1997 850 GLT turbo and ecu swap
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    1. #1
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      1997 850 GLT turbo and ecu swap

      Hello. I have been a member for a little while, but this is my first time posting. I have owned a few different P80 chassis cars over the years, and have enjoyed working on all of them. Some of the repairs would have been impossible for me to accomplish if it weren't for forums like this. So thank you to anyone who has taken the time to post threads and/or reply to threads.
      My current car is a 1997 Volvo 850 GLT sedan. I have spent the last year doing stage 0 improvements like rotor/cap, spark plugs, pcv, fuel filter, etc. My modifications to date consist of IPD turbo back sport exhaust, IPD RIP kit, IPD heavy duty turbo bypass kit, Pierburg TCV. I like the around town pep this LPT car has with the 13G turbo. However after owning a 850 T5 in previous years, I can't help but want that top end power again. So I've been researching the idea of swapping in a 15G turbo and T5 ecu. I have read threads where people have done it successfully, and are enjoying the best of both worlds between LPT and HPT.
      I have the 15G turbo, and the T5 ecu from my '96 T5 parts car. I am in the process of rebuilding the turbo, and preparing for the swap. I do have some concerns I would like to address before actually doing the swap. Maybe some of you out there can help me.
      From what I understand My 1997 850 GLT is kind of an odd 850 car as it has a 4.4 ecu and also the SAS. My donor T5 car is a '96 car which I believe is a 4.3 ecu and has no SAS. Will my '97 GLT play nice with the 4.3 ecu? I have read about the issues with putting a ecu from a S70 into an 850 and vice versa concerning the climate control differences. My 4.3 ecu and 4.4 ecu are both from an 850 so I believe I'm okay concerning A/C function. Let me know if anyone believes otherwise. As far as the SAS function, I don't have a clue what is going to happen. Maybe nothing? I also have been wondering about fuel injectors. My T5 donor has the wide body orange injectors, and my my '97 GLT has red narrow body injectors. I think they flow nearly the same, but I am a little concerned about any differences in function as far as impedance, fuel pressure, or harness differences between the cars. I would like keep the red injectors if possible.
      Thank you in advance for any input and suggestions.

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    3. #2
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      The 4.3 ECU will make your car go, and the AC will work. HOWEVER, you will burn out the AC compressor, as it will run continuously. So, if you don't need AC (Or use the full defrost, which also cycles the AC compressor), then yeah, the M4.3 ECU will "work". (Caveat, I never tried an M4.3 ECU in our car, mainly because it's kind of a "downgrade")

      The '97 GLT is the oddball of the M4.4 ECU group, mainly due to the AC controls, but it's also different, hardware-wise,than the rest of the M4.4's. Went through a bunch of this nonsense with the wife's '97 GLT when we did a few upgrades (There is a thread in this forum.)

      The 98MY M4.4 ECUs will work in the car, but the AC will not work at all.

      I got into flashing the 98MY M4.4 ECUs for her car. (There's an immense thread on VolvoSpeed about it) There was a "mod" for the base code to allow the M4.4 ECU to work in an M4.3 car and have the AC work. That mod however doesn't work on the '97 GLT. It did , however, work just fine in my '97 T5 (originally an M4.3).

      No one had any input on a solution.

      It took me pulling the chip out of a '97 GLT ECU (-936), sending it to a guy in Sweden. He downloaded the bin file and was able to build the editor file. Then a guy in Norway or Finland compared the bins to determine that the AC routines were indeed different for the '97 GLT.

      In the end, I wound up with a "base" '98 T5 tune file with '97 GLT AC routines that I flashed to a 98MY M4.4 ECU for her car. ('01 LPT RN motor, 16T, perf exhaust, blue injectors)



      I imagine one of the tuners (VAST or Calvin S) could supply you with a working solution, but again, no one said anything when I was trying to find some sort of info for our project.


      On the SAS, it was dead on her car when we got it, so I did the diode mod to trick the ECU into thinking it was still there and just removed it, originally. After we upgraded the ECU, I can just disable the diagnostics for it in the tuning program.
      I can't really say what would happen in regards to the SAS if you installed the M4.3 ECU.


