1977 343

A place to describe in details your 300, close to or in genuine condition
The purchase, story of the car, repairs...
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S10NPH
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1977 343

Post by S10NPH » 12 Aug 2013 06:47 pm

Some of you already know through non-public channels that this weekend I set out on a rather mad adventure to the Netherlands, to look at a car that RJ had kindly pointed out to me which was for sale at Dafhobby.

After finishing work on Thursday evening, I headed over the the local van rental place to collect a Transit recovery van. At X-registration, it had had a fairly hard life, with the mileometer showing 206,000 miles. I'd also never driven anything quite so long before, and the first thing I had to do was a right turn onto a busy road at rush hour! Anyway, with a slight diversion we made it to Dover, but not quite in time for the correct ferry. So we sailed at 00:50, arriving in Calais at 03:30 (French time). After 3 hours sleep at a motel with a thankfully huge car park, we set off through Belgium for the Netherlands. I hadn't realised beforehand, but we drove right past the 300 factory in Born (destined to make Minis from next year).

That is where I was greeted by the purpose of the trip:
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I wasn't completely crazy as Danny had sent me lots of pictures of all possible trouble spots beforehand, so I knew what it was going to be like. Reality showed that the pictures were accurate, which was a relief. Danny took me to a local office which could deal with exports and deregistration, and the appropriate Dutch paperwork was presented to me for €25.

The next task was to load the car onto the van. This was made harder by the fact that the car had decided to choose that moment not to start. Happily, after a couple of replacement batteries and much head-scratching, a loose connection onto the starter motor was found and reconnected! And so, the 343 was loaded onto the van:
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Driving with a 343 on the back was interesting, but ultimately okay.
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We got a few hoots and waves from a couple of other British vans too. Unfortunately, extremely heavy traffic on the Brussels ring road at Friday rush hour meant that we missed our planned ferry back too, but the next sailing wasn't much later. I was very relieved to have got to Calais:
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The journey back to Cambridge was slow but uneventful, and the next morning came. Now, because I am completely insane, I had booked the car for an MOT on Saturday morning at 11:30, so I could use the van to take it there. I tested everything, and the windscreen washer pump connectors needed a clean to make it work, but everything else worked. Until we tried to start it! In no way was the car going to idle, and would only run with my foot slightly on the throttle. At which point we abandoned the MOT idea and suddenly felt much better about life!

We then spent the rest of the day having some fun with the car.

First step was trying to get it to idle. I adjusted the mixture according to Mac's guide, then eventually after buying some clean petrol and revving the nuts off it to clean everything out (the driveway was quite black at that point!), it settled to a lovely idle. I then adjusted the idle speed, but only by ear.
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All ignition components look fairly new, as does the alternator. We patched up a small exhaust leak.

Next job was to replace the headlamps with right hand drive units. This was actually not a bad job, but the spare headlamps I had were connected by multi-plugs - the ones on the car were just a mass of solid wires. So I decided that the easiest solution was to simply swap over the glass lens.

Next job was to fit the proper '77 chrome door mirrors. One is brand new and perfect, the other is pitted and the arm is completely seized (happily in the correct location). But hey, it looks better than the plastic ones:
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The interior of the car is really in damn good condition for a '77. The air vents are intact, the dash is not warped, and even the steering wheel isn't too badly faded. The only real issue is that the seats are quite badly torn. The glovebox works, the ashtray works, the rear door cards are immaculate. The front ones are held on by screws along the top, which is inevitable. The only thing which was actually seriously broken was the seat winder mechanism for both front seats - they were completely smashed, almost as if someone had kicked them. Anyway, I'd noticed this in the pictures so had already got spares lined up, which fitted beautifully (although they are black not brown - the other side was much worse and is completely black).
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Next job was to sort out the wheels, which were obviously from a 86- car. I'd bought some spares along with the car, so got some decent tyres fitted to those on Sunday afternoon. I'm now just waiting for some hub-cap pins from RJ so they can stay in place. When fitting the new wheels, I was pleased at how solid the jacking points were...until I got to the rear left jacking point. All appeared well until the tyre cleared the ground, at which point the sill made some crunching noises and parted company with the jacking point. Oops.
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The only other bits of significant rust are a few small spots in the engine bay, and one on the front crossmember bar:
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There are a few small spots dotted around, but nothing major:
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I'm told that the car was restored a few years ago, before being bought by an old lady. It had a respray at that time, which is showing some signs of wear. The bonnet is not original, and is yellow underneath the gold paint.

