960 series nivomat conversion
Thought I'd post up my thoughts on the nivomat conversion for the 960 series sedans.
I have a '94 960 sedan with fairly low miles , well 198000 miles anyways LOL,. Like most the 960's, my rear shocks were spent and leaking, while nice for keep rust at bay on the control arms, didn't exactly prevent things from bottoming out. It got to the point I had to do something and after seeing how much they wanted for nivomat shocks ...... I looked for an answer. I found a conversion at IPD. New set of heavier rate rear springs and a set of Sachs shocks with the proper lower mount.
A bit of history on the nivomats for those that don't know. Nivomats aren't unique to volvo, lots of cars use them. The thing is, nivomats are car specific, you can't use the nivomats from a dodge mini van on your Volvo. They are set to keep the car at a certain ride height no matter how much junk ya got in the trunk .... literally. They also cost about $350 each !.... so .... spend $700 or spend $400 for the conversion ... Math rules !
As a whole, the process is pretty simple, remove the old and busted and replace with the new hotness.
A few tips, first, it isn't that hard to do really, just time consuming and quite frankly, certain parts are DANGEROUS.
The key thing is to get the back of the car up as high as you can safely. I would say you need about 18 inches of air under the control arm to remove the old nivomat from the control arm. Now the directions tell you to unbolt the control arm, if you place a block of wood in the wheel well and place a bottle jack on the upper control arm, you can get the room you need to remove the spring itself. You need an internal spring compressor, that can be had at most any auto parts store for about $50
I found both my rear springs broken, I had a harder time getting the old springs out than I did getting the new ones in. Pay close attention to how you have the spring compressor on the springs, it needs to be square on the spring or the spring will cock off to the side and it won't go in the buckets correctly. You can't fight it and those springs when compressed WILL crush you in the event of compressor failure, NEVER STAND DIRECTLY OVER THE SPRING WHILE COMPRESSED.
It will take you most the day for this but in the end it is well worth it, my 960 now rides as good as it ever did and when it's time for new shocks, it's only $100 for new shocks rather than $700
As for skill level to do this ..... if you can read and own your own tools needed for the job, you shouldn't have any issues. The biggest thing is attention to detail and not rushing through spring removal and installation, take your time and you will keep all your fingers.
if you are wanting to do this and want some tech help, shoot me a pm and we can talk