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  Paging Alex or anybody else with engine knowledge!

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Author Topic:   Paging Alex or anybody else with engine knowledge!

Posts: 1161
From: La Conner WA. No. This isn't a winter tan. It's rust.
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 11-08-2000 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wythors   Click Here to Email wythors     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This winter I am hoping to do a little work on my LX. I'm not wanting to make my car a 12-second strip car. I simply want to have a very fun dependable driver and don't want to have to worry about blowing it up. My engine is currently stock with just under 70,000 miles and the following bolt-on stuff:

1: Fenderwell cold-air induction.
2: FMS 1 5/8" unequal length headers.
3: Flowmaster 3-chamber cat-back.
4: 180* stat and 3-row radiator.

I'm thinkin' I need to get some more air into and through my engine. To that end, my thought was a 65mm throttle body and EGR plate, port-matching my stock intake manifold and (the main subject of this post) improved cylinder heads. I hear all the hullabaloo about aluminum heads: AFS this and Canfield that. In talking to people I know that work on high-performance motors professionally, I'm not sure that aluminium heads are the way to go for a street car. Are there any benefits inherent in aluminum heads versus iron? I can buy iron heads with the same size valves for 2/3 the price of aluminum and I can have my heads reworked for half the price. Anybody have any input, suggestions or ideas?



1993 5.0 LX convertible (his)
1994 F150 Lightning #2392 of 4007 (hers)
MCA Member #47838
M&M Member #666 - Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

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Posts: 569
From: The Rock, Crazy Canuckland, 1979 Indy Pace Car
Registered: Mar 2000

posted 11-08-2000 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gearhead   Click Here to Email Gearhead     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok, here's my take on it (for what it's worth). There are two main benefits to aluminum heads:

1) Weight;
2) Heat transfer capabilities.

Now, any car can benefit from a bit of weight reduction, especially over the front wheels of our Fox Mustangs (and a convertible, to boot!!). You are probably saving about 50 pounds over iron heads, which while is not an insignificant amount, you won't exactly be noticing huge differences in a street driven car. To some it's worth it to gain that extra 0.05 sec. at the track, but for most of us we wouldn't really notice it on the street.

Heat transfer becomes a big issue if you are thinking of running a blower. Heat is your enemy with any forced induction system. Heat leads to detonation, and detonation leads to all sorts of nasty things. On a N/A car you aren't elevating the combustion chamber temperatures to the levels of a forced ind. car, so heat isn't as much of a problem. You can still run more timing advance than stock on a modified N/A car using pump gas and not have to worry much (providing you keep it reasonable). Once again, for racers this can still be an issue. Aluminum heads allow them to extract that little extra out of the engine that may help trip that win light, which is the whole point. For a street N/A car, it shouldn't be tuned to run within an inch of exploding, so there isn't as much of a need for that little bit "extra".

Some of the new aluminum heads are really advancing in terms of flow numbers right out of the box. The aftermarket has really boomed on the Al. heads, as that's where the big $$ are. However, you can take a nice set of iron GT-40 heads, or Windsor Jr./Sr. heads and get comparable flow numbers with a good port job, at quite a bit less cost.

So, what does all this mean?? For me I would say if you are going to be adding a blower at any point I would bite the bullet and step up to a set of good aluminum heads. In the end that would be the wisest choice to get maximum performance and minimum chance of having problems with detonation (well, that and a good ignition and BTM system). For a street driven N/A car that is not a regular strip stormer, and whos owner jsut wants better performance out of his combo for minimal cash outlay I would go with a set of ported irons and use the extra cash for a Cobra/equivalent aftermarket intake/MAF/TB set up.

Just my $0.02!

M&M Member #395
'79 Mustang Indy 500 Pace Car
Ian's Pace Car Page

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Posts: 1161
From: La Conner WA. No. This isn't a winter tan. It's rust.
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 11-08-2000 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wythors   Click Here to Email wythors     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Doctor Chapman! The heat transfer properties are one thing that I'm concerned about. I am not planning on a blower at any time in the forseeable future. I was told that, in N/A form, aluminum can sometimes transfer too much heat and result in lost performance over an otherwise equal iron head.

