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1994 945 Turbo Ultimate DD Build


i am the liquor
300+ Club
May 3, 2010
I've been meaning to start a project thread since I got the car in October 2021, so here it goes. My goal is to have a nice, comfortable, driver quality Volvo that handles well and has a moderate amount of power.

About 6 years ago, I owned a 92 945 turbo and I almost immediately regretted letting it go. I'm at a much better place in life now for a project car so I started the search for another clean, complete turbo wagon.

After about 6 months of searching, a TB member in NorCal replied to my wanted ad about his 945 turbo that was the exact same color combo as my last one, so I jumped on it and bought it sight unseen (in person, at least). There are very few rust free 7/9s in the midwest and, as an auto body tech, the last thing I want to do in my free time is fix rust.

It took about a month to get a shipper arranged and available to pick it up and ended up being about $700 more than the broker quoted. It was $1800 for 1600 miles on an open trailer.

The car arrived dirty but unharmed. The driver didn't understand why I was paying that much to ship some old Volvo halfway across the country :lol:



More posts on the way...
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After getting it cleaned up, the condition was pretty much as expected other than the abundance of rock chips. I think the car has spent its entire life on gravel mountain roads.


Luckily I'm pretty good with a touch up pen so I ordered a few ounces of 914 enamel touch up paint. If you plan on doing good touch up, I highly recommend one of these pens, it has a .5mm tip, which is twice as small as the smallest touch up brushes.



Before/After touch up



You may have noticed the surface rust on the bottom of the rocker. The steel there is solid, but all of the original chip guard coating was stripped by constantly being hit by gravel for 25 years. That needs redone ASAP!
After driving around for a few days I noticed it wouldn't get up to temp. No wonder :rofl:


More exterior refreshing--

This car was in desperate need of buffing and polishing. I used Meguiar's M04 compound and M205 polish. I could have started with a more aggressive compound, but I wasn't sure how the old clear coat was going to buff. It turns out that it's hard as glass, but then again I'm used to polishing freshly painted cars.

I used a 7" rotary buffer and a 3" rotary mini buffer. I know that the dual action ones are more popular now, but rotary ones work great if you have some experience. I'm happy to advise on the buffing process, reply or PM me if you have questions about doing this to your car!





After buffing and polishing, I used klasse all-in-one followed by klasse high gloss sealant glaze. This is some old school german tech that works so well. The water will bead off your car for months!


I like Forever Black dye for the mirrors and bumpers on these cars.


Oh yeah, I got the windows tinted with Solar Gard HP charcoal. And threw on a dutch plate I got from Mr. Borrie BITD :cool:
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Just a few more things to clean up the exterior appearance-

Had a burned out tag light so I ordered a couple 4000k leds from superbrightleds. Ordered on a thursday, here by saturday!


My good friend and coworker is one of the painters at my work, so I helped him prep my rockers for new chip guard coating.

The surface rust right below the fenders was treated with SEM rust-mort, thoroughly rinsed, and etch primed. The rest was degreased, taped off, and scuffed with red scotchbrite pads

We did a few light coats of 3M Rocker Panel Coating, followed by an aerosol trim black and a couple coats of satin clear. It may not be the exact OEM look, but it's exponentially better than it was!




Added some V90 tail lights. I used a black seam sealer between the lenses because I don't care for the grey plastic that they had originally. It kind of oozed behind the lenses but I don't think anyone would notice unless I point it out. :-P


At this time, I also ordered some OEM mudguards from Volvo. The dealer said they were being shipped from sweden so it would be several weeks, but I got the front and rear pairs for less than $75!
Starting on the inside now!

Fixed the broken side seat cover. Glued a washer where the missing plastic would be using some norton 2 part adhesive.




The front leather seats were so damn dry I thought they'd start to fall apart any day so I gave them the leatherique treatment. The seats soaked up the 16oz kit in no time, I think I'll reapply in the summer as they are still not as supple as I know they can be. The last picture shows how much it absorbed within minutes of application




Did the OG brickboard aux input using the EQ plug. I had to find a cassette tape and remove all the tape, even my dad had gotten rid of all his old tapes :lol: Using a switched 3.5mm jack allows the radio to still play audio if you unplug the aux cord, because the stereo is basically sending all the audio through the 3.5mm jack. So using a cassette with no tape the stereo thinks its sending audio out to the EQ and receives your aux audio in.


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I still had my amp and subwoofer setup from my last 940, so I decided to install that in the new one. MTX 500 watt and and two kicker 8's. I'd like to do custom enclosures on the sides at some point but that's a low priority. I have a slanted truck box behind the rear seat with some gray carpet laid over it. Blends in nicely and takes 30 seconds to remove if I need more space.

I don't want an aftermarket head unit so I tapped into the the L and R outputs from the amp for my RCA cables.

