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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    167

    Default What I've done to my XC70 for off-road prep

    My goal with the XC70 was to build a mild overlanding vehicle for desert or mountain forest off road trips and winter ski trips. I'm done with the major work I've wanted to do. I thought I'd post a comprehensive list of what I've done so it's all collected in one place if anyone wants to read the whole story. Most of the individual projects are documented on the forum separately. So, here goes:

    1. 4 in lift. 2 inches from springs. Front XC90 springs on XC70 struts (I noticed as I compared parts at the junkyard that the XC70 struts have about 2 in more travel, so I stuck with them. XC90 struts are beefier however with a larger diameter shaft.). Rear Bad Swede springs. 2 more inches of lift from self-fabricated parts. Up front there are 2 in strut top spacers made using salvage strut bearings and 2 in of pipe. In the rear, I made brackets to lengthen the shock by 2 inches at the bottom. They're removable, so they can be transferred to the next set of rear coilovers. I didn't want to weld to the shock because they're from FCP Euro and exchangeable for free.

    2. Cut and lengthened the rear trailing arms by 3/4 of an inch by welding in new metal. This is so the rear hubs could relocate rearward thereby allowing fitment of the larger tires. This is much easier to explain with a drawing, but let me try. If you look at the suspension design, the rear trailing arms are really short, which means as the suspension articulates up and down, the hub is pulled forward quite a lot as the trailing arm moves in its arc. Short arm = large front and rear movement of the hub as the hub moves up and down. When you lift the XC70, you push the hub downward relative to its normal location. That causes the new "resting" location of the hub to be forward of the original location and so the hub is no longer centered in the wheel arch. If you couple the off-center hub with larger tires, the tires will rub the forward part of the wheel well. With trailing arms that are 3/4 in longer, I can just barely fit the 30 in tires. About 1/4 in of clearance at rest from the forward part of the wheel well, but I do get the occasional rub when the suspension moves while driving.

    3. Removed front and rear sway bars. Yes, I run without any sway bars. Actually, I just removed the links up front. In the rear, I removed the entire bar because I thought the bar ends might hit the control arm as it articulated causing unwanted clunks from the rear.

    4. Aluminum subframe spacers front and rear to drop the subframes down and correct some of the driveline angles. Front, 1.5 in. Rear, 1.125 in. Still, the hubs are pushed down 2.5 in (front) and almost 3 in (rear) relative to stock. No doubt, the half shaft CV joints are going to blow up at the worst possible time.

    5. Couple of small things needed modification due to the front subframe drop. 1. The brackets from the top engine mount to the strut tower crossbar were too short with the engine dropped down 1.5 in, so I picked up another set of brackets at the salvage yard and made one longer pair from the two. 2. Under the rear of the front subframe is a plate that bolts to the bottom of the body across the driveshaft tunnel. I guess it's a small skid plate to protect the brake lines that are clipped to it. Normally, the plate mounts flush to the body, but the lowered subframe clashed with the plate, so I had to weld some stand-offs to that plate and use longer bolts. 3. The boot for the steering shaft was severely deformed because the steering shaft was way out of its normal position. The bearing popped out of its location in the boot, and the rubber boot rubbed on the shaft causing a loud metal-on-rubber creak when turning the wheel. I made a large relief cut with a razor blade about 180 degrees around the top of the rubber boot. Yes, there's now an opening in the firewall, and I get a cold breeze on my feet in cold weather, but the squeaking is greatly reduced. Not eliminated, but gone most of the time. I haven't put much thought into how to close it up, yet.

    6. XC90 front axles

    7. 5 15x6.5 Volvo wheels from the salvage yard from a 1998 S70 and a 2000 V70 with 30x9.5x15 all terrain tires for non-winter use. Cleaned up the wheels and sprayed them with black Plasti-Dip. The tires I got, Kumho Road Venture AT51, are actually 3-peak snow rated, but I'd rather use chains in severe winter weather. The 30x9.5's don't leave enough clearance for chains, so I kept my 16 in wheels with smaller tires (215/70/16's, 28 in diameter) for winter use.

