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Old 02-17-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
PetrolHead
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Default Building an Off-road/Soft Road 240 Wagon?

So the story goes, I have a 1993 240 Wagon. She's my beater. It runs decent, I cut the coils to drop it, replaced the struts (Bilstein Tourings), replaced a few other suspension components, threw on some 16" Porsche Phone dials from my now sold 944 Turbo and it's been my run-around beater ever since. The exterior's pretty banged up, paint's hosed, but it's ok. My fiancee and I are avid outdoors people. We love camping, hiking, mountain biking, etc and her 2009 Honda Fit has been treating us surprisingly well when the road turns to dirt. But anything more than that, and we have to skip the trip. Last month, we threw around the idea of selling the 240 and picking up a 4x4 of some sort. Assuming my 240's worth maybe 2g's, I quickly realized that most 4x4's in my price range will require some serious effort to make somewhat trail worthy. I trust my Volvo, and I had a lightbulb. Can I turn my car into an off-road/soft roader with minimal effort (and cost)?

Yes, this has been covered here before, but I want to approach it a little differently. I'm an apartment dweller, and have no access to a welder and grinding in my garage only upsets my neighbors (as me how I know). I'm wondering if there any springs that can be run in the front to give me an 1" or so lift over stock and what can I run in the back to give me about the same, if not a little more. I've read about everything form diesel springs to Overload springs, to XJ springs, but nothing really seems definitive.

Also, has anyone ever noticed that BFG makes All-Terrain KO's in 195/75 14? It's true! http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires....=975R4ARAKORWL these could be a great tire choice. I've had them on 4x4's in the past and loved them.

I've read hints that people were planning to do what I'm doing, but besides Mad Max, I haven't found any results. Help is greatly appreciated! And for reference, here's the beast now:
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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Talk to RallyBrick, he's in SoCal: http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=226147

And there's a guy on the east coast who built a pretty cool mildly lifted black 244 on rally tires (I think). Don't remember the name and can't seem to find the thread now, but maybe he will chime in.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
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You're already familiar with Mad Max, which would have been my first suggestion. Pat knows these cars so well, following his lead into this kind of territory is probably the least painful. There was another car in F/S in Oregon about 6 months ago that was pretty done up the way you're describing, but I can't find it. (It was pretty cool).

Ping me off list. If you're not too far from me, maybe we can do some fab work at my place. You probably want to box the A-arms and trailing arms while you're at it.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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I'd half suggest buying a 4Runner, and going further off road, but that's not what you're after.

In any case, I will say that I think the rear suspension on my 245 is beefier than the rear suspension on my 4Runner, and the suspension on the 4Runner can take some serious abuse.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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I have kind of been thinking about doing the same thing. My choices are either a Suzuki Samurai or getting a 240 and lifting it.
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In that case when that package shows up on your door tomorrow, just throw it out. No, I'm not saying it's dangerous or anything, just get rid of it. Are there many kids roaming your neighborhood?
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:13 PM   #6
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On my car I used xj springs in the rear and it netted 1-1.5" of lift. On the front I slid the spring perch up (ala Mad Max) 2.5". I am waiting on some custom strut inserts to show up so i can build coilovers for the front. 2.5" was too much with the stock springs, the strut inserts are close to topped out (no rebound/droop travel). I don't have any experience with overload or diesel springs, so I'm no help as far as that goes. You may be able to run a 14" or so coilover spring up front to get some lift and some stiffness.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:18 PM   #8
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Thanks, Ken, this was the one I was thinking of. Any chance you remember the post that had the specs? I have a PDF of the CL ad somewhere. I seem to remember he had some long Monroe shocks in the back.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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Thanks, Ken, this was the one I was thinking of. Any chance you remember the post that had the specs? I have a PDF of the CL ad somewhere. I seem to remember he had some long Monroe shocks in the back.
It was in for sale as well here.
I just copped the interesting pictures from the CL ad.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:22 PM   #10
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Here's my build thread, overdue for an update, I know.

http://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=242764
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:22 PM   #11
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Yeah, can't find the TB for sale ad. Oh well.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
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Don't forget, IPD has skidplates for 240s (and not 740's, unfortunately :/), which should be added if you're taking this anywhere near babyhead littered trails.

Then raise up a bit. Maybe just IPD overloads and some Diesel springs might give you what you want without going all wonky. ???

Then brace up your arms, and protect the fuel/brake bits under.

