This is a bit of a long read as it’s culminating about 12 months of work, but here goes:
So last September, my S70 T5 SE developed a tick the morning that I had to move 150km away for a co-op job that started the next day. That tick turned into a knock, and after an unsuccessful visit to a mechanic with hundreds of dollars down the drain, I limped then towed the S70 home over Thanksgiving long weekend. That weekend, I picked up this red 850R sedan after looking at a few other (likely more reliable…) cars, but it was still the one that felt just right. I had seen a mint red 850R sedan a few years prior and the image of it was so stuck in my head that I could turn this R into one just like it. I was smitten. I also had snow tires and a roof rack with bike attachments from the S70, and a whole lot of transferable knowledge from working on the S70 which helped. I brought the 850 home the day after test driving it, cleaned up the interior and exterior, and drove it 150km back to my job. It had 227,742km when I bought it.
The more I drove it, the more things I noticed were quite wrong with it. The steering wheel pulled abruptly left when braking, the brakes shuddered, it was misfiring at high load, the PCV was clogged, timing belt was 10 years old, sway bar links were clunky, trunk struts were blown, it wasn’t making full boost, MAF to turbo intake hose was falling apart, gas cap didn’t always unlock, antenna got stuck halfway raised, it needed an alignment, passenger side door check was completely cracked, etc… The poorly repainted front bumper and projector headlights didn’t help it aesthetically, either. What the hell did I get myself into? I got myself into a project daily driver, that's what
Since then, I’ve been tackling these issues one-by-one, along with a few upgrades.
Here’s the day I got the car
Sadly, the Volans had to come off the day that I got it since I knew snow wasn’t too far away.
Cleaned up the filthy engine bay
Then, one of the HID bulbs burnt out so I switched to the stock headlights (the swap was inevitable…)
A few weeks into ownership I replaced the PCV system, as I knew it was likely original and would wreak havoc if left unaddressed…
Yep, that’s a bit overdue.
Discovered the intake pipe was a goner
Replaced pine needles with an actual cabin air filter, and a Midwest ABS module
Had a big scare when I discovered I was losing coolant rapidly and had a milky residue all over the dipstick… I thought the head gasket was a goner, but it turned out to just be a leak from the coolant expansion tank hose connection to the thermostat, coupled with a big decrease in ambient temperature causing condensation on the dipstick. Did a combustion gas test in the coolant tank which showed no combustion gases, and haven’t had any similar symptoms since then.
Then I went for some adventures in the snow
Next up was the timing belt, water pump, idler and tensioner pulleys, and tensioner. This turned into a bit of an ordeal since I didn’t have all the proper tools to make it go smoothly, but in the end it worked out thanks to a lot of help via text from Mark (BlackT5). Finished it just in time to catch the ferry over to school for class the next day…
Also sourced a used intake pipe from a 1998 S70 T5 so it’s not 100% correct, but did the trick
Discovered the dizzy cap was a little overdue…
And replaced the sway bar links with Lemforder ones
Picked up a really nice hood from Mark and knew I wasn’t alone in this crazy little Volvo world hahaha
Got it aligned, which actually unveiled some bigger issues - tie rods were totally shot, and even though the car then drove straight, it tramlined really badly after the alignment!
Finally had time to detail it
Then the day after, the antenna got stuck halfway up, and the gas tank leaked after a fill-up. Great!
Discovered the true meaning of understeer at my first autocross
Check out that body roll and mid-corner understeer, how yummy
Dat squat on accel
Weighed in at the track scale at a spritely 3190lbs with no spare tire and 1/2 tank of gas.
Then finished the semester and moved back home for an 8 month co-op. Finally, I had time to work on this thing!
Swapped out the awful 850R steering for my S70 T5 SE wheel
Drove it 1100km without a hitch. Hit 234k at this point
Blacked-out the grille, then got to the brakes! 302mm zimmerman rotors, StopTech Sport pads, and stainless hoses 2 new front calipers, and a new driver’s side rear caliper, which had a seized piston causing the pad to wear massively. The brake hard line was also seized to the caliper which required cutting it and reflaring for the new one.
Next up, I pulled the lowering springs and 25mm rear sway bar off my S70 and installed those, along with new control arms, inner & outer tie rods, transmission torque mount, fuel return hose, vacuum tree seal, new-style red handle dipstick and dipstick tube. Then got pulled the bumper off and got to work on that, along with another alignment where I saw another 850R for the first time since that mint one a few years ago…
Rear sway bar in…
Alignment with a twin
The damage to the bumper from previous owners was worse than anticipated…
3M Plastic bumper repair
Lots of filler primer later…
The look is finally complete! It’s finally looking just like that 850R that I had seen a few years ago!
