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Old 05-21-2011, 02:33 AM
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Vortec heads..Worth it???

Hey guys Ive been looking into getting some vortec heads for my 350 sbc. Im beginning to wonder if the vortecs are the best option...Theres a pretty cool vortec kit from jeggs for 900$ I'd also need to get some valve covers so tack that onto the cost..is there anything else that im not adding into the cost..It seems like the vortec swap is rapidly adding up http://www.jegs.com/i/GM+Performance...060K1/10002/-1
Is there a regular cylinder head that i can just bolt on to my mild 350 that will give the same gains as the vortecs for less hastle and cost?

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Old 05-21-2011, 02:40 AM
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Really for budget bolt on heads, Vortec heads are the best. That price seems alright. I believe most sell the vortecs for 6-700 a pair, so only a couple hundred more and you get everything to put it on isn't bad.
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:55 AM
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Buy 2 of these....
http://www.competitionproducts.com/R...info/RHS12407/
Buy 1 of these....(1 kit fills 2 heads) to .480" lift hydraulic flat tappet application kit, stock diameter spring, no machining.
http://www.competitionproducts.com/H...ductinfo/8511/
Buy 1 of these....(1 kit fills 2 heads)
http://www.competitionproducts.com/M...tinfo/42151-8/
And 1 of these....(1 kit fills 2 heads)
http://www.competitionproducts.com/A...info/134-7101/
These heads will make more power than L31's and are cheaper by the time you have to buy rail rockers and special covers for the L31's, plus do the machining and purchasing of aftermarket springs. Horse feathers. Go with the RHS heads.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:26 AM
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Wow that is the best reply ive ever recieved when asking for help on any of my forums. Thank you verry much sir
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:07 AM
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Very interesting post.
I've been considering replacing my ZZ4 aluminum, 58CC heads with Vortecs.
I would lose a little compression ratio, but I wouldn't mind that too much.
Would anyone care to venture a guess as to what my end result would be if I did this swap? JA
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnya
Very interesting post.
I've been considering replacing my ZZ4 aluminum, 58CC heads with Vortecs.
I would lose a little compression ratio, but I wouldn't mind that too much.
Would anyone care to venture a guess as to what my end result would be if I did this swap? JA
Actually no you wouldn't lose compression, the ZZ4 uses a .054 inch composite gasket, so it's actual volume above the piston is the same as a larger chambered Vortec with a thinner .019 or .016 inch shim style gasket.

The stock Vortec head running on a ZZ4 bottom end with the same cam, carb and intake (some butchering of intake required) in back to back dyno tests to the original unported L98 head pulls 40 more horses and adds 300 RPM on the top end.

Bogie
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:16 PM
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What could i expect from my fuel economy? My engine now is a stock sbc 350 only upgrades are an Edlebrock 2101 proformer manifold, k&n air cleaner, Headers and magnaflow duel exhaust.
what would those vortecs do as far as mpg? and what could i expect for power?
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:31 AM
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i know im a noob here but, i have a 78 sbc350 4x4 that has been built and we went with the vortec heads and it actually made a big difference in better gas mileage went from 11 mpg to 15mpg may just been my setup but.. since im a noob take my words as you will...haha. i say they are worth every bit of change , i seemed to notice better gas mpg and performance on and offroad after the swap. and if its a 2wd it may be even better gain.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:36 AM
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I used a set of vortecs and I found the pushrod guides like techinspector suggested will not work. They do not line up with the pushrods or the studs.

At the time, and this has been 8-10 years ago, I couldn't find pushrod guides to work on a Vortec head. I had to buy a set of self-aligning rockers. I got them from Crane. I'm sure by now all that has been addressed and parts are available.

BTW, stock rocker covers will not work with roller rocker arms.

I like the Vortec heads, but if I had it to do today, I'd use after-market everything.
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:13 PM
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yeah im getting verry mixed resaults...it seems like a nice set of normal heads might be the way to go. I dont have alot of cash to spend on new vortecs so id rather rebuild a set...but after all the machining and new parts it seems like it would be just as good to get some other heads that I wont have to do a bunch of stufff to.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:04 PM
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If you can do all the work on the Vortec heads and get a good set for cheap, you can come out good money wise on a stock build. There is nothing wrong with running OEM valves, springs and rocker assemblies. We gave $300 for a pair of 062s, I think that's the number. But we werre prepared to put some money into them. I do not regret it, but as said before, I'd probably go aluminum aftermarket Vortec today.

