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164 - 4 speed auto + suspension mods

I have a Volvo 164 which is undergoing a full bare metal respray, inside and out as well as underneath but while thats happening Im getting all my parts together. I have 2 specific questions

1 The vehicle is a 3 speed auto, I would like to go to an overdrive transmission, probably AW71 or similar. My question is has anyone ever done this?

2 Classic Swede are advertising a 100mm lowering kit for the 140/164 models which includes 100mm lowered springs at the front and adjustable coilovers at the rear, does anyone have real experience with this kit? a lot of people say lowering a Volvo more than 30mm will be a problem. Ive had some pretty low Volvos and never experienced any problems my self but 100mm is a lot

My intended use for the vehicle is leisurly Sunday drives and interstate road trips

Regards Nigel



  • I'm pretty sure @OldnDecrepit has a aw71 swapped 164.

    Biggest issue with lowering the front that much would be bump steer but if you space the bottom ball joint it would address most of the issues

  • RoinikIan @Roinik Mount Gambier, SA.

    The main issue when lowering is the camber. The front wheel start to lean in at the top.

  • paul0075Paul0075 @paul0075 Canberra, ACT

    I would suggest talking to George Minnassian about your suspension. I went down the Kings Springs route for my 144 and not happy with it. I will be eventually replacing them with Lesjeförs R-sport spec progressive rated springs instead.

  • Vee_QueVee_Que @Vee_Que South Eastern suburbs Melbourne.

    I have Thier 60mm kit in the front of my 122, rides really well actually, previously was using chopped 164 springs with stock shocks. The gaz shocks are great, I have them in multiple Volvo's too.

  • He does indeed have an AW71L equipped Volvo 164E. It is a fantastic upgrade for the 164.

    My 164 has King springs all round and I do find them to be a bit harsh. I have not lowered the car at all.

  • edited July 31

    [1] has been well covered above.

    [2] No; I haven't used a Classic Swede spring kit. But 4 inch lowered on a 164.... given the state of the Midland and Bass highways - nah, I wouldn't do that. What works fine on the M4 west of Reading IMHO won't work very well west of Launceston, like where the road gets very rough around Elizabeth Town. Take into account also how you'll be going on and off The Barge when travelling interstate, which means dealing with those ramps on and off the ship which have some steep angles. Especially into Deck 2.

    According to the (Green) book, standard spring rates on a 164 are about 511 lb/in front, and about 112 to 117 lb/in at the rear. My 144 has springs cut by the PO and is lowered about 2 inches, and it's not happy - too soft, and somewhat low for dealing with domestic street use. I do have a pair of lowered Kings 164 fronts to go into the 144, which should firm it up somewhat while raising it a bit, but I want to get the spring rates measured before I do.

    IMHO, if you want to lower the car, you might be better off going for the 40mm lowered set which Classic Swede also offers.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    I basically agree with everyone else who has posted…

    These cars have a lot of suspension travel compared to most newer cars, but lowering by 100mm is a lot.

    Tyre choice also comes into it: most people will end up with lower profile tyres (and smaller OD) than the originals, which lowers the car even more.

    The super-long rear overhang makes the back scrape on driveways etc too.

    I would look at 50mm to be the maximum I”d lower a 100-series that I was actually going to drive on Australian roads (instagram will demand it be lower, of course).

    Good shocks will be a huge help to how it drives. Most cars have worn out and/or garbage shocks.

  • Thanks Spac, No instagram, only looking to please my self :)

  • 242GT242GT @242GT Illawarra NSW

    My 1972 factory 5spd came with bilstein shocks , a 10mm plate stitched welded accross the front cross member ( the 164 is known to bend the cross member due to the weight of 3ltr block).

    Also king springs , I wouldn't lower it more than 40-50mm as then the shocks piston is no longer centred in the shock causing uneven rebound compression travel.

    The 164 is a great car , cruises well and good motor.

    I'm not sure but there were other brands around that were available.

    Keep an eye on the engine mounts , thats alot of weight on what is basically the same set up as the 144.

