Category Archives: Photos

Volvo 850 Wagon Spoiler Installation

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Finally finished installing the 1998-2000 V70R style spoiler on my 1996 Volvo 850 Platinum.  The earlier 850R spoilers are similar but have single piece brackets that don’t actually bolt down to anything – the spoiler is intended to be held on by sticky foam, and the brackets just wrap around the hinges as a safeguard – so in my opinion the later 1998-2000 style two-piece brackets are preferable.

In addition, this spoiler is a very rare model with an LED brake light built into it.  Most spoilers for 850/V70 wagons up to 2000 don’t have a brake light.  So arguably, this could be considered a safety upgrade.

This was a real project; it took about a month to get it all done from start to finish. A lot of people buy and sell used spoilers online, but most never end up getting installed, or they are spraypainted black or dark gray to match the trim.  Of course, the factory spoilers were painted the body color – in my case, Platinum Pearl Metallic, Volvo #424

Here are all the steps if you really want to do it right:

  • Buy the spoiler and brackets used online – $200
  • Made appointment to get an estimate for paint shop
  • Got estimate for painting – $311
  • Dropped off the spoiler with the car, picked up car later that day
  • Several days later – Picked up spoiler
  • Next day, notice spoiler is missing four of the six screws I dropped it off with, threads in four of the spoiler bosses full of paint
  • Call paint shop to complain about missing screws and paint in bosses, since I specifically explained to the salesman why I left the bolts in the threads
  • Salesman contacts painter, who flat out lies and says I dropped it off with only one screw, even though they gave it back with two – I know I actually dropped it off with all six installed so I wouldn’t have to chase paint out of the threads
  • Whatever. I’m getting new stainless hardware anyway
  • Spend an hour cleaning out the threads in the spoiler
  • Sand metal brackets down to bare metal with wire wheel
  • Paint brackets with four coats of POR-15 black
  • Clean POR-15 paint out of threads on brackets
  • Go to Michael’s craft store and get peel-and-stick 1/16″ black foam rubber – $2
  • Cut foam rubber to fit spoiler where it touches the car
  • Install brackets with new stainless bolts and blue Loctite from the hardware store – $10
  • Attach spoiler to brackets
  • Run wire for brakelight down through factory conduits
  • Make custom plug and plug into factory towing harness

When it’s all said and done though, I think it’s worth it, even with $500+ into it at this point. It looks great, and even if the paint shop is full of liars at least they did a good job matching the paint.

Battery, exhaust, and radiator

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Two weeks ago, I took the car on a very short trip.  It was supposed to be a long trip, but the plastic end tank on the radiator fractured around the upper hose connection and dumped coolant all over the highway.  Luckily I was watching my gauges and noticed the temperature spiking up.   Yikes!

After having the car towed home, I spent many hours trying to find a Volvo 240 radiator that was made out of metal.  Nissens and Performance no longer make them.  The only options for a metal-end-tank radiator are a custom aluminum radiator ($500-600), finding a generic aluminum radiator that is roughly the right size and wedging it in somehow (good luck, $200-300 and you might still be stuck with a radiator you can’t use and can’t return), or finding an old-stock new all metal unit.  Why metal?  If metal starts to fail, it usually is a slow leak with obvious corrosion.  When plastic starts to fail, it is more likely to fail catastrophically, and it doesn’t give much warning.

Luckily, I found an old-stock “CSF” brand metal radiator on e-bay for about $175.  It is a well-made unit by all appearances, although only two rows of cooling fins.  It fit in very nicely, just like an OEM unit, and so far has held up.  We’ll see if it can provide enough cooling this summer.

In other news, I also had the guys at R-Sport weld up a custom stainless steel 2.5 inch exhaust to match up to my new exhaust header.  It sounds great with a single Magnaflow muffler, but it’s a bit too loud for my old ears, so they are going to weld in a second muffler about where the stock second muffler goes.  I will miss the noise, but then again I won’t heh.

Last, but not least, while my car was sitting awaiting the new radiator, I found out that the battery wasn’t holding a charge (went partially dead after sitting for 10 days).  Looking at my records, the battery is about 90 months old, and it is only rated for 75 months.  Since this Interstate Megatron (MT-47) did such a good job, I bought another Interstate, this time the “performance” model (MTP-47) which has slightly more cold-cranking amps, a more durable case, and a longer warranty, for about $20 more.

Back on the road

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Well, my car is back on the road after four months in the garage.

It all began with a broken-off bolt in the engine block – the alternator mounting bolt.  It took a full weekend of work to drill out the old bolt, create a clean hole, tap the hole in the block, and install a 1/2″ thread stainless steel bolt like so:

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With the bolt finally fixed, I replaced the rest of the accessory bushings with the blue polyurethane bushings from IPD.  I also installed new engine mounts, using the OEM Volvo diesel mounts that are spec’d for a diesel 240.  They are a bit firmer than stock motor mounts.  For more maintenance, I replaced the front engine seals, timing belt, tensioner, transmission mount, alternator (under warranty luckily), valve guide seals and hushers (see previous post) and the cam seals.  I also cleaned up everything as best I could.

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On top of all that, I put in an IPD VX camshaft and a RSI adjustable cam gear.  A new water pump and silicone cooling hoses from IPD finished up the cooling system, and fresh belts should keep the engine quiet.  The brake system was done in August with fresh fluid and IPD stainless steel brake lines, so it didn’t need much work.  As a special fun piece, I got ahold of a used, custom-made B230F exhaust manifold with equal length runners and a 4-to-1 collector.  New spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, and IPD performance plug wires finished the job.  For a fun change, I also had my M47 shift lever modified by Jacob Homer to shorten the throw, which makes the shifts faster and more “race car like”.

Oh yeah, and I removed the factory rack and plugged the holes using the kit from IPD.  The car is rusting just a bit underneath the rack, and I didn’t want it to get worse by keeping that old clunky rack on there.  The top of the roof is really ugly right now – it needs a run over with the power buffer to clean up the marks in the paint from 20 years of the rack sitting there.  But really, the whole car needs a respray pretty bad too.

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You can read about my work on LED instrument cluster lighting in this article.

You can read about my work on trimming the rear fenders and fitting the wheels in this article.