1990 Volvo 244

Post By: Rockford R

Date: 06/21/2023

The Story

Long post, here we go. Covid, I bought my 1990 Volvo 240 DL, automatic from a seller sight unseen on the internet with a 50% down payment and some information exchanged. $7000 CAD later, and it was mine. I was told it just got it's fuel system serviced, and was stock, and would survive a drive up from Calgary to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (3 hr drive going 110km/hr roughly). It did but it had flaws as it was a 31 year old car. Once I broke down on the side of the road twice in the first month of owning it, I had it finally fixed and ready to be my daily. Fast forward to 2022. I have dailied it for the whole time and enjoyed the car immensely. I was told no damage, and the reports showed no damage or major accidents. Boy was I wrong. Frame damage so bad, an impact on the rear right side caused the rear left quarter to warp and bend, along with the entirety of the trunk in half, long ways. It was bad. The car never drove straight and also had major rust in the wind screen seals that was going to need immediate and major welding jobs to fix. I did not have the money for that, along with paint, and everything else I would find. So I made it a half sex-spec car. 2x12" subs cabin facing mounted into the backs of the rear seats. Glowy lights inside, and on some IPD lowering springs and Bilstein B6 shocks, with 1990 Cherokee wheels I called my cheese wheels. These cars NEED adapters/spacers for any type of good fitment. OEM wheel is 14x5.5 +20 to 25. I ran 25mm adapters cause the OEM bolt pattern is 5x108. Ferrari guys, Jaguar, Thunderbird, Volvo, and Focus RS guys know the struggle. I went to 5x114.3 of course. At this time, I also came into possession of another, identical but pristine shell that had a 3rd pedal installed already but that was about the only thing in the shell. It had all the trim and doors and such, as well a couple FULL harnesses and a rear seat in black. Bunch of other crap. Soon after, I came across 2 engines for my car and a manual transmission with a foxbody driveshaft if I wanted to get crafty with swaps (T5 swap). Also came with a bunch of other crap. So now, I had in total: 2 shells, 3 engines (one in pieces), and 2 types of transmissions. Winter came and it was bad. 2023 now baby. I was let go from my job without notice in January, and I was in a bad place. But I had my car(s). My parents went on a 2 week vacation and wanted me to come check on their place a bit later. They have a 2x double bay detached shop with in floor heating, and they sure weren't gonna be using it. Perfect. It's time to swap. I knew my mechanical was in great shape, and I had more than enough electrical crap and accumulated crap, as well all the crap that was in my existing daily, so I began my swap with 51 days to complete it and be show ready, if I were to meet my deadline for my first show ever - MidnightRevUp YEG. This next paragraph is lengthy detailing some of the mods and intricacies I encountered. There were a lot. I had no experience doing basically anything with cars before this. I changed oil and recently learned to do a spring/shock swap, and wheel changes of course. But I had a book and the internet, and this was an old car, so how hard could it be right? My grandmother got the last ride with me in it, with only 2 seats and no doors for fun. She's the best grandmother. I began ripping stuff out and organizing/labeling everything - with photos of me pointing to what I should focus on when connecting again for the rebuild phase. Being organized is a must. It saved me many times. I will not focus on the disassembly - that's easy. Everything was out except the chassis wiring. Time to rebuild. Suspension was getting a massive upgrade with BC Racing coilovers (welded to OEM strut assembly, and I later used cut IPD lowering springs in the rear to make it loooow). I was also installing IPD poly bushings everywhere and installed IPD chassis support braces and IPD GT strut tower supports. Went in easy for all that. Had to get a shop to press in the ones for my rear axle, and I got new rear trailing arms at the same time. My shop press broke, pressing out the bushing on the old trailing arm. 6 tons of clamping force was not coming off. That sucked. The entire car is metric. Awesome, I really like it. However, the brake lines are imperial. Makes no sense. Whatever, hard brake lines are awful and I would be okay with never doing them again. I'm going braided stainless next brake upgrade. Got new rotors and pads on, and it was time to fit the wheels with all the other miscellaneous underside bits in place. Rays GRAMLights 57DR in Bronze, 15x8 +35 w/35mm adapter from 5x108 to 5x114.3 to fit the wheels. Wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE71RS 225/50/R15. I later detailed the sidewalls with white paint marker. It fit great thanks to the insane amounts of research and diagrams I drew for myself, as well as physically measuring my clearances. I was in business and ready to lower the car off stands and get the engine in. It went in with minor struggles and I was keeping it automatic this season since I was already low on time with my 50 day timeframe. Driveline went in without issue and we were cruising. Or so I thought. Electrical purgatory awaited. Just going through photos and old forum posts, and my book, and instagram - it was awful. Let me elaborate. It's not just as easy as one system working for my one generation car. There were many engines in it, many transmissions in it, many fuel types (carb and fuel injected), and everything you can imagine for regional and minor differences across the 19 year production run. And I needed to piece together the winning combination that mated different engines to different cars with mods to boot. I was able to get the interior in place and the entire car cleaned up and the engine bay/mechanical seeming to be ready to go, but this damn electrical was killing me. From getting the speakers to all work (chassis harness was cut in half with no labeling), to having to guess and check relays to find a winning combo, to removing the heater core and A/C for weight reduction and engine bay tidiness, to getting the fuel system to prime with all the right relays, to finally getting finding the right ECU and Fuel Computer combo in my pile to work the best with my engine/transmission/differential combo and accompanying small mods and such - it was time to start it for the first time. There are now 4 days until my show, and I started my car for the first time. I don't think I've experienced pure elation like that ever in my life before. Time to finish the build and rattle off the mods going into the season. GramLIGHTS 57DR with Potenzas, BC Racing coilovers, all IPD poly bushings, new suspension arms and adapters, LED retrofit of Jeep headlights custom fitted into Volvo OEM reflector backs painted black, engine swap, heater core and A/C delete, custom painted valve cover, IPD GT strut braces, IPD chassis braces, IPD adjustable torsion rods, IPD adjustable Panhard bar, gold sickspeed horns, IPD oem replacement tail lights, VP Autoparts wind deflectors, Thule roof cross bars and roof box (with custom art done by @landon_balon a long time friend and artist), custom dyed interior black (front seats and carpets) with tan interior accents, K&N Ram air intake, BMW parking brake lever, and all unncessecary electrical deleted (heated seats, heater controls, etc.). I rolled into my first show and blew everyone away with my JDM spin on a Swedish classic. I was amazed at how many people liked my build. I began to meet some great people (that you should totally check out on instagram - they'll all be below), and I couldn't be happier with where I was at with myself after the brutal start to the year I had. I tinkered with my build over the course of the summer season until I ultimately went too low and absolutely mangled my exhaust. A huge exhaust leak followed me the whole season, but I knew that was gonna change in the winter. This is where I'm at now - my initial plan of going turbo did not go to plan and I am staying N/A for the foreseeable future. I have cammed my engine with a Volvo "A" cam and have to install my IPD adjustable cam timing gear. I'm cleaning up my power steering setup, and manual swapping too. OEM M47 with a lightened and refinished flywheel. Relocating my air filter location if possible, and trunk mounting my battery if possible. I'm also installing an IPD high flow stainless steel exhaust and some Swedish imported 4-2-1 headers. I'm probably gonna need a tune, so I'll be seeing my local Volvo tuner that has some good experience doing this kinda thing. Stoke levels are high. IG: simply_240 // I have archived my build's photos in my stories and a pinned post, from the time I was building it to detail and outline the process. Thanks for stopping by. @soscare.tm @sukiigarage @mikuni.jp @dizzy.mob

