For the Volvo Enthusiast

Project XC90: V8 Grille and Chrome Trim Install

Subtle OEM upgrades are a common way owners of European cars like to use in order to tailor the look of their cars. Volvo owners are no exception, and the variety of parts fitted to various XC90s over the years is not lost on us as we consider where to go with our own Project XC90. One upgrade that we’ve wanted to do from the outset is the replacement grille and lower chrome inlet fitted to the XC90 V8.

When Volvo launched the XC90 V8 in 2005, it did so with very subtle outward differentiation. The trained eye will most obviously note the lighter grey eggcrate grille with V8 badge and a chrome surround located on the air inlet on the front bumper, just below the grille.

We’ve seen the grey grille treatment on various BMWs, a brand that builds white cars like ours more commonly than Volvo, and we love the look. Further, the grey V8 grille looked to be nearly an exact match to our recently-installed Titan-finish Volution wheels from Heico Sportiv.

Checking with the dealer, the grille itself sells for about $80. Ready to make the purchase, we found a slightly used V8 grille on Ebay for less than half the price. While new would have meant a perfect finish, we were willing to risk it and nabbed the rarely-listed grille from the online auction house � V8 badge included, but not matched with the lower chrome piece we still needed.

While perusing Ebay, we also noticed that Swedespeed sponsor Boston Volvo Village also lists a fair number of Volvo upgrade parts on the auction website. Within their listing was the chrome strip in question, and we were able to “Buy it Now” just minutes after winning our used V8 grille, having both arrive nearly on the same day.

Installation of the grey V8 grille is a straightforward affair. Ours came complete with a V8 badge that we quickly removed, before setting about installing the piece on our T6. Like the snap-together models of our childhood, removing the old grille was simply a matter of depressing several tabs and pulling the old black and chrome grille from its mounting point. From there, we simply slid the new grey grille into place.

While the chrome inlet surround purchased from Boston Volvo also had two tabs, sliding it into place quickly taught us that Volvo changed bumpers on the XC90 ever-so-slightly at the time of the V8’s introduction. From 2005 onward, all XC90s had a bumper that requires simply sliding the chrome piece into place. Earlier XC90s, such as our 2004 T6, require some slight modification.

We asked around on our own Swedespeed XC90 discussion forums for owners who’d done the install, and found suggestions of everything from using double sided tape or cable ties, to wedging the piece behind the front license plate and hoping it stays in place. Knowing we hope to fill the license plate holes and re-paint the bumper at some point in the future, we opted to go with the more easily removed “cable tie method”.

Drilling a hole in each of the part’s silver tabs, we simply looped a cable tie through each drilled hole. Sliding the chrome surround into place, we took a third cable tie and connected the other two in chain fashion from behind the center supports. Tightening the center-mounted cable tie pulled the piece snugly into place.

From certain angles, you can still see where the piece doesn’t precisely match the contour of our early model bumper, but the look is slight enough that we’re willing to live with it until we repaint the bumper and then maybe try for a more snug look through the use of more-permanent double-sided tape.

Overall, the appearance of our two V8 partsbin pieces is subtle and handsome. From the front, our XC90 has a bit more style with just a hint more chrome treatment. The grey of the grille is a very close match, as we’d expected, to our Titan-finish wheels from Heico Sportiv. And, for about $80 invested (about $120 if you buy everything new from the dealership), it’s a cheap and easy upgrade to make. Even better, it takes all of about ten minutes to install by even the most novice mechanic.

More Information:

Project XC90 Main Page



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