    Rudy Grgics race 164 at Wakefield Park about 1996/7

  • Thanks 242GT

    I apreciate your advice. I did notice that the engine cross member looks to have been replaced. I intend to replace the engine mounts but ill look at upgrading the whole assembly


  • 242GT242GT @242GT Illawarra NSW
    edited August 1

    I also suggest an engine oil cooler as the 164 has air flow issues on very hot days if it is the injected motor, the one I used was from the old mercedes Benz that had the square grills with vertical rectangular headlights, chose it as was made of strong brass and easily mounted below the radiator , coupled with a remote oil filter kit available from any parts store or ebay.

    Then mount filter holder on inner mud guard .

  • I agree the 164 does suffer from overheating.

    I suggest that you replace or re-core the radiator if it hasn't already been done. I haven't fitted an engine oil cooler but I have bypassed the radiator for gearbox cooling and fitted a large cooler just for it. I picked an 8 cylinder cooler from PWR. It is mounted behind a vent in the front spoiler.

  • Thanks guys, these thigs are really good to know. Ill look at how to upgrade the whole cooling system while its apart, biuld it once biuld it right. I really appreciate your advice

  • 1971_144GL1971_144GL @1971_144GL Launceston, Tasmania

    I purchased a AW71L a couple of years ago, but have changed my mind after coming into a couple of M410 box's. It does require a welded/joined bell housing from what I can see. I'm also about to do an m47 conversion to a 1991 240, and there might be a transmission available from this, low km.

    I have front and rear standard King springs that I plan to fit to my 164 soon if you want to see how it sits. I also find standard height just adequate for local roads and won't go lower.

    I can point you toward a lowered 72 164e that is for sale. I think there was lot's of suspension goodies that would make it a solid parts car, but it is in Canberra region.

  • paul0075Paul0075 @paul0075 Canberra, ACT
    edited August 2

    The issue with the crossmember is also a problem on 140s as well. My dad's injected 74 144GL needing 2 crossmember replacements in the 7 or 8 years he owned it. Interestingly and totally unrelated, his 144 had an LSD in it.

  • Fuel injection and an LSD on a 144, must have been a special car, It seems like this is something that I should address before I put it back together, Do you know what the exact problem is? Has any one out there succesfully done a crossmember upgrade or reinforcement to prevent the issue?

  • 242GT242GT @242GT Illawarra NSW
    edited August 2

    My 164 cross member had a steel plate stitched welded underneath it by previous owner.

    Late model 144's had 2 types of factory injection.

    One using distributor pump behind right hand head light.

    One using computer under front left seat and return loop style fuel system to injectors , ran at 30psi from memory , Ive still got the service tuning pages here some where.

    think they were called D & E injection.

    My old race car was raced injected till the harness failed and I put SU's on it.

    Also had double valve springs , vw inside chev from memory , the latemodel 8 bolt crank motors can be bored out easily and early volvo 2.1ltr pistons used with custom head gasket.

  • Did the stichwelded plate solve the problem?

  • Crossmember bends aren't uncommon. My first 144 had its crossmember removed and repaired by Denlo back in the early 1980s, when it wasn't possible to add more shims on the top to meet the (factory) wheel alignment settings.

    Speaking of factory alignment settings.... forget those, IMHO; giving the car as much castor as possible and a little neg camber totally transforms it from being a twitchy pig at speed, into something which cruises nicely and turns in wonderfully.

    Also, @242GT's oil cooler plan looks like the best solution. Those old factory circular oil coolers which tap into the coolant system are known to have welds which fail internally, and then they do the coolant-lubricant exchange thing. B20s and B30s typically have very high oil temps; there's a reason Mother Volvo fitted oil coolers to them, even in markets with lower ambient temps than OZ.

  • 242GT242GT @242GT Illawarra NSW
    edited August 2

    The stitch weld solves the problem , but , transfers those forces back into the chassis and wish bone bushes.

    So it dosnt pay to go to hard with springs and shocks as something got to absorb the applied forces.

    I've seen shock absorbers used from inner mud guard to engine block to help control engine movement , but didn't use that myself.

    Vince Harmer's 164 race car engine bay , it's a beautiful thing.

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