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Old 02-06-2011, 04:37 PM
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Vortec Vs. TBI Heads


I just got a 383 short block, 9.5:1 compression and an Elgin E-923-P camshaft that is going into a 1972 Chevy 4X4, 4.10's and a 700R4. I have a set of 1995 TBI swirl port heads. The redline is going to be about 4500.

My question is: Should I use my TBI heads or get vortec heads? How much horsepower, if any, would I gain by using vortec heads? What would be the best carbureted intake manifold?


P.S. Should I use shorty headers or 2.5 inch Chevy ram horns?

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Old 02-06-2011, 07:45 PM
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I'm no expert, but if you have to spend money rebuilding the TBI's, I think you'd be better off with the vortec's. They are the best bang for the buck. I did a 383 and didn't think twice about buying vortecs and turning the tbi's into boat anchors. One thing to keep in mind is the vortec's won't support a cam lift above .460 or so, without modifying them. Summit claims .520 lift with their version for the same price as GM's

I was playing with the CamQuest program and changed nothing but the head specs and my motor went from 425hp all the way down to 357hp using the tbi head.
You can also google: vortec vs. tbi heads and get a pretty good idea of what folks think of them.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:59 PM
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The only time I recommend TBI heads is when someone wants brute low end torque and is not concerned about upper RPM. The TBI heads fall flat on there face by 4000 RPM, but they do provide outstanding low end pulling power. going with Vortec heads will require a Vortec intake which costs more coin. TBI heads also have different bolt angles at the center 4 which means you have to drill your intake or get a aftermarket one that fits them. Being the aftermarket intake costs more I can`t think of anyone who would waste there money buying one for TBI heads.
The cam you have is the same specs as the edelbrock performer plus cam. If torque is all your looking for and don`t plan to rev it as you mentioned I would go with the TBI heads. If the TBI heads need a complete overhaul, then you may as well buy new Vortecs and get a Vortec intake as well.
I wouldn`t use shorty headers or exhaust manifolds, I`d find some long tube headers. The Vortec heads are about 35 horses over the TBI heads.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:57 PM
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TBI heads are 168cc (if I recall correctly) and they flow terribly... I mean pathetically. They flow about the same as a 1956 265ci head. Ridiculously terrible.

Vortecs are only slightly larger ports that are the best flowing production head GM ever made.

So, massively increased HP potential, no loss of torque, plus vastly improved chamber design that is far more efficient. Its not just about quantity of flow and velocity of flow, its about quality of flow. Of all the GM production heads, the vortecs beat them all.

Put it this way. Take a stock TBI engine and swap on vortec heads (with the obvious requisite changes) and the vortec will beat the TBI head in hp AND tq.

Comparing TBI heads to vortec heads is like comparing Taylor Swift to Taylor golf balls. No comparison.
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