FAQs about Body & Glass

  • What kind of car-care products are best for my Volvo?
  • Installing used glass.
  • Problems with windscreens.
  • Volvo glass looks sandblasted.
  • Matching OEM Volvo tinted glass.
  • How can I reattach my Volvo name plate?

  • What kind of car-care products are best for my Volvo?

    Date: Mon, 01 May 1995 12:22:49 MDT
    From: Richard Loken <richardlo@admin.athabascau.ca>
    To: "smtp::\"davel@earlham.edu\""@admin.athabascau.ca
    CC: richardlo@admin.athabascau.ca

    > > What kind of car-care products (soaps, waxes, rubbing compounds, cleaners, > > etc.) are best for my Volvo?


    > I've been asking questions here and there and I've came up with a shortlist > myself. Just for interest's sake, I'm trying out Mother Gold's 3-Phase

    > system. It consists of: car-wash, pre-wax cleaner, paint sealant and glaze

    > and carnuba wax. I've only got through the cycle once so I can't attest to > the long term effects.

    The procedure varies with the age of the car, the intended degree of shine, and the condition of the paint, but that sounds likea good combination for good-conditioned paint.

    The car I helped a friend detail last night was in far worse condition. I've polished it once with rubbing compound, he worked it over once with Zymol, but the problem was that the paint had oxidized to the point that the surface was too porous to keep a shine no matter what we put on it. So we sanded it. No, really. (Kids! Don't try this at home! :-)

    I've color-sanded new paint before, so I knew the basic drill. You get a very fine grit of grey wet-or-dry emery paper - we ended up using 2000 on Chris' car. Wash the car, keep it wet, keep the sandpaper wet, and for every four or five passes with the sandpaper, wipe down the surface you're sanding with a wet rag or paper towel to keep the rub-off from settling back into the paint.

    What this does is remove the top layer of oxidized paint - now read carefully, removing the modifier "oxidized," and you'll understand why I say not to try this at home. If your car looks like something a very large child would pick up to draw pictures on a blackboard, then it's worth a try. But don't do this on any car that has a semblance of a shine. And you probably don't want to do it more than once or twice to the same car, or at least to the same paint job.

    Chris's GT6+ (yes, Lawrence, that Chris and that GT6+) now no longer looks like it's in military drab. We were literally getting brighter specular components -- er, "reflections," for those not into GL lighting models -- off the fenders than off the chrome trim strips at the seam. It was beyond dramatic, it was a flipping miracle.

    > > My situation is this: I own a 89 245 (81k), its silver with black vinyl > > interior, and a 87 745T (121k) red

    You have my sympathy. Silver and red are the two worst colors for longeviry, red because it absorbs all the high-energy light and reflects only the low-energy wavicles at the red end of the spectrum, so the paint oxidizes more rapidly than any other color. Silver tends to look bad because it's normally clear-coated, and the thin clear-coat wears away, leaving a fairly dull matte silver beneath. I think red and black cars are much more difficult to keep looking good > because the colour is so hard to maintain.

    Black is about third... the worst thing about black is that it looks so good when it's good, and it stays looking so good for about 40 minutes after you put the waxer away. It doesn't deteriorate quite as much as red or silver, but it's a close third.

    > > meticulous with cleaning. The paint on the roof is a *little* oxidized, I > > think I can probably work on that if I used the right products.

    That's the red one, if I read your article correctly. (Having learned to detail show cars on my MG, I hate doing roofs. :-)

    The trick is always to start with a less-abrasive product than you think you will ultimately need. Because your 745 is only 6 years old (my newest car is 11, and my Volvo is going to turn 31 in November, so your car isn't even in kindergarden by my standards! :-), I wouldn't recommend anything but Meguiar's Deep Crystal to start. This acts chemically to remove and neutralize very light oxidation, and therefore does no scratching or abrasion. It's great for paint that's in good condition but in bad environmental surroundings. I used to use it on my black car in Southern California after the first year or so.

