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NB-V70R

The Black Magic Wagon - A 1998 V70R Build Tale

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I figured after my endless squirming around on here and bumming off of everyone else's threads that it is about time to start my own build thread. So here it goes...

I bought my 1998 Volvo V70R in May of 2013 after selling my 1990 Volvo 240DL. I wanted a car with more power and a bit better styling so when the opportunity to purchase this car popped up, my dad and I sold the old brick and bought the R for just $2000. It had been in a crash and repaired by a Volvo tech friend of my father who did an adequate job for a 16 year old to drive back and forth to school. Over the past few years we have been "restoring" the car while I have been "ruining" (or modifying) the car for more speed, better styling, but mostly, just to have more fun.

The first stage of my build consisted of some basic modifications to make the car more fun to drive around. The car was throwing codes for the SAS pump, so that was deleted within the first month. To improve the style, as well as reducing the bad sidewall roll on the original wheels, I bought and installed a set of Verde Saga 18"x8" Wheels wrapped in 225/40R18 BFGoodrich GForce Sport Comp 2 Tires. I have put about 12,000 (not very easy) miles on these tires and have been very pleased with the performance. The wheels are terrible. They are heavy, poorly painted, and impossible to balance, but they were cheap. My next wheels will be more expensive and higher quality. The 18" wheels do look quite fantastic and have improved the handling precision in my opinion. However, there is a debate about whether or not the trade off in ride quality is worth it. I will re-evaluate when the time comes to buy new wheels.

Here is the car as purchased:

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This is my car with the new wheels and tires:

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Close up of the wheels:

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In this phase of mods I also installed Stainless Steel brake lines to firm up the brake pedal. I also did a dual muffler delete, replacing them with a single Magnaflow on the Driver's side. This gave the exhaust a rich sound and an aggressive growl. The final modification was the lowering of the rear. The boring rake and ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD-in-the-skyishness of the stock car always bothered me, but the simple addition of Kaplenkhe adjustable perches and some drop bolts sorted that out and gave the car a more level, aggressive stance on the road. This more or less left the car in the same aesthetic condition that it is in today.

Edited by NB-V70R
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The second stage is where things got a bit more serious. I was admitted to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering and eventually specifically studying Motorsports Engineering  and that meant I was going to be nearly a thousand miles from my home in Southwest New Hampshire. Luckily, my campus allows freshman to have vehicles and I had no intention of not bringing some form of motorized transportation. My family debated whether or not to keep the 98R or to sell it and purchase something newer with fewer miles. I looked at 04-07 V70R as well as Audi S4s and S6s. Eventually, we decided that we were better off spending a few thousand fixing any "little issues" that the 98 had. My father, being an ex-master technician for Volvo still has friends who work in the field and would work for a case of beer or free labor, so I was able to leave some of the larger jobs to him and take care of the easier things myself.

Here is the short list of things that were taken care of:

--Broken MAF

--Fuel Level Sender and Pump(s) (still haven't worked out if there are one or two)

--Steering End Links

--Alignment

--Leaking Oil Cooler Lines

--Leaking Turbo Seals

--Revitalize the AWD System with a rebuilt drive shaft and viscous coupling

--Replace the fog lights

--Radiator with Mishimoto Hoses

--Heater Core

--Almost all of the A/C system - once it blew out while driving, but the problem couldn't be located

While all of these things were being sorted out. I was modifying several things about the car starting with the brakes. The stock brakes were quite wimpy so they were replaced with the DVS 320mm kit from the S40/V50 T5 AWD. I also bought the Project Mu pads with the kit. This is a wonderful kit and is a great value for the price. The car now confidently stops every time I push the pedal. I also installed the ARD HD TCV and replaced the rubber vacuum lines with black silicone. The theme for this car, as you might be starting to see, is black on black on black....

The last few things I did before driving to Charlotte with the car:

--Polyurethane torque rod bushings

--Debadged the car

--Roof rails

--Deleted the broken headlight wipers

--Threw away the silly license plate frames

BBK:

IMG_20150718_122315148.jpg.9e928c4b7e4d9

Engine Bay:

IMG_20150710_165421388_HDR.jpg.603e60d08

Edited by NB-V70R
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This stage (Stage 2) continues through my first semester at UNCC. Without supervision from adults, I'm afraid things may have gotten a bit out of hand. I had saved up a good quantity of money prior to departing for college. It was quickly depleted upon my arrival. First, I bought a cheap set of tools to be kept at school and/or toted around to track days and autocross events.

The first order of business was to install a Wideband O2 gauge and a pillar pod to house it. In order to tune without destroying my engine, I purchased an AEM 30-4900 Failsafe boost and wideband combined gauge along with an iPd 3 Gauge A-Pillar pod. This gauge comes with standard 0-5v outputs for both boost and AFR so those were wired into the ECU for logging.

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However, when having the bung welded into the exhaust the problems started to arise (big surprise, I know). Apparently, the 17 years of New Hampshire winters had caused a little corrosion in the exhaust and once the downpipe was removed in order to weld in the bung, the connection at the rear of the cat had broken off. The solution to this was to simply weld in a straight pipe in place of the cat. This made the car even louder and more awesomer. At this point a connection was welded in the downpipe splitting it into 2 pieces for easier installation and removal. All of this fiddling messed up 2 things. First, the exhaust was slightly out of alignment now and it contacts the bumper. Second, it broke the front O2 sensor causing some systems discussed on here earlier. Overall, it was a quick fix and no harm was done.

