Customer Spotlight- Kristoffer Jansson
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - Kristoffer Jansson
Who Am I?
Kristoffer Jansson - 33 years young from Finland. Occupation: IT Professional
When was young(er), way back in 94, my parents bought a brand new white 855. Although it was a 140hp and auto it was still a car that stuck with me, since there was enough room in the backseat for me and my two brothers. We had previously been sharing the backseat of others cars where the backseat wasn’t quite as roomy and comfortable. The car before the 850 was a old Mercedes 190 and it’s backseat had a big impact in making me understand the slogan “Volvo for life”... this because the 190’s backseat is not flat but slightly shaped like bottom of a boat, You are leaning against the person sitting in the middle. Put three brothers on the back seat where the two outermost are leaning against the one sitting in the middle. Then go for a family vacation with a 7-8 hour one way drive and that is how the whole family will arrive tired and not to happy.
Back to the 850 that followed, the backseat was clearly a huge improvement, and then we come the other thing. The lovely 5-cylinder song. These small things just made it click for me. After this I always loved the 850, something that I cannot fully explain even to this day.
Where my Volvo story started
My first car that I bought was a Volvo 440 in red. I did not particularly like red cars at the time but it was a solid car to get from a to b and it allowed me learn some basic car maintenance like changing spark plugs and engine oil. Red cars also started to “grow” on me. This was back in 2006 and I had the realization that now my dream-car, the 850 was ten years old. And buying a car over 10 years old is a bad thing? So I briefly gave up on the idea that i would ever have an 850 and started looking at V70 models. Yes… the estate models appeal to me more than the sedan for some other unexplained reason. I started looking on the internet for a V70, I came across a white 1997 diesel with only 500k km on the odometer at a dealer close by… and the price was quite reasonable. The test drive at the dealer however sealed its fate since the dealer told me not to go too far since the automatic transmission basically was broken. The test drive never even got started since the battery was flat. It was there I got the feeling this wasn’t for me.
How I got my 850R
I broadened my search area for my V70 and started looking not only in Finland but in Sweden and Germany. The shear amount of Volvos for sale in Sweden and it being just a one hour flight away quickly lead to a month long hunt for my “new car”. After realizing I could have a turbo 850 or a N.A. V70 i quickly rethought the golden rule of not buying a car older than 10 years. The hunt for a turbo 850 had begun. I had quite a few good t-5s to choose from and many were chip-tuned or otherwise modified, and that is in my world not necessarily a bad thing. But not to many of the sellers were ready to sell their car to Finland and handle the paperwork that the export required.
Then calling many sellers and finding out the history of many different t-5s, I started to look for cars with poorly written advertisements. The most common Search was 850 t-5 or turbo, this brought 95% of the cars listed to view, but when searching for 855 i stumbled across a 96 855R that was incorrectly listed as a 97. This got me interested since not too many would have seen this car and many would have dismissed it because the 96/97 mismatch. This 850R was also the cheapest R on the market at the time. And it was a manual and that was a big must for me. By that time i started to research also into what an R actually was, I knew the turbo and t-5 but had noticed the R models. The not so good thing was that the car was 50% over my planned budget. But then again so was my first car. I called the owner and had a good talk about the car. He had owned it for 2 months only, and the previous owner had owned it for 2 months also. This did not scare me since the owner before that had it in the family for almost seven years, and had imported it from Belgium in 98 with 100k km on the odometer. The car now had 240k km on the odometer but it had a solid service history.
On a Friday in late 96 after a (nervous) almost sleepless night and a full day’s work. I boarded a plane the destination was Stockholm, Sweden. This one hour flight was delayed at the start for 20 minutes. Not a thing that particularly calmed me since I had two more trains in Sweden to catch before arriving in Linköping. Upon arrival at Arlanda airport I ran to the train connection that went to the central station. I was lucky to catch my train just as it was leaving, the next one would have been a 15 minute wait and I was already 15 minutes late due to the flight. At the central station I ran to the next train and was just able to board that as well. I had made it to the last train that day. But enough about trains and planes… I arrived at Linköping at 2 in the morning and the guy selling the car was there with his mother… yes his mother drove since he lost his license due to speeding two days earlier, a fact that he neglected to mention to me earlier. The cars fuel light was on so the first thing we did was drive to a petrol station where I had to fuel the car. The seller however advised me not to put more than about 2 gallons in the car, if possibly I was not to buy the car for some reason. I test drove the car for 10 minutes or so, the only thing wrong was the clutch release bearing that made a squeak if you “granny-clutched” on start. So at two o’clock in the morning with a lot of extra running and extra weirdness I decided to buy the car, the sellers mother had ensure that the owner of the car was the actual owner since he did not have any ID due to poor planning and his driving license being at the police station.
