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    Thread: My 'Fridge, Let Me Show You It: 1997 LS1/T56 Volvo V90

    1. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      Personal: 2017 SS, 1997 LS1/T56 V90 Work: 2017 Camry XLE
      11-12-2013 01:54 PM #1
      What first brought me to VWVortex and the Lounge was one of my "dream cars" if you will - 2008 DBP R32. It was a fine car that I cherished for 3 years, with some minor performance/cosmetic mods but when the mileage started piling up due to commute I decided it was time to jump ship. Shortly thereafter I decided to sell, work blessed me with a take-home fleet vehicle that I can use as a personal during the week. Praise Jeebus! I now opened a whole new world of possibilities for potential new cars.

      I dabbled for just over a year in the full size pickup market, but I think I'm still a bit too young to throw in the towel on fun sporty cars just yet, so I'll be listing the black beast for sale once I have the time to clean it up which will make room for my newest acquisition - a 1997 Volvo V90 with an LS1/T56. You may have seen it featured on BaT (Link) but if you haven't, the drivetrain is out of a 2001 SS Camaro and has about 66k miles on it. The volvo chassis has approximately 96k miles. The swap was performed by the previous owner who is a master technician up in Sunnyvale (local) and based on my own and an independent PPI, it was done right with no cut corners (or cross members ). He also swapped the cam to a bit more aggressive type, however he does not recall the specs on it. It also has Hooker block hugger headers, but these were more of a necessity in order to clear the steering rack which is all of about a 1cm gap between the two . Exhaust goes into a Y-pipe that flows through the stock V90 exhaust. Fairly quiet, almost too quiet but I'll get to that later. The wiring harness was grafted in and all the stock volvo gauges function - speedo, tach, temp, CEL - you name it. AC system & ABS systems were retained and remain fully functional. Also has Kaplhenke coils & camber plates up front, with Bilstein HD's in rear, and some WRX buckets to help hold you in place in the twisties. He had used the vehicle previously as a daily driver to and from his home and shop, which over a couple years equated to only about 6k miles.

      The only problems to note are all cosmetic, and most of those are confined to one area. That being the rear bumper. I don't know what someone did to create that mess, but it was touched up with what I can only assume is white-out as it really does look that bad. Other than that there is a crease in the rear passenger door which can most likely be PDR'd, and one more gouge (not through the paint) which would probably need filler. But hey, for a 16 year old paint job, overall condition is fantastic.

      Enough jibber jabber, let's get to some pictures. **Full album here with high res shots if you feel inclined (be nice, I use the dummy buttons on my DSLR )**







      I've never had any experience driving an F-body prior to this, but I imagine it feels relatively close to stock. Granted there is an upgraded clutch and some cam work at hand, but all that being said this puppy scoots! Not to mention I'm completely off the radar - no one even thinks to give a white brick a first look, let alone a second. As much as I'm loving the experience, there are some things I'm looking to do and/or change, and here's where I'd like to open it up for input as my knowledge of the Volvo game is extremely nubile.

      Dyno Tune - The PO never had the car fully tuned to accept the cam, headers, etc. There is a shop here locally (Synergy in Fremont) that claims to be one of the best GM tuners in the state, if anyone has another experience to share please let me know. This will run $600, but I would imagine substantially improve the drivability and even push my highway MPGs into the high 20's/low 30's. Currently I'm averaging 18 with an extremely heavy foot around town and a 4 hour round trip to Point Reyes and back under my belt. However, I will need to get the exhaust sorted out prior to doing this, which leads to problem area #2.

      Exhaust - Currently routed through a Y pipe into a collector with a manual cutout that then routes through the stock 2" dual resonator exhaust. It's quiet cruising, semi-loud under load, but just not satisfying in the least and I feel as if I'm suffocating the engine. It will need to be a custom jobber, but i'd still like to retain some sanity when cruising at highway speeds - i.e. no dumpoffs - so what I had in mind was a 1 or 2 resonator system with dual 3" pipes going out back. Would like thoughts on design (1 or 2 resonators), brand (Magnaflow, Flowmaster, etc.) and also a shop to get it done at. Not looking for super high end here either. Budget is in mind, although I would be interested in an electrical cutout of some sort (not sure on cost here) versus the manual screw-cap type I currently have installed.