I've found a few small problems with the car, but again, nothing major.
  • The hazard warning switch has snapped in half. It just about works via a gaffer-tape repair, but that's not really satisfactory. It was also wired incorrectly, so I have re-connected it according to the green manual.
    There is a small coolant leak from the top of the radiator somewhere.
    The tube going from the air filter to the exhaust manifold is missing, and indeed the recipient on the manifold has rusted off completely. I'll try to take a picture at some stage, I've forgotten so far.
    The boot light is missing.
    I can't get the vario selector into park, although Danny managed to do so when the car was on the truck.
    The handbrake is basically ineffective as I managed to drive down the driveway without realising it was still fully on.
    The driver's seat tipping wire has come loose, but I'm about to fix it.
    The driver's door rests too far from the body, can't quite work out why.
    The driver's door lock button doesn't work, I've had a look inside the door and the little pin that it should push down just won't budge - I might get a 'new' lock from Lakes.
    The interior rear-view mirror is not original.
Oh the other thing is it doesn't like starting. No matter what I do, it won't idle without a good few goes and some enthusiastic revving.

It's going for its MOT on Saturday, which I'm sure it will fail now that that sill has decided to be rusty. And the handbrake doesn't work. I've been told by the tester that an MPH speedo is not necessary for the test, but it would be useful to have one if I can ever find one. Once it's MOTd, I can sort out registering it with the DVLA. It will take a 'R' plate, being registered 21 April 1977. Chassis number is 314458.

Anyway, here are a few more uncensored frivolous images of brown '77 porn:
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'77 meets '79:
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And finally a video of me driving it - I cut out a good 3 minutes of me failing to reverse a LHD car in a straight line:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5zoax-Azxw

I've definitely missed out loads I want to say I'm sure, but I'll keep updating this thread as I go. I am amazed by how much detailing was changed between '77 and '79.

Enjoy!
1977 Volvo 343 DL 1.4 Vario TUJ 247R
1980 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 PGH 590V
1981 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 ECR 312W
1985 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 Vario B168 DTU
1982 Volvo 245 GLT 2.3 Auto VKN 137X
1997 Saab 900 Convertible P290 DDF and 2018 VW Tiguan S10 NPH

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Hell Driver
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Re: 1977 343

Post by Hell Driver » 12 Aug 2013 07:37 pm

I'm glad there's someone more crazy than me!....I was thinking of going for the one in Canada if the seller had played ball!!!

(Although the Netherlands is much closer :D )

The paintwork looks in good condition!

I can't wait to see that one close up, will certainly bring back some memories for me. I had the hazard switch snap too! Can't believe the vents are not broken. That seat fabric really didn't last very well on mine either.

All in all the car looks to have survived well! Nice one
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R.I.P. 77 343 DL vario :-(

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Speedy88
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Re: 1977 343

Post by Speedy88 » 12 Aug 2013 09:11 pm

Great condition too! :D
'88 340 Williams (Sold)
'85 360 GLS - Drift project (Sold)
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'96 940 Drift project

classicswede
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Re: 1977 343

Post by classicswede » 13 Aug 2013 12:02 am

It does look to be in very good shape.

I don't think I have any early speedo's left, think they were not quite the same as that one. I will have a look and if I find one I will let you know
Dai

Please email me directly on dai@classicswede.co.uk

http://www.classicswede.com

phone/text 07824887160

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volvomania
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Re: 1977 343

Post by volvomania » 13 Aug 2013 07:50 am

Congrats Sion with the car.
It looks even better than what I was led to believe initially.
Life is a journey, so sit back and enjoy the ride!

Born Built Beauties: Parts keeping our cars on the road!

http://www.Born-Built-Beauties.eu

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S10NPH
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Re: 1977 343

Post by S10NPH » 13 Aug 2013 08:22 pm

Thanks RJ, yes, the condition really is very good. The pictures of when it was for sale were very unflattering.
classicswede wrote:I don't think I have any early speedo's left, think they were not quite the same as that one. I will have a look and if I find one I will let you know
Thanks - would be very grateful.
Hell Driver wrote:I'm glad there's someone more crazy than me!
I can't wait to see that one close up, will certainly bring back some memories for me.
Tee hee, yes I am a bit crazy. I don't know when you will get a chance to see it, there's no way it will be ready by the 300 weekend at the end of the month, although you do pass fairly close by on the A1 if you use that road, so you're very welcome to take a short detour to visit.

Today I managed to repair the reversing light and fog light. I couldn't quite manage the seat tipper. I still can't get it into Park.

Another thing that's really irritating is the driver's door check-strap is missing, I will get one from Lakes.

This is the rusted-off pipe from the exhaust manifold to the air filter:
Image
1977 Volvo 343 DL 1.4 Vario TUJ 247R
1980 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 PGH 590V
1981 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 ECR 312W
1985 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 Vario B168 DTU
1982 Volvo 245 GLT 2.3 Auto VKN 137X
1997 Saab 900 Convertible P290 DDF and 2018 VW Tiguan S10 NPH

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SteveP
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Re: 1977 343

Post by SteveP » 13 Aug 2013 10:40 pm

Wow you got hold of that one pretty quickly! What a fantastic colour, doesn't look too bad at all for a 77!
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1985 - Volvo 360 GLS
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MCHUDD
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Re: 1977 343

Post by MCHUDD » 14 Aug 2013 09:11 am

Hi Sion.
What a find. Brilliant. Words cann't say :lol: .
Cheers Mark. sm11 sm11 sm11

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S10NPH
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Re: 1977 343

Post by S10NPH » 14 Aug 2013 01:58 pm

MCHUDD wrote: sm11 sm11 sm11
Thanks Mark!!

