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Old 06-24-2016, 01:20 AM   #1
benw88
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Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Hi All,

Thank you for always responding and sharing your opinions, there are only so many people I can call up and bug in my phone.

I have a 68 C10 with a sbc350, muncie 4-speed, pontiac posi rear end.

I really want to upgrade my heads, only because I need to change my valve springs to accommodate the comp cam thats in it.

I was thinking about the vortex head swap but my engine builder said that since i have flat top pistons that the compression ratio would be to high for pump gas, also I am on a college budget and getting another intake and what not would be a little to pricey.

The motor currently has a comp cam xe274, edelbrock electric choke carb, performer rpm intake, MSD HEI dizzy, headers, comp cam 1.5 ratio roller rockers.

I have 882 heads which i have read are not very good and thats why i want to change them, keeping in mind my budget, what would be some good heads to look for, even something that is just slightly better than the heads i have now so i won't have to worry about them cracking. Does anyone in so cal have anything sitting around ?
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:34 AM   #2
63chevyll
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Whats your budget?

A Vortec head with a flat top is fine for the street. Essentially thats what the HO small blocks of the 60s had for compression ratio. And a Vortec flows better than most old stock heads and are a decent bargain for budget street HP

Now you will have to run premium gas and play with timing curve a bit but its not impossible.

There are so many head options you just really need to figure out how much you want to spend on this part....and dont say "as little as possible" need some numbers and time to do price shopping.

I would stick with a head CC of 60-70 (vortecs are advertised at 64cc) and stock head gasket of .040 (common crushed number)
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:40 AM   #3
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Also. One thing to add. When you start pricing out your upgrades. Look at what parts you have and can reuse. (Rockers, intake, valve covers) and compare both ways. Vortec vs. standard pattern intake

All of the above will have to be changed when you go to a Vortec head.
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:46 AM   #4
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

I'd hit the long beach swap meet and try to score some low-mile used Edelbrock heads. The power would be about the same as the Vortecs, but the aluminum would be more forgiving of the compression and you could re-use your existing intake.
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:54 AM   #5
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Vortec heads on that will have too much compression. If you run the numbers with a flat top piston 4 valve relief (+6cc effective volume) at stock bore and stroke with .040 gasket and .01 deck clearance you get 9.9:1. If your block is bored out any you are over 10:1, so in my opinion unless you have EFI with knock sensors to compensate or your burning E85 through your carb thats too high for the street.
Now you also have to consider machine work and parts. Vortec heads in stock form cannot handle .490" lift (xe274). You will need to have screw in studs and machine the small spring seats out for a real valve spring and buying new studs and valve springs etc. So lets just throw some BS numbers around: $300 for some "good" used vortec heads, $100 springs, $50 screw in studs, $30 guide plates, $300 in machine work, $250 for a vortec intake. Now were at $1,030 for vortec heads with improved springs. You Can buy some cheap summit branded iron 72cc heads for $680 a pair that will outflow vortecs and run with your cam right out of the box... Or you can buy Edelbrock aluminum heads for about $1200 a pair.
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

How about this to get started....give us a probable/possible budget amount that you would like to spend to resolve this?
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:37 AM   #7
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

I believe if you do your research the one of the strongest castings for pump gas was a 441(?)

Lower compression 1.94 76 cc chambers I have been running them for over 4 years now, pretty stock.

I would have to look at some receipts to verify the casting number quote I gave you.
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:50 AM   #8
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

This is one of those situations where some have problems and some don't with 10:1 and iron heads. But since you need upgraded valve springs you would need upgraded Vortec heads. With that in mind I'd be shopping for a set of aluminum heads. The house brand from Jegs or Summit would be a good choice for a budget build IMO and should be about $1000.
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:04 AM   #9
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

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Vortec heads on that will have too much compression. If you run the numbers with a flat top piston 4 valve relief (+6cc effective volume) at stock bore and stroke with .040 gasket and .01 deck clearance you get 9.9:1. If your block is bored out any you are over 10:1, so in my opinion unless you have EFI with knock sensors to compensate or your burning E85 through your carb thats too high for the street.
Now you also have to consider machine work and parts. Vortec heads in stock form cannot handle .490" lift (xe274). You will need to have screw in studs and machine the small spring seats out for a real valve spring and buying new studs and valve springs etc. So lets just throw some BS numbers around: $300 for some "good" used vortec heads, $100 springs, $50 screw in studs, $30 guide plates, $300 in machine work, $250 for a vortec intake. Now were at $1,030 for vortec heads with improved springs. You Can buy some cheap summit branded iron 72cc heads for $680 a pair that will outflow vortecs and run with your cam right out of the box... Or you can buy Edelbrock aluminum heads for about $1200 a pair.

I just went through this exact process and I can tell you from experience that it could not be explained better. You're money ahead to just buy assembled heads for around 1000-1200 bucks OR, a summit/Jegs brand for 600ish.

I bought a set of Iron 67cc RHS heads for 300 bucks, screamin deal or so I thought. Got them to compliment a Comp 280H cam (.480" lift) and an Edelbrock Performer RPM manifold and 650 carb. After buying Comp valve springs, new seals locks and gaskets, and the machine work to make the springs fit plus checking for cracks my bill was 900 bucks from the machine shop. To clarify, thats 1200 dollars for a set of iron heads that are just slightly better than stock. I shake my head every time I think about it.

Matt

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Old 06-24-2016, 12:32 PM   #10
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

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Originally Posted by Coley View Post
How about this to get started....give us a probable/possible budget amount that you would like to spend to resolve this?
All Good
Coley
Thank you everyone for your response.

