This has been a good week in Volvo work.
I ordered a "new" intercooler on eBay. Specifically, I ordered a used intercooler off of an Isuzu NPR medium duty truck. This intercooler has the advantage of being very close to the width and height, while having a much thicker core, and being all aluminum. I won the auction on June 21st with an expected delivery date of June 29th. I received it July 19th. Moreover, I received it July 19th covered in what I believe to be diesel oil. Needless to say, this resulted in very negative eBay feedback.
The intercooler cleaned up fairly well, after which I was able to straighten the bent fins and install it without too much hassle. This resulted in a fairly nice boost in performance. My boost gauge - which was previously registering about 7psi at WOT - now registers about 8psi. The turbo seems to build pressure much more aggressively, resulting in improved low end torque. And finally, the engine definitely sounds a little more guttural when under boost. Definitely not a bad $50 investment.
Today, I received the IPD chassis brace I ordered. It was on back order and was expected to ship mid August, but it would seem that I got lucky, because it arrived today (July 21st). It's a fairly simple piece of hardware; basically a bent steel bar welded to some pieces of sheet steel that bolts onto the bottom of the frame. It took about 15 minutes to install at lunch, and I took it for a quick test drive.
I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a giant improvement in handling. I expected it to stiffen things up a bit before I installed new swaybars. Now I'm debating whether or not I even need new swaybars. The whole front end generally feels more controlled, but the real difference is in the corners. Before, I'd experience a fair amount of body roll when cornering at speed. The brace drastically improved that; I'd guesstimate a 75% reduction in roll. Had I known the difference would be that dramatic, I would have bought the brace earlier.
Now if I could only solve that oil leak....