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fellas - do you have any direct (i mean you, yourself) experience with specific manufactures of aluminum heads?

i have a new GM 350 (prt# 10067353) with 10K miles on it and i need more compression (the actual compression of these motors is 7.86:1 - prt# 12499529. too).

i was going to use the 64cc vortec iron heads, but i would need to get new valve covers and intake manifold also - by the time i bought those i'm in the price range of a set of assembled edelbrock 64cc aluminum heads.

politics aside, i don't want any chinese casting heads - i've had enough of anything metal from china, they just don't make good product. i've found plenty of people who take chinese casting, then machine and assemble. i just found out 'patriot performance' is one of them, and i was ready to buy their heads. north american foundry or even casting from mexico are what i'm looking for.

what i found, so far, are edelbrock (prt#5089 $910/pr) and dart (prt# 127121 $940/pr) - it's more than i want to spend, but it looks like good heads at $700/pr just isn't going to happen. both of these have small volume intake (180cc), which i'm ok with (it's a cruiser and i want torque) they also have slightly larger valves ( Int 2.02 Exh 1.60) and are both 64cc. with the right gasket 64cc will get me to 9.1 or 9.2:1 which is still in the range of regular gas.

any others i need to look at/

next thing - i've never owned, for myself, a set of aluminum heads. what are the pros and cons? i know they should run cooler, anything else? what are the cons? i had a motorcycle with aluminun head years ago, the head bolts had to be constantly re-torqued. will that be true of auto heads?

i appreciate anything you can bring.
 

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I used a set of aluminum edelbrock performer angle plug heads , i would stay away from the angle plugs as headers are more expensive ( a lot) and don't always clear the plugs enough .I had to dimple a $400 set of headers using accel shortie plugs . The heads gave me the result i was looking for and I was quite happy with them other then the angle plug issue .Make sure you get the right head gaskets , they are more expensive then regular head gaskets but any place that supplies the heads will be able to pointyou in the right direction .
 

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I have had set of the small chamber edelbrock performer heads for over 5 years, not a single problem with them and I only had to retorque once about a week after the first fire up.

There are better heads than the edelbrock to be sure, If you arent in a burning rush to buy keep an eye on Car Craft magazine for a small block aluminum head comparison article, it should be out some time soon. I'm sure it will have some insight that might help.

If you are considering aluminum heads that are not only affordable but made in america - (or north america) then you are pretty much married to edelbrock, the remaining american made ones are a bit pricier if im not mistaken
 

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AFR, look no more. Call Air Flow Research, tell them what you have and what you want. Edelbrock wishes they could be this good. Honestly check them out and compare them to any other offerings, you'll be impressed....
 

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VINTAGE MOTORHEAD
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The Edelbrock heads are nice and reasonably priced. You might also search around for a set of GM aluminum heads (L98) type. They came standard on many Corvettes and some buyers of ZZ3, ZZ4 crate motors have removed them to install Dart and AFR and GM "quick burn" heads for more power.These are also small chamber heads with 1.6/1.94 valves. I saw a perfect set sell for $500 recently on Fleabay.These would boost your compression and performance for much less.
:dontknow:
 

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VINTAGE MOTORHEAD
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STEELYBILL, larger valve would only be helpful if one wanted to spin the motor over 6000 rpms or more.For street use that is unlikely. Most late model SBCs, like my ZZ4 crate motor are all done @ 6000. Chebbie claims that 6200 is the max safe rpm on stock motors. I guess they do that for defensive reasons regarding warrantee issues.
 

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Chevy High Performance Magazine ran a series a couple years ago about bolt on build up of the base 350. You might find it interesting. They included several different head/cam combinations. Do a search for "The Goodwrench Quest" parts 1 through 7 or 8.

Jim
 

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VINTAGE MOTORHEAD
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Correction to my previous post. GMPP states that the max safe rpm on sbc crate motors is 5200 rpm! not 6200 as erroneously posted.
 

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Ed, the proper type of head gasket will take care of things. Probably the biggest benefit powerwise of alum material for heads is the ability to shed enough heat to run a higher compression ratio Without detonation.
The mentioned factory heads Will give the least power boost(without porting).Haven't owned edelbrocks, but they do have good reputation on sbc heads.If Icould pick my choice of heads, it would be AFR. Tony Mamo Has a better than average understanding on airflow &what it takes to make overall power, even on a mild street engine. I've pm'd with him on LS1 tech about an elaborate intake I hope for you to see completed one day.
 

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This probably isn't what you want to know, but have you seen the Car Craft build of a GM crate 350? They found the compression too low, too, and replaced the head gaskets and cam and came up with something like 338 hp.

The inexpensive way to go might be a set of Vortec heads...about $700 complete, maybe less, but you will need a new intake manifold.
 

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I paid $1000 for a set of Edelbrock performers. Bolt right on out of the box and never had any problems. :dontknow: gives me about 10.5 to 1 compression. Its screamin baby....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Chevy High Performance Magazine ran a series a couple years ago about bolt on build up of the base 350. You might find it interesting. They included several different head/cam combinations. Do a search for "The Goodwrench Quest" parts 1 through 7 or 8.

Jim
i remember reading that and searced it out again yesterday. they tested the L98 aluminum vortec heads (too much compression at 10 to 1), edelbrock performer and the AFRs. the AFRs are just out of my $$ range and now edelbrock has the E-street version which are the one that will get me to 9.1 to 1 (regular gas) at about $900.

i'm leaning to the edelbrock set as a good streetable head - plus the cost factor and reputation. the bigger valves will be effectively almost like adding lift and i'm not sure yet of what that will do for gas mileage. 464elky reminded me that i can advance the cam about 4 degrees and perk up the motor. so now i'm not sure that i want to keep the stock cam i have. i talked to a guy at comp cams a couple of days ago, he just couldn't seem to understand my desire for low end torgue over high flow horses.

it isn't something i'm going to do this week, so may wait for that car craft article on SBC head options for input.

keep your thoughts coming, i appreciate it all.
 
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