The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

V50 softloader Stage I

2009-02-18 - Robert Lucky Arnold

The automotive industry is really a small world, when you consider the smaller market share Volvo has across the entire range, it gets even smaller. I came to meet John Farris who owns Apex Restoration (www.apexrestoration.net) through our former Volvo tech here at ipd/RalliTEK, Eli. I was looking for a local V50 or S40 owner who wanted to upgrade their ECU using the ipd Softloader and use the experience to introduce the Softloader for the S40/V50/C30/C70 models. As it turns out John was searching for something else, with a recent trip to the dealer to replace the oil pan in his 2007 V50 AWD from curb damage just a few days before, he was more concerned about the skid plate I had recently been designing and heard about from Eli. Once we started talking and I mentioned ECU upgrades, protection took a back seat to performance. John shared with me that he was already an avid track driver with fully built Mazda RX7 as a play toy. Then on a recently scheduled track day he couldn't get the RX7 there, and his spouse had the V50, so what is a guy to do? He drove his Honda Element instead. John!.. It's time to tune the V50.

We talked for a bit longer and added a high flow intake and one of our signature Ipd rear sway bars to his ride to go along with the Softloader. His shop had already equipped his V50 with 18 inch custom painted wheels, lowering springs, tinted glass, body matched paint accents, and clear bra protection.

Once we got the vehicle down here to ipd we readout the ECU and sent the files off to Sweden for massaging. I scheduled time at the local AWD dyno shop and made sure our graphics/marketing genius Bryan Cottrell was ready to do some video and photo shooting of the car while we had it with us. We got into the dyno shop later the next day and made numerous passes both stock and then tuned to the MTE stage I files that we had received earlier that day. We were so happy with the power delivery at the wheels (especially considering this was an AWD model and had more parasitic loss from drag and inertia) I couldn't wait to get out on the road and see what it drove like.

The dyno shop is right off the 405 to I-5 interchange on the north side of downtown Portland so I jumped on the highway there, over the Freemont bridge, and ran the loop to the south interchange, kept the wheel to the right and came back around the horn. The car performed better than any other V50 I've been in, some of that is due to the additional improvements like springs, and the rear sway bar but the overall engine performance was outstanding. MTE does a good amount of work smoothing the throttle application to keep power delivery predictable and controllable with the additional HP from boost development, this helps reduce unnecessary wheel spin from abrupt and jerky boost curves. I was happy and I knew John would be too.

With spring rapidly approaching and the local track here freshly repaved there are certainly a few track days in this V50's future. At the time we went to press John had taken delivery of the car and was excited to see what it can do off the local highways were he can really push the limits. We look forward to seeing more from our favorite local V50, nicknamed "Penguin".


The chart above is an example of the datalogging availble through the Ipd softloader. In this example we collected just 4 of the 7 data streams to show you the performance of the softloader during the dyno run of the video above. This type of data aquisition can be very useful when trouble shooting a problem or even if you're just wanting to verify everything is working as it should with your upgrade.

C30 Softloader     -     S40 Softloader     -     V50 Softloader    -     C70 Softloader

Click Here for a the raw datalog file that was generated with the Ipd Softloader during our Stage I run.