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The Volvo Parts Specialists Since 1963 The Volvo Parts, Accessories & Performance Specialists Since 1963
The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

ipd Softloader Engine Management Flash Tool for 1999-2009 Turbo Models

2008-01-01 - Scott Hart

ipd's softloader currently works with:

  • 1999-2000 S70 Turbo
  • 1999-2009 S60 Turbo
  • 1999-2009 V70 Turbo
  • 1999-2009 C70 Turbo
  • 1999-2009 S80 Turbo
  • 2003-2009 XC90 Turbo
  • 2005-2009 V50 Turbo
  • 2005-2009 S40 Turbo
  • 2007-2009 C30 Turbo

Does not currently work with any non-turbo model and does not work with 2000-2004 S40 & V40 4 cylinder models.

Now you can have the best performance tune for your Volvo and the best interface solution! No longer do you have to settle for marginal performance upgrades out of convenience. Read all about our revolutionary new product that allows you to switch between stock and upgraded software whenever you like as well as providing you with access to ipd's exclusive diagnostic and data logging software.

After 18 months of development, testing, negotiation, blood, sweat and tears we are excited to announce details about our forthcoming Softloader program. The development of this entirely new technology came from our desire to provide the best delivery solution of our existing performance ECU tunes for Volvo turbocharged models.

It is generally agreed by the Volvo performance community that our software tuning, co-developed with our Swedish tuning partners at MTE, is the best in the business. When it comes to power under the curve, there is no comparison; our upgrades simply outperform the competition. A smooth, linear power delivery provides maximum torque within safe limits.

Our direct flash tuning method had one drawback, it required our customers to send their ECU to us for upgrading, which put their car out of commission for 2-3 days and also added $150 to $200 in overnight shipping fees to the upgrade cost. We wanted to provide a solution that allowed our customers to experience the superior performance of our upgrade without the inconvenience and additional cost of sending their ECU to us. So began the quest to develop the solution that we are ready to release for sale.

The basic details are as follows:

  • Our new Softloader hardware allows you to flash our software upgrades directly into your car using the OBD II diagnostic port for access in about 10-15 minutes.
  • Requires a USB equipped laptop or PC running Windows 98+ (Vista not supported yet..) If you don't have an e-mail account, our software files can be transferred by disc. Please note that the softloader must remain connected to the laptop /PC during the file transfer process .
    The Softloader upgrade comes supplied with cables that terminate with USB on one end and OBD II on the other. In between will be a communication / adapter device that allows your PC to communicate with your Volvo.
  • The hardware is driven by a free software interface that you can download from our website and is also included on CD with the hardware.
  • The hardware can be used on multiple cars, so you’ll only need to purchase the software after the initial purchase.

The first step of the upgrade process is to read the software and hardware details from your car and then forward those files to us so we can provide you with calibrations developed specifically for your car. We realize that this may sound cumbersome, compared to some other similar solutions currently available (where this step is skipped). There is a significant difference in performance that comes from our method, and that is why we have developed this superior solution.

Once we receive data from your car, we can usually provide 2-3 day turn around on the creation of the performance calibrations specific to your model, and return these back to you via e-mail to be loaded into your Volvo’s ECU. We could bypass this step and provide a more generic tune for the base engine family, but our testing has proven that our wide scope calibration method provides the ultimate in long-term, trouble free performance.

The base software interface is a very simple menu driven application developed for ease of use.

  1. Open the softloader application on your PC,
  2. Plug the cable into the OBD connector on your car and the system will guide you through the brief process with clear, easy to understand screen prompts.
  3. We have also developed fully functional scan tool software that allows you to read and reset check engine codes as well as providing access to other diagnostic information from the ABS system, the climate control system, safety systems etc. The diagnostic software includes a cross reference database that provides a detailed description of the OBD II generic codes as well as the Volvo specific codes. Only top of the line pro level scan tools costing upwards of $2500 have this capability.
  4. We also developed data logging software that allows you to select from multiple OBD II monitored inputs and enhanced outputs such as boost, intake charge temp, ignition angle, knock sensor activity, etc that standard OBD scanners can not access. These inputs can be displayed in real time or recorded to a file for later playback.
  5. These add-on enhancements are available for only $100 each or at a discounted package price when purchased together with the hardware and ECU upgrade.