That's the last 300 I'm buying though, as I simply have no space for any more, and a '77 is my holy grail anyway.

(Unless I manage to rent a nice storage place somewhere, in which case I still need a '78, '81, '82, '83 and '84 to complete my goal of having one of every model year from 77-85 :) )
1977 Volvo 343 DL 1.4 Vario TUJ 247R
1980 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 PGH 590V
1981 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 ECR 312W
1985 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 Vario B168 DTU
1982 Volvo 245 GLT 2.3 Auto VKN 137X
1997 Saab 900 Convertible P290 DDF and 2018 VW Tiguan S10 NPH

macplaxton
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Re: 1977 343

Post by macplaxton » 14 Aug 2013 06:31 pm

S10NPH wrote:That's the last 300 I'm buying though, as I simply have no space for any more, and a '77 is my holy grail anyway.
Yeah, yeah, yeahhhh. How many times have I heard that?! :wink: :wink: :wink: 340pw
72 DAF 44 Estate 78 Volvo 343DL Black BeautyImageImage
82 Volvo 343DL CVTImageImage 88 Volvo 340DL Diesel

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Chris_C
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Re: 1977 343

Post by Chris_C » 14 Aug 2013 11:00 pm

Nutter!

Really pleased you found one though mate :)
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'89(F) 340 GL F7R (ex B172k) - Fake -> SBKV 300 Runner Up 08, 12; '91(H) 340 GL B14.4E - Kar; '88(F) 360 GLT B200E - Jet -> BKV 300 Runner Up 09; '89(G) 360 GLT B200E - Beast

baron_matt
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Re: 1977 343

Post by baron_matt » 15 Aug 2013 10:34 am

Being a bit new to Volvo 300 series can you tell me why the 1977 model is the Holy grail?

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nvdw
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Re: 1977 343

Post by nvdw » 15 Aug 2013 02:33 pm

It even has the original light switch arrangement! What a beauty.

As for this car being 'a holy grail', well, it is, apart from a true 1976 343, the closest to the original design as you can get. The brown dashboard, the DAF-style front seats, chrome mirrors, black hubcaps etc

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S10NPH
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Re: 1977 343

Post by S10NPH » 15 Aug 2013 06:21 pm

nvdw wrote:As for this car being 'a holy grail', well, it is, apart from a true 1976 343, the closest to the original design as you can get. The brown dashboard, the DAF-style front seats, chrome mirrors, black hubcaps etc
^^^ What he said.

I had a lovely long reply in similar terms but with a few more details, which I swear I saved as a draft at work at lunchtime, but which has vanished now. Grr!

Anyway, the gist is the same - 77s are very different to all the later model years - chrome door handles, chrome mirrors, black hubcaps on early ones, brown interior, one-piece seats, push-button light switches etc. It's what the designers originally envisaged.

It's hard to believe that these two are the same car (though separated by 12 years):
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The other point is that they are very rare, especially in this country. I have seen figures suggesting that only 2,318 were sold in the UK in 1977. Add to that the problems the '77 cars had with quality - Mac has first-hand experience of this as he worked in Volvo fault diagnosis in Ipswich at the time. I've heard stories about the interior plastics warping, the metalwork rusting from the inside out due to poor quality steel, and major mechanical failures. I'm told that Volvo were so concerned about their reputation that they basically 'bribed' many '77 owners with new cars so they could scrap the '77s.

The '76 model year was very short, from about March 1976 until the summer - the '77 model year would have started in September. Only about 5,300 cars were made in that time (see more here: http://www.volvo300mania.com/forum-uk/v ... =2&t=11672). I can't actually see any physical differences between 1976 and 1977 model years, but I do recall RJ telling me that he had found a few.
1977 Volvo 343 DL 1.4 Vario TUJ 247R
1980 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 PGH 590V
1981 Volvo 345 DL 1.4 ECR 312W
1985 Volvo 340 DL 1.4 Vario B168 DTU
1982 Volvo 245 GLT 2.3 Auto VKN 137X
1997 Saab 900 Convertible P290 DDF and 2018 VW Tiguan S10 NPH

baron_matt
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Re: 1977 343

Post by baron_matt » 16 Aug 2013 12:26 pm

That's interesting, thanks for talking the time to respond to what must have seemed to the diehard 300 fans a bit of a daft question.

I used to live round the corner from Pillings Volvo at Two Waters near Hemel Hempstead and went to school with two of the Pilling kids, so used to see lines of shiny 300s and 240s on their forecourt. I do remember the launch of what must have been the Mk2 (whenever that was) because the noticeable difference in the headlights.

I wish I'd paid more attention at the time :-)

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