How Much Faster? Weight Reduction & Track Alignment - 850 Project S2E02
- You know, this only came in a hundred out of all the 850 wagons in the U.S? - It did, it really did. - This was for the sun shade. - It was, it's for the sun shade and you broke it. - It's not broken. It's two pieces, see? - Okay. - [Cameraman] How do you know that? - Now it's broken. - How did you know that? Did I tell you that? - No, I'm a Volvo enthusiast.
Why do you think I'm on this build? (upbeat retro music) - So we took the car to the proving grounds. We shook it down on the all seasons. Obviously the car was all over the place on the all seasons, but as soon as we threw these wheels and tires on, the Falcon RT660's, it completely transformed the car. - It's a freaking different car! Oh my God.
(Jacob laughing) (car engine revving) - Wow. Felt like it wanted to rotate. Like it flew around the courts. I think I did 40 seconds flat.
- [Hidalgo] That's fast. - There are a couple things that I wanted to do. Replace the radiator, big brakes, some bracing and stripping the interior. And then after that, we'll then have the car ready for Nate to put a setup in, corner balance, adjust ride heights. We're gonna do all the technical stuff after, but for now we'll just have some fun. - All right. - Putting some parts in, taking some parts out.
- Let's do it, baby! (upbeat jazz music) (machine beeping) - Wow, look at that. do88, all aluminum. So obviously the stock radiator has those plastic end tanks which can crack and they're just really high quality stuff from Sweden. Very excited to put this in the 850.
(upbeat electronic music) - Right now we're vacuum filling the cooling system and we're just gonna make sure we don't have any leaks. And then we'll throw the fan back in and all the wiring and we'll be done with the radiator. (upbeat electronic music) Radiator is installed and looking very nice. We're going to drop it on the scales and see how much it weighs. Pardon the noise back there. We did weigh this car in season one, if you remember.
I think it was like 3140. It may have gained some weight since then. You know, she's been sitting a while and not exercising as much, but let's see what it weighs and then- - Reinforced Chassis. - And then, yeah, we'll see what it weighs.
- Nice and easy. - All right, what's your guess? - My guess is gonna be, it is a fat turd so I'm gonna go 3350. - You think it gained 200 pounds? - You haven't worked it out in a long time. - I don't think it gained 200 pounds. Okay, well it was 3140 before, so, I don't know. 3160? - Yeah, it needs a workout.
- It needs a workout? - It needs a workout. You might as well just cut to it. - What is it? - Oh man, Jacob.
- What is it? 33? No, but no, no, no, no, no, no. There's no way it gained 200 pounds! - 3350. - Who put weights in the back of my car? - Are there weights back there? - There's literally weights.
Somebody literally put weights in the back of my car. - This is why it got heavier. You know, this happens from sitting. - All right.
That's fun. That's funny, guys. That's funny.
Trying to do something scientific here. - What do I get for guessing? - I'm sorry you went to lunch. I can't help myself. - 3164. What did I guess? 3160? I dunno. Anyway, we're taking weight out of it now.
- Again, for the second time. - Yeah, for real this time. - All right, let's do it.
- All right. - Man. Don't you wish building your car in real life was just as easy as a video game? Well, at FCP Euro it can be. With thousands of parts and a massive library of DIYs, you can tackle any job on your European car. Now, back to the game.
(upbeat jazz music) - Just ran sheet metal screws through this tailgate. So we're gonna need something to get those out. - All right, I'll work on these. - All right.
- Holy Crap! - Look at this. Is this Volvo genuine? - Yeah. Get mad about it. - Oh! Six disc CD changer! What? - Did you know that was in here? - No! - Oh my God. Oh my God. - Volvos are built well. But not well enough! - Oh my God. Oh my God.
Dude, I can't believe he, I can't believe he's. Guys, I'm really sorry about the destruction of this interior. I'm sorry. You can find these in the junkyard.
It's still sad for me. - What are you apologizing for? - For you destroying everything! - You destroyed this car the second you bought it for this project. Cut the seat belts out. - What do you mean cut 'em out? Yeah, unbolt them. - Okay, unbolt them.
All right. (synthwave music) - You know this only came in a hundred out of all the 850 wagons in the US? - It did! It really did! - This was for the sun shade. - It was, it's for the sun shade. And you broke it! - It's not broken! It's two pieces. See? - Okay.
