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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for suggestions on upgrades please.
(and apologies - i know this question will have been asked several times in similar fashion)

I have a fairly stock 289, which is still getting hot on the passenger side. I've got the citric acid flush left to try, but pretty sure i've narrowed it down to being related just to that head (whether the passages are all blocked up or something). Judging by the oil condition when i got the car, i dont think the PO was that into changing fluids. :/

Oil pressure is also quite low when hot - at idle, the needle is barely lifted off the stop. It's about 1/4 way up the gauge when cruising, and 3/4 of the gauge when cold and first started.

So, im thinking some worn bearing shells probably cause of this. No knocking, but thinking still due a rebuild. Also, get a reasonable amount of breathing out the rocker cover filter.

So, thoughts while i'm at it, is that maybe just replacing the heads is the way to go.

Current specs are:
Stock 289, with Edelbrock Performer intake, and Edelbrock AVS2 500 CFM carb. "High rev" hydraulic lifters, uprated springs (inner & outer), new Cloyes timing set, and changed the cam (which was meant to be a Performer, but got something different - but is about 1-2 levels above stock). Standard exhaust headers, with 2" dual exhaust. Stock C4 trans, and stock rear axle/diff.

Not after anything too fancy - just street use for a bit of fun, and a bit more noise/choppier idle.

After suggestions, please, for suggested mods? I.e. new heads (or should i just strip and completely refurb my stock heads?), plus cam (i'm not against changing this again), and others?
I'm allowing for crank grind, new bearing shells, cylinder bore hone (probably), and set of rings (hopefully dont need new pistons), new oil pump. Would i need new push rods?
And ideally, i guess i should change stock headers (and hopefully could just change the headers and adapt my current dual exhaust to mate up to the new ones).

Probably budgeting around 2500. I know heads would eat quite a lot of this, hence the question about refurbing current heads. But if i'm wasting my time doing anything else until the heads are changed, then maybe budget needs to increase a bit..

Any thoughts/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.
 

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Spammer Hammer
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Most people here will suggest not wasting money on the OEM heads and replace with some flavor of aluminum heads.

If they are the early small chamber heads I would suggest some good exhaust port matching and cleanup, screw in studs, and a decent set of roller rockers. Additionally, I would increase the valve sizes.
 

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Looking for suggestions on upgrades please.
(and apologies - i know this question will have been asked several times in similar fashion)

I have a fairly stock 289, which is still getting hot on the passenger side. I've got the citric acid flush left to try, but pretty sure i've narrowed it down to being related just to that head (whether the passages are all blocked up or something). Judging by the oil condition when i got the car, i dont think the PO was that into changing fluids. :/

Oil pressure is also quite low when hot - at idle, the needle is barely lifted off the stop. It's about 1/4 way up the gauge when cruising, and 3/4 of the gauge when cold and first started.

So, im thinking some worn bearing shells probably cause of this. No knocking, but thinking still due a rebuild. Also, get a reasonable amount of breathing out the rocker cover filter.

So, thoughts while i'm at it, is that maybe just replacing the heads is the way to go.

Current specs are:
Stock 289, with Edelbrock Performer intake, and Edelbrock AVS2 500 CFM carb. "High rev" hydraulic lifters, uprated springs (inner & outer), new Cloyes timing set, and changed the cam (which was meant to be a Performer, but got something different - but is about 1-2 levels above stock). Standard exhaust headers, with 2" dual exhaust. Stock C4 trans, and stock rear axle/diff.

Not after anything too fancy - just street use for a bit of fun, and a bit more noise/choppier idle.

After suggestions, please, for suggested mods? I.e. new heads (or should i just strip and completely refurb my stock heads?), plus cam (i'm not against changing this again), and others?
I'm allowing for crank grind, new bearing shells, cylinder bore hone (probably), and set of rings (hopefully dont need new pistons), new oil pump. Would i need new push rods?
And ideally, i guess i should change stock headers (and hopefully could just change the headers and adapt my current dual exhaust to mate up to the new ones).