      Wheels - The OEM 18" Pegasus' look the part, no doubt. But they aren't in the best of shape. Each wheel has a bit of rash or a scratch or two on it which bugs my OCD nature. Which only adds fuel to the fire that I can't help but want something, well, different. I've thought about Polaris' as they have a classic look with a delicious lip, but fitment could be an issue given ride height and they are hard to source (also extremely heavy). Problem with going outside OEM is the PCD, which is 5x108 and a bit of an oddball size. I know they make adapters and wobble bolts but I'd rather keep things as stock as possible. This one is wide open as far as input so have at it, let's hear some ideas!
      Last edited by H.E. Pennypacker; 11-14-2013 at 01:19 PM.
      LS1 Volvo Thread

      Previously owned - MkV R32 #3917, 2008 Silverado 1500 VHO 4x4

    2. Member Lifelong Obsession's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 01:57 PM #2

    3. 11-12-2013 02:01 PM #3
      I love it!

    4. Member Mr. Chaos's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:06 PM #4
      on the exhaust front i would suggest an exhaust with electronic cutouts for when you wanted to be loud and obnoxious.
      Quote Originally Posted by turbo_nine View Post
      Is that like a volcano of douche, or just a canoe of douche?

    5. Senior Member A.Wilder's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:07 PM #5
      Do the exhaust work before you get the tune. no point in spending the money until it sounds the way you want it. I would spend time looking for a reputable shop (shouldn't be hard in Cali) as you don't want an exhaust that drives you nuts with droning at certain RPMS, etc.
      signatures are annoying, right?

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      11-12-2013 02:08 PM #6
      I remember seeing this on BaT. Excellent purchase.
      Driving While Awesome Podcast. Give it a listen.
      Quote Originally Posted by bothhandsplease View Post
      Brendan told me to get the best discount, I had to send dick pics. I thought this was standard car buying practice.
      Quote Originally Posted by H.E. Pennypacker View Post
      Brendan and his all knowing heavy breathing baboon are correct.

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      11-12-2013 02:15 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
      Do the exhaust work before you get the tune. no point in spending the money until it sounds the way you want it. I would spend time looking for a reputable shop (shouldn't be hard in Cali) as you don't want an exhaust that drives you nuts with droning at certain RPMS, etc.
      This for sure. The $600 sounds a little high to me for the dyno tune, but it's been 6 years since I've had one done so maybe that's the going rate now. You should probably sign up over at LS1tech or one of the many sites for the LSx motors. You might find that you want to just tune it yourself. There's good software out there, and for less than you'll be paying for the tune IIRC.




      The car looks really well done. I had a JBA catback on my GTO, and it was perfect IMO. No drone at all, and just the right amount of noise. The Flowmaster mufflers sound great, but tend to be a little loud for my taste, and are prone to droning in some applications. Since yours is going to be completely custom you're probably in for some trial and error to get just the right exhaust on it.

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      11-12-2013 02:15 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Chaos View Post
      on the exhaust front i would suggest an exhaust with electronic cutouts for when you wanted to be loud and obnoxious.
      *Hybrid owner's heads explode around the world*

    9. Member karl_1052's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:25 PM #9
      I would run a 3" single exhaust all the way to the back.
      It would not be as efficient as duals, but it would be close and you could keep some of that sleeper status.
      "The Sebring is an extraordinary car. Ugly to behold and hateful to drive, it is not cheap, elegant, comfortable, practical, prestigious, clever, economical, luxurious, well designed, well thought out or, if the rental car I drove in America this year is anything to go by, especially well made either." - Jeremy Clarkson

    10. Member Heffernan's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:25 PM #10
      Simply awesome
      Quote Originally Posted by l88m22vette View Post
      I cannot begin to imagine the amount of gas that has gone through both the engine and those seats.

