Friday, February 23, 2024

Elevate’s Volvo C30 T5 3″ Performance Sport Exhaust System – Installation & Product Review

23HP and 24ftlbs of Torque Via the Elevate Performance Complete Exhaust for Volvo C30s

Special Shout Out to Greg (@steg.tva), for always supporting ImportSauce and our Volvo projects. Shoot him, and his 2015.5 Volvo V60 a follow.

If you’re reading this, then you probably own a P1 Volvo (S40/C30/V50/C70). If you’re new to Volvos then we’ll just tell you now, that there aren’t many performance parts manufacturers supporting us and our builds. This is especially true when it comes to exhaust systems. While sure, you can go down to the local muffler shop and have them hack something together for you, but if you want something designed specifically for your Volvo, and something designed for HP, then you are limited to just a few options.

Today we will be taking a look at one of the premier performance parts manufacturers for Volvos, Elevate Performance. One of the top performance parts providers for Volvo, if not the biggest, and offering awesome options for just about every new Volvo platform. I can say that more than half my build parts are from Elevate, and they have held up for the close to a decade they’ve been installed on my S40.

While I do have the Elevate Downpipe and some exhaust components, I installed these years ago, far before was ever a thought, so today we are working with Britton Posey, and his 2012 Volvo C30 T5, to take a close look at the Elevate Complete Exhaust System for T5 engines, specifically the C30.

Britton Posey’s 2012 Volvo C30 T5

Note one: When I say complete system, I am talking about 2 sperate sku’s offered by elevate. The Performance Sport Exhaust System, which is essentially everything from the Downpipe back, and the Performance Downpipe with Catalytic Converter which is the turbo manifold to the exhaust.

Per Elevate’s website, the exhaust system will gain you +13 HP and +12 lb-ft (16Nm) of torque at the wheels. The downpipe +10 Horsepower and +12lb-ft (16Nm) of Torque. Combined you are looking at 23HP and 24ftlbs of Torque. That’s no chump change.

Ordering The Elevate Volvo C30 Exhaust System Parts

I’ve already done a video and article on what to expect when ordering from Elevate here, but lets hear what Britton had to say about his experience with the online ordering experience, the shipping wait time and such:

Over the past few years I’ve ordered quite a few things on I’ve always had a 5 star experience from start to finish. Don has always been lightning fast with his responses and with Elevates shipping. I’ve never waited more than 3 weeks for a purchase. Most of the time it only takes 5 days to receive the part. He’s answered every question and helped me out a few times with technical issues. He’s shown a genuine interest in my C30 and the build. I highly recommend purchasing parts from Elevate. They are all high quality and Elevate cares about their products. I would always recommend simply emailing Don beforehand to make sure the part is in stock and let him know when you need it by.

Unboxing the Elevate Performance Exhaust – First Impressions

As mentioned above by Britton, a cool 6 days for this bad boy to arrive. Here are a few pictures of what he got. This includes the package, man is that a big box. We also note the packaging inside the box, look how tight and neat those parts are secured. Lastly, lets see all that shiny exhaust all spread out ready to go, wowzers, looks a lot bigger in person.

Here is what Britton had to say about where we’re at now:

I’m very impressed with the craftsmanship here. Although this exhaust system is clearly larger, it weighs 8 pounds less than the stock set up. I can’t wait to have this bad boy installed! More power … less weight. Always a winning combo.

Removing Factory Exhaust – Installing Elevate’s Exhaust

Elevate does provide an awesome video overview found here for the exhaust, which we would recommend you watch once or twice, just to get familiar with the process. There is no video for the downpipe, but we will cover that here too. Our instructions below will be more of a written reference, as well as any tips and tricks we discovered along the way.

As mentioned in the Elevate video, this would be very easy to do on a lift, but not impossible on jack stands. Britton will be working with a local shop Bremen Autowerks (@bremenautowerks), but we will also walk you through the do it yourself at home method. I guess that’s enough talk, lets get into it.

First, standard procedure here for starting any project. Jack up car, place jack stands… you know it. If I was doing this install again, I would probably jack side to side, rather than front to back. This would let you slide in from one side and have access from front to back. The exhaust system on these cars runs almost directly mid-car front to back, following the driveshaft… oh wait, Britton’s FWD (subtle jab). Well that just means he has more room to work with on this install. Anyways, if you jacked up the rear, you would lose clearance as you got closer to the front of vehicle, and vice versa if you jacked up front. Here we can see Britton’s C30 lifted into the air, exposing the entire undercarriage, and the brand new Elevate system ready to go.

Pro Tip: Honestly, check out Michael Hallock’s C30 AWD conversion article here.

As mentioned in the Elevate video, the Volvo exhaust must be cut out, since it is a one piece, and unless you want to remove the rear sub-frame, you’re cutting. Britton got lucky, the previous owner had already replaced some piping, which meant there was a cut and simply a joint to undo to complete this step. For those doing it yourself, you will want to cut right in front of the rear sub-frame, if you followed the pipe from the front of the car, see image below.

