge than the later volvo design. Parts available. One mechanic's quote (just on general principal of the 544 design) for a front end job was $1000! My goodness. Looking at mine, it doesn't seem like that could possibly cost that much.

    brakes -- brakes are generally sound, but for some reason many 544s seem to have poorly maintained brakes. If your car has the rear self-adjusting brakes you may want to swap out for later style, since parts are easier to get.

    (plus the usual transmission, engine, etc. :-) The aforementioned things seem to be lacking more often in the 544s I've seen.

    Bumpers -- they look weanie, and maybe they are. I've had trouble locating front bumpers for both(!) of mine. Car, though, is built like a tank.

    Parts are available. Not always cheap, especially body panels.

    B18 power is fine. There should be 3 point seat-belt mounts. It's not as easy to see out of as a 122. Little rear window. Sway bars would really help -- the thing really does corner like a brick (the other kind :-).

    It is roomy. Large back seat, decent trunk. I think it is a great car, but then again, I've not driven one much. I do worry about how well I can see out, but "wink" mirrors, or decent side mirrors should help as well.

    Is it for you? If you drive it and like it, I'd say, go for it.


    Jennifer Joy sys/net admin Motorola/RISC HW Austin,TX
    jjoy@risc.sps.mot.com 512.891.8561 pgr:928.7447 #9561

    From: jjoy@akamai.sps.mot.com (Jennifer Joy)
    Subject: Re: 544
    To: bever@erim.org (Dave Beverstock)
    Date: Fri, 13 Aug 93 10:42:26 CDT

    > OK, here's the important parts...

    > Brakes are gone, apparently the seals have decomposed (ipd sells only
    > cylinders, does that mean I can't buy seals and pistons and boots
    > ????). The floor pan has one thru rust hole where water sat, a window
    > was left open for 4 yrs while car outside (divorce...). NO other rust
    > acording to seller. New tires, king pins are ~70K old. Engine is
    > supposedly great, but car has ~140K on it. Car owned by Volvo
    > mechanic who is second owner. He hasn't wrenched in 10 years...
    > Drives a truck now.

    Well, sounds fixable. Check with Volvo Village, Swedish Classics, rebuild kits and/or whole parts should be available. I bought new cylinders, but mine were total toast (say, I wonder if this is bad, if I just broke this brake bleeder fitting off with my hand?). So far, I've paid about $30 a cylinder and rebuild kits were about $8.

    I don't know how long king pins last or whatnot. I've not tackled suspension, but every one of my bushings is either hard as a rock or cracked and crumbling. Seems to be fairly typical of older cars. Every bit of rubber just loses it after a while. I think the suspension is very important on that car -- check for looseness (may require jacking up every tire in turn) and play in the suspension.

    THe engine should be good for another 50-100K, I would guess.

    > He wants $1500. Is that a good price ( for reputed condition) ???

    Sounds good to me, if the body is decent, and fairly ok interior, and relatively mechanically sound. I sure would like to know how it drove before I bought one. Maybe I'm way off base, but it seems to take a lot more money to fix up a bad body than it does sad mechanicals.

    > I would love to hear about any other problem rust areas, I need to
    > know if this is a bondo job=no rust, or no rust=no rust, and checking
    > problem spots carefully will yield that info.

    Umm, let's see, the sills can rust (I think that is a sill - the lower part of the doorway frame, but part of the car body). Umm, look under the rubber mat in the trunk -- water can pool on top of the gas sender unit there. The worst, by far and away, are the floors and trunk. It's just unreal. There are the usual things like undercoating separating and water getting under it and eating away from the bottom of the car. UMM, Herm is the rust meister -- I just know about rubber bits. 8-)

    > Any other comments in general (like this is a steal don't hesitate)
    > are a appreciated... In general, I like the looks of the 444 better,
    > but it sounds like the 544 is a better driver.

    Well, a 444 (according to what I've learned from Jim) would tend to be a bit "older" -- and could potentially use more modernizing. A 210 (which is basically a 444 grown up a bit) might also be good (B18 engine, made until '66? '65?) Having never driven a 444, I wouldn't know, but I think they're cool as well. :-) Seem to be a good bit rarer (that is, I've never seen one for sale)


    (The scary thing is -- I never knew I could talk so much about something I think I still need to learn a lot about! So, yes, WARNING, I mean, a year and half ago, I just got into the 544 stuff .... but i've learned a good bit about "gotchas" since then.)

    Jennifer Joy sys/net admin Motorola/RISC HW Austin,TX
    jjoy@risc.sps.mot.com 512.891.8561 pgr:928.7447 #9561

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