Probably budgeting around 2500. I know heads would eat quite a lot of this, hence the question about refurbing current heads. But if i'm wasting my time doing anything else until the heads are changed, then maybe budget needs to increase a bit..

Any thoughts/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.
Sorry bud, but that old 289 is plain worn out!
It needs a complete rebuild. $2,500 is barley going to get U started!
On the stock heads, there are small coolent passages that run around each spark plug. I found this on a set of 1970, 351W iron heads. They were all clogged shut with sediment and rust. I worked at clearing those passages out and over a perion of a week or 2, I got them all opened up. Hot tanking would never have worked on this. I bent a series of nail sizes into a "U", and drove them with a hammer to clear those spark plug cooling passages. Once I got the passages opened up to about 1/8th inch in diameter, I finished the cleaning with a very small flexable round elongated wire brush, mounted on an electric drill.
If you look into the coolent passages of the heads with a lite, you may find some thin-walled casting flash that you can break out with a hammer and a screwdriver. This flash acts as a flow barrier. You don't have to get every little bit, just the majority of it and you don't have to be neat about it. That will increase your flow.
Overall, there is so much you could do, $2,500 will just get U started. But, from what U said about the breather belching fumes, the rings are shot and the oil pump has seen better days, And don't be surprised to find a particially blocked oil pick-up screen.
 

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You'll probably find a rebore is necessary if you have 100K on it. So new pistons but you may not need a crank grind. New oil pump, cam bearings; I'd change the water pump also. If you change the heads you may need new pushrods, just check after engine is assembled
 

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Mike, tell us what year your engine is. I wouldn't change the heads. If you're keeping the Performer intake and the factory irons and the 2 inch duals, fancy new aluminum heads will gain you absolutely NOTHING. Before you do anything to the engine, get a new oil pressure sending unit ( they stiffen with age, and give incorrect readings ), or better yet, get a mechanical guage and see how much pressure you actually have ! Your oil pressure might be just fine and your crusty old sender is unable to tell you ! Don't even THINK of having the crank ground untill you have had it washed and measured ! I have recently retired from the engine building shop, and can tell you from experience that at least 9 out of 10 SBF cranks only need a polish. And oil pumps don't wear out, they just don't. If you plan on keeping the 2 inch dual exhaust, don't bother changing the exhaust manifolds, its already choked off. You should look around the waterpump passages and see if the jackets are partially plugged where the pump feeds water to that side. It would be nice to know what cam you have now, before recommending others. How about testing the oil pressure with a trusted mechanical guage, and then a leakdown & compression test ? THEN we can help you figure it out. I'll be the contrary one here and recommend you keep the iron heads. They'll support 450 hp if they're done right. But you have to make other changes to use that breathing capacity, how crazy did you want to be ? LSG
 

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Mike, tell us what year your engine is. I wouldn't change the heads. If you're keeping the Performer intake and the factory irons and the 2 inch duals, fancy new aluminum heads will gain you absolutely NOTHING. Before you do anything to the engine, get a new oil pressure sending unit ( they stiffen with age, and give incorrect readings ), or better yet, get a mechanical guage and see how much pressure you actually have ! Your oil pressure might be just fine and your crusty old sender is unable to tell you ! Don't even THINK of having the crank ground untill you have had it washed and measured ! I have recently retired from the engine building shop, and can tell you from experience that at least 9 out of 10 SBF cranks only need a polish. And oil pumps don't wear out, they just don't. If you plan on keeping the 2 inch dual exhaust, don't bother changing the exhaust manifolds, its already choked off. You should look around the waterpump passages and see if the jackets are partially plugged where the pump feeds water to that side. It would be nice to know what cam you have now, before recommending others. How about testing the oil pressure with a trusted mechanical guage, and then a leakdown & compression test ? THEN we can help you figure it out. I'll be the contrary one here and recommend you keep the iron heads. They'll support 450 hp if they're done right. But you have to make other changes to use that breathing capacity, how crazy did you want to be ? LSG
LSG, For once, someone with some common sense! Everything you say makes sense. I see so much talk, typically from the younger crowd and those that think that a thousand horse power for a street driven vehicle, just isn't enough! And then there are those that think a set of aluminum heads is positively the absolute answer to everyones problems!
Application and general use intended for the vehicle, doesen't ever hardly seem to be considered by most.
A nicely prepped set of iron heads is all that most any street machine will ever need! And if the engine isn't modified, just a clean set of stock iron heads will suffice, much of the time. And I might add, I just can't understand why these people insist on blowing astronomical amounts of hard earned cash on expensive race parts that typically just don't work, in a street application!
Again, lack of common sense, but mann some are impressed, if only for bragging rights, on having their bottomless bank accounts available on demand!
Now, I just can't wait to see the stupid replies we'll be getting! 😎
 

