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My Volvo Story

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - Jack B

I bought my beloved Volvo, a 1998 V70 T5, on 28 December 2002. I was 18 years old and had just arrived at my unit fresh out of Army basic training. I knew it was the one for me from the first time I felt the full-boost pull; I was in love. My peers in my unit gave me so much grief for having a wagon of all things, except when they needed a ride or needed help moving.

I found IPD by looking for a solution to my first problem with the car. The rear tailgate interior had separated so I bought the repair kit from IPD. I was hooked from there. Soon to follow was the strut tower bar, poly upper engine mount, various replacement parts for tune-up and a couple accessories.

The fall of 2004 was my deployment to Iraq for a year; I left the car with my step father so that he could have a good, safe commuter. To this point, the only thing that had failed was the mass airflow sensor and everything was great. My step-dad did a timing belt and a couple various bits of maintenance while I was away. When I returned, it was a great day for me when I got to drive myself home in it; driving a car was very foreign.

In 2005, I added the iPod adapter to the car and my life improved with that alone. Zero to sixty time was unimportant when I was stuck in I-5 traffic. The new exhaust was an improvement that I am so happy I did. Our son was born early in the morning and my frantic driving, with the wife in labor, was a blur of her heavy breathing and the turbo shrieking. This may be why my oldest loves cars so much; his last few moments in the womb were car noises. 

In late 2006, I got orders to go to Germany and the Army shipped my car there for me. I got to experience what it is really like to go on the autobahn and do it FAST! I got the car in mostly-stock form up to 153mph (according to my gps) at one point. It was fun to do once, but don’t ever plan to repeat it.

There in Germany, the speed bug hit me even harder and so did more packages from companies like Snow Performance and, of course, IPD. I added a methanol injection kit after getting misfires on a 100+ degree day on the road and some slotted brake rotors after melting the stock ones avoiding a collision at 135 mph. The car performed great in the snow and all sorts of mountain roads, but we know that.

In late 2007, I came home from Germany and got out of the Army. The shipping company took it upon themselves to drop part of the carrier on the hood of my car when it got to Tacoma, WA. It was the second day of my new job and I was driving to my dad’s house in his Audi (yawn) when I got the news. Well, they fixed it and I got a newly-painted front end out of it.

In 2008, I lowered the car using the IPD sport springs and with many other parts showing their age, I replaced them too. Black painted wheels made the car look better (to me) and really gave it a whole new look. At 195k miles, the automatic transmission had seen better days. I did yearly flushes on it, but the combination of me driving it hard, and the fact that it is a machine led it to perform oddly. I found a replacement transmission, but this one was a manual. The M56H I got from California on a trip back from seeing family in Nevada. I even got to stop in and act like a silly fan-boy at IPD on the way home.

In May of 2010, I completed the manual swap with some help from the local Volvo community and lots of patience from my wife. It was the best thing I have ever done to the car. The engine is more noisy and it is fine with me. Today, at 216,000+ miles, the old wagon is tried and true. I have long ago decided to keep it until it is destroyed by some freak accident and we get to see how well the safety features work. I have never been happier with any automobile I’ve had. Even the new car my wife has (another turbo wagon) does not have my devotion.

Up in the near future is a full tune-up, PCV replacement, rear shocks, finally installing the ignition switch that I’ve had for a year and a few more things. If anyone has a car that they love as much as I do this one, they sure know what it’s like to go to ridiculous lengths to keep it up. Here are some pics and parts list.

Parts added in the last 9 years.

•IPD Sport springs
•Snow Performance Methanol injection
•IPD HD boost solenoid
•IPD HD transmission mount
•M56H manual transmission
•iPod adapter
•Silicone hoses
•Ceramic pads and slotted rotors
•Tail Gate repair kit
•Strut tower bar (front)

These are in the garage and I need to install:

•IPD phenolic spacer for intake manifold
•Ignition switch (this is not fun, but necessary)

Community Comments

Sunday, May 13, 2012 - HERMAN L WIEGMAN

Nice to hear that you took on the M56 transmission swap. Could you list the parts list and key components to make the swap? That would be a big help to those of us who are considering it for our bricks. I have done swaps on 240/740 series, but no at P80/P2 chassis. thanks, Herman

Monday, May 14, 2012 - JACK A BRIDENSTINE

If anyone needs the parts list for the M56 swap, there is a sticky on the Volvospeed forum that outlines everything. I came out with it all done for around 1500 bucks. Jack

Monday, May 21, 2012 - MICHAEL F. MACALUSO

Your car looks great! Great story and great progress. And hey, Thank you for what you have done for us and your Country. God bless.

Thursday, May 31, 2012 - PETER B. MALATINSKY

Nice to see you stuck with you Volvo and didn't give up on it.

Monday, July 9, 2012 - TOM LAPRE

Wow man, I'm really glad to see others out there with such passion and devotion for there beloved Volvo's. I drive a 97 850GLT (lpt) which i baby so i totally know what your talking about. I will swear by volvo's because they are the best overall ars out there i believe!

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - PAUL STANN

I bought my first Volvo, a 1968 142S, 2-door sedan, as a gift to myself for surviving 3 years of mortal combat duty in Viet Nam. I've been a loyal Volvo driver, user, buyer ever since. I've had 7 of them and still have a '93 Volvo 240 Wagon and a '97 Volvo 960. Guess which of these is mine.

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