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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I have a 2001 Volvo V70 2.4T with 227k miles. Quite a few. It has about 77k on an overhauled 5 speed auto.

Basically, my question is what's recommended to get about the same performance, or close, to a 2005ish Nissan Maxima?

First off, I could just trade the car and get a Maxima. I have friends that have an 04 and an 06, and I love the power and handling. But, the most I could spend would be about $8000, max. That isn't really a bunch of money to get a nice car. A quick search on autotrader shows me that for that money I'd be looking at a Maxima with around 140k miles, give or take. At that age, the car I got would probably be already overdue for a timing belt, struts that need replacement soon, other front end work, and whatever else may be not so perfect about a used car in that price range. Most concerning is that with that mileage the transmission could give it up at anytime, and be fair game. They don't last forever, and I'm a little hesitant about buying one that has already given most of it's life to someone else. In that case, I'd have to replace a transmission, and make a car payment too. Also, I don't know anything about them, other than I like them, so with any repairs, I'd have to learn a new car. So, the way I see it, trading is not without flaws, at all.

On my Volvo...I've had it for 9 years already, so it's long since paid for. The body is very straight, the paint is very good still, and the interior is also very good. You'd never know we've raised three kids in it. I've done all the repairs myself over the years, and it's a pretty long list. I'm very comfortable working on this car, certainly not a Volvo expert, not a professional mechanic, but I've become very familiar with it's disassembly and re-assembly, from a repair stand point. I've only recently begun to research performance upgrades. I've recently done a vacuum gauge test on it, it was good. A compression test was okay I guess. All cylinders between 132 and 135 psi. Very consistent. When I added a little oil to the cylinders, they all measured between 150 and 155 psi. A little ring wear I guess, but it's also got a few miles, probably to be expected. I don't have the gauge to do a cylinder leakage test, but I plan to have that done soon to tell me a little more about the overall health of the motor. It doesn't knock or smoke. I've had the "Engine system service required" message for a while, so I guess I'll need a new ETM fairly soon. The suspension is completely shot, needs a total rebuild pretty much. Everything works on the car, except the alarm. The battery in the module leaked and ruined it, so I just arm it and let the light on the dash blink. Nobody knows it doesn't work, lol. Like I said, transmission has about 77k miles on a complete overhaul.

I think I'm more inclined to pursue the upgrade route rather than trading it. I just "know the car" so well. I'm not real concerned with what the car is worth vs how much I spend on it; if I decide not to trade, I'll be committed to the car for a very long time. No plans to sell it in other words, if money needs to be recovered I'll recover it by driving the life out of it, again. I feel like the money spent would likely yield something that feels like a completely different car, even if it isn't really, if that makes sense. From what research I've done, FCPEuro sells a complete suspension rebuild kit, front and rear, with Bilstien struts, for about $1000. Add some IPD sway bars and endlinks, it looks like about $1500 or $1600 for a completely new suspension, better than brand new, with the entirety of it's life ahead of it. You can't say that about buying a used Maxima. Some good brake pads, like Hawks or whatever, should be about $200 for front and rear. I think it was also FCP where I saw some braided steel brake hoses with 4star reviews for about $20 or $30 each. That should be good enough for brakes.

So how close can I get it to my buddies stock Maxima? All the reliability of a daily driver must be retained, although having to do without the car if it's down for a couple weeks or months being worked on isn't a problem...I'll drive my truck in the mean time. I think from what I've read, I can upgrade to a T5 turbo, (16T or G I think??) with a tune and maybe injectors. Since I've got high mileage to begin with, what's involved in just swapping in the whole T5 motor. I've read that question on several older threads, but the replies were "it's involved" and didn't elaborate much else. Please do. If you know of anywhere where there are lots of details on this, please give me a link. I don't mind doing significant work, if the reward is what I want, and it isn't like $4 or $5000 even with my labor.

If no engine swap, what about a tune from IPD, or elsewhere, and one of those performance exhaust kits from Snaab with the stock turbo? Has anyone ever tried their manifold and throttle body spacers for reducing intake temps? N/A cams? I would need the details on that, I think you have to advance the intake cam to get the gain. Agreed?

Sorry to write a book, it's just been on my mind...thanks for reading and thanks for any info!!

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When you say intake, are you talking about a "cold air intake"? Favorite brand of each? Thanks for the input.
 

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So how close can I get it to my buddies stock Maxima?
Keeping up with the Joneses usually turns out to bite you. But if you insist, the typical successful power formula is FMIC, tune and DP. The next step is bigger turbo, Snabb intake, full exhaust, CBV. Then bigger injectors, full intake, water/meth injection...
Pretty sure tho that just an intake exhaust and tune will not get 50/90 on a 2.4. (just a tune on a T5 is 30/60 and its better prepared for the power increase) Not without a turbo. And depending on where you live, it may only be good half the year b/c heat soak begins to set in around 76F with the OE intercooler.
And of course, we haven't even discussed handling.
 

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Now don't get me wrong here; if you are interested in taking the family hauler up a level for YOU, because its dear to your heart and you know it but know there is more lurking inside ready to be realized, well that's one thing, but if your reasoning is that your penis shrinks a little every time you pull up next to him at the end of the street, then maybe its for the wrong reasons and in the end, you'll either be unfulfilled or else it could lead to unintended consequences you didn't want.
 

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Talk about aiming low... What exactly is so appealing about the Maxima to you? It's a FWD family car and so is the Volvo, so I don't see the point in worrying about performance in either. Even modern family cars perform far better than either. You can get a Camry with like 300hp. Accept your car for what it is and don't spend $8000 to upgrade your car to the level of a decade old family sedan.

Maybe take that $8000 and buy a BMW.
 

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Based on your detailed explanation of your situation, I say you should go for the upgrade route. You are very happy with this car but just want to increase the performance. You have really done your homework and are very aware of the potential risks and it is so satisfying to apply knowledge and parts to a vehicle and see and feel it become a much better version of itself. I would do the suspension and brake work just as you described, and then as some have mentioned cold air intake, exhaust, and tune. See if all of that gets you what your want. If want more then you haven't wasted your money because the intake and exhaust are needed for all the bigger upgrades. Once you get above stage I things do get more complicated but you are clearly more than up for the task. I'm 41 and have had a bunch of cars and trucks. I don't think there is more than one or two that I haven't modified in some way. I find a vehicle that I like and then I modify it to fit me, and I get to enjoy that every day even if it's just back and forth to work. No it's never a good financial investment but it is fun.
 
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