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There are two items that are set in stone in the vintage class of road racing these old clunkers. Iron heads that are either year correct or some use the more modern iron heads. The other is using the old school dual plane intakes. It is amazing what you can do to those two parts that will allow 450-500hp out of the package.

While you can easily swap out the iron heads for new aluminum, it is fun to see just how much you can get those old heads and intakes to flow.


Mark
 

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I have a fairly stock 289, which is still getting hot on the passenger side. I've got the citric acid flush left to try, but pretty sure i've narrowed it down to being related just to that head (whether the passages are all blocked up or something). Judging by the oil condition when i got the car, i dont think the PO was that into changing fluids. :/
Proper cleaning as described earlier is likely all they need to fix that.

Oil pressure is also quite low when hot - at idle, the needle is barely lifted off the stop. It's about 1/4 way up the gauge when cruising, and 3/4 of the gauge when cold and first started.
These gauges are notoriously inaccurate. I'd like to see a real number. Factory spec is minimum 25 psi @ 2000 rpm hot. So, a hot idle would be pretty darn low.

So, im thinking some worn bearing shells probably cause of this. No knocking, but thinking still due a rebuild. Also, get a reasonable amount of breathing out the rocker cover filter.
New bearings would likely cure the problem. Blow-by out the breather is a ring thing.

So, thoughts while i'm at it, is that maybe just replacing the heads is the way to go.
Hmmm… Replacing the heads would not cure low oil pressure or blow-by.

Current specs are:
Stock 289, with Edelbrock Performer intake, and Edelbrock AVS2 500 CFM carb. "High rev" hydraulic lifters, uprated springs (inner & outer), new Cloyes timing set, and changed the cam (which was meant to be a Performer, but got something different - but is about 1-2 levels above stock). Standard exhaust headers, with 2" dual exhaust. Stock C4 trans, and stock rear axle/diff.
The Edelbrock Performer is no better than the stock iron manifold. That carb is fine for a mild cam. High rev lifters are no harm, but no help, since you don't have a high rev setup. I don't know what "levels" means. To me, two levels above stock is the Cobra LeMans cam, which you assuredly do NOT have. Give us some numbers. 2" exhaust is fine if you are not going out on the track. Heck, the 67 GT500 428 dual-quad engine came with 2" exhaust. The C4 is going to need some help with shifting, perhaps the K code shift servo. If you still have the 2.78 rear, it's killing your performance.

Not after anything too fancy - just street use for a bit of fun, and a bit more noise/choppier idle.
Take some advice from an old guy who can still hear. Loud exhaust doesn't make the car faster. It just pisses off the wife, girlfriend, and neighbors. And a choppy idle means the engine was not planned carefully.

Ford's Product Acceptability Standard, or P.A.S, mandated that all Fords, no matter their intent, "must start when the engine is hot, start in cold weather, idle, run in traffic in Fourth gear, and run smoothly at 20, 60 or 80 mph, as well as acceptable noise levels. In other words, cars sold to the public must run just like a Lincoln Continental. In addition, the P.A.S. demanded that the engine compartment, passenger compartment, and overall noise levels must not exceed a certain maximum."