    > > Right now, I use:

    > > Exterior car soap - Armorall Soap

    I use dishwashing liquid ("You're soaking in it!") I used some Zymol at Chris' last night; it's amazing stuff, but it costs amazing amounts of money, too. Dishwashing liquid works, smells nice, and it leaves my hands soft and young-looking.

    > > Wax - Kit in the yellow can.

    Kit is okay. The best stuff I found when I was doing concours was Harly (no 'e') wax. It's a hard-compound, yellow carnauba wax that takes a lot of work to apply but leaves a shockingly hard finish when you rub it in well. (How hard? A kid on a bike once had to do an emergency escape over the hood of my black car -- it was parked on the street and a utility truck tried to merge with the bike, I was standing in the doorway of the business I'd parked to use. After we ascertained that the kid was okay, and he'd pedalled down the street, I noticed that the driver's fender and hood had white streaks on it -- on a black car. Fearing the worst, I inspected more closely, and thought the paint had lifted. Turns out it was from the kid's sneakers; they had rubbed off on my paint -- or rather on the wax. I rubbed the rubber marks with a T-shirt and they came off; when I polished the car next, all marks disappeared.)

    > > Rubbing compound - Turtle Wax liquid (haven't used it much at all).


    > Hope I never have to use rubbing compound.

    You can avoid it by assiduously following a program of car care. Proper, thorough paint care begins by removing dirt, using a gentle detergent and preferably a sheepskin (imitation is okay) mitt. Then you need to deal with the surface layer of wax. A cleaner-polishing compound will do for most purposes; the Meguiar's we're talking about here is one of the most readily available, but there are other products. For new paint, that is paint that's still shiny even before the wash, don't get anything abrasive. For old paint that's starting to dull, a very light rubbing compound might be appropriate -- try using a polish made for cutting new paint (what you do after color-sanding new paint; that's another topic entirely). THe basic premise is that you want to remove old wax, plus any paint that might have oxidized on the surface. (One purpose of wax is that it is supposed to do the oxidizing, not the paint.)

    Once you've cleaned and polished down to the paint, then it's time to put the protective coating back on. Here, as I said earlier, I like Harly wax, but any good hard-shell carnauba wax is a good bet. (For those who might not know, carnauba wax is produced by a Brazilian palm tree, as a protective coating for young leaves; it keeps moisture and sunlight from damaging the leaves till they grow to an age where they can deal with the environment. No, I don't know whether carnauba wax despoils the rain forest.)

    When you're done with this, you can relax for a couple of months. I normally do the complete detail job -- clean, strip, polish, and re-wax -- only about twice a year in California (where the sun and smog are the worst culprits for paint). I typically do this once at the beginning of warm weather, to prepare the car for it, and once at the end of warm weather, to repair the damage that the UV does to my finish. Between these two extremes I wash the car about once a month, more often for special occasions or new cars. :-) Washing consists of nothing more than running the mitt over the car with dish soap, drying it carefully, and then detailing any black rubber trim (see below).

    > > I also have used Maguire's Deep Crystal Polish, which I really liked (but

    > > since I used it for the first time two days ago, I can't speak on its > > longevity).

    Oh, you found it. Yeah, it's good stuff. There are probably other equally good products on the market, but I've always had good results with the Meguiar's line, and it's easy to find. It needs to be sealed for best protection; once you've used it, add a coat of wax to the top so that your paint stays protected.

    > > For the leather, I have used Lexol, which is great. For the plastic parts, > > I have used Son-of-a-Gun, but it makes me nervous (and doesn't last very > > long IMHO).


    > I use Lexol too and it is great. I'm not exactly sure how frequently I > should use it. Right now, I sorta wing it; when the leather feels 'funny', > I drag out the bottle and the cloth.