Regarding the intake Ian, I'd kind of like to stay stock looking for a stealthy kind of look. Anybody have any input on port-matching the intake?

As an aside, does anybody have any opinion on Edelbrock Performer heads? If I go aluminum, I can get a screaming deal on them through one of my suppliers.

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Posts: 178
From: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 11-08-2000 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ragtopjr   Click Here to Email ragtopjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wouldn't even think of going with an iron head for the extra couple of hundred dollars its worth it in weight savings alone and the aluminum heads have advanced a great deal in the last couple of years while the iron heads have basicly stayed the same if your running gas you wont have a problem with it running too cool. my .02 cents

1984 5.0L LX Conv 3600 lbs 13.41 at 101.89 SIR

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Pit Boss

Posts: 3620
From: Monterey, CA Mustangsandmore Member #437
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 11-09-2000 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stewart   Click Here to Email Stewart     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by wythors:
As an aside, does anybody have any opinion on Edelbrock Performer heads? If I go aluminum, I can get a screaming deal on them through one of my suppliers.

Ummm, Dave? Can that deal include internet buddies?


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Posts: 106
From: s. holland, il usa
Registered: Nov 99

posted 11-09-2000 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimb   Click Here to Email jimb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cheapest way to performance would be to either get a set of "good" stock heads or take your own and port them, install GT40 valves, a E303 cam and a Cobra intake system. You can mill the heads while their off the engine. I bet that this set up would produce 260-270 HP. A step up from stock and for way less the the cost of a set of Aluminum heads. Don't get me wrong about alternative heads. I have a set of GT40X heads on my Cobra. But its a road race car only. I also have an LX street car and I would never put aluminum heads on it as its for street only. It has 101K miles on it with a 73MM MAF, K & N, 1.7 Cobra rockers, a MSD box & coil and 1 5/8" equal length
headers. Its not quick of the mark with a 3.08 rear but once its rolling it really hauls up to about 5300-5500 RPMs. At that engine speed I'm over the speed limit if I'm in any gear higher then 1st so its plenty fast for the street. No speeding tickets in 20 years.

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Pit Boss

Posts: 918
From: Lyons, ILL, USA
Registered: May 99

posted 11-09-2000 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Capri   Click Here to Email Capri     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First thing is first gang. How much do you want to spend???? there are SOOOOOO many things that can be done its not even funny. Wanna spend a ton, buy a new set of heads, intake, and Throttle body and have em reworked. Wanna be cheap and stealth looking??? Extrude hone the stock intake, spacer and Plenum and get whatever Throttle body you want. Same with the mass air if this is a mass air car. Remember gang, Its not about how to just go fast, but we have to be in the relm of someones cash capabilities too!!!! SO, lets start there.


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kid vishus

Posts: 348
From: eastern Siberia, Iowa
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 11-11-2000 11:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kid vishus   Click Here to Email kid vishus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I wouldn't put aluminum heads on a street car. If it were a racer that'll see the street, that would be different. But a regular driver I would buy a set of iron GT-40 "p" heads. I tend to be fairly conservative on something that is going to be actually driven a lot, makes it easier to manage. A weekend cruiser, that's different too, I get more carried away there.
I would buy some good iron heads,rework the exhaust some, and do the other stuff up top and be done with it.
Just my opinion

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Big Kahuna

Posts: 6299
From: Lyons, IL, USA
Registered: May 99

posted 11-12-2000 12:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moneymaker   Click Here to Email Moneymaker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dave,I (we) have installed lot's of aftermarket heads on street 5.0 Mustangs. Both cast iron and aluminum. I have yet to see any performance benefit with an aluminum head over a comparable iron one other than weight. If you have the budget for some head work I would go with a set of GT-40 FoMoCo heads as the price is right and they are a bolt on. No need for new rocker arms or pushrods. You are also on the right track with your intake ideas. A 65 MM TB has only a marginal effect without increased breathing. Alex

Alex Denysenko Co-Administrator and Moderator
Fleet of FoMoCo's too long to list!

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