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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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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! 馃槑
 

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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! 馃
 

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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.
I agree with you, wholeheartedly!
Anyone making decisions has to weigh the options readily available.
Sure, if someone already has a set of aluminum heads, sitting in one's garage, it's almost a no brainer decision to use them over a set of ported iron heads.
BUT, take away the aluminum head option and determining what U want from the engine, U then have to decide, do I buy a set of aluminum heads, just because everybody says that's the "cure-all" way to go, or do U come to a conclusion that 350 horse power is all U actually need!?
I know I have about 330 to 350 horse power coming outa my 289. Would I like more? Ya!
Do I need more to get from point A to point Z, NOPE! Is it worth the money to go get and install a 550 horse 408? NOPE! Especially when I weigh the 38 years of perfect performance from what I already have, to the additional power I'd use, only on occasion, TO SHOW OFF! I never intended to build a race car, so I built it my way.
Anyone wanting to spend big bucks on race parts, for a street application, BE MY GUEST!
Anybody that wants to save a few bucks by porting or moderately re-working a set of iron heads, can be my guest also!
Just remember, APPLICATION and CHOICE is anybody's option! 馃槒
 

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Here鈥檚 the other thing... I鈥檝e read a BUNCH of posts on this here forum about how a novice can easily make the heads flow worse if you screw up the porting job.

So how much would it suck to spend $700-800 to 鈥榙o it right鈥 as stated above with the correct parts and process, and then 鈥榶ou鈥 go to do your home porting job and screw the whole thing up.

There鈥檚 a lot on my car that my boys and I have choosen the more manual long way to do. But I鈥檝e read enough posts here to know that I鈥檒l be investing in a set of aluminum heads when the time comes.
Again, it all depends on application and what U want/expect out of the car!
Just remember, adding better flowing aluminum heads to a rather stock engine, would be over kill! Little benefit from your investment would be realized. So, be ready to invest in basically re-doing your entire engine from the ground up! But, ask yourself, is it worth it, do I need it, can I afford it, do I really need 400 to 500+ horsepower to get where I want to go! A nice driver doesn't have to be a race car in disguise! And ya, U can have significant fun with 300 to 400 horse power. Even a stock, 225 horse 289 can get U in trouble! 馃槒
 

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I鈥檓 not sure what anyone is 鈥渃uring鈥 with aftermarket heads. Stock SBF heads aren鈥檛 good, and are very limiting for anyone wanting modern car power. Aftermarket heads don鈥檛 鈥渃ure鈥 anything, but they have a significant potential to make considerably more power than stock heads.
"CURING" is a figure of speach!
And not everyone is looking for "modern day power!"
As far as I'm concerned, this current horse power race has gotten way outa hand.
Sooner or later, governments of the world will impose restrictions on what's considered "streetable", common sense, horse power!
There is a place for common transportation and there is a place for what's considered a race car!
It's gotten a bit ridiculas, considering a vehicle with 200 horse power will get U anywhere a vehicle with 800+ horse power will!
In other words, there is more to a nice driver vehicle, than mega horsepower and lightening like speed!
That's the point I'm talking about! 馃
 

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I鈥檓 not sure what anyone is 鈥渃uring鈥 with aftermarket heads. Stock SBF heads aren鈥檛 good, and are very limiting for anyone wanting modern car power. Aftermarket heads don鈥檛 鈥渃ure鈥 anything, but they have a significant potential to make considerably more power than stock heads.
I agree in general!
BUT YOU GUYS ARE CLUELESS AS TO WHAT I'M TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO U!
Horsepower costs money!
If U guys wanna build race engines for an every-day driver application, be my guest!
When 350 horsepower will be sufficient, why use 550+???
We're not all "speed demons", ya know! 馃槑
If I wanna see "smoke shows", I'll go to the drags! I'm really not that impressed with 100 yard burn outs these days! 馃
 

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So the government should regulate how much fun is acceptable? Awesome! Man are you on the wrong forum!
Ya, I'm beginning to think so! The people on here, with exception of a few others, are infatuated with speed and horsepower! Many of U guys never knew what common sense ever was! THAT WAS LOST SOMEWHERE, YEARS AGO!
BY ALL MEANS, GO AHEAD, BE STUPID AND BLOW YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY , on stuff U don't need!
After all, U'll all hold individual records on cash out-flow! Congrats, It's great for bragging rights anyway!
 

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But this isn鈥檛 your engine. It鈥檚 not up to you to decide what other people want, or need. And here鈥檚 another secret. Most people aren鈥檛 building their cars to impress you. Personally, I don鈥檛 really care what impresses you, when I鈥檓 building my vehicles.
...and I don't care if U want to continue talking stupid either!
Buddy, U R CLUELESS as to my intentions here! 馃
 

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Exactly. Just because it makes that power, doesn鈥檛 mean I have to use it when I go to the grocery store. But it sure is fun on saturdays. On weekdays, it would drive around just like any other car, because it was a good combo. There were no race car manners, but when it would go to the track, it did juuuuuust fine there too, and was a ton of fun.
View attachment 790045
Yes, I can see your point!
I wish somebody would see mine!
I'm NOT TRYING TO TELL ANYBODY WHAT TO DO, at least not intentionally.
I'm mearly attempting to inform you folks that there are alternatives and other options for a moderately performing street machine, when someone is not looking for all-out street performance. I've also pointed out options that may save said persons some money!
I hope U all understand what I'm saying and the point I'm trying to make! 馃
 

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We got it. We ALL got it. Now can we get back to all the benefits of upgrading SBF heads and running 3/4 race cams with hydraulic lifters and shallow compression deep dished steel pistons.
I understand that U lucky guys, with deep pockets and bottomless bank accounts, I completely understand U don't appreciate having to settle for less than the best.
But for the ones that have been there and the ones that still are, at least they know there are some thrifty options available to them.
U R Welcome! 馃槒
 
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