This included the 427 cid 2-4V overhead cam engine. You planning more power than that?

After suggestions, please, for suggested mods?
I just did a port-matching job on a pair of K code heads, and new repro manifolds to go with them. Since it's a K code engine, he needs no advice. You don't have a K code. So, I'll give you this:

While I have the C3OZ-6250-C mechanical cam in my own car, mechanical cams are not for everyone. The C9OZ-6250-C hydraulic cam provides very similar performance.

For this upgrade, you will need:

C9OZ-6250-C camshaft

Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold

Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor

14" open air cleaner

Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications

Dual valve springs (recommended)

Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)

Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)

289HP exhaust manifolds or headers

This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.

Nothing else is required. No whiz-bang million volt coil, 10mm wires, etcetera.


 

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There are two items that are set in stone in the vintage class of road racing these old clunkers. Iron heads that are either year correct or some use the more modern iron heads. The other is using the old school dual plane intakes. It is amazing what you can do to those two parts that will allow 450-500hp out of the package.
While you can easily swap out the iron heads for new aluminum, it is fun to see just how much you can get those old heads and intakes to flow.
Mark
Quite true, a couple hours' work with a die grinder and a a round-nose and acorn burr does wonders. I did the two heads and manifolds in about 2.5 hours, and they'll be able to feel the difference. And if you do it yourself, think of the bragging rights. Sounds so much better at cruise night than "I wrote a really big check".

Those old school guys were pretty smart. I knew one of them. That old Cobra Intake is within a few percent of the best manifolds available today. And they designed it with intuition and slide rules.
 

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I’ll be that guy. Throw a couple big valved high flowing shiny slabs of aluminum on the motor during the rebuild and call it a day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Most people here will suggest not wasting money on the OEM heads and replace with some flavor of aluminum heads.

If they are the early small chamber heads I would suggest some good exhaust port matching and cleanup, screw in studs, and a decent set of roller rockers. Additionally, I would increase the valve sizes.
Thanks. Port matching and a good clean seems to be a common theme. Does increasing valve sizes not require quite a lot of machining work? Probably pushing toward different heads in that case?

On the stock heads, there are small coolent passages that run around each spark plug. I found this on a set of 1970, 351W iron heads. They were all clogged shut with sediment and rust. I worked at clearing those passages out and over a perion of a week or 2, I got them all opened up.
Will have a good prod and clean.

Mike, tell us what year your engine is.
Sorry - yes, this would have been useful info. 1966.

f you plan on keeping the 2 inch dual exhaust, don't bother changing the exhaust manifolds, its already choked off.
Fair comment. What size would i need? Sounds like headers and exhaust will be one of the things to change..
It would be nice to know what cam you have now, before recommending others.
I'll try dig the specs out.
How about testing the oil pressure with a trusted mechanical guage, and then a leakdown & compression test ?
Yes. Will do that and report back.

These gauges are notoriously inaccurate. I'd like to see a real number. Factory spec is minimum 25 psi @ 2000 rpm hot. So, a hot idle would be pretty darn low.
Will get some numbers a report back.
The Edelbrock Performer is no better than the stock iron manifold. That carb is fine for a mild cam. High rev lifters are no harm, but no help, since you don't have a high rev setup. I don't know what "levels" means. To me, two levels above stock is the Cobra LeMans cam, which you assuredly do NOT have. Give us some numbers. 2" exhaust is fine if you are not going out on the track. Heck, the 67 GT500 428 dual-quad engine came with 2" exhaust. The C4 is going to need some help with shifting, perhaps the K code shift servo. If you still have the 2.78 rear, it's killing your performance.
I would say cam similar to the Edelbrock Performer cam, but will find the spec sheet for the one i have. "Levels" was just one of those things to describe the increments between stock and mild, i think. I will look into the C4 work. What makes the stock rear so bad / why was it sold if so bad? What would be a suitable replacement?
Take some advice from an old guy who can still hear. Loud exhaust doesn't make the car faster. It just pisses off the wife, girlfriend, and neighbors. And a choppy idle means the engine was not planned carefully.
Agreed. It's just a bit too quiet / family runaround sounding at the moment :L
While I have the C3OZ-6250-C mechanical cam in my own car, mechanical cams are not for everyone. The C9OZ-6250-C hydraulic cam provides very similar performance.

