DIY Suspension | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

New Blue Springs

sportspringsThe ipd Sport Springs are installed now and they ride great. At left are the driver-side springs, new and old. I can’t believe how much shorter the new spring is when they’re unsprung. It made installation easier than removal because we didn’t need to compress the coil. The new spring was so much shorter that it slipped right in without much compression. On the ground the car now rides only about 2″ shorter in the front, not nearly as much difference as these uninstalled springs look.

New springs on all four corners took a little more than 3 hours with 2 people. My buddy Andy has a good set of jacks and stands and we used his dad’s impact wrench to tighten up the coil compressor. It was an uneventful installation; luckily there weren’t any stripped nuts or rusted bolts to contend with. I shot pics and video.

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Ye Olde Volvo Net

I found an interesting anti-sway bar FAQ, posted on swedishbricks.com in 1992. A writer asks about upgrading the sway bars on her husband’s new 245:

So, we bought the ’92 240 5 spd wagon. My husband, to whom I regularly deliver hardcopy of Volvo-net wisdom, wants to know about the best width swaybars for improving cornering. He feels it is ironic that my ’76 240 wagon seems to do better without sway bars(?), and that the new car could use an upgrade. I have the general list from Volvo-net Who’s who, but would appreciate elaboration.

The answer she gets is the same as anyone would get on the Brick Board 18 years later:

For a recent car, such as your new 245, I would suggest the following “improvements” :

Tires : replace stock 185R14 Michelin with 205/70HR14 tires (see tire chart) less important on a new car, very important after 40k miles

Dampers : replace stock shocks with iPD “specially-valved” Bilsteins only then

Sway-Bars : replace stock sway bars with iPD sway bars

Since this was posted online in 1992, all of the email addresses are colleges, including the new 245 owner at harvard.edu.

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Anti-Sway bars

sway.jpg

I installed anti-sway bars with my buddy Andy last summer and they ride nice, but aren’t as dramatic a change as I expected.

More details and pics after the jump.

READ MORE…

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Go Low… or no?

coilspringThe rear springs of the brick sag so bad that it bounces like a Slinky when I hit a speed bump. At 145k it’s not a surprise, especially since I have no idea what the previous owner used to put in the back. Getting new KYB shocks didn’t help much, so I figure they need to be replaced. Now I need to decide how crazy to go.

Original springs would be fine, at $90-100 for the rear pair, and would probably boost the sagging rear by a 1/2″ or so. Or I could do the sport springs from iPD for $250 for all 4 wheels. This would lower the car by an inch or more. That’d make the handling better but I’m not sure I’d want that considering the potholes in my neighborhood. It also raises the complication of changing the front springs, which would be a PITA.

But it looks pretty cool, as can be seen here and here.

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Installed IPD anti-sway bars

IPD had a free shipping sale so I finally bought their 25mm anti-sway bars. They sat around the house for a few weeks but I finally put them on today.

My friend Andy keeps his Porsche at a garage about a 1/2 hour away and I drove out there to use the hydraulic lift. We jacked the Brick up in the air and pulled off the old bars. I thought we wouldn’t need to take off the front wheels but I was wrong. We had a minor disaster where we almost dropped the rear differential; I ended up supporting the rear on my shoulders while Andy ran to get a jack. Other than that, installation was straight forward and simple.

When I hit the road I had a tough time noticing a difference. You really have to try to rock the car side-to-side to feel the improvement. There’s no difference when cruising straight down the road, but hitting exit/entrance ramps is a marked change. It wasn’t as dramatic as I expected; the bars really make the car drive like it should, rather than being a big performance boost. Lane changes and turns feel safer and I’m now aware of how poorly it handled without them. I can only imagine how bad the older bricks were that didn’t have anti-sways, or had ones that were thin as paper clips.

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