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Delta Alpha Tango Juliet
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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to get the valve guides (and I think I need the spring seats cut also (never delt with heads before)) on my vortec heads to handle a higher lift.

What is a rough estimate of a fair price I should be willing to accept?

I've never delt with a machine shop before so I wouldn't know. I would buy the Comp Cams cutting tools but this is my first time messing with heads and i'd much rather practice on a bad set of heads. From what i've heard, this city has a bad reputation for shop rip offs...and I'm not even kidding. I've only lived here 5 months so I don't KNOW any good places. Was going to check around but don't know whats an acceptable price.
 

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check around anyways.I would not put a lot of money into Vortec castings,might be a better deal to buy new Vortecs that are modified and ready to go or better yet just buy better heads for a bit more
 

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Delta Alpha Tango Juliet
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
So you think it would be better/cheaper to buy more heads than to just get the guides cut on my current heads? The heads I have now have less than 80k on them. I just wanted to clear up to maybe a .550 lift or so since I don't know what size aftermarket cam is in my new engine. Previous owner said it was a pretty big one, waaaay over stock. Not trying to hog the heads out or have them lifting at .600+.. If I need to purchase the parts then so be it. I just want them cut for a little more lift. Just don't want to accept a crap price from these shops.

What do you guys pay for such machine work?
 

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What lift is the cam? If your gonna increase max lift of the cam there are spring/lock/retainer combos that can be installed to get up around .550" lift cam with no machine work. Depending on the lift and ramp rate of your camshaft you may want to install screw in rocker studs which can be done at home also.

If your heads are used you should look them over with a fine toothed comb before doing any work to them.
 

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Delta Alpha Tango Juliet
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
What lift is the cam? If your gonna increase max lift of the cam there are spring/lock/retainer combos that can be installed to get up around .550" lift cam with no machine work. Depending on the lift and ramp rate of your camshaft you may want to install screw in rocker studs which can be done at home also.

If your heads are used you should look them over with a fine toothed comb before doing any work to them.
I don't know the cam specs. I bought the engine from an older gentleman used and was told it was a larger cam but he didn't remember the specs. I wanted to put my vortec heads on it BUT seeing as the max lift of vortecs is .430-.470, I wanted to be safer than sorry any raise the head lift to about .550..

So your saying I could buy a kit to raise my head lift without machine work?? If thats right, I love the idea. I've read about beesprings but wasn't sure if they would help me without machine work.
 

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What heads are on the engine now? Lobe lift is very easy to measure with a dial indicator and removing a valve cover. The cam can be larger than stock but have a stock or near stock lift to it
 

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You can't do the mods I'm thinking about without knowing what the camshaft is. The mod requires changing valve springs and you need to know what spring pressures you need to match the cam.
 

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Hotrodders.com moderator
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To be absolutely blunt about it is that I know what it will cost to rework stock heads. It seems to me to be a better value to find some good aftermarket heads. Try racers junk as guys are letting used heads go for cheap when they are stepping up to the latest and best..

Sam
 

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Delta Alpha Tango Juliet
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
So all aftermarket heads come with lift of at least .550? I would end up with some cheap crap like procomp or something cause all the decent heads are like $800+. I want to use the vortecs because I already have them and aftermarket heads weren't originally in my budget. If that's the case, I could just install a cam that I know the lift of and go from there, right?
 

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No it's not that simple. Now your getting into swapping in a cam on an engine you know nothing about. Was the engine rebuilt or was it just a cam swap that the previous owner did?
 

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More for Less Racer
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19,345 Posts
You do know that Vortec heads are very prone to cracking, right?? Have yours been magnafluxed??

At 80,000 miles they will almost 100% likely need a valvejob, and likely some or all new valvecuides besides the valveguide tops cut. Surface milled to make sure they are flat. Now you are looking at $500+ spent and still basically a stock head.

$650 will put you into Assault/ProHeader aluminum heads, $740 will put you into Flowtek aluminum. both are better than ProComp/SpeedMaster.
 

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Delta Alpha Tango Juliet
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
It's a 383 built by the previous owner. Okay, I'll figure something out. Even if I must buy the cutting tool and maybe check around for some help doing it myself. I'm definitely not looking to buy heads at that price right now. Thanks anyway everyone!
 

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I am looking to get the valve guides (and I think I need the spring seats cut also (never delt with heads before)) on my vortec heads to handle a higher lift.

What is a rough estimate of a fair price I should be willing to accept?

I've never delt with a machine shop before so I wouldn't know. I would buy the Comp Cams cutting tools but this is my first time messing with heads and i'd much rather practice on a bad set of heads. From what i've heard, this city has a bad reputation for shop rip offs...and I'm not even kidding. I've only lived here 5 months so I don't KNOW any good places. Was going to check around but don't know whats an acceptable price.
50 dollars an hour if you drop it off and leave.

60 dollars an hour if you stay

70 dollars an hour if you stay and watch.

100 dollars an hour if stay, watch and ask questions.


Actually this data is out on the web,,, an example

pricelist

Bogie
 

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Delta Alpha Tango Juliet
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks. Those prices aren't very impressive. I'm kind of considering some aftermarket heads now. Talked it over with the wife. Looking for a nice, used set on CL or Ebay. Just sucks cause vortec heads are supposed to be the "beez-kneez" and I wanted to use the set I have.
 

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Are you still using the stock springs and retainers?
Setting up a set of heads for higher lift entails more than cutting the guide height down to increase your retainer to seal clearance.
If these heads still have the stock springs and retainers I doubt they will handle .550 lift.
After market heads as already mentioned may not be a bad deal, for you.
Aluminium Performance heads SBC
I charge $32.00 to cut sixteen guides for PC seals and establish the correct guide to retainer clearance.


Best of success on your project.
 

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Race it, Don't rice it!
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50 dollars an hour if you drop it off and leave.

60 dollars an hour if you stay

70 dollars an hour if you stay and watch.

100 dollars an hour if stay, watch and ask questions.


Actually this data is out on the web,,, an example

pricelist

Bogie

It's $150 if you tried your self and broke it, then brought in. :thumbup:
 

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More for Less Racer
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19,345 Posts
Thanks. Those prices aren't very impressive. I'm kind of considering some aftermarket heads now. Talked it over with the wife. Looking for a nice, used set on CL or Ebay. Just sucks cause vortec heads are supposed to be the "beez-kneez" and I wanted to use the set I have.
They were, for about 10years, and at the time when Chevy was building engines that used them and putting them in every truck and van....but Chevy doesn't anymore, so cheap GM assembly's no longer exist and used are often cracked.

In this day and age it is becoming a better buy to just get new budget aluminum than to spend money on rebuilding used cores....just the same way 1960's Camel Hump Fuelie heads went obsolete the minute Vortec heads came on the scene, now it is Vortecs becoming obsolete with decent offshore aluminum castings now available at the same or better pricing.
 

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The factory L31 design Vortec was and is a very good design but it really was a first cut at these advance design chambers and ports. It's been improved upon not only at GM which offers some improvements at GMPP but also the aftermarket has taken the ball and run further still. From budget imports to super expensive NC machined domestic race only heads the L31 has at minimum been equalled and at most far exceeded. You puts you money down you go faster to way faster getting lower emissions and pretty good gas mileage doing it.

Bogie
 
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