850R Mods

Recently bought a 850R, currently on route from Melbourne. I had a couple questions;

1) How to improve the general handling of the vehicle as I've heard the stock suspension is quite harsh?

2) Would it be dumb to to tune the car, with the stock turbo or would I need to change it to a 18/19T?

3) Best option for a better exhaust?

Cheers in advance!



  • edited May 21

    If you recently bought the car, learn it and drive it for a year first

    I would just do maintenance items which it would surely need as it's 24 years old, before thinking of go faster or handle better mods

    Do give serious thought to doing a stage 0 on the complete car, there will be several thousands required to be spent on the full vehicle in the way of brakes, cooling system, engine seals, belts, hoses, all fluids, whatever else is worn out

    Once everything is completed, that's when I would look at upgrades from standard

    Good luck!

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    As Ramrod says, first of all do a "Stage 0 " all bushes,hoses,suspension front and rear,engine maintenance including cam seals,thermostats,CTS, PCV,water pump and belts,you can buy kits for everything from FCP EURO.

    Use ONLY VOLVO spark plugs.

    Exhaust(3") you want a good fabricator if you can't source a used system unless you can afford to bring one in from OS where there are many fantastic fabricated ones.

    DO88 intercooler and piping.

    For turbo a 19T with 11 blade wheel is good but you will need bigger injectors , the exhaust , an N/A intake mani with 960 or aftermarket big TB , a bigger MAF and a tuned ECU.

    @jimbo has a mate who can make you a tune to suit your application and Jimbo runs an 855T5R you will want to copy for all its upgrades! The tune also converts the ECU from 4.3 to 4.4 spec, a faster more powerful ecu .

    A proper LSD is then needed.

    @AshDVS , Ash is the suspension guru, he can advise and supply exactly what it is you seek for suspension.

    (For me, on my 855R and subsequent V70 turbos it was to get rid of the Nivomat rear shocks and ultimately when I had a V70R AWD , the fully independent alloy rear suspension convinced me as the power a FWD puts down is difficult without perfect conditions, wet? Don't even bother.....

    @Rob has modified a P80 FWD to have awd (albeit a later C70 but all the same underneath as the 850) , if you want the R like it should have been from Volvo, it's not such a big modification if you have some skills.

    If it's auto and you convert to manual use a 6sp , the old 5sp has rubbish ratios 1st to 2nd.

    Brakes can be front S/V60R ones or the Porsche Big Red fronts or a factory Brembo kit can be put together.

    Ohh, as to the 2~3000 dollars straight up , yes, EVERY old Volvo turbo needs that in parts for proper Stage 0. Unless previous owner spent 1000s each and every service but sadly all they do is get oil changes etc.

    So, do the stage 0 and go from there.


  • Cheers guys!

    Picked the car up for $3500, one owner from new. Driven 200kms.

    Ita currently getting the fuel pump swapped out as the original one has given up, and I've opted in for Marlbo Fuel Pump. Once that's done, I'll do the stage 0 clean up.

  • Walbro 255 is the way to go if you haven't already changed it, saves you upgrading in the future

  • 242GT242GT @242GT Wollongong NSW
    edited May 21

    I bought mine in October last year and agree with Ramrod & Snoopy it's good advice, thankfully picked it up cheap enough ($1500 one owner) which made it worth spending the money on rebiuld and

    allow a major service, I've been rebuilding it in stages, by nxt month the only thing that hasn't been rebuilt is engine and gearbox, motor is amazingly qiuet for 205,000klms (which are getting new main seal, full engine mounts & cam seals on distributor end nxt month).

    Already done water pump, timing belt kit (genuine volvo), alternate and drive shafts, front and rear bearings.

    Don't use the Stinger brand blue tooth for streaming and phone calls, not happy at all with it.

    Also replaced boot struts as with the weight of the spoiler they'd worn out after 24yrs.

    Can recommend Ash @DVS, their strut brace is self made and excellent quality.

    Ash was very helpful with advice and ideas.

    Check the condition of your steering rack, I rebuilt the lot, rod ends etc

    I ended up going H&R springs with B6 struts and shocks, yes ditch the nivomats.