      I know that's a lot of info, but honestly I could ramble on for a bit more about the different iterations of tunes, ECUs, mods, I tried, but I fear it would just confuse things worse.
      Last edited by Chuck W; 02-28-2020 at 10:41 PM.
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

    4. #3
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      Thanks for the insight. I am familiar with your '97 GLT project thread. It's one of the threads that inspired me to try a LPT to HPT swap.

      When you say "Then a guy in Norway or Finland compared the bins to determine that the AC routines were indeed different for the '97 GLT.". Do you mean '97 GLT routines different from 4.3 T5 routines or 4.4 T5 (s70) routines?

      I'm a little disheartened to hear that the first "mod" you tried didn't work in the '97 GLT, but worked in your '97 T5. This suggests that the 850 T5 A/C function is truly different from the '97 850 GLT A/C function. (wiring and such in the chassis and engine).

      I wonder if there would be any harm in just trying my T5 4.3 ecu to verify what would happen. Of course if the A/C function ends up being incorrect. then I'll be stuck removing the 15G turbo and putting the 13G back on just to get things back to stock.

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by svt850 View Post

      When you say "Then a guy in Norway or Finland compared the bins to determine that the AC routines were indeed different for the '97 GLT.". Do you mean '97 GLT routines different from 4.3 T5 routines or 4.4 T5 (s70) routines?
      4.4 routines. He compared it to the "standard" VS -607 ('98 T5 bin) and found they were indeed different. No one was really screwing with the M4.3 stuff in this instance, other than the software "AC mod" they came up with for the flashed M4.4 ECUs to work in the M4.3 cars.

      Quote Originally Posted by svt850 View Post
      I'm a little disheartened to hear that the first "mod" you tried didn't work in the '97 GLT, but worked in your '97 T5. This suggests that the 850 T5 A/C function is truly different from the '97 850 GLT A/C function. (wiring and such in the chassis and engine).
      I can't say that is the case, but none of the '97 850 wiring diagrams show any difference between the M4.3 and M4.4 in that respect. It could also be internal to the ECU. When I opened them up (M4.3 vs M4.4 vs 97 GLT M4.4), there were differences, but I couldn't tell you what they were for. All the pin-outs were the same. (If you look into the way those pinouts are used however, between the two systems,they are different)


      Quote Originally Posted by svt850 View Post
      I wonder if there would be any harm in just trying my T5 4.3 ecu to verify what would happen. Of course if the A/C function ends up being incorrect. then I'll be stuck removing the 15G turbo and putting the 13G back on just to get things back to stock.
      It's highly possible that will work, but I didn't want to step back to the M4.3 in her car. I converted my '97 T5 to M4.4, and have been happy with the upgrade. The engine starts quicker and is smoother.



      After we ran into the ECU issues, I swapped her -936 (97 GLT) ECU and injectors back in (It was summer time and she needed the AC), but we left the 16T and the Japanifold in there. Car ran fine and only really got unhappy when you were REALLY laying into it, which she didn't do much.

      In your case (trying the M4.3 T5 ECU in your car) will probably run fine, but the timing maps might be a little aggressive for the higher static compression.
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

    7. #5
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      Okay. I'm going to move forward with the swap. I should have the 15G put back together today, and have the 13G removed from the car by the end of this weekend. If the climate control system malfunctions at start up, I'm just going to pull the 4.3 T5 ecu out of it, put the '97 4.4 ecu back in, and leave the 15G on it until I figure out what to do.

      Originally I was going to get an ARD green tune for this car from Eurosport tuning. I talked to a gentleman there about my concerns with the '97 GLT uniqueness, and he tried to contact ARD tuning about it. He had no response back from them. It's a shame, because I believe the Green Tune was an off the shelf tune that was appropriate for LPT to HPT conversions.

      Thank you for your help. I will post again to let anyone reading the thread know what happens. I also need to figure out how to post pictures. I enjoy seeing other people's P80 cars online, since I don't see many of them locally anymore. I probably should return the favor.