Current Setup

  • Wheels: Rays Gram Lights, 57DR, 5x114.3mm, +35, 15x8" Bronze wheels // 35mm 5x108mm to 5x114.3mm adapter w/hub centric rings // custom colour matched center caps to paint colour // Muteki SR48 Lug Nuts in Gold
  • Tires: Bridgestone Potenza RE71-RS 225/50/R15 tires with white detailing to lettering and emblems // 195/60/15 Eagle RS
  • Suspension: BC Racing Coilovers with rear IPD cut lowering springs
  • Suspension: IPD Adjustable Torque Rods and Panhard Bar
  • Suspension: IPD Poly Bushings everywhere
  • Suspension: IPD GT tower braces and chassis braces
  • Exterior: Thule crossbars // Thule Roofbox with custom art wrap, designed by long time friend and local artist, @landon_balon - please check him out!
  • Exterior: Custom LED Headlight assembly
  • Exterior: VP Autoparts Wind Deflectors
  • Performance: A/C delete with belt rerouting // Heater Core delete // OEM airbox delete // K&N Cone filter replacement // Total ~200lb weight savings
  • Performance: Volvo "A" Cam with IPD Adjustable Cam Timing Gear (6061 Aluminum)
  • Performance: Manual swap (M47) w/Short Shifter
  • Performance: 4-2-1 Headers imported from Sweden mated to an IPD High Flow 2.5" SS Exhaust
  • Interior: Upgraded speakers and Kenwood KDX-501 head unit
  • Interior: BMW black leather parking brake lever
  • Interior: Entire Interior Dyed (not painted) black
  • Interior: Custom painted valve cover

Planned Upgrades

  • Exterior: Yakima RocketBox refinished to whatever colour I decide to run permanently
  • Exterior: Sideskirts and Widebody (custom made fiberglass by yours truly)
  • Exterior: Top half clear, bottom half red - tail lights
  • Suspension: IPD Sway Bar Kit with polyurethane bushings (front and rear)
  • Suspension: Tune
  • Interior: Full RGB lighting of some sort - it's midnight in the car at any hour


Rockford R

1990 Volvo 240, Chassis Swapped // 1978 Honda Z50A Restored and Owned Since Youth // Edmonton, Alberta, Canada // SO SCARE - DIZZY MOB SUKI GARAGE - MIKUNI KULTURE