    DBA grooved disc's, standard size as car is an auto and wife will be driving it, racing days are over.

    Rebuild dash cluster next, there's a bloke on eBay in Sydney says he's qualified to redo VDO 850 clusters, anyone on here know who it is?

    Usual odometer/speedo gears need doing to as well as bulbs.

    Think the abs will get replaced soon to as TRACS light stuck on.

    Then air con ready for summer.

    These cars are 24yrs old now with 24yrs of wear and tear.

    They need a good going over in order for them to last another 24yrs.

    Enjoy your 850R Mazz, it's worth the effort, keep a log book of what you've spent and done to it.

  • Cheers to everyone who comment on this post.

    My 850R will be sent to Andre at Savvas for a full checkup, and do to all the maintenance work on my car as I don't have the time to work on it.

    I've just bought a bunch of aftermarket parts for the car once Andre is done with full service/maintenance. I'll open up an another thread once the build picks up.

    Hope to see you and meet you all at the next run after COVID19 is over.

    Enjoy the photos of the car

  • I've been working on mine 16yrs, it's never finished, good luck 😂

  • What wheels are they?

    I really want some Ray's Te37.

  • 242GT242GT @242GT Wollongong NSW

    Jimbo where did you get that front lip on the spoiler please, I'm thinking the black on black would look nice on my 850R

  • They are S60R wheels, Volvo name Pegasus, with porsche 993 brakes

  • 242GT242GT @242GT Wollongong NSW
    edited May 21

    Mazza, this is where I got one set of disc's and minor stuff, 20% off, turns up occasionally rest of Parts, there are good suppliers in Melbourne.

  • jamesincJames @jamesinc Oz Volvo Ice Fortress

    Ohh, as to the 2~3000 dollars straight up , yes, EVERY old Volvo turbo needs that in parts for proper Stage 0. Unless previous owner spent 1000s each and every service but sadly all they do is get oil changes etc.

    @Ex850R told me this years ago and both of the 850Rs I've owned have held true to it. The first required intake plumbing, front suspension and brakes, and the second required a PCV system, brakes, and re-rounding of all five rims!

    The 850R is a really fun car to drive once you dial it in, but compared to 240s it can be a lot of work to get them there, but they are worth it IMO.

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    Yes, James, I learned this from my addiction to buying every sexy turbo Volvo wagon I found.....

    Mazza, in buying your first Ovlov,you are now committed to having several in the driveway,at least two in various stages of wrecking for parts and a project 'special' old one that makes no sense as to how much cash has disappeared into it..........

    My friend, you are now a Volvo addict...

    I am lucky in a way,I move homes quite a bit the last ten years and carrying all my spares and moving cars proved too much in the end and I have one modern Volvo now , ohh, the missus finally asked for one ,so , it's actually a two Volvo family.

    A couple of peeps on here have bought some major parts off me so I bundled up a pile of parts to go with it to get them out of my shed,a very satisfying experience!

    I was very lucky with my first Ovlov , I sought out an 855R for a long time,a car broker found one from a guy in Tasmania who had collected all his childhood dream cars and traded them all in on a Range Rover !

    It was a RED 855R Manual in almost perfect condition with under 40,000K on it.

    Sadly , at about 138,000K a silly young girl slammed into me,damage was repairable but I couldn't do it, the car had been special and improved and a broken version I couldn't live with.

    Yep, addicted with the first one!

  • dmmDane @dmm Port Melbourne

    Same here. Spent about $4k getting mine back to good working order incl OEM radiator and other biggish items. Still have a range of smaller fixes to go

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    At this age, every single rubber bush needs replaced, get parts while you can still buy them.

  • edited May 22

    Yep same here , gone past the 4k mark on getting my R running . Worth every penny though ..

    Edit , been after one for ages with not actually realizing it if that makes sense. Loved the touring cars of the 90's so it's kinda a dream car for me ..

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    That was my dream and I found a mint one,sadly I wasn't meant to have it!

  • After some consideration, I think I want to do a full re-spray of the car. What colour should I go?

    Nardo gray? Blue? Black?

  • They did an 850R in a dark grey which is really nice, should really stick with a factory colour, other's just don't look right imo

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