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Old 08-24-2019, 01:16 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Default "Penny" the 93 244 L33 Swap, aka "what have we gotten in to"

My wife and I have been Volvo people for quite a while. I bought my first car from my grandmother for $100 (a steal!), a 1994 940 Turbo Wagon, in teal. It was eventually wrecked, as I was an idiot in my younger years. Next was a 1992 940 Turbo I bought from someone here. I thought it was quick at the time, with a 15g, chipped ECU and browntops. Met my future wife around that time, she had a 92 240. Got my **** together around the same time, and her car was sold (either to someone here or on Brickboard, can't recall) when the rear main seal was leaking. It was too expensive to take it somewhere, and I was working almost full time + going to school full time, so I didn't have time to fix it. My 940 was sold when we moved from PA to AZ, just wasn't worth taking it across the country, since I had bought a Miata in the meantime.

Skip forward quite a few years, and we're back at it! Slightly less poor than we were as college students, a house with a garage, but still with questionable judgement. My bought a Corolla after the Volvo, and I stopped daily driving the Miata when I got into motorcycles. Her Corolla is still her daily, my Miata is essentially a track car:

She's been talking about 240s off and on for a year now, so I finally pounced on an ad for one:

Probably not the best deal, paid $2600 for it. Fairly good shape, odo has been stuck at around 80k miles for years, so no idea what the real mileage is. Has a decent dent in the front quarter panel, the trim is all trash, and some of the inside plastic is pretty far gone. Of course the dash is cracked. But we're in AZ, so minimal rust.

We bought it a few weeks ago, it's well over 100F in AZ. Test drove it, turned it on and off quite a few times, everything seemed fine. Paid the man, he walked off (lives down the street), went to drive it an hour back home - wouldn't start. So we were stuck in a not-so-great part of town, in 100+ heat. Some kind soul stopped by and bought us gatorade, I didn't realize we were both so red we were turning purple...

Eventually got the damn thing to start, and drove it home. OD wouldn't kick on for the first half of the trip, so it was fun on the highway where everyone else is doing 85...

We named her "Penny", here she is at home - damn thing hasn't started up since.

My wife wants it to be faster than her old 240, which IMO was almost dangerously slow. Happy to oblige, I somehow talked her into LS-swapping it. I've done a little research, and we're currently waiting for the L33 we ordered from lsx4u.com to show up, along with a rebuilt 4L65E and the ECU/TAC/gas pedal. Engine is this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT7zN1tcCfE

We're still very much in the "figure everything out and spend lots of money on parts" phase, which is fine since our garage doesn't have AC. So far, we've only ordered the aforementioned engine, along with getting a set of STS engine mounts from the classifieds here, and some interior parts from the Scandix group buy.

When I owned my previous Volvos, I'd always wanted to do more to them, but never had the time, money, nor skill. I can't weld and haven't fabbed anything in my life, so I'm hoping we can get by without needing it. The failsafe is using my track day contacts to get work done if we really need to. I've advanced in skill _slightly_ over years, starting at "drilled a hole in my gas tank trying to make a ground for a sub", and now I've done full suspension, full brakes, and a few other things. Most I've done engine-wise is replace a cam gear on my wife's Corolla, which involved a luckily-not-too-expensive trip to the dealer when I snapped a cam bearing. My current concern is buying an engine hoist and engine stand, and figuring out how to actually use them. My wife is going to be my assistant, and is mostly concerned about keeping the car stock and making it look like it just rolled off the showroom floor. She is very adamant that I find a way to keep the stock shift lever, all the stock gauges, and is massively annoyed that the gas pedal will be changing.

That's really it for now, we both work full time and I have a fairly demanding job, so progress will be slow. Super excited to be starting the project, so I figured I'd post a thread here so everyone can laugh at us. Ultimate goal is a reasonably quick LS swap that will primarily be driven by her, which means driven very gently. Needs to be reliable (lol), look stock, have AC, and ideally not bankrupt us.
92 244 - Project
Sold - 92 944T - 15g/15psi/Browntops/3" cat back/TLAO Chips
Sold - 94 945T
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:14 PM   #2
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poulrais's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Quebec, CAN

Good luck!

It's easier when you're not in a hurry to get it done. So take your time!

1990, Volvo 740 16v +T
1991, Volvo 745T 16V - crushed
build thread: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=249553
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: G-vegas SC

Originally Posted by `pr0digy View Post
I can't weld and haven't fabbed anything in my life, so I'm hoping we can get by without needing it.

$90 harbor freight flux core welder, grinder, cutting disk and brush wheel, and some YouTube videos and you’ll be fine. Good luck!!
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:37 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Reading pa

Welcome to the L33 club! I think you are the second member haha, maybe someone else is doing it though. I got mine from LSX4U as well, I had them rebuild and cam it, it was very inexpensive and quick.

Good luck with your build!
Feedback thread https://forums.tbforums.com/showthread.php?t=144924

1978 242, getting prepped for LS
1979 242, MS, R brakes
2006 V50 T5 AWD @ 17 PSI
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Old 08-26-2019, 02:40 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Well, after talking some more with 2turbotoys, caved and paid lsx4u another 1.8k to put in a cam that's pretty high lift but should keep the car with a reasonable idle, and without a need for a higher stall converter. Takes different springs, hardened pushrods, and bigger injectors, plus standalone harness and some time to dyno/tune. Once I have then engine in my possession, I'll start buying the other parts. On the minus side, it's already getting pricey and I've only just started. On the plus side, this is really the wife's car, and she won't be able to bitch as much about the costs of the track car ;p.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:22 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Dallas,TX

Man, what a great wife. Truly lucky. I wish you all the best with your build. You should be able to pick up some new skills. But I can see where it's more convenient to farm out some work(i.e. exhaust mainly). Hey as long as you don't mind spending $$$, then it's all good.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:26 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Phoenix, AZ

We've gotten exactly 0 done, but the engine should be shipping soon:


Not sure I really trust any of their HP numbers, but once it's all together I'm sure it'll make it's way to the dyno. In somewhat-related news, the wife helped clean the garage a bit to prepare for the project, and almost immediately greenlighted a minisplit AC system, so that's on it's way as well. Will probably put in some more lights at the same time, I don't want to do the entire project in a hot as hell 3 car garage with 2 bare lightbulbs as the only light source. Space is tight, especially with the engine hoist and stand I picked up from HF, but we can work around that.

Hopefully within the next coming weeks we'll be able to meaningfully start work.
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