We haven’t organized all of the details such as dyno graphs, model specific HP and torque improvements etc, but we are putting the final touches on a website dedicated to our new softloader ECU upgrader and will follow up with the link to it soon. You can also get detailed information by calling us at 1-800-444-6473. Please ask for Ken, Lucky or Scott as the rest of our staff is still being trained on this new product.

More Information:

Swedespeed thread about ipd Softloader

ipd Softloader Videos: Introduction, Preparation, Upgrade Process, Data Logging, Diagnostics (Streaming WMV format)

ipd Softloader PDf Instructions (PDF)
Please print these as a handy reference for use while performing the actual performance software upgrade. The soft loader comes with an instructional video, but it cannot be viewed during the actual upgrade process.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have several Volvos in our family, do we need to purchase softloaders for each car?

No. You’ll only need to purchase the software upgrade file which is $895. The hardware is locked to a single car, but when a file for a second car is purchased, the cable will become functional for both cars. The files themselves are encrypted and serialized to limit functionality to only the car it was written for based on the initial read out process and is also cross checked against Volvos immobilizer coding which is unique to each model.

What's going to happen to my factory warranty?

Bottom line, we don't want you to get the impression that there is no risk involved. These types of upgrades produce significant power increases and depending on how hard you drive your car, there could be reductions in the longevity of drive train components. It is possible that if you had a situation arise where a major drive train part failed, Volvo could deny coverage. The way US laws are written, your rights to use after market parts and upgrades on your car are protected by the Magnusson Moss act, but it is not a guarantee of warranty coverage. Basically the act states that you have a right to use non-original parts on your car and still retain the factory warranty. However, if there is a failure and the manufacturer (VOLVO in this case) can show that the failure was caused by the non-original part, they can deny coverage.
The important thing is that your dealer cannot VOID your warranty just because the part is on the car. We have heard of cases where a dealer would tell a customer that their car had no warranty because it had an after market exhaust. Granted, the exhaust is not covered, however the rest of the car is still under the normal warranty. The last thing we want for you to experience is a serious engine or drive train problem and we have designed our upgrades with this in mind. It is easy to get more power by running at higher boost levels, but extensive testing has shown that longevity quickly drops and drive train components are overloaded. For most Volvo owners, the Volvo is also the family's main vehicle. Volvo owners also rate longevity as one of the main reasons they bought their Volvo. We'd like to keep it that way. If you have more questions about this, please visit the link below.

What are the effects on long term durability?

As we mentioned above, your driving style and maintenance practices have the biggest effect on this. We've been offering these upgrades since 1994. We know of one case where a customer bent a connecting rod while drag racing the car. This car was also running with the waste gate adjusted beyond the factory spec. We have heard from customers that have over 200,000 miles of service since making the upgrades on their early 850 turbos with no drive train problems. Our experience shows that you should get normal service from your car by keeping the engine oil, spark plugs and transmission oil fresh. Details are included with the ECU upgrade. Also, keep in mind that the amount of time that your car sees full throttle loading where the upgraded calibrations are most noticeable is relatively small in comparison to the relative life of the car.

What's going to happen to my fuel economy?

Again, this depends on your driving habits. If you're a lead foot you're going to use a lot more gas. If you are making more power, you are using more fuel. Typically we find that most customers will notice a slight drop in economy for the first week or two when they are playing with the new power, but economy should return to within a mile or two per gallon of what you've been getting. When cruising on a long trip in a situation where you might use the cruise control, fuel economy will usually be the same as stock. Generally speaking, most of the ECU calibrations for the upgrade software are only accessed when the throttle pedal is at over 60% input, so most of the time you are operating on the factory calibrations unless you have your foot in it!

Can the performance software be detected during normal service and diagnostic procedures?

No. A technician would have to temporarily install a boost gauge and drive the car under load to see that it was operating at a higher boost levels than stock. Very unlikely, but possible. One way to avoid this would be to use your softloader to flash the car back to stock whenever it is in for dealer service. There have been concerns about whether or not Volvo would be able to see a log record showing file transfers. This is visible to Volvo, but it is not information that can be used to determine if the car has been modified. The reason this is not an indicator of modification is that Volvo had to open up access under federal law to allow independent service shops to load software drivers into the cars, which is necessary when replacing network components such as power window switches, electronic throttle modules etc.

What happens if my Volvo Dealer updates or over writes the performance software in my ECU for some reason?

