Headwork home

Ever wanted to modify a 530 cylinder head?
Here we go...



This is a 530 head which came off a 1989 B230F engine, fortunately uncracked and not warped, I will prep this head for my B230FT.

Jobs to do:

  • Disassemble and clean all parts
  • Check the head for cracks and warpage
  • Check the cam journals
  • Swap the N/A outlet valves for sodium filled turbo valves
  • Check the valve guide clearances
  • Align the machine-made inlet channels
  • Extend the combustion chamber area around the outlet valv
  • Increase cooling capabilities; make some modification as seen on Volvo Group-A heads
  • Skim the head
  • Grind in the valves
  • Assemble all parts
  • Check and adjust valve clearance






This head came off a 1989 B230F engine


casting date: 14.06.1989

Stock 530 head:

The sharp edges from the original machine-made inlet channel, that’s what I want to remove.


Since I’m preparing this head for a forced induction engine, it’s not really necessary to go too far with the inlet channel, because the gains of a wider inlet channel can also be achieved with a slightly higher boost or a better camshaft.

Removed the sharp edges

View into the channel




The next step is to make the outlet area wider.

I want to enhance the flow around the valve to make it easier for the exhaust gases to pass into the exhaust channel. In my opinion it is only worth to port the channel if the head will get bigger outlet valves. I’ve made the decision to widen the outlet area as far that I can insert an inlet valve, the valve can be used very well for modeling the chamber form.

Widened outlet area

Inlet valve at the place from a outlet valve




Increase cooling capacities:

After I have lost my 531 head, overloaded with too much boost and too much advanced ignition angle, running with E85 and boost far behind the save limit, I’ve started to search for a solution to save the power and make the head more durable. Finally I’ve found several hints in the web that the Volvo Group-A head has modified cooling channels, and after some research I’ve found the reason for why the original head gasket has some holes where is no counterpart in the head:

Look at the gasket holes at the exhaust side and behind nr.4



Due to corrosion at the coolant passages and slots caused by the firing ring of the head gasket it was necessary to skim the head about 2/10mm – new height 145.9mm, and I have prepped my 530 head with 5 new holes:

Nr.1 has a 3mm hole, Nr.2 has a 4mm hole



Nr.3 has a 5mm hole



Nr.4 has two 5mm holes at the rear end



Reason for the different drill diameters is to hold the flow balance in the head, improved cooling happens due to the increased mass.



Here are all the parts of the valvetrain. The intake and exhaust valves have been cleaned, measured and compared to the specs.

The valve spring lengths have been measured. Since the rev limiter for my new engine is settled to 6800rpm, the 4 longest valve springs will be mount at the intake valves because the intake valves are round about 10gram heavier than the exhaust valves.

valves, springs, locks, seals

new Volvo A-cam, tappets and shims



A few other modified Volvo heads; found in the web:

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