Volvo 940 Tuning

"940 Big Bold and Beautiful"

The 940 is a good solid car and provides a great chassis for tuning. In this article we review 940 tuning and highlight the ultimate modifications for your car.

The solidity and rigidity of the body really does give you an advantage over lots of other cars and we note that 940's do really well in motorsports. The 940 is a great tuning project to do.

With the right mods your 940 can be transformed into an awesome motor. Don't waste money, do your homework and follow our unbiased guides to each performance upgrade to avoid wasting money.

That said though safety and handling upgrades should be your first priority in your 940 tuning project.

We would go to a maximum drop of 35mm on the T5 and 45mm on other models. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this and it upsets the suspension geometry.

Top end power should be your overall aim on the 940 with a nice fat peak torque band.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


Spending a little money on the engine and handling will transform your car into a very credible performer.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, especially in  a big car like the 940. So if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

940 Engine Tuning modifications.

As with everything in life you get what you pay for. Set a budget and then see which mods would give you the best return on your investment. Here are the most common approaches to 940 Tuning projects set out in "stages of tune".

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Best mods for your 940

  1. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.
  2. Air Induction and high flowing exhausts - Note that on their own these mods won't ADD PERFORMANCE on most cars, but they enable you to enhance power after other modifications by losing a restriction.
  3. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but ideally be installed by someone qualified to set them up and some cams are hard to find but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft .
  4. Brake Upgrades - Enhancing your stopping power should be somewhere in your mods list.
  5. Forced induction upgrades - forced induction is the most dramatic method to improve intake air supply, allowing you to use more fuel and make better power figures. Typically one of the most challenging upgrades you'll see massive gains.
  6. 940 Suspension Tuning - Replacing worn bushings and shocks dramatically improves 940 handling Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  7. Flywheel lightening - a lower mass flywheel will significantly improve the engines rev changes. But not always not a great upgrade for all 940 engines.
  8. ECU Tunes - A Remapped 940 ECU provides the biggest gains compared to your outlay, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.

940 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Exhaust, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Panel air filter, lighter flywheel

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, ported and polished head, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,

Typical stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (head/pistons/valves), competition cam.

Your targets when modding your car should be a nice flat torque curve. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a competition car.

In this article we shall give an overview and introduction to the best modifications for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.One of the best mechanical motorsport mods you can do to your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

The exhaust and intake flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car difficult to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip for the best performance gains.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to uprate the fuelling.

Frequently power losses, and erratic idling after tuning kits are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues. Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Improve your cars response to the throttle with a Fuel pressure boost valve. Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine. When increasing your fuelling you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

940 Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many 940 owners uprate the handling of their cars with performance suspension mods as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.


We would go to a maximum drop of 30 - 35 on most models. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the 940.Adjusting the 940's handling is often the first step in tweaking it.

Handling mods are often the initial step for the 940.

We would choose a set of Adjustable Coilovers that provide an opportunity for you to adjust your ride height to set the cars handling to your preference

Is there anything I should bear in mind while deciding on suspension mods for my 940?

Uprated Bushes

Bushing improvements are needed so what's involved?

It is possible to connect the 940's suspension components to the chassis of the 940 using poly bushes, which are drop in replacements for the original rubber mounts. The rubber ones will degrade with time and need replacing anyway so why not upgrade.

Installing new OEM rubber bushings may dramatically improve the performance of your car.

Because the polyurethane bushes are firmer, the ride may be a bit less forgiving, but they will last longer and maintain the handling.

They may also speed up the decay of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

With a new set of poly bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushes may be lessened.

Some poly bushings are hard to locate, but most will find the primary mounts readily available in their local stores Custom polyeyurothane bushings are often made to your requirements.

Many people believe that a 90mm lower 940 suspension kit from a franchised component shop would be optimal. However, this is not the case - suspension design and setup is quite complex. Vendors may assert that their 940 suspension kits are compatible with any or all of the 940 model years.

The 'compromized' approach is obviously a flawed assumption when it comes to adequately supporting a diverse variety of cars. Engine weights and trim levels, and even alloy rims will affect the handling and require different suspension setups.

How low should you go on the 940?

When it comes to road vehicles, the maximum suspension drop is 30 - 35 mm, but when it comes to versions that come with lowered suspension already, the maximum suspension drop is 20 mm, according to TorqueCars.

These tolerances may be drastically diminished if the wheel size is changed. Even with 17" wheels and stock suspension, lowering the vehicle might result in a slew of problems.

While the fact that the 940 being lower allows for less air to travel underneath it may aid in stability, the ultimate goal should always be to enhance handling. When lowering the springs, it is critical to use the proper shocks that match all round.

Putting a small amount of negative camber on the fronts and around 1 to 1.7 degrees of toe (in for better stability or out to improve cornering), will substantially improve your 940 in handling and cornering.

940 Brake Upgrade Modifications

Putting meatier brake discs and better performance pads should make for dramatically improved braking.

We should point out that race brake pads will be noisy and will need to be hot before they are effective.

In every day driving the brakes are occasionally used, therefore won't stop you as well so select pads which work well in daily use.

Volvo 940 Intake and Exhaust.

Breathing mods are usually next up. For small 940 engine sizes go with a washable panel air filter. On larger engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help increase power. Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can find - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some porting and polishing.

When you start tuning your 940 you will find that the standard clutch starts to complain so get an uprated clutch.

Turbo engines are just begging to be custom remapped.You will see big power gains on most turbo engined cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective modifications.

The largest power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction.

It is easier to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. It is harder to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed.

Superchargers however will give a boost which is proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine.

Volvo 940 Wheel modifications.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling.

Large 940 alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get bigger wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio and your acceleration will suffer. Although some people have gone larger we would stick to a 18 inch rim on low profile tyres  as the maximum.

Please join us in our forum to discuss the 940 options in more detail with our 940 owners. It would also be worth reading our Volvo tuning articles to get a full grasp of the pros and cons of each type of modification.

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