    8. 1.25 in wheel spacers from Cross Country Performance. Necessary for clearance for the 9.5 in tires

    9. Swing away spare tire carrier. The hinge and latch mechanisms were purchased as separate components from 4xinnovations.com, and the rest was fabricated by myself.

    10. On board air system. Air compressor and 2.5 gal tank mounted in the spare tire well.

    11. Light bar. It's removable. I only mount it for trips when I expect I may be traveling off road at night.

    12. IPD aluminum front skid plate.

    13. Aftermarket transmission cooler with a thermostat, external spin-on filter, and fluid temperature gauge.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach
    Posts
    4,059

    Default

    Very nicely done! Your fabrication has been fascinating to watch. Wouldn’t mind seeing the light bar in detail. I know exactly what you mean about the rear wheel location. It is far forward in the well, especially when the suspension sits higher.
    Current Fleet:
    2016 Tundra Crewmax 4WD 1794
    2005 MB S600 (114K, Michelin AS3+, LiquiMoly 0W40)
    2005 MB SL600 (50K, Michelin AS4, Mobil 1 0W40)
    2004 V70R (six speed M66, Mobil 1 5W30)
    2002 V70-XC (275K, HPL Euro 0W30)
    2002 V70-T5 (216K, IPD bars, Bilsteins)
    2001 V70-T5 (120K, IPD downpipe, cat back and other mods)
    1932 Packard Sedan (straight 8, dual sidemounts, original paint and interior, Shell Rotella 15W40)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    167

    Default

    I guess I never posted a full thread on the light bar. Here are some more pics. It's completely made of scrap metal. The main body tube was scavenged from a mobile TV stand that I no longer needed. Since I started welding, I now have a metal pile as well as a wood pile. LOL

    The lights are inexpensive Nilight brand LED lights. The center light bar is a spot/flood combination. I don't think there is an all spot version. I wanted this light to really throw some light downrange and illuminate the road in the distance, but the performance is disappointing to me. I get a lot more downrange light from the car's regular high beams. I'm considering swapping it for a pair of KC Daylighters, but I'm going to have to think about it. I specifically liked the LED light bar because of its low profile, which I need because the light bar has to fit underneath the nose of my ski box. 6" daylighters are tall. Maybe I can mount them on either side right next to the side lights. Those side lights are flood version LED's, and they work great. I have them angled toward the sides of the road to illuminate the left and right flanks.

    I made some tabs as mounting points. It's not a "traceless" mounting method. Those tabs are permanently bolted to the roof rack mounts, and I had to carve out holes in the plastic trim pieces. It's ugly but functional. With a little more thought, one could fabricate a cleaner mount design.


    Frontal shot


    Side shot


    Other side, closer up detail. You can just see the wire exiting the tube. I run the wire down the roof rail to the rear and through the hatch to a plug mounted in the cargo area trim.


    This pic shows the pigtails from each light going into the tube. All the lights are connected together inside the tube, then the single power and ground wires are run to the rear.


    The socket in the roof of the cargo area.


    The power switch is in the climate control panel. The lights are powered by a relay. I added a fuse box in the spare tire well from which I ran circuits for the light bar, air compressor, and additional lighting for the rear cargo area (the LED strip you can see in the pic above).
    Last edited by Brett San Diego; 05-07-2022 at 01:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach
    Posts
    4,059

    Default

    That's very well thought out. I like the relay power - was wondering how you managed that, but it makes perfect sense - and I like the routing through the tailgate, was wondering how you managed that as well.

    I really appreciate all you've done. thanks for taking the time to explain and share the pictures - I am not yet a welder, but I hope to be one day.

    Cheers,
    Astro
    Current Fleet:
    2016 Tundra Crewmax 4WD 1794
    2005 MB S600 (114K, Michelin AS3+, LiquiMoly 0W40)
    2005 MB SL600 (50K, Michelin AS4, Mobil 1 0W40)
    2004 V70R (six speed M66, Mobil 1 5W30)
    2002 V70-XC (275K, HPL Euro 0W30)
    2002 V70-T5 (216K, IPD bars, Bilsteins)
    2001 V70-T5 (120K, IPD downpipe, cat back and other mods)
    1932 Packard Sedan (straight 8, dual sidemounts, original paint and interior, Shell Rotella 15W40)

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