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      11-12-2013 02:34 PM #11
      feckin sweet!

    12. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:38 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Lifelong Obsession View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by VikingVR6GTI View Post
      I love it!
      Quote Originally Posted by Brendan@bwalkauto View Post
      I remember seeing this on BaT. Excellent purchase.
      Thanks

      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Chaos View Post
      on the exhaust front i would suggest an exhaust with electronic cutouts for when you wanted to be loud and obnoxious.
      Fully agree, and I've yet to look into it, but I imagine for a quality part these things would get pretty pricey in a heartbeat.

      Quote Originally Posted by A.Wilder View Post
      Do the exhaust work before you get the tune. no point in spending the money until it sounds the way you want it. I would spend time looking for a reputable shop (shouldn't be hard in Cali) as you don't want an exhaust that drives you nuts with droning at certain RPMS, etc.
      Agreed, this is my gameplan

      Quote Originally Posted by justanotherusername View Post
      This for sure. The $600 sounds a little high to me for the dyno tune, but it's been 6 years since I've had one done so maybe that's the going rate now. You should probably sign up over at LS1tech or one of the many sites for the LSx motors. You might find that you want to just tune it yourself. There's good software out there, and for less than you'll be paying for the tune IIRC.

      The car looks really well done. I had a JBA catback on my GTO, and it was perfect IMO. No drone at all, and just the right amount of noise. The Flowmaster mufflers sound great, but tend to be a little loud for my taste, and are prone to droning in some applications. Since yours is going to be completely custom you're probably in for some trial and error to get just the right exhaust on it.
      Yeah, I'm not too up to speed but for reference when I was looking into getting the R32 flashed, it would have been about $700 for both the ecu and dsg tunes. Given this is a dyno tune, not just some plug & play programmer, I should see far more considerable gains. I'll make that $600 wager in a heartbeat!

      Since it will be custom and not a prefabbed cat-back I wasn't sure of any other brands that just sell their resonators a la carte. I think the important part will be finding the right exhaust shop to do the work, then worry about the parts & pieces once it comes to that.
      LS1 Volvo Thread

      Previously owned - MkV R32 #3917, 2008 Silverado 1500 VHO 4x4

    13. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:41 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Uberhare View Post
      *Hybrid owner's heads explode around the world*
      Doing my part, one wagony burnout at a time

      Quote Originally Posted by karl_1052 View Post
      I would run a 3" single exhaust all the way to the back.
      It would not be as efficient as duals, but it would be close and you could keep some of that sleeper status.
      This could very well be the budget solution, will definitely look into this.

      Quote Originally Posted by Heffernan View Post
      Simply awesome
      Quote Originally Posted by Pf3il View Post
      feckin sweet!
      Thanks
      LS1 Volvo Thread

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    14. Banned justanotherusername's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:50 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by R3Drew View Post

      Yeah, I'm not too up to speed but for reference when I was looking into getting the R32 flashed, it would have been about $700 for both the ecu and dsg tunes. Given this is a dyno tune, not just some plug & play programmer, I should see far more considerable gains. I'll make that $600 wager in a heartbeat!
      .
      Oh I'm not talking about a canned tune. I had my GTO dyno tuned for $150. I gained about 25Hp at the wheels with just an intake and catback installed. You'll see a lot more than that with the cam and headers.

      When I'm talking about tuning it yourself, I'm talking about buying a software package that lets you adjust maps, just like the stuff the dyno tuners use.

      LS1edit and HP Tuners were the two main ones I remember. Besides tuning, they let you control a lot of other ECU functions such as electric fan operation, and things like that. With a wideband O2 sensor you can probably tune the car just about as well yourself as someone on a dyno, especially if you do a little research on some of the forum. A lot of those guys will pass around tunes for setups like what you have that would get you very close right out of the box.

      The GM ECU for the LS1 acts a lot like a standalone unit, and was easy intentionally easy for the software guys to crack. Corvette and F-Body owners loved to tune, and GM knew it.

