How to Improve Performance of a Volvo 740


The Volvo 740 was sold in the U.S. from 1985 to 1992 in sedan and station wagon form. The 740 offered the traditional Volvo values of safety, reliability and comfort, and like all Volvos, the 740 takes well to the addition of more performance. Thanks to the popularity of this angular looking model, there are plenty of ways to go about doing this.

Things You'll Need

  • Full array of tools for working on cars
  • Jack
  • Jackstands
  • Install performance tires and wheels. There are multiple options here, depending on what you are looking for. If you are looking for the stickiest tire you can get, then go with an R-compound (racing) tire. There are also tires that are a good compromise between daily useability and performance. The next step up would be to install a set of lighter and stronger alloy wheels. These will reduce the unsprung weight (the weight of the car's suspension) and allow the fitment of wider, lower profile tires.

  • Install lower, heavier springs paired with stiffer performance shocks from a company like Koni or Bilstien. Lower springs and better shocks will make your Volvo handle much more precisely, with less body roll and better response from the chassis.

  • Upgrade to stiffer anti-roll bars. Fitting an aftermarket set of anti-roll bars will reduce the body roll that your 740 exhibits during cornering. This will make it more nimble and allow you to corner faster with more control.

  • Improve braking by installing aftermarket cross-drilled rotors, high performance brake pads and braided steel brake lines. The cross-drilled rotors dissipate heat more efficiently than the stock rotors, high performance pads don't fade as quickly and braided steel brake lines improve pedal feel.

  • Install a free-flow exhaust. Whether you have a 740 Turbo or a normally aspirated model, your motor will benefit from a larger diameter exhaust. This frees up horsepower and torque and gives the motor a nice growl. Make sure you follow your state's laws regarding emissions so that your 740 remains emissions compliant.

  • Install a higher-revving camshaft. In stock form, the 740's motor does not like to rev much above 5,000-rpm. Installing a high performance aftermarket camshaft will free up power at higher RPMs and make your car much more fun to drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember, almost every performance modification you make to the engine will reduce the fuel economy, and every handling upgrade (besides brake mods) will affect the ride quality of your car, making it stiffer and harsher.

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