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The last few things I had to take care of before tuning for more power was to upgrade to larger injectors. Some of you may have seen the thread about my search a few months ago. I went with the Performance Fuel Injection 750cc Bosch injectors. I learned about injector calibration and got familiar with my boot mode system (more about this later). Also installed was my RIP kit from EST with black silicone connectors. At this point the car was ready for tuning, which my following post will discuss.

Edited by NB-V70R

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For the final post in my initial series, I will outline my tuning setup and the process for right now. I purchased a second ECU to tune with in order to preserve the integrity of the original ECU. After I had flashed the second ECU on the bench a few times, I decided that it sucked and I wanted an in-car flashing solution. After researching, I built a small module to boost the voltage on the B8 pin to 15v while a relay would cut the power to the radiator fan. This module is controlled by a switch in the cabin which would activate boot mode.

Here is the module:

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And its guts:

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And its location in the ECU compartment:

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Finally, the switch under the armrest which controls it all:

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Now, flipping the switch activates boot mode and allows the ECU to be programmed via the OBD2 port. Which has come in handy over the past month as I have been progressively fiddling with the tune in order to make my R more powerful! Just before I had to leave the car to come home for the holidays, I was seeing around 18psi of boost peak and holding around 12 or 13psi to redline. I have a lot more fine-tuning to do in order to ensure maximum power and drivability. For a first attempt, I would call this a huge success. My engine is still fully functional and there is now no knock anywhere even while driving with the fast pedal "firewalled" as my Air Force grandpa says. My advice to newcomers is don't be afraid to do it, but do be cautious. Research and reading are your best friends when trying to learn, but by no means is safely tuning your own car an impossible feat thanks to all of the support and advice on these forums.

Edited by NB-V70R
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Here is how it sits now and probably for a while due to budget restrictions :angry:. The only things that will be changed between now and Carlisle are the radio head unit and the windows will be tinted :biggrin:.

Thanks for reading and have a great day! See you soon.

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Check out my car on Wheelwell for some of the parts and pieces that I used:

https://www.wheelwell.com/profile/54daaa55b95bfd9d0a8a0f15/garage/

Also feel free to check out my Google Sheets Spreadsheet Build Plan and Log:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YzY0pCv8tMJCIU9fP5S6lkHdtDUXFpt0-JMZShy5qVs/edit?usp=sharing

Edited by NB-V70R
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Nice work! You need to fix the links to a bunch of the earlier pics, they're not showing up.

750cc is a little overkill, unless you're planning on a larger the Volvo family turbo to go with?

 

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21 minutes ago, lookforjoe said:

Nice work! You need to fix the links to a bunch of the earlier pics, they're not showing up.

750cc is a little overkill, unless you're planning on a larger the Volvo family turbo to go with?

 

I think I sorted out the pics. Anyone else having issues?

Thanks, H! I cannot deny the inspiration your car was on me and my build thus far and will continue to be the benchmark for many of us into the future. 

Yes, I am planning to eventually go to a large frame Garrett or alternative (something with a BB CHRA) at some point yes. All in due time, I assure you:biggrin:. For now, I'm going to eek out all of the performance I can from the stock setup and/or with an easy bolt-on turbo like a 20T or the TurboLabs wheel I have been looking at (50mmx62mmx65mm) before building the motor, and really the whole car, to support some high horsepower fun.

Edited by NB-V70R
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Got some work done to the wagon today. Started by wiring up the wiring adapter for the new head unit to the car. Once I took the old one out I remembered that I would need another adapter to hook the Kenwood up to the factory amp.

Out with the old:

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The adapter wired up:

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Also, I have been running with adapters for a couple months on my injectors, but I finally hard wired the new connectors in. No real performance gain, but reliability in the long term will be better.

032.jpg.a8323f28ec8fd9137c6068d06b4618f5

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@flyfishing3 I can't tell if that was internet sarcasm or actual support. I'm going to assume the latter until corrected haha

@Commander Riker Yeah I have really grown to like it more and more over the past several months. I can't wait until they release a mobile app though, then it will take off.

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Alright finally got the head unit installed yesterday. I ordered the Omnilam aftermarket head unit to factory amp adapter to make everything compatible. The quality of the adapter is excellent and it performs well and for a pretty decent price too. So far I'm loving the Kenwood. It is such an upgrade in features from the sc901 with Bluetooth, hands free integrated calling, SiriusXM, and the ability to use Google Voice stuff, etc. I eventually might try to integrate some digital gauges through an Arduino or something. Similar to another member on here, through the rear view camera.

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Coming up soon:

-Putting 35% tint on the car

-A lot more tuning to dial in the setup up top and to increase low end boost

 

P.S. Yes, that auto is going to be history soon enough. I just don't have the funds right this moment to do the manual swap, but I am really looking forward to it!

Oh yeah another thing which I forgot to put up at the beginning of the thread. This is a video about autocross featuring my car for the YouTube channel a friend and I are trying to get off the ground. I wish it showed a little more of the raw footage from the runs, but maybe next time. Keep in mind this is before I had started any tuning so the car has <200whp at this point.

We will probably be putting up more videos about the car and its modifications in the future so subscribe to see videos of the car to accompany this thread.

 

 

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