Funny thing is, I offroaded more in my 850 than in the 1500 W/T I drove for 2 years. My driveway is pretty much offroading, as there are 8" deep braking bumps and rises, and no lowered cars can make it through. Volvo made durable cars, that's for certain.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:38 PM   #13
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Don't forget, IPD has skidplates for 240s (and not 740's, unfortunately :/), which should be added if you're taking this anywhere near babyhead littered trails.
That skid plate stops at the cross-member and does not protect the sump. If you're serious about going off-road, might be wiser to go with a bigger skidplate, but then you start dealing with heat issues (doesn't dissipate from the engine bay).

Ie (extends to the output shaft of the trans):


But then this is overkill and for going fast over rocky roads, not trail crawling. Per John Lane "Overkill is consistently more fun."

HDPE from McMaster-Carr is also a good solution. Slick, so it slides over rocks pretty well, it's light, and can be cut easily. Aluminum channel stock or L-brackets (readily available at Home Depot) work well to secure it in place and form it.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:38 PM   #14
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I made a feeble attempt at one, but it doesn't matter good luck with yours.

Mine is about 2 1/2" higher than stock, 28 x 8.50 R14's on it.

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Old 02-17-2012, 04:50 PM   #15
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That skid plate stops at the cross-member and does not protect the sump. If you're serious about going off-road, might be wiser to go with a bigger skidplate, but then you start dealing with heat issues (doesn't dissipate from the engine bay).

Ie (extends to the output shaft of the trans):


But then this is overkill and for going fast over rocky roads, not trail crawling. Per John Lane "Overkill is consistently more fun."

HDPE from McMaster-Carr is also a good solution. Slick, so it slides over rocks pretty well, it's light, and can be cut easily. Aluminum channel stock or L-brackets (readily available at Home Depot) work well to secure it in place and form it.

Yea, HDPE was what I was thinking of using for fabing up one for myself. I can't believe there's no available 740 plates! At least none that I've found.

And good point on cooling. Trans will need that airflow too. Maybe some NACA ducts with trippled up chicken wire could help.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:53 PM   #16
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:18 PM   #17
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Yea, HDPE was what I was thinking of using for fabing up one for myself. I can't believe there's no available 740 plates! At least none that I've found.
For a car that is 2" lower with 2" less suspension travel stock, and a weak rear subframe to boot?

Small wonder
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:18 PM   #18
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2>7
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:32 PM   #19
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omg, i think i just my pants!
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:47 PM   #20
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That skid plate stops at the cross-member and does not protect the sump. If you're serious about going off-road, might be wiser to go with a bigger skidplate, but then you start dealing with heat issues (doesn't dissipate from the engine bay).




Small wonder.
You changed the dual factory plan that feeds air to the radiator.
Most of what comes in your grill drops right off the radiator,and escapes under the car.
You should get a longer air pickup from a commando car, zip tie the front tabs in there and capture the air that is being compressed under the car.



Many modern rounded cars don't have open grills at all just an air pickup.

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Old 02-17-2012, 06:10 PM   #21
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I made a feeble attempt at one, but it doesn't matter good luck with yours.

Mine is about 2 1/2" higher than stock, 28 x 8.50 R14's on it.

Have more pics?..one of my favorite color 245s
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:20 PM   #22
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Have more pics?..one of my favorite color 245s
Look at his build thread in showroom.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #23
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Small wonder.
You changed the dual factory plan that feeds air to the radiator.
Most of what comes in your grill drops right off the radiator,and escapes under the car.
You should get a longer air pickup from a commando car, zip tie the front tabs in there and capture the air that is being compressed under the car.

Many modern rounded cars don't have open grills at all just an air pickup.
(Respectfully): No s***, Ken. But the roads down here are pretty harsh and the dams get ripped off all the time. It's amazing how many STIs don't have full bumpers by the 1/2 way point of the race. Sometimes there are water crossings, too. Big rocks are also dangerous -- several races have stages with many rocks the size of ping pong and even tennis balls that get bounced up by the front tires and flung into the underside of the car. Check out the huge dents on the part of the skid plate you can see. It's not the PNW where it's just straight up gravel.

You may not notice it, but that's just a bumper skin and the license plate area is fully ducted to the rad (there's sheetmetal inside that guides it).

My setup is not bad if the car is normally aspirated, but if it's turbo, it's right on the bleeding edge, hence the hood louvers.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:23 PM   #24
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EDPM pond liner, and a heavy wire mesh grill down there to stop the rocks then.
There has to be a way.

Or something like I made for the Orange car out of a tire sidewall.
That Sh!t ain't going nowheres!

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Old 02-17-2012, 06:25 PM   #25
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^^^If the 240 front were all steel, that would be one thing. But since it's ikea plastic...

No good for ditch-hooking, shorting high-bank corners, or hard landings off bad jumps from water bars. Just comes off real quick.
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