Next the shop slides up to the connection where the exhaust system meets the factory downpipe. There are 2 nuts holding this junction. They are 14mm in the new Elevate hardware, but we forgot to document the factory, so just take a handful of sockets under with you. They may need a good thrust to break them free. Some penetrating oil may help if they are particularly stuck.

Next, the crew moves back to the rear where the pipe would be cut for you, but just a connection for them. There they find two rubber hangers holding the now free pipe up. Prying those off releases the pipe section completely. Pro-Tip: Some spray lube (WD-40/PB Blaster…) will help grease those up for an easy slide off.

Next, the crew at Bremen Autowerks pulls the muffler off by removing the rubber hangers holding it into place.

This is where the Elevate video picks back up to install the exhaust, but Britton also purchased the Elevate Downpipe, so the crew at the shop isn’t done yet. I remember getting my Elevate AWD downpipe for the S40 years back, and thinking how the heck am I going to get this thing on? The shear size is massive. Here is a pic of Britton’s.

After years of working around my S40, including rebuilding the head, pulling the entire engine…. I know exactly how to tackle this. You will want to start by pulling the factory heatshield out of the way. It is possible to access your bolts, but probably a lot easier with more space, as this area of the engine bay is already pretty confined. Essentially there are only 5 nuts/bolts to remove, 3 where the downpipe meets the turbo manifold, and 2 where it meets the exhaust (and those two are already off per the steps above). Starting in the engine compartment, reach way back behind the engine head on the passenger side. There you will see the junction, and start pulling those 3 nuts off. These are 13mm in the new Elevate hardware kit, but again, take a few sockets with you as we don’t recall the factory size. That will leave the downpipe suspended by 2 things: the exhaust studs where you just removed the nuts, and down below the 3 rubber exhaust hangers.

Next remove the 2 O2 sensors with a 22mm or 7/8 wrench or simply a crescent wrench/pliers. The first just past the downpipe bend below the mating to the turbo manifold, and the other on the side of the cat.

IPDUSA sells a Wilmer socket for this exact job. Find it on their website here, and image courtesy of their website.

The three rubber hangers come off, freeing the factory downpipe. Pull that sucker out and never look back.

Lastly, the factory exhaust studs need to come off. Well they don’t, but Elevate supplies a brand new set of this hardware, and the last thing you need is these things snapped or cross threading, new hardware is never a bad idea, especially when it comes with the part. These are a bit hard, but some vise grips work, and since you are putting new ones on, you don’t have to worry about smashing the threads on the ones your taking out.

It’s go time. Essentially Britton’s C30 is getting the install in reverse order.

The shop starts by placing the new exhaust studs on the turbo manifold, as tight as the will go without tools. They then fish the new downpipe up into position and secures it with the rubber hangers. Then connection of the 2 O2 sensors back to the new downpipe.

Next, they place the new downpipe gasket between the turbo manifold, joins the downpipe by sliding the holes over the newly installed studs and places the new nuts. They torque those down to standard exhaust torque spec (as tight as you go before it feels like you’re gonna do damage).

Now the shop can circle back to the Elevate video and start the “cat-back exhaust” installation. They start with placing the new Elevate muffler on the rubber hangers, making sure it is equal length (centered), and also checking to make sure no part of it is touching anything in the area.

Next they slide in the muffler to downpipe connector pipe. They slide the muffler end up over the subframe, connecting it to the muffler, and hang it on the rubber hangers. They do not secure the clamp yet, they may need some wiggle room while placing the rest of the exhaust.

Next the elbow pipe goes up. There are no hangers in this section, so they suspend the pipe with the included gasket, and hardware, but again not tightening it just yet. They do this on both sides.

Starting from the muffler, they tighten all the hardware to exhaust torque spec. All the new hardware is either 13 or 14mm. This includes the resonator to muffler connection, the resonator to elbow pipe connection and the elbow pipe to downpipe connection.

Last thing to do is to install the exhaust tips to the muffler. They slide the tips on and then adjust the tips to point evenly through the factory rear bumper slots. From here, they tighten down the clamps.

Here is what Sri Gadde, one of the installers (also a C30 owner) had to say:

The installation was over all straight forward. Attaching the downpipe to the turbo was a bit tight.

Gadde already owns the elevate downpipe and now feels that getting the exhaust is a smart decision. And finally, here is what Britton had to say when it was all said and done:

The Elevate exhaust system looks and sounds amazing. It has just enough growl to turn heads without being annoying and the power gains are undeniable

That’s all. Here we have a short video compilation including the factory start up and exhaust sound, and follows up with the same with the new Elevate exhaust and downpipe.

Quick Links to Products in this Article:

Elevate’s Volvo C30 T5 3″ Performance Sport Exhaust System
Elevate’s Volvo C30 T5 3″ Performance Downpipe with Catalytic Converter

Joel Kenneth Smith
Joel Kenneth Smith
Living in Southern California since 84', Joel has been around the import scene for decades. Aside from a few of his own builds, he now keeps a close eye on the beat for new and upcoming rides. Further, he is a major contributor to the "How To" section of the website and doesn't mind hunting down choice parts at any local yard.

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