Convert N/A to Turbo?
“What would I need to convert my non-turbo Volvo 850 to a turbo?”
We see this often. It’s a good question, one that many normally-aspirated 850/V70/S70 owners ask here. It gets philosophical pretty quickly, but one thing is for certain: it’s not worth the costs and time involved to convert. It’s far easier and less expensive to sell your N/A and buy a Turbo.
But if you’re not going to do that, here’s what you can do to make your N/A as fast as you can for a reasonable amount of time and money.
Convert N/A to Turbo? There’s Easier Ways to Make PowerThere was a time when I wanted to convert my NA to turbo, my mechanic even said it could be done. However, after learning more about the NA 850 engines I realized what everybody else already knew: it would cost more to turbo an NA than to buy a turbo 850. The reason is that the NA engine has a compression ratio of almost 11:1, that’s really high. If you throw a turbo on there the engine will quite literally explode. In addition, the cost of a turbo itself is quite high and then you are faced with the challenge of mating an NA ECU to a turbo engine.
If you want more power from your NA try out theses links:
- $25 Cold air intake – “Ram” air intake from the chin spoiler
- Discussion on airbox upgrades
- Throttle plate mod – big gains
- Airbox T-stat Removal – also big gains
- More on air induction
- Volvo 850 Cold Air Induction – the first post on MVS Forums about this
Simply swapping the pipe for the coolant feed, is good news indeed. How about their return lines? Is that just as straightforward, or am I going to be drilling a hole in the pan and finding a fitting at the hardware store?
If I’m going to mess with the bottom end at all, I’m thinking to just swap in some forged connecting rods, maybe the ones from eurosporttuning.com, and leave the NA cams in it. Is there a reason to change the pistons other than their height and surface shape affecting the compression ratio?
Does anyone think I can get away with this without changing the bottom end or cams at all? I realize 11:1 is a bit high for even a light pressure turbo, but today’s fuels are a lot better than in 1997.