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What to look for when buying used heads?

1111 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Torquewrench
Hi, I think I've decided to purchase some used heads for my car. I'll be looking for the original 428 heads that came on the car. I know what part number I'm looling for but what do I look and what do I want to stay away from? Hot tanked, magged, ported, milled... what are the chances someone will lie about what's been done to them?
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A good stock, unmodified head would be what I would be looking for...

Make every offer contingent on having the heads verified good and crack-free by a machine shop of your choice....

IMO, a sound, blank canvas is preferable.....harder to find though....

I like to find good greasy heads. Why? if its still wet and greasy, then it prolly hasnt' been hot enough to crack it or the greas woudl be more crusty. And if they are really greasy, it's likely that noone has bothered to have them ported or milled or anything...more likely to be "virgin". I'd stay away from ported heads...alot of amature porting makes them worse...not better. Nice clean pretty parts are pretty...but also alot more expensive for likely the same thing.

1970 Fastback, 4V 351C, various colors with black interior
what does it cost to have a shop inspect them?
Also, what do the heads range in price?
Besides cracks, look for damaged valve seats, not a big worry on the exhaust side if you are going to replace them with hardened seats, but expensive to relace if you are planning on retaining the originals.

68 GT500
68 1/2 CJ Coupe

MCA# 18519
what are the chances someone will lie about what's been done to them?
Oh, about 50/50.... Look for sunken valves due to many valve grinds or hard running with unleaded fuel. Beware of milled heads and ported heads... There is an indicator on the deck surface that will show you approximately how much has been milled off without the use of a burrett or measuring equipment.

Required tools for operating a Vintage Mustang:
1. Duct Tape
2. J.B. Weld
3. B.F.H. (Big Fat Hammer)
(Power is cheap, reliability costs money!)
Instead of looking everywhere and then taking them to a machine shop to test. Try looking at the machine shops first. They often have heads for sale that someone brought in and never came back to claim. And they are more likely to have a rare set of heads also. I recently ( well 2 years ago) bought a set of heads from my machine shop for $40. And they are the best running heads I've got. Just picked them up and put them in the trunk.
66 C-code convertible
66 C-code coupe
65 GTO hardtop
76 Nova hatchback
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