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Help me choose the heads for my engine upgrade

9051 Views 51 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  6t9mach1
I'm converting my 302 2v into a 4v. The engine has a newer, but very basic rebuild. The cam is super mild, almost stockish. I'm putting on this Weiand intake Holley Performance Products Street Warrior™ Intake Manifold 8124 and this Holley carb Holley Performance Products 570 CFM Four Barrel Carburetor - Aluminum 0-83570

Soooo...I have no idea which heads to get for it. I have a 2.5" exhaust and would like to eventually put on headers that will work with the Borgeson system. I need something that is bolt on and go.

No racing planned, just a good cruiser. Recommendations please?
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I've been wanting aluminum to get rid of some of the weight. I'm already impressed with the weight of the intake.

What about AFR 165s?

I honestly don't know what kind of pistons I have. But considering the build was very low end I have to imagine they are stock replacements, except the engine was bored .030.

jdub's heads are an interesting proposition. I can see how that would be a good setup for my needs and much cheaper than aftermarket. Since I'm not familiar with pricing, what is the difference between getting those and just having my original heads done?
I don't want to get rid of my engine or start all over with another engine. I'm not trying to be cheap, but I also don't want to spend money where I don't need to. I have a rebuilt engine with low miles, so I'm happy to keep it. I just want to freshen it up with a 4v conversion and I know my heads are a choke point between the intake and exhaust (well...once I have headers they will be).

Part of my problem is I don't understand the nuances involved with all the different issues associated with the different types of cylinder heads. I get the basics, but the details get me confused...just not my area of experience. That's one reason why I want a completely assembled set that I just have to install.

The TFS 170's (and the others I'm sure) come with different options of chamber size: 58 or 61 and then different lock degree (don't understand that), rocker size, max lift, single or dual spring, etc. Put all that together and I don't know how to make a choice. Overall, they seem like they would be great, especially considering I wouldn't have to worry about piston clearance (since I'm not sure which pistons I have)...I just don't know how to make a good decision. Here's the search results from summit (though the track heat wouldn't be for me):

I could buy jdub's but I could just get my original heads ported for the same. I agree that AFR 185s are too much for my needs. If I had the cash to spend and didn't already have a fresh engine I'd get a crate engine. I'm not familiar with the e7 heads so I'll have to do some research. So far the list is:
-TFS 170
-AFR 165
-Machine the stock heads
-jdub's set
-e7 ??? ???

Keep the conversation going folks. I appreciate the education.
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I greatly appreciate the debate folks. I did a ton of reading all over the internet last night. I keep coming back to the TW170s, but the version with the CNC'd combustion chamber (as compared to their fast as cast version). Honestly, I'm sure I'd be happy with the AFR165's as well, but the TW170s seem to offer just a bit more room for anything I might do in the future...though I don't plan on anything (he says as he looks at the pile of parts in the corner). Based purely on my readings the GT40s aren't an option.

So I get the 58cc or 61cc size? I'm trying to understand the nuances here, so doesn't this affect my compression?
Link to the 58cc:
Link to the 61cc:

Do you see any issues in the specs I should be aware of?

Oh, I finally found a previous thread with my engine info...minus the type of piston unfortunately.
Bore .030, Rods .010, Mains .010
It has a Bullet Cam #310000 with the following specs:
Lift: 461/484
Duration: 262/272
Lobe: 110
@.050 207/217
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This thread has turned into quite the education!

I sure wish there was a way to figure out which pistons I have without removing the heads. I suppose I could call the builder, they might use the same pistons for all their standard builds.

Just for conversation purposes, lets say the pistons are just larger stock replacements. What would the difference in compression be compared to stock vs the 58cc and 61cc...which would be the ideal choice?
Well guys, I certainly appreciate the spirit of this discussion and I'm glad it has been civil. I can't tell you how much I'm learning through this debate.

I got to talk to my engine builder today. While he can't say for certain, he is fairly positive he used Silv-o-lite pistons that were probably flat topped...though he says he may have used dished. He couldn't be sure about the pistons being cut with either style but he wouldn't rule it out.

When I mentioned I was looking at using the TW heads he immediately interrupted me and started talking about valve clearance. He has had several customers add TW heads and have clearance issues. Of course, that might have been avoided had they done some I'm attempting to do. On the other hand, he spoke very favorably of putting the AFR 165s on a SB Ford. He couldn't say enough about them.

Now, as much as I like the TWs on paper, I just think it is smart to go with what the guy who built my engine likes. I'll probably never know the difference between the AFRs or TWs for my application anyways.

That link provided above talking about mid-lift airflow was a good read. Of course everything varies on a given day, but I think it shows how close the two heads really are.

Assuming I used the correct criteria, these are the two AFR 165 options I came to on Summit. Please feel free to double check for me. They appear the same except one will accept AIR injection. I'm guessing I don't want those!

So, now that it looks like AFR 165s are the new final choice can I get any suggestions for rocker arms, nuts and head bolts? Anything else I should consider purchasing.
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With a "stockish" cam you should not have a problem with the Twisted Wedge heads. Its starts getting really close at .520" lift and 224* of duration @.050".
That's what I was thinking as well. Based on my cam specs I shouldn't even be close. I'd like to get the TWs since they are a bit cheaper. I really don't plan on ever doing anything else to the engine once I make these upgrades so I guess I'll never see the full potential of either choice. For whatever reason, would there be a difference to the installation? The TW instruction say I have to drill 4 holes into the water jacket, not sure if the AFR heads require that. It seems like such a toss-up between the two.
That should take you to the instructions. Look on page 2, figure 2 under "prepping the block". It applies to 351 SVO or pre-1972 blocks.
Yeah, hard to draw a solid conclusion about that. I couldn't find any info about it on the AFR website either. Obviously, it doesn't seem to be critical since so many have never done it and have had no problems.
I asked Trick Flow about drilling the holes and this is the answer, "The purpose for drilling the holes is to allow the water to move around the cylinders to keep the cylinders cooler." Which doesn't help much concerning the other thread!

Man, I just can't decide. I'm leaning towards the AFR heads just because I know they will fit without any chance of issues. I'm fairly certain the TW heads would fit as well, but I just don't want to risk it.

For someone who has never done this, any advice for installation?
I appreciate the advice. I have several threads saved for installing the heads and intake, but not a consolidated list. I'll have to dig up my "rebuilding a small block ford" book as well.

Can you suggest good rockers to go with and the ratio as well? Could you go into detail how to use the clay? I'm assuming I need a piston to be at TDC. Is measuring one piston for clearance good enough or do I need to check all?
Thanks so much for the continued advice. Is there a way to determine which length push rods to buy without having the engine apart? Should I just get the adjustable ones so I don't have to worry about it? I'm attempting to not have the engine apart for too long.

The AFR heads show a 3/8" stud size, so I'm assuming I'm limited to those?

Looks like I need to start assembling a parts list. Once I do, I'll post back with what I found to see if I'm missing anything.
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