Volvo XC70 Adventure Wagon: an Overland Primer

My love for the Volvo XC70 has been well documented here, but you’d probably have to head over to Gas 2 or Cleantechnica to know about my love for the planet Earth. I like to straddle that line between gear heads and tree huggers, in other words, and I like to think I do it well. I have to admit, though: I don’t do it as well as Young Satchel.

Young Satchel (probably not his real name) seems to understand that the best way to appreciate nature is to go out into it, and he has built up his Volvo XC70 “Adventure Wagon” to do just that- and, from its aggressive, BF Goodrich off-road tires to its Yakima Load Warrior basket and ARB Touring awning, this Volvo XC70 looks every inch the part. Less battle-wagon, then, and definitely more overland Adventure Wagon.

The build has the right name, at least.

You can read more about Young Satchel’s sweet, off-roady XC70 in his own words, taken from the r/Volvo subreddit, below, and let us know what you think of this overland build in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


    Been lurking here for a minute, but i’m a First-time poster so please excuse any faux pas or breaks with existing protocol. At the request of a couple members of the sub in another topic, I’m posting this gallery and a brief description of The Adventure Wagon™, my 2004 Volvo XC70 Overland/off-road build. This thing has been a bit of a journey into the absurd in every sense, but I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.

    It’s worth noting that this build is pretty well-chronicled elsewhere. I’m happy to drop a link to whoever desires, but as I understand “self-promotion” is somewhat frowned on, so for now just give a shout if you want build thread(s), Instagram, Vimeo shit, etc…point is, I’m happy to be joining this community on its own merits and that’s that.

    So, to the wagon. As she sits, currently relevant mods and accessories include:

    • Bad Swede 52mm Lift Kit
    • P2 XC90 Front Axle Swap
    • Sparco Terra 16×7″ Wheels
    • BFG KO2s (225/70R16)
    • H&R Trax 15mm Wheel Spacers
    • IPD Aluminum Skid Plate
    • IPD Aluminum DEM Protector
    • IPD Solid Aluminum Strut Bar Inserts
    • AEM Dryflow Intake
    • Eurosport Heat Shield
    • Yakima Load Bars
    • Yakima Load Warrior Basket
    • Volvo All Weather Floor Mats
    • Weathertech Cargo Area Liner
    • Volvo Steel & Nylon Cargo Net
    • BROG MOLLE Interior Organizers
    • ARB Touring Awning
    • Fourtreks Modular Awning Mounts
    • Krazy Beaver MurderSpork Shovel
    • Yakima Shovel Brackets

    An honest assessment of the “Overland” vehicle in its current, modified state:

    I have severely compromised the XC’s on-road comfort and handling in pursuit of better off-road capability. While this is a compromise I was aware of going into the project, I can’t say that I was completely aware of what the outcome would actually FEEL like. It drives like a truck now. Boat-like, top heavy, clumsy, and slow. The BFGs are in large part to blame for this. They are extraordinarily heavy and all that rotational mass dulls power, numbs handling, and makes simple Tasks like acceleration and turning more difficult. 😂

    Before installing them I replaced the steering rack at 140K since it was leaking badly. I don’t believe this was a result of the lift or Cooper ATs I was running previously as it is common on these cars unfortunately.

    Since lifting it around 8k miles ago I have destroyed the inner passenger side CV joint (an inevitability I’m told ) and decided to replace both driver and passenger side front axles with axles from a P2 XC90 2.5T. I had heard tell of this swap from a handful of folks online, but had no details on how it worked or weather it was plug-n-play. So I had my friend who owns a Swedish specialty Indy shop down in VA test this idea out on one of his customers and it worked! He harvested some axles for me and sent them up. I didn’t have time to do it myself prior to my first major trip of the season, so I passed them to my mechanic saying “they are all set up and ready to go; my buddy says you should have no issues”. Hahahahaha. Famous last words. They ran into problems with the ABS contact ring and had trouble with figment. After a few tries they had a machine shop custom make this washer which slid over the axle and allowed it to fit correctly with no ABS fault.

    Now when I romp on it it accelerates cleanly with no shudder at all or noises. Wooooohoooo! I’ve been running them for nearly 2 months and have no issues (knock on wood)

    As you can see from the Imgur album, this thing gets around. While many of our adventures are local day trips, we really don’t shy away from much. I’ve got two young boys (2+4) and I’m a photographer and avid outdoorsman, so no matter the weather we’ll be out there doing something with the trusty Volvo as our conveyance. As the boys get a bit older, we are beginning to venture further afield, with our first “big” trip of the season taking us down to Bald Eagle State Forest this past May.

    In spite of some of its flaws, the XC has proved to be a surprisingly capable vehicle that really take a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. It rarely fails to rise to the occasion, and displays its unique, Swedish style and panache while doing so.


Sources | More Images: Swedespeed, Reddit.

I've been in and around the car industry for over twenty years. Sometimes racing, sometimes selling, sometimes fixing- sometimes, even just washing!- but Cars and Trucks and Things That Go are what I'm all about.