The 700R

From 2004 to 2009 and with help from my friends, I modified a 1989 volvo 740 turbo into a nice quick street legal car, on the type that I wished Volvo would of built in the late 80’s. Shown below, is a detailed list of the work done to my car and the benefits taken from each of the modifications.

The car has now been sold (to my housemate) and currently waiting for the next stage of its life on the road.

This page has been left as historic reminder of the car that I built.








I purchased this car in December 04 from a seller on Ebay in Birmingham. Once I had lifts arranged, I found the car at a small local garage where it has been stood for over a year. After a quick check up, the car was paid for and driven back home.My first Impressions were that is was a lot quicker then I thought it would be (this was me coming from a Volvo 740 turbo diesel) and a lot more refined. 744

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As you can see from the pictures, the car was quite
dirty and needed a bit or work in order to get it sorted.Parts were found to sort out items such as rear speakers and the stereo, two tyres were needed and the rear exhaust box was also quite rusty.
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After a quick clean up and the various parts all sorted
out, I was quite happy with the result but not really with the fuel economy as I was getting about 12mpg around town and only 10mpg on the motorway.After looking around a few forums and speaking with some friends, it seemed that the engine required some TLC. I checked the car’s history and it hadn’t had a service in about two years. At this point, I had done no mechanical work at all and had no idea on how to service this or any other car.
thermostat After speaking with a friend in Bedford, a meet up was
arranged for March when a group of us could meet up and go over my car, learning how to do each step as we went. During this meet, the car got a full service with all the standard service items being replaced. We also found that the thermostat was stuck open, explaining the poor full economy as the cold start injector was always on.
I had also spotted that the radiator supports
had failed in the last week so new brackets had been purchased. Looking at the picture to the right, this is what happened when the fan hits the radiator!
smegginlights After this work had been completed, we also swapped
over the black front splitter for a silver one which was the correct colour scheme from the factory. Then it was time to sort the rusty exhaust out. After a bit of thinking, i decided to take the rear box off and just fit a rear side exit exhaust as a cheap fix. This turned out great and the exhaust note was a lot nicer as well.So now, the car was fully working and a lot better on fuel as well as throttle response.
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During the summer, the car was given a full polish and clean
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Over the course of the next few months, various parts was found on Ebay or through friends and stored until late August when I went to visit a friend in Derby. We managed to fit a new rear spoiler from a 760 which was a factory option for a 740. We also resprayed a few fits on the front of the car and sorted out a new glass headlight since mine had a hole in it. A few holes were also drilled into the air box to help the air intake. IMAG0044
IMAG0070 Unfortunately, a hole had appeared in the head
lining and when driving with the window open, the wind had caught it and ripped the head lining. This was to cause a few issues over the next year or so.
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And this is how the car stood for the rest of 2005
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During this year, I moved out of my parents so time and money was a little short to work on the car. However, A few big things did get sorted.The one big issue I had with the car was the suspension. While great for a soft ride, it was all over the place at speed or on bumper country roads. After a bit of research, new springs and shock absorbers were purchased. DSCF0047
DSCF0031 After another visit to Bedford and some help from a
couple of mates, we got them fitted and the difference was 100 fold.
A bit firm ride but the car could handle itself around the corners now.The springs were made by Spax and had a 40mm drop while the shocks were from Bilstein and just the factory replacement ones.As you can see by the pictures, we did have a little fun getting the old ones off.
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The car was also upgraded with a larger turbo and a chipped ECU, providing the engine with more fuel and allowing for an increase in boost pressure over the stock 7psi. This pushed the car from its stock 176bhp up to about 200bhp. I never did a dyno run with this setup so its hard to say. IMAG0159 (Medium)
new turbo The turbo was a cheaper version of the garrett T3/T4 hybrid turbo and moved the spool up from 2000 rpm to 3000 which made the car better to drive round town and excellent on the motorway for pick up and go power. The car was also fitted with a Baileys BOV to aid in getting rid of the pressure at throttle release. Also made for a nice noise!A new K&N air filter was also fitted since the old air box would no longer work with the larger turbo,To aid in cornering, a custom made strut brace was fitted but had to be removed in the following months following an issue with the throttle spool.
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Following a blown blue in the dash, I decided to experiment and move to LEDs to see what effect they would have on the lighting. I replaced all of the 4 dash cluster lights and each of the small switch lights on each side of the wheel.These blue lights matched quite nicely with the stereo and look great. Dash_new
bulbs2 Cockpit_new
In the summer of 2006, a set of rare factory Volvo allow wheels came up on Ebay and were purchased by me. These were picked up, cleaned and fitted. In my opinion, they make one of the biggest differences to the look of the car. polaris_half
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At the end of the summer, I found a shop on the internet that did front clear lenses for a early style 740. After fitting them, the front appears to be a lot cleaner and they work well with the silver. IMAG0071
rebadge With all these upgrades and the current badges fading, I decided to remove them and rebadge the car as the 700R.
One of the last pieces of work to be done in 2006 was a visit to see a welding guru friend in Blackpool. This was to upgrade the exhaust to a fill 3″ system and upgrade the wastegate on the turbo to allow better boost control. IMAG0124 (Medium)
blackpool_flappers2  The two wastegates. The Atp one is a great deal bigger and shows a lot better flow path.
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At the same time, I decided to upgrade to better flowing exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifolds from a 1990 onwards car have been shown to be better so one was found and ground flat to allow the turbo to be mounted to it. You can see both manifolds here. The 1990 one is on the left with the small outlet as it is designed for smaller turbos.
Both the manifold and turbo wastegate hole needed porting to make them work correctly so these were bored out with a blur to the correct size. blackpool_manifold_ported1
blackpool_dp1 While this work was ongoing, the downpipe was being constructed from 3″ stainless steel pipe and v-band flanges.
These allows the downpipe to be removed by 3 bolts, making it a lot quick and simpler.
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Once this was completed, the rest of the exhaust was welded up, take another couple of hours and it was complete. The system only has one exhaust box over the rear exhaust and two lambda ports. blackpool_dp2
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And this is how the car stood at the end of 2006.
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2007 was a big decision in the direction the car took. For the past two years, it had been my main car and was used to cover 15k-18k miles in a year. The changes that had been made to the car not had been that radical and allowed the car to work as a daily drive. However, I wanted more from it and with various issues that the car had (the weight of the turbo kept pulling it from the exhaust manifold), it was becoming more and more unreliably as well as more expensive to run due to fuel and insurance costs.I took the decision to move the 740 to be my second car, for use at the weekends or when I wanted something special to drive. This meant that upgrades and modifications could now take a lot longer since the car would not have to be ready for Monday morning. I then purchased a second car for daily drive duties and have since owned a Volvo 340, Volvo 850 T5 estate and am currently using a Volvo C70 T5.


