Volvo Camshaft information by Anthony Hyde, Australia. October 2006, Updated April 2016

Presented are pictures & comments for the most talked about camshafts IPD, ENEM, Volvo VX3 when used in 4 cyl Volvo 8V turbocharged engines.

* Plus a full list of Volvo Cam Shim Sizes and part numbers *


IPD Turbo camshaft
(close in spec to ENEM, Sweden)

CLICK lobe images to enlarge  

VOLVO VX3 camshaft

By comparison super long duration Volvo T5 GpA racing cam revs 4,000 to 7,500 rpm

Quote from a friend with a B230F normally aspirated engine

"What others say is absolutely true - the 'M' is a real lame horse.
The 'A' is nice in low to medium ranges but goes dead very quickly at the top.
The VX3 is so much nicer in mid+ ranges, but a little soft down low."

IPD vs VX3 COMPARISON - Comments by Anthony Hyde

Cams were installed in a B230FT turbo engine featuring a Haltech engine computer for programable fuel and ignition curves, ignition is CDI (capacitor discharge ignition).

The IPD Turbo cam (close to ENEM grind) really surprised me - it has a superb top end. From around 5,000 rpm it REVS OUT very rapidly to over 6,000 rpm - so quick on occassion I wasn't ready to change gear !
Being quicker thru the gears is a combination of turbo boost and landing higher in the rev range between gears.
Another example of quicker rev-out was an uphill section of racetrack where I now change up a gear many metres before I normally would with the VX3. This cam will show your turbo engines potential !
A question is : 'it has great performance on the top end , but considering its steep lobes does it idle ?' - it idles very well indeed, no issue there. Low end - again I was surprised, the engine is very happy to run along on light load at 1,500 rpm, also 2,000 as well.

The ipd Turbo cam will raise engine output as it produces power from down low, then all the way to 6,000+ rpm and will get you there quicker than the rest, it revs out fast and doesn't die at 5,000 rpm but continues to pull further, fast.
Has 11.95 mm intake & exhaust lift. Link to
dyno chart with this cam in a B230FT.

The VX3 cam is my favourite 'Volvo' manufactured cam. It also works well in a turbo engine and having used and tuned it for 3 years in a B230FT, I know it well. This cam is featured in an old Volvo competition catalogue (the 'BLUE book' being mated to the 531 head and B230FB engine), but is not a 'competition' cam. Most agree its soft down low, but has a very sweet and flexible mid range. It pulls about 500 rpm further than other 'Volvo" cams to around 5,600 rpm and will continue to rev to 6,300 rpm, but the last 700 rpm step is slow (can depend on valve spring condition).
In a non-turbo engine, its not as exciting, better known for smooth performance and being a quantum leap over a standard 'M' cam. The 'H' (12 mm lift) really revs in a normally aspirated engine (not suitable for a turbo), but check ipd or ENEM offerings.

VX3 Spec - 11.37mm intake lift, 10.5mm exhaust lift, Intake opens at 7.7deg BTDC. Exhaust Opens 50.1 deg BTDC. The VX3 cam has assymetric lobes (= lobe shape are different on the opening side compared to the closing side), and also has some overlap and opens the valves between 1.5 and 2 mm wider the "K".

Overhead Cam Adjusting Shims - Volvo Engine B21, B23, B230 - available from Volvo dealers o places like FCP Groton
Volvo No. e.g. #

463546 = 0.130"/3.30 mm

463559 = 0.156"/3.95 mm

463547 = 0.132"/3.35 mm

463560 = 0.158"/4.00 mm

463548 = 0.134"/3.40 mm

463561 = 0.159"/4.05 mm

463549 = 0.136"/3.45 mm

463562 = 0.161"/4.10 mm

463550 = 0.138"/3.50 mm

463563 = 0.163"/4.15 mm

463551 = 0.140"/3.55 mm

463564 = 0.165"/4.20 mm

463552 = 0.142"/3.60 mm

463565 = 0.167"/4.25 mm

463553 = 0.144"/3.65 mm

463566 = 0.169"/4.30 mm

463554 = 0.146"/3.70 mm

463567 = 0.171"/4.35 mm

463555 = 0.148"/3.75 mm

463568 = 0.173"/4.40 mm

463556 = 0.150"/3.80 mm

463569 = 0.175"/4.45 mm

463557 = 0.152"/3.85 mm

463570 = 0.177"/4.50 mm

463558 = 0.154"/3.90 mm

Cams - lobes are coated with manganese phosphate and will quickly wear off in loaded areas such as the lobe nose to give a shiny surface. The phosphate will be collected by the oil and trapped in the oil filter element or screen. If you see black lines or spots on the bearing journals, these can be a result of the manufacturer not fully covering up the journals before applying the coating. Remove these raised spots with scotchbrite or very fine emery paper.

Running in - Instructions usualy advise: Do not idle the engine during the first 20 minutes of operation: run at 2500 rpm or above. If adjustments need to be made during the first 20 minutes 'break in' period, turn the engine off - DO NOT IDLE. Hint - place an object at near rear of exhaust pipe to baffle the exh sound so you don't annoy the neighbours.

Feedback: ENEM V15
Tulsi writes: I have the na (normally aspirated, non turbo) version of the ENEM V15 camshaft in an otherwise stock B230F. I have done several trips interstate to Sydney (Australia) with this cam and even in an auto it transforms it into a totally different motor. In spots where the car previously dropped out of overdrive it now just carries on. I actually accelerate on hills where I previously ran out of puff, it pulls strongly in mid to high revs and I should have swapped out the M cam long ago. I am very happy with it.
But there is a downside - unlike the M cam, the V15 cam does I found require careful valve shim adjustment (plus fine adjustment after a few months) and does not seem to hold its spec for ever. I do not yet have clicking tappets on idle but on off-idle revs I hear more valvetrain noise. Normal for this cam I understand.
The Camshaft ID is at the rear of camshaft (at rear of engine). With valve cover off its possible to position an inspection mirror at the rear and see the markings, but if the ign distributor is mounted into the rear of the cam, you will need to remove the distributor to see.

ENEM V16 revs to 6,500 rpm

Volvo T5 GpA cam revs to 7,500

VX3 Cam - crowd favourite

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