For this upgrade, you will need:

C9OZ-6250-C camshaft
Cobra or Performer RPM intake manifold
Autolite, Summit, or Edelbrock 600 cfm carburetor
14" open air cleaner
Distributor recurved to BOSS 302 specifications
Dual valve springs (recommended)
Screw-in rocker studs (recommended)
Heads port-matched to exhaust (or aftermarket heads)
289HP exhaust manifolds or headers

This combination has been dyno tested at 323.5 hp @ 5300 rpm.

Nothing else is required. No whiz-bang million volt coil, 10mm wires, etcetera.
I will look into the above. But ideally with keeping my current intake and carb, and just accept that it wont hit the same power you have.


So, it's sounding like a good clean of block and heads. Strip bottom end and inspect. New bearing shells, hopefully just a crank polish. New piston rings as a minimum, and maybe pistons depending if the bores need boring/honing. Keep stock heads, with new set of valves. Port match the exhaust. Cam tbc. And change headers/exhaust system for a bit more air flow...

Many thanks all.
 

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There are two items that are set in stone in the vintage class of road racing these old clunkers. Iron heads that are either year correct or some use the more modern iron heads. The other is using the old school dual plane intakes. It is amazing what you can do to those two parts that will allow 450-500hp out of the package.

While you can easily swap out the iron heads for new aluminum, it is fun to see just how much you can get those old heads and intakes to flow.


Mark
Today's way of thinking is THE EASY WAY!
Real work means nothing. Heaven forbid should anyone break a sweat! It's a "throw-away" world, if it don't work, replace it! Repairing something is too much work, too much of a challenge. Besides, according to 90% of the folks on this forum, aluminum heads wil fix anything!
Maybe they should try removing their own head and put an aluminum one on! 🤔
 

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Today's way of thinking is THE EASY WAY!
Real work means nothing. Heaven forbid should anyone break a sweat! It's a "throw-away" world, if it don't work, replace it! Repairing something is too much work, too much of a challenge. Besides, according to 90% of the folks on this forum, aluminum heads wil fix anything!
Maybe they should try removing their own head and put an aluminum one on! 🤔
I have a nice set of gasket matched and blended '65 heads...sitting on my shelf. I found a nice set of AFR 165's that had been milled to get the chambers down to 54cc. Did I need to do it? No. Does it make a difference? Yes, and it is significant. What's the logic to having more allegiance to keeping an iron set of heads than keeping an iron intake or exhaust manifolds? Intake and exhaust manifolds are the first things most people change to improve performance. Could my '65s be made to flow as well as the AFRs? Maybe, but not for the same money I have in the AFRs and removing 60# from the front end is a nice bonus. To each his own.

I suppose I have the same nostalgic like for a 289 as people do for iron heads. Yes there are better power options over a 289 by adding more stroke, but there is a certain satisfaction surprising people with it's performance.
 

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I'm no expert, far from it, but my impression after reading threads on this site for a few years now is that it's just less expensive to buy a new set of aluminum heads then it is getting an old set back from the machine shop after all the work that's necessary to match the out-of-the-box aluminum versions.
True, or not?
 