My budget is somewhat flexible but i would like to stay around 600. I have a good machine shop friend who owes me a favor so that's taken care of. I want to be able to make a little more performance while maintaining some drivability. I also dont do things half-ass so dont think because of my money restrictions i will take shortcuts.

I will build a better motor over time on the side, but for now i am trying to figure out the best combo for my current situation.
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Old 06-24-2016, 12:46 PM   #11
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

One thing to factor in with a change to Vortec heads is that, to my knowledge, you also have to use a different intake manifold...so factor that in as well. There might be more to the Vortec swap than this so some of the guys more experienced can always weigh in here.
Have you done any searching locally to see what is available in the used sbc head market? (Aluminum or quality cast iron)
There are a few good iron heads out there that will still make good power...including casting numbers '186' and '041'. What is a little different about these iron heads is that they offer the 64cc chamber but also include the mount/tapped holes at the ends of the head to allow for mounting of all the stock truck alternator bracketry, etc.
These will not perform like newer heads...but they will outperform most older cast iron heads including the 882 heads that you have. The trick is finding a good pair that you don't have to put much money into.
You never know....a lot of guys get in way over the head in buying stuff for their projects then have to sell it off. I find its always a great buyers market with this demographic at work...(just don't be one of them...lol).
If your friend has a machine shop he could always accompany you if find a good used deal and need a little input on its condition, etc.
My two bits.
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Last edited by Coley; 06-24-2016 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

What about these

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SBC-CHEVY-32...mtr&rmvSB=true
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:51 PM   #13
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

All or nothing IMO. If you aren't going to make a real upgrade then just swap springs in the heads you have. The 882 a ubiquitous head that's not any more crack prone than anything else IME.

Get an compression tester with removeable hose that you can hook to your air compressor, an on block spring compressor and just swap springs on your existing head.

If you haven't bought springs already figure that's a part that comes with the new heads which makes that upgrade a little less expensive big picture.
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:34 PM   #14
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

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All or nothing IMO. If you aren't going to make a real upgrade then just swap springs in the heads you have. The 882 a ubiquitous head that's not any more crack prone than anything else IME.

Get an compression tester with removeable hose that you can hook to your air compressor, an on block spring compressor and just swap springs on your existing head.

If you haven't bought springs already figure that's a part that comes with the new heads which makes that upgrade a little less expensive big picture.
Exactly, this is the only way you won't regret it later down the road.
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:53 PM   #15
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Exactly, this is the only way you won't regret it later down the road.
Are the eBay heads the same as mine or a upgrade, are they any good? And I have a new set of comp cam springs and retainers to accommodate the cam
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Old 06-24-2016, 03:57 PM   #16
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Then I'd just swap valve springs if their OD will fit in the stock spring seats.

Can't see putting much time/money into a motor you've already said you'd kick to the curb at some point.
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Old 06-24-2016, 04:14 PM   #17
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

The motor has 2000 miles on a fresh rebuild including clave job, that some point won't be for a long time, I was hoping to make some more power with a head upgrade while not having to tear the entire block apart to accommodate the vortec heads. So easy heads not worth it ?
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Old 06-24-2016, 08:00 PM   #18
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Agree on just changing the springs. Replace the valve seals while you're at it.

Not to scare you ... spending a lot of time at magnaflux machines, I have seen many cracked 882 heads. Unlike the earlier heads which feed the exhaust crossover from one port, the 882 feed from both center ports. So they tend to hold more heat and crack at the center valve seats.
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Old 06-24-2016, 08:03 PM   #19
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

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Agree on just changing the springs. Replace the valve seals while you're at it.

Not to scare you ... spending a lot of time at magnaflux machines, I have seen many cracked 882 heads. Unlike the earlier heads which feed the exhaust crossover from one port, the 882 feed from both center ports. So they tend to hold more heat and crack at the center valve seats.
Thats exactly what I have been told and exactly the reason why I want to get away from these suckers and not put anymore money and time into them.
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:38 AM   #20
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Good thread, I have a very good mechanic "buddy" that wanted to sell me a set of 882's.

I still chuckle when I tell him its still holding up!
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Old 06-25-2016, 01:02 AM   #21
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

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Has anyone looked into these heads? They are built by Skip White if Im reading the ad right. Doesn't he build decent crate engines with warranty's? Personally I think 200cc's is much to big for this particular build but if you could get 180's that price is real tempting. Skip White is ringing a bell for some reason but correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 06-25-2016, 03:58 AM   #22
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I can get a bare set of camel heads 3927186 that have been stripped and leak tested for 80, worth it ?
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:36 PM   #23
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

Some later 186 have bolt holes in the end for accessories, older ones not. Be aware of that. $80 is OK for a set of tested bare heads. Not a stellar deal. By the time you buy all new parts & have the 186s machined, you may well have bought some aftermarket heads ready to drop on, and will perform better.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:12 PM   #24
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Re: Youngster looking for some cylinder head advice

The 186 is a great head in terms of vintage small block heads, but at this point it's just old...(Not a hater of double hump heads, I have a set of 492 completely worked on my Camaro that make good power but they cost nearly $1200 to build in the mid 80's!)

To my knowledge, all of the 186 heads have accessory bolt holes. I have a set on my Jimmy (actually a 186 and I think an 041? Same head different casting that replaced a pair of 186 that munched a seat when a guide failed. Cut into water trying to fix that head so junk.)

There is just no way to do cheap heads unless you can do them yourself. By the time you buy them, buy valves, pay for hardened exhaust seats, valve job, guides, cut spring pockets (if needed) get springs, locks, retainers, vatted heads, surfaced, minor port work or manifold matching, screw in studs and guide plates, you've spent a ton of money.

Just keep pinching pennies until you can afford a set of AFR 195's.
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