    15. Senior Member abeR's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 02:59 PM #15

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      11-12-2013 03:03 PM #16
      I love it! Really neat swap, you can tell it was done by somebody that knew what he was doing since you still have a fully functional dashboard etc.

      Exhaust wise I would go for a single tailpipe, try to keep it looking stock but I'm a sucker for sleepers.
      Also before getting the tune, perhaps it would be an idea to look into getting a "OTRCAI" or Over The Radiator Cold Air Intake if those would fit for this application. In combination with the headers alone that should add some 30 hp from what I've heard.

      As for wheels go, I'd stick with OEM. 16's would be ideal but maybe 17's if you want to keep the more modern look.

      I really like these: http://www.myusedwheel.com/hyper-silver-560-70193.html
      Or otherwise you can't go wrong with a set of 16" Columbia wheels.

      Enjoy your fast fridge!
      Last edited by Snaak.; 11-12-2013 at 03:12 PM.
      CANIS•CANEM•EDIT

    17. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 03:18 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by justanotherusername View Post
      Oh I'm not talking about a canned tune. I had my GTO dyno tuned for $150. I gained about 25Hp at the wheels with just an intake and catback installed. You'll see a lot more than that with the cam and headers.

      When I'm talking about tuning it yourself, I'm talking about buying a software package that lets you adjust maps, just like the stuff the dyno tuners use.

      LS1edit and HP Tuners were the two main ones I remember. Besides tuning, they let you control a lot of other ECU functions such as electric fan operation, and things like that. With a wideband O2 sensor you can probably tune the car just about as well yourself as someone on a dyno, especially if you do a little research on some of the forum. A lot of those guys will pass around tunes for setups like what you have that would get you very close right out of the box.

      The GM ECU for the LS1 acts a lot like a standalone unit, and was easy intentionally easy for the software guys to crack. Corvette and F-Body owners loved to tune, and GM knew it.
      Great googily moogily, quite a price difference there! That shop I mentioned I know uses HP tuners for their tuning software. Definitely worth looking into though, but I'm not afraid to say custom tuning seems quite overwhelming looking at it with zero knowledge or experience in doing so previously (aside from VAGCOM tweaks) but with the internet & forums at my back, who knows? It could be a definite possibility.

      Quote Originally Posted by abeR View Post
      Hi Abe! Hope your boogaloo is doing extra boogalooie lately

      Quote Originally Posted by Snaak. View Post
      I love it! Really neat swap, you can tell it was done by somebody that knew what he was doing since you still have a fully functional dashboard etc. :thumb up:

      Exhaust wise I would go for a single tailpipe, try to keep it looking stock but I'm a sucker for sleepers.
      Also before getting the tune, perhaps it would be an idea to look into getting a "OTRCAI" or Over He Radiator Cold Air Intake if those would fit for this application. In combination with the headers alone that should add some 30 hp for what I've heard.

      As for wheels go, I'd stick with OEM. 16's would be ideal but maybe 17's if you want to keep the more modern look.

      I really like these: http://www.myusedwheel.com/hyper-silver-560-70193.html
      Or otherwise you can't go wrong with a set of 16" Columbia wheels.

      Enjoy your fast fridge!
      Indeed, I also made it clear I'd like to have him on "retainer" for any major work that would fall outside my current capability. I want this puppy to remain sleepy too, but nothing wrong with wanting a healthier growl out of it either. Right now it just sounds like it's being strangled a bit which I don't like so much. It won't have any more than one exit, and I plan to have it exit the same area the stocker comes out (if I can reuse the stock tip, all the better).

      I'll look into that OTRCAI, but I doubt it will fit, let alone function, the way it is intended to. I'm not crazy about the current set up don't get me wrong, but again, it is custom so given the circumstances it could be worse. As much as I'd like to try and segregate the intake from the rest of the warm engine bay, I'd also hate to fab up some shoddy barrier just to crummy up the bay for minimal gains.