In December 06, I ordered some rear light clusters from Hova in Sweden. After cutting the metal strips, these bolted in straight away. In order to get rid of the egg look (orange bulbs in a clear lenses), I fitted LED indictors to the rear, front and side lenses on the car.
Looks a lot cleaner and give that instant on/off look.






And the big work starts. Following on discussions on what power the internals of the engine would take, I decided to upgrade the bottom end of the engine to the bottom end from a late 940 (in this case, a 1997 model). One was purchased and brought back to the garage. 230fk
700R_Feb_8 The engine was then stripped down to a bare block, cleaned up and repainted with high temperature red paint.
One of the main issues with the old block was removing
the turbo to work upon it. This being that the oil drain pipe just pushed into the block but is bolted to the bottom of the turbo making it very difficult to remove. Our way round this issue is to drill out and tap the hole with a 3/4 npt tap which will allow an adapter to bolt in.
700R_Feb_10 This adapter then allows standard oil/fuel fittings to
just screw on and will help prevent oil leaks from the block.
And this is the repainted block with the oil return pipe connected. A bit too long in this case but works well and makes removing the turbo a lot easier. Takes about 20 minutes now. 700R_Feb_11
700R_Feb_4 Once the old block was ready, James (my house mate)
and I ripped into the old engine, ready to pull it from the car.In this picture, the head has been removed along with the turbo. Engine is now ready to be removed from the car.
To aid in the removal, the front end of the car has been stripped down to allow the engine crane in. 700R_Feb_13
700R_Feb_14 Old engine is now out of the car. Car ride height has risen somewhat!
I had a few oil leak issues on the old engine! 700R_Feb_28
700R_Feb_19 The new engine is having the new seals fitted, ready to be built up.
The 531 head from the old engine has been cleaned up and skimmed to make sure it is all flat. head
700R_Feb_24 And the head has been fitted with new seals and then bolted to the block, along with a new water pump.
The manifolds and turbo has been fitted.
This picture gives you a good impression of the size of the turbo as it is quite hidden in the car.All that remains is to fit the timing belt and covers and then drop
it back in the car.
700R_march_2 The new engine in place and ready to have the last bits and pieces bolted on.
In the mean time, I found a set of refurbished Polaris alloys on Ebay which were purchased, brought home and clean up. IMAG0213
700R_May_3 After a few small issues such as lack of oil pressure (oil filter boss was blocked), the 700R made it back onto the road in May 2007.
Once the engine work has been completed, the next step of installing a stand along engine management system could be started. The system chosen was Megasquirt since it is well used on the Volvo forums and is quite cheap compared to others. James and others helped get this fitted onto my car. Unfortunately, not many pictures were taking of this.Megasquirt ecu wiring in progress. ms_8
image5 There is also a truck intercooler to be fitted, to replace the smaller stock one. This is from a 7 litre truck and the wire on top is close to 2 feet in length to give you a size guide.
The wiring is a little ropey in some places but this was to get us going. (Granted, it has lasted like this until 2009!) ms_7
ms_4 I am using a TPS (throttle switch) from a Volvo 850 which required an adapter to make it fit. One was custom made in wood which works if not that stylish.
A 30 psi boost gauge and Innovate XD-1 was also fitted to allow us to keep an eye on the boost pressure and air/fuel ratios. ms_9
image1 The Megasquirt wiring got tidied up somewhat but still needs looking at. Plan is to fit it into a standard ecu box and place it into the same bracket.
The finished engine bay. Nothing too major here apart from the upgraded intercooler and custom black pipes to allow it to fit. Things are a little tight on the radiator at the moment. ms_11
injectors New 630cc injectors has been fitted, replacing the stock volvo green ones. These are 2.5 times as big as the stock ones so quite an upgrade.
and lastly, a manual boost controller to allow me to override the 10psi setting of the actuator. Boost pressure is currently set at 23psi. mbc
Just after Megasquirt was completed, I had the windows tinted by a friend since the car was getting quite warm
and doesn’t have air conditioning.Really helps to finish the car off.
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In October 2007, the car visited a dyno in order to get some tuning and sort out a few issues with the power delivery. Below is a graph of the power chart.
After visiting the dyno, it was found that our spark map was set too aggressively and had ‘cooked’
the bottom end to the point that compression was well down. A leak test was also done and the results…Cylinder 1 : 150 Compression, 41% leakCylinder 2 : 170 Compression, 30% leakCylinder 3 : 150 Compression, 40 % leakCylinder 4 : 190 Compression, No leak testSo the 258bhp figure was not actually that bad, taking this into account. On the way back from the dyno, the head gasket blew and then the studs holding the turbo on sheared, causing an interesting drive.