This is possible, but not very likely. Usually it takes a major software recall for this to be a concern. If it does happen, you can re-flash the car with your upgraded calibration file, however we recommend that you contact us first with information on why the car was flashed by the dealer as it may be a desirable improvement that we would like to integrate into our base upgrade. Depending on the nature of the factory re-flash, we may have a short delay before we integrate the factory update into our performance calibrations. This is usually only a concern on cars that are 1-2 years old as most factory software upgrades occur during this time.

Is it possible for the software to become corrupt, revert back to stock or a lower output level on it's own?

No. Occasionally we get calls from customers that are experiencing reduced power after several months or years of upgraded performance. The software does not go bad! Usually what we find is that a peripheral component such as the Turbo Control Valve (TCV) or Mass Air Flow (MAF)
Meter is failing and providing intermittent performance. Worn spark plugs is another common problem. The higher boost levels can dramatically shorten the life expectancy of the spark plugs, especially if the car is tracked, dyno'd or subjected to towing at or near the max GVW rating for extended durations. When spark plugs get badly worn, the ignition can misfire under load and performance will be reduced to a level that prevents the mis-firing. BTW, we highly recommend the use of Irridium plugs when running an upgrade ECU. We stock Iridiums for most Volvo applications) We've also seen a few fuel pumps that did not provide proper output on high loads, these will usually register a diagnostic trouble code, but can sometimes be right on the border of not providing enough fuel for high output operation, but plenty of fuel under normal loads. These are rare instances, but the point is that the software does not degrade over time. If you are experiencing reduced performance, it is because the car has either been flashed back to stock by your dealer or there is an issue with engine management hardware. Faulty or intermittent sticking of the TCV is the #1 cause of reduced or sporadic fluctuations in performance.

Other tuners alter the throttle mapping and market it as a performance improvement. Does the ipd/MTE upgrade offer this feature?

Some Volvo tuners provide very aggressive “throttle mapping” that makes the car feel snappy off the line, but this also makes it very difficult to control the throttle in low traction / low speed maneuvers. Throttle mapping does not improve performance, it simply increases the rate of throttle plate opening in relation to how far the throttle pedal is pressed. For example let’s assume that the stock throttle mapping is linear, so when the throttle pedal is pressed half way down, the throttle plate is open half way. Aggressive throttle mapping alters this so that ¼ throttle equals ½ throttle plate opening and 1/2 throttle pedal input opens the throttle plate 100%. Throttle pedal movement from ½ to full does nothing! The throttle becomes very touchy and difficult to control in some situations. Initially you may get the feeling that the car has more power as it jumps out from under you when you barely touch the throttle, but it becomes tiring real fast. Even Volvo used this tactic to make the under powered 5 cylinder XC90 feel like it had a bigger engine, but owners complained so much that Volvo offered free reflashes with more linear throttle mapping. We do revise throttle mapping to provide smooth linear power delivery that is useable and controllable.

Does ipd offer Hi Octane mapping for use when running 92-93 octane fuel?

Yes. And it is included in each and every one of our upgrades absolutely free! Some tuners offer low octane tunes and charge more for a high octane tune and sell them separately. This is the result of narrow scope tuning. It is much easier and cost effective to develop a tune that works well within a narrow range of octane levels. It’s much more involved and time consuming to develop calibrations that allow the engine management system to operate safely across a wide range of octane levels using factory algorithms like we do. Our upgrades will provide maximum safe performance on 89-93 octane fuel. There is no need to have two different programs or limit the flexability of your performance by having to choose a low octane or hi octane tune.

Granted, when operating on our wide scope calibrations the engine management system will adjust the amount of torque and HP developed when running on a lower octane fuel, but performance will always be in accordance to the fuel quality available within the range of commonly available pump fuels. The BOSCH ME7 and ME9 engine management systems that Volvo uses have excellent ignition management algorithms that allow us to provide optimum performance and reliability across a wide range of fuels and load conditions.
Our wide scope tuning also allows the engine management system to adapt to additional air flow improving upgrades such as a larger downpipe, sport exhaust or air intake system. Gross changes to the air flow, such as that provided by a turbo upgrade do require custom calibrations, which we do have available for some models.

What happens if I'm not happy with the upgrade?