    Lexol is the right choice, but be sure you get the cleaner and the conditioner. You almost can't overdo it. Clean with a soft sponge, working a mild lather into the surface of the seats. Wipe dry with a damp but not soapy sponge. For spills and dirty spots, you can get away with a very soft-bristled brush and working the cleaner into the surface of the leather, but be gentle -- imagine it's a wire brush and your, um, tenderest parts (gums, yeah, that's it, gums).

    When you've cleaned the leather, use the conditioner to return the oils, moisturizers and protectants to the upholstery. That goes on with a clean cloth; I've been using the blue paper shop towels for this, as they don't leave fluff or lint, but the best thing for general-purpose car care is an old diaper. Use it to rub out the paint, to run in the wax, to clean and condition the leather, etc.

    > > I'm particularly worried about my paint and my dashboard.

    As well you should be. My current favorite dashboard stuff (and general rubber and vinyl trim dressing) is Eagle One's tire dressing. This stuff is great, and you should see what it did to the (new) dashboard of our 122S. It will remove small amounts of dirt, but a plastic cleaner or plastic polish is the best way to clean.

    For vinyl seats, door panels, dashboards and the like, I use a plastic polish sold by Tap Plastics, a local store. Meguiar's also makes a plastic polish that is the recommended cleaner for convertible top rear windows, as it removes oxidation without discoloring. I work the polish into the surface of the vinyl with a medium-bristled brush; you'll be amazed at how much crud you get out of the cracks,versus just wiping down the surface. Once it's clean, then apply the tire dressing. I also use this on the Zed Ex, which has a lot of black trim on the exterior -- rub strips, light gaskets, vent window strips and even on the black sunshade across the rear window. Someday I'll have to try it on tires... :-)

    For carpets, occasional use of a carpet cleaner (Woolite makes a good one) isn't a bad idea. Just follow the directions on the can, vacuuming carefully before application.

    For chrome, Turtle Wax makes an adequate chrome polish, but I use a brass polish from a small outfit called The Brass Monkey, hence the name -- Monkeyshines. If you can't find it, Turtle Wax's chrome polish works well. Be careful about what you think is chrome -- new cars have been using so much less chrome since the days of my 122S, and what does appear to be bright metal is often plastic with mylar sheeting bonded to it, or stainless steel, or aluminum. For aluminum, nothing beats Happich's Simichrome, a jewelry polish in tube or tub. It smells like ammonia as you use it, but what it does to the dashpots of your SU carburetors is nothing short of miraculous.

    The most important component of car care, however, is the same wonder compound that works for engine care, and surprisingly enough in the garden as well. It's a simple compound, mostly water with a little salt and some oil: the owner's sweat. :-) Use it regularly and you'll never have to take really drastic measures (like buying a new car or having the old one painted).


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    Installing used glass.

    From: memsthd@prism.gatech.edu (MIKE WILEMAN)
    Subject: Window replacement = piece o' cake
    To: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu
    Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1993 16:27:39 -0400 (EDT)

    Thanks to all the netters who wrote to me with advice or to sympathize. Both Herm and Darryl pointed out that when you buy a used glass, the window is already attached to the carrier, and this makes the installation easy as pie. Herm's installation directions were dead on.

    I was a little thrown off because the "Official Volvo Service Manual" showed a drawing of how to attach the glass to the carrier with a 2 mm tolerance. Maybe if you buy a new glass you have to do this, but with a glass carrier assembly the procedure is as follows:

    1. Remove the aesthetic parts of the door

    2. Remove the two snap clips on the pins that hold the carrier to the linkage which raises the window.

    3. Remove the old carrier (this is easy when there is no longer any glass attached)

    4. Be sure all of the little glass pieces are out of the track and any other places you wont be able to reach after the new window is installed. Also be sure to cover anything that might scratch the glass during installation with something soft.

    5. Slide the new glass into the door with the front pointed downward slightly until both ends are through the top seal. Then return the glass to its correct orientation while guiding the edges into the track.

    6. Slide the pins through, reattach the clips, and you're ready to go.

    Installing the glass itself took about 15 minutes. Disassembling the door took another 15 minutes. The hardest part was getting the glass out of the door, but the commercial vacuum cleaners found at gas stations or car washes suck out those tiny little shards pretty easily if you can get the vacuum into all of the little corners.