Luckily I had done research on the VIN number and knew the car wasn’t stolen or had any similar issues. Then finally something normal about this purchase; money exchanged hands and papers were signed and keys were handed over. This part of the deal was surprisingly the only thing normal. Then my journey north about 200km to Stockholm began. I discovered that my gps that I brought along to help me find the ferry terminal had broke somewhere in along the way. I would have to find the terminal the old fashioned way. Luckily I had about 5 hours so I had time to spare since 2-3 hours would be more than enough to drive on basically one highway. After making excellent progress for about half an hour I remembered that I would need to fuel up again since I took the advice not to put too much fuel into the car before the test drive. No problem, I thought, and pulled into the next gas station, where I discovered that the pump was credit card only. Back in 2006 I didn’t have a credit card, but I had plenty of cash that I had thought would have been enough, but not at this station in the middle of the night. I asked some random stranger if I could give him money and I could fuel on his card but apparently a sleep deprived tourist with plenty of cash in the middle of the night didn’t shout out “bingo” on the “trustworthy check sheet”. I got the advice that within a short drive there would be a 24 hour petrol station where I could fill up. So with this knowledge I confidently drove to over the “northern” overpass back to the highway. After driving about 30 minutes i was getting a strange feeling that I had made a mistake since I was driving South and not North. The overpass that I took did a 180 degree turn but at the time I was too busy enjoying the acceleration of my car. The fuel light had been on for some time now and I made a decision to drive into the closest town to find some fuel.
I found my fuel and got something to eat (hadn’t remembered to eat or drink for half a day or so). I had not completed close to 200 km in my R but only made 50km progress on my journey. I however still had 3 hours to complete 150km so I still had plenty of time. In theory I had double what I needed so now I continued on the E4 highway to Stockholm. Now I paid more attention to the road signs and tried to not race the cars passing by that wanted to race me. At 5 in the morning with 1.5 hours of time to spare and 30 km or under 20 minutes of driving left, I found a 24 hour gas station and decided to get some coffee and more directions on how to find the ferry terminal. I got the instructions to take a right at the ferry sign and take the tunnel. Simple enough… or so I thought. I saw a sign with the ferry and took a right.. I found an underpass shortly thereafter and thought that the definition of a tunnel varies quite a bit from one person to another. My adventure continued when I had driven 50km along small roads and finally found a ferry terminal but not in Stockholm but 50km South. I now had less than one hour to get to my ferry in Stockholm. This is when I decided to basically more or less just follow the road signs and head to Stockholm. At a little over 6 in the morning I finally got to Stockholm and by dumb luck found the ferry terminal. Upon arrival at the terminal I could see my ferry. I had made it in time to see it leaving for Finland. The next ferry would be in 12 hours so I had some time to kill. These are were spent enjoying Sweden’s capital in a sleep deprived zombie like state. I finally boarded the next ferry after being awake for 40 hours and got some sleep. And that is how I got my dream car.
One can think; I can or I cannot, and in both cases you are right
Safely home in Finland I did what I could and changed the oil and the spark plugs. I still had some issues with the car, like the abs/tracs light coming on and off without any logic. Luckily I found instructions on how to resolder the abs unit to fix this. This fix, like all fixes I have made have was done twice, once that did not work and a second time that cured the problem. A few years later I was lucky to meet a few guys at a local Volvo meet and a few months later I was a part of their garage. From then on I started to learn how to do mechanical work on my car, and also some exterior mods that involved painting and bodywork. Around 2009 I (or rather we in the garage) did a large exterior “upgrade” with a custom body-kit. In 2011 the car got a complete engine rebuild to the extent that the only original part is the oil pan. After a lot of polishing and paint and tuning the car later won the “best FWD Volvo 2011 in Finland” award and also people’s choice by the R enthusiast community “nordicR” and a few other prizes that year. I even heard the expression “The most modified t-red in the world uttered about my car” but that is impossible to say.