- How do you know that? - Now it's broken. - How did you know that? Did I tell you that? No. - I'm a Volvo enthusiast. Why do you think I'm on this build? (synthwave music) All right. How do we get these seat out? - You're bending the chassis.
No. No! What are you doing? What are you doing over there now? What are you doing with that? - I don't know, but I'm excited. Sunny, you're taking the back seat- - I am. I think there's something under here. - What is Sunny doing? - I'm working, JR! Shush! Mind your business! - I just want you guys to know on camera.
This is the guy. - Okay, pull. - That helps design our website so you can shop easier here. - Didn't you have any (indistinct) when you're in college with fog lights? - I never took out the back seats. I just used them. - [Multiple Voices] Ooh! (upbeat music) (drill whirring) - [Multiple Voices] Yeah! Woo! - Hold on I gotta undo the seatbelt.
- My poor car. - Yeah! - Oh, thanks Nate. - Thanks Nate! - You're welcome.
- Oh, it is heavy. Holy (beep)! Oh my God! It really is heavy. Oh my God. - Jesus Christ. Dude. - It really is heavy.
- I wouldn't hurt your back. It's not worth it. (electronic music) - What was the original weight? 31? - 3164? - 2939! - Wow! - 2940. Wow. - Under 3000 pounds and a goal of over 200 horsepower. It's a power weight ratio. - Swap in some (indistinct).
- It's a Mk7 GTI. - In season one, we added quite a bit of chassis bracing to the 850, with the C70 convertible subframe and center brace. To finish that off, we installed an old ultra racing rear chassis brace. All found at the local pick and pull. (upbeat music) - What do you think? - I think that the yellow and black combo is an interesting choice for the underside of the car.
(upbeat jazz music) - Next up was the big brake upgrade, and while the 302's would be perfectly fine with some more aggressive pads, we decided the car deserved something a little more special. Stoptech ST-40 4 piston calipers with some fresh Brembo S60R V70R rotors and grippy Ferodo DS2500 pads. - We've got our 302 millimeter rotors here and our 330 millimeter rotors here. - I can see it come together Those massive yellow brakes under this under this just otherwise mundane looking Volvo wagon. That'll be the first telltale sign that something is up with this car. - With the big brakes finally installed it was time to make sure our team dynamic wheels would actually clear those massive yellow calipers.
- My heart's racing right now. Aw. Yeah, we're way good. - Look at that. Look at it! - Oh, would you look at this! - Look at it. Oh, I can't wait to see the car on the ground and the wheels on.
Just step back and look at it. Sometimes you just gotta look at it. You know? - Just look at it. Just look at it.
- Yeah! - I could cry! - For the rear, we swapped out our stock pads for a matching set of Ferodo DS2500s. - You guys also remember we did fresh brakes? So the rotors have maybe 300 miles on them if they're lucky. And that concludes the pad replacement. We're gonna do the same thing on the other side.
- That's how you do it, Mike. - Oh - Ah - Look at that. - Just look at that! - Everything seems fine. So we're gonna put the wheels on, drop the car down, push it out of the way and then we gotta clean everything up.
- Oh man, it looks so good. - Wow. Now it looks like a race car. - Before we go to the track, we are going to put the car back on the scales, and actually corner balance, adjust ride heights, adjust the alignment, get some more camber out of it. And Nate Vincent's gonna help us with that, so yeah. - Let's do it. - That's what comes next.
(synthwave music) - Now that Mike and I had finished our checklist, it was time to put the car back on the scales, and pass it over to Nate Vincent to corner balance and put a proper race setup in the car. First, we set all our tires to 30 psi, before dropping the car on the scales with the slip plates and ensuring everything was level. - Watch the plates move on each other. - Slip plates doing their thing. - Then, Nate and I bounced on the car to force the suspension to fully settle after hanging at full droop. From there, we checked our initial cross weights.
- Any sort of cross weight within you know, around 52, 51%. That's pretty good. Left side, we have a little more left side weight, so that's only gonna get worse when Jacob gets in the car. So we have 50.3 left side so I'm assuming that's probably gonna get to about 51, 52 when Jacob's in the car. And then our total weight right now without driver is 2941.
This is a front wheel drive car. Has a lot of gear, a lot of stuff going on the front. We're about 62.5% front. - It's a well-balanced machine. - It's a well-balanced machine.