Over the winter, a new engine will be sourced and installed.

Current engine specification :

  • 940 B230FK Short Block
  • 740 Turbo 531 Head
  • T3/T4 Hybrid Turbo
  • ATP 3″ Turbo wastegate
  • Cosworth T-31 Actuator
  • MSnS Engine Management System
  • 630cc Injectors
  • Innovate LC1 Wideband System
  • HKS Cone Filter
  • Bailey DV36 Dump Valve
  • MBC set to 20 Psi
  • 3″ Custom turboback exhaust
  • Iveco Truck Intercooler
  • Silcon Hoses
  • M90 Gearbox from a 940


Following the issues with the engine in late 2007, a new bottom end was purchased and installed quickly. The
repainted block was removed and will have brand new internals installed, to handle higher boost pressures so I can get more power out of the car. No pictures were taken of this but the specification is the same as the engine that was removed.
In August 2007, I visited Sweden along with a group from Turbobricks to visit the biggest volvo festival in the world. While I was there, I picked up a copy of the volvo ‘add-on’ body kit that was a factory option. After it was brought home, it was sanded down, painted with primer and then silver paint. IMAG0736
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I also found a set of rare Volvo Rsport seat covers for sale in the USA. After shipping them over, I removed the interior and fitted all of the covers and panels. These seats covers contain larger side pads to provide more support in the car.

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The Volvo BKV or Best Kept Volvo is a national show which I have attended for the last couple of years. Below are some pictures from the BKV 2008.

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As the engine was replaced over the winter, the 700R visited the dyno again in April 08 to try and hit the 300bhp mark.
As you can see in the video, there were a few issues but the car made 276bhp at the crank and close to 300ftlb. A lean injector causes the issues where we had to run very rich to save the engine. In the end, the turbo oil seals blew and the car is blowing blue oil smoke at the moment.
2008 has been a bit of a lean year for the 700 but plans are already in force to get a new turbo, new injectors
and new dump valves to sort out the current issues. The car will then be revisiting the dyno and we shall see what occurs!




Following on from 2008, I have spent the winter decided how to proceed with the 700R and what routes would be best for the car and my wallet :D. After speaking with various people and looking at the options, various parts have been ordered over the winter to get the car moving for this year. However, the big step that was planned (a new exhaust manifold and big turbo) has been delayed to next winter or when this new cheap turbo goes bang.
Over the winter, the following parts have been purchase.

  • Clutchnet 4 Puck Racing Clutch plate
  • T3/T4 Turbo (just a cheapie)
  • Volvo 360 waterpump
  • Bosch 680cc Motorsport Injectors
  • IPD Dizzy seal plate.
  • Jetex Straight through Exhaust box (not pictured)




The bodykit has also been resprayed and filled correctly. Volvo 960 door handles have been sprayed and fitted as well as colour coded body trim. Coloured coded mirrors have also been fitted.


The car recently made it to the Volvo Owners Club National show. Didn’t win anything though but was fun driving it there.

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Following on from the National BKV, the 700R made it to the Northern BKV and won the 700 Class ( It was the only one to enter ;) )

After this event, a couple of guys wanted to come over and see the car. We decided to head out and get some good pictures of the car.

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Played around with a HDR filter in photoshop
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