Anyway, don't abandon the Vortec technology, it is good and you will feel a big difference compared to the older heads. Your mileage will be good also. Our Vortec headed 406 3360# S10 has gotten 16 MPG with the AC on, on a hyway trip, running 55-60 MPH. Routinely gets, 14-15 around town depending on how many times you hammer it.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:48 PM
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My 906 vortec heads were placed on a fresh 305 GM truck. They were milled 61 cc . Performer cam and beehive gmp ls6 springs topped with a DP intake and QJet. The heads gave as much a power difference as switching to a 3.73 from a 2.73 gear. about 25% increase just from heads and cam over oem 305 heads. People say gear is the best mulitplier add on, Vortec heads and what came with them, the cam/intake/headers made the same difference.

Recurve the govenvor to shift higher at 5k rpm. That makes a big difference because you are held in the powerband longer.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:55 PM
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Yeah I dont make enough to fork out the cash for some bran spankin new heads and rebuilding seems a bit to pricy too but if i find a set in good shape ill jump on that for sure if the price is right
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overdriv
I used a set of vortecs and I found the pushrod guides like techinspector suggested will not work. They do not line up with the pushrods or the studs.

At the time, and this has been 8-10 years ago, I couldn't find pushrod guides to work on a Vortec head. I had to buy a set of self-aligning rockers. I got them from Crane. I'm sure by now all that has been addressed and parts are available.

BTW, stock rocker covers will not work with roller rocker arms.

I like the Vortec heads, but if I had it to do today, I'd use after-market everything.
For Pushrod Guide plates to work on OEM Vortecs, the Guide bosses would need to be machined & plates may need tweaking for alignment, the guide holes in the Heads would also need to be opened up.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GUITAR1989
yeah im getting verry mixed resaults...it seems like a nice set of normal heads might be the way to go. I dont have alot of cash to spend on new vortecs so id rather rebuild a set...but after all the machining and new parts it seems like it would be just as good to get some other heads that I wont have to do a bunch of stufff to.
Guys have put 10s of thousands of these heads on earlier engines with no problems.

For push rod guides, you shouldn't have issues, the valve arrangement is the same as on earlier heads. GM went to the Ford style self guided rocker as it's less expensive than machined in push rod guides used in the past. When converting from a self guided rocker it becomes necessary to use aftermarket sheetmetal guides like the go fast guys have used for years. To install these requires the original press in studs be removed, then their existing bosses be machined down and the remaining hole tapped. Outfits that do a sloppy job here get into dimensional trouble. The three big issues that fall on the machinist are cutting the boss to the correct height, leaving a squared surface that will mate the screw in studs mating surface, and getting the hole threaded correctly so the stud is in vertical register within all directions and is located correctly. However, center to center errors do creep in even when dead on the factory's machined centers. For this Isky sells a two piece guide that is fitted correctly and then welded together. The other way is to take a conventional one piece guide, cut it in two, position it correctly then weld it back together. the fact that Isky sells a two piece guide and someone else used to sell an adjustable guide with a plastic rubbing block and these have been out there for decades tells you that getting the push rod, stud, rocker, and valve stem aligned up is anything but a new problem. It occurs all-be-it infrequently but it happens and you just deal with it as the tools to solve the problem already exist.

Other problems that one can get into is using a high lift cam, this can run the pushrod out of position so that it binds in the pass through hole of the head and or in the back of a sheet metal guide. For the former a tool is sold at hot rods supply emporiums for the purpose of enlarging the pass through hole in the head. In the latter case, a die grinder can be taken to the inside of the sheetmetal guide to deepen the slot.

The other answer is to just buy a set of guided rockers.

The factory Vortec is limited to about .45 inch of lift at the valve before the underside of the spring retainer strikes the top of the valve guide. Vortec heads have taller guides to improve guide to stem wear as an end toward better oil control required for installations with cat converters. Guys using high lift cams cut the guide shorter for clearance, this can be done at you neighborhood machine shop or you can by the tool and do it yourself with an electric drill.

Or you can follow Techinspector's recommendation for a pair of RHS equivalents which are closer to ready to go if especially if you're going to increase valve lift beyond .47 inch.

The Vortec should improve gas mileage by about 20-25 percent once you get over having the additional 40 horses and take you foot out of the fun pedal.

No there are no earlier heads that compare to these in any measure of performance or economy.

Bogie
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