All ipd ECU upgrades come with a 90 Day 100% satisfaction guarantee. We will gladly work with you to ensure that the products are performing properly and providing optimum performance. If you still are not happy with the results, we will provide a full product refund upon receipt of the parts in question. In the case of an ECU upgrade, depending on the year and model you have we will exchange the upgraded ECU for a non modified stock unit, reflash your ECU back to stock or for softloader customers arrange a refund upon receipt of the softloader and original software files.

What inputs can be logged using the softloader datalogging software?

  • Elapsed time
  • RPM
  • Throttle position
  • Boost pressure sensor
  • Engaged gear
  • Vehicle speed
  • Air Fuel Ratio
  • Charge air temp sensor

What systems are accessible through the softloader diagnostics?

  • ECU (Engine control unit)
  • TCU (Auto transmission Control Unit)
  • CEM (Central Electronic Module)
    ABS (Anti lock Brake System)
    SRS (Supplemental Restraint System /Airbags)

Questions? Call Ken, Lucky or Scott at 1-800-444-6473 for more information.

Community Comments

Thursday, June 11, 2009 3:44 AM - "NK"
Good Morning This is very interesting - I see that you are tuning for Fuel with octane rating of 89 - 93 Here in South Africa we do have the pump octane of 95. Can i order a New ECU programe for my S40 with this writen for 95. I have your KN Air Filter and a locally done GOOD free flow echaust system. In you opion what would the average HP gains B ? I am ready to purchase ASAP as i am looking forward to new gains Thank U - Regards Nick
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 12:01 PM - "RR"
I understand that the US model T-5s are electronically governed to 130 MPH. Does the software allow for modification of that limit as well as the other parameters?
Sunday, November 29, 2009 11:54 AM - "T"
Hi, I just want to know why there are no software and tools for Engine Management and tuning available on the Volvo S40 2001 models (1999-2003). It seems like these Volvo's are different from all the other Volvo's because you do get equipment for all of them accept the S40's even the V40 are different. Please let me know, Thanks
Friday, December 11, 2009 4:15 PM - "J"
Second the question about 1st gen. S40s. I have an early 2000, bought new. I've toughed it through "working out the kinks" now wouldn't it be nice to really enjoy the performance she is capable of. Please offer ECU upgrades for these, too!
Friday, January 15, 2010 6:29 AM - "D"
Hey guys, love your products, I just bought a 2000 S40 volvo and wanted to put some of your performance mods. But I've noticed there really isn't any for the 1999-03 S40's... more for the S60's, 850's and S70's. I was wondering why? and is it because the 1999-03 models were made with Mitsubishi?
Saturday, April 24, 2010 10:30 AM - "TZ"
I am very happy with the performance delivered by the softloader. but I need real instructions for hooking up and using the diagnostics and data logging applications. can someone help with plain english step by step instructions. I need basics. is the car moving when logging; file formats for saving data; etc. thanks. tim zink
Friday, August 20, 2010 12:16 PM - "M"
How come this is not available for the 850 models (specifically 850R models) or 1998 S70 models?
Monday, March 28, 2011 3:51 PM - "R"
I notice the software will only work up to Windows XP. When do you think you ll update the software Hate having to keep a laptop with Xp just for one task.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7:33 AM - "KR"
Unfortunately, the drivers for our softloader do not work with later versions of Windows but you can use Windows 7 with XP mode.
Sunday, April 10, 2011 9:05 PM - "L"
I have recently purchased an 2005 s60 2.5T AWD and wanted to get the best possible tune. IPD s name came up right away but now I have another decision to make. Which method would give me the best possible performance Sending my ECU in or getting this software mentioned above. Can you change the rev points on the automatic with this software Thanks for your feedback

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IPD is the Volvo Parts, Accessories and Performance Specialists Since 1963.

We offer a wide variety of high quality replacement, maintenance and restoration car parts plus our own line of heavy duty and performance products. Our custom built online parts catalog features Genuine, OE, OES, OEM, Aftermarket and IPD branded replacement auto parts.

Combine our unmatched 50+ year reputation with our outstanding customer service team and you can be confident we'll be here to serve your Volvo needs long in to the future. Not many others can match our knowledge and dedication to providing the very best customer service in the market. We have a physical location, live customer service agents you can call and extensive inventory so we can ship products to you quickly. Our customer and vehicle first approach means that your experience is our first priority. We have truly hassle-free returns and provide do-it-yourself (DIY) guides and videos for many of our products.

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