So I think the next thing we're gonna do is while I take some measurements on camber, Jacob's gonna go replace himself in the driver's seat with some weight. So we actually see what the cross weight's gonna be with Jacob in the car, hammering around the track. - Are you in there? - Yep. I'm in there.
- Just making sure. - With our static camber measured, Nate then measured the dynamic camber or "camber gain" as the wheel turns. - Holy crap, you lost camber.
So what I'm realizing here, is that the factory suspension geometry has almost no built-in caster, and therefore we have almost no built-in camber gain. And so when you turn the wheel, it's not actually gaining any camber like a lot of sports cars do. It's just basically holding that wheel straight up and down. I think the best thing to do is just give it more camber in general. The downside of that though is gonna be acceleration and braking performance.
So basically you're gonna be giving the car more camber, which is going to be leaning the tires over more. So when you're doing things in a straight line, which is braking and accelerating, you're not gonna have as much of a contact patch to do that. But that means when you turn the car, the contact patch is gonna be fully optimized to help the car turn. - Next up was measuring our baseline ride heights at each corner using the laser setup, determined measuring points, and a bit of math.
- 113. - 113 is our front ride height for the right front. - After our initial measurements, we knew we needed to maximize our static camber as much as possible. For that, I adjusted the camber plates on top as far as they would go, while Nate adjusted the knuckle bolts on the bottom. Maxing out both camber adjustments on the 850 allowed us a whopping 4.3 degrees of negative camber.
Take that, stance guys. - It's got some camber, now question is how effed up is our toe now. - Now the true benefit of adjustable coil overs is that you're able to corner balance the car.
Corner balancing is the process of shifting the carried weight of each tire by adjusting the suspension spring height at each wheel. - Yeah, but now that spring's all loose. - It's not gonna affect the car when it's at a steady ride height. - Right. But what happens if I'm three wheeling?
- Your sway bar will hold it up. - What if I remove my front sway bar? - Then your spring will come loose a little bit. And it won't affect anything.
- After measuring, adjusting, measuring, and adjusting again, we went through each corner of the 850 suspension to optimize its balance. (synthwave music) - The next step is to basically take all the measurements all over again. Check our rod heights. We're getting everything recorded down, so we have this as a baseline. Now this is really key as you go into something 'cause often times we go to the track, you know you do a little off-roading, and you hit a curb too hard, you hit a bump, something like that, things change. So you really want to have a baseline of what you left with just to know if something changes.
- With the corner balance and camber adjustments complete, it was finally time to adjust toe to complete the setup. Needless to say, after our extreme camber adjustments, our toe was a little out of whack. - It's like a freight train. I'm trying to stop this thing. (synthwave music) - Most cars from the factory run close to zero degrees of toe.
Since the 850's front wheel drive, Nate dials one millimeter of toe out on the front wheels. This will not only increase grip on the front tires, but the dynamic effects of toe out will give the car faster steering and better turn in. - So where we're at, we're about 4.2 negative camber in the front. We're about 1.56 negative camber in the rear. So a lot more negative camber in the front, which is visual, if you just look at the car.
We have a tiny bit of toe in in the rear, so one millimeter of toe in in the rear which will add some stability. Front, we have one millimeter of toe out which will again decrease the stability of the car but it won't make it hard to handle. It's just gonna what they call tramline a lot. If there's, you know, undulations in the road and stuff of that nature, it's gonna wanna move in those directions. We're 50% cross weight with Jacob's weight in the car and we've been able to lower the car all the way around but significantly we would lower the car more on the passenger side, on the right side of the car. I think we're at a pretty good place.
This is would be what I would start out as a sort of baseline setup to, you know, see how the car does. - All right, we'll see you guys at the track where we're gonna test all this out! (beeping sounds) (suspenseful music) - Last time I was here, with just throwing the tires on the car, we did basically a 40 second flat lap time. You think it'll be able to go faster this time? - Absolutely. I think we're gonna use the tires much better. You know, we lined the car, we balanced the car, we put some camber into it.
I think we're gonna use all of the tire, not just some of the tire like you did last time. And you know, I think the next step is to get you out there get you warmed up as a driver, get the car warmed up. Let's start measuring some tire temps and let's go send it. Let's get this lap. - All right, let's do it. (synthwave music) - Once again, the 850 felt like a completely different car.
The weight reduction was immediately noticeable with the car feeling much zippier and lighter on its feet. Reducing weight made the car just feel faster everywhere, in every way. - All right. Foot off the brake!
