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97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by Peevarino » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:19 pm

The new dad wagon needs some rear shocks, the nivomats are shot. I’m on the fence about swapping out springs and getting Bilstein or the like, or finding low mileage nivomats. I’m cheap, and the car needs a few other things before I spring for $200 plus each for new nivos.

Not looking to lower, stock height. Any good combinations of spring/shock to look into?

I’m not against new nivomats, but have some maintenance, heater not working gremlins, and cosmetic bits to replace


09 XC70 3.2
97 855R

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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by erikv11 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:38 pm

I really like these with Bilstein touring (TC) shocks: https://www.ipdusa.com/products/8817/12 ... 70-v70-fwd


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by bmdubya1198 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:53 pm

It really depends on if you really need/want the load leveling. If you don't need it, go for an upgraded shock like Koni or Bilstein. Otherwise, replace the Nivos.
I'm not sure if the FWD nivos are the same as the AWD nivos as far as the spring setup (I know they mount differently, so I'm sure you can just bolt in a regular shock) but you'll want standard springs, whether they be lowering springs, stock springs, or those iPd overload springs. The springs with nivomat shocks are only helper springs, and not designed to bear the weight of the car on their own. The rear end will sag pretty badly.


2000 V70R Venetian Red/Charcoal M56 Swapped 190k
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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by Peevarino » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:07 am

I know I need to swap out springs if I don’t get nivos, pretty sure I would also need different upper shock mounts, but would anything have to change for the springs?

I don’t really see a need for the leveling aspect of nivomats, so unless I can find a good used set I’ll add springs to the list of what is getting replaced.


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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by bmdubya1198 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:32 am

I don't think there is any difference in the spring mounting. You can replace the spring perch or bump stop since it's likely worn out, but I don't think there's anything that NEEDS to be replaced.

Take a look at this thread: http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/topic/16 ... r-end-855/
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2000 V70R Venetian Red/Charcoal M56 Swapped 190k
2001 S60 2.4T Black/Black 230k
2003 S60 2.4T Silver/Black 107k
2007 XC90 V8 AWD Sport Titanium Grey/Black 158k
1993 944 Base Beige/Beige :mrgreen: 221k
1992 Miata Mariner Blue/Black 146k
Sold-
1998 V70 GLT Black/Beige 193k
1998 S90- Silver/Gray 207k
1995 850 GLT Tropic Green... crushed
1988 744 Turbo M46 Beige Metallic/Beige 188k- Never should have sold it


Need used parts? PM me!

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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by Peevarino » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:25 am

Ha, I just finished reading that thread this morning


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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by erikv11 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:05 pm

The overload springs actually improve the handling some (they are stiffer) without lowering the car. And they are especially great when you put four people or a load of whatever into the wagon.


'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 140k
'98 S70 NA, 210k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 280k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by Sommerfeldt » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:30 pm

You need new upper shock mounts, and you need "reinforced" springs. Nivos use a reinforced shock mount that won't work with other stuff. If the Nivos are shot, be prepared for the car to ride a little higher on the "regular" springs than where the old Nivos would have kept it.

You cannot - absolutely not - keep the current springs (Nivos carry the car, instead of the springs, which is the reason for the bulky shock mounts. W/o the Nivos, you need the springs to carry the weight), but there's no difference other than the type of spring. Seats and everything else is the same, so just pop them in there. When I replaced my worn-out Nivos for regular stuff (Koni yellows and "reinforced" springs), I also noticed the added stiffness and improved handling that erikv mentions.

As bmdubya says, get new bump stops. :)

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'96 855 T5, R bumper and spoiler, Koni Yellows & blue H&R springs all 'round.

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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by Ozark Lee » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:54 pm

There are different Nivomats for different springs and I'm pretty sure they are different between wagons and sedans. That said, I scored a pair for the XC off of a S70 AWD model at the U Pull lot for about $7.00 each. Bolted them on and they worked fine. The PO had put a set of Bilstien TCs on the rear with the Nivomat springs and if anyone was riding in the back seat the rear bumper about dragged the ground. Although perhaps not perfectly matched and even having over 100k on them they fixed everything.

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'94 850 N/A 5 speed
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1999 V70XC - Nautic Blue - Totaled while parked.
1999 V70XC - RIP - Wrecked Parts Car.
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1996 850 N/A
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1986 740 GLT
1972 142 Grand Luxe

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Re: 97 855R suspension: to renew nivomat or not?

Post by Peevarino » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:06 pm

I’ve seen several on fleabay and elsewhere, but wrong part number for an 850. Most look like they’ve at least 100k miles on them. I haven’t had any time to see the few (and far between) Volvos at my local pull a part. Maybe I’ll get lucky?

Strongly leaning towards the ipd overloads and Sachs at least. With new struts and springs up front, I’d like the rear to be similarly freshened up. But cheap low mileage nivos would help free up funds for the rest of Hela’s needed work.


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