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Consider this. FEW have a machine shop at their home , but apparently many have a die grinder. So , let's say you want to rework a pair of iron heads you already own. We start the "cash register" @ zero. The "goal" is a set of home ported , big valve heads "on a budget". To do it "right" , the "new" larger valve seats SHOULD be established first so you can "port" to them. So "outside work" needed before you port is,
Valves , $160
Studs $45
Springs / retainers/ locks $160
Machine work
Valve job/ machine for larger valves $150 (min)
Valve guides "knurl" $40 , replace ( iron) $100 (bronze) $120 "optional"
Mill and tap for studs $120 ( min)
Surface heads $80
If you can get these prices you have $755 in them with knurled guides and we haven't even talked about hardened exhaust seats. Yes the numbers will vary but the point is you HAVE to spend money FIRST.
Then "you" can grind to your hearts content and assemble them with pride.
Next. An "experienced" porter can usually get a '65 head to about 220 cfm intake flow after 20 hours of grinding , IF you spend less time you will have LESS flow. When I started building race 289's in '66 we were limited as there were NO aftermarket heads and the "rebirth" of the 302/5.0 didn't happen until aftermarket heads were created
That is why MANY go to an aftermarket head ( iron or aluminum) which commonly flow 240 or more "out of the box"
What is the best way to go ?
 

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I was told by the PO who is an automotive machinist that he rebuilt my 289 to stock specs. With a dual exhaust system, Summit intake and Summit 500 cfm carb with a C4 and a 2.79 pegleg, my car is an excellent performer.

Im not smoking the tires because tires cost money, but when manually shifted I can easily chirp the tires 1-2 and 2-D.

Thats plenty of hp for me. On my 65 and on every V8 65-68 Mustang I have owned there is a crack in the sheetmetal at the base of the rear quarter window. Stress induced Im guessing. To fix it, it has to be drilled, welded and a gusset welded on the underside to prevent it from coming back.

How many of your cars have this crack?
 

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@GT350HR just proves @CJM68GT390 's point. I found that to be the case too.

The '65 heads I have on the shelf need new guides. Despite being home ported and having had screw in studs installed it would take a special person to want to spend $400-$500 on them to get them back on the road with stock 289 valves. I am sure many would like to "have them", not many would want to buy them.
 

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How many of your cars have this crack?
Not mine. Mine is original California car. T code, but converted to v8 sometime before I bought it in 1983. It has seen plenty of abuse. ;)
 

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Going with aftermarket heads may be the "easy" route, but I seldom go that way.. My car is as much about getting a vintage performance as well as a vintage look..

Starting off with a 68 4V motor..

I has some mild port work done. Larger valves.. (1.94/1.60??) Screw in studs, guide plates and hardened pushrods. Then got a set of comp cams SS roller rockers..
-Crower solid lifter cam
-JBA Tri-Y headers, and 2.25" duals
-Cobra dual plane intate
-Holley 650dp
-Close Ration toploader
-3.80 gears and 4-pin TrakLoc

It has never been on a dyno, but it runs pretty well..

789790
 
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I was told by the PO who is an automotive machinist that he rebuilt my 289 to stock specs. With a dual exhaust system, Summit intake and Summit 500 cfm carb with a C4 and a 2.79 pegleg, my car is an excellent performer.

Im not smoking the tires because tires cost money, but when manually shifted I can easily chirp the tires 1-2 and 2-D.

Thats plenty of hp for me. On my 65 and on every V8 65-68 Mustang I have owned there is a crack in the sheetmetal at the base of the rear quarter window. Stress induced Im guessing. To fix it, it has to be drilled, welded and a gusset welded on the underside to prevent it from coming back.

How many of your cars have this crack?
The crack you are talking about is the LEAD filler Ford used on major panel seams. I've seen it on six cylinder coupes too. My Shelby with over three thousand mid 11 , high 10 second drag strip runs has cracks in the lead at the joining of the windshield posts to the top . Sure they are stress related , but it does not mean the roof is coming off. Since the "stress flow" is different on a fastback, I don't have cracks at the 1/4 panel. Engine horsepower has varied from 5 to 600+ and I do not have sub frame connectors. Cracks like you are noting are more than likely brought on by "normal street driving" over irregular roads rather than "torque twisting" the unibody like I do regularly.
 
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