- The car handles so much better. It just, like, more you lean into it and the turn, the better it feels. Must be all that camber. The tire, instead of it rolling over, It feels like it's just leaning onto itself and just gripping up. It's amazing. It feels like a different car again.
Completely different car. We're already down essentially a second off of our last lap. I don't know how much faster I'm gonna go than that. That's pretty fast. (synthwave music) - In the setting up the car we really focused a lot on the front. We balanced out the weight, we really focused a lot on the front, getting the camber and the toe right in the front.
It's the front's biting in really, really well. He loves around the skid pad. You know, you can tell through this transition it's really curving where it needs to go, but the back is still a little bit laggy and slow to follow the front. (synthwave music) I do think there's a little bit more time we can find in the car, but it's gonna be, you know, we're looking for tenths now, not big gaps. You are seeing a little bit of steady state under steer under here.
I noticed you're the missing the apex a couple times. I think we can try some changes to the rear, to help it rotate around, especially in that, you know, kind of mid corner range and we'll go see what we can do. - All right.
- With another two seconds shaved off the 850's lap time, we definitely surpassed our goal for the day. From there, we used the time to test various changes, such as adjusting the rear spring preload, and disconnecting the front sway bar. (synthwave music) As I pushed the 850 harder around the track with its new found grip, it became clear what the biggest issue was. While the 850 was now planted around corners, I certainly was not. Bracing my leg against the door panel just to prevent myself from ending up in the passenger seat.
- All Right. Foot off the brake? What'd you think? - It feels a little bit better. - Does it? - Yeah, it does.
- Yeah, I notice you're hitting the apex coming outta here a little better. - Yeah, no, it feels better everywhere. - Does it? - I didn't get a ton more time. 38.6. - That's solid. I mean, that's a little
over two seconds faster than the last time you were here. It seems to be like the changes between some weight reduction, getting the suspension tuned a little bit better. Obviously working with the tires and the tire pressure and the cambers, all that sort of stuff made a made a big payout. So I think we're on the right track, especially around a small track like this.
You know, two seconds is a pretty significant amount of time. - Yeah. - I'm not gonna lie, I've been watching you all day long here and I've yet to do any laps on the proving grounds in this configuration and I'm kinda looking forward to it if you don't mind. - All right.
(synthwave music) - It's so cool seeing your own car out there, just like hearing it and seeing it. - This car feels way better than it looks. It actually is a pretty decent handling car for a big old station wagon. I can tell you right away, like the biggest thing I think that's gonna get you lap time out here at this point is being more comfortable in the car. As far as a car dynamics point of view, it's pretty good. The car hooks up well, breaks well, getting power down is not too hard.
From a suspension point of view, the car likes a lot of steering angle, and this is a really slow rack, and so I found myself turning a significant like amount more than I normally would to get it, 'cause it really bites in when you give it that steering angle. But I think the biggest thing I'm fighting with myself is the steering wheel's really big. It's hard to kind of hold onto, seats sliding back and forth on the seat everywhere. My feet are all over the floor trying to trying to jam myself in. One thing I did notice is your steering wheel likes to self-adjust.
I found that out going into the skid pad as it moved away from me. So I think really the biggest thing I would focus on is getting a proper racing steering wheel in here. Getting a good seat where it's locking you in place. I think that's going to allow you to focus on the details of driving and get this thing going around this track a lot faster.
- Yeah, it's, I found it's really hard to be smooth with it when you're like flopping around like a wet noodle. - Yep. - So like, I can't really focus on getting I think we're at the point where we're like we're chasing now tenths, like so what did you run for lap time? - 39, I believe. 39. - Okay, all right. - I never really linked one together perfect, but I think you're right there, man.
- Yeah. - like, I don't think that you're leaving much on the table. - All right. - Well, professional IMSA racer. Nate Vincent.
There's his take on the 850 project so far. I think from here on out, we'll focus on safety, getting some seats in the car, getting a steering wheel and also what do you think about putting a little more power to the ground? - I think power would help you out a lot. I think having a nice fat power band, it's an N/A car you know, you feel it drop off when you go into third. Trying to optimize that torque range the best you can is going to be really key. And obviously any more torque or power you can get out of it, that's awesome too. - We got some plans to make this car even faster.
Stay tuned for the next episode of the 850 project.