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Old 04-19-2021, 04:20 PM   #1
240-FAN
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Default Nivomat vs converter rear suspension

The nivomats on my 1991 940SE are on their way out slowly. I was wondering if there’s any difference in ride quality between replacing with new nivomats vs switching to shocks and springs using a conversion kit?
The cost of 2 nivomats vs the conversion kit on IPD (Using Bilstein touring) is about the same.
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Old 04-19-2021, 05:03 PM   #2
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I did the conversion myself for about $90 using Toyota Sienna or Previa (can't remember which one) springs and shocks from rock auto, I just had to fabricate the bar that goes across where the nivomats attach at the bottom. However I have no experience with good nivomats to compare the ride quality mine were completely blown when I bought the car.
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:47 PM   #3
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That’s interesting. I’m afraid though my welding/fabrication skills are sub par at best for me to attempt something of that scale on a suspension component.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:45 PM   #4
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Keeping the car level is a great asset, IMHO.
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:01 AM   #5
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Doing the conversion saves you from having to ever pay for nivomats in the future.

I have the ipd conversion kit but I got it when it first came out, and had to go through a couple different springs. Its probably better now.
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by johfraser View Post
Keeping the car level is a great asset, IMHO.
Lol I agree. After 2 days of being parked, the rear is about 1.5” lower in than the front.


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Originally Posted by daijoubanai View Post
Doing the conversion saves you from having to ever pay for nivomats in the future.

I have the ipd conversion kit but I got it when it first came out, and had to go through a couple different springs. Its probably better now.
That’s good to know, I got a set off Phil on here and I’m hoping the ride won’t suffer compared to the Nivomats. Any idea when the improved their springs?

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Old 04-20-2021, 08:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 240-FAN View Post
That’s good to know, I got a set off Phil on here and I’m hoping the ride won’t suffer compared to the Nivomats. Any idea when the improved their springs?
No clue. But I bought the conversion kit in 2005, so its been a while.

I don't really have a comment on ride since I also went with bilstein hd's
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:56 PM   #8
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No clue. But I bought the conversion kit in 2005, so its been a while.

I don't really have a comment on ride since I also went with bilstein hd's
I might switch to those down the line. The fronts need to be done as well. Would you happen to have a picture of the rear wheels from your car? I’m curious to see what the clearance is between the wheel well lip and tire. On my car, the top portion of the tire is hidden by the wheel well and looking at images online, that’s not how they should be...
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Old 04-20-2021, 11:11 PM   #9
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Yeah I had the sagging rear end as well, just not quite as bad as yours. I don't know if I have a good picture, but it just brings it back to stock height.
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Old 11-23-2021, 12:22 PM   #10
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Bumping this thread back up - are there any write ups/previous threads where the steps on doing this conversion can be found? I tried the search but I’m probably not using the right key words.
I’m going to do an oil change and park it for the winter. I was planning on doing the swap over the winter if it’s not too terrible of a job.
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Old 11-23-2021, 12:38 PM   #11
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https://www.bneshop.com/collections/...rear-coilovers

nivo conversion.
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Old 11-23-2021, 04:38 PM   #12
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I pretty much did the 2nd version in this thread.
https://www.volvoclub.org.uk/faq/Niv...nversion1.html
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Old 11-24-2021, 09:20 AM   #13
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Thank you for the link!

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I pretty much did the 2nd version in this thread.
https://www.volvoclub.org.uk/faq/Niv...nversion1.html
Perfect, I’m going to try the first method using the IPD kit that I purchased off a member here. Did you have any advise for the removal part of the Nivomats and the old springs?
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:48 PM   #14
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Got a follow up question. Where are the control arm bolts on these IRS cars? I read there are 3 14mm bolts and 19mm bolt that needs to be undone to lower the rear control arm to allow for the spring to be removed. Is this accurate?
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Old 12-02-2021, 09:39 AM   #15
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Got a follow up question for the folks here. I was able to get the Nivomat on one side. I found the front bolts and such for the control arm which are crusty. So my preference is to not touch them. IÂ’ve been soaking the back single bolt on the control arm for 4-5 days now in combination wd40 and pb blaster. Using my foot long breaker bar, nothing. IÂ’m able to move the whole control arm but the bolt is firmly in place.

