review: IPD Sport Springs
The original purpose of purchasing #projectlolvo245 was to have a second car, a daily driver, for when my partner needed the car that we share. It was always meant to be an ongoing, rolling project car for me, with a slew of eventual modifications to be performed.
When I’d bought the car, only having seen a handful of photos from the seller in Portland, Oregon, I knew that it needed some love. It came with blown out factory front struts, blown out replacement rear shocks, and tired factory springs cut to lower the car around three inches. With these parts, the car rode like crap and scraped on even small speed bumps.
Having driven the car only a handful of times in its worn-out state, it was incredibly apparent that the suspension needed an upgrade (OK, so it was apparently when I saw the ad for the car that said ‘cut springs’).
The Volvo 2-series (240, 242, 244, 245, 260, 262, 264, and 265) doesn’t have a lot of options on the aftermarket when it comes to performance suspension parts. There are a small number of companies making new aftermarket parts, and a wide variety of OE performance parts that have been scavenged off of other 240s over the years.
For any performance suspension set-up, the mind quickly goes to a coil-over conversion. While there are a handful of these out there for the Volvo 240, they all require at least a moderate amount of fabrication work. The 240s suspension does not make for a good “plug ’n’ play” option for coil-overs.
That lead me to the internet and the forums dedicated to Volvos. The internet is a wonderful place in this regard since you can find a community for almost anything online. It can also be somewhat scary at times. It turns out, though, that on the Volvo forums—between the fighting, flaming, and trolling, you can find a decent amount of good information about fixing and modifying your 2-series Volvo. It was in one of these threads relating to Lowering a 240 that I was introduced to a company called IPD.
IPD does three extremely important things for the Volvo community: they supply replacement parts for repair and maintenance, the develop performance parts for Volvos of all ages, and they have a wealth of knowledge and information about working on Volvos (from owning, repairing, and racing their own Volvos). Among the performance parts they provide are the Volvo 240 Sport Springs.
The Sport Springs do two things for your 240. First, they are moderately stiffer than the factory spring, providing a sturdier ride and improving handling. Second, They provide an appropriate amount of lowering (1.75 inches in the front, 1.5 inches in the rear) to give the car a more aggressive stance, reduce wheel gap, and (also) provide improved handling.
Because I didn’t want to deal with hacking at and modifying my existing suspension to allow for coil-overs and I was starting the modifications to a daily driver, I just needed some moderate handling improvements and a better stance to the car. The Sport Springs fit the bill perfectly.
Let’s get down to the reason you’re here: to find out how the springs perform.
To begin, IPD says that the springs can be paired with stock replacement shocks and struts. While I believe that you can do this, I don’t think you should. Instead, I opted to go with the Bilstein HD B6 shocks and struts (and even those are a little light on their rebound for my taste, but the lighter rebound provides a somewhat softer ride (which is nice if you live in Southeast Michigan like I do).
When compared to the suspension the car arrived in my driveway with, the IPD Sport Springs provide an incredible increase in stiffness to both the overall ride and handling. On smooth surfaces, which are few and far between for me, they add welcome stability and confidence to the ride that the car was most definitely lacking previously. When the road gets bumpy, the ride can become a little bit less than comfortable, as the severity of the bump is translated more directly to the cabin. That being said, it’s not an overly unpleasant ride as much as it is less bouncy and luxurious compared to what it would be with the factory suspension.
In the corners, though, is where the Sport Springs really let the Volvo shine.
Normally the Volvo 245 like to lumber and roll through corners and sharp turns. With the Sport Springs, the body has much less roll and makes you feel more confident than terrified to take a turn at speed. With the car staying upright as you take your turn, keeping the tires planted, the main limiting factor is the wide, and plush, factory seats that don’t do the best job at holding you in place (though they do make for a good lounge chair).
Since the Sport Springs aren’t necessarily meant for high-performance duty, there is still some body roll to be sure. It is much, much less body roll than the car came with from the factory, which means you can have more fun while driving you safety-focused Swedish car. The springs also provide you with the confidence to keep your foot from hovering the brake pedal when the road starts to get twisty.
IPD’s Sport Springs don’t turn your tired old Volvo 240 into a track eating machine. What they do is take your boring, old, and worn out Volvo and turn it into a fun, responsive, old Volvo that can carve that curvy back road without feeling like you’re driving a brick.
The Sport Springs provide stability and sportiness that the Volvo could—and in my opinion should—have had from the factory, especially in its turbo models. They allow you to confidently throw your old car around corners without worrying about your door handles touching the ground.
If you’re looking at making the Volvo even more fun, you can pair the springs with Bilstein HD shocks and struts, which will help keep the car from bouncing too much, and look for a set of strut tower bars from an old GT model car (IPD also sells replicas of these). Stiffer sway bars from a GT car can also help (upgraded sway bars are also available from IPD).
But, if you’re looking for a way to add a little spice to your daily drive and you’re driving a 240—and you don’t want to put too big a dent in your wallet—the IPD Sport Springs are an easy way to greatly improve on your Volvo experience.