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Old 10-11-2010, 09:35 PM
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opinions on my 291 sbc heads

I'm trying to decide if I should restore the 291 heads I have. They'll need guides a seat valve job and milling to clean up the face. I figure about 400 in machine work. I can't decide if I should keep them and if I do what size of intake valve to use (2.05?). Thoughts are appreciated. Itd be cool to have an old school engine I just don't know if its worth it.

I don't have a build in mind for these yet and before anyone gets on the vortec band wagon I have 3 sets of those on the shelf.

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Old 10-12-2010, 07:44 AM
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On the practical side. I would sell the things to a restorer and let him deal with 40+ year old castings that aren't suitable to modern gas or acc. mounts.

Most of these heads need so much work that aftermkt heads are a better alternative.

Every year I get 5-6 pairs in that the customer "got a good deal on". Usually about $250.00.. Then he wants me to "check them out, freshen them up"..

Usually the estimate is far in excess of $400.00. Valve guides are shot (16 guides). Valve stems worn out (16 valves). Valve locks(32). Need the exhaust seats replaced (8 seats). Springs worn out (16 springs). A couple of rocker studs bad and outer head bolt holes in need of repair. Now that you have this money into them. Cut for modern valve seals. Then a clean up mill.

Most local shops are not equipped to properly relieve the chamber for a 2.02-2.05 valve.

So when finished. You still have 40+ year old heads that are not compatible with modern accessories.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:28 AM
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I put new valves and springs in all the heads I run so that's not a big deal. I also install screw it studs and cut for srings and seals myself. I'll just need guides milling and a valve job. My usual guy will probably charge much less than 400 for that. Milling and a vj runs me 125 from him. The accessories are a mute point as well as all ir run is an alternator and a water pump. The more I think about it the more I plan on doing it, to me old school is cool and done up right these heads can make some decent power. I'm thinking maybe a 425hp 302? That'd be neat at the shows.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:23 AM
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I just emailed my machinist for a quote. We'll see what the cost is. If I can get these completely redone for less than 600 then I think I'll go for it.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:18 AM
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Well, as things tend to happen all at once, I ended up selling the 291's for a used set of Vortecs. I don't need another set of em at all, but I can clean them up, fix the springs and studs and sell them to make some quick easy money.
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:59 PM
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291 comparison

Ok so I have a set of 291's with the smaller valves (1.94 & 1.50) I alsohave a set of 882 heads, (1.94 & 1.50 valves) the 291's need a complete rebuild and the 882's will get a basic guide, seat, and valve check. They ran when pulled so the basics is what I am thinking will need to be done.

Would it be worth the time and money to go with the 882's over the 291's? Having the same valve size makes me think they are at least close in charactoristics? I am wrong in my thinking?

VORTEX's ARE NOT EVEN A THOUGHT, I am sure they will be praised over and and recommended by many but I am in no way considering them. I appreciate and respect all who praise and recommend them but not what I am looking for.

Thank you every one.
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:47 PM
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If you have to put any money into the 882's...DON'T do it. Spend that same money on the 291's, they are a far better head, they have a much better combustion chamber shape and chamber size. 291 or 64cc, 882 are 76-78cc. Only thing they share is a valve size, no other common characteristics(except bolt patterns).

The only good 882 head is a melted down 882 head, poured into new mold for something else made out of iron. They are one of the many 1970's era smog castings from low performance smog engines, nothing you want to use unless the rules tell you that you have to(circle track'ers). I'd bet money they are worn out too, even if they are off a running engine.
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