While we were finalizing Stage 0 and other cosmetic enhancements, we began to plan out what we were going to do to turn up the fun factor for our Project V70 T5. While chatting with IPD, they mentioned they were going to be offering a new “Turbo back” exhaust system for the 870 (the term 870 is commonly used to denote 1993-2000 850 and 70 series models) cars and offered to send us a version for our project. We had no doubt we would enjoy the system’s performance and quality but we were really excited about the price point they were considering.

Exhaust systems are one of those personal choices, like wheels or a body kit. The results can be subtle or not so subtle. Modifying a car with 170,000 miles presents its own challenges but we felt confident that the aging 2.3-liter was ready for an upgrade. Knowing that my original 16T was starting to show signs of wear, I decided to go all out with a brand new 18T and IPD’s Stage 3 tune. I also picked up a slightly used S60R manifold for more efficient exhaust flow into the new angled downpipe. All combined, the T5 will breathe easier, and build more power at an earlier RPM.


Arriving in a single box, the entire system was well packed and upon examination, the high quality T409 stainless steel was impressive. The quality and craftsmanship stand out. It’s clear the system was meant to provide long lasting performance and the V-band clamps ensure leak free operation for years to come. The box included the downpipe with a high flow catalytic converter, resonator mid section, rear muffler section, IPD’s signature exhaust tip and all the clamps and fasteners for the installation.

The hardest part of the installation was the removal of the original exhaust manifold, which caused a trip to Sears for a special tool to extract a stripped bolt. Soaking the nuts and bolts with penetrating oil the day prior to the installation clearly paid off and all but one bolt came off without any issues. We purchased new bolts, nuts, washers and gaskets for a clean installation with the new turbo and exhaust manifold.

My ’98 T5 has the secondary air system (SAS) and IPD includes a bung in the downpipe to accommodate the air pump equipped cars. For those who don’t need it, there is an included plug.

Installation was very straightforward after the exhaust manifold and turbo were installed. On a set of ramps in our garage, we were able to install and align the system in about thirty minutes. Included in the kit is an O2 sensor extension with enough slack to tuck it out of the way. If you are replacing your original exhaust system, consider purchasing new O2 sensors if yours were never replaced. Both my front and rear sensors were fused to their locations and couldn’t be removed.

The compact resonator fits perfectly in the exhaust tunnel and curves around to a beautiful chrome muffler supported by a brand new exhaust hanger, included in the kit. The trick part about the kit is that it fits the S70 and the longer V70. Simply sliding the 4-inch exhaust tip further out allows owners to show or hide as much of the tip as preferred.

As the pictures show, this system looks great but the more important question is of course “how does it sound?” At idle, you hear this is not a typical Volvo. A deep, healthy purr flows from the rear. A tap of the throttle and the purr becomes a rumble. This was a system built for the Volvo enthusiast who wants to be heard and wants to hear his exhaust himself. Below 2000 rpm the system is almost mild but as the RPMs climb through 3000 rpm the rumble becomes an energetic roar that is an intoxicating sound for the 5-cylinder. Combined with the 18T and Stage 3 tune, this exhaust system presents the nearly 300 hp with an authority that will put a smile on your face for every tire spinning moment. Project T5 now has the acoustics of a much more youthful performance wagon and when combined with the other myriad enhancements this V70 is a very capable and enjoyable driver, even if it is now tractionally (it’s a word, we swear) challenged.

So, what don’t we like about this system? There is a bit of drone between 2500 and 3000 rpm. This is the sweet spot for cruising but I have to be honest, this is more of a personal impression than a fault with the system. As a soon to be forty-something, I prefer to enjoy an exhaust system without hearing it in the car. This 870 system is heard in the passenger compartment and if I were in my twenties, I would enjoy hearing it. This is really the target audience for this system and knowing that, this system hits the mark. I spoke with Lucky at IPD and he’s considering an alternative resonator for those who want a stealthier system. The overall quality, excellent craftsmanship and customer service continue IPD’s respected reputation in the Volvo community. Through the month of February, IPD is offering Swedespeed members a $100 discount and free 48-state shipping on their latest turbo back system. Check out more details here:


Since the installation, I have put close to 3500 miles on this turbo-back system and it continues to sound and look fantastic. Largely, I am very happy with the transformation Project T5 has taken over the past 20,000 miles. Much of that transformation happened because of the support from the Swedespeed community, thank you again to all those who have contributed. The exhaust system, combined with IPD's Stage 3, has put an exclamation point on eighteen months of ownership.

In the coming months, we'll cover additional details on the enhancements that have revitalized and modernized the iconic Volvo V70.

For more photos of this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right