Can I swap out the nivomat with just the regular shock and leave the existing spring? The car is driven maybe 500 miles a year and thereÂ’s no load/luggage outside for an occasional front passenger. Will this be acceptable? The current nivomats are in full slam mode lol.

If this is an issue, I might have a shop change out the springs in spring. Until then, is it ok to keep the car on the regular shocks since itÂ’ll be parked anyways until snow season is over?
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Old 12-02-2021, 11:17 AM   #16
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You're still going to be in full slam mode until you change the springs or the nivomats. Regular shocks don't have any support built in.
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Old 12-02-2021, 07:55 PM   #17
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The nivos are great as a sorta ride quality/height/mechanical complexity compromise when they work at new spec, for what they are, for their time?

That said, most were made by Sachs/Boge and the re-pop Sachs/bBge shocks I've gotten of late have been defective junk that doesn't last.
Maybe the Nivo-craps are different since they still use them (or the parts inside them???...hopefully) on new cars that have to last the stringent OE warranty and OEM manufacturer high volume quality control standards?

I did the conversion on a few cars...I find it perfectly acceptable as a compromise;
-lower cost generic shocks
-Variety of brands of replacement shocks that are replaceable or rebuildable with good longevity like the Bilstein HDs/DeCarbon mono-tubes.
-Only replace 1 wear part that just does the damping function, not the airbag & air pump function.
-Doesn't sag while parked with weak weenie springs that are prone to becoming smashed beyond repair.

That said, I don't wanna crap on the Nivos too much as I like them when they're new:
-Load leveling is nice
-No electric pumps or hoses required
-Not as complicated as a Citroen, Benz, Infinity Q45 'active' suspension hydra-pneumatic setup, but ride uh...almost as good as the rubber-dampened nitrogen bomb/no springs at all, but does have supplemental simple mechanical coil springs on a suspension overbuilt with strong mounting points for both the 'shock' (w/built in air-bag & pump, essentially) and 'spring.'
-Only 2 of them to deal with on the rear wheels of the volvo.

They do ride pretty dang nice and let you pick up a load of lumber, some pavers or few sacks of concrete or whatever or drive a few fat people in the back seat of your grandpa series or V70XC/V70R and have it handle pretty ok without having your headlights aimed at the sky either?

$200/shock for the V70XC or speshl part # nivo-crap for the V70R tho ...
...just been hoarding very lightly used ones rather than do the junkyard conversion from the S70 AWD junkpile.
At that price the quality control/longevity better be good! owww
I used to get ~10/yr/100K federally mandated chassis lemon law obligations or manufacturer extended warranty periods on avg roads/driving habits/use out of them?
Not too terrible?

Conversion isn't as easy or cheap for MK1 7/9 IRS guys...junk the car/it's not worth anything anyway/shocks are worth more than the car and apart from the 780...uh...hideous dated electrically laden 'yesterdays obscure limited production volume obsolete luxury car', or in the case of the 780, has rare parts is prone to rust and totally useless and *kinda* dated looking but less hideous than most 7/9 cars.
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Old 09-06-2022, 05:20 PM   #18
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Hello all,

I have a 1994 960 coming my way very soon and I'd like to fix the sag in the rear. Based on the cost of nivomat shocks and springs here https://usparts.volvocars.com/a/Volv.../GR-54102.html I am interested in the IPD kit with Bilsteins https://www.ipdusa.com/products/6326...lvo-IPD-109635


There is one review but I really don't understand what the guy is saying. He makes it sound like the car still sags and IPD is ignoring him but he still gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

Anyone on here use this kit within the last few years? I think I read something about the springs being no good originally but have since improved. I do tow a good amount on occasion so I'd rather not be draggin ass when doing so. Maybe I ought to just bite the bullet and buy Nivomat shocks directly through Volvo.

