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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..

View attachment 789790
That attitude is the fit for vintage racing


Mark
 

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So I bought some C5AE heads from Cobra Automotive on eBay for $190 a pair in 2017 when I temporary gave up on the 331. Somebody from CA emailed me and said these heads are maxed out valve size and porting wise, do I still want them? Heck yea! I got them as described, 1.92, 1.54 valves, or whatever the biggest that can be fit with Chebby valves. I had them freshened up locally and the machinist said they were professionally done back in the day. Meh, still smaller valves than cheap TW 170 heads. I was uninspired by the performance of the 289 that was only in the car -100 miles because it was so slow compared to the 331.
If originality is your thing go for porting your original heads hoping you don't hit a water jacket and then spend a bunch of money having a competent machine shop, if you can find one, install the bigger valves. I gave all my iron heads other than the ported one's on my original 289 to @LSG because he has access to a machine shop he used to work at.
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Nail ! you've been holding out on me !! excellent pictures though. I'm thinking that those are 1.6 exhausts.
All, if you look at Nailbender's pics, you'll see there ISN'T tons of room to work with in there. I don't like the way many SBF heads get done with Chevy valves, you see alot of 1.84 / 1.5 combinations. The stockers was 1.78 / 1.45. The tips and overall lengths aren't right either. Yes, you can get different pushrods and springs and make it all work, but WHY make it harder on yourself than you have to ?! Aftermarket valves are available in the sizes and lengths that you need. I like to see 1.6 exhausts with a hard seat, like a SB 1625-1 from SBI. For intakes, you CAN run a 1.94, but my preference is to take the 1.94 valve and trim it down to 1.90. You can see in Nail's picture how we are getting really close to the sparkplug cut. Then, if you need to at somepoint need to give the heads a valvejob, you get new 1.94 intakes and cut them to 1.92 and run them that way. Then, finally, run them at 1.94 on the third time. Exhaust seats are replaceable, and the intakes are as well, but it is more of a pain in the arse when working so close to the plug.

Now, aftermarket aluminum heads will outflow even the BEST of the iron heads,....but I have seen lots of folks with aluminum heads, but performer intakes and cast iron exhaust and 2" twins. Thats not going to help power at all. LSG

Nail, if you should tire of those ported 289 heads, I can drive down after them,......
 

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With the cost of machine work to dial in a set of stock heads, plus new valves, springs, retainers and keepers, etc it’s a hard sell to keep them outside of the goal of a correct restoration. For a daily driver, AFR, Skip White and the others are hard to beat value wise.

Rusty
 

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Rusty, we CAN beat the $1045 price per pair, and your iron heads would still have the 54 cc chamber, instead of the 62 thats in the enforcers. And you have to remember that those frequently need some touchup work. Its not like you just take them out of a box and slapp them on. Usually, at least 3 valves and seats per head have to be recut. BTDT LSG
 

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Rusty, we CAN beat the $1045 price per pair, and your iron heads would still have the 54 cc chamber, instead of the 62 thats in the enforcers. And you have to remember that those frequently need some touchup work. Its not like you just take them out of a box and slapp them on. Usually, at least 3 valves and seats per head have to be recut. BTDT LSG
That‘s great value, I’m not sure where you’re located. Here in the People’s Republic of California it would cost more than that for machine work and porting to match those heads. Great point on the combustion chamber volume, it would probably help here, with the crap expensive gas we have. I need to move......👍

Rusty
 

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I also opted for aluminum heads for my 289. Where I’m located the machine shop costs were just too high to justify rebuilding the stockers, even though that is really what I wanted to do with them. It was just too hard to ignore the cost savings, time savings, and the fact that it’s a modern casting with better flow as-cast when compared to all but the best ported stockers.

I did however cover them up with Ford Blue and steel valve covers, just because I didn’t want the modern look. Unless you take off the valve covers off though, you really can’t tell the difference.

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If you look really hard you can barely make out the Edelbrock script on the heads through the paint, especially when it’s dressed with accessories, as shown above.

I still have the stock heads, and I want to rebuild and port them just for the kicks, but for now I have good modern heads that definitely make a difference on power, and nobody knows but me. I guess what I’m saying is that iron is cool, but there’s nothing wrong with aluminum heads either. You can’t really go wrong. \m/
 

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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! 🤔
some people wants heads that will perform, rather than junky boat anchors. I don’t know why this is so hard to comprehend for you. Stock sbf heads, suck. They just do. A cheap Chinese made sbf head will outperform, and be more efficient, than any stock sbf head and here’s the big shocker. It’s cheaper than having you boat anchors rebuilt. Cheaper and better.
 

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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! 😎
It’s funny you say this, and then recommend a cam thats definitely too large for a 289 with stock heads. It’s like you’re bipolar. Do you even see the irony about your comments in application and your obsession with keeping stock heads? And recommending the wrong camshafts, because you don’t understand how how things like duration, piston dwell, Ect actually affect the application?
 

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A local machine shop here does China heads. He replaces all the valve guides and reassembles them. Says that none of them have come back as long as the valve guides get replaced.
 

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"Port matching" is NOT where the horsepower is on factory iron heads. A 10 hp increase would be above average. "First timers" have no business grinding on cylinder heads , period. Harsh? Maybe , but honest. The chances of doing all ports the same AND seeing 40 or more HP are slim to none on the first try. You can make ports "look" big easily , but that alone doesn't guarantee HP improvement. I saw allot of this in the '60s and '70s when there were NO other heads available. "I" switched to Boss 302 heads which was another steep learning curve , but I was making 500+ HP by '75. 40+ years later that doesn't sound so great because of the many advancements since then.
 

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How many of your cars have this crack?
Mine was cracked, and I bought it from the original owner, the proverbial little old lady. GT350, it's not just the lead, but the sheetmetal underneath, it's a well known problem in early coupes.
 

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All I have ever done is port match the gaskets and smoothed out any casting flash, but I have never looked to squeeze every nth of hp out of a stock engine.

Most inexperienced builders do not consider that truing the deck or cylinder head may cause problems with sealing the bottom of the intake. Sometimes the intake needs to be milled to line everything back to where it is supposed to be.
 

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I am staying with my stock 65 heads also. Going to have larger valves and screw in studs put in. I just like the idea of using them, nostalgic I suppose.
 

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I am staying with my stock 65 heads also. Going to have larger valves and screw in studs put in. I just like the idea of using them, nostalgic I suppose.
In plumber's terms, putting a 3/4" valve on a 1/2" pipe does not make the pipe flow any more. I hope porting is part of your larger valve project.
 

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Start packing a briefcase of dollar bills.
 
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