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Old 11-23-2011, 06:17 PM
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What heads for a 400 SBC?

Hey gents,

I just picked up a 400 SBC (casting # 330817) for my VW Bug project. I got the factory heads with these and I know they are garbage so I am seeking input on a decent factory head to put on this thing (keeping a budget in mind). Any suggestions?

I am building this engine now and would like to get 400-500 HP out of it. I eventually plan on purchasing a Little M block for my 106mm turbo build and at that point will go all out on building the rotating assembly. Keeping that in mind I have a few questions.

I want to use a fairly large roller cam on this build. I haven't decided on cam specs yet but do you guys have a suggestion on a cam that I could use now with about a 10 to 1 compression engine and also use later on with my turbo build in about a 8 to 1 compression engine for the turbo build? I was thinking something under a 245 duration @ .050 with about 110 lobe centers and as much lift as I could get but wanted to get some opinons here on what cam I could use that would be adequate for both builds.

Also, what forged piston could I use for both builds? I would obviously want to change combustion chamber size on my heads (buying newer performance heads for my turbo build) to move the compression from 10 to 1 to 8 to 1 for the later build, but if I can get one set of forged pistons now that will work for both builds (I am guessing some decent dished pistons), that would obviously save me from having to purchase another set of pistons later. I don't know much about Vortec heads but would they be a relatively inexpensive option for me now that would meet by 400-500 HP goal for this first engine build?

Hope this makes sense to you all. If anyone needs more information or further clarification to help me make the best choice on cam, heads and pistons for both builds, please advise. Just trying to use as many of the components in this first engine build as I can in the second engine build.

Thanks.

Brent

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Old 11-23-2011, 06:49 PM
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check this out.

http://www.chevyhiperformance.com/te...d/viewall.html
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:13 PM
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New vortecs are fairly affordable.. you can get them down to 56cc pretty easy if you are wanting to use a dish piston. Alot of the aftermarket companies are now making vortec copys that have better castings and are priced the same as the gm head
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 454C10

Thanks for the link. Very informative article and that build would meet my initial HP and TQ numbers no problem.

Got a question though. A standard Victor Jr. SBC intake will not work with Vortec heads due to a different bolt pattern between the heads and the intake correct? I know they make Vortec specific after market intakes but can the Vortec heads be drilled for use with my SBC Victor Jr. intake without much of a problem or no?

Thanks again for the link.
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Old 11-24-2011, 07:41 AM
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I have read it is possible to drill a nonvortec to a vortec. I have never done it, but have looked at it and didn't like the looks of it.

I would just buy a set of dart iron eagles (180cc for torque, and 200cc for a mix, 230cc for all out hp). And use the standard gen 1 sbc bolt ons.

vortec heads are cheap but require machining to use more than 0.425" lift, vortec intake, vortec rockers, vortec valve covers. After all these items, the vortec heads aren't so cheap anymore.
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:50 AM
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It is possible to drill vortec heads however the intake holes dont line up worth a crap. It will be chocking the engine. If your going with vortec heads just buy a vortec intake you can usually pick one up for cheap on ebay or something.
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Old 11-24-2011, 02:35 PM
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454C10 and Hick 101-

Very well made points. I was looking at the Vortec heads last night in a comparison to Gen I heads and also noticed that if I were to use a Gen I intake with Vortec heads my intake ports would be way out of wack. Not to say it can't be done, but I think 454C10 is right, better just to look at a set of Dart Iron Eagles and save myself all the hassle and end up with a better head in the end.

Thanks for the input gents.
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Old 11-24-2011, 03:03 PM
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In looking over some of the Dart Iron Eagles out there, what would you guys recommend for the combustion chamber size? I was thinking of using a 76cc chamber.

Are there enough forged piston options out there for the 400 that I could change my compression ratio from 8.5 to 1 to 11 to 1 by just changing the pistons (by using the same Dart Iron Eagles and without milling the heads)?

The reason for this is I would want to use these heads on my intial 400 build which will be a high compression engine (probably around 11 to 1) and then use them again when I get around to completing my turbo build and would obviously want a much lower compression ratio (8-8.5 to 1) utilizing the same heads.
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:54 PM
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the 76cc would really bring down the compression rate. Vortec heads run 64 and to get anywhere close to pump gas i think dish pistons or some really really thick head gaskets are the only answer. but with your other build are you thinking of dome pistons?
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:19 AM
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If you're planning on a Turbo Build later you will need to start with the larger 76cc Chambered Heads to be able to lower the Cr. with just a Piston change.

Example using a .030" Overbore 400:
4.155" Bore X 3.75" Stroke.
76cc Head, 4VR FlatTop Piston @6cc.
0 Deck Ht., .039" Gasket. = 10.19Cr.
With 12cc D-Dish Piston = 9.62Cr.
'''''''''' 16cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 9.28Cr.
'''''''''' 18cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 9.12Cr.
'''''''''' 20cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 8.96Cr.
'''''''''' 22cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 8.81Cr.
'''''''''' 24cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 8.67Cr.

Use a 5.7" or 6" Rod for best available Piston choices.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSedan64
If you're planning on a Turbo Build later you will need to start with the larger 76cc Chambered Heads to be able to lower the Cr. with just a Piston change.

Example using a .030" Overbore 400:
4.155" Bore X 3.75" Stroke.
76cc Head, 4VR FlatTop Piston @6cc.
0 Deck Ht., .039" Gasket. = 10.19Cr.
With 12cc D-Dish Piston = 9.62Cr.
'''''''''' 16cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 9.28Cr.
'''''''''' 18cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 9.12Cr.
'''''''''' 20cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 8.96Cr.
'''''''''' 22cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 8.81Cr.
'''''''''' 24cc '''''''''''''' '''''''''''''' = 8.67Cr.

Use a 5.7" or 6" Rod for best available Piston choices.

Thanks SSedan64. Didn't realize there were that many different piston options available for the 400 but I am glad there are. I plan on going with a 5.7 rod so if those piston dish / dome sizes are available, it will work out great for me.
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