Then replaced the spark plugs and wires with the relatively new ones from my S70. Finally got rid of my high load misfire, gaps were about 0.048"…
Hit up the local Cars & Coffee
This EVO II stole the show
Vancouver has pretty good taste in cars
Went to another autocross
Finally got a Thule fairing after looking for a good used one for years!
And unveiled the shiny finish from beneath the rust of the exhaust tip
Fresh oil pan and oil cooler line seals
Picked up a T5-R shift knob to replace the S70 knob I had been using
Then a factory SC-815 radio to finally replace the useless touchscreen
And now it’s at 242k on my snow tires with perfos :D
It’s been quite the adventure so far, and I still have lots to do, but it’s mostly the little things at this point. The antenna is still stuck, the fuel door solenoid has been disconnected so I don't have to manually pull it open, and I haven't yet replaced the fuel vent hose to prevent the leak. I also need to make a tow hook bracket for the license plate so I don't get a ticket for the current placement. There's probably more that I can't think of right now... That's alright, I'm still enjoying the car!
I’ve had my car for a while now and the one thing I’ve watched to learn is diy tuning I purchase the vagcom cable it’s a nice 30 dollar on I did tons of research online because I didn’t want one that sucks I was hopping to use my older obd2 scanner as a pass through to my laptop because it has a usb on the bottom but I couldn’t get it to work, I downloaded tunerpro rt I downloaded the xdf the bins and the adx from the m4.4 wiki and have read the m4.3 wiki I own a battery charger that will easily bring the battery past 13.5v and I have the software that supposedly converts a m4.4 Ecu to not frei from the ac being turned on so now I’m ready to go to the junkyard and get a couple ecus to learn on I’m not going to tune my ecu because it is an original R ecu and I’m afraid to ruin it but I may try to copy the bin from it so I have an r tune, the only real upgrade on the car is the tcv valve is one off of a 06 Saab but it’s the same as the newer Volvo’s but I’m wondering if it is worth it to plug in a m4.4 ecu and deal with all the conversion stuff or just tune another m4.3 ecu maybe find a m4.4 car and grab the injectors too if so which injectors should I look for also I there is a walbro 255 in the Saab that I could use is that worth the trouble to put in the car, I’m not looking to bend rods or pay 300 bucks to have someone do the work that I want to learn and be proficient at I’m very knowledgeable in carburetors and old stuff like that but I really want to learn the ecu stuff especially the oem systems it feels like that is the one thing that holds me back in Being a mechanic
Hey guys! I just purchased a 1996 850R as a little side project. It's my first Volvo, and I'm excited to fix it up a bit. Need to change the heater core, PCV, flush all the fluids/oil, new plugs, etc.. Drove it home, and it drove really well for being parked for 3 months.
Planning on a few go-fast parts; new intercooler, boost controller, brakes, and a more efficient exhaust. I've already placed a few orders online, so I'll try and post updates on my progress. If you have any cool parts you want to sell, let me know. :)
Finally, my new to me Volvo 850R is en-route from Texas to Augusta, GA. I've long wanted to build one of these cars into a hell-raiser daily driver. Ever since seeing the light of the 5-cylinder in my friends GT40 S60R, I knew I had to have one.
I digress, this is my first post on Volvospeed, thank you all for the hospitality. The vehicle should be here in two days, so I'm attempting to scramble together the most preferred parts for a full Stage 0 Tuneup.
I've looked at the IPD Major Service Tune-Up kit, it certainly seems to have all the necessary parts to bring the car up. However, in the interest of future performance (MORE BOOST), I did not know if there is an upgrade Distributor Cap/Wire/Coil Setup preferential to the IPD one.
Noticed a few people are using the old MSD Blaster coil, and some other different variations of ignition philosphy exist. What, so to speak would be the best set-up to max out a 15G. I will be adding a MBC, tune & full exhaust in very short order.
I also noticed the preferred method to flush & fill a transmission is to, let me understand this, flush and fill the 6.7 quart sump 3-4 times with Dexron III H fluid or Dexron 6 fluid, then do a flush with all 10 or so quarts with Mobil 1 or a preferred synthetic, correct?
Any and all advice and input appreciated in advance.