Please provide your thoughts. Thanks


Edit: Looks like the nivomat shocks are much cheaper through FCP Euro than they are directly from Volvo. https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/vol...wagons-170-472

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Old 09-06-2022, 06:06 PM   #19
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IMO the Nivomats are a great feature on the 7/960 line. They are not a stiff shock like a Bilstein HD so if your car is truly intended to be used on the racetrack only, or you just want your Volvo to ride like a cement truck as many folks apparently do on here, you won't like them. But they have a great balance of ride vs handling for any kind of honest real world usage.

They last a long time too. And if you tow at all they will be a particular plus to you. My $0.02 would be just to get a fresh set of the stock setup and keep on rolling.
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Old 09-07-2022, 05:01 PM   #20
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Thanks very much for your thoughts and I'll go that way.

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IMO the Nivomats are a great feature on the 7/960 line. They are not a stiff shock like a Bilstein HD so if your car is truly intended to be used on the racetrack only, or you just want your Volvo to ride like a cement truck as many folks apparently do on here, you won't like them. But they have a great balance of ride vs handling for any kind of honest real world usage.

They last a long time too. And if you tow at all they will be a particular plus to you. My $0.02 would be just to get a fresh set of the stock setup and keep on rolling.
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Old 09-13-2022, 01:11 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by v8volvo View Post
IMO the Nivomats are a great feature on the 7/960 line. They are not a stiff shock like a Bilstein HD so if your car is truly intended to be used on the racetrack only, or you just want your Volvo to ride like a cement truck as many folks apparently do on here, you won't like them. But they have a great balance of ride vs handling for any kind of honest real world usage.

They last a long time too. And if you tow at all they will be a particular plus to you. My $0.02 would be just to get a fresh set of the stock setup and keep on rolling.
The 7/9 Bils are super over-achiever. You're right about that! Seems specific to those cars? Someone moved a decimal point or reversed the compression & rebound damping #s or something crazy?
The 200 Bils or OE DeCarbon monotubes on GT/GLT/Turbo are still pretty mild/tame on a stock height car/matched to the springs properly?

The 7/9 Bil HD valving is ridiculous! Like a pogo stick to rattle all your fillings out/punch you in the kidneys?

240Turbos/GLTs came with DeCarbons with appropriate valving that Bilstein USA can rebuild, but '86+ Volvo gave up entirely on building mid-size 'driver's cars' & no more monotubes OE on any of them...

Slide the sleeves off the DeCarbons on the 240s and Bilstein USA can't tell the difference between them & Bil HDs and can preserve valving that matches the pretty mild 240T/GLT & GT springs pretty nicely/nothing too crazy?
Use the 240 dashboard mounted load leveler switch, air pump & some aux air bags inside the springs?

Then, you still have regular springs & shocks that last forever & the shock itself is a rebuildable monotube wear item instead of the shock failing w/the super soft nivomat model springs?

That said, the IRS 7/9s, the nivos drive real nice, especially with a modded G80 locker?
Nice huge fuel tank on sedans that can be used in conjunction with the 700 sedan aux fuel tank (no evap to worry about on a Diesel)...tow, auto load leveling, gets over slick snot good with the locker etc?

Volvo was super conservative & didn't trust IRS in snow etc where if it sagged none of the geometry would work right like the old solid axle cars, hence the nivos being universal on MK1 IRS...pretty logical.

Put any real weight on an IRS japanese IRS car and it'll twist up & drive sketchy &/or wear the tires in weird patterns...

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Old 09-13-2022, 10:31 AM   #22
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I can attest to this kit. I put it on my 91 940SE...I also replaced all of the bushings in that mk1 IRS that I could, at the time. You might need to clearance the holes that the C/Os fit into, so the springs don't rub. Not a big deal though...just a couple mm.

Afterward, the rear of that car was so planted. I didn't notice an increase in ride discomfort. The biggest problem I had, was I did the rear before I did the front...and the rear had WAY more grip than the front. LOL, it was fine for everyday driving though.
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