94 960 sedan rear suspension conversion from auto leveling

  #1  
Old 04-17-2018, 10:19 PM
va740twagon's Avatar
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Lightbulb 94 960 sedan rear suspension conversion from auto leveling

Bought this car 4 months ago, rear end was sagging just a little bit maybe, but very spongy ride especially the rear end wandering around corners with terrible understeer. Replacement Nivomat self leveling shocks were ridiculously expensive. Right now they are easily at least $281 USD each! I searched until I finally found a conversion kit available from IPD Volvo for $429.95, which includes 2 standard shocks modified with adapter pins on one end of both shocks to fit the mounts for the Nivomat shocks, plus new coil springs with a load rating to match the new standard shocks. The springs on the self leveling rear suspension are very soft and the shocks do most of the work, when they are working.

I still was hesitant to purchase the rear suspension kit, because of head gasket replacement, timing belt kit, one new fuel injector which these repairs on my 'new' car added up. But then IPD happened to run a store wide sale awhile back 15% off everything in the store basically. The suspension kit went on sale for $365.46 USD and I thought no time like the present so I bought it. I got the entire kit including new adapted shocks and coil springs for only $84 more than just ONE Nivomat shock and $196 cheaper than 2 Nivomat shocks.

My independent Volvo mechanic installed it and I am quite pleased. It sits level as far as the eye can tell. The ride is like a dream compared to before. I also had new front struts installed, strut mounts and end links. The rear end doesn't kick out and act like the tail wagging the dog like it did before. I'm pleased. I still think the kit could be cheaper because I think you're paying probably over $100 for the adapter pins that someone engineered to adapt standard shocks to the Nivomat shock mounts. Still well worth it.
 
Attached Thumbnails 94 960 sedan rear suspension conversion from auto leveling-suspension.jpg   94 960 sedan rear suspension conversion from auto leveling-nivomatconversionkit.jpg  

Last edited by va740twagon; 04-17-2018 at 10:29 PM.
  #2  
Old 04-19-2018, 04:09 PM
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It doesn't sound to me that you saved much money with the retrofit kit. The car was more valuable with that Nivomat suspension since very few came that way.

It is like the older Lincoln Mark VIII vehicles that the owner can't sell when they chop out the air suspension.
 
  #3  
Old 04-20-2018, 09:53 AM
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Thanks, I appreciate what you're saying. I had to fix the rear suspension and I had already spent like $1500 in repairs to make the car otherwise roadworthy, which I only paid $1100 for the car. But it was quickly turning into a nearly $3000 car so $500 for rear shocks was hard to swallow and $200 savings was a lot for me at the time. With the original springs it could very easily be swapped back if someone wanted to buy new Nivomat shocks and do that in the future.

I really don't plan to ever get rid of the car as long as I can keep it roadworthy. I plan to keep it until it is no longer practical cost wise to keep it on the road, which is what I've been doing for many years, racking up the miles and seeing how far it is practical to go with maintenance and repairs on an older car until eventually a big item may mean it's time to move on rather than repair.

These were my last 3 cars before this one, the 2002 was BY FAR the most expensive to keep on the road, which is why I didn't keep it longer:

2002 Volvo V70 XC: owned 4 years, went from 155K to 286K (engine problem)
1997 Volvo 850: owned 7.5 years, went from 123K to 401K (blown head gasket)
1994 Honda Accord: owned 8 years, went from 93K to 386K (transmission worn out)

I could have fixed the item that needed fixing and continued to own each of those cars, they all had excellent service history while I owned them and lots of new parts over time as needed. But after several years and many miles, and suddenly I face a $1000+ repair or in the case of the 2002 Volvo another expensive repair and then another and another, then I think OK you don't owe me anything, time to basically give it away to someone else who wants to fix it or use it for a parts car and move on. So hopefully it'll be the same with the 960. That's why perhaps it won't matter when I'm finished with it, whether or not it still has the factory self leveling rear suspension. :-)
 
  #4  
Old 10-23-2018, 07:56 AM
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Hey va740twagon - nice car! I had a similar situation with my 92 960 that I bought from an old man last summer. Rear end was sagging and didn't understand it at first. When I did some searching I was shocked at the prices for Nivomat replacements. Did more research and came across a post somewhere (I can't remember where I read this) that showed how to convert the 960 rear suspension to a standard coil and shock system using coils and shocks that fit a 1992 Toyota Previa rear. Got the new parts from ebay and did the conversion myself. Everything fit great but I had to install a standard Volvo shock mount (from a V70) on my 960 so that the new shock absorbers could mount to the car. The Previa shocks have a different tip than the Volvo ones do. The post mentioned to use coil spacers for the coils in order to have the car sit at its proper ride height. I did that and in my case the car was sitting too high in the rear so I ended up removing the spacers and now the height is perfect in the rear. The issue I have now though is that the shocks I used are too soft because the car oscillates too much in the rear when driving. I am now looking to get stiffer shocks for the rear. Of course I threw out the old Nivomat shocks and the pins that mounted the shocks to the car along with them so in addition to new shocks I have to see if I can either find new pins to use or use the existing V70 shock mounts I installed.
 
  #5  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:22 PM
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Thanks. Nice write-up on the suspension conversion. After driving mine with the rear conversion from IPD for a couple of months, it became apparent that the rear sits just a little bit lower than the front.

You mentioned coil spring spacers. I'd like to get some to raise the rear end about an inch or so. I saw spacers on IPD but it says they don't fit my car. I looked on IPD for spacers for a 960 wagon with solid axle. No dice.

Do you have any ideas as to where I might find coil spring spacers for my converted rear suspension? I guess the obvious answer would be to call IPD and ask them. 🙂
 
  #6  
Old 10-23-2018, 09:41 PM
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I seem to recall in that post that the spacers used were from Mr. Gasket but up here in Montreal, Canada I didn't find that make but some other make which I don't remember. They fit the new springs I installed perfectly but the car looked odd being higher in the rear. Here's exactly what I used but from a different brand: https://www.holley.com/products/susp...nts/parts/1287

Hope this helps! Let me know how it's going.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-2018, 08:15 PM
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Great. Thanks!
 
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