Ran 6 gauge welding cable from the battery using a waterproof maxi fuse holder (60A) for a more factory look. I can't stand car audio fuse holders and brightly colored cables.

Mounted the amp to the left cargo cover and secured the cables so I can still open the lid without straining the cables.

Amp volume control was mounted in a switch blank to the left of the steering wheel

The subs made the broken liftgate trim unbearable so I used a tab repair kit, covered the backside with closed cell foam and used adhesive felt on the lower tabs. I also stuck a couple squares of sound deadener to the skin of the liftgate while the trim panel was off. It sounds much more solid when closing now and no more rattles!





Everything looks great. I am personally not a fan of forever black as it fades it pretty easily. Sem trim black is my go to for bumpers & exterior mouldings.
Everything looks great. I am personally not a fan of forever black as it fades it pretty easily. Sem trim black is my go to for bumpers & exterior mouldings.

Yeah it does fade but it's easily reapplied. I applied the klasse sealant over it so it should last a long time, especially since this car is garaged

SEM trim black is good stuff too, we use a lot of sem aerosols at work
It doesn't really flow, it just uses capillary action to draw the liquid through, sort of like a fountain pen.

First I prep the chip using a fiberglass prep pen. Then I dab lightly while filling in the chip.

Here's the one I have https://www.amazon.com/Gold-Label-Detailing-Applicator-Construction/dp/B07N95TXM8

I thin the paint with a little alcohol and fill it with a pipette. The paint is from touch up express but there's a dozen comparable sites
Satisfying work. I do enjoy a good detailing session. Unfortunately I recently sanded a bit to hard and went through to the primer, right on an edge :roll:
The SEM stuff is amazing. I use their vinyl coating quite a lot.

You now need the 940II / V90 side moulds to match the tail lights. ;)
Satisfying work. I do enjoy a good detailing session. Unfortunately I recently sanded a bit to hard and went through to the primer, right on an edge :roll:

Yeah, you've got to be careful around edges, the paint is thinner and it's easy to sand or buff right through. We have foam backed 3000 grit paper for sanding clear coat edges and contours
All of the suspension felt solid with the exception of the dampers and strut mounts. The car still had the original shocks and struts with over 200k :lol: Obligatory NXS MBC was added shortly after buying and set somewhere about 10psi :-P


I noticed some small high spots in the hood where the strut damper rod had made contact. :omg: Definitely wanted to get that replaced before a strut went through the hood.



After lots of reading about the subpar quality of the original design top mounts, I decided to go with the BNE Select adjustable top mounts to eliminate the rubber failure point and to gain a bit of extra caster and negative camber.

FCP Euro had Lesjofors sport springs on clearance for $150 so it was a no brainer vs IPD. Plus the Lesjofors only lower the car 30mm, which I prefer. I couldn't find a published spring rate but they do not feel much stiffer than the OEM springs, maybe 25%?

I know a lot of people hate on Billy TCs but I've used them on several other Volvos and I like them. I think they're a good value for a OEM style ride. Gas pressurized and made in Germany

KYB Gas-A-Just for the rears, haven't used these on a Volvo but they're great on my Tacoma

New strut bearings and bellows, but surprisingly the original bellows weren't torn

Here's the strut assembly with all the new components. I used some star washers on the studs to keep them from falling out when putting the strut up in the tower.

Be sure to test fit the top mount to make sure you have the studs in the correct slots! I had to take the first one back out to reposition the stud.


Here's the ride height with only the front lesjofors installed. I meant to take before/after measurements at the fender but forgot


camber, yo


Took it out for some pics on Thanksgiving Day. This is how it sits with front and rear Lesjofors sport springs installed

I'm very glad I went with the adjustable strut mounts. The steering feels much more pointy and the car tracks very well. I didn't have it aligned, but I put the mounts in the same position on either side and did a quick toe measurement and it feels great.

For the rear I was afraid I'd need an adjustable panhard rod, but the offset from lowering 30mm seems negligible. Maybe 5mm to the right
With the suspension sorted the next priority was to get a wideband installed so I could safely turn up the boost. I went with the SLC Free 2 from 14point7. I don't care for 52mm gauges in a 7/9 so I thought this would be a good solution. A half hour of soldering and it's ready to go!

I decided to paint the case black and mount the display in the cubby below the radio.




This is closer to the turbo than recommended but the factory O2 sensor has survived right behind the turbo for 28 years so I'm not that concerned.


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Some other miscellaneous stuff I did back in November-

I put new elastic cord in the seat back pockets. I just cut a small slit at either end on the inside and used a piece of wire to snake the cord through. Pulled it tight and tied a big knot at both ends.

Right side done


Also fixed my dome light. The plastic was broken that holds the bulb holder in place for the front spot lights. When you tried to turn the switch it would push the whole assembly up into the light assembly. I just drilled some small holes and used some safety wire to keep the holders from moving up when switched on.


Also took the restrictions out of the airbox