Since then I have been enjoying my 855R and driving it daily, although the forged pistons in wintertime gives quite an exciting noise until the engine is up to temp. :)
The car and engine is built with as many bolt-on components as possible to ease service and usability. My choice of the “Small” 19t turbo caused a very mixed response on forums since the engine clearly could support a bigger turbo and more hp. But my goal was not a horsepower monster but an easy to service grand tourer with a usable powerband. and with this setup I get the smooth throttle response I was aiming for.
I have nicknamed my car "Red Death" :)
Here are a few specs.
- forged 81.4mm pistons.
- longer 143mm rods.
- light crank from 01
- lightened 850R flywheel.
- I total a about 5kg of rotating mass taken away.
- Sachs 707 clutch.
- v70 98 gearbox with Quaife ATB differential.
- ECU upgraded to motronic 4.4
- AN6 fuel lines and Bosch 040 intank pump., with ported fuel line connectors.
- The head is from a 2.0 LPG bi-fuel v70 2007. Ported and with NA cams.
- Fully ported and blade cut 19t turbo. On a ported s60R exhaust manifold.
- Intake is ported. And polished on the exterior.
- Phenolic insulating intake gasket from IPD.
- Homemade air filter housing with 3" air intake to the turbo.
- 3" full twin pipe exhaust with 100 cell race cat.
- 60mm intercooler and 19cm oil cooler.
- 2,5" rip intercooler piping.
- many engine parts painted and polished.
- Blue or green injectors depending on my mood. ;)
- And 3 Ecu boxes, for petrol x2 and ethanol and 3 replaceable tunes.
- MSD blaster ignition coil
- 8,5mm blue ignition leads.
- f5Dpor Bosch platinum "candles".
Probably forgot to mention a lot of things i've put into this engine ;)
Suspension & handling
- Koni FSD shocks and -30mm springs.
- 92 aluminium "supporting arms" with polyurethane bushings.
- 18" Pegasus replica rims. painted black and red like the car.
- Gearknob short shifter kit
- 302mm discs in front, with 850R engraved into them. Rear rotors with 850R engraved into them. Redstuff pads. Painted calipers.
- Home-made "bigbooty" rear by lowering the rear bumper with a xc70 bumper.
- Sideskirts that were meant to be on a german vehicle.
- Homemade carbon fiber skinned lip under the front stock R bumper.
- All black plastic details, smoothened and painted with a metallic black finish.
- Roof "racks" from a new model v70.
- Angeleyes, headlights, black or silver depending on the mood :)
- Rear light are clear black.
- White 850R interior instead or white.
- Gauges, boost, oil temp, EGR, AFR
- 7" random dvd player :)
- all speakers changed.
- 12" sub in the spare tire, for a stealthy install.
My 850R Now
When I bought the car back in 2006 it had 240k km on the odometer, now it has 350k km on the odometer so I have driven it for over 100k km without any major issues or problems.
The car is my daily driver and I do not have any direct plans of getting a replacement for it. I have quite frankly spent too much time and money to ever part with this car. I commute to work 40 minutes a day and I am happy to be doing it in a car that is not boring. I choose to drive the car of my dreams each day. What the future holds is uncertain but I have some plans to add more speakers and continue to refine this car.
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Thursday, January 8, 2015 - CHRISTOPHER ERBES
Great story, thanks for sharing! It is always interesting to hear of the trials and tribulations people go through to chase down their car. That's great you meet some people at Volvo meets that were able to assist you with building such an amazing car. I'm a little envious of the Volvo community you have there ;) Best regards, Chris
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - JONATHAN M. REEVES
I think you should use the TD-05 series turbo, like a 16G, 20G, or even 25G. Very safe turbos, that have much more potential than td04 19t. Also has a very similar useable power band, that is even more efficent and has a more linear torque curve over more of the rpm range. At the worst, you could just tune it to the same psi as the 19t, and watch how much more usefull it is than the 19t. Also, where did you get the side skirts? Or what kind of car were they originally intended?
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - JONATHAN M. REEVES
Also. In the future, you may want to paint your roof rack black. There is a glaring difference between your black side trim, and your grey roof rack. I just thought you might want all the plastic to be one color, black.
Saturday, February 7, 2015 - RORIGO JOSÉ MARTIN DOMSCHKE DE AZEVEDO
Great Story!!! This car is just part of it!!! And nothing is better than drive the car you like to work, weekends ...