      For now the OEM wheels will suffice, but I feel down the road I'm going to want something different that Volvo didn't offer. Also all their wheels are boat anchors and not that I'm looking to track or anything of the sort but a light sexy 1 or 2 pc staggered setup sounds awful tempting...
      LS1 Volvo Thread

      Previously owned - MkV R32 #3917, 2008 Silverado 1500 VHO 4x4

    18. Senior Member JustinCSVT's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 03:27 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by R3Drew View Post
      Great googily moogily, quite a price difference there! That shop I mentioned I know uses HP tuners for their tuning software. Definitely worth looking into though, but I'm not afraid to say custom tuning seems quite overwhelming looking at it with zero knowledge or experience in doing so previously (aside from VAGCOM tweaks) but with the internet & forums at my back, who knows? It could be a definite possibility.

      $600 is pretty much the standard rate for a dyno tune for any GM shop I've had experience with.

    19. Banned justanotherusername's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 03:57 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by JustinCSVT View Post
      $600 is pretty much the standard rate for a dyno tune for any GM shop I've had experience with.
      Ok, I've been pretty much out of the LSx loop since I stopped racing the GTO back in early 2007.

      And actually, as I'm sitting here thinking about it, I got that tune done during a group event where the tuner had rented out the dyno for the day, and had cars stacked up to tune. He probably did more than 10 LSx cars that day, and then we all hit Moroso for test and tune. So I'm sure that was a discounted price. The guy's name was Jeremy something (Formoto maybe, or something like that) and he was a pretty well known tuner at the time.

      If I were going to do it now I'd defiantly buy the software and a wideband and go at it myself.

    20. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 04:34 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by JustinCSVT View Post
      $600 is pretty much the standard rate for a dyno tune for any GM shop I've had experience with.
      Good to know
      LS1 Volvo Thread

      Previously owned - MkV R32 #3917, 2008 Silverado 1500 VHO 4x4

    21. Member welderdood's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 04:46 PM #21
      Great score!

      I too vote for the larger 3" single exhaust. Looks like a mild drop is in order too. Beyond that damn nice car!

    22. Member todras's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 05:58 PM #22
      Oh wow! Awesome.
      rynodyno312: Just curious, but what makes it a "controversial" engine?
      Fritz27: The LS7 made some anti-Semitic remarks back in 2008. Look it up.

    23. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 09:16 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by welderdood View Post
      Great score!

      I too vote for the larger 3" single exhaust. Looks like a mild drop is in order too. Beyond that damn nice car!
      Seems to be the general consensus. Should be cheaper too and maybe afford me that electric cut out

      Probably no more on the drop front, my current driveway entry is precarious enough and I didn't particularly enjoy white knuckling around in my R when it had ~25" FTG clearance. Thanks though!

      Quote Originally Posted by todras View Post
      Oh wow! Awesome.
      Ty

      Once I get everything sorted exhaust wise I'll be looking to post a video or two for the faithful that care enough to see. Stay tuned!
      LS1 Volvo Thread

      Previously owned - MkV R32 #3917, 2008 Silverado 1500 VHO 4x4

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      11-12-2013 09:28 PM #24
      Wow, congrats! I've been eyeing it for a couple of months now! We even had a thread on it (or it was mentioned in a thread) somewhat recently. Glad to see it went to a TCLer .

      What's the smog situation like on it?
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    25. Member H.E. Pennypacker's Avatar
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      11-12-2013 09:44 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      Wow, congrats! I've been eyeing it for a couple of months now! We even had a thread on it (or it was mentioned in a thread) somewhat recently. Glad to see it went to a TCLer .

      What's the smog situation like on it?
      Thanks Vad! I do recall you linking in one of the wagon threads or something but can't recall exactly where I saw it now.

      The PO had the vehicle registered in a much more lenient county and had it smogged prior to sale as part of our deal. Just last Tuesday I went to the local DMV and had the title placed under my name and paid the registration, which I believe gives me 3 years before I'll need to worry about it due to the current transfer of ownership rules and all requirements having been met. I also have the contact info of the PO who will assist me with that once that time comes .
      LS1 Volvo Thread

      Previously owned - MkV R32 #3917, 2008 Silverado 1500 VHO 4x4

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