Volvo 960 Tuning

"It is big and it is clever."

The 960 is the big daddy of the Volvo range. It offered unparalleled practical space and performance and has quite an avid following among our forum members. We get asked quite a bit about making these more economical but this is a performance tuning article so we'll leave that discussion for our forum.

Get the handling sorted first. As they get old the bushings go soggy and suspension parts start to wear out. Fit a strut brace to tighten this up and a rear anti roll bar. Coilovers are also good upgrades but don't drop the car too far as this can have an adverse effect on car performance and handling.

Turning our attention to the 960s engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Following our tips for tuning your 960 you will end up with a practical scorching hatch that will embarrass bigger cars.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Volvo 960 Tuning modifications.

Doing this will help to keep the cars economy at lower speeds. One of the best mechanical mods you can do is to fit a fast road cam. Don't forget to uprate the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. A fuel pressure boost valve will make the car more responsive and respond better. Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel. A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this.

Volvo 960 Intake and Exhaust.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Induction kits work well on turbo engines and larger engines but will not on there own make much of a difference power wise. For the smaller 960 engines you should go with a sports panel air filter made from cotton. A sports catalyst will free up the exhausts breathing and allow you to explore the top end of the rev range. Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can find - the best for power gains are usually between 2 to 2.5 inches.

Your clutch can seriously let you down if it starts to slip and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of upto 50%. Fit an uprated clutch to avoid power losses through the transmission. Remaps offer significant power gains on all turbo charged cars so if you have a T5 powered 960 this means you, just expect to spend a lot more on tyres over the year.

On NASP engines the benefits of a remap are doubtful, but will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of other mods to your engine. The largest power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Turbos are harder to add than supercharger and we have a big supported of supercharged Volvos in our forum who regularly puts in some pretty good quarter mile runs!

It is harder to map a NASP engine to run with an aftermarket turbo kit as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed. You'll also have a problem with detontation so see our adding a turbo article for more on this. Superchargers however will give a boost which is proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Volvo 960 Wheel modifications.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. Large 960 alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio this will cost you some acceleration but give a higher top speed. Aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases we do not recommend going above 18 inches on the 960 and even then stick to ultra low profile tyres.

Please join us in our forum to discuss the 960 options in more detail with our 960 owners. It would also be worth reading our Volvo tuning articles to get a full grasp of the pros and cons of each type of modification.

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