    8. #6
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      You're probably not going to hear anything back from ARD. VAST may be able to help you, though.
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

    9. #7
      Senior Member ScottishBrick's Avatar
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      1997 850 GLT turbo and ecu swap

      ARD is out of business and facing a class action lawsuit.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      2003 V70 T5 - Mystic/Graphite - M56LK - 205k - K24/Greens/Do88/Quaife/SMF/P2R Clutch/DW300C/H&R/Bilstein TC/316mm & 308mm Brakes - SteveO Tuned
      1999 V70 T5 - Pewter/R Graphite & Alcantara - AW42 - 299k - Daily/Work Wagon
      1999 V70 T5 - Nautic/R Graphite & Alcantara - M56H - 177k - Rescued
      1999 V70 T5 - Emerald/Graphite - M56H - 119k - Garage Queen
      2000 V70 T5 - Mystic/Graphite - AW42 - 243k - Moms Unicorn
      2000 S70 GLT SE- Mystic/Graphite - AW42 - 218k - Sisters

    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by ScottishBrick View Post
      ARD is out of business and facing a class action lawsuit.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      Tell me more about ARD out of business. I bought one of their tunes a few years ago.

    11. #9
      Senior Member ScottishBrick's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jaydiesel View Post
      Tell me more about ARD out of business. I bought one of their tunes a few years ago.
      Take the ARD ecu out and put it in the trash.

      Websites down, ppl have paid for parts and ecus and never had them shipped, phones disconnected. The lawsuit was floating around in mention in certain volvospeed discussions, I don’t know any more about it personally.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      2003 V70 T5 - Mystic/Graphite - M56LK - 205k - K24/Greens/Do88/Quaife/SMF/P2R Clutch/DW300C/H&R/Bilstein TC/316mm & 308mm Brakes - SteveO Tuned
      1999 V70 T5 - Pewter/R Graphite & Alcantara - AW42 - 299k - Daily/Work Wagon
      1999 V70 T5 - Nautic/R Graphite & Alcantara - M56H - 177k - Rescued
      1999 V70 T5 - Emerald/Graphite - M56H - 119k - Garage Queen
      2000 V70 T5 - Mystic/Graphite - AW42 - 243k - Moms Unicorn
      2000 S70 GLT SE- Mystic/Graphite - AW42 - 218k - Sisters

    12. #10
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      Here's the update on the '97 GLT turbo and ECU swap.

      I have completed the 15G turbo rebuild, replaced the coolant hoses that connect to the turbo, and installed the 15G.

      I test drove the car with the GLT ecu still in it. It feels much stronger in the mid range, but as expected, I believe it's running out of fuel as the RPMs climb over 4,000.

      I was going to go ahead and test the T5 4.3 ecu from my parts car in it, and then I started worrying about whether my current red injectors are high impedance and whether or not the old T5 orange injectors might be low impedance. So I didn't do it. Maybe someone else can chime in on whether it matters or not.

      As suggested above, I have decided to look into Vast tuning for a proper tune for this swap. They have said they can put together a proper tune for it and I can stay with a 4.4 ecu, which will probably be more beneficial in the long run.

      As per their advice, I have also ordered a set of white injectors to go along with their tune.

      A question for everybody: Does anyone actually use the metal gaskets that come with the rebuild kits? (between turbo and exhaust manifold).

    13. #11
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      The injectors are of the same impedance.

      I'd be curious to see what VAST says about the '97 GLT/AC oddities. (He was one of the primary developers on the VolvoSpeed flashable M4.4 tuning project, IIRC, and didn't even mention that he had a tune for the '97 GLT to solve the problems we were having.)
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

    14. #12
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      Thanks for the information on the injector impedance.

      I emailed Vast with a detailed list of my GLT oddities and modifications (13G to 15G turbo). He got back to me fairly promptly, and stated that he has worked on quite a few GLTs and will be able to make a good tune for it. He also assured me that he is quite familiar with the A/C function differences between 4.3 and 4.4 ECUs and won't have an issue making the A/C function correctly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they are selling tuned 4.4 ECUs for converting 850 T5s away from the 4.3 ECU. Maybe they didn't have the
      A/C routines figured out when you were doing your GLT.