    Total cost: about $40 bucks including quarters for the vacuum, and I spent less time than if I had driven to the suburbs for a professional repair job.

    Once again, VolvoNet saves the day. (My wife really loves you guys.)


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    Problems with windscreens.

    From V093P9MD@ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu Wed Sep 1 23:06:53 1993
    Date: Wed, 01 Sep 1993 22:18:50 -0400 (EDT)
    Subject: Re: Windscreen
    To: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu

    Both the windscreens on out '84 cars (760 and 240) have been replaced recently because of the before mentioned problem (i.e. the scratches and lack of visibility with a low sun position). I personally wouldn't want to complain too much though. My 240 had a couple of small cracks due to rocks hitting the windshield (not in direct driver view). Unbelievably the cracks didn't grow for at least 2 years. On our Oldsmobile that we had before a crack would spread very quickly. The insurance company pays for replacement due to cracks, but not for etching. I won't actually say how I got them to pay for the replacement, other than by saying that it involved a heavy hammer and a center punch... The window was becomming a serious hazard since I couldn't read road signs when driving "into" a setting sun. With the new windows I can see very clearly... MUCH SAFER! Still the original window lasted 8 to 9 years of Buffalo Snow Belt (lots of salt and sand).

    Just my $0.02

    Happy Motoring,


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    Volvo glass looks sandblasted.

    From co@mednt2.sunet.se Thu Sep 2 09:03:44 1993
    Date: Thu, 2 Sep 93 14:50:26 +0200
    To: "swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu"@kth.sunet.se
    Subject: Re: windshield

    >I had the window replaced with Volvo glass. It's starting to look sandblasted again in just 9 months. The glass place says I follow trucks too closely. I don't think that this is the case. My older Volvo's from the 60's and 70's don't suffer from this problem to such an extent. I think that new Volvo glass just isn't that good.

    Not only Volvo has that problem. The problem is that the glass are safe, it means soft and goes into small pieces when breaks.

    Some other older cars uses harder glass, but they breaks into large pieces and are more dangerous.

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    Matching OEM Volvo tinted glass.

    Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1993 12:04:57 -0700
    From: damouth@wrc.xerox.com (David E. Damouth)
    To: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu
    Subject: Re: windshield

    If you have tinted glass, you may not get a good match between the new window and the old ones unless you use oem Volvo glass. My insurance company acknowledged this and was quite happy to pay extra for the Volvo glass.

    One interesting option for getting the job done is a mobile company who comes out and does it in your driveway, or in the parking lot where you work. I was referred to them by my insurance company, and they did a good job (no leaks on a very rusty car - a real challenge) I got the impression it was a national chain. Don't remember the name - sorry


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    How can I reattach my Volvo name plate?

    Date: Sun, 3 Dec 1995 17:01:28 -0500
    From: cq168@freenet.carleton.ca (Paul Grimshaw)
    To: jecheng@vt.edu, swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu
    Subject: Re: Volvo name plate has fallen off

    Jeff wrote:


    While washing the car today, the "Volvo" Name plate on the rear of the car fell off. I guess after almost 14 years, the adhesive decided it was timeto quit. I am wondering if there is a special glue I should use to put the name plate back on, or will the good old J.B. Weld do the job? Anything I should watch out for...(that might eat the paint?)

    Paul Replies:

    I have always had good luck with G.E. Silicone seal. It spays flexible so the bond won't break when hatches are slammed etc and it is unaffected by the cold we expereince south of the arctic circle.

    It costs just $6.00 a tube. Great for other trim/electrical work. I recommend the "clear" type to do your badge job.

    Paul Grimshaw
    The Gothenburg Bible
    34 Ullswater Dr
    Nepean, Ontario, CAN
    K2H 5H2
    E-Mail: cq168@freenet.carleton.ca

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