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Old 05-15-2017, 09:46 PM   #1
andymiller
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Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

Found some small cracks on the center bolt hole and #4 and #6 exhaust valve.

Please see what you think.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:21 PM   #2
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

I'd be looking for another set with a heavier casting
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:38 PM   #3
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

Any crack is a no go. They will only get bigger.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:22 PM   #4
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

not sure but I've always been told any crack and its game over!
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:42 PM   #5
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

That sucks
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:39 PM   #6
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

Explain me something.

I had a 1996 K1500 with a vortec 350 in it, with 178k miles, and it was still running like a champ, no leaks. Many are still on the road today. I'm sure many have cracked heads still installed. Blind faith or what?
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:56 PM   #7
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

I don't know if I'd take that chance. Like Tom said the cracks only get worse. you get that engine overheated and you'll risk cracking the block or some other damage. You best bet is to take those heads to a machine shop and see what they think. They will repair them if they can if not they'll be scrap!
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Old 05-17-2017, 05:53 PM   #8
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

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Explain me something.

I had a 1996 K1500 with a vortec 350 in it, with 178k miles, and it was still running like a champ, no leaks. Many are still on the road today. I'm sure many have cracked heads still installed. Blind faith or what?
Kinda, since you can't see the cracks with the heads installed so you have faith they are still good to go since they run. Those cracks in the pics mightrun just fine at first. How long they would last is anyones guess. Might be 2 minutes, might be 100,000 miles. But once they've started they only get worse. If I pulled the heads on my 98 today and saw those cracks, even though it runs amazing right now, I'd replace them.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:13 PM   #9
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

So i bought these heads for $50, machine shop quoted me $175 for pressure checking them. Dropping the off tomorrow. So I'm out $225 if its a total loss.. Kinda like Vegas I guess, i may win and have good heads, or lose $225. Hoping for the best
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:02 AM   #10
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

Most machine shops will look for cracks before they pressure test, and most machine shops will tell you that you have 2 big pieces of scrap metal.

The crack around the exhaust valves are bad, but the crack between the coolant passage and bolt hole is scary.

Machine shops can only pressure test the combustion chamber. They cant pressure test the coolant passages.

I wouldn't even take them to the machine shop. Its better to lose $50 instead of $225. You can recoup some of your money by taking them to the scrap yard.

You can buy brand new fully assembled vortec heads on summit for 300-330 each. By the time you would have these heads checked out, a proper 3 angle valve job, and new springs and seals, you'll be getting close to that, and you'll still have cracks.
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:23 PM   #11
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

I live in AK, $300 each, plus $300 shipping...
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:49 PM   #12
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

If you find a used set you can clean them up and do a quick check for cracks before taking them home. Scrape the deck surface really good and hit them with some brake clean then 220 grit paper. The a quick wipe down again with brake clean. The cracks usually show up pretty good like those in your heads do. A few minutes of work can save you some money.
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:32 PM   #13
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

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Originally Posted by andymiller View Post
I live in AK, $300 each, plus $300 shipping...
I am getting $186. Fed Ex ground to anchorage.


I am jealous of your cool weather.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:26 AM   #14
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

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I am getting $186. Fed Ex ground to anchorage.


I am jealous of your cool weather.
I hadn't checked really, just being funny. Wx is getting nice, tops out in the high 50s low 60s, grass in greening and trees are blooming.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:34 PM   #15
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

"Most machine shops will look for cracks before they pressure test, and most machine shops will tell you that you have 2 big pieces of scrap metal."

Agree. They are junk. What you describe is the proper way. However, when Magnafluxing, the heads must be thoroughly cleaned first so the solvent carrying the flouresing agent can be drawn into the cracks when the magnetic field is applied. Some shops will charge extra for cleaning, others not.

"Machine shops can only pressure test the combustion chamber. They cant pressure test the coolant passages."

We can pressure test the coolant passages just as easily. It's essentially the same thing.

Above said ... the crack from coolant passage to head bolt hole could be welded. The ones at the seats are bigger problem since far larger temperature differential there. Much cheaper to buy different heads that try to repair.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:51 PM   #16
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

I ran them by a shop yesterday and the machinst didn't take my money to tell me the are useless.

Kinda sucks, but at least Im only $50 out.

Any suggestions on Aluminum heads for a RV cam, dished piston, headers?
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:53 PM   #17
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

AFR's.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:54 PM   #18
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

Why aluminum heads? Do you already have the Vortec intake? If so are you wanting to use it?
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:21 AM   #19
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

A set of aftermarket new Vortec heads will cost dang near the same as having a used set rebuilt. Most of the new aftermarket Vortecs are made to take larger lift cams right out of the box and will flow way better than stock Vortec heads.

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Old Yesterday, 11:29 AM   #20
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Re: Are these Vortec Heads cracked beyond useage/repair?

I had an 89 4.3 leaking coolant into the rear left cylinder. I changed the head gasket and it still leaked. Block sealer. Next 90 4.3 same thing. Block sealer again and managed to get 200k miles out of that one. If you know its cracked get another one.
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