    15. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by svt850 View Post
      Thanks for the information on the injector impedance.

      I emailed Vast with a detailed list of my GLT oddities and modifications (13G to 15G turbo). He got back to me fairly promptly, and stated that he has worked on quite a few GLTs and will be able to make a good tune for it. He also assured me that he is quite familiar with the A/C function differences between 4.3 and 4.4 ECUs and won't have an issue making the A/C function correctly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they are selling tuned 4.4 ECUs for converting 850 T5s away from the 4.3 ECU. Maybe they didn't have the
      A/C routines figured out when you were doing your GLT.
      The AC routines were figured out for using an M4.4 in an M4.3 car.

      Trust me, I researched and everyone said "The 97GLT has an M4.4 ECU. Just swap in a 98MY M4.4 HPT ECU, it should work." So I moved forward with my swap/plans. When things didn't work, I read, searched, asked and found not one bit of evidence that the stock 98MY M4.4 ECUs or the flashable VolvoSpeed stuff ever resulted in working AC in a '97GLT. I either found people who tried the swap, and couldn't get the AC to work, or never cared if the AC worked in the first place.

      I contacted VAST today and discussed future plans for the car and the concerns with tunes not working in the '97GLT. He has the modified tune files I have now to see what the differences are.
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

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      So, did you get something from VAST? How did it work?
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

    17. #15
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      So here's the update. I decided to go with Vast tuning. Aaron seems to be very knowledgeable about 4.4 ECU modifications and how the p80 cars react to them, so I placed the order. In the mean time, I followed his advice and installed a DW200 fuel pump, and a set of cleaned, flow matched white injectors. Since then, I received the ECU from Vast and installed it. I downloaded Tuner Pro RT and did the initial data logging on my lap top as requested and sent the results back to him. This revealed a potential boost/vacuum leak that had to be remedied. Sure enough Aaron was right, I had a leak at the turbo compressor inlet. After that was fixed, he had me data log some power pulls. It feels very strong up to a point, after that point I am experiencing spark blow out. I am seeing boost as high as 15 psi, and my A/C routines are functioning as they should be. Aaron recommended NGK BK7RE plugs and upgrading any old ignition components. I have the new plugs installed, but I am still waiting on the arrival of a MSD coil and new plug wires.

      It's been really hard to resist taking the car out and doing more pulls, but I'm committed to doing this properly and repeated spark blow outs can't be good for the engine. So the car is going to sit in the garage for now.

      In the mean time, I have been helping my son with his car project. His school was shut down a few of weeks ago, and we've been using the extra time to get his project moving along. He saved a 1998 S70 T5M from a PO that was done paying mechanics to replace parts that should have been tossed years ago. It's been great working on it with him. I think he's hooked on Volvo now.

      As far as the '97 850 GLT goes, I will hopefully receive the coil and plug wires this week. Once their installed, I will report back as to whether I have conquered the spark blow out issue.

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      Good to hear. Like I mentioned previously, Aaron was one of the leaders in the M4.4 decoding and tuning process, so he knows what's what.

      When I contacted him, we discussed the AC routines for the '97 GLT and he was able to incorporate what I had working in our car into his tuning, so I'm glad everything worked out.
      '97 854 T5 & '97 855 GLT(RN LPT swap/16T/302's/ETC) (wife's)
      '78 264 (Future Whiteblock/T5 swap)

    19. #17
      Junior Member svt850's Avatar
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      The spark blow out has been conquered! The NGK spark plugs and MSD coil did the job. The boost comes on fast, and now no sputtering part way through.
      The car is now officially faster than I want to drive. My imaginary dyno says probably 250-260 hp. It really doesn't seem to want to stop pulling, but I tend to back out of it fairly early. I've seen too many scary youtube videos.
      I would definitely recommend Vast tuning. Aaron did a great job with the ECU, and fine tuning it.
      Last